Faldo rarely hit it sideways, certainly not at Muirfield.
It was in 1987 when Faldo famously made 18 pars in a gloomy final round and captured the first of his three Open titles when Paul Azinger faltered. Five years later, Faldo was a machine until he made a mess of the final round, losing a four-shot lead in five holes and then recovering with four of the best holes he ever played to beat John Cook, who helped by botching the last two holes.
Muirfield has the greatest collection of champions of any major course in the world. Faldo and James Braid are the only players to win the Open there twice.
The memories are strong. Faldo doesn’t always remember where his shots landed, only how they felt leaving his club, particularly his win in ‘92. The 5-iron on the 15th hole is one of the best shots he ever hit. Facing a left-to-right wind, he had to work the ball in the same direction and stay left of the flag to let a ridge do the work. He fed the shot into 3 feet for birdie.
“And then the driver and 4-iron on the 17th was as good as it gets,” he said. “They had a red telephone box on the corner of the grandstand. I aimed at that and hit a draw, and then a perfect 4-iron 20 feet left of the flag.”
His two wins at Muirfield could not have been any more different.
Faldo can relate to Tiger Woods in one aspect — criticism and scrutiny of the swing, especially when the swing is going through a major overhaul.
aFaldo had already played on four Ryder Cup teams and won the Order of Merit when he rebuilt his swing under David Leadbetter and went three years without a win.