Nick Faldo is given an emotional send-off after 16 years as CBS golf analyst


Asked by longtime broadcast partner Jim Nantz for his “final thoughts on this remarkable run,” Nick Faldo was momentarily unable to muster a cogent response.

At the end of a telecast Sunday marked by tributes and displays of emotion, Faldo broke down in tears in the CBS booth as he bid farewell to the lead golf analyst role he held for 16 years.

The six-time major winner, ever mindful of a performer’s ability to maintain composure in a high-intensity situation, then began his response with a typically blunt critique — this time, of himself.

“I blew it,” Faldo sputtered, before burying his head behind his hands. “I was all ready.”

Nick Faldo announces retirement after 16 years as lead golf analyst for CBS

With the help of some pronounced deep breaths, the 65-year-old Englishman gathered himself to offer insight into his feelings about signing off one last time. Faldo started by going back to the moment he learned he’d landed the gig that would gain him legions of new fans in the golf world, several years after his Hall of Fame playing career ended.

“I was in a boat in Ireland,” he told CBS viewers, “and they gave me a call and said, ‘How would you like to sit next to Jim Nantz?’ And I literally fell out of the boat, I really did. That was 2006, and here we are 16 years later.”

CBS and Faldo had announced in June that his tenure as a full-time analyst would end with this weekend’s Wyndham Championship, the PGA Tour’s final regular season event before the field wins down through its three-tournament FedEx Cup playoffs.

Faldo then said that he wanted to spend more time with family and friends on a farm in Montana that he and his wife recently purchased. Replacing him next year as Nantz’s partner and the network’s lead analyst will be Trevor Immelman, a former Masters winner who has worked with CBS for several years.

On Sunday, Immelman was part of the Golf Channel’s early coverage of the Wyndham Championship before CBS’s crew went on the air, and the 42-year-old South African paid tribute to his “good friend” Faldo.

“I was very fortunate to meet Sir Nick when I was 15 years old,” said Immelman. “He took me under his wing, he’s been a mentor to me ever since through my playing career, starting on the European Tour and then the PGA Tour. And when I started broadcasting, he did the same.

“So, Nick, thanks so much for everything you’ve done for me. Every time I sit in this chair, as lead analyst, I will be thinking of you.”

During CBS’s telecast, Nantz and others noted that whereas Faldo was known for a “stoic” demeanor during his playing career, he had revealed to CBS viewers not just a dry wit but a deeply felt connection to the sport of golf and its competitors.

“If you take a look at your broadcasting career, you were bold enough to show everybody out there, including ourselves, really what’s inside your emotions,” fellow analyst Frank Nobilo customs duty Faldo. “You weren’t scared to do that.”

Faldo wasn’t the only member of the CBS booth to shed tears on Sunday. Ian Baker-Finch, a British Open champion and PGA Tour contemporary of Faldo’s who has been a CBS analyst and hole announcer for 15 years, gave his friend an emotional send-off.

“You’ve taught me so much, and for that I’m grateful,” Baker-Finch, 61, told Faldo. “I’m honored to have my name sandwiched between yours on the claret jug, ’90-’91-’92, I look at that all the time with great pleasure. In the last two decades, we’ve been paired together many times at various TV towers around the world, and in fact the last 16 years here at CBS. It’s been a great honor, and I’m sad to see you go, like all of us are here. So sat.”

“Thanks to all the crew,” Faldo said later in the telecast, after he collected his emotions. “As I affectionately and respectfully call you, the workers, they put the pictures out, we do the rattling, we have an easy job. Thank you all.”

“I’m a single child and I’ve found, at 65, three brothers,” Faldo continued, referring to Nantz, Baker-Finch and Nobilo. “Thank you.”

“Thank you, Nick, for gracing this booth and our lives,” said Nantz. He added that Faldo and his wife would now be found at their “happy place” in Montana.

“I’m ready,” Faldo chuckled.

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