The record shows, he took the dough, and did it his way

Mark McGowan
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The record shows, he took the dough, and did it his way

Nick Faldo in Ballyliffin

Picture this if you will. It’s Friday night, Tottenham Hotspur versus Manchester United on Sky Sports. The football fanatics have been starved of meaningful competition and are licking their lips in anticipation.

Sky, as they do, have started the build up early. They’ve shown the teams arriving, the stand might be empty but you’d never know it through your TV screen. Now that football is back, all the big guns are present – not literally, but through the marvels of modern technology they may as well be – we’re talking David Jones presenting, Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher, Roy Keane, Graeme Souness and Thierry Henry.

It’s nearly game time, and it’s down to serious football talk. “So Gary,” Jones begins, “what can you tell us about Bruno Fernandes.” It’s the softest of pitches but Neville is caught like a rabbit in the headlights, “well David,” he concedes, “I don’t really know much about him.”

A couple of days back after a three-month layoff and Sky Sports premier football pundit doesn’t know much about one of the most exciting prospects in the game? Actually, forget Neville and his strong United ties for a second, what if it was Carragher, Keane, Souness or Henry? It would still be shocking and show a complete lack of professionalism from somebody who is being paid considerable sums to know their sport and its players.

It’s a moot point really though, because we all know it just wouldn’t happen. No chance. Not in football and certainly not at the highest levels of punditry.

Enter golf.

Saturday just past, C.B.S. anchor Jim Nantz tosses a similar pitch to expert analyst Nick Faldo. “So Nick, what can you tell us about Collin Morikawa?” Can you guess the response? That’s right, unfortunately he couldn’t because, in his own words, he doesn’t “really know that much about him.”

That’s Collin Morikawa, world number 27 – ok, he was 44 last week week, but still. That’s Collin Morikawa who has never missed a cut as a professional. That’s Collin Morikawa, defending Barracuda Champion who was a PGA Tour winner in only his sixth start. That’s Collin Morikawa, maybe the best iron player in the world who’s not called Tiger Woods. That’s Collin Morikawa whose name you mispronounced three times earlier this year when he was already established as one of the hottest young talents in the game.

We’re not expecting you to start listing off his Collegiate golf achievements, or to know what his favourite book, movie and song are. We would just like a little analysis from our expert analyst. It doesn’t even have to be expert.

Hell, I’m far from an expert but those little nuggets are off the top of my head. I could have added that he’s a hell of a tee-to-green player, and that his putting is the weakest part of his game. Which of course bore out over the next few hours, but that’s information that anybody who watches an unhealthy amount of golf could provide without being any sort of expert.

For somebody whose work ethic as a player was legendary, whose preparation could never be questioned, somebody for whom paralysis by analysis became a legitimate mid-career concern to have such a flippant attitude to the requirements for the role he now finds himself in is staggering.

And he’s got the number one role in golf. Fortunately, Sky Sports provide their own commentary team for most events, but if you’re an American viewer, then you’ve got Faldo for the Masters and the Open Championship too.

I can understand the initial reasoning for Sir Nick’s appointment. Here you have a well-spoken Englishman – Faldo could read a chapter from Brett Easton Ellis’ American Psycho on camera and most Americans would think it polite – who is a six-time major champion to boot and a notorious loner who’s unlikely to be tainted by old loyalties.

But sadly, that’s not how it’s played out.

Faldo once thanked the media from the “heart of his bottom,” before going on to sing Sinatra’s My Way on the final green at Muirfield many years ago. Time may have passed, but the absolute bare minimum approach which he seems to bring to every broadcast is every bit as contemptuous.

The record shows, he took the dough, and did it his way.

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7 responses to “The record shows, he took the dough, and did it his way”

  1. Peadar Gill avatar

    It was once said about Faldo “he only ever opens his mouth to change feet!” Plus ca change, eh?

  2. Aidan Carey avatar

    He is such a pain in the neck.

  3. Jerry Gore avatar

    Greatest European record in Majors. Talks complete sense when describing golf shots and swings etc. but I agree he does also talk shite at times.
    Thought the article was a bit harsh !

  4. Aaron Faulkner avatar

    Harsh article – you’d think he had said that Berger used to be in F1 ?Faldo says it as he sees it. He doesn’t know much about Morikawa and said so, at least he didn’t try to waffle or bullshit the viewers. As for Morikawa being the best iron player not called Tiger Woods, his tee shot with an iron on the first playoff hole cost him big time.

  5. Michael Farrell avatar

    Having written him off in 1991, why should the golf writers have been upset that he had a little fun at their expense when he won the Open in 1992 ? I thought it was a brilliant comment. However, his performance as Captain Cock-Up in the 2008 Ryder Cup is a different story altogether and a much more valid reason to criticise him.

  6. brendan mcnestry avatar

    Faldo has always been completely selfish and self-absorbed. A pal of mine was following him in a practice round in Portmarnock many years ago. Faldo hit a ball miles into the rough and reloaded. My pal (15 or 16 at the time) scampered off into the rough and found the ball. He went to the next tee and offered the ball to Faldo whose response was to take the ball and say “these Irish are stupid”. No thank you, no acknowledgment, just pure selfish.
    As a player, he has an amazing record and his crushing of Norman in the Masters was unreal. But he displayed his self-obsession again when he was Ryder Cup Captain and could only talk about himself.
    A bit like Tiger, great player obnoxious person.

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