With three Masters Tournaments, three British Open titles, and more than 40 tournament victories worldwide, Nick Faldo was already considered one of golf’s heroic warriors. Now, his highness has gone to a new level. Faldo was recently honored with Knighthood as announced on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list released in June.
Currently a CBS analyst, Faldo was born in 1957 in Welwyn Garden City, England. He becomes the second golfer to be knighted, following Sir Henry Cotton, who was honored in 1988. That same year, Faldo, himself, was awarded the MBE (Member of the British Empire) for outstanding service to the community.
“I was delighted to hear the news that I will be receiving a knighthood and am more than a little bit humbled to have been afforded this great honour,” said Faldo. “It has come as a real surprise and the reaction from my children, family and friends has made this a very special moment for me.”
Faldo is one of the true gentlemen of the game. As a player, his calm, and yes, regal demeanor, belied the tireless competitor within. Says former rival Phil Mickelson, “Nick is the preeminent English golfer of the modern era. His skill in controlling the golf ball is legendary. No one was tougher coming down the stretch of a major championship.”
A former world number one player for 92 weeks, Faldo has taken his playing chops to the broadcast world and is now part of a king’s row of CBS golf announcers. The roster is simply the best in golf broadcasting.
Jim Nantz edges out Pat Summerall by a single stroke as the all-time signature voice of golf. Lanny Wadkins, Bobby Clampett and golf’s best analyst, David Feherty, are superb, and Peter Oosterhuis, Verne Lundquist, Peter Kostis and Bill Macatee bring data with dignity, all this, plus Dick Enberg’s commentary.
The CBS crew continues to pile up big ratings numbers with viewers. The network’s July 5th final round coverage of the AT&T National scored an overnight household rating/share of 4.6/11, up 207% from last year. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the final round featured tourney host Tiger Woods beating Hunter Mahan by one stroke.
Woods finish was furious highlighted by a birdie at 16 and pars at 17 and 18. The rating was the highest for a non-Major PGA Tour event on CBS Sports since the final round of the 2008 Buick Invitational and the highest rating for an AT&T final round since the tourney debuted in 2007.
Faldo is a fabulous addition to the CBS team. His ribald British humor is refreshing, and there is just something very right about a commentator who has actually won multiple Majors critiquing current players. The flip side of that can be a bit vexing.
We all recognize that New England native Brad Faxon is a terrific golfer, and a great humanitarian, but his commentaries on Sportsradio WEEI lack the credibility that Faldo possesses. Faxon is very critical of his peers and does not mince words in commenting on fellow players.
This would be fine if he was retired or merely a commentator, but as a current player ranked 226th in the FedEx Cup points standings with zero Major titles, Faxon’s criticisms are somewhat flimsy. With all due respect, Faxon’s only shot at holding a Claret Jug would be a gig filling water glasses at Abe & Louie’s. Faldo has that all-too-rare combination of experience and candor. Now he adds knighthood to the resume.
“This is a truly deserved honor,” says PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem. “In recognition of years of representing (Nick’s) country at the highest levels of international competition and for his helping grow the game worldwide as a broadcaster, golf course designer and for indentifying the next generation of champions through the Faldo Series of tournaments worldwide.”
Adds CBS lead golf announcer Jim Nantz, “How does it get any bigger than this? Sir Nick? Of course we always considered Nick to be royalty over here stateside. I’m just happy the Queen saw fit to finally confirm!” CBS Sports and News Director Sean McManus joked about the impact of Faldo’s new title stating, “He now also holds the distinction of being the only employee at CBS Sports who I will occasionally refer to as Sir.”
The knighthood only serves to solidify Faldo’s position as the greatest golfer Britain has ever produced. He was the youngest player to qualify for the Ryder cup at age 20, and endured the rigors of the British press who snidely dubbed him “Nick Foldo” early in his career. Beyond the legendary wins, he has become a leader in the business of golf with his Faldo Enterprises, and promotes the game and young golfers with his ever-growing Faldo Series.
For all his accomplishments, Faldo seeks no special treatment. He does, however, recognize the meaning behind the honor of knighthood. “I’ve been playing golf at the highest level for some thirty-five years. It has always been my intention to do my utmost to develop this game both in Britain and abroad and I am also delighted that my efforts through the Faldo Series have been recognized in this way.”
Syndicated columnist John Molori writes for numerous publications and websites. Email John at MoloriMedia@aol.com.