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Sir Nick Faldo’s Belfry moments 

Sir Nick Faldo’s Belfry moments 

In a Ryder Cup year, it is fitting that a legend of the game should serve as host to one of the founding events on the DP World Tour at a venue which is synonymous with European golf.

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For a generation of fans, the association between Sir Nick Faldo – who received a knighthood in 2009 for his services to golf – and The Belfry is an immediate thought.

In a professional playing career spanning almost 40 years, he won both the Masters Tournament and Open Championship on three occasions but also counts several memories from playing on home soil at the Sutton Coldfield venue.

Across his 11 consecutive appearances at the Ryder Cup between 1977 and 1997, during which he amassed 25 points, the Englishman played on three occasions at the iconic Brabazon course.

Despite winning 11 points across his first four playings of golf’s greatest event, Faldo would remarkably have to wait until 1985 - the first Ryder Cup staging at the Belfry - to be on the winning side.

Although he was not the standout performer in that contest, Faldo returned to The Belfry four years later in 1989 and helped the European team that retained the trophy, contributing 2.5 points in the dramatic match that finished 14-14.

In that edition, Faldo was paired with Ian Woosnam for all four sessions across the first two days, halving one, winning two, and losing one. On the opening day they took both matches to the 18th, halving their morning foursomes match against Tom Kite and Curtis Strange before defeating Mark Calcavecchia and Mark McCumber 2UP in the third match of the afternoon four-balls. That was a particularly important match, because it contributed to Europe's 4-0 victory in that session.

They triumphed again the following morning 3&2 over Lanny Wadkins and Payne Stewart, but their luck ran out against Chip Beck and Paul Azinger in the afternoon - losing 2&1. He also suffered a narrow 1UP loss in the penultimate match on Sunday to Lanny Wadkins, but at that point the Cup had already been retained.

After a three-year span between 1990 and 1992 in which he first became World Number One and took his Major haul to five titles, Faldo then resumed his Ryder Cup story at The Belfry in 1993.

Forging a partnership with Colin Montgomerie, the pair won two of their four matches together to help the hosts to a slender lead after the opening two days.

And while his memorable hole-in-one – just the second in Ryder Cup history – during his Sunday singles match against Paul Azinger might have fired up the European crowd, it proved to be in a losing cause.

On that occasion, his moment of brilliance at the par-three 14th helped towards a half point against Azinger – who Faldo beat to claim his first Major triumph at The Open Championship in 1987 – as the United States mounted a Sunday comeback to retain the trophy.

Across the three contests he was involved in at The Belfry he won five points to underline his status as a man for the big occasion.

But Faldo’s ties to the British Masters extend beyond his Ryder Cup days. The 18th of his 30 DP World Tour titles came at this very event in 1989.

Just months after he claimed the first of three Green Jackets at the Masters, he would register back-to-back triumphs on home soil that culminated with a four-shot victory over Ronan Rafferty at Woburn.

He was already playing a lot less when the British Masters first made it's way to The Belfry in 2006, but this week returns as tournament host for the first time.

“It’s a real honour to be given the opportunity to host the Betfred British Masters, particularly at a venue as iconic as The Belfry,” said Faldo. “It’s a place that is synonymous with British and European golf, and we’ve been treated to some incredible moments there over the years."

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