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« Day: Let The Patrons In Just A Tad Earlier | Main | Masters Monday This And That »

Faldo: Probably Has Played His Last Masters

The Augusta Chronicle's David Westin on the likelihood that we'll never see three-time winner Nick Faldo tee it up in the Masters again.

Faldo doesn’t plan to play in the next few years, and he won’t be one of those former champions who plays a “farewell” Masters in his golden years. Predictably, they shoot high scores in the first two rounds and miss the cut by a mile.

“I can’t see that,” Faldo said. “I couldn’t let myself go and shoot any number. It’s just not me. … If I keep my nose clean and keep my job at CBS, I’m quite happy to be here and doing that.

Faldo believes he could play in the Masters and still call the tournament for CBS later in the day.

“I could have, if I spoke very nicely” to Sean Mc­Manus, the chairman of CBS Sports, Faldo said.

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Reader Comments (29)

Wise. Much easier to talk than play! Thanks for the memories. Sir Nick was left behind by the bombers when the Pro V-1 arrived on the scene. I'd far prefer to watch Faldo at work than the likes of Bubba Watson.
04.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterIvan Morris
I credit Faldo for this decision.
Also, I would favor the toonament committee being more restrictive on former champions playing if it would open more positions for accomplished amateurs or for Tour pros who might actually contend.
04.9.2013 | Unregistered Commentergov. lepetomane
It is their tooniment. They can do exactly as they please. This drives lots of people crazy, of course. Frankly, if they asked me, there would be zero amateurs. They rarely make the cut, let alone contend, why bother ? So amateurs are a lot like the past champions, huh? But it is their tooniment. And they can do exactly as they please.
04.9.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoe
Isn't this the same stance that Nicklaus embraces "I will only play if I can compete". Personally I don't want to see former great champions looking like hackers
04.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Morris
There is a You Tube out there with Japanese announcers showing all of Faldo's shots from 9 on in to 18 in the final round of the 1996 Masters. His driver is a tiny metal head. Many he could hit it on the same place on the club face every time. It was a great swing but of little use with today's equipment.
04.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLynn S.
Nick Faldo is 55. Jack Nicklaus finished 4th at age 58.

And the proper spelling of the proper pronunciation is "toona-mint".
Agree, John. I often thought they should make a spot for 9-holes featuring past champions of a certain age playing from the members tees. And I'll bet it would be popular and provide additional slots in the main event. For now, the par 3 contest will have to do.
04.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
It is one of the coolest traditions in sport, you win you are exempt as long as you want to play.

They could do something to accommodate senior players, like tee them of last on Thursday and Friday and let them play 9 holes from the member tees, but if not I am OK like it is...
No amateurs? Do you even know the history of this tournament? The whole point was to boost amateur golf, by the ultimate amateur himself, Mr. Jones. The Masters is what it is because of these traditions, changing them would make it like any other tournament.
04.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGordy

It is not you whiny TV viewers event. They can do as they damn well please and it's ok with me (as to the tournament entry list. I mean toonament ebtrues.
I don't try to eff up. That ''spelling'' was for you, Ky. Hope it prought a smile, I kkaffed out loud.
We do not need more spots for low ranked tour players who have little chance of winning and should not be competing for a major.
Don't give me the strength of field argument, it tougher to qualify for the Masters.
Some guy ranked 110th in the world should not be competing for a major.
The tradition of the Masters is fine, they have made adjustments as time went on, so far they have got it right.
More importantly, it sent the right message to the former champs as to when to call it a day.
That's my rant.
04.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKG
"It was a great swing but of little use with today's equipment." +1

One of us recently sent me an article from GW about the current state of the golf swing: Side-by-side comparison of Dustin Johnson and Nick Faldo at the top with a driver. Sir Nick looked like the athlete he is, with an absolutely beautiful piece of clubmaker's art in his hands. DJ looked like he was trying to kill a snake with a long stick. The comment from the expert was that the latter was in the "perfect" position. Umm, not so much.

Anyway, I think the best pressure shot I have ever seen (on TV) was Faldo's 2-iron from the middle of the 13th fairway that pierced Norman's heart once and for all in that Masters.

Digs: ;-)
04.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
Faldo hit quite a few 2-irons just like the one KLG describes. Those not old enough do not realize how good he was. Faldo wasn't that prolific a winner. The competition in his era was pretty darn stiff.
04.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterIvan Morris
Classy move by Faldo. He's far from my favourite announcer but he was great during last year's telecast. You can tell he loves the course and revers the tournament .
04.9.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdbh
Back to Faldo, with reading glasses found- Samn he has a beautiful swing, played 90 compression balls, and did not hit anything very far- don't know if his CH speed was low, or his lofts were weak, but he was always controlled thru the shot and in balance. The week before he won his first Mastas, I watched him chip from the first cut with a SW for at leat 20 minutes- a sht to a hole 20 ft away...I was moved. The next week, Green Jacket!

Yes, I DO feel I played a small part in his victory.
I attended the 2nd and 3rd rounds in 1996....had to bail for a friggin college tournament practice round at Jim&Tammy's Bibleland and resort on Sunday, so the final round was a VHS tape delayed thing of beauty from a non-starter on the golf team, we threatened anyone with severe bodily violence if they spilled the beans and told us who we watched it on the patio of our on-campus apt....ahhhh good tmes.

ANyways...Faldo had a look about him that week, especially when stalking the hole on the greens. And his long irons were pure! From a distance, you couldn't tell if he was hitting a 6 or a 2iron. And with his new T-Zoid driver he actually nosed a few by Norman.

Good to hear he's retired the right way IMO. Last time I saw him play live was at the Heineken Classic at Royal Melbourne in 2003 IIRC. He finished top 10, and had a great 65 or 66 one day. I even got some eye contact from him when he walked from the scorers tent to the locker room. A simple and loud and clear "GOOD ROUND NICK! WELL PLAYED!" got me a nod and a wink from a 6 time major champ. Oh, and Norman played OK, and Ernie blew away the field, and Bob Friend (whom I caddied for as a 15 yr old somewhere) finished with a 66....great weekend of golf. The beer tasted great too!
04.9.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
KG....Golfers ranked 110 should not be competing for a major??? Ben Curtis, Rich Beem, Todd Hamilton, Darren Clarke...they competed and won!

When I went to Riviera, to watch golf live for the first time in over 10 years, what struck me most was how similar these guys played....there seems, at least to my uneducated eye, to be virtually no difference between the 20th ranked player and 150th in terms of ball striking, putting etc.

By narrowing the field at the Masters, the club has virtually guaranteed a star studded leaderboard every year. Of the 90 odd players, 15-20 are previous winners with virtually zero chance. Same with the amateurs. Anyone with a tourcard can play, and if the putter gets hot, win anywhere at anytime.
04.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterManku
Good decision, since the course is way too long for him. Faldo was certainly a victim of the power game, and his relatively early demise at 40 was possibly, maybe probably, a reaction to the emergence of Tiger - he was certainly never the same after being paired with Woods at the ´97 Masters, a few weeks after his final victory at Riviera.
In any case, I will never forget the ball striking display I witnessed while following him around during a practice round before the '92 Scandinavian Masters (a week after his Muirfield victory) where I worked as a spotter. It was a round he himself would later in a Golf Digest interview describe as "the ultimate in control". I didn't think it was humanly possible to hit a golf ball like that, and I haven't seen anything remotely like it since.
04.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
@chicago pt,

Agree with you that Faldo was a bad pairing for Norman in '96. Thought about that on Saturday when Faldo got himself into the final group.

The beating that Faldo gave Norman in '90 in the 3rd round showdown at TOC left plenty of scar tissue, I reckon.

Also agree that the 2-iron at 13 was a great, pure shot. If memory serves, Faldo backed off from it and was considering a fairway wood.

How much better 13 plays when you have a long iron second shot!
04.9.2013 | Unregistered Commenterfyg
KLG-I agree.One of the all-time great pressure shots.
04.9.2013 | Unregistered Commenterchico
@fyg: Faldo and Norman were paired together in the third round as well, where Norman outscored him, 71 to 73. I think Norman's demons would have got the better of him regardless, even though it didn't help that he was paired with his old nemesis.

And Faldo did back off the shot on 13, not once but twice. It took him about three minutes to pull the trigger, so the outcome was extraordinary.
04.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye

Your right, Faldo and Norman did play in the third round. Forgot all about that.

What shot convinced you that Norman was in trouble that Sunday?

I was really pulling for the Shark that day and really sensed the oncoming collapse with his second shot on 9.

That whole day had a muted, surrealistic quality to it.
04.9.2013 | Unregistered Commenterfyg
@fyg: I was pulling for Norman so badly, but it is the only final round I've missed live in 27 years! I was doing my military service at the time as a radar operator, and was down in the bunker that Sunday night. The thing is, on my radar screen I could spot planes in Russia, but we didn't have satellite TV,.. My only chance to keep track of the proceedings was to sneak out to the mess hall to see the teletext updates every hour, and it was horrific. After 7 holes it was fine, but at my next break it was all even after 11, and at my next break I was all but heartbroken to see that it was all over with two to play. I could barely watch the tape when I got home. But you're right, the second shot on 9 was super-ominous, coming as it did after Faldo's snake on the 8th.
04.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
Ivan Morris

I would suggest that the competition today is far greater than it ever was.
04.9.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStanley Thompson
''I will never forget the ball striking display I witnessed while following him around during a practice round before the '92 Scandinavian Masters (a week after his Muirfield victory) where I worked as a spotter. It was a round he himself would later in a Golf Digest interview describe as "the ultimate in control".''

Reading that Hawk, Yes, I DO feel you played a small part in his amazing round..

Reading all this, it seems to me that Jim Furyk, in spite of his beautiful hole out eagle on 18 in the final round in San Antonio the other day, has run out of bullets, just like Norman did. Take that 11 mil, buy Fluff a GT40, and get a nose job, some hair implants, and come back over 50 and kick some butt again, with a name like Jimi Ray Furious. That'll be $19.95
The ranking system works, I understand guys with a hot week can win anytime. But my point is that those guys should not be in majors. Guys should have to earn a spot and it should be much more difficult than qualifying for the Tour.
I think Beem was in the top 50 when he won, he was on a streak but the others I have issues with, they should not have been competing in the first place with the exception of Crenshaw perhaps.
I guess my point is the field should only be "star-studded" .
04.10.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKG
The right choice by Faldo - funny how he oscillates between being a classy guy and a bit of a wally.

ANGC got this one right by laying down a marker a few years ago and leaving it to the older guys to show a bit of discretion. The only criticism might be that they could have done it earlier - but I think they wanted to give Player and Palmer a bit of space first.

It's also a better feeling this year now that ANGC has its two women Members - another thing they got right (in their own time of course).

@KG - an interesting line on the strength of field. Since the Masters has never sold itself as a Championship, but as an Invitational Tournament, I think it's approach to the field is OK when balanced with the other three Majors.
04.10.2013 | Unregistered Commenterbs

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