For the first time since 2006, England’s Nick Faldo wasn’t in the booth this past season as the lead golf analyst for CBS.
He was on the range — and not just the driving range. A six-time major champion from 1987 through 1996, he was at his home in Montana.
Faldo, 66, the only four-time winner of the BMW PGA Championship, which begins Thursday at the Wentworth Club in Surrey, England, discussed recently those victories and the game that has meant so much to him.
The following conversation has been edited and condensed.
Do you miss your job at CBS?
Yes and no. I loved being with the guys, but I had enough of being out there every week. They’ve just done 23 tournaments this season, and I couldn’t do that anymore. I’ve been flying since I was 19, when I went on tour. I’ve got plenty to do. [Golf course] design work is going very well. It’s just nice to be chilling and doing your own thing each day.
Are you paying attention to the tour?
Not as much. I’ve rarely watched it on TV. I’ve watched it maybe through highlights on social media. I’m more interested in the Ryder Cup because I’m going. I think it’s going to be really big, a great atmosphere.
Who do you think will win it?
I think our backbone looks more impressive than America’s backbone at the moment, to be really honest.
What do you mean by the backbone?
The top six. Back in my day, [former Europe captain] Tony Jacklin said, “You six, you’re playing five matches. You’re doing the heavy lifting.” We said, “Fine.”
So, are you going as far as to say that Europe is going to win?
Yeah, I would. We should.
Has Team Europe’s captain, Luke Donald, picked your brain at all?
Yeah. I bumped into him at the [British] Open. A couple of little ideas I had, mainly for practice. I won’t say what.
Of your four victories at Wentworth, do any one of them stand out?
Well, I really enjoyed the one at Royal St. George’s [in 1980] because we played that in May. And that golf course in May, if you get just a little bit of rain on the links, is perfect. That week, all I practiced were one, two, and three irons. It paid off. I remember hitting one iron into 15, that tiny little green. It was one of the key shots on the way to winning. That turf was so gorgeous to hit off.
What kind of player does the Wentworth course suit?
A pretty accurate one. There are trees literally left and right. That’s its main character.
The victory over Ken Brown, in 1978 at Royal Birkdale was a big one, wasn’t it?
That was the very first 72-hole [tournament] I won, which was amazing because I had already played a Ryder Cup. On the putting green, I was holing like 40-footers, thinking, “Oh, this is good.” I won about 10,000 pounds. How about that? It was the PGA. It was big. I loved it.
Are you playing any golf these days?
Yeah, I’ve got a nice club here and a really nice range, a [Tom] Weiskopf course. I still like to pop up there and belt balls.
What do you get out of it?
Well, that’s the great thing about our game. I go up there, and I’ve got different spots on downslopes and sideslopes and I whack away. I wear myself out for an hour and a half, and I still learn something. And I think I’ve still got it. Isn’t that great? That’s 50 plus years later. I’d love to play one more [tournament]. I want to get myself fit and strong.
I don’t know yet. I want to get Fanny [Sunesson, his former caddie] on the bag.
Are you serious about this?
Yeah. I want to play something. And the big word is, Can I enjoy it? That’s the only goal. Somewhere [on the senior tour] where I have time to gear up. I’ll try to do something next year. I got to. I’ll be 67 next summer.