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Opinion & Analysis

Faldo’s ‘commercial’ dig at Rickie Fowler was narcissistic, unfair and hypocritical



This week, Rickie Fowler opened up on his current struggles on the course, describing the enormous frustration he’s going through and the toll it’s even taking on his life at home.

Instead of Fowler being commended for his honesty during the most challenging period of his career to date, he found himself attacked. Not just by some nameless, faceless troll on social media either, but by a six-time major winner turned talking head: Nick Faldo.

Replying to Golf Digest’s article on Fowler, the Englishman decided he’d take a swipe at Fowler’s commercial success, saying:

“Good news is if he misses the Masters he can shoot another six commercials that week!”

He then doubled down on the comment, highlighting his own excellent achievements in the sport while knocking Fowler who is still looking for his maiden major win, posting shortly after: “What would you rather have, a boatload of cash or your name in three green books?”

Had Faldo bothered to read the article in question, then he’d have seen that Fowler is extremely hungry and putting in hours of practice to get back to the heights that saw him once ranked inside the world’s top 5.

If Fowler was content to do commercials instead of grinding away on the course as Faldo suggests, why will this week at Bay Hill mark his 6th appearance in the last seven weeks on the PGA Tour?

That schedule just doesn’t fit Nick’s narrative that Fowler is satisfied with things in his professional life.

Sadly, Faldo’s dig at Rickie had nothing to do with his golf game, nor did it even acknowledge how hard he is trying to turn things around.

It was a petty knock at a universally well-liked player from his peers to fans alike because he happens to do well for himself outside of the course as well as on it.

And let’s not forget how good Fowler has been on it, five PGA Tour wins (including The Players), 2 European Tour wins, and 11 top-ten finishes at majors—and he’s still just 32.

All that the Englishman’s cheap shot at Fowler’s commercial success did was amplify the undercurrent of jealousy within Faldo, who spends the majority of his time on social media plugging and endorsing a golf shoe.

Does anyone really think that Faldo wouldn’t snap up Rickie’s commercial opportunities if they presented themselves to him?

To knock Fowler’s current level of play is fair game, but to suggest he’d be happy to miss the Masters so that he can “shoot another six commercials that week” is out of line and does a disservice to the effort he puts in each day to get better at his craft.

Fowler has demonstrated time and time again that he is a class act, an excellent ambassador for the sport, and he deserves much better than a blindsided attack on Twitter from a prominent figure in golf media.

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Gianni is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito



  1. Paulo

    Mar 9, 2021 at 12:03 am

    Faldo won more than Rickie. He knows about how to win. I agree with him on this one

  2. Connie

    Mar 6, 2021 at 11:46 am

    Nick Faldo doesn’t always need to say everything he is thinking, learn to edit.
    Mean is never attractive.
    Rickie is one of the nicest golfers, always supportive of his fellow players.

  3. dttruman

    Mar 6, 2021 at 6:14 am

    I respect Faldo a lot for his accomplishments and I also commend him for his objective and sometimes humorous observations when he calls a tournament. But his recent remark about Ricky Fowler isn’t like him at all and I would expect something like that to come from Brandel Chamblee who’s criticism of others always seems to be low class.

    • juliette91

      Mar 8, 2021 at 10:44 am

      I like Faldo’s humor–most of the time–and actually thought what he said was funny. No idea how Fowler took those comments but there’s no doubt Fowler is likely the leading commercial success on tour. He’s well liked and emblematic of a younger generation than the one the choose your jet! ads are targeting. I was a vendor to the advertising industry and it’s all about the appeal of the ad–and if you can get someone who is universally loved by the public well then the ad doesn’t even have to be that good for the campaign to be successful.

      There is a world of difference between the sense of humor here in the USA and in Europe. Just watch Tommy Fleetwood’s youtube sketches with other Euro pros. They really get after each other and like any real good humor there’s always a measure of reality. Fowler is struggling now and Fowler is on tv more than any other touring pro. He’s fair game.

  4. chip75

    Mar 5, 2021 at 9:24 pm

    Faldo got slammed when he was having bad Sundays early in his career, he was slammed for changing his swing after a no.1 year and he was slammed for tinkering when playing well. He was saying the incentive to win was getting less and less as prize money increased decades ago. Was it mean what he said? that’s up to Rickie, he seems like a nice guy, so hopefully he’ll have an, “I’ll show them!” attitude. But some folks don’t get Faldo’s humour, it’s pretty dry, I don’t know his relationship with Fowler.

    The other issue is the tremendous pressure the media puts on kids like Rickie, they’re always hailed as the “Next!” somebody, they’re never given a chance to bed in and are just lumped with enormous expectations, players progress differently.

  5. Cdub

    Mar 5, 2021 at 7:17 pm

    Faldo has become a big donkey. Hope Mickelson kicks him out of the booth soon.

    • matt

      Mar 6, 2021 at 12:44 pm

      if zinger wasn’t even worse I’d agree.. but yes both need to go

      • Captain Obvious

        Mar 6, 2021 at 3:14 pm

        God.. Zinger is the worst. 100 times worse than Faldo. Saying things like that rough is lush, green, thick.. it’s gonna be hard to hit it out of there today.. he should do the commercials instead of me.

  6. Luke keefner

    Mar 5, 2021 at 5:38 pm

    When Fowler was voted most over rated player on tour, he promptly won the players. Maybe this is what he needs….

  7. Jack

    Mar 5, 2021 at 5:15 pm

    Faldo is arrogant – so what he said is expected from someone like him.

    On another note since, this is GOLFWRX, I think it is time Fowler leave Cobra and get retooled with one of the big boys. Clearly their equipment is not working well for him – should go rogue like many others and back to the Pro V1 too.

  8. Rod

    Mar 5, 2021 at 3:24 pm

    Faldo should stick to pitching Squairz……

    well actually he shouldn’t do that either

  9. C Bowen

    Mar 5, 2021 at 1:42 pm

    Hey Gianni,

    Your “commentary” is so typical of the “I got a trophy for just showing up” generation. Faldo was/is correct and my suggestion to you & Ricky: GROW A PAIR!!!

    • GMatt

      Mar 5, 2021 at 1:45 pm

      Well said… has anyone figured out if this hack even owns a set of golf clubs? Maybe he should be submitting his articles on another platform

  10. benseattle

    Mar 5, 2021 at 11:38 am

    I’m certainly no Faldo fanatic (his insistence on relentless puns is fingernails on a chalkboard) but Lil’ Gianni’s horror at a wisecrack just shows that now even golf writers are demonstrating we’re all just as delicate as can be. Sure, Twitter is a cesspool of unthinking, fast-twitch, top-of-mind mistake-makers, but to spend time denouncing Nick for yet a harmless jab is an excursion into pure snowflake territory. Oh, and by the way, thanks to this oh-so-sensitive world we live in, Faldo has now apologized for merely pointing out that Fowler’s bank account vastly exceeds his accomplishments. But I suppose a tender golf scribe has to write about SOMETHING.

  11. Robert Welsh

    Mar 5, 2021 at 11:26 am

    Mission accomplished for Faldo – getting people to notice him and talk about him, apparently ascribing to the “no such thing as bad publicity” mantra.

    He is a lousy announcer, fond of saying what he does followed by the player doing the exact opposite and playing an excellent shot as a result. Instead of insight he provides worthless blather and so he has to say something spectacularly stupid to gain notice.

    Same kind of modus operandi was seen when he tried to generate a tempest over Reed’s drop at Torrey. I play Torrey regularly and know that area just short and left of #10 well (unfortunately). Unless you are on the ground to see it, as were Reed’s playing partners and the Rules Official, you have no business making remarks like “the rest of the world is screaming at that one”.

    Most successful pros make far more money with endorsements and commercials than they do in prize money, and it has been this way for a long time, so why the cheap shot at Fowler ?

    To generate some publicity for himself at the expense of someone else, that’s why.

  12. silver 76

    Mar 5, 2021 at 10:17 am

    Anybody who watches golf knows that Nick Faldo is a class “A” jerk!!! Yeah he is a Hypocritic A–Hole!!

  13. drgolfaholic

    Mar 5, 2021 at 10:13 am

    Could serve as the best motivation that push RF out of his recent slump if he ignores it and continues working hard. Or RF can get caught in the unproductive back and forth spat

  14. George Stevenson

    Mar 5, 2021 at 10:13 am

    Haaaa. We need more funny.

  15. GMatt

    Mar 5, 2021 at 10:02 am

    Typical snowflake article, whether Faldo is a sick or not his comment was not only spot on, it was pretty funny. People get so butt hurt these days and can’t take criticism as it’s bullying….toughen up grow some balls. I like Rickie but you can’t argue he hasn’t done much other than winning The Player and a nice run of runner ups in majors

  16. John

    Mar 5, 2021 at 9:47 am

    Faldo has never had any class. He proved that when he was sneaking behind a fellow professional’s back, having an affair with his wife. Thankfully, we don’t hear too much of him in the UK these days but, it’s clear from these comments that he hasn’t changed.

  17. Gary

    Mar 5, 2021 at 9:41 am

    When I read narcissistic, hypocritical, and unfair I immediately thought this was a story about a GOP politician…

    • The dude

      Mar 5, 2021 at 10:18 am


    • Team America

      Mar 5, 2021 at 10:42 am

      Dirka..Durka… you win the internet for the day.

    • Joe Biden

      Mar 5, 2021 at 12:57 pm

      That’s just because you actually listen to what the liberal media has to say…. it’s called indoctrination bud

  18. Avrm

    Mar 5, 2021 at 9:29 am

    Fowler’s financial return is grossly out of proportion to his relatively modest accomplishments. Faldo’s comment was spot on and a nice antidote to the media cheerleaders who have for years over hyped Fowler. We need more, not less, cynicism in media golf commentary.

  19. Ron John Dupraine

    Mar 5, 2021 at 9:25 am

    Cancel culture….Don’t blame Faldo for sharing his opinion. He is entitled to it, and CBS pays him big bucks to give it. Also I’m a Rickie fan, and who cares what Rickie Fowler wants. Let him live his life, and decide what he wants…. if he wants something I’m sure he’ll give it his all…

  20. Helen Cronin

    Mar 5, 2021 at 9:19 am

    Faldo is a jealous jerk he also had jealous comments about Tiger when Tiger was struggling. He is a jerk I do not like him as a sports commenter. He should be telling us how hard it is out there to make it instead of knocking the players. He thinks he was great but he had problems too out there. Ricki is a fan favorite and good for golf just like Tiger was, Faldo was not a fan favorite.

    • Dr Watson

      Mar 5, 2021 at 9:30 am

      Americans hate Faldo, Europeans love him. He has just as many fans as haters.

      • Jim

        Mar 5, 2021 at 9:50 am

        You couldn’t be more wrong. Apart from the English, pretty much no one in Europe cares for him. This is why he now does his pundit in the States. No one over here is interested in anything he has to say.

  21. Ricki-is-overrated

    Mar 5, 2021 at 9:08 am

    So we have found the Fowler fan boy.
    Rickie seems like a good kid, but let’s be honest, way over hyped and considering his struggles on the course lately, Faldo isn’t wrong. It’s not a good look.

  22. TG

    Mar 5, 2021 at 8:51 am

    Faldo can’t be saying this if he’s shooting boat loads of commercials himself. What’s the difference? Rickie could tear down his broadcasting performance; perhaps Faldo would win more broadcasting awards if he wasn’t busy flogging crappy golf shoes?

  23. GodShamgod

    Mar 4, 2021 at 7:16 pm

    Faldo is definitely a jerk for saying this and kicking a guy while he is down. Even the new nicer version of Faldo is still the same rotten person inside.

    But that doesn’t menman he is wrong. Rickie definitely wants to win and succeed. But he also wants to milk his commercial opportunities. There is nothing wrong with that but sometimes it is tough to have both.

    It is no coincidence that about half the winners since the new year have not been under an equipment contract. Some of it might be the ability to shop around but don’t underestimate the demands TM, Cway, Cobra etc put on a player. Maybe if Rickie stripped away, Cobra, Puma, Mercedes and State Farm he wouldnt be a thinly stretched.

  24. Geoedgar

    Mar 4, 2021 at 7:00 pm

    Says the guy getting paid to tell us to buy new golf shoes that will give you extra distance?

    • BigGG

      Mar 5, 2021 at 6:18 am

      Say’s Faldo who has won a lot more majors.

    • Kuuchie Doochie

      Mar 5, 2021 at 9:33 am

      That is currently his job to give us opinions. CBS pays him a boatload…

  25. Sir Nick

    Mar 4, 2021 at 1:14 pm

    This was pure sarcasm/dry wit from Faldo (and frankly he’s not wrong). Why does this writer take the position of staunchly defending Fowler’s underperforming career? Did he need to put 250 words together for an article and this was the way to go? I recently played golf for the first time in 3 months with a buddy of mine who never stopped playing during the winter. I beat him and said “man, you played all winter, I would have thought you’d have been better than that”. We laughed and had a beer because HE ISN”T SO DAMN SENSITIVE and can take a joke!

  26. VPL

    Mar 4, 2021 at 9:17 am

    Sorry, Faldo wins on this one. The articles author is a complete moron making the statement that Faldo is jealous – he won 6 majors and who knows how many other events worldwide, Fowler couldn’t and won’t even carry Faldo’s bag in the history books. Too many players have allowed mediocrity to rule the day. Let’s not forget that very few players win majors, in fact I found that “454 majors have been played. A total of 225 different men have won majors and, of these, 83 have won at least two.” It is golfers themselves that have painted a picture of major wins being the standard by which they will be judged Like in any business, there is no shame in being a success without having become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. If you ask me Fowler spent a good part of his career developing a persona, using his off course life activities and his childish matching outfits as part of this persona. This brought him attention and endorsment money but he forgot to bring the game. Where did he think he was going in the era of Tiger and DJ? Those guys showed up with game first and took the other benefits later OK, he won The Players but does anyone remember any of the other four?, it’s not like they were “wins for the ages” Finally, never mistake popularity for talent.

  27. David Landig

    Mar 4, 2021 at 9:13 am

    Typical pompous Faldo. I think his screensaver is a picture of himself.

    • Big GG

      Mar 4, 2021 at 5:36 pm

      Funny. Johnny Miller always said things like this. People like you never said a word.

      • Get Scoobie

        Mar 4, 2021 at 9:46 pm

        And Johnny Miller is no longer commentating.

      • Ron Hole

        Mar 5, 2021 at 9:38 am

        Miller was a pompous ass… face it, these guys are paid to give controversial opinions. Plus Faldo is and was better than Miller on the course, and in the booth..

      • Jim

        Mar 5, 2021 at 10:44 am

        This is accurate

  28. K

    Mar 4, 2021 at 8:17 am

    As someone previously stated. Hopefully Faldo had good intentions trying to fire Rickie up.
    If not it shows a complete lack of class on Faldos part. So what if Rickie doesnt make it to Augusta this year? In what universe does that have any effect on Faldos life? Even if Rickie misses The Masters and DOES go shoot 6 commercials so what? Rickie will get paid and with the way Rickie is im sure some charity out there will benefit from that.
    Being a 3x past Masters champion and a bit of an ambassador to Augusta and The Masters it seems Nick would demonstrate a bit more class/respect when using their name. Could you imagine Mr. Ridley or any member throwing out comments such as this? Would NEVER happen

  29. Mark

    Mar 4, 2021 at 7:47 am

    You have an excellent grasp of the twat that is Faldo.

    If his ex-wives read this, they would be nodding in agreement.

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Club Junkie: Wedge Wednesday! New Edel SMS and Cobra Snakebite



Wedge Wednesday is here! We have some new wedges from Edel and Cobra that were just released. Edel’s SMS wedge with Swing Match Weighting System is made to be adjusted for each player’s swing. Cobra’s Snakebite wedge has wider and shallower full-face grooves for more spin out of any lie.

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Opinion & Analysis

Ways to Win: Up and down – The Spieth rollercoaster notches a rare short game win



Jordan Spieth is back! After a long hiatus from the winner’s circle, Spieth was able to break through at the Oaks Course at TPC of San Antonio to capture his 12th career PGA TOUR victory at the Valero Texas Open. It wasn’t easy, but then again, nothing ever is with Spieth. The Golden Child always seems to find a way to add dramatics whether its shots from the driving range to steal the British Open from Matt Kuchar or holing a bunker shot to force (John Deere) or win (Travelers) a playoff. That sense of drama and fun that has surrounded the always-vocal Spieth has been missing in recent years as his weekend struggles had him plummeting down the World Rankings.

Earlier this year, he started showing signs of life with a handful of 54 hole leads, only to be undone with mediocre Sunday performances. Through eight holes on Saturday, sitting at +1 for the day, it looked like this would also be just another missed opportunity. But then Spieth did what Spieth does. He made birdies in bunches and showed off that terrific short game.

Spieth has never been traditional in the way he wins. Though he is probably best known for his putting stroke, in his best years, he was also quite dominant with his irons. This week was no exception. We can use V1 Game’s Strokes Gained Stacked view to see how Spieth performed in Driving, Approach, Short Game, and Putting over the four rounds.

The first thing that jumps out, looking at Spieth’s performance, is his short game. Speith gained well over 4 strokes over the average PGA Tour player for the week. This is not common for PGA TOUR winners. The main reason is that gaining strokes in the Short Game requires opportunities from inside 75 yards. In order to have opportunities, that typically means that you have to miss greens. Most PGA TOUR winners do not many miss greens on their way to a trophy, however Jordan Spieth missed many at the Valero Texas Open. In fact, he finished the week tied for 66th in greens in regulation (GIR) hitting only 58 percent. This is certainly more of an outlier in terms of GIR for tour winners, but when you have a short game as good as Spieth’s, you can get away with it.

The second observation is that Spieth was almost perfectly average with Driving. He came out positive in strokes gained for the week, but finished 38th in the field for Strokes Gained Driving. Strokes Gained Driving accounts for both distance and accuracy and while Jordan is certainly not one of the longest hitters on tour, lately his struggle has been with accuracy. He is hitting around 50 percent of his fairways and while the rough was not overly penal this week, several times Spieth was putting himself into recovery or difficult situations.

Known for his putting, Spieth demonstrated exactly why this weekend. For starters, he had no three putts. While a lot of the field struggled to get the ball in the hole, Jordan minimized mistakes. In fact, Jordan gained strokes on the field putting from every distance bucket <25 ft. He gained almost more than one stroke per round on the field from four -15 ft each day. Those strokes add up at the end of the week and Spieth’s putter certainly gives him an advantage.

Spieth is peaking just in time for The Masters at a golf course where he has traditionally played very well. But what should he be working on heading to Augusta? We can use V1 Game’s Virtual Coach to breakdown his game and give us some insights on how he should be practicing this week.

V1 Game’s Virtual Coach tells Jordan that first he should work on Driving as it is currently the weakest part of his game (relative to other Tour professionals). The quick insight shows that he is missing to the right more than 30 percent of the time and is losing, on average, around a third of a stroke per round from putting his tee shots into recovery situations.

Next, V1 Game’s Virtual Coach highlights Approach as his next-biggest area of focus. With the Virtual Coach, we can go as deep as we want to go to get specific targets for practice. Clicking on “WORK ON NEXT” takes us to the Approach Histogram which shows us that Jordan is gaining strokes for most yardage buckets, but struggling from 151-175 yards. This is where he should spend some time practicing, but we can go even deeper than that. Clicking on the insight takes us to a breakdown of his performance from that distance, shows that he only hit the green 25 percent of the time and tended to miss long. These key insights could help Spieth fine-tune a problem area heading into one of the most important weeks of the year.

As a Spieth fan, I was delighted to see him breakthrough and win again on the PGA TOUR. Golf is better when Jordan Spieth is adding his theatrics to the mix. His combination of approach and putting mixed with unbelievable short game is a thrill to watch. It is rare to see a PGA TOUR winner do so much damage with the short game. This proves there is more than one way to win on tour and more than one way to get it done on the golf course.

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