RBC Heritage

Faldo comes out of TV booth, hopes to relive glory of 1984 at Heritage

Nick Faldo speaks to media during an interview at the media tent during the Pro-Am at the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing on April 16, 2014.  Faldo did not participate in the Pro-Am.
Nick Faldo speaks to media during an interview at the media tent during the Pro-Am at the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing on April 16, 2014. Faldo did not participate in the Pro-Am. Staff photo

Thirty years after squeaking out a one-shot win over Tom Kite in his only triumph at Harbour Town Golf Links, Nick Faldo returned to Hilton Head a relaxed man.

The six-time major winner is making his first appearance at a PGA Tour event on American soil since 2006, and appears to be taking the pre-tournament buildup in stride.

"Well, I drove here and so I'm ready," Faldo joked at a Wednesday news conference. "Preparation is slim. I'm doing everything on fond memories at the moment."

Faldo is one of two decorated golf veterans who will be in the spotlight Thursday. He and U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson have combined for 14 majors, and each will be providing a counterbalance to up-and-coming stars like Jordan Spieth this weekend.

For Faldo, the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing provides an opportunity for reflection and a chance to see where his body is in terms of golf. The champion-turned-television-analyst said he has to pace himself in tournaments and practice sessions so as not to aggravate any injuries, an unfortunate symptom of 29 years of full-time golf.

But three decades after his Heritage win, Faldo has fond memories of Hilton Head.

"I'm looking forward to it," Faldo said. "The idea came to me I guess the end of last year."

Citing three reasons for jumping at the opportunity to return to Harbour Town -- fresh air, exercise and curiosity -- Faldo said the course will present different challenges than the ones he faced in 1984.

"A few things have changed in the last 30 years," Faldo said with a laugh. "This was the first event I won in America, so I thought that would be pretty cool. Hilton Head is, in theory, perfect for me. It's dead flat. I pick the flat courses now because I've got dodgy ankles."

Now an analyst for CBS Sports and the Golf Channel, Faldo has devoted most of the last 10 years to television, but has made room in his schedule for a few tournaments this year. Asked if there was a Plan B for weekend coverage should be make the cut, Faldo joked: "We'll worry about that Saturday morning. I'll call [Jim] Nantz and say, 'Hey, guess what?' "

Making the cut is the goal, one that he said will require consistent play.

"That's the style of this golf course," Faldo said. "If you play nicely, you never know what you could shoot."

But Faldo, who reflected on some of the complications age presents to even an elite golfer, said he is prepared to go out and see what happens over the course of the next two days. He has trimmed down his practice routine so much that he puts in only a small fraction of the effort he used to. Because he is forced to limit himself, he has to get a good feeling for his game more quickly.

"Well, the problem is as you get older, you can't run, jump or throw it as far as you used to," Faldo said. "So you'd have to have pixie dust. Things change. You change directions."

Faldo also commented on the play of Spieth, who finished second at the Masters last week and garnered plenty of interest around Harbour Town on Wednesday. Faldo praised the young star for having an "old head" on his shoulders, and for his focus on each shot.

"And he's got no scar tissue," Faldo said. "He doesn't have any bad memories. That's the great thing."

The Heritage has provided its share of good memories for Faldo. He hopes to add to those this week.