It is a rivalry that stretches back almost twenty years, and in Kentucky in just under two years’ time a new chapter will be written as Europe’s Nick Faldo and America’s Paul Azinger square up as captains for the 2008 Ryder Cup at Valhalla.
Azinger’s appointment was confirmed on Monday and yesterday Faldo (pictured), who beat his rival to the 1987 Open Championship at Muirfield, was full of excitement and anticipation when he commented on the news.
“It’s great for Paul and great for the pair of us,” he told Sky Sports.
“We were fierce competitors as players, mainly in the Ryder Cup – in normal tournament play with the exception of the Open in 1987 I rarely came up against him.”
As well as that Open Championship, Azinger and Faldo also locked horns in a memorable singles match in the 1993 Ryder Cup at The Belfry. The match finished all square, with Azinger overcoming a Faldo hole-in-one on his way to securing a crucial half point that helped the USA retain the trophy. In recent years the two have worked together on US TV as co-commentators.
“We’ve gone head-to-head in the booth for ABC, which was fun,” Faldo continued.
“For the Ryder Cup we will deal with things seriously but will hopefully have some fun there too. I know I will battle hard for my team on any issues that they want me to represent and won’t give an inch – but I’m sure at times we will be able to dig each other in the ribs and enjoy the match.”