Azinger was quoted in the Mail on Sunday as using a derogatory word to describe Faldo, and that while the European captain has tried to redefine his personality as a broadcaster, most players from his generation dont want to have anything to do with him.
Azinger did not say he was misquoted, but that the spirit of his comments was taken out of context.
I spoke to Nick, Azinger told The Associated Press. It doesnt surprise me that this sort of thing has happened. Nick and I have dealt with the media our entire career, and we have burned by the media at times. But Nick and I are friends, and well be friends long after the Ryder Cup matches are over.
I can see where the tabloids would try to turn it into a Nick vs. Paul Ryder Cup.
Azinger and Faldo played a spirited singles match in 1993 that turned ended in a draw. They later earned strong reviews as co-analysts in the booth for the ABC Sports, before the network decided not to carry PGA Tour events after the 2006 season. Faldo then joined CBS Sports, and will be in the booth next week at the Masters.
Faldo was single-minded as a player, considered by many to be aloof, part of a mystique that helped carry him to three Masters and three British Open titles as he became the No. 1 player in the world.
He lately has become more open as the busiest broadcaster in the business. Along with his duties at CBS, Faldo works the first two rounds for the Golf Channel as an analyst.
Nick Faldo has tried to redefine himself, Azinger was quoted in the Mail on Sunday. Some people have bought it. Some have not. But if youre going to be a (expletive) and everyone hates you, why do you think that just because youre trying to be cute and funny on air now that the same people are all going to start to like you?
The bottom line is that the players from his generation and mine really dont want to have anything to do with him.
Azinger said some newspaper have drawn the same conclusions, but that this story made everything sound ugly.
I would hope anyone who knows me knows that I have more diplomacy than that, he said.
Azinger said he and Faldo shared a laugh when they talked by telephone.
Nick and I have a lot of the same personality in some respects. He and I are both on the same page, Azinger said. We want this to be fun and enjoyable. We dont want it to turn ugly. Weve discussed that we want it to remain friendly.
The Ryder Cup will be played Sept. 19-21 at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky. Europe has won the last three times, winning by record margins each of the last two years.
Azinger already has a lot on his plate. His oldest daughter is getting married in June.
Im going to have to invite him to my daughters wedding now, he said of Faldo.