If you had to rank Sir Nick Faldo’s six major championship wins, his successful defence of his Masters title 30 years ago might well finish bottom of the list.
Faldo’s first Open and Masters wins were particularly memorable - he finished off with 18 pars to claim the former at Muirfield in 1987 and Scott Hoch missed a tiddler that gave him his chance at Augusta in 1989.
His other two Open wins saw Faldo wipe the floor with Greg Norman at St Andrews in 1990 and then dig deep to win at Muirfield once more in 1992. As for his final major, his merciless reeling in of Norman again at the 1996 Masters has become part of British sporting lore.
Nick Faldo celebrates his memorable Masters victory over Ray Floyd at the Augusta in 1990
So Faldo often sees his second claiming of the green jacket neglected, although looking back offers persuasive evidence that it might be time for a revision.
Only Jack Nicklaus had won back-to-back Masters before Faldo achieved it and only Tiger Woods has done so since.
‘The coolest company to keep,’ says Faldo now.
Furthermore, with a rampaging display of aggressive golf over the back nine, he caught none other than Raymond Floyd — one of the hardest American nuts.
To this day, Faldo remains the only golfer to win successive majors in extra time, and both at the 11th hole, the beautiful opener to Amen Corner.
The Englishman embraces caddie Fanny Sunesson after his dramatic play-off victory
‘I love stats like that one, it must say something about you if you can win back-to-back majors in play-offs,’ says Faldo. ‘It takes so much out of you, nobody will ever win three.’
Faldo showed up that week at Augusta with a new caddie, Fanny Sunesson. ‘I had a lot on my mind with defending the green jacket, but showing Fanny around Augusta proved to be hugely beneficial,’ recalls Faldo. ‘It really helped in terms of visualisation, walking her through each hole.’
A two-round total of 143 left Faldo five shots behind Floyd, who underlined his reputation as a front runner with a third round 68. Faldo, though, made inroads with a wonderful, bogey-free 66.
He was third heading into the final round and, on Sunday, was playing alongside Nicklaus.
Imagine how that scenario must have resonated. Nineteen years earlier, Faldo, then aged 13 and watching on television, had been inspired to take up the game after falling in love with the grace and rhythm of Nicklaus’s swing against the backdrop of Augusta.
Faldo feels his second victory at Augusta is neglected among his six major triumphs
‘I thought it was a good omen,’ says Faldo. ‘The man who’d got me interested in golf and also the only man who had successfully defended the Masters. They were good things for me to sleep on.’sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in -