July 19

This Day in History

Sports

Jul 19, 1992:

Nick Faldo wins third British Open

On July 19, 1992, 35-year-old British golfer Nick Faldo wins the British Open by two shots over American John Cook at Muirfield for his third British Open title and fifth major championship overall.

Faldo began his golf career in 1972 after watching Jack Nicklaus win the Masters on television. He proved to be a natural: After becoming the youngest golfer ever to win a British amateur title, he turned professional just four years later at the age of 19. In 1977, at age 21, he became the youngest man ever to make a Ryder Cup team.

Faldo had success on the European tour in the early 1980s, but his failure to win a major championship frustrated him, and in 1983, he hired instructor David Leadbetter to help him redesign his swing. It paid off, as Faldo won the British Open for the first time in 1987 at Muirfield by one stroke over Paul Azinger and Rodger Davis. In 1989 and 1990 he won back-to-back Masters, both in sudden-death playoffs. He followed his second Masters victory by trouncing the field to win his second British Open, this time by five strokes at the venerable St. Andrews course. By this time, Faldo was at the top of his game and was the highest ranked golfer in the world.

At the 1992 British Open, Faldo began the last day with a four-shot lead over Cook and Corey Pate, stretching the lead to five shots on the first nine holes. On the back nine, though, it looked like Faldo might live up to the old nickname given to him by British tabloids in the early 1980s--"Nick Foldo." While Faldo faltered with bogeys on the 11th, 13th and 14th holes, Cook, playing ahead of Faldo, birdied the 14th, 15th and 16th holes and took the lead. After Faldo managed to birdie 15, Cook’s drive on 17 left him with a 30-foot putt for eagle and a four-stroke lead. He missed by centimeters, skimming the lip of the cup, which left him with an easy two-footer for birdie. Unbelievably, he missed again, leaving the door open for Faldo. Faldo saved a par on 16, birdied 17 and hit a drive on 18 to put himself within 20 feet of the hole. The steely-nerved Faldo hit a soft putt to within a foot of the hole, and then putted in for a two-stroke win and the championship.

Faldo beat Greg Norman by five strokes to win his third Masters and sixth major overall in 1996.

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