The advances in technology are incredible nowadays and I think that amateur golfers should be taking advantage of everything that they can get their hands on.
Golfing Magazine: Nick, how are you?
Nick Faldo: I’m well thanks.
GM: If not the most prolific, you are at the very least the most visible face of televised golf. With all of the travel (and time spent in the United States), how have you been able to find balance in your life?
NF: It is a lot of travel but, as a professional golfer, you get pretty used to that aspect of the job and I genuinely enjoy the time that I spend in the booth. Ultimately, it’s just about trying to fit everything that needs to be done for work around my television schedule – things like visiting my design projects or my offices in the UK. I don’t do every single tournament so there’s plenty of time to spend with my family on both sides of the Atlantic.
GM: You have had a distinguished career as a golfer, but now you mostly stick to broadcasting. Do you ever get the urge to get back out there and play competitively again? We saw what Greg Norman was able to pull off in last year’s Open Championship-do you think you’d be able to make a similar run?
NF: I was more inspired playing with my son, Matthew at the Father & Son last season actually! Last year was also a big year because of the Ryder Cup. This year I’ll play the Open and I’m going to make a decision as to whether I’ll play any other events around that. We’ll see.
GM: During your playing days you were known to be intensely focused and introspective. As a broadcaster you’re the life of the party. Has that side of you always been there, or have you had to work on it?
NF: It’s always been there.
GM: Take us through your responsibilities as a broadcaster during tournament week. What aspects of your job do you enjoy the most? The least?
NF: I check the golf course–I like to go and see what the players see on the course for myself. I check out the greens and I still do my own yardage books. I try and chat to a couple of the leading players to try and get a bit of a scoop on what they’re working on. Then there are production meetings to get the gist of what we’re concentrating on for the week. There’s a lot that goes on outside of the booth actually.
GM: As a broadcaster you are able to see most of the shots hit during a tournament. Are there any players that especially impress you with any facet of their game? Who do you think is primed for a breakout year?
NF: A lot of people have been talking about Rory McIlroy this season and I’ve been impressed with his freewheeling–he looks like he’s out there just letting it go like a 19-year-old should be. I worked with Rory through my Faldo Series in the UK when he was an amateur and he’s always had that, so the stuff we used to work on was more things like course strategy. It’s great to see him out there just letting it happen with such carefree abandon.
Camillo Villegas is another young player that’s impressed me. Looks like he’s very cool, calm and collected and got kind of a knowing look about him. He’s very patient, as though he knows he’s going to do well. He’s also very committed off the golf course on the physical and mental side, so he looks like he could dangerously scare a few people some time soon.
GM: It seems everyone has an opinion on Tiger Woods. How do you see his comeback going? Will he still be the dominant player in the game, or who might rise up and challenge him? How do you rank him in the history of competitive golf ?
NF: It’s very nice for players to see that he’s possibly proving that he’s human! After eight months you’d expect him to be rusty and he is! Spending that amount of time away from tournament golf, it’s always going to take time. Give him another week! He’s still the dominant player in the game, that hasn’t changed, but it does look like Phil has serious intentions and possibly Villegas. Big Ernie’s bubbling under and Anthony Kim. We’ll have to wait and see but I think it’s safe to say that he’s probably going to be the greatest in the game.
GM: When you turned professional, it was during an era of persimmon drivers and wound golf balls. How have you found the evolution in equipment to be in the last three decades?
NF: The advances in technology are incredible nowadays and I think that amateur golfers should be taking advantage of everything that they can get their hands on.
GM: What do you see as the most significant change in equipment that the average golfer can take advantage of?
NF: The R9 Driver–it’s unbelievable. We can now adjust a driver in seconds and in my day that would have taken 24 hours and even then all you’d get was a new shaft. Nowadays you can change the angle, the face, the weight and you can feel the difference. Not only can you feel it–but it works.
GM: How and why did you choose to endorse Taylor Made equipment?
NF: Quite simply, I feel that there’s nothing better in the market right now than the equipment that TaylorMade is putting out there.
GM: You were always known for being so exacting, detailed and precise. Are you still that serious about the equipment you endorse?
NF: Absolutely. One of the great things about working with TaylorMade is that they’ve let me loose down at the R&D facility in Carlsbad. I’ve been helping work on some of the new equipment, offering them a professional golfer’s eye if you like. I’m trying to help them a lot with the visual aspects of the club. Specifically I’ve been looking at the hosel on the club and… actually, I’m not sure if that’s top secret so you might have just got a scoop there! You heard it here first readers!
GM: What do you think of Taylor Made’s new R9, is it the next evolution in drivers?
NF: As I said, it’s an amazing piece of kit. It really can make a difference.
GM: Between your television work, endorsements, golf schools, golf course designs and more, if you had the luxury, where would you choose to invest the majority of your time?
NF: At home! I mean I love to work and enjoy all of the opportunities and variety that my businesses offer, but you still can’t beat home.