Sir Nick Faldo has shown to the World that you can't just 'play at golf' and post good scores at the highest level.
England's most successful golfer is now a commentator for the PGA Tour and his golf clubs get seldom use. However he still turns up to play The Open Championship. Why is that? Why is he allowed to do so?
The prize for being the "Champion Golfer of the Year" for some, is more than just about money and bragging rights. Thanks to the R&A selling of The Open TV Rights from BBC to Sky, it looks likely that this winner will take home over £1million according the The Express.
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Jordan Spieth would have more to brag about, having won the first two majors of the year already. Dustin Johnson would collect his first major trophy of his career. It is all about bragging rights as these guys don't need the money.
For a relatively unknown player, it gives them playing rights on the European Tour for ten years. However in the case of Sir Nick Faldo, he is a past champion and has exemption status until he is 60-years-old.
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Greg Norman's Absence
In an interview with BBC Sport, Greg Norman thanked the fans for wanting the Australian to play at this years Open, but his spot was put to better use. Like Faldo, the former number one doesn't play any more, thanks to his projects in the Far East.
He understood that his place was better served to a young professional, trying to make a name for themselves.
Everyone is allowed a bad round but Faldo's 83 yesterday is certainly not good. I'm not saying that older players wouldn't compete in the Open either. Tom Watson is also making his final appearance and Bernhard Langer (who qualified by winning the Senior Open) is also in the field. However the American and German are still playing full time on the Champions Tour, so they can't be put in the same bracket as Faldo.
Faldo should have done the honourable thing and given his spot away to a 20-something-year-old who is trying to forge a career in golf, at a time when it is increasingly difficult. However things that Faldo has said since will infuriate people even further.
Faldo not taking it seriously
In a post round interview, I get the feeling that Faldo was trying to make light of a disappointing day on the course. However, many will be angered that he is treating the prestigious tournament as a 'club swindle' or 'lads golf weekend'.
“You can’t fall out of a TV tower and come and play the Open. Silly boy! I am not a golfer anymore. These guys play every day and it is tough for them. I have a bottle of Glenmorangie at home. I will be refuelled for the morning!” The Mirror reports.
So from his words, we are going to see a fragile hungover former champion, where we could be watching the next McIlroy, Spieth or Woods participating. I don't think that is particularly fair.
Rules need changing
I am all for a rule where former past champions can grace their presence at Open Championships for years to come. I would love to see Tiger Woods in 20 years time making his final performance, assuming he is still playing actively.
I believe that there should be a stipulation, that former 'champion golfers of the year' can claim their place in The Open, if they have played fifteen PGA/European/Champions Tour events in the previous 12 months.
Do you think the rules need to change? Should Sir Nick Faldo have taken his place? Was Greg Norman right? Have your say in the comment section below.
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