To celebrate St George’s Day, Golfmagic staff Andy Roberts, Michael Smyth and Charlie Lemay have scribbled a few words about their favourite English golfers. Does yours feature?
Born: July 18, 1957 in Welwyn Garden City
Professional wins: 40
Major championships: Open Championship (1987, 1990, 1992); Masters (1989, 1990, 1996)
Ryder Cup record: 1977, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1985 (winners), 1987 (winners), 1989 (tied match and retained trophy), 1991, 1993, 1995 (winners), 1997 (winners), 2008 (non-playing captain)
Did you know? Faldo was awarded the MBE in 1998, then knighted in 2009 for his services to golf.
Where else could we possibly start, writes Andy Roberts, than the most successful English golfer of all time?
Barely into double figures and beginning to take an interest in this wonderful game, my grandfather would talk for hours on end about Nick Faldo.
“If you want to be a good golfer,” he would tell me, “you need to watch Faldo.”
I became fascinated by the man. I admired the way he composed himself under the most intense pressure, intimidating opponents in a Tiger-like way – long before Woods was on the scene.
By the time I was glued to the box waving my little England flag, Faldo already had two Open Championships in his trophy cabinet and matching Green Jackets in his wardrobe.
The 1992 Open at Muirfield is about as far back as my memory banks go as the Roberts family gathered round the tube to cheer Faldo to victory.
I had to wait four years for my man to win another major. Did I feel for Greg Norman at Augusta that year? Of course I did, I am human. But it didn’t last long as I sat there wide-eyed watching Faldo pull on his third Jacket.
Sir Nick: One of the reasons I love golf.
Born: April 24, 1973 in Worksop
Professional wins: 40
Major championship bests: Open Championship (2nd 2010); Masters (2nd 2010)
Ryder Cup record: 1997 (winners), 1999, 2002 (winners), 2004 (winners), 2006 (winners), 2008, 2010 (winners), 2012 (winners)
Did you know? In February 2009, Westwood launched the Lee Westwood Academy, a set of three day academies across nine venues in England. He was awarded an OBE in 2011.
The first Ryder Cup I remember watching was Europe’s 1997 triumph at Valderrama. And who was partnering Mr Faldo? A young buck by the name of Lee Westwood.
The English pair earned two points from a possible four to help their side to a 14½ - 13½ win.
It wasn’t long before Westwood was into the top ten in the world and spent many years there. After the turn of the millennium, poor form saw Westwood fall to World No.266. But he pulled himself together to claw his way back into the world’s elite and, eventually, World No.1.
How can you not admire the man who does that?
It was also great to see Westy get back to winning ways last week in Malaysia with a seven-shot romp that fittingly for this piece, matched him for professional wins with Sir Nick on 40.
It seems that when Westy wins, he wins big. If he can start to warm up that putter, the only area of the game that's ever held him back from true greatness, then I'm still confident he can get that major monkey off his back.