home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


April 24, 2017

Nick Faldo

MIKE WOODCOCK: Good afternoon, everyone. We'll make a start. We're joined on the line by Sir Nick Faldo, three‑time champion golfer of the year. Obviously my name is Mike Woodcock and I'll host the teleconference this afternoon.
I hope you've all enjoyed the golf today. We really had a privilege in playing the course in such wonderful conditions, in a testing wee breeze, as we would say in Scotland.
We're joined on the line by Nick, as I mentioned earlier this morning, it's been 25 years since an Englishman has won The Open, which is quite a remarkable statistic. I don't think many people would have expected that would be the case back in 1992 when Nick enjoyed his victory at Muirfield.
While you're on the line, if I can turn to you and just ask for your thoughts on that wait and perhaps some of the talented English players that are now very much in contention and competing at the top level of the game at the moment.
We were just talking about, introducing you to the media with us in the room today Nick and they have all had the opportunity to play the course here at Birkdale this afternoon. We were just talking about the remarkable statistic; that it's been a 25‑year wait for an English champion since your memorable victory at Muirfield in 1992, and I was just going to turn to you and ask for your thoughts on that. I can't imagine you would have expected that would be the case way back then when you won.
SIR NICK FALDO: Well, yeah, as you say, 25 years in English, but I regard myself as British, as well, and Rory stepped in, and Paul Lawrie.
But if we're talking Englishmen, the time is really positive right now with Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood and then Paul Casey. Maybe this is the time for the 25‑year run to end.
MIKE WOODCOCK: And do you have particular memories of playing at Birkdale yourself and competing here?
SIR NICK FALDO: Well, I do, very much, because it was my very first Open, '76 when I led the qualifying and played that one. And obviously Johnny Miller won, I finished well down, but it was my first Open.
And then of course, '83, that was really part of my big learning curve. You know, I had an amazing first day. I started double‑bogey, double‑bogey, I'm 4‑over after two and I shot 68. So that was pretty amazing and then by the ninth tee, on the tenth tee ‑‑ '83 was part of my learning curve‑‑ nine holes to play and blew up.
And that's where I then another year later, I then thought, okay, I'm going to rebuild my swing to be a better golfer, ready for The Open, and we all know that story. Took two years and came out in '87. But yeah, but Birkdale, '83, was a key part of my learning curve.

Q. Last year at St Andrews, you had said that you felt that that would be your last Open. Has your mind changed on that at this point?
SIR NICK FALDO: I had the most wonderful send‑off on the Swilken Bridge. I had just birdied 17. I'm in the sunshine. I've got my old Pringle, my original Pringle from my '87, and I didn't realise until I got there that week that that was my 100th major, so I don't think it all made sense. I don't think I can have a better send‑off from The Open, ever. So I'm very happy to call it a day playing The Open Championship.

Q. One of the names you mentioned among the Englishmen, Justin Rose, of course he's got great history at Birkdale and played so well at the Masters. Is that someone that you expect to see?
SIR NICK FALDO: Most definitely. Well, Rose is definitely a serious contender because of everything: Where he is in his career, he's a Major Champion, he did come up short at the Masters, so he's going to be hugely inspired going back to Birkdale. Yeah, absolutely.

Q. On Tiger Woods underwent another back operation last week. Can you see any way back for him?
SIR NICK FALDO: Well, I hear everything you guys hear. You know, we don't get anything factually. I read probably, you know, a surgeon said this takes six months to heal. So that's all I know. Simple as that. Maybe he's got another season out.
Same as everybody. It's all speculation. So some people say it's a couple of weeks. Some I've heard, one surgeon said six months. So what can I add? We have no idea what‑‑ Tiger obviously wants to come back and play, that's the bottom line. He wants to try and find a way to come back and play. But if it's another six months, then everything is getting more difficult.

Q. Can I just ask your view on the Lexi Thompson rules situation and what's the way forward, do you think, to stop that happening again?
SIR NICK FALDO: I think everybody‑‑ I think we've got‑‑ I guess that the R&A and the USGA probably need to be a little bit more proactive. Maybe all the players need to go to a rules seminar. They probably only‑‑ there's probably only two dozen rules that really affect every day play on Tour, and I think the players have just got to be really brought up to speed with it.
I mean, they have got to look after themselves, but they have got to do it correctly and they have got to know 100 per cent. And everybody needs this. There's always so much confusion. The caddies need to know. A player might say, 'I can do this and I can do that,' and even the caddie would say, 'Oh, I'm not sure about that, Boss.' That causes the confusion, and that's a delay.
So I think the players have got to, or between the three, the Tour, the R&A, the USGA, the tours, have just got to get to the players and they have got to be clear what they do. As I said, maybe, whatever it is, 18, 24, 36 basic rules, so they absolutely know what they are doing and how to do it.

Q. What would be your abiding memory of 1992, and was that the most shattered you felt at the end of a major?
SIR NICK FALDO: Yeah, yes, it was, because I had a four‑shot lead, everything was going well, and then I frittered it all away. And then I had that moment when I looked at the leaderboard on 14th green, I'm now two back. So that was going to be my major that I had absolutely blown, and I would have probably been scarred from it somehow.
I said: Right, forget the whole week. Forget everything, absolutely everything. You've got four holes to play; you'd better play the best four of your life. And I just about did.
The 5‑iron I hit on 15 was one of the best knock‑down 5‑irons ever, and then obviously a drive and a 4‑iron I hit up 17 was absolutely spot on, best I could do.
And the 3‑iron at 18, probably stands as my best shot ever, because a 3‑iron with a four to win, and I took the paint right off the flag.
So really, I just about did it. It's a nice feeling, to say, wow, I really did three or four‑‑ three great iron shots, one great drive. So that, to me, yeah, so as we said, I saw the other side of absolutely blowing a major, and I managed to claw it back. So yeah, I worked hard for that one.

Q. Is there a harder opening hole on The Open rota than the first at Birkdale?
SIR NICK FALDO: Yeah, good point. Very good. It's brutal, isn't it. It's sandwiched between the hills and the green is the same. It's one of the hardest tee shots, considering there's no water, in golf.
Yeah, the first is a brute. Actually the start is really‑‑ I actually was really looking at the whole golf course, and you know, 1, 2, 3, 4, is a serious start. Then of course you've got the 6th, and 8 and I think 9 is a beautiful hole. Of course, like a plateau fairway and everything.
Yeah, course wind, always seems to blow a crosswind at Birkdale and a couple of elevated tees make it very difficult. 11 tee is elevated. Where else‑‑ you know, 6, as I said, a little high rough in the dunes. What is it, 14 is elevated, as well. 16 can be a brute‑‑ well, 15, and 16, it can turn back into a hard wind.
I rate Birkdale as a great golf course. Very fair, as you know, flatter fairways, but demanding to hit. I think it's now lengthened out. So it's a real driver test and it's a real solid drive, second‑shot test.
So that's sort of golf you've got to believe is going to be‑‑ you know, you've got to play really good, solid golf that week on that golf course.

Q. Going back to the rules situation, do you think the governing body should listen when TV viewers e‑mail in on possible transgressions, or should it be down to the rules officials themselves?
SIR NICK FALDO: The problem we have, if you're out at 8.00 in the morning and there's no TV cameras and nobody watching you, and if you're on television at 4.00 and 5.00 in the afternoon, the rules are different. You can break exactly the same or do whatever infringement exactly the same at two different times of the day, one on TV and one not on television, and you'll get a different ruling. The guy, whatever‑‑ I'm not going to say anymore.
So that is the issue we have. That's what they have got to get an absolute level playing field whether somebody is watching you or not. I mean, that's the big key for me.

Q. With Hillside next door and Southport and Ainsdale here, as well, can you think of a better threesome of links golf courses anywhere?
SIR NICK FALDO: I'm sure there would be some down in‑‑ well, in northern hemisphere, absolutely. Links, true links, yes, you're right, that would be tough to beat. Pretty tough to beat. There's obviously great runs down ‑‑ you have to go all the way to Melbourne, Australia to the Sandbelt to get three great courses. But yeah, for true links, that's pretty darned good, yeah.

Q. You mentioned Tommy Fleetwood, he's a local player for us. Do you think he's now got the game to be a contender at a major?
SIR NICK FALDO: Well, yeah, I tried to watch him a bit‑‑ yeah, I think he's progressing, and look what he's just done again. He's had a couple of‑‑ a win, a second the other day. I've heard‑‑ I've watched him a little bit through television. But then, you know, you've got the great‑‑ I heard the players talking, very much Stenson‑style solidity, strength in ball‑striking.
Yeah, any of these guys‑‑ and they are all going to be inspired by what's been happening. They will be inspired by Danny Willett. They have played with Danny a lot and they think, wow, if he can do that, I can do that. They play with Sergio; if he can do that, I can do that.
I think European golf is good. I think the European guys will see if they can contend at The Open.

Q. Do you think that marriage is going to make any difference for Rory in the future? Is that another hurdle to overcome?
SIR NICK FALDO: Well, I think he's very happy. Rory McIlroy's life is pretty darned good. Yeah, I think it's all part of his journey. Yeah, he's ready to, whatever, I'm sure it's good for him.

Q. Just on Rory, is there a concern that he has not bedded down with a set of clubs and driver? He still seems to be experimenting a little. What's your take on that?
SIR NICK FALDO: I'm not sure. I spoke to him in South Africa and he was very happy with irons and everything. And we're always experimenting; it's the fun of the game. But I think he probably really knows what he's doing.
That's the beauty‑‑ I think it's a very good situation he's in, obviously, with Nike pulling out of the club business. He has opportunity to test, and put whatever he thinks is best in the bag. There's an awful lot to do from shafts, especially, keep fine tuning driver shafts. But I think he's probably enjoying that. He knows what he's doing. He can‑‑ as I said, I spoke to him in South Africa and he was showing me the irons. He was very happy with those irons. I assume they are still in the bag. But I wouldn't be concerned about that. I think that's more of a positive. He's got freedom to use what he thinks is best.
MIKE WOODCOCK: I think we can wrap things up there. Nick, thank you very much for joining us. Apologies again for the problems we had but that you for your patience, and we'll look forward to seeing you at Birkdale.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297