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July 21, 2006

Nick Faldo


Q. Nick, you haven't been playing much, you've done a lot of TV work, why would you put yourself under this pressure to come here and try and play on a golf course so difficult?

NICK FALDO: I wasn't intending to put myself under that much pressure. I was hoping to get a nice quiet draw, maybe with Mr. Watson or maybe Mr. Ballesteros. Maybe that's what the crowd would have liked. Instead I get Tiger and get thrown into the deep end.

And I only had a week's practice and that was a tough experience. I didn't enjoy that, because you're playing under pressure and you're just not prepared for it. I used to beat balls and hit millions of balls to boost my confidence. I've only hit hundreds in the last week. Obviously my game is very rusty and that was hard work so I don't think I'll do that again to myself. If I'm going to play again I need a good couple of weeks practice and I've got to get some confidence in my putting before I get back on the golf course again.

Q. What's it like having your son Matthew carrying your bag in a major?

NICK FALDO: That's what keeps me going. When your son is there you've got to keep doing the best you can. He was great. He worked very hard. He is learning the caddie ropes very fast. This is his second major, only his third tournament. He'll be back on the bag in another couple of months' time. I enjoy it with him. It's good for me but a big thrill for him. We managed to seek a little memento from Tiger for him, so that's pretty cool.

Q. Are you going to put your TV hat on now and see if anybody can beat Tiger this weekend?

NICK FALDO: Not really. He's got a great game plan, playing so many irons. If he keeps it totally in play and doesn't scare himself missing a fairway or getting a bad lie then anything can happen. But his touch is so good, his competitive ability is the best, I would predict that if the weather stays decent, he will get to 20 under and good luck. How are they going to beat him with that score?

I've only had a week's practice and then I was thrown in with Tiger and that's not what I was looking for this week. Watson and Ballesteros would have been a good draw, that's maybe what the crowd were looking for, 11 Open Championships between us. But I didn't get that, I was thrown in the deep end and I've only done a little work on my game and I need to practice more and I need to get a putting stroke if I'm going to play again. So I'm not too keen on venturing onto the golf course for a while.

But it's great to be at close quarters with Tiger. I can see what's going on. I should be able to tell ABC viewers up close and personal this weekend.

Q. You didn't like what was written about you and Tiger before the tournament?

NICK FALDO: No, it was the usual, complete mountain out of a molehill. Fortunately I don't read it, which is even better tactics.

Q. Did somebody tell you about it then?

NICK FALDO: A pigeon flew past and crapped on me, and I guess that was the message. I knew something was coming.

Q. What did you say to Tiger at the end?

NICK FALDO: I said, "As you're not using your driver, could Matthew have it?" He only hit it once in two days but he seems to know what he's doing; he's got a good game plan. If he keeps cruising like this, I predict if the weather is good he'll get to 20 under, and good luck, who's going to beat him then at 21 under, 22 under to win? We shall see.

Q. You're used to taking on people, aren't you? You've done it over the years?

NICK FALDO: I'm not taking people on. I'm asked for my opinion, I tell it like I see it. I speak what I see.

Q. Has your opinion changed on his golf swing and some of the technical aspects of his game?

NICK FALDO: There are some shots actually that he is uncomfortable on. I can see some technical things in his swing, yeah. But he gets by because he is so physically strong and so mentally determined and such a great competitor that, yeah, there are some technical things in his swing that if he were honest he'd say he'd love to iron out.

He's got a good plan. If he can keep hitting those irons, coming from the fairway he'll be just short of impossible to beat.

Q. Another player thought he said the swing changes he was working on with Hank were designed to help him control the trajectory, especially on his irons, and if you watch him he's clearly doing that and is able to hit more and varied shots?

NICK FALDO: The thing now is that the ball doesn't curve as much and you have to work on the swing factor. The guys will develop different follow throughs to develop different spins and that's what you need. Some shots it will stop and some that will run. You have to do that in your swing to make that happen. That obviously affects ball flight as well.

He had a peach of a 4 iron at 12 and he was just warming up [he holed a 4 iron at 14].

Q. What's it like coming out in the morning for people like Els and others coming out in the afternoon and seeing his score?

NICK FALDO: Well, if you're feeling good and playing good it will motivate you; you know you want to get in there. It's not over until it's done. You've got to believe. The golf course is playing great. And if you're playing great you can get a 6 under out of it. You'd better not be deflated on day two. I don't think those guys will be. I think Ernie has been there enough times; he knows what's going on.

Q. Does the fact that Tiger has only hit one driver in two rounds sort of take something away from the first two days?

NICK FALDO: It doesn't sound great in the stats, does it? Obviously he's long, that does help. And even yesterday's drive on 16 was the wrong club. He should have hit 3 wood. It should have been 0 0 for two days. It just shows you it's all down to the burnt golf course. It is short.

Q. All talk of his swing aside, majors are won up here (indicating the head), and he's pretty good in that department?

NICK FALDO: He's the best. He's mentally the toughest. He's the most trained for what you have to put up with. He plays from the first tee with "The Tiger Show" for 72 holes. All of a sudden the guys who play with him tomorrow are going to get out there with 60 cameramen and it will be a different world for them, and he is in the same mode all the time. That's what the great champions of any sport have; Bjorn Borg and others have been able to do this. They are in the same mode from the moment they walk out until the moment they finish.

End of FastScripts.

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