Faldo Starts New Career With Golf Channel

By George WhiteApril 5, 2002, 5:00 pm
Nick Faldo has won the British Open three times, captured The Masters three times. Included in his crowns are six PGA Tour victories, the last of which was the 1997 Nissan Open. The Englishman has won 30 times in Europe and been the Order of Merit money title champion in 1992.
 
But hes about to embark on a career in television, and The Golf Channel is his new employer.
 
I admire the Golf Channel because it's a young company, said Faldo. You're seven years old, and when you started, everybody was saying, Who is going to watch golf 24 hours a day? I think the coverage now is fantastic.
 
It's going to be in close to 50 million homes very soon, and obviously, I feel it's good for me, and I feel that I have genuinely something different to bring than the average golfer. You cover a lot of golf, but it's the fact that I'm able to do a couple of things off the golf course.
 
Faldo is currently in the process of expanding his horizons, opening a restaurant chain, introducing a wine label, embarking on a golf course design business, and still devoting much to junior golf. And, of course, he still is a golfer with global recognition.
 
The Golf Channel will be involved in my conception of the birth of the Jug and Jacket Restaurant, the Junior series you are already involved in, helping me promote that, he said.
 
And another fine idea we had is, I call it my Mad Dash, when I'm doing my business world tour and when I go around the world in a week and do, whatever - 10 different countries in 11 days or something like that.
 
I thought it would add something very different to people just sitting there watching golf tournaments day in, day out. But it's a nice little bit of insight. Obviously, good for both of us.
 
Faldo will be entering the world of television for the first time after a career of birdies and bogeys. While he wont be doing actual tournament coverage, he will try to give viewers some insight into what the players are thinking, what their mental processes are as they play their round.
 
One of the things I want to try to do is get between the ropes, just outside for the players and just inside for the public, and try to give a different view of being there and seeing what's going on in the player's eyes - and whether he likes the situation or doesn't like the situation, then you comment on it, said Nick.
 
The fact that hes not going to be involved in tournament coverage enables him to do a bit more on the actual playing of the game, without the time constraints of being able to talk only between shots.

I wanted to be a little more free to have my own views and have my own sort of thoughts and feelings on what's going on, he said. I've got a couple of things I'm going to do, Viewers Forum for example, so once a month, I'll just pick my own topics and discuss those.
 
In two weeks [after that], there will be a website column, and again it will be my comments. The majors will obviously be much more on who is playing well and who is not and who this course is good for, who it isn't, and that sort of thing.
 
And then the British Open's fun. I'm going to be doing the Playing Lesson Show. We obviously are going to play some key holes at Muirfield. Hopefully the wind is blowing and we'll have to play a variety of shots. That's going to keep me busy.
 
Faldo is going to approach television exactly as he did his golf game when he was winning his six majors ' with as much focus as he can muster. Its a new career, but its the old Nick whos going to come to the plate.
 
I'm going to take it seriously, he said. There are quite a few guys out there I admire, and I think they do a great job, and the best way to learn is to spend some time with them. I think that's what I'm going to try and do, and then build on this.
 
You know, I'm not going to be an expert overnight. I think I will be a little rough over the edges for a while, but I think that might be kind of fun. I'll see if I can learn the trade, see if I like it. See if I enjoy doing this sort of thing.
 
Is there anything he wants to avoid while on the air?
 
I think the most obvious is forgetting that you were a player, and then become a TV booth analyst - as if every shot you had, you never mis-hit a shot in your life, Nick said. I'm sure we've all missed greens with a wedge and done all sorts of stupid things, and to sit in commentary tower and comment on the obvious is wrong.
 
Faldo has played to such a degree of excellence that he has miss-hit very few wedges to greens. But hes about to venture into new territory, uncharted territory for him. He should do just fine.
 

 

Getty Images

Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

"Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

Getty Images

Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.



The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

Getty Images

13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”



Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

Getty Images

McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.