SIR NICK Faldo has signed up for next month’s Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open more out of curiosity than the belief that he can roll back the years at Royal Aberdeen at the age of 56.
It has been 17 years since Faldo achieved the last of his 39 tournament victories, in the 1997 Nissan Open on the US PGA Tour, and the six-time major champion admits that his expectations are low now that his focus is on his role as a commentator with CBS and the Golf Channel.
But he confessed: “I’m still curious about what I can do so I am playing partly through curiosity and I would love to go out and play well.
“Leaping in at the deep end and playing the Open at Muirfield after three years of nothing competitive at all was pretty stupid. I should have played the Scottish Open first.
“This year I am really looking forward to it, getting a bit of links experience and blowing the cobwebs away. I have read a comment from Tom Watson saying Royal Aberdeen has nine of the best holes of golf anywhere in the world so I am very keen to see it for myself.
“I am enjoying the process of gearing up to play golf. I am trying to practise as much as I can, but I still have injuries including a delicate shoulder and that curtails how much work I can do. I spend more time putting on the carpet these days.
“And if you haven’t played competitive golf you are not competitive, but my mind is good and I am thinking I can be competitive and that’s the number one battle.
“I don’t know if I have got a win left in me. I am not accurate enough and I don’t know how I could change my schedule to play more because I am quite happy doing what I am doing now with my TV career.
“It’s a long time ago since I was winning tournaments. But, who knows what I can still do?
“I am just enjoying playing golf, which is the fun bit.” Faldo also revealed that he is keen to sample Aberdeen’s world-famous fish and chips wrapped in paper after developing a passion for the delicacy prior to the first of his three Open victories, at Muirfield in 1987.
He recalled: “It happened by accident when I arrived late in the evening immediately following the Scottish Open at Gleneagles and I couldn’t find a restaurant that was still serving.
“But I discovered a chippie and that’s how it started. So I need to find a good fish and chippie when I come to Aberdeen. Tell me the best one and I will be there.”
Faldo keeps being drawn back to the home of golf by the memory of his two Open wins at Muirfield either side of his victory at St Andrews in 1990.
He added: “The first time I came to St Andrews was in 1978 and I loved the links straight away and playing the Open, which is so special.
“The atmosphere at an Open feels so different to anything else. The Open was my goal as a youngster and to finally win it was very special.
“The Open has the best atmosphere and a wonderful tradition, where everybody is applauded on to the greens by Scottish galleries who know a good shot.
“So it was very important to win at Muirfield on one of the greatest courses with the best atmosphere of any in the world and St Andrews, and I could not have picked two better venues to win at.”