Category Archives: Nick Faldo

Overzealous critiques blame Faldo

The Telegraph’s Kevin Garside sums up the schadenfreude from across the pond:

Faldo’s gamble on the big finish, loading the European tail with alpha muscle, left Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Padraig Hamilton at 10, 11 and 12 thrashing at thin air, their legs amputated by a hopelessly incontinent ego.

Witches were given a fairer hearing in medieval Europe than that coming Faldo’s way in the Valhalla postmortem. He is about to pay the price of a lifetime of self serving, of devotion to the cult of the individual. “Everybody hates Faldo,” claimed an incendiary headline allegedly summarising the position of Captain America, Paul Azinger, before the teams teed up. The sentiment was not without support.


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To most it is “unfathomable”

Lonely at the top

Lonely at the top

The Independent’s James Corrigan weighs in on the Poulter pick.  Can anyone remember the last time there’s been so much uproar over one of these captain’s selections, by the way?

In a poll of 32 players at Gleneagles to see who they would pick, only one opted for Poulter. The number of the dismayed may even include two of the best players on Faldo’s team. The affinity between Clarke and Westwood is no secret, while Padraig Harrington declared his wish to see his fellow Irishman in Louisville as recently as Thursday.

One thing, though, is for certain.  If the U.S. squad is going to stand any chance at Valhalla, it is going to need something like Poulter-gate, and all of its potential for European team divisiveness, to help it along.  And I can already see Johnny Miller salivating at the mere thought of all that endless air time he’ll get to have to second guess his CBS nemesis.

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It’s Casey and Poulter for Captain Faldo

A different drumbeat?

A different drumbeat?

I must say that I’m a bit surprised by Faldo’s decision, as is Brian Hewitt over at The Golf Channel, Steve Elling at CBS Sportsline, and Mark Garrod of Sporting Life. Why not Darren Clarke?

“It was,” Faldo said Sunday afternoon from Scotland after the public announcement of his two choices, “a tough call. You could sense that [Darren] was disappointed,” he added after confirming that he had broken the bad news to Clarke.

Hewitt, in fact, recaps the reasons in favor of Clarke:

  • 10-7-3 career record in Ryder Cup play.
  • Won twice on the European Tour this year, including just two weeks ago in the Netherlands.
  • Clarke and England’s Lee Westwood, in particular, “have been a strong Ryder Cup pairing for the Euros. They are extremely close friends.”
  • Many pundits point to the Euros “wonderful team chemistry,” of which much can be attributed theoretically to the jovial, cigar chomping and Guinness swilling Clarke, as one reason for their “smashing 9-point victories over the Americans in each of the last two Ryder Cups.”

Team chemistry aside, however, there’s no doubt that week in and week out, Poulter and Casey are probably in a different league than is Clarke. And it appears that intangibles such as team leadership or who can drink the most lager at team functions weren’t part of Faldo’s mindset.

Furthermore, Faldo seemed to relish in the role as bearer of bad news, at least with another seasoned Ryder Cup vet, Colin Montgomerie. Hewitt notes, for example:

[Monty] does have a 20-9-7 career record in the event. And he probably deserved better from Faldo than what he got. Asked if he had contacted Montgomerie, Faldo said he had left him a phone message.

Faldo added that the reason he missed connections with Monty was because, “apparently he was watching football this afternoon. Or shopping. One or the other.”

Was that really necessary?

All I can say is, thank god for the circus that has been the European team and the kind of press attention (at least in the UK) that Faldo has brought to the matter. Consider for a second, that if golf wonks didn’t have the Poulter-Casey-Clarke-Monty foursome and all of its sniping to salivate over these past few weeks, they would’ve been forced to muse over the theoretical “merits” of Hunter Mahan over J.B. Holmes for Team Azinger. Ugh.

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Filed under Colin Montgomerie, Darren Clarke, Hunter Mahan, Ian Poulter, J.B. Holmes, Nick Faldo, Paul Casey, Ryder Cup

No Monty’s Allowed!

Troubled Monty

Troubled Monty

The Times’ John Hopkins runs through his Ryder Cup picks for the European side which will have the honor of defeating the U.S. at (yawn) Valhalla in September.

Surprisingly, at least in my estimation, Miguel Angel Jimenez doesn’t make the cut. Not surprisingly, given his status as defacto punching bag of the British press, Colin Montgomerie also doesn’t pass muster, despite the fact that he has one of the best Cup records in history. But Faldo and Monty have some history of their own, and Faldo fairly recently has more or less admitted that Montgomerie would probably not be on his squad.

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Filed under Colin Montgomerie, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Nick Faldo