Masters 2020 Hindsight

By Rex HoggardApril 2, 2010, 10:18 pm

It’s hard to imagine now, but like all things time has softened the edges and helped explain a great many things about Sir Nick Faldo.

Since he passed his playing prime, we’ve learned the hard-nosed competitor is an adapt storyteller with a keen sense of humor. During a recent conversation with the three-time Masters champion we also learned that the Englishman was superstitious. Not rabbit foot and four-day socks superstitious, but more attuned to the forces of chance than his icy exterior ever suggested.

During a recent conversation on the 20th anniversary of his second Masters triumph even Faldo marveled at how the cosmic tumblers cascaded into proper order in 1990.

The first sign was the official poster, which featured an image of Faldo on the 11th green celebrating his overtime victory over Scott Hoch a year earlier. And when he began his final round three shots behind Raymond Floyd, Faldo recalls being paired with Jack Nicklaus, who, at that time, was the only other player to win back-to-back green jackets.

Nick Faldo
Nick Faldo hugs his caddie after winning the 1990 Masters. (Getty Images)
“A little omen,” Faldo thought at the time.

Even when Faldo began his final round with a double bogey-6 he never doubted his title chances thanks, in large part, to encouraging premonitions about his title defense and a new face on his bag.

“I was twisted up about going to defend,” Faldo said. “I told myself 'you are not going to defend. You are going to win another Masters'.”

That effort was aided by the addition of Fanny Sunesson to Team Faldo. Although Sunesson would remain on Faldo’s bag for the remainder of his Hall of Fame career, the ’90 Masters was her first major with Faldo, and her first visit to Augusta National.

“To walk out to this magnificent golf course, it was awesome. All the history, just amazing,” recalls Sunesson. “I hadn’t seen it much on TV. They don’t show (the Masters) much in Sweden.”

If having a greenhorn caddie concerned Faldo, those fears didn’t last long. The two played their first practice round together on the Sunday before the tournament, a process that forced Faldo to focus on strategy and golf course management.

“That did a world of good for me because in the practice rounds I would do running commentary of what I wanted to do. Visually it was very powerful,” said Faldo, who teamed with Sunesson in January 1990.

Both Sunesson and Faldo got better with each round, posting cards of 71-72-66 to move into the hunt. Even the Englishman’s three-stroke, 54-hole deficit was of little concern. A year earlier, when Faldo collected his first green jacket, he’d started the final turn five strokes off the lead.

In hindsight, Faldo believes his charge began at the 12th hole, where his tee shot had plugged in a greenside bunker and the distance between himself and the top of the leaderboard had expanded to four strokes.

“Made an amazing up and down at 12,” Faldo said. “I had a plugged lie in the bunker, do or die moment and I just stuck the club in the ground. Hit it to 12 feet and holed the putt.”

Faldo birdied three of his next four holes, including a deuce at the par-3 16th hole. “I had a weird kind of dream of making 2 there,” he said.

It was a classic back-nine Sunday charge. The kind of rally some say the new Augusta National repeals, but in 1990 it was a quintessential Masters moment welcomed by a thunderous chorus that echoed through the pines.

“When you are at Augusta you have to play so defensively all week and wait unitl you get into a position where you can get brave,” Faldo said. “If you pull it off you can win the Masters. If you fail it will cost you the tournament.”

Faldo’s bravado was rewarded, he signed for a closing 69 to tie Floyd, who bogeyed the 17th hole, at 278. The playoff, however, was anticlimactic by comparison. Faldo matched Floyd at the first extra hole, scrambling for par at the downhill 10th and was struck with a wave of déjà vu as he stepped to the 11th tee.

“At 11, I had mixed emotions from last year,” said Faldo, who clipped Hoch a year earlier on the same hole with a dramatic 25-foot birdie putt.

What happened next stunned Faldo, to say nothing of Floyd. From the middle of the 11th fairway Floyd pulled a 7-iron from 176 yards into a pond that was guarding the left side of the green.

“It all happened in a 2-second flash,” Faldo said of Floyd’s miscue. “It was a weird feeling. I hit a little 8-iron down the hill and the best lag putt of my life.”

Watch Tiger Woods' Masters press conference LIVE on Golf Channel and Monday at 2 p.m. ET!

The surprise of Floyd’s miscue aside, the ’90 Masters played out almost exactly the way Faldo envisioned it would. A four-part drama that remained on script until the very end, to a bookend green jacket ceremony and a knowing smile.

“I used to have little dreams of the day ahead or the next major. Premonitions,” Faldo said. “When you look at my reaction I knew it was going to be my day.”

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Getty Images

Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

Getty Images

Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

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Rory faces criticism

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President at the Presidents Cup

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Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

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Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

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Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

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Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


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Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

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Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

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Pros comment on the president

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