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Torrance gives Faldo vote of confidence

Nick Faldo has revealed he has been given a huge lift in his bid to win his place back on Europe's Ryder Cup team with a resounding vote of confidence from captain Sam Torrance.

Faldo currently lies fifth in the rankings after just two events and knows there is a long road stretching ahead if he is to make it into the side for a record 12th time.

The former world No1 missed out last year at Brookline and desperately wants to grab a place in the team to face the Americans at The Belfry in 2001. And he has found an ally in skipper Torrance.

Faldo also offered to let Torrance know exactly how well he is playing, if the Scot is undecided about whether to risk gambling one of his wild-card picks on the man who has hit rock bottom since winning the last of his six Majors.

"I spoke to Sam and told him I want to be in the team," Faldo said yesterday. "If I make it into the team, then I make it. If I am just outside the top 10, then I hope to be a pick.

And if I am around 20th and he is not sure whether to pick me or not, I told him he should give me a call. "Then I can tell him yes or no. Because if I am not good enough for the Ryder Cup team, I will know and I would tell him

"I told him I would love to be picked if he wants a seasoned campaigner. And I would tell him straight whether I am good enough or not. I can't be fairer than that.

"He said, 'That's great.' He was very positive and said he thought I would make it. He said he would like me there.

"It was very encouraging, but we will just have to see where I am in the rankings. I am fifth at the moment, so maybe we can fast-forward the next 50 weeks."

Faldo's easy conversation with Torrance is in marked contrast with to his stormy relationship with the previous Ryder Cup captain Mark James.

The pair were at odds for much of the qualification period for last year's clash at Brookline. And the row came to a head over Faldo's good luck message, which was thrown away by James.

They only agreed to a truce last week, after a row that cost James his job as one of Torrance's assistants.

Faldo now wants to put the controversy behind him and concentrate solely on maintaining and improving on his current renaissance.

"Now is just the right time to find a bit of form and try and get into the Ryder Cup team," he said. "I know it is going to be very hard because I am playing a limited amount of events. So every single shot is vitally important, and that is what is pushing me on."

A share of 12th place at the Lancome Trophy last weekend showed Faldo is at last finding some level of consistency after years in the doldrums.

His game went into decline after he won the 1996 US Masters, a loss of form which for some time looked to be terminal as he slumped to 187th in the world.

But Faldo has found the motivation to haul his way back, thanks to the support of fiancee Valerie Bercher. He now wants to give it everything he has to see just how far he can go.

His record in the Ryder Cup is the finest there has ever been. He has played on a record 11 teams, played the most matches with 46 and won the most points with 25. Faldo however, is still hungry for more.

"In a way I am starting out all over again," Faldo said. "I have had to rebuild myself and it has taken a lot of hard work.

Faldo has been encouraged by Torrance's words of support. Allsport

"It is down to a lot of things - a loss of form, other events off the course, and my age.

"I'm 43 and physically things have changed. My body has changed, and so has my swing. Mentally it is difficult after a couple of years of playing poorly. Rebuilding confidence is hard.

"When things go well, you feel you are close. But then you have a bad day and you can't see the top of the mountain. Then it's hard work. I am just giving it another go and want to see how long it lasts.

"My personal goal is to make the team. It is good to set yourself goals and to achieve them." Faldo's revival started at the US Open in June, when he finished seventh behind Tiger Woods.

The three-time Open champion is working hard on his fitness and his technique, just so he can compete in the Cup one more time. "This may be my last chance at making the team, I really don't know," he added. "I wasn't picked last time and didn't deserve to be

"It is good to set yourself goals and to achieve them. After all I have been through in the past couple of years, to make the team would rank alongside some of my biggest achievements.

"Some of my best memories have come in the Ryder Cup. I have been in the thick of it and also seen some awesome sporting moments. It would be wonderful to think I could be part of it again."


 

 

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