Vintage finish for Faldo on St Andrews farewell

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 17, 2015 4:04 PM

By Martyn Herman

ST ANDREWS, Scotland (Reuters) - It could have been 1987 all over again.

Nick Faldo rolling in a majestic birdie and standing, arms aloft, milking the applause in the yellow diamond-knit sweater he virtually trade-marked in his pomp.

A glance at the scoreboard alongside the Road Hole on Friday fast-forwarded everyone to 2015 and Faldo's final walk down the stretch at a St Andrews British Open.

As farewells go the 57-year-old six-times major champion could not have asked for more.

Even a rainbow formed over the Old Course clubhouse as Faldo putted up from a hollow next to the 17th green and watched as the ball snaked its way into the cup.

The crowd went crazy and then Faldo's party piece.

He unfolded the cashmere sweater he was wearing for his first British Open win at Muirfield in 87, slipped it on and posed on the Swilcan Bridge with son Matthew, his caddy.

Fellow Englishman Justin Rose, who idolized Faldo as a kid, and American Ricky Fowler, joined him, while new sensation Jordan Spieth, playing up the first fairway, stopped to applaud.

Faldo was still misty-eyed after parring the 18th for a one-under-par 71, a day after a sad 83 cost him any chance of extending his farewell to the weekend.

"Not bad, eh?" Faldo, who also won three times at Augusta, told reporters. "17 made it for me. That was special.

"The goal was to stand on the bridge and get the picture. I knew I was bringing this thing, bust out my ol' Pringle (sweater), so I knew I was doing that."

That was planned. Even in his wildest dreams though Faldo could not have envisaged what happened on the 17th green, especially after considering pulling out with a cut finger that required hospital treatment in the morning.

"I finally made a few birdies, then a three at 17. How could I do that," Faldo, who outclassed the field to win the 1990 Open at St Andrews, said.

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"I did that 10 years ago, I think I've only done it twice. That relaxed me at the last because I said I don't care what I do up 18 now because I've just made three at 17.

"That's why I looked at the gods, the St Andrews golfing gods at 17. I thought, thank you very much for that. I felt beat up yesterday, but that was one of the great moments of any career, making a three and walking the walk."

Faldo, who still holds the Ryder Cup record for caps (11) and points (25) said if he was "sensible" he would stop on a high -- but refused to rule out another Open appearance.

"If I've just shot 71 and done all that today, I think that might be my last walk."

(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)