Name drops, Tiger takes and more: Nick Faldo’s appearance on GameDay was really something
Just when the 2022 golf season couldn’t get any stranger, Sir Nick Faldo stepped up on the ESPN College GameDay stage and blew us all way.
Not with his football insight, exactly. Instead, the six-time major winner and recently retired CBS broadcaster impressed by managing to drop a golfer’s name for just about every one of his nine game picks.
Faldo’s appearance on the popular traveling college football pregame show came as a bit of a surprise as the show has already had two golfers appear this season. Scottie Scheffler was on in Week 2 to receive his PGA Tour Player of the Year Award and fellow Longhorn Jordan Spieth was the show’s celebrity guest picker last week for Texas’ matchup with TCU; he went an unimpressive 6-4 with his picks.
Faldo also did not attend either Montana or Montana State, the game from which the show was originating from in Bozeman, Montana. But upon retiring from CBS after 16 years in the booth with Jim Nantz, Faldo moved full-time to a ranch in Montana and has been a vocal supporter of the Bobcats. His “Faldo Farm” is not far from Bozeman.
We won’t argue the merits of Faldo’s choice against other, actual Montana State alumni, but we will bring into question his knowledge of American football given a broadcast signoff from last January.
Now that we’ve gotten the “why” out of the way on his appearance, let’s get into what actually happened.
After host Rece Davis announced Faldo as the guest picker during the show’s first hour, the broadcast immediately cut to a prerecorded video of Faldo standing in the snow, presumably at his farm, wearing what appeared to be not-quite-seasonal attire for the weather.
This is where things took a turn toward what you might expect for an Englishman on a college (American) football show.
“Here’s to a really great tournament— match— I mean, um, game,” the three-time Masters winner said while standing next to some sort of grizzly bear prop holding a sign that read “Bozeman.”
Montana’s mascot is the Grizzlies and then Faldo turned and punched over the bear before shouting “Go Cats!”
It was as awkward as it sounds and, if you don’t believe me, watch the video below.
Faldo walked onto set dressed extraordinarily similar to GameDay analyst Kirk Herbstreit; both men were wearing beige overcoats and brown cowboy hats. It was a bit jarring to see a knighted Brit dressed in a cowboy hat, but here he was.
Despite single-digit temperatures, Faldo was also the only person on the set without gloves.
“Can I just say, real men don’t wear gloves?” Faldo joked.
We’re also going to safely assume Faldo set a record for most golfers name-dropped by a guest picker making selections, perhaps even besting Jack Nickalaus’ appearance in 2020 when the show was at Augusta National.
Boise St. vs. Wyoming (Faldo’s pick: Boise St.)
Faldo picked the Broncos here and this was one of the few times he did not name-drop a golfer, but the pick left us with some other potential meme material.
“I haven’t fished in these two states,” Faldo said referring to Idaho and Wyoming. “That’s the most important thing.”
For what it’s worth, analyst Lee Corso, making his return to the program after a several-week absence, one-upped Faldo by telling him he had fished in both.
Boise State won 20-17
Stanford Vs. California (Stanford)
We’ve arrived at our first name drops as Faldo said this was a matchup between Tiger Woods, who went to Stanford, and Collin Morikawa, a Cal alumnus.
Faldo went with the Cardinal, but it was another pick he offered that may perk the ears of golf fans.
“Tiger and his son Charlie will win the Father/Son [PNC Championship] in December,” Faldo said.
Woods has yet to commit to that event, but he and Charlie finished second a year ago in the elder Woods’ first action since his February 2021 car crash. He’s signed up for events the two weeks preceding, so all signs point to Faldo’s prediction being possible.
Cal won 27-20
Oklahoma State vs. Oklahoma (Oklahoma)
Faldo seemed to pick against the Cowboys more so than picking for the Sooners. Or at least picked against a notable Cowboy alum.
“I’ll come out instead and talk about Rickie Fowler,” Faldo said. “It’s too much orange Rickie. You’ve got to just ditch the orange. You’ve got to come out with some new outfits for next year. Orange is so last summer, isn’t it?”
Oklahoma won 28-13
Texas vs. Kansas (Texas)
It’s here we find Faldo’s first and only mention of a football player during his picks… or at least close.
“I heard it’s going to be windy there?” Faldo asked analyst Pat McAfee about the conditions for the game.
“Cold and windy,” McAfee replied.
“So that means that John Robinson will have a great game,” Faldo concluded, presumably (and hopefully) meaning to say Longhorns star running back Bijan Robinson’s name.
Regardless of the error, the rest of the crew seemed impressed.
“You’ve been knighted by the queen and you just dropped a name there,” McAfee said.
But that wasn’t the punchline of the round of picks.
“Plus [Texas alumnus] Jordan Speith screwed up last week,” Faldo said before the other five hosts started cracking up.
Texas won 55-14
TCU vs. Baylor (TCU)
In picking TCU, Faldo was somehow able to connect Aussie major winner Ian Baker-Finch to the Horned Frogs.
“All I know about TCU is that it’s obviously in Fort Worth. My [wife] Lindsay is from Fort Worth,” Faldo said. “And the great Ian Baker-Finch won the Colonial in his boxer shorts and I think it put me off chicken drumsticks for life so that’s who I’m going with, TCU.”
If anyone wants to break down all components of that sentence, go ahead.
“That’s kind of golf talk guys,” he said.
“I love it,” replied Herbstreit.
TCU won 29-28
Illinois vs. Michigan (Michigan)
There wasn’t much commentary here as Davis asked the analysts to pick quickly due to time constraints.
Michigan won 19-17
Utah vs. Oregon (Utah)
For this Pac-12 matchup, 2006 Utah State Amateur Championship Tony Finau got his 30 seconds of fame on the show.
“Tony Finau is three-for-seven, which doesn’t sound good in football terms, but in golf, three-for-seven is a fantastic win ratio,” Faldo said. “So I’ve got to go for Utah.”
Finau won last week at the Houston Open for his third win in seven starts.
The Utes will coincidentally be looking for their third win over the Ducks in the last two seasons.
Oregon won 20-17
USC vs. UCLA (USC)
Faldo didn’t name another player for this selection but did technically shout himself out.
“I won my last pro event in L.A. at Riviera,” Faldo said. “Which was in 1997, so that’s 25 years ago. UCLA will have 25 points, but they will lose on a field goal in the last few seconds.”
No word on where Faldo came up with that call, but we’ll sure be looking into it if that’s the way the game goes. On another note, did he forget USC is also in Los Angeles?
USC won 48-45
Montana vs. Montana State (Montana State)
This was an easy pick for the Englishman, who now calls the Bozeman area home. He also said the Bobcats’ rodeo team was practicing on his land.
“I’ll be riding next spring if you wait for that,” Faldo said.
He did offer some insight on the game as well, noting how this was the first time either quarterback had played in this rivalry, known as the “Brawl of the Wild.”
“That’s huge for their future,” Faldo said before hyping up the crowd with his pick of the Cats.
Montana State won 55-21
Despite limited knowledge of the sport, Faldo went an impressive 7-2 with his picks, the second best mark of any celebrity guest picker this season.