BBC BLOGS - Iain Carter
« Previous | Main | Next »

Faldo - a true sporting great

Post categories:

Iain Carter | 00:01 UK time, Saturday, 13 June 2009

Nick Faldo's knighthood is a long overdue honour for him and the game of golf.

Our golfers often seem to be overlooked when it comes to the honours system, lagging behind the cyclists, yachtsmen and cricketers, who seem to be celebrated far more readily.

Had a modern-day British tennis player ever matched his level of achievement - or even a sixth of it - would they have had to wait so long for a knighthood?

Nick Faldo won the Open for the first time in 1987

But this isn't a time for sour grapes. We should celebrate the fact that Faldo's glorious playing career has now been fully recognised by the British establishment.

He ripped up the template for how professional golf should be approached with his dedication and desire. And it was duly rewarded with six major titles - three Opens and three Masters - to fully vindicate his daring decision to radically alter his swing under the tutelage of David Leadbetter.

Faldo has never been the most popular of figures among his peers and in the media tent. He was always at his best when he let his clubs do the talking.

His Ryder Cup captaincy was an uncharacteristic failure and ultimately will not be what he will be remembered for. Instead, it will be for being a steely competitor who made himself the best golfer in the world, one that struck fear into opponents all over the globe

Let it not be forgotten, also, that he has provided plenty of time and energy for junior golfers in the successful Faldo Series from which several of the young guns of the European Tour have emerged, such as Nick Dougherty.

So, arise Sir Nick. A thoroughly well-deserved honour and about time, too. And while we are at it, how about Sir Tony Jacklin?


  • Comment number 1.

    Total disgrace, but that is what the honours list for you. Faldo deserves this as much as Sir Fred Goodwin.

  • Comment number 2.

    The guy had to have a personality transplant to become a golf commentator.

  • Comment number 3.

    Why him before Lyle? He followed in Sandy's footsteps. Oh sorry, Lyle is Scottish.

  • Comment number 4.

    What does personality have to do with sporting achievement? Isn't the winning enough? Sandy Lyle won both the Open and the Masters before Faldo but he didn't go on to win both of them twice more. Faldo was clearly the better golfer over his career as a whole so it has nothing to do with nationality. He fully deserves this. And Gary Lineker has proven that lack of personality is no impediment to a career as a broadcaster... ;-)

  • Comment number 5.

    Why an Honour? He got well paid for what he enjoyed doing, that should be enough. It's not the Players of ANY Sport that should get honours, they should go to the bloody fools (usually volunteers), who make it possible for sports people to play. Playing the game should be ample reward for anyone. Then, when they retire see how many of them voluntarily put anything back into the game? Any way, to be given an honour by Brown is not worth having.

  • Comment number 6.

    You are a glum lot.

    Its called the Honours list for that reason, to award sportsmen/women for their services to their chosen sport.

    Some are knighted or awarded other honours.

    Nick Faldo was one of our best sportsman and to be recognised this way is a well-deserved achievement for him.

    Getting paid to do a job is essential or how do you pay your expenses, so its a sport, so what, its still a job, but if you dont win anything, you dont get paid !!.....more people profiteered from his endeavours than he got winnings, and if he enjoyed all the hard work and defeats and travelling the world for months at a time as well as the winning and trophies, then good luck to him.

    Maybe you should spend every waking hour honing your skills and throwing what social life you had down the drain to pursue greatness in your career and live life on the bread-line while your at it, but I doubt you have one iota of Faldo's dedication and determination or strength of will.

    For you information, a lot of golfers profits go to charity, many do pro-celeb tournies for just that reason, and Faldo has set up coaching schools and his series tournaments for young hopefuls, so there is a lot of "voluntary" pay back by Faldo, now he has retired.

    You all seem very small minded, (not you JC) jealous and full of conceit.

    Must be Proletarians on the loose !!!

  • Comment number 7.

    The guy is my sporting hero, well done Sir Nick, you deserve it. A true champion.

  • Comment number 8.

    Well done Sir Nick! I am Scottish and am delighted for one of the best golfers our country has ever produced to be knighted. Lyle maybe did some of it first, but frankly Faldo did it better and more often.

    Sure, he needs to tighten up his game when it comes to commentating (I unfortunately need to listen to it most weekends, being in the US!) but what he did as a player over his career was exceptional.

    Well done big man. I hope that you find time to light up the seniors tour!

  • Comment number 9.

    Excellent news, this should be celebrated. He is a winner. Maybe some of you think Frank Bruno and Tim Henman should have been knighted before.

  • Comment number 10.

    Totally agree with your comment Iain. Well done Sir Nick, without a doubt the greatest golfer the British Isles has ever seen, when anyone else wins as many titles as he has then it won't matter which corner of Britain they hail from, it's the achievement that counts.

  • Comment number 11.

    Six majors is not bad, 30 european wins, top point scorer at ryder cup, junior series of golf... if kelly holmes got one for winning two 'lucky' races at the Olympics, then this one is far over due... faldo has done far more than some of the other knights (i like hoy but still too early when his career goes on!). i agree lyle and jacklin deserve recogniton. as people have said in tennis terms faldo in this country has not equal, henman fans favourite 11 tour wins no finals in majors, faldo 6 wins nearly won every slam. 2nd in both pga and us open (lost in play off)and over 20 other top tens.

  • Comment number 12.

    I can't believe all the criticism of this hard earned, long overdue award. Faldo has won SIX majors and brought a whole generation to this wonderful game.

    His personailty may not be to everyone's taste, and I confess to having cringed at some of his handling of the press and media, but the fact remains that his feat of winning six major championships is unlikley to be surpassed by another Brit, never mind an Englishman (for those hung up on nationality) for a long, long time.

    His Junior Series has kick started any number of promising careers, and Faldo Design is responsible for a whole host of top quality courses, so he cannot be accused of not giving anything back to the game which brought him such rich reward. And he has re-invented himself to become an excellent commentator - not something I thought he would be capable of given his general dislike of all things "media" during his playing years.

    I for one applaud the decision to recognise his achievements - anyone who dissents is not looking at the big picture.

  • Comment number 13.

    I'm delighted for Nick ! This man dedicated his life to his profession and it's not about personality..the good guys unfortunately are not always the most successful !! I really hope he gets a chance to captain Ryder Cup team again! Not only Britain's greatest golfer but a strong candidate for greatest Sportsman!

  • Comment number 14.

    Jeeez, no wonder anyone with any success clears off at the first opportunity.

    The chips on the shoulders are so evident in the spite and jealousy.
    Nick did something that no other British golfer had done before or since and it wasn't a natural talent, he had to work at it. Yeah, Lyle was probably more naturally talented but his attitude let him down and it still does today to a certain extent, so my chippy Scots friend at #1, #2 and #3 can stop whining. What the heck has Fred the shred got to do with Nick Faldo?

    Well done Nick and to all the whiners, when you do something worthwhile instead of sit and snipe, then you might get some credit, or not if you reap what you sow.

    Something to be proud of. Hard work, Redgrave & Pinsent know how hard it is to consistently achieve. Natural talent might get you one, maybe fluke you two majors or medals, but it takes guts and effort to reel in 6 over a number of years. Makes you realise how dedicated Woods and Federer are.

    So I say again, Congratulations Nick, you earned it.

  • Comment number 15.

    Maybe golfers don't get recognized that often compared to other sports as there isn't a huge amount of athleticism involved?. People like Sir Chris Hoy and Dame Kelly Holmes devoted years of single-minded hard graft and sacrifice to get where they did. Hardly comparable to a "sport" full of 50 year olds puffing on cigarettes between shots is it?.

  • Comment number 16.

    #15 - What rubbish! How many 50 year olds puffing on cigarettes do you see winning big golf tournaments?

    As you're comapring Hoy and Holmes to Faldo, do you not think Nick's success was the result of years of single-minded hard graft too? Your comment is ironic, given that Faldo's lack of popularity stemmed in the main from his utter focus and single-mindedness!!

    And as regards athleticism, I'm willing to bet you don't possess the physique of Tiger Woods - the very epitomy of an athletic sportsman.

    I welcome contributions to BBC Blogs - I only wish contributors would comment on a topic they have some knowledge of.

  • Comment number 17.

    I am a Faldo fan but a knighthood !?!?! I never had a problem with his personality, he never sought to be a raconteur just got on with golf. This is demeaning to current knights. Same as victorious Lions tours or the like - the Coach and captain used to be honoured, no it is the whole bally lot. The way it is going there will be more folk out there with honours than without. Keep the numbers down and the honour will keep its value. If I was Faldo I would have said 'Thanks, bit no thanks, how about a CBE?'

  • Comment number 18.

    This is very long-overdue and richly-deserved award of an Honour to a man who became a household name by being a superb sportsman and much-loved character over a 30 year career at the top of one of the biggest sports in the world.

    For too long we have been frustrated by an era where unheard of sportsmen and woman receive Honours for for obtaining 1 or 2 medals at the Olympic Games in minor sports; an era where flash-in-the-pan media celebrities are Knighted to satisfy the lowest common denominator appeal in the general public; or servants to political parties are thanked for their contributions to party funds; while those who truly deserve recognition for a lifetime of achievement are overlooked. It is therefore so nice to see Nick Faldo receiving a Knighthood.

  • Comment number 19.

    The whole honours system is a bad joke IMO. That's what equates Fred the shred and Nasty Nick.

  • Comment number 20.

    Well done Sir Nick. I'm assuming those on here saying that winning at golf doesn't require as much dedication as running a race or cycling around a track. Runners and cyclists usually are born with a natural capacity through build, bone structure, muscles etc that they then hone to become the best. Look at usain bolt self confessed that he doesn't follow a strict diet etc. Add to that sports like cycling are limited to those that live near a velodrome and can afford the bikes and training etc

    Golf is one of the most popular global sports people of all ages play. It requires mental capacity, incredible physical ability and dedication to practice and practice. For Nick to have dominated and won so much during his career and to have done so much to get young people into the game (I learned on the faldo swing machine) should be recognised and rewarded

  • Comment number 21.

    #18. To which flash-in-the-pan media celebrities do you refer? I'm not aware of a long list of minor media celebrities that have been bestowed with the title Sir or Dame? Not that being a major celebrity makes you more deserving of a knighthood.

    If you ask me, I would rather see knighted someone who has, for example, worked for free for a charity shop for 40 plus years (without the safety net of a small fortune)than a very successful sportsman (charitable or not). Having said that, I would rather see a sporting legend such as Nick Faldo knighted than, say, Bruce Forsyth who's only contribution to Great Britain has been loving himself for 80 odd years.

  • Comment number 22.

    Just who are the "British establishment" who have decided to bestow this gong on Faldo ? Who makes these ridiculous decisions. If he was not worthy of it 10 years ago, why is he now ?
    There are literally thousands of honest,hardworking memebers of our society who do untold amounts of good without recognition and this ex golfer with no tangible personality or humility gets lauded by faceless bureaucrats who probably don't know a mashie niblick from a bunker.
    What next ....Arise Sir Tim ?

  • Comment number 23.

    I have no axe to grind with Faldo, he has achieved in his sport at the highest level, it could be a lot worse, arise Sir David Beckham for services to celebrity

  • Comment number 24.

    tuhhodge - A household name ! In whose household? and "much-beloved"You having a laugh. Even his peers had little or no time for him and his arrogance.
    As soon as he was appointed to the Ryder Cup team it was plain to see that he had universal lack of respect from the European players in genneral and the team in particular.As for his performance on that last day with his playing order, that was just pure Faldo - unfathomable !

  • Comment number 25.


    "it could be a lot worse, arise Sir David Beckham for services to celebrity"

    That will happen though, sadly.

    They are still very poor at choosing captains of industry - a recent choice for a knighthood was guilty of covering up a corporate fraud. If they had done their homework, that would've been obvious!

  • Comment number 26.

    Belated mention by Iain, but no-one else, of Tony Jacklin who should certainly have been honoured before the (richly deserving) Faldo.

    Jacklin opened the doors for all British golfers who followed - a distinguished playing career and a single-handed revitalization of the Ryder Cup.

  • Comment number 27.

    Re:5 glenalta. Why blame Brown for this rather than for ruining this country.
    Re:15. crongtong. Holmes was an Army sgt who was paid for spending most of her time away from duty training for her running.
    Re:19. fairplaymotty. All Fred the Shred did was to sit in an office and arrange for an indecent pay-off and pension. No comparison with Faldo's commitment.
    Re:22. johnblack03. See 15 for Holmes. Faldo got to be the World Number 1 through long hours of pratice whilst I understand some of his fellow golfers (who later became Ryder Cup captains) chose to spend all their free time on booze-ups.
    The knighhood is thoroughly deserved.

  • Comment number 28.

    What a nonsense, this knighthood completely devalues the honour earned by Ian Botham. What has Faldo done to justify this? won a few golf tournaments and commentates on US television and that warrants a knighthood...joke.

  • Comment number 29.

    Hmm, Not a Faldo fan. Was in his company once and he had a very very bad attitude. Total disaster as a Ryder Cup captain, just not into the team thing. Does he deserve it? Absolutely. At his peak he was devastating. I remember very clearly the day before he destroyed Norman at the masters seeing him being interviewed and he really believed he could do it. He was the only one on the Planet that could have at the time. Should have won the US Open but Curtis Strange hold a ridiculous bunker shot. If they gave the awards out for personality then Lyle would get it first and Faldo would be last. Those that question Lyle's character really are a bit sad and know very little about the man. But they don't. They give it out for achievement. He has given back to the game through his foundation and directly to charity. Remember he handed over the winners cheque the last time he won at Wentworth at the PGA? Fantastic player, single minded, ruthless, vain, dedicated, arrogant, difficult and complicated. But as a golfer for a long time he had no peer. Just wouldn't like have a drink with him..

  • Comment number 30.

    Absolutely wonderful to see Nick being honoured with the knighthood. Nick has always been a great sporting hero of mine. I don't care what people or the press say about him, you cannot doubt the dedication of the man to his sport. He worked incredibly hard, come rain or shine, to become the great champion he is. He is surely Britain's greatest ambassador for Golf, as Steve Davis is to Snooker, and continues that to this day - albeit not so much in a playing capacity - but more by introducing younger talent to the game.
    I'll look forward to seeing him play at Turnberry. His swing is still great to watch. I don't expect him to make waves of course but it'll be good to see him making the cut if possible!

  • Comment number 31.

    "Lyle was probably more naturally talented but his attitude let him down and it still does today to a certain extent"

    More naturally talented yes - the waffle about Lyle's attitude past and present is nonsense. Faldo's attitude when partnering Ryder Cup rookie Gilford was typical of the man - me, me, me.

  • Comment number 32.

    #28 - "What a nonsense, this knighthood completely devalues the honour earned by Ian Botham. What has Faldo done to justify this? won a few golf tournaments and commentates on US television and that warrants a knighthood...joke."

    I would actually say the achievements of both are very similar - both were at the top of their game, both brought their sport to the attention of millions, and both were single-minded perfectionists.

    Add to that the fact that Faldo continues to promote the game through the junior ranks, and I fail to see why he is any less deserving than Botham.

    You've defeated your own argument.

  • Comment number 33.

    Well done to Nick Faldo,one of Britains most sucessful golfers,finally gets his knighthood.

    And a big thumbs down to all the anti-Faldo comments-unbelivable!!!!!!.

    No wonder Faldo lives in the States now,we seem to be the only Country in the world who do nothing but slate our top SPORTSMAN,what is the point of that?

    I never realised there were so many bitter and envious people in this country-truly tragic.

  • Comment number 34.

    many of you may be aware that i have been banging the 'faldo knighthood' drum for years on these pages[check my history!]
    today when i heard the news i was delighted.well done her majesty.
    the turnips who continue to be critical of everything faldo does are showing their bitter colours.
    faldo deserves this more than any celeb/sportsman since psaul mccartney in last true talent and world greatness are rewarded..!
    next thing the bitter brigade will be saying monty and sam torrance deserve knighthoods too!.

  • Comment number 35.

    Fantastic news, well done Nick!
    A lot of churlish negative comments on here - this is a time for celebration so if you did not like Faldo or the awards 'system' so be it but you appear to be in a minority.
    We are all without flaws - Faldo and Botham especially but at times they were without equal in their sporting fields and as they continue to support and benefit their respective sports and contribute significantly to their chosen charities, their honours are not in question!

  • Comment number 36.

    28# what has faldo done, won a few golf tournaments.

    The fact you have called them 'golf tournaments' shows that you know absolutely nothing about the sport of golf, so why comment about this topic!

    Nick Faldo is the best golfer britain have ever produced, natural talent does not mean nothing. You have to go out there and win when it matters. Faldo did this a great amount of times and managed to win 6 majors over years of hard work. I do not like the bloke but to question what he has achieved is simply stupid. Fair play to him.

  • Comment number 37.

    Sir Nick has not only been a true sporting great (we haven't had that many of them over the years) but has put back a lot into the sport as well. Not only that, he been an offically recognised charity, The Nick Faldo Charitable Trust, for about 20 years. That was the most efficient way og generating money for children's charities for a long period of time. He wasn't always the most politically correct character, and certainly wasn't affraid to do it the way he thought it should be done. However, not we have a crop talented young golfers, Casey, Donald, Rose and Poulter, who all talk a good game and smile sweetly at the camera and say all the right things in an interview, but they don't win major championships. They take positives out of bottling it in the final round of a major. Faldo never took such positives; he just took the Green Jacket or the Claret Jug. Congratulations Sir Nick. You are true inspiration.

  • Comment number 38.

    Just have to post my view, because I thought us Dutch had the monopoly on being cynical of our sporting heroes. I always looked upon the British as a people that had high regards for their (sporting) heroes in. Why should a knighthood be linke to a nice personality? Surely, if there is a connection it is that it is because of his personality that he has won 6 majors. Who in the last 40-50 years have won 6 or more. OK, Woods, Nicklaus, Player, Watson, Palmer. Not Ballesteros, Lyle or Mickelson.
    He is exceptional. Besides he gives a lot back to golf through the Faldo series. Remind me, but Sir Alex (Ferguson) has a mean streak as well. Just ask Beckham and the shoe incident. Come on, he is Sir Nick, not Saint Nick.

  • Comment number 39.

    Faldo is one of the greats of British sport. Like him or loath him he deserves this long overdue accolade. He has helped numerous young golfers, designed great golf courses, is a fantastic commentator and is always himself.
    Well done Nick!

  • Comment number 40.

    #28 I can`t see where you`re coming from by suggesting that this knighthood for Nick devalues that given to Ian Botham. What did Beefy do for cricket that Nick hasn`t done for golf??.
    Nick Faldo in my opinion has very little personality, BUT is without doubt one of the best golfers Europe has ever produced. His record speaks for itself and, as far as majors are concerned, no Brit even comes close. Certainly Tony Jacklin and Sandy Lyle won major honours before he did and in some respects they paved the way for his success.
    What gets me about the typical British mentallity is that we build our sports stars up and set them on a pedistal, and then take great delight in kicking them down at every oportunity.
    He thoroughly deserves his knighthood because, unlike many of the current crop of overpaid superstars, he has put a lot back into the sport that was good to him throughout his career.

  • Comment number 41.

    gosh there are some very bitter people out there!

    Well doen sir Nick Faldo - very deserve this and more for the dedication and hardwork to golf - al the service that youhave given to junior golf and world golf - putting british golf on the map.

    well done

  • Comment number 42.

    Nick Faldo is a legend in the golf game - arise Sir Nick. Thoroughly deserved.

  • Comment number 43.

    At the risk of being repetitive, I'd like to offer my congratulations to Nick for finally being recognised as a brilliant golfer - probably the best British golfer in the modern era - and for having worked tirelessly with the Faldo series to try & develop the next batch of young golfing superstars.

    Remember these awards are given out for achievements, not perceptions of personality, and as such Nick Faldo is thoroughly deserving of his long overdue Knighthood! ... :-)

  • Comment number 44.

    Congratulations to Sir Nick Faldo for being recognised as a champion golfer. He's record speaks for it's self 6 majors wich are 3 open championships and 3 masters plus the largest ammount of indivdual Ryder Cup points scored.

  • Comment number 45.

    Its deserved for Nick
    but surely Sir Sam Torrance should be honored too
    after all he won the bloody Ryder Cup

  • Comment number 46.

    Definitely deserved for Nick, I really don't think it's fair to put him in the same category as Nasty Nick or Fred the Shred! He's not that bad.

    Incidentally, what's Fred the Shred up to these days?

    That's what! = ) Well done Nick.

  • Comment number 47.

    1. Well done Sir Nick. 6 majors = knighthood, no question.
    2. Captaining the winning team in the Ryder Cup is not that notable an achievement, compared with say managing the World Cup winners. After all there is only one other team in the Ryder Cup!
    3. Botham won his deserved knighthood more for his charity work I believe. Whilst a charismatic player with a list of magical moments, his stats were not off the charts a la Sir Garfield Sobers or Sir Don Bradman. Of Test all-rounders who have taken 100 wickets and scored 1000 runs, Botham ranks 9th in batting average and 22nd in bowling. I think Headingly 81 distorts peoples memories!

  • Comment number 48.

    #28 and backing up #47's comments. Sir Ian was very quick to remind everyone that his Knighthood was for his charity work, not his cricket. I got the impression that he didn't think his Cricket career deserved a Knighthood, but by golly his Charity work certainly did.

    I, for one, and pleased that the honours list is branching out, away from mainstream sports. I don't think anyone moaned when Steve Redgrave was Knighted following his exceptional performance of 5 Gold's in the same event. If Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods were British and received a Knighthood, would you moan about that award too?


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.