Faldo says goodbye to St Andrews

Nick Faldo (Gallo Images)
Nick Faldo (Gallo Images)

St Andrews - Nick Faldo completed what might be his final Open Championship on Friday, walking down the famous 18th hole at St Andrews to fullsome applause from his fans.

Widely regarded as Britain's finest golfer of the modern era, Faldo held back the tears at the scene of his 1990 triumph which was the second of his three Open Championships.

Minutes earlier he had posed for pictures on the Swilcan Bridge, as many have done before him, clad in the yellow Pringle sweater he wore when winning The Open for the first time in 1987.

He admitted afterwards that he almost didn't play on Friday after damaging a finger accidentally.

"This morning my cut was open again, so I went back to the hospital and had it glued again and I didn't know what I wanted to do, and then the kids looked at me and said, dad, what are we doing? And I said, I don't know," he said.

"They said, we think you should go. When your kids say you're going, you're going, aren't you.

"I was just trying to say, thank you, St Andrews. That's why I looked at the gods, the St Andrews golfing gods at 17. I thought, thank you very much for that," he added after making birdie at the notoriously tough Road Hole as he did in 1990.

"I knew I was bringing this thing, bust out my ol' Pringle, so I knew I was doing that. That was the image or the goal of the week, so I thought, you've got to do it."

Faldo, who is 58 on Saturday, now spends more of his time in the commentary box, rather than out on the course.

He remains the last Englishman to win the Open when he lifted the Claret Jug in 1992 at Muirfield.

Faldo spent 97 weeks as world number one, won his first major at the Open in 1987 and followed that up with another memorable victory by coming back from five shots down on the final day to become the first Englishman to win the Masters in 1989.

He then repeated the feat one year later, this time in a playoff win over Raymond Floyd to become only the second man after Jack Nicklaus (1965-66) to successfully defend the green jacket.

Faldo was also unique in using a female caddie Fanny Suneson from Sweden, who made a guest appearance at St Andrews this week to carry his bag in the Champions Golfers' Challenge ahead of the first round.

His final major title was even more dramatic than the previous five and again took place at Augusta National in 1996.

Going into the final round of the Masters six strokes back of Greg Norman, he fired a masterful 67 to complete an 11-shot turnaround as the Australian fell to pieces and Faldo won by five shots.

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