Nick Faldo Profile
|Short Name||Sir Nick|
|Born||Jul 18, 1957|
|Birthplace||Welwyn Garden City, England|
Nick Faldo risked a solid career on the European Tour by undertaking a radical overhaul of his swing, but it was a courageous decision that was vindicated in spectacular style.
Nick Faldo's obsession with golf was triggered when watching Jack Nicklaus on TV in the early 1970s.
His dedication to the game is well-documented and helped drive him to six Major Championship triumphs.
Faldo won the British Open three times and also completed a trio of Masters victories.
He won both of those titles in 1990 and ended the year named both the PGA Player of the Year and European Tour Golfer of the Year.
He was awarded an MBE in Queen Elizabeth II's 1988 New Year Honours list and later received a knighthood for his services to golf.
Faldo was the number one ranked golfer in the world for a total of 97 weeks and boasts a total of 41 professional worldwide wins. Outside of his six Major Championships, he claimed 24 European Tour wins and won three times on the PGA Tour.
One year after his final Major triumph, at the 1996 Masters, he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Faldo has established himself as a commentator and analyst for television in Europe and North America after joining ABC Sports in 2004 as his professional career was winding down.
After discovering the game of golf on his parents' brand new color television in 1971, a 14-year-old Faldo was hooked on the game.
Nicklaus' performance in the Masters that year inspired him to take up the game, and his relentless practice saw him qualify for the 1974 English Amateur Championship. He went on to win the tournament the following year.
He also won the British Youth Open Championship in 1975, but his successes came too late to earn him a spot on the Great Britain and Ireland team for the Walker Cup.
Faldo represented Great Britain in the Commonwealth Tournament at the Royal Durban Golf Club in South Africa in November 1975, helping his team to a second-place finish.
He drew the eye of the University of Houston who offered him a golf scholarship. Faldo took up their offer in 1976 but left after just 10 weeks, feeling that attending classes was hurting his golf game.
After dropping out of college and returning to England, Faldo wasted no time joining the professional ranks.
He enjoyed an excellent first season on the European Tour in 1977, winning the Skol Lager Individual in August and claiming the Rookie of the Year award.
By the early 1980s he had become a prolific winner in Europe, had made a breakthrough on the PGA Tour (at the 1984 Sea Pines Heritage), and was an integral part of the European Ryder Cup team that re-invigorated the match in the early years of that decade.
He was, however, unsatisfied. He was hungry for success at the very highest level and determined to remodel his swing with the help of David Leadbetter.
It was a transformation that initially drew doubts from onlookers, who noted a downturn in his form that turned into a three-year drought from May 1984 to May 1987.
The swing and the mentality were now metronomic, but the results were anything but.
The lean years had hurt, but they also forged Faldo into a Major winner with a strong mind and a resolute swing.
Faldo credits his victory at the Peugeot Spanish Open in May 1987 with restoring his confidence and just two months later he would lift the Claret Jug at Muirfield.
In conditions of poor visibility on the final day of the 1987 British Open, Faldo made par on every single hole to haul in Paul Azinger, who at one point held a three stroke lead on the back-nine.
Faldo's first Major success came a day after his 30th birthday and marked the beginning of his ascension to the top of his sport.
He has been criticized for his on-course demeanor, but in his prime Faldo was an intimidating opponent and being paired with him in a final round was a nightmare prospect, as evidenced by the pride Curtis Strange holds for his defeat of Faldo in an 18-hole playoff at the 1988 US Open.
The golden years
Faldo again proved his mental strength at the 1989 Masters when he claimed his second Major Championship in a sudden-death playoff against Scott Hoch.
Hoch famously missed a short putt for the win on the first playoff hole, allowing proceedings to progress to the 11th hole, which Faldo had bogeyed on all four previous visits that week.
In spite of that, an aggressive approach gave him a 25-foot birdie putt to win the Masters and, in fading light, he holed it, etching his name into Augusta folklore.
Faldo successfully defended his Green Jacket in 1990, incredibly winning another sudden-death playoff and doing it on Augusta's 11th hole once again, this time against Raymond Floyd.
Floyd fell foul of the pond that guards the green and Faldo held his nerve by sinking a much shorter putt to become the first man to defend the title since Nicklaus in 1966.
He was a birdie putt away from a playoff at the 1990 US Open but saw his effort lip out of the hole. A frustrated Faldo would later snap at a journalist who suggested he put too much on the putt.
The very next month, Faldo conquered St Andrews to win his second British Open. He shot an 18-under 270 to win by five strokes. This pair of Major successes powered Faldo to number one in the world for the first time in October 1990.
Faldo's stoic facade cracked just a little when he completed a remarkable recovery to win the 1992 British Open at Muirfield.
Birdies on two of the last four holes at the famous links gave him a fifth Major and one that he believed might have slipped through his fingers. The finish left him emotionally shaken.
He would achieve five top-10 finishes in the next 13 majors without winning one and then he returned to Augusta National in 1996.
He began the final round alone in second, but he was six shots adrift of playing partner Greg Norman.
What happened next, however, cemented the reputations of both players.
Norman had lost more Majors than he had won, Faldo had proved himself a dogged competitor, and so it transpired again.
Faldo held his nerve while Norman collapsed, but, in a very human moment, the Englishman shared kind words with the Australian immediately after securing his third Green Jacket.
He would win only twice more and in 2004 began to transition into a career covering golf for television. To the surprise of many, he proved to be a natural fit for broadcasting.
The Ryder Cup
Faldo was a successful performer for the European Ryder Cup team but took some flak for not being a great team man.
Nonetheless, in making 11 consecutive appearances between 1977 and 1997, amassing 25 points in 46 matches, he set three records for his side.
His passion and dedication seemed to make him a solid choice for non-playing captain, but he would only lead the team once, in 2008, and rubbed more than a few players and pundits up the wrong way.
His decision to play Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood - the two most successful Ryder Cup players on his team - only once in the Saturday session drew particular criticism.
Also, his final day singles order was deemed to have backfired as the United States took quick control and clinched the win before Europe's best were even in action.
Faldo also embarrassed himself at the opening ceremony with attempts at humor that fell flat, including infamously seeming to forget where Ulsterman Graeme McDowell came from.
At the end of his playing career, Faldo smoothly transitioned into a role as a television analyst and secured work with both US Network CBS and the BBC.
Faldo was never terribly charismatic as a player yet adapted well to television, bringing insight along with a dry sense of British humor that soon made him popular with viewers.
He got his TV start working opposite former playing rival Paul Azinger on ABC's coverage of the PGA Tour. The pair bounced off each other exceptionally well and added value to ABC's golf broadcasts.
Nick Faldo's personal life
Faldo met his first wife Melanie Rockall at the age of just 21. In a whirlwind romance, they were married the next year. The marriage ended in 1984 when Faldo admitted infidelity with his manager's secretary, Gill Bennett.
Faldo married Bennett in 1986 and the couple had three children. The marriage started drifting out of bounds when he joined the PGA Tour full-time and he later began an affair with American golfing student Brenna Cepelak.
The relationship with Cepelak ended shortly after Faldo met Valerie Bercher, who would become his third wife. Cepelak reportedly caused $10,000 worth of damage to his Porsche 959 when he broke up with her.
Bercher and Faldo had a daughter Emma Scarlet in 2003 but by 2006 divorce proceedings were underway.
He also forged a famously unusual partnership on the course with his Swedish caddie Fanny Sunesson. Faldo was unconcerned she was female, only interested in the fact she was very good at her job.
Nick Faldo's net worth
Faldo maintains multiple homes including The Dower House in Old Windsor, where he is a neighbor to the likes of Sir Elton John. Across the pond, Faldo is building a new home at the Bella Collina golf estate in Montverde, Florida.
Faldo owns some impressive houses, including a specially commissioned West Virginia Timber Frame hybrid home that overlooks TPC Old White at the Greenbrier resort.
His estimated net worth is currently in the region of $60million, buoyed by impressive career earnings, sponsorships and his ongoing television work.
He has a working relationship with the Marriott chain of hotels and resorts with whom he founded The Faldo Golf Institute in 1997. The same year, he signed up as a brand ambassador for the Mercedes-Benz Maybach brand.