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Sir Nick

Six-time major tournament victor, and winner of 43 tournaments worldwide, Nick Faldo is enjoying his new role as a TV commentator
Jeff Williams
From the Print Edition:
George Lopez, January/February 2010

(continued from page 1)

Sounds like Faldo, the championship golfer talking. The one who totally rebuilt his swing with David Leadbetter in the mid '80s, built a swing that would not just win tournaments, but majors. If it wasn't right, fix it. Practice dropping a ball. Hit balls until dark. Be committed. Be the best you can be.

"I think he's doing a great job of being the true Nick Faldo," says Ian Baker-Finch, another CBS colleague and former British Open winner. "He has a wonderful personality and sense of humor. But when he played, it was all about Nick. In the '80s, I spent as much time as anyone with him. His wife Gil and my wife Jennie were good buddies. He's 20 years more mature now. Back then he was totally engrossed in what he wanted to achieve. But everyone changes. It's just natural. I think everyone is trying to delve too deeply into that. He is who he is."

And now, he's Sir Nick. Queen Elizabeth chose him for knighthood in 2009 and his investiture was in November.

"It's a very humbling honor, to be recognized for my contribution to my sport," he says, ever so humbly. "My mind went straight back to when I was a kid riding through the woods with clubs strapped to my bike. Wow, a skinny kid from Welwyn Garden City, 35 years later this. An instant flashback to all the roads you have been on. You think you are a knight, and that conjures up Sir Lancelot on his horse. To be Sir Nick, that's pretty cool."

And Sir Daddy. "I told Matthew and Georgia on the phone together, Georgia was screaming," says Faldo. "Little Emma isn't quite so sure. We were watching the movie A Knight's Tale with Heath Ledger, the king is going to knight him, grabs his sword and Emma says, ‘Oh, I can't watch this.' She thought he was going to lop off his head. She looks at Dad and can't put it all together. ‘Are you going to be in a movie? Are you going to fight on a horse?' "

There is just so much going on, and he's now just so far removed from the championship years. He remembers the British Open in 1999 at Carnoustie when he failed to make the cut. "It was a black moment, dark," he says. "I couldn't do what I used to do. It couldn't come to me. At some point it occurred to me that I have to move on, that I could not be what I was."
So here he is-television commentator, designer, businessman, Daddy, Sir Nick. And without his Iron Chest we get to see more of him than we ever did, get to know him more than he ever allowed. Still an imposing man. Still an imposing personality. No longer the monolith.

Jeff Williams is a Cigar Aficionado contributing editor.

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