Nick Faldo: Profile of the English Golf Legend

Nick Faldo during the 1996 Masters, site of his final major championship victory.
Stephen Munday/Getty Images

A six-time major championhip winner, Nick Faldo is one of the greats of English golf and one of the top handful of golfers from his competitive era, roughly the late 1970s through the mid-1990s.

Fast Facts: Nick Faldo

  • Occupation: Professional golfer, golf broadcaster
  • Full Name: Nicholas Alexander Faldo
  • Born: July 18, 1957 in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, England
  • Key Accomplishments: Winner of six major championship tournaments (three British Opens, three Masters), and of 30 total European Tour tournaments.
  • Famous Quote: "Golf is not about the quality of your good shots, it is about the quality of your bad shots."
  • Fun Fact: He's a knight, becoming Sir Nick Faldo when Queen Elizabeth bestowed him with an MBE in 2009.

Tour Wins and Major Victories

Faldo won more than 40 professional golf tournaments around the globe. Nine of those wins were PGA Tour victory, and 30 of those wins were European Tour victories.

Six tournament victories that count toward both Faldo's PGA Tour and European Tour totals are his major championship wins. He won three Masters Tournaments and three British Open tournaments.

His Masters victories were in 1989, 1990 and 1996; Faldo's Open Championship wins were in 1987, 1990 and 1992.

Awards and Honors for Faldo

  • Member, World Golf Hall of Fame
  • European Tour Order of Merit winner (money leader), 1983, 1992
  • European Tour scoring leader, 1983, 1992
  • European Tour player of the year, 1989, 1990, 1992
  • U.S. PGA Tour player of the year, 1990
  • Member, European Ryder Cup team, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997
  • Captain, European Ryder Cup team, 2008
  • Knighted by Queen Elizabeth in November 2009

Nick Faldo Biography

Nick Faldo won five times on the European Tour in 1983. He led the tour in money and scoring. He'd won 12 times total in Europe. But he decided that wasn't enough. He wanted to win majors, so he set to work building a better swing, one that wouldn't crack under pressure. And after going the next three years without a single win, Faldo emerged as one of Europe's all-time best golfers.

Faldo was 13 years old when he watched Jack Nicklaus on television at the 1971 Masters. Cycling had been his sport to that point, but after watching Nicklaus, Faldo turned to golf. He borrowed some clubs, his mother arranged lessons, and two years later he was winning amateur tournaments.

Faldo won the English Amateur Championship in 1974 and the British Youth Championships in 1975. He turned pro in 1976, and in 1977 claimed his first European Tour victory. Also in 1977, he played the first of his record 11 Ryder Cups, becoming the youngest ever (age 20) at the time to compete in the event (a record later bettered by Sergio Garcia). Faldo still holds the European record for points earned.

Faldo was a steady player who frequently found himself in contention, and he posted wins here and there, leading up to his big 1983 season. But he also developed a reputation as a golfer who couldn't close the deal in the biggest events. He was derisively called "Fold-o" in some circles, having shown a knack for choking.

That's when he decided to rework his swing with instructor David Leadbetter. The work culminated with his victory at the 1987 British Open, where Faldo famously made 18 pars in the final round. Nobody would ever again accuse Faldo of folding in big tournaments.

He went on to win the Open Championship twice more, and added three Masters wins. His last victory in a major was the 1996 Masters, when Faldo came from six shots behind Greg Norman at the start of the final round to win by five.

In all, Faldo won 30 times on the European Tour, had three wins on the USPGA Tour in "regular" (as opposed to major championship) events, and won six majors.

In 2008, Faldo culminated his Team Europe Ryder Cup career by serving as captain. His team lost, however, to Team USA by a score of 16.5 to 11.5.

Faldo's business interests include course design and golf academies, and he does commentary on golf broadcasts. He is an avid fly fisherman. In November 2009, Faldo became Sir Nick Faldo, with knighthood bestowed by Queen Elizabeth.

Quote, Unquote

  • Curtis Strange: "Nick Faldo stared a lot of guys down. He never choked. He had a way of folding his arms and looking at you as though he knew you were going to make a mistake."

List of Faldo's Tour Wins

PGA Tour (9)

  • 1984 Sea Pines Heritage
  • 1987 British Open
  • 1989 Masters Tournament
  • 1990 Masters Tournament
  • 1990 British Open
  • 1992 British Open
  • 1995 Doral-Ryder Open
  • 1996 Masters Tournament
  • 1997 Nissan Open

European Tour (30)

  • 1977 Skol Lager Individual
  • 1978 Colgate PGA Championship
  • 1980 Sun Alliance PGA Championship
  • 1981 Sun Alliance PGA Championship
  • 1982 Haig Whisky TPC
  • 1983 Open de France
  • 1983 Martini International
  • 1983 Car Care Plan International
  • 1983 Lawrence Batley International
  • 1983 Ebel Swiss Open-European Masters
  • 1984 Car Care Plan International
  • 1987 Spanish Open
  • 1987 British Open
  • 1988 Open de France
  • 1988 Volvo Masters
  • 1989 Masters Tournament
  • 1989 Volvo PGA Championship
  • 1989 Dunhill British Masters
  • 1989 Open de France
  • 1990 Masters Tournament
  • 1990 British Open
  • 1991 Carroll's Irish Open
  • 1992 Carroll's Irish Open
  • 1992 British Open
  • 1992 Scandinavian Masters
  • 1992 GA European Open
  • 1993 Johnnie Walker Classic
  • 1993 Carroll's Irish Open
  • 1994 Alfred Dunhill Open
  • 1996 Masters Tournament

Faldo also had one win on the Sunshine Tour (1979 ICL International).