Nick Faldo forced himself to “play the best four holes of my life” to win the 1992 Open, claiming the Claret Jug for the third time in six years as he joined only James Braid as a double Champion Golfer at Muirfield.
For much of the week, Faldo put on a masterclass of links golf. His 64 in the second round was an almost perfect display and he set a new record for The Open of 130 strokes for the first 36 holes.
He equalled his own record of 199 for the 54-hole total and led by four with a round to play. But in contrast to his 18 pars at Muirfield in 1987, Faldo kept leaking shots and when John Cook birdied the 15th and 16th holes, the Englishman found himself two behind with four to play.
“I told myself that I had to forget about the whole week and play the best four holes of my life,” he said.
His “half 5-iron” approach to the 15th, a low runner which finished three feet from the hole, was one of the finest shots of his career. He made a birdie there and saved par at the 16th. While Cook three-putted the 17th for a par-5, Faldo made his 4.
Up ahead, Cook missed the final green and made a bogey, leaving Faldo with a par to win. He hit a 3-iron to 25 feet and two-putted but was emotionally drained by the experience.
“It’s the enormity of it all,” Faldo explained. “The pressure was so great. It went from almost a disaster to the absolute ultimate.”
It was his fifth major title in six years and he joined the likes of Jones, Cotton, Player, Nicklaus and Ballesteros as a three-time Champion Golfer in the 20th century.