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  Monday, 10 June, 2002, 16:38 GMT 17:38 UK
Faldo's major streak survives
Nick Faldo
Faldo will make his 60th straight major appearance

Maybe, just maybe, there is one more trick in the old dog yet.

Six-time major winner Nick Faldo has not won a tournament since the Nissan Open in 1997.

But the 2002 US Open will be a record-breaking 60th consecutive appearance in a major tournament for the former world number one.

And there is a whisper doing the rounds that Faldo has one more victory in him before he packs the clubs away to concentrate on his various business interests.

The 45-year-old received a special invitation from the United States Golf Association to play in New York after he narrowly missed out on qualification.

Faldo won the first of his six majors at Muirfield in 1987
Faldo won the first of his six majors in 1987

He needed to finish second at the Volvo PGA Championship at Wentworth to make the world's top 50 and ensure a tee-off time at Bethpage.

But after just missing out with a fourth place, Faldo - fiercely proud of his appearance streak - was planning to fly out to the US Open qualifying tournament.

Faldo has played in all four majors every year since winning the first of his six titles in 1987.

With a swing rebuilt by David Leadbetter, Faldo won his first Open at Muirfield - with a record 18 pars in the last round - in 1987 before further victories in 1990 and 1992.

And he triumphed in three Masters tournaments at Augusta in 1989, 1990 and 1996, when he memorably came from six shots behind to beat Greg Norman.

Faldo's lean spell has now lasted for five years and has coincided with a split from Leadbetter and a two-year separation from long-time caddie Fanny Sunesson.


If I can stand up and know what I am going to do then I've got to believe I'll be knocking on the door
Nick Faldo
But Sunesson and Faldo were reunited in 2001, and this season he has been a more consistent challenger, claiming four top 10 finishes on the European Tour.

He was 10th in the Johnnie Walker Classic, sixth in the Heineken Classic, third in Singapore and fourth at Wentworth.

The Augusta specialist also recorded a credible 14th at the Masters this year.

Faldo, so he says, has become more relaxed about life and golf - whether his playing partners would agree is a moot point.

The iceman persona was what brought him his success, but the modern Faldo believes he can still be a contender.

After the Singapore Masters he said: "The big breakthrough is going to be when I can stand up and know what I am going to do - I mean really know what I am going to do.

"That will be a big step forward. If I can get that then I've got to believe I will be knocking on the door."

Nick Faldo (right) commiserates Greg Norman at Augusta in 1996
Norman and Faldo shake hands at Augusta in 1996
Faldo's best US Open finish was as runner-up in a play-off to Curtis Strange in 1988, while he was third in 1990, fourth in 1992 and seventh two years ago at Pebble Beach.

But in the last five US Opens he has also tied 72nd, tied 48th and missed two cuts.

And his best major performance since winning his last title at Augusta in 1996 was a fourth place at the Open Championship at Royal Lytham later the same year.

So the statistics do not exactly stack up in Faldo's favour for a career finale in New York.

But the silent assassin will be desperate to remind the world that there was life before Tiger Woods, and be eager to repay the organisers for their kind invitation.

And if Faldo's major finale is not to be at the US Open, what price a dramatic victory at this year's Open at Muirfield, the scene of two of Faldo's most famous wins.

BBC Sport Online's US Open 2002 news section

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29 May 02 | Golf
27 May 02 | Golf
25 Feb 02 | Golf
25 Mar 02 | Golf
Links to more US Open stories are at the foot of the page.


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