Standing tall, golf club held by his side, his stance is assured but relaxed. The statue is of a golfer who knows that he is at the top of the world’s game. Nick Faldo was, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, simply the best golfer in the world.
Brought up in a small council house in Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, Faldo was inspired as a 13-year old when he watched on television as Jack Nicklaus competed in the 1971 US Masters. Within five years Faldo had become a leading tour professional. Yet, to the astonishment of many, he spent nearly two years in the mid-1980s remodelling his swing to withstand better the pressures of major championship golf.
Faldo’s search for improvement, if not perfection, was seemingly insatiable. In 1987, all came to fruition. Faldo won the Open Championship at Muirfield with an all par final round that demonstrated his class and soundness under pressure.
In 1989 he became the first Englishman to win the US Masters - and then won again in 1990. Faldo gained further major triumphs by winning the British Open twice more in 1990 and 1992. He was officially ranked the world’s number one for a period of 98 weeks in the early 1990s. In 1996 came one more glorious victory in the US Masters.
Nick Faldo’s achievements have already been celebrated in bronze. It is perhaps a sign of our commercial sporting times that life-size statues of Faldo stand at and promote prestigious golf courses bearing the Nick Faldo design – one at Lough Erne Resort in Fermanagh in Ireland and another, in identical form, at the Oceanic Faldo course in Portugal. Knighted in 2009, Nick Faldo ranks as one of the great post-war British performers in the world of sport.