Nick Faldo turns 50, and the European PGA Tour swoons
I suppose it is a milestone (beyond the obvious reasons why), since the logical follow-up will now be to wonder whether Good St. Nick will join, if not to say dominate, the dreadful Champions Tour. His teeing it up Thursday at Carnoustie suggests that he might not be ready to go to that graveyard of golfing glory just yet.
Even by the standards of PR writing, the European Tour’s love letter to Faldo teeters under the weight of its own emotional gushing. Consider this sentence, following a recounting of how Faldo chose to take up the game of golf after watching Jack Nicklaus on television:
“From that life-defining moment, and not content to be just an ordinary golfer, talented Faldo set out on the path to greatness, relentlessly pursuing glory with zealous ambition, focus, determination and, at times, uncompromising obsession.”
The path to greatness, indeed. But of course it’s not surprising that the Tour would serenade Faldo today. It’s not hyperbole to say he put European golf on the map, and that European golf really hasn’t been the same since he stopped being competitive.
One just would have liked to have seen something a bit more balanced. Faldo indeed is important and noteworthy, but more for the whole package than just his deeds on the golf course. He was a great champion, competitor and pioneer for European golf, sure. But he was also something of an obsessive-compulsive, a chilly locker room lord that was much more curmudgeon than companion, as viewed by the other golfers of his day. Now, he’s a prankster and joke-cracker in the broadcast booth. And he’s always been, by all accounts, one of golf’s great skirt-chasers.
A few Faldo birthday stories have some or all of this, and it helps to give a complete picture of a man that ruled over, and in many ways changed, the game of golf during many years at the top.
He is one of the great characters, and personalities, the game has produced - and you’d think the European Tour would embrace this too, rather than fawning over boilerplate accomplishments, since there is zero evidence right now that Faldo will ever have a successor over here.
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