Category: Nick Faldo

October 09, 2013

Brandel Chamblee: The 3 Best and Worst Swing Fixes Ever

Posted at 2:26 PM by

Golf Magazine columnist and Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee ranks the best and worst swing fixes ever.



Chamblee_hogan_gettyBen Hogan at the 1956 Ryder Cup (Getty Images).

Hogan transformed himself from a hook-hitting journeyman into perhaps the greatest player and ballstriker ever. And he did it without video or TrackMan.

2. TIGER WOODS [1998-'99]

Chamblee_tigerTiger Woods at the 2000 U.S. Open, which he won by a record 15 strokes (AP Photo).

After winning the Masters by 12 strokes in 1997, Woods and Butch Harmon took Tiger's powerful but inconsistent move -- which was slightly shut at the top of the backswing -- and crafted a swing that won four straight majors in 2000-'01.


Nick Faldo at the 1990 Open Championship at St. Andrews (John Iacono/SI)

Early in Faldo's career, his loose, languid swing failed to deliver on Sundays. David Leadbetter helped his man perfect a flatter, early-set Hoganesque technique that led to six majors. He went from surly to Sir Nick.



Chamblee_tiger_2012_pga_DarrenCarrollTiger Woods loses control of his driver at the 2012 PGA Championship (Darren Carroll/SI).

Now majorless since 2008, Woods abandoned a swing that gave him the advantages of length, height and improvisation for a prosaic, rigidly rehearsed move. To borrow Emerson's line, he went from being the mountain from which all drift boulders come…to being a drift boulder.


Michelle Wie at the 2010 U.S. Open at Oakmont (Carlos M. Saavedra/SI).

With a high-hands technique that took full advantage of her six-foot frame, Wie may have been the greatest teenage golfer ever, male or female. She now swings shorter, quicker, and looks confused on almost every shot. The one-time future of golf appears to be on the brink of the abyss.


Chamblee_weir_apMike Weir at the 2009 Chevron World Challenge (AP Photo).

By chasing the Stack-and-Tilt method -- which takes vigilant rehearsals and assassinates pure talent -- Weir left behind the simple, repeatable swing that accentuated his razor-sharp wedge game and, oh yeah, won him a Masters.


September 10, 2013

Norman blames epic Masters collapse on bad back

Posted at 1:01 PM by Pete Madden

Norman_96_Masters_CoverIt took 17 years, but Greg Norman finally revealed the reason behind his infamous 1996 Masters meltdown.

"There's more to it than people realize because I did have back issues that morning," said Norman on ABC's Australian Story. "I tried to walk it off but I couldn't. I told my coach, 'Today's not going to be easy.'"

Of all the memories Norman gave us -- two Open Championship victories, 331 weeks as World No. 1, and an unfailingly brazen style of play -- it's the image of The Shark in defeat that has endured.

Norman squandered a six-stroke lead heading into Sunday's final round, shooting a 78 to give Nick Faldo the Green Jacket that would elude him for the rest of his career.

Norman has been especially honest in his reflections upon his career of late. In an interview with Charlie Rose on CBS This Morning in August, Norman said he might have won more if it weren't for one thing.

"I was a little stubborn," he said. "I wanted to do things my way ... There wasn't a shot I didn't love."

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(Photo: Greg Norman at Augusta National in 1996 / Sports Illustrated)

July 05, 2013

Faldo says McIlroy 'messed with winning formula'

Posted at 9:18 AM by Mike Walker

Mcilroy_300When then-World No. 1 Rory McIlroy switched to Nike clubs at the beginning of the season for a reported gazillion dollars, Nick Faldo adopted a cautionary tone, saying that the move was "dangerous" and that McIlroy was "doing it for the money." That prompted McIlroy to respond that "Nick Faldo doesn't know how I feel over the golf shot and I don't know how he felt, but my guess is he was a little more analytically minded than I am. I try and keep things as simple as possible."

With McIlroy's now game out of sorts, Faldo can certainly say "I told you so" and he did say that this week at the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. Randy King of the Roanoke Times has the details:

Coming off a 2012 campaign in which he won four tournaments, including his second major title, the Northern Ireland native has an average finish of 22.9 in 10 tour events and has wound up better than eighth only once.

In Faldo's opinion, Mc-Ilroy's slump can be pinned to an equipment change -- he left Achushnet (the parent company of Titleist and Footjoy) for a big-money deal with Nike.

"Rory very simply messed with a winning formula," Faldo said. "He went from rookie of the year to world No. 1 and been through a lot and thought he could start again.

"As I said from Day One, I tweeted right away when it was announced that this was a dangerous move. I won't get into all the -- people said, 'Oh, he's so talented, he can adapt.' Well, why should the world No. 1 be adapting to something new? As we discovered six months later, he's busy still trying putters, still trying drivers. It's not as easy."

Faldo added that he believes McIlroy has lost confidence in his game.

"We get a millisecond of feel at impact and if it's going great, it builds confidence; if it's suddenly something different to what you've been doing or thinking you're going to do, that hurts your confidence," Faldo said. "So I hope he hasn't gone too far, but it's damaged his confidence."

Photo: McIlroy at the 2013 Irish Open, where he missed the cut (Getty Images).

June 24, 2013

Faldo says Tiger is 'not in a good mental place'

Posted at 3:05 PM by Coleman McDowell

First, Tiger was back. Then he wasn't. Then he was back again, maybe.

Since he finished 32nd at Merion in the U.S. Open, the world No. 1 is back to being not back.

Nick Faldo seems to agree. The former world No. 1 ranked player, who is coming out of retirement for the upcoming British Open in July, spoke to The Daily Mail about Tiger's struggles in major championships.

"I think Tiger's woken up and realized this is a hard sport and he is a mere mortal after all. For so many years he was so good, he was such an amazing athlete. When he went pro he went off like a rocket.

"But he's not in a good mental place. It was so easy for him before, he made it look so easy, when it is such a hard sport. But whatever he's been through, with all his personal problems, has made an impact on his mind - and so much of this sport is all in the mind. Nerve is the bottom line.

"I know he wants to come back and prove that he can do it."

After DropGate at this year's Masters, Faldo called for Tiger to do the "manly thing" and withdraw from the tournament while on the Golf Channel. Soon after, he appeared on CBS and changed course,  backtracking on his initial opinion.

Photo: Nick Faldo looks on as Tiger Woods tees off during the first round of the 2006 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club (Getty Images)

May 10, 2013

Nick Faldo to return to Open Championship at Muirfield

Posted at 2:21 PM by Coleman McDowell

GYI0061064695Three-time champ Nick Faldo announced on Friday he is set to return to this year's Open Championship held at Muirfield from July 18-21.

Faldo, currently the lead golf anchor for CBS Sports, hasn't played competitively since he missed the cut (72-81) at the 2010 Open Championship at St. Andrews. The former world No. 1 ranked player holds three Claret Jugs, winning three titles in six years with two coming at Muirfield.

The six-time major champ spoke with CNN's Shane O'Donoghue during Friday's telecast of the Players Championship about his decision.

"I've been fighting it for years," Faldo said. "I was in the gym on Monday, and it suddenly just hit me. I thought, 'Come on, this is one more walk,' and I'll probably never get a chance to walk at Muirfield. If I can just get over the hurdle and say to myself, 'What will be, will be." I can't go for score. I can't be any fitter. If I can just hit a few solid long irons, who knows what could happen? I could just go play and enjoy the shot"

Faldo selected his son, Matthew, to be his caddie for the tournament, who offered ample support for his father's decision.

"He goes, 'Blimey, are you sure? Bloody hell, Dad, what made you think of that?'" Faldo said. "But it's for him, and it's for my kids. We can go, have an enjoyable week at it and soak up the old memories"

The 2008 Open Championship marked the first time Faldo wasn't in the field since '76. He had played in 32 consecutive Open Championships previously. He missed the cut in '09 and '10, opted not to play in '11 and joined the BBC Sport commentary team for the event in '12. 

"I've got just over two months to go to get myself to pretend that I'm a golfer," Faldo said.

(Getty Images)

May 08, 2013

Faldo changes opinion on Tiger drop, now says DQ was warranted

Posted at 3:40 PM by Josh Sens

Tiger-DropGood thing Nick Faldo isn’t running for public office -- he just got caught in another flip-flop.

As the New York Daily News reported, Sir Nick’s latest wait-I-take-that-back moment took place during an NBC/Golf Channel conference call on Tuesday, when he was asked once more about the Drop.

“We were all on a level playing field before, very simple,” Faldo said. “You made a mistake on the scorecard, you were DQ’d,” he said. “Now it’s not level and it’s open again to a gray area.”

He was talking, of course, about the Tiger rules incident at Augusta National, and the Masters Competition Committee’s decision to slap Woods with a two-stroke penalty, rather than disqualify him from the competition.

The first time he spoke on the matter -- during a GolfChannel appearance shortly after the Committee announced its decision -- Faldo made similarly critical comments about the ruling, only to back track later that day when he came on air from the CBS broadcast booth.

His waffling prompted some to speculate that higher powers had asked him to recant.

Now, with the 2013 Masters nearly a month old, Faldo seems to have returned to his original position.

If you don’t like his stance, just wait a little. Maybe it will change again.

(Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

April 09, 2013

Curtis Strange slams Miller, Faldo over McIlroy criticism

Posted at 9:19 PM by Coleman McDowell

Strange_300Two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange took Johnny Miller and Nick Faldo to task for their criticism earlier this year of Rory McIlroy's equipment change from Titleist to Nike, according to Reuters' Tony Jimenez. Miller said that the swtich could cost McIlroy at the 2013 majors and Faldo called it a "dangerous move."

"(Nick) Faldo and (Johnny) Miller have been somewhat critical of it -– they are so far out of line, so out of touch with club manufacturers now. All the clubs these days are top line, top shelf, perfectly fitted for each player. Faldo and Miller caused a stir when there was no reason to."

Strange said he switched clubs multiple times, and each time it took one day to get used to the new equipment.

"I don't think clubs have anything to do with it at all ... switching clubs is no big thing. It's all overblown. I think all the top clubs are virtually identical. Rory's problems are not with his clubs. His troubles of late have been more with the swing than anything else. I love watching Rory play, I love his swing and I don't think it's time to panic or worry too much about him. He's not playing well right now, but he can be explosive overnight and he's proved that."

McIlroy agreed with Strange's assessment that the swoosh on his equipment isn't causing any problems. In his pre-Masters press conference, McIlroy spoke fondly of his new clubs saying, "I feel they're a part of me now."

For what it's worth, Curtis Strange is a member of the Nike player team.

Photo: Curtis Strange at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Hawaii in January (Chris Condon/PGA Tour).

October 30, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Faldo calls McIlroy's equipment change 'dangerous'

Posted at 2:55 PM by Mark Dee

Rory McIlroy has changed a lot since winning the 2011 U.S. Open. He swapped agents, switched tours, and, after this season, will be switching equipment sponsors. One major champion is worried about the effect new clubs might have on McIlroy' s game. 

Nick Faldo appeared on the Golf Channel's Morning Drive on Tuesday and called McIlroy's equipment change a "dangerous" move, according to Ryan Lavner.

“I call it dangerous,” he said. “I’ve changed clubs and changed equipment, and every manufacturer will say, ‘We can copy your clubs; we can tweak the golf ball so it fits you.’ But there’s feel and sound as well, and there’s confidence. You can’t put a real value on that. It’s priceless.

“You have to be very, very careful. You easily could go off and do this and it messes you up because it just doesn’t quite feel the same. When you’re striping it, it’s fine. But as soon as doubt comes in…

“I’d be very cautious. I’d love someone like him, in his position, to sell the bag. That bag is worth a fortune; it’d be on TV all the time. Stick with the clubs that you know best, that you believe the best."

Most believe Rory will announce a deal with Nike for the upcoming year, following the well-worn path of Tiger Woods.

Related: McIlroy's career in pictures | Nike Homepage | Titleist Homepage | See-Try-Buy

October 19, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Fanny Sunesson, legendary female caddy, hangs up the bib

Posted at 10:44 AM by Mark Dee

The most successful female caddie of the past 20 years -- and arguably of all time -- is hanging up her bib.

Fanny Sunesson, who looped for Nick Faldo during his four-major run in the 90s, announced her retirement from caddying on Friday, deciding instead to focus on player coaching, according to

Sunesson caddied for Faldo from 1990 through 1999, and then again in the 2000s. In between, she worked for Fred Funk, Sergio Garcia and Notah Begay III. She currently works for Henrik Stenson, whom she helped win the 2009 Players Championship.

She already has experience coaching, too. Sunesson serves as Martin Kaymer's mental coach, helping him reach No. 1 in the world in 2011.

“Coaching is fun,” she told the website “It allows for much as I did as a caddie, so I hope to do a good job there.”

September 17, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Faldo foresees Ryder Cup tie; Ollie heads home to 'chill'

Posted at 10:11 AM by Mark Dee

Nick Faldo keeps finding things to say about the Ryder Cup.

The former world No. 1 turned professional-golf-talker -- and unsuccessful 2008 European Ryder Cup captain -- said in an interview with Reuters that these two teams are evenly matched. So evenly matched, in fact, that there's a good chance the matches will end in the Cup's first tie in 23 years.

"On paper I think it's incredibly evenly matched," Faldo said. "Half-jokingly I said at the beginning of the season that we haven't had a tie for quite a while but suddenly now that notion doesn't seem so far off. Maybe a tie could be the result this year."

Meanwhile, one man who's done talking is current Euro skipper Jose Maria Olazabal.

Following a T-63 at last week's Italian Open, Ollie said that this week he plans on "chilling at home" and working on his speech for the Ryder Cup opening ceremony on Sept. 26. According to Karl MacGinty of Belfast Telegraph, Ollie feels "as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs" about giving that speech.

In keeping with that low profile, Ollie seems content to stay mum on the Cup until then. After his speech, Ollie said that  Europe's "clubs will have to do the talking," clearly something he feels comfortable as a short-tailed cat about getting underway.

Faldo has set the bar historically low for Olazabal. During the 2008 opening ceremony at Valhalla, Faldo  introduced Soren Hansen as Soren Stenson, asked Graeme McDowell if he was Irish or Northern Irish, and added, with turn-of-the-century humor, that Padraig Harrington had "hit as many golf balls as potatoes grown in Ireland."

Here's a hint, Ollie: Don't trip. Just give us the names, then clear the stage for those clubs to give that speech your guys have been preparing. And hope it doesn't end in a tie.

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