Former Ryder Cup captain Sir Nick Faldo has defended the criticism he aimed at Sergio Garcia during the CBS telecast on day one of the Ryder Cup.
The Englishman said on-air that the Spaniard had been ‘useless’ in 2008, when Faldo skippered the European side.
Replying to co-host Terry Gannon’s observation that Garcia has been ‘spectacular’ in the Ryder Cup since making his debut in 1999, Faldo replied: “Yes, apart from one.”
Gannon asked the six-time major winner to elaborate “He was useless,” he said. “Half a point, bad attitude. Anyway, we move on six years later.” .
After teaming-up with Rory McIlroy to salvage an improbable half-point in their afternoon foursomes match with Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler, Garcia said: “I guess he doesn’t feel European. That’s the only thing I can think of. You know, there’s a lot of things I could say about Nick Faldo, but I’m not going to put myself down to his level.”
Others were less diplomatic. Garcia’s teammate McDowell – who made his Ryder Cup debut in 2008 under Faldo – bristled at the Englishman’s withering assessment and pointed to the controversial to drop Garcia and Westwood on the Saturday afternoon as evidence of Faldo’s own shortcomings at Valhalla that week.
“That was the tone of Sergio for the whole week. He wasn't in it.” - Sir Nick Faldo
“You've got one of the best Ryder Cup pairings of all time being sat down on a Saturday of a Ryder Cup that we go on to lose,” said the Northern Irishman. “I'd say Sergio was fairly useless that afternoon, yeah, because he wasn't able to play.”
Speaking to the Associated Press late on Saturday evening, Faldo acknowledged his comments had perhaps been ‘harsh’ but was unrepentant.
“He was always labelled as the man who brings emotion and passion. We didn't have it that week,” Faldo told the AP. “That's, in my opinion, how it looked and felt.”
Shortly before the match, Garcia had broken up with former girlfriend Morgan Leigh Norman – daughter of Greg Norman – and Faldo added that had affected his performance.
“Friday morning, I'm going up the tenth hole with him,” he said. “'I just put my arm around him and said, ‘Are you good to go this afternoon?’ And he said, ‘Yes’ to me. Then I get him on the 18th green and he says, ‘I'm (expletive). I don't want to play anymore. I've been on antibiotics.’ I told him he was on the tee in 30 minutes.''
The pairings are submitted for the afternoon before the morning matches are over.
“That was the tone of Sergio for the whole week,” Faldo said. “He wasn't in it.”
Faldo presided over the only European Ryder Cup defeat in the 21st century to date, his team going down 16½-11½ to Paul Azinger’s US side in Kentucky.
Twitter reacts to Nick Faldo’s comments
James Corrigan @jcorrigangolf
Worse thing about Faldo’s onslaught on Garcia is 2008 team never broke ranks on what a useless captain he was.
Edoardo Molinari @DodoMolinari
After bring the worst captain of the last 15 years, Faldo embarrassed himself once again by criticizing Sergio! #goSergio
John Huggan @johnhuggan
re faldo...suspect he may have opened pandora's box re his 2008 captaincy...until now his team have not broken ranks...that may change now
Oliver Holt @OllieHolt22
Faldo's got a nerve criticising anyone over anything that happened at Valhalla after the complete pig's ear he made of the captaincy there
'Nick Faldo is as much fun as Saddam Hussein' - Scott Hoch, after beating Faldo and Lee Westwood in the Foursomes in 1997 #rydercup
What do you make of Nick Faldo’s remarks?
We want to know your thoughts on what Nick Faldo had to say. Leave your replies in our ‘Comments’ section below.