One of Europe’s greatest Ryder Cup players, Sir Nick Faldo, once received a ridiculous comparison from one of his American opponents, with Scott Hoch comparing the golfing great to former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
Hoch made the comment while he was making the Ryder Cup’s first of two appearances. He did this in 1997, the same year Faldo participated in his last European event.
And Hoch, speaking about his rival, remarkably commented: “Nick Faldo is as much fun as Saddam Hussein.”
The pair’s history together does not stop at the Ryder Cup, as both Hoch and Faldo famously played out one of the most dramatic Masters play-offs of all time at the 1989 event at Augusta National.
Hoch had a golden opportunity to secure the coveted green jacket on the opening play-off hole.
But the American failed to make the par-three putt to extend the play-off to the second hole, a crucial victory that could have made him a legend in Augusta history.
Hoch was disappointed when Hoch missed the putt, which would cost him the title. Faldo won the hole that followed, as well as the event, to earn his first of three Masters titles. This came after he had won in 1989. In 1990, he also won back-toback, and in 1996, a third.
Despite the criticisms of his personality from his US rival, there is no doubting Faldo’s ability on the golf course, most notably on the biggest stage of all at the Ryder Cup.
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The Englishman enjoyed a remarkable career in the blue and gold of Europe, having won the event five times in his 11 appearances.
Faldo, who amassed 25 points, is now second on the all time European points list after Sergio Garcia (25.5).
Faldo’s stellar Ryder Cup playing career led him to become the European captain for the Valhalla 2008 event.
However, he was unable to transfer his playing successes into his captaincy as the American’s picked up their first victory in three attempts, as they defeated the European’s 16 ½ – 11 ½ in Kentucky.
This week’s 43rd edition will see the teams clash again. Padraig harrington will be in charge at Whistling Straits as the Europeans attempt to claim their fifth win in six events.