Nick Faldo Gives Saudi League Verdict - 'Money Doesn't Matter'

The golf legend says legacy and competition trump big money as the Saudi Golf League saga rumbles on

Sir Nick Faldo watches during a practice round before the 2020 Masters
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sir Nick Faldo has added his thoughts to the ongoing saga around the Saudi Golf League - which has now launched officially. The six-time Major winner posted a video on his Twitter account, where he explained that he thinks creating a legacy and the competition of the PGA Tour are far bigger factors than lucrative contracts.

 

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Faldo said: “When you're a youngster growing up, what's your number one thing? You want to compete. You start off competing as an amateur for trophies and I'm sure many would say their goal is, 'I want to get on the Tour'. And when you get on the Tour you want to win and you start elevating yourself to different levels and then you're looking at the history or the legacy of many great players on our Tour.”

Faldo pointed to World No.1 Jon Rahm’s performance at last week’s Players Championship as an example of that mindset: “Friday afternoon was a great example. John Rahm had a downhill six-foot left-to-right putt to make the cut and he holes it. He's not going to win it at that time. He was about 14 back. But he wants to play because he wants to compete. That's the most important thing is they want to compete.”

Faldo then turned his attentions to the rumoured league, and suggested that, although big money is reportedly on offer to join it, it completely misses the point of what motivates the best players: “So for the Saudi tour to come along it's really giving you that banker that you’ve got ‘X’. And the ‘X’ is a serious number, possibly tens of millions as you're guaranteed to tee it up and play. And I think that is not why you ever really started. You're quite prepared to put your skills on the line each week. And sometimes if you completely fail you went home by missing the cut, but I can't see how you can get the same amount of competitive determination." He later reiterated the point, echoing similar thoughts made by Rory McIlroy recently, saying: "I haven't a clue how much prize money I’ve won. Not a clue. Because it doesn't matter. The simple line is if you play good, everything takes care of yourself."

Faldo also took issue with the idea that it would even be a popular move among golf fans, saying: “Why would the fan tune in? So you're a fan of, whoever, Rickie Fowler right now - and he's one outside the cut. You know absolutely he's trying 100% because he wants to make the cut. And I would have thought if you're watching and you're a player, well, they don't even have a cut. So it's like that's gone. It doesn't have that true competitive element to it.”

Faldo then suggested he thinks the rumoured league needs the PGA Tour more than the PGA Tour needs it, and even called into question whether it can happen at all: "The ironic thing is, you can only get on the Saudi Tour and be paid loads if you've done well on the PGA Tour. They're not going to till out 10 million as a guarantee to names we don’t know. It seems more like it’s exhibition golf with a wonderful guarantee to me. I'm not sure how they can make it happen.”

Mike Hall
Mike Hall

Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.