Open 2014: Sir Nick Faldo sets sights on making weekend cut

By Ged ScottBBC Sport at Hoylake
Nick Faldo's Muirfield Memories
The Open Championship 2014
Venue: Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake
Date: 17-20 July
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, HD, Red Button, BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Sport website, mobile & app, and Connected TVs

It says everything about the lack of recent domestic success at the Open Championship that the last English winner of the Claret Jug, Sir Nick Faldo, turns 57 on Friday.

It is now 22 years since Faldo won his third Open title at Muirfield, five years after he won his first at the same course.

It was his love of Muirfield that tempted him back to play the Open 12 months ago, having given it a miss since 2010, when it was played at St Andrew's, the scene of Faldo's other Open victory in 1990.

And he admits that last year's experience at the Honourable Company of Edinburgh golfers restored his love of golf's oldest major championship.

"I had a couple of years off, but I got the bug back last year, which was nice and now this week I've got my son Matthew on the bag, which is fun for me," he told BBC Sport.

"I'm just here out of curiosity. Making the cut is my goal as I haven't done that for many moons.

"I just want to play solid and, if can get into a groove, and I think I can, then see what happens.

"You play this game, you practise and you think 'what can I do?'

"I love this era they're in now. There are answers to questions. They know how to train properly."

Faldo's glittering career
With three Open victories and three Masters green jackets, Sir Nick Faldo is the most successful British golfer of the modern era
His first Open win came at Muirfield in 1987 when he parred all 18 holes on the final day to edge out Paul Azinger
After winning the 1989 Masters, he then successfully defended it a year later, before moving on to St Andrews three months later to win the 1990 Open by six shots.
Faldo claimed his third Open at Muirfield in 1992 before winning his sixth major when he wore down Greg Norman's six-shot lead in 1996.
He remains the most successful player in Ryder Cup history of the event, having played a record 11 times and scored more points than any other member of either the European or United States teams - and was non-playing captain in 2008.

For a man of his age, Faldo is in great physical shape and clearly still knows how to look after himself properly.

"I believe in that. I want to be still running around in my 80s and 90s," he said. "It's a long-term game-plan for growing old.

"I've been doing my exercises to make my shoulders strong. Now it's a case of seeing what the swing will do."

Faldo, who makes his living in the United States as a commentator for CBS and the Golf Channel, has also been busy warming himself up in terms of the mindset needed for tournament play.

He shot a first-round 71 on the PGA tour a month ago at The Greenbrier in Virginia, where he has a home, before narrowly missing the cut.

And after shooting a pair of matching 73s at Royal Aberdeen last weekend, he was not far away from making the final two rounds there either.

"I'm at the end of my season, my three-week season," joked Faldo.

"We thought we'd gear up and play a couple before the Open, which we've now done. And last week was good preparation as you feel a few things and know what you did wrong."

Sir Nick Faldo
Faldo will be competing in his 36th Open Championship at Hoylake, having made his debut in 1976

With six majors to his credit, Faldo has no realistic expectations of success - although Tom Watson was two years older when he made it all the way to a play-off at Turnberry five years ago.

It is a very different story for favourite Justin Rose, former world number one Luke Donald, majors nearly-man Lee Westwood and Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter, and Faldo would love to see the Claret Jug lifted by one of the next generation of English golfers.

But he also acknowledged that they do not need any extra pressure on their backs by being reminded of a need to emulate his deeds.

"They're not worried about that," he said. "It's just something that gets blown up in the media every year.

"Everybody prepares the best they can and believes they can do something. You look after yourself, practise the best you can and play your one game.

"They don't need any extra pressure on them because the one sure thing is you're out there trying to win it for yourself."