News24

Arise Sir Nick Faldo

2009-11-10 18:38

London - British golf great Sir Nick Faldo said receiving his knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday had been an "unbelievable experience".

Faldo, Britain's most successful golfer of modern times with six Majors to his credit (three British Opens and three US Masters), is now entitled to call himself 'Sir Nick'

"It was amazing," said the 52-year-old Faldo after being dubbed a knight by the Queen in a ceremony at Windsor Castle, west of London.

"That was an unbelievable experience," added the Englishman.

"I had dreams as a young boy of being a golfer and winning tournaments, but you don't dream of this.

"When I found out in the summer, my first thought was of riding my bike through the woods to the golf course when I was just starting out.

"I played my first round of golf on my 14th birthday."

Reflecting on his conversation with Britain's head of state, Faldo added: "The Queen said: 'You've been in the game a long time'.

"I said: 'Yes, ma'am - for 30 years'."

Faldo, who first won the British Open in 1987 before claiming his inaugural Masters green jacket two years later, said he found it hard to distinguish between his greatest triumphs as a player.

"Majors are like children," explained the father of four. "It's impossible to pick, but the first one is special because you finally break through."

Faldo's greatest year as a player was arguably in 1990 when he won both the Masters and the British Open, two of golf's four Majors along with the US Open and the US PGA, in the same season.

"Next year, I celebrate 20 years of winning in 1990," Faldo said. "They all mean a hell of a lot."

Faldo was much criticised for his role as captain of the Europe team which lost the 2008 Ryder Cup to the United States but he insisted the experience had not lessened his enthusiasm for the event, which takes place every two years.

"Of course, that week we had 24 players that played their heart out, but the Americans beat us that time," he said. "I'm rooting for the guys to go and win the Ryder Cup back.

Faldo, who in recent years has become well-known as a golf commentator for network television in the United States, was excited by the decision to reintroduce golf to the Olympics in time for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro after an absence of over a century.

"As a golfer, I would have loved in my trophy cabinet to have had a gold medal," he said. "The Olympics is such a special event. I'm sure it's going to be amazing."

Faldo is only the second British professional golfer to be knighted and first in his own lifetime after Henry Cotton was awarded the honour posthumously in 1987.

AFP