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December 4, 2008

Nick Faldo

Matthew Faldo


PHIL STAMBAUGH: Nick and Matthew Faldo, good afternoon. Your first appearance in the Del Webb Father/Son Challenge. Start us off with a brief comment about playing in the event for the first time. I didn't know how much you heard from other players what it's like, but maybe talk about that if you could. We'll start with Matthew.
MATTHEW FALDO: I guess I saw it on TV last year. Looked like a lot of fun. I guess we're trying to have as much fun as possible as well. Some nice prize money. Obviously I can't get that, but been promised a beer if we win. Looking forward to that, yeah. Nice little incentive there. Should be a good week.
NICK FALDO: Now, obviously I heard about it for years. Wanted play with Matthew for moons now. With school and him living in England -- finally Matthew is now at university and I was able to drag him away from that.
Yeah, this is our first tournament together, so obviously looking forward to it. He flew over on Saturday and we've been practicing ever since. I'm a little tired, a bit stressed because I played one in a row this year. I feel a little overworked, you know.
I played two days at Hong Kong, which considering I hasn't played for a whole year, I actually felt like I could golf on the second day. So I enjoyed it.
No, we will go and play and see what happens. We're game for a laugh, as we say.

Q. Matthew, do you play much seriously, or is this just something that you do once or twice a month? What's the state of your game? Are you worried about protecting your amateur status, otherwise just take the prize money, who cares?
MATTHEW FALDO: Yeah, precisely. No, I played at high school for you guys, played on my school team for the whole five years. But, no, I've gone to -- I mean, we played -- I don't play -- well, recently I've not played hardly anything. I've been more into playing English hockey. I have been doing that at university and stuff like that.
But, yeah, only takes one round and then you get hooked onto it again and you want to get better. So that's what this week will been good for.

Q. You're in school where?
MATTHEW FALDO: In Bristol. In England.

Q. And you're the oldest?
MATTHEW FALDO: I'm second out of four.

Q. You've got a very young daughter.
NICK FALDO: Yeah, she's five. Natalie is 22. She's in L.A. Going to be in the producing side in the film business. And then obviously Matthew is at university. George is 15 at school, about to head onto A levels, and then little Em is five. So good spread.

Q. How many years?

Q. What is the name of his school?
NICK FALDO: University of West of England, Bristol. UWE.
MATTHEW FALDO: Not Bristol. Not clever enough for that.

Q. Do you miss competing at all?
NICK FALDO: No, I don't. I don't. It's been a while do you. I've been up in the booth for four seasons now, so, no. I'm quite happy. I've had my time and had my little era, and now I've moved on to, you know, a new opportunity.

Q. Nick, you were in the booth last time at Augusta. Talking to Nicklas out here after his practice session about the golf course and the way that tournament has played out the last couple years. The highest score at the majors I think last year and then second to the U.S. Open this year. Do you think have they overcooked it a little bit? Have the scores gotten too high? Have we a lot something from the Sundays that we used to see where the gallery would be so loud that pine cones would fall?
NICK FALDO: Yeah, they've made it unbelievably difficult. That's the really bottom line. I mean, adding the length -- there's very few players who -- obviously it was freezing cold when he won that week. If you like playing on ice, Augusta on ice.
But, you know, that's why I was more than happy when -- you know the choice between playing and CBS...
No, seriously, I walked off -- Matthew caddied for me at the last one. I think I shot 77, which is like normal. If you don't practice enough you're scared stiff. You know, 77 is all right, but that's a horrible round. If it went wrong, it would be 83 or 84.
So, you know, it's a fear factor, that place. Now, standing on the hill at 9, you know, if you don't hit the drive and get it down the hill hitting a 3-iron, you ain't looking at that green. You actually can't hit the green. Only one shot in the whole history and we potentially missed the green, you know, because of the weather, because the wind of so hard.
But when you're standing there thinking, I can't hit that green. Where do I now look? That's when I thought, I'm more than happy now to be a CBS man.

Q. (No microphone.)
NICK FALDO: Severity, you know, the slopes have kind of gotten bigger and bigger. They tinker with that golf course to the absolute enth degree. It's brutal now. It's a real nightmare, isn't it, between a good shot, spinning back on the next one...

Q. Seems like it's gotten so hard with any agree of weather. Year before last it was awful weather and nobody could control it with any weather. It's that hard there's no wiggle room?
NICK FALDO: Yeah. You're right. It's brutally difficult now. You know, with the margin of error, you need perfect conditions to be able to land -- Augusta is all about landing the ball on the number. I mean really landing.
If you had 147 to the top of the ridge, if you made 146, 148, and that was what we enjoyed. Yeah, you had 9-iron, 8-iron, 7-iron in your hand. Now you have a 5, 4, and a 3-iron in your hand. Yeah.

Q. (No microphone.)
NICK FALDO: Well, exactly. That depends on that green or how much that -- you know, that right corner got so, so quick. You hit it six feet behind and the best golfers in the world are thinking, If I make a mess of this it's six feet from the hole. You know, we can go back to what's the problem with 12-under winning the Master's? There really isn't.
Or like my 67. You know, that was the best of the weekend. Yeah, that's what you really are looking for. U.S. Open is a traditional one for not being able to shoot in (indiscernible.)
Augusta was always the one where, great round, free round, you can shoot your 65. If you play really well, you're shooting 3- and 4-under. You get rewarded. That's what you got to be careful of. Bottom line is you got to reward the guys. If you hit a career shot, you know, you've got to be given the opportunity to hit career shots.

Q. (No microphone.)
NICK FALDO: Yeah, that's the thing. If you don't have an opportunity to reward yourself, it switches off the best players. They've got the flair and the skills to go for it, but going for it is suicide.

Q. (No microphone.)
NICK FALDO: That's very important. Exactly. If you're good enough to hit it in the right place you have a shot. When you play on super hard and super tight greens, there isn't a man on this planet who can land it in that spot.

Q. Historically it's been very, very difficult for the son of a world No. 1 player or a great player to be in that same arena. Had you ever wanted Matthew to be in that arena?
NICK FALDO: I purely left it up to him. I never pushed him in that sense. You know, exactly, historically, it's gone from the Nicklauses to the Players all the way down, hasn't it? The sons have never followed on. So I always said to him, you know, use the business card. The name. When they say Faldo, hopefully there's very few of us in the world, so hopefully they're go, Ah, the golfer and not the downhill skier. So he's got to, Matthew has going to educate himself on running the Faldo empire.

Q. Matthew, had you ever thought about what it would be like to get into the same business as your dad?
MATTHEW FALDO: Going to golf tournaments makes you, yeah, want to play golf, and obviously at a good level if you can. But at the same time, I've never really -- I've never really wanted to be a professional golfer, no. I don't -- I don't know what it is, I just -- no, never really wanted to.
I mean, it crosses your mind. You think if you could or ask to get me coaching or whatever. They can help you. But at the same time, I've never really, really like thought about it. No.

Q. You know how hard and how much work your dad put in, too.
MATTHEW FALDO: Yeah. I've got a lot friends back home that want to be professional golfers and stuff like that, so I'm still surrounded by that. Me personally, I prefer just the casual game of golf, to be honest. Much more fun.

Q. Why do you think it is that that's been historically true? There has to be some reasons why sons of great players -- why can't they, do you think?
NICK FALDO: No, I mean, that is a good question, and a tough one. It kind of happens. I was trying to think whether we -- we experience everything for the first time. I'm on a big learning curve, and I always try to jump, cut corners for Matthew. And it's like, are you depriving him of the learning experience. Plus they don't have freedom with their name. Can you imagine Jackie Nicklas, Jr. Hey, I'm --

Q. (No microphone.)
NICK FALDO: It's another thing. Yeah, there's no freedom for them to go and play and be part of a big learning curve, because people think you're going to come out and -- very much the way the media has gone right now anyway. A player loads up on (indiscernible) now, oh, big questions are starting to be asked. Where in any ear, I was taught you have to blow six tournaments for you learn how to win. Now you're almost not given that freedom. Even a normal player. Can you imagine a surnamed player? Under even more scrutiny. No freedom for them.
MATTHEW FALDO: Big stigma on your head. Even when I was younger, I would stand up on the -- like go and play, and I was like -- I remember playing something when I was about 10, 11, something like that, and even like that you stand on the first tee and everyone watches you. I'm friends with (indiscernible) and just like that, yeah, everyone thought because we went to the same school, ah, they're on the and same team.
NICK FALDO: Maybe it's the assumption. You must be good. Doesn't mean diddly really.

Q. What about your parents? Were they well-off?
NICK FALDO: No, no. My father was an accountant and my mum was a dressmaker.

Q. Presumably you had a fire in your belly.
NICK FALDO: Yeah, when I was born, yeah, exactly, I came from a -- no, no. It was funny, I'm asked the question -- to put it another way for fun, I was asked, Did you have a normal childhood? I said, Of course I had a normal childhood. But the things I played with was a football and swing and the woods, a couple of acres, across the road. That's where I played.
That's funny you asked the same question about my little daughter at five, does she have a normal childhood? Yeah, she lives in a beautiful house and she's got a princess bedroom and she goes to school in a fur coat wrapped around her. And, Daddy, the sun is in my eyes. So I pull the curtains in the car for her. Daddy, the sun is still in my eyes. Then I laugh, because I thought, that's normal. That's her normal childhood, isn't it?
Nobody knows any difference. I thought it was quite funny. Wherever we grow up, you know, there's more to go out there and strive to create for yourself. We obviously -- our joy is to spoil our families and let our families enjoy our success. So we have big houses and we fly around the world first class and stay at the best resorts, da, da, da.
Emma she likes the movies, and if she likes a movie she goes and sees the movie three, four are five times. I never went twice. I went to Oliver and one more with my dad. I went to Oliver and Lawrence of Arabia, and another one. And that was a big treat to go to the cinema. It's a different world, isn't it? Different era. Totally different.

Q. Your plan as an aspiring pro, you know, prize money means something to you. You've got an appetite for fame and fortune that the sons --
NICK FALDO: We quashed that for them.

Q. Well, it's not fault, it's just a fire in the belly that circumstances are not the same?
NICK FALDO: Circumstance is the right word.

Q. Did you tell somebody overseas that you would be interested in the Ryder Cup?
NICK FALDO: I loved the experience. I really did. I mean, I hadn't been involved with Ryder Cup for 11 years since Valderrama, and to be on that team with those guys, the whole atmosphere with the guys, the girls, the caddies, the team, I loved every minute of it. It was great to feel like mother hen to be running around with them.
So, sure, it was that good of an experience that if one day needed to come, I'd love to jump back in that team room and do it again.

Q. Obviously throughout your career you dealt with the media back home. I'm just curious, two months later, with all that you went through in your playing career and dealing with that, were you at all surprised by...
NICK FALDO: Well, I haven't seen it. Obviously I'm aware of it. I got my own press officer. I don't read it, because it's opinions. It's opinions on hearsay and speculation. I was there. I was in the team room. I witnessed everything. I knew what the facts were. That's really it.
At the end of the day, somebody is just guessing to make an opinion. That's their job, and they're perfectly entitled to do that. But opinions are meaningless.

Q. (No microphone.)
NICK FALDO: Yeah, I mean, I heard they started to go back 30 years.

Q. (No microphone.)
NICK FALDO: For what?

Q. (No microphone.)
NICK FALDO: I'd like to know what. Exactly. I'm asking you. It would be good question to ask. What happened? So tell me.

Q. Obviously it's good to have some thick skin probably.
NICK FALDO: Well, I remember reading -- actually it was kind of delivered to me because it was way back when I got a lot of press, my very first Ryder Cup in '77. They said, just whatever you hear, halve it, and then halve it again, and halve it again and keep going. Bottom line is you do what you want to do and how you do it.
If I walk out of my booth at 5:00 or 6:00 and feel like I did a good day today, that's it. That's all I can control.

Q. What kind of affect does it have on your family though? You've gotten used to that. Matthew, when you go back home and you hear some of the criticism, obviously he didn't play, but did it bother you? Are you able to shrug it off, or is it harder for you?
NICK FALDO: Leave it, Matthew.

Q. Of all the characteristics that you have that made you a great player, what do most think was the most important or the one thing that separated you from the pack?
NICK FALDO: Well, I was a good listener. When I was learning, you know, I would take it on board. I guess I would then go off and do my thing and go and practice hard. With the knowledge I had in that year I committed myself. I did it the old fashioned way. I beat golf balls.
There are better ways to do it now, but that was purely just talent, and that's the way you went and did it. Now you can understand so much more the physical side the technical side, the mental side. You have to have that whole package now.
I guess that was just my drive. I guess I had wanted to -- once I got into golf and then got going, I mean, I wanted to be a pro golfer. I think there was another step we jumped to. A lot of media go, Do you want to be world No. 1? Don't say no or they say, Why not? I think to myself, it all happened -- golf happens progressively. The rungs of the ladder. You get comfortable. You're out on tour.
My first goal was to finish top 60; I finished 58. Then next goal was to make the Ryder Cup; I think I finished 8th. Then the next goal was to win, and I win the PGA. The next goal was to be a multiple winner, and that took me five years.
Then I got a taste of the Open. I finished four shots back in '78, I said, One day I will win the Open. That took me another nine years before I did.
You see how I blew up in '83 and I had a chance to win. I learned from that and I rebuilt my swing, blah, blah. We jumped straight into it you're going, You want to be World No. 1?
I think you got to be given the opportunity to climb the rungs of the ladder and get comfortable with each stage. That's how I did it. I never thought of world No. 1 until somebody invented it. The Sony world rankings. Finally took me five years to get there or something. That was a goal when it was around.
You know, so you can kind of see it. Just build on it. Get to a level and get comfortable. If you got the desire or the knowledge or whatever, the commitment, then go to another level.

Q. During the time you won all those majors, I guess it was between '88 and...
NICK FALDO: Yeah, '87 and '92.

Q. But you were really dominate for a period of time there.

Q. Do you remember what it was that you were able to maintain to play at that level?
NICK FALDO: Well, I'm very -- the bit I'm proud of, I went to some majors. Went to about three majors with the intention to win. Oh, I'm playing well this week. I wonder what might happen. I'm sure that happens with the first one, because even then I thought, I'm going to win this week. You can say it now, thirty, twenty years later. I went there and I thought, I can win this week.
I went through that, and then when I won Augusta and went to defend Augusta, and that was an intention to win. So that was quite nice to be that well-prepared. You know, you believed that you could win the major that week. Some I won and some I didn't. But at least I went there preparing to win, which is very different because I have to carry a lot more expectation on yourself, and the media you have to handle a lot more.
That's why we all marvel at Tiger, how he goes in there every week with the intention to win everything and carrying all of everything and does it. Pretty amazing.

Q. (No microphone.)

Q. (No microphone.)
NICK FALDO: It's more than that. Can't say what, but it's more than that.

Q. I wanted to ask but Azinger. When he won the PGA in '93, I'm pretty sure you were in contention at that tournament.

Q. It was not that long after that when he had the cancer diagnosis. Can you remember back to that time how good of a player you thought he was, especially during that time, and how formidable he was. We really don't know what would have been if that hadn't happened.
NICK FALDO: No, he was around, wasn't he? He was around at a lot of majors. We only remember the winners, but he was usually there in the hunt for quite a while in that era. He was a strong player and he played in the majors and the Ryder Cups.
He worked out how to play with his improvised -- you know, great wedge player. Great short game. He knew how to play.

Q. When do you think the golf industry will experience the affect of the economic downturn, and how severe do you think it'll be?
NICK FALDO I'm the wrong guy to ask really. I'm still a pro golfer. The chairman of the TV networks and the commissioner, really, they're the people who are going to -- I'm sure they're the people who will be feeling a reaction to it.
You know, I'm not smart enough to tell you about that one. Everybody is going to love golf. They're still going love sport and play and watch sport. I think, in theory, the sponsors will stay there, because everybody still wants to be part of it. It's a bit of a numbers crunch, but a company can justify that. If the bean counters say, Hey, we have five or ten million to go and spend on golfers somebody might question that. But there would be ways to -- multi-sponsored events and whatever.

End of FastScripts

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