It’s hard to believe that Sir Nick Faldo, 58, is in his 10th year as a broadcaster with CBS. The six-time major champion (three Masters, three British Opens) spoke to The Advocate this week about what keeps him busy when not calling golf, the state of the game worldwide, and his must-have dish when he visits New Orleans:
You first played in New Orleans in 1981. What do you remember from those days?
I kind of remember those days. We stayed across the street (from Lakewood Country Club). I remember I played a couple of times with (1986 Zurich champion) Calvin Peete. It was all part of my early experiences on the American tour.
In addition to calling golf for CBS and the Golf Channel, you have a golf course design business, a clothing line, a collection of wines — are you busier than in your playing days?
No, it just about getting those things organized. The design business is a fun couple of trips to Asia a year. I have a 36-hole project in Cambodia right now. Some stuff in Vietnam. Everywhere else is quiet. It’s tough to get new projects. But I enjoy it. I love to get out there and try to be creative. I’ve got some ideas for short courses. People are into playing par-3 courses for instruction and for fun as well. The rest of the time is family time with my daughter, Emma, who’s 12, doing dad things.
What encourages and concerns you about golf today?
I’m very encouraged. TV golf is really popular and has been for a couple of years now. Rory (McIlroy) and Jordan (Spieth) and Jason (Day) have taken charge of the transition from the Tiger (Woods) era. I think we can look forward to 5-10 years of them being dominant, which would be cool. That spearheads things nicely. There are concerns — like just keeping people interested in golf — which is why it’s got to become more recreational. We need people to come out for fun and stick with golf. We need them to learn about it and give them more opportunities to play.
As you’ve probably seen in your years here in “The States,” soccer, or European football, has gotten pretty big. Being from north of London, did you grow up a Tottenham fan?
No (chuckles). My dad was for Arsenal. I was growing up when Leeds arrived. Back in the ’70s, Leeds was great. I still watch the premiership on the weekends when I’m off.
What’s your favorite place to eat in New Orleans?
Drago’s. I was there (Wednesday) night. I can’t eat raw oysters, but I love chargrilled. I talked to Tommy (Cvitanovich) and he’s going to ship me some home (to Orlando, Florida). I’ve got to try to introduce those to my kids next week at a barbecue.
— Scott Rabalais