Monday, April 21, 2008

My Town Monday - A Famous Son.



Today I am going to tell you about one of Welwyn Garden City's famous son's, We don't have too many so I am going to pace myself!!

Nick Faldo - Local man and one time golfing champion.

Faldo was born in Welwyn Garden City, England. He borrowed some clubs from his neighbours after watching Jack Nicklaus play the 1971 Masters on television. While working as a carpet fitter, Faldo won the English Amateur Championship and the British Youths Championship in 1975. He turned professional in 1976 and quickly achieved success, finishing 8th on the European Tour Order of Merit in 1977 and 3rd in 1978 and winning a European Tour event in each of those seasons. In the former year he became the youngest player to appear in the Ryder Cup at the age of 21. Faldo was one of the leading players on the European Tour in the early 1980s, and he topped the Order of Merit in 1983.
However, feeling that he needed to refine his game in order to become a regular contender in major championships (British tabloids even dubbed him "Nick Foldo" after collapses at the 1983 Open Championship and the 1984 Masters), he spent the mid-1980s remodelling his swing under the tutelage of David Leadbetter. His performances dropped off for a couple of years as the changes occurred, but by 1987 he was playing at an even higher level, and he claimed his first major title at that year's Open Championship. He managed to beat American Paul Azinger by one shot even without getting a birdie in the final round (he parred all 18 holes), after Azinger bogeyed the final two holes of the tournament.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Faldo was considered the best golfer in the world. He was noted for being remarkably composed under pressure, intimidating to his opponents, and won more of the four professional major tournaments (Faldo won six) than any other player in the world from 1987 through 1996 (Nick Price was second with three major victories during this period; Seve Ballesteros, a contemporary of Faldo's from Spain, won five majors from 1979-1988). He won the Open Championship again in 1990 in St Andrews, Scotland by six shots, and claimed it for a third time in 1992, outplaying American John Cook. He also won two more majors when he won the Masters Tournament in 1989 and 1990. At the 1989 Masters, he shot a 65, the low round of the tournament, to get into a playoff with Scott Hoch. He won the playoff after holing a somewhat lengthy putt on the 2nd playoff hole (Hoch missed a 2 foot putt to win on the first playoff hole). At the 1990 Masters, he came from behind again to get into a playoff with Raymond Floyd, once again winning on the second playoff hole after Floyd pulled his approach shot into a pond left of the green. Faldo spent a total of 98 weeks altogether at the top of the Official World Golf Rankings, and claimed the European Tour Order of Merit a second time in 1992. During that time, Faldo said of his success: "The run doesn't have to end. If someone is going to beat me then I'm going to make sure they've worked for their victory. Let them come and get it from me." That year, he had worldwide earnings of £1,558,978, breaking the existing record.
Faldo was named the PGA Tour Player of the Year in 1990 and the European Tour Player of the Year in 1989, 1990 and 1992, and has won 29 European Tour titles. As Faldo entered his forties, his form gradually declined and he devoted more time to off-course activities. The last season that he played regularly on the PGA Tour was 2001. Afterwards, he refocused on the European Tour, but has consistently played less than a full schedule. His most recent top-10 finish in a major to date (and quite probably the final of his career) was a tie for eighth place at the 2003 Open Championship. As of July 2005, his career European Tour earnings are just under €8 million, and his PGA Tour earnings are over $5 million.

Faldo started his playing career at Welwyn Garden City Golf Club, and that is where my connection comes in. I have booked the golf club to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary in
June this year.

12 comments:

debra said...

Happy Anniversary (in advance). Thanks for sharing your town, and for visiting mine.

Josephine Damian said...

I wonder if he ever played state side at the Wykagyl Country Club - a stone's throw from where I grew up, or at Winged Foot Golf Club - also close by to my (old) town?

Don't forget My Town Book Club is 5/12!

pattinase (abbott) said...

The happiest of anniversaries and in such a lovely spot.

Debbielou said...

I'd completely forgotten about Nick faldo !!

Have you given him an invite yet ????

Travis Erwin said...

I'm not an avid golfer but I recall seeing Ncik Faldo play on TV.

suebaru said...

Well that was a long winded way of telling us where the party is!!;)!!

Barrie said...

I love these kinds of stories. And Happy 25th Anniversary to you!!

Laura said...

Ohhh the golf club looks niiice! I can't wait to see it!

Clair Dickson said...

Nice post. It's always fun to have some sort of connection with any local celebs.

Britta Coleman said...

Nick Foldo! Poor guy--fans can be so fickle. Still, it sounds like he triumphed through adversity. Interesting post.

The Anti-Wife said...

I remember watching him play on TV. Thanks for the memories.

WordVixen said...

Happy anniversary! I love hearing about players who are willing to temporarily lose prestige to become better players. Tiger Woods did the same thing a few years back, and, like Faldo, is now back on form and playing better than ever. It tells me that they care more about playing well than being popular. You have to respect that.