Cook's leftovers are Faldo feast American folds late, gives Brit third Open

July 20, 1992|By Mal Florence | Mal Florence,Los Angeles Times

GULLANE, Scotland -- What was expected to be a walk in the park for Britain's Nick Faldo turned into a hazardous journey in the 121st British Open yesterday at the Muirfield course.

He prevailed at the end to win his third British Open title, but American John Cook will live with the memory that he gave it away.

"Absolutely," Cook said. "I definitely let one slip away. Not being on the plateau that Faldo is, I have to learn from this. I had a chance to win a major championship and I didn't."

Cook, playing one hole ahead of Faldo, lost by one stroke after leading by one through 16 holes.

Cook shot a 1-under-par 70 for his final round, and Faldo won despite a 2-over 73 for a 272 total, 12-under.

It seemed that Cook had an automatic birdie at the par-5 17th -- he came close to making an eagle -- but he had to settle for a par when he three-putted.

Then he bogeyed the 18th hole when he misjudged what club to use on his approach shot.

So instead of winning outright, or at least forcing a playoff, Cook can only conjecture what might have been.

It was an emotionally wrenching experience for Faldo, who has won five major championships, three British Opens and two Masters.

There were tears in his eyes when he accepted the championship trophy.

"The first time I cried in joy in this game was in 1987 when I won

here," he said. "I cried when I won the second time at Augusta [1990 Masters] and now here. I am just an emotional little petal."

Faldo is not usually emotional and has been criticized in the United Kingdom for his aloof, single-minded, grinding approach to the game.

And he had to grind after getting bogeys at the 11th, 13th and 14th holes, a four-shot lead at the start of the round now gone with the wind from the nearby Firth of Forth.

"I said to myself, 'You're stupid, what are you doing?' " Faldo said. "Then, going to the 15th hole, I said, to myself 'You have to play the best four holes of your life.' "

He responded to the challenge with birdies at the 15th and 17th holes, and, after Cook had bogeyed the 18th, Faldo needed only a par to win.

Cook was playing in only his second British Open. He missed the cut in 1980.

The 34-year-old pro from Rancho Mirage, Calif., ran the gamut of emotions.

"I was alive, I was dead, I was really alive and then pretty much dead," he said.

He was referring initially to his double bogey at the par-5 ninth hole that left him four behind Faldo.

However, Cook, who has won twice on the PGA Tour this year, began his move on the back nine.

While Faldo was bogeying 11, 13 and 14, Cook was surging. He got birdies at the par-4 12th and 15th holes and dropped in a 20-foot putt for another birdie at the par-3 16th, giving him a two-shot lead.

"I was so excited that I just wanted to get things done," Cook said. "I go fast anyway, but I might have been going a little too fast. But I was on go, and I won't ever second-guess that."

Cook's second shot to the green on the par-5 17th was 30 feet from the cup. It looked as if his putt might drop for an eagle and Cook said he thought he had made it.

However, it slid 2 1/2 feet past the hole, and Cook missed it

coming back.

12-under

Nick Faldo, $190,000 66-64-69-73--272 11-under

John Cook, $150,000 66-67-70-70--273 10-under

Jose Maria Olazabal, $128,000 70-67-69-68--274 8-under

Steve Pate, $106,000 64-70-69-73--276 5-under

Malcolm Mackenzie, $63,000 71-67-70-71--279 Robert Karlsson, $63,000 70-68-70-71--279 Ian Woosnam, $63,000 65-73-70-71--279 Gordon Brand, Jr., $63,000 65-68-72-74--279 Donnie Hammond, $63,000 70-65-70-74--279

Ernie Els, $63,000 66-69-70-74--279 Andrew Magee, $63,000 67-72-70-70--279 4-under

James Spence, $34,766 71-68-70-71--280 Raymond Floyd, $34,766 64-71-73-72--280 Sandy Lyle, $34,766 68-70-70-72--280 Mark O'Meara, $34,766 71-68-72-69--280 Larry Rinker, $34,766 69-68-70-73--280

Chip Beck, $34,766 71-68-67-74--280 3-under

Greg Norman, $26,400 71-72-70-68--281 2-under

Ian Baker-Finch, $22,133 71-71-72-68--282 Tom Kite, $22,133 70-69-71-72--282 Hale Irwin, $22,133 70-73-67-72--282 1-under

Paul Lawrie, $17,900 70-72-68-73--283 Tom Purtzer, $17,900 68-69-75-71--283 Peter Mitchell, $17,900 69-71-72-71--283 Even

Duffy Waldorf, $15,400 69-70-73-72--284 Billy Andrade, $15,400 69-71-70-74--284 Peter Senior, $15,400 70-69-70-75--284 1-over

Russ Cochran, $13,317 71-68-72-74--285 Mats Lanner, $13,317 72-68-71-74--285 Mark McNulty, $13,317 71-70-70-74--285 Craig Parry, $13,317 67-71-76-71--285 Jodie Mudd, $13,317 71-69-74-71--285 Mark Calcavecchia, $13,317 69-71-73-72--285 2-over

Anders Forsbrand, $11,520 70-72-70-74--286 Payne Stewart, $11,520 70-73-71-72--286 Steve Elkington, $11,520 68-70-75-73--286 Tony Johnstone, $11,520 72-71-74-69--286 Corey Pavin, $11,520 69-74-73-70--286 3-over

Ronan Rafferty, $10,167 69-71-75-72--287 Steven Richardson, $10,167 74-68-73-72--287 Lee Trevino, $10,167 69-71-73-74--287 Wayne Grady, $10,167 73-69-71-74--287 De Wet Basson, $10,167 71-71-71-74--287 Lee Janzen, $10,167 66-73-73-75--287 4-over

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