Tuesday, December 9, 2008. (AP) Three-time champion Nick Faldo stopped playing the Masters when he took over as lead golf analyst for CBS Sports. After watching the last two from the booth, he doesn't have any doubt he made the right choice.
"It's a fear factor, that place," Faldo said.
In comments that probably won't be repeated from the CBS tower during the Masters, Faldo lamented how difficult Augusta National has become, suggesting that it has caused even the most skilled players to become conservative with a smaller chance of being rewarded.
"If you don't have an opportunity to reward yourself, it switches off the best players," he said last week at the Father-Son Championship in Orlando, Fla. "They've got the flair and the skills to go for it, but going for it is suicide."
Faldo won in consecutive playoffs in 1989 and 1990, but his third green jacket was the most memorable. Trailing by six shots to Greg Norman, he closed with a 5-under 67 and won by five shots when Norman shot 78.
"That was the best of the weekend," Faldo said of his 67. "Yeah, that's what you really are looking for. Augusta was always the one where ... you can shoot your 65. If you play really well, you're shooting 3 and 4 under. You get rewarded. That's what you got to be careful of. Bottom line is you got to reward the guys. You've got to be given the opportunity to hit career shots."
The Masters record book shows Faldo withdrew in his final Masters in 2006, although he recalls a second-round score of about 77. What he remembers most is standing on the ninth fairway and trying to figure out how to land it on the green with a 3-iron.
"When you're standing there thinking, 'I can't hit that green. Where do I now look?' ... That's when I thought, 'I'm more than happy now to be a CBS man,'" he said.