Nicholas Alexander Faldo was born in Welwyn Garden City in England on 18th July 1957 and is one of Europe’s most successful golfers of all time. During his career, he has won three Open Championship titles and three US Masters titles. Faldo was also named as the World Number One on the Official World Golf Rankings for a total of 98 weeks.
Faldo’s golfing career began when he was thirteen, after watching Jack Nicklaus play in the 1971 Masters and borrowing some clubs from his neighbour. Before this time, he had enjoyed cycling, but after watching Nicklaus, Faldo decided that golf was his sport. Whilst he was working as a carpet fitter in 1975, he entered the English Amateur Championship and the British Youths Championship and after winning both tournaments, he turned professional a year later, in 1976. He proved his outstanding skills early on in his career and achieved quick success, finishing in eighth position on the European Tour Order of Merit in 1977 and in third place in 1978. Faldo also won a European Tour event in each of these seasons.
At the age of 21, Faldo became the youngest player to appear in the Ryder Cup and was one of the most successful players on the European Tour in the early 1980s, topping the Order of Merit in 1983. The same year, however, his game declined somewhat in the Open Championship and the following year in the Masters, and after British tabloids began calling him “Nick Foldo”, Faldo felt that he needed to refine his game in order to become a regular contender in major tournaments. As a result of this, Faldo spent the mid-1980s remodelling his swing under the supervision of David Leadbetter. His play dropped off for a few years whilst he was making these changes, but by 1987 he was playing at a higher level, and he earned his first major title at that year’s Open Championship.
By the early 1990s, Nick Faldo was considered the best golfer in the world and was noted for his remarkable composure under pressure - this made him a bettor’s dream. This tended to intimidate most of his opponents, which resulted in him winning more of the four major professional tournaments than any other player in the world between 1987 and 1996. He won the St. Andrews’ Open Championship in 1990 by six shots and claimed the title for a third time in 1992. To continue his winning streak, he added two more majors to his collection when he won the Masters Tournament in 1989 and 1990. During this successful stint in his career, Faldo said “The run doesn’t have to end. If someone is going to beat me then I’m going to make sure they’ve worked for their victory. Let them come and get it from me.” The very same year, Faldo broke the record for worldwide earnings with an amazing £1,558,978.
Faldo remained a European Tour player whilst also visiting America on a regular basis and competing in events all around the world. In 1995, however, he decided to concentrate on playing on the PGA Tour as his aim was to win further major championships, and three out of the four majors are played in the USA. To begin with, this strategy didn’t seem to work, as Faldo did not have a particularly successful season in 1995 and the beginning of 1996, but this bad luck changed in the ’96 season as he continued to win his sixth and final major championship during the 1996 Masters tournament.
As Faldo entered his forties, his play gradually declined, and he decided to spend more of his time off the course. The 2001 PGA Tour was the last season in which he played regularly and after this he tended to focus on the European Tour, but by no means played a full schedule. One of his most recent top ten finishes in a major tournament was in 1993, when he came tied in eighth place at the Open Championship.
Nick Faldo is one of the most successful Ryder Cup players of all time and has represented the European Team eleven time. Having won 23 of his matches and lost 19, he holds the record for having played the most Ryder Cup matches. He has also scored the most points of any player and is one of only six players to have potted a hole in one at the Ryder Cup.
In 1991, Faldo began to concentrate on more off-course activities and launched his golf-course design practice ‘Faldo Design’. This successful venture has been responsible for the designing or remodelling of dozens of courses spread across the world. His other business interests include coaching in schools and pro shops and in 1996, he launched the ‘Faldo Series’ which aimed to encourage European youngsters, male and female, to play golf. There are over one thousand participants each year between the ages of 11 and 21 and the top 60 players qualify for the Faldo Series Finals which is hosted each year at The Celtic Manor Resort in Wales. One of the most notable successes from the Faldo Series is Nick Dougherty who won the European Tour for the first time in 2005. Faldo has also done some commentary on golfing broadcasts.
Faldo won the PGA Tour Player of the Year award in 1990 as well as the European Tour Player of the Year in 1989, 1990 and 1992, and has won 29 European Tour titles. He was also voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1989 and was awarded his MBE in 1998.
The World Golf Hall of Fame felt that Faldo deserved a mention in golfing history, and he was inducted into it in 1997 and has been selected to captain the European Ryder Cup team in 2008, probably due to the fact that he is one of the most successful Ryder Cup players of all time, having scored most points in the competition.
PGA Tour Wins
1984 – Sea Pines Heritage
1987 – The Open Championship
1989 – The Masters
1990 – The Masters and The Open Championship
1992 – The Open Championship
1995 – Doral Ryder Open
1996 – The Masters
1997 – Nissan Open
European Tour Wins
1977 – Skol Lager Individual
1978 – Colgate PGA Championship
1980 – Sun Alliance PGA Championship
1981 – Sun Alliance PGA Championship
1982 – Haig Whiskey TPC
1983 – Paco Rabanne Open de France, Martini International, Car Care International, Lawrence Batley International, and Ebel Swiss Open – European Masters.
1984 – Car Care Plan International
1987 – Peugeot Spanish Open and The Open Championship
1988 – Peugeot Open de France and Volvo Masters
1989 – Volvo PGA Championship, Dunhill British Masters and Peugeot Open de France
1990 – The Open Championship
1991 – Carroll’s Irish Open
1992 – Carroll’s Irish Open, The Open Championship, Scandinavian Masters and GA European Open
1993 – Johnnie Walker Classic and Carroll’s Irish Open
1994 – Alfred Dunhill Open
1979 – ICL International (South African Tour)
1989 – Suntory World Match Play Championship (England)
1990 – Johnnie Walker Classic (Asia)
1992 – Toyota World Match Play Championship (England) and Johnnie Walker World Championship of Golf (Jamaica)
1994 – Nedbank Million Dollar Challenge (South Africa)
1998 – World Cup of Golf