O'Donnell: After a sudden 'retirement,' does Faldo have a sandy trick in his broadcast golf bag?

  • England's Nick Faldo drives a ball during the first round of the 2015 British Open at the Old Course St. Andrews, Scotland.

    England's Nick Faldo drives a ball during the first round of the 2015 British Open at the Old Course St. Andrews, Scotland. Associated Press

 
Updated 6/22/2022 5:49 PM

UP CLOSE, SIR NICK FALDO is said to be as warm and fuzzy as a renegade arms dealer working both sides in Ukraine.

Sports Illustrated once noted that he played the game like "a methodical, emotionless stalker."

 

Gill Bennett -- wife No. 2 of his four -- said: "Socially, he was a 24 handicapper."

So farewells were tempered this week when Faldo announced he is "retiring" after 16 years as lead golf analyst at CBS and an extended affiliation with the Golf Channel.

His replacement next year alongside Jim Nantz will be Trevor Immelman, the fair-to-middlin' South African who won the Masters in 2008.

But is Sir Nick really retiring?

It may takes months to know for sure.

HE'S 64 YEARS OLD, of robust health and cunningly global in business scope.

The Saudis are throwing obscene amounts of money around to bolster their LIV startup.

This year, they've established a beachhead.

Next year, two primary goals should be:

• Lure marquee names in their PGA primes or in ascent to play their stops. (Paging Matt Fitzpatrick and Scottie Scheffler); and,

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• Manufacture a glitzy presence on mainstream American TV.

IF THAT TV BILLBOARD IS ESTABLISHED, who better to serve as lead analyst than ... Sir Nick Faldo?

$40M or so per-year should get the links nobleman to hop.

During his golden decade, between the regal fade of Jack Nicklaus and the beginning of the comet-like arc of Tiger Woods, Faldo won his six majors -- three Masters and three (British) Opens.

His last Masters win in 1996 was most impressive.

Heading into the final round, he trailed his primary rival by 6 strokes.

Faldo won by 5.

That rival?

Greg Norman -- now the ace Saudi recruiter.

Any questions?

* * * * *

AROUND MORE PLEASANT GREENS, Bill Pantle -- the former North Shore club pro turned Frank Sinatra tribute artist -- has a playable lie Thursday night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Pantle will be one of the finalists for the 2022 national "My Way Award." He'll perform live in a bandshell overlooking the Hudson River at Frank Sinatra Park in Hoboken, N.J.

"Each of us submitted five possibilities and from my list, I've been given 'You Make Me Feel So Young,'" said Pantle, who lives near Buffalo Grove. "One shot and that's it. To me, it'll be like playing out of a fairway bunker on 18 at Brookline."

Pantle's website is attobe.com. -- "A Tribute to Old Blue Eyes."

Finalists have not been asked to bring along their own Jilly Rizzo.

STREET-BEATIN':

Projections for regional names of note in Thursday's NBA draft (ABC and ESPN, 7 p.m.): Max Christie, Rolling Meadows High ('21) & Michigan State -- early second round; Kofi Cockburn, Illinois -- very late second, if at all; and, Scotty Pippen Jr., Vanderbilt -- not at all. ...

In a favorable draft universe, Arturas Karnisovas and the Bulls will trade way up to land Jaden Ivey. Matt Painter's pound-it-in program at Purdue did not fully showcase Ivey's high basketball IQ and skillset; Zach LaVine would look marvelous in Reggie Theus commemorative Sacramento duds. ...

The drama of the Calder Cup Finals builds: The Wolves will likely host Game 6 Monday night vs. the Springfield Thunderbirds. Coach Ryan Warsofsky is trying to pick the hotter big stick on a nightly basis between goalies Alex Lyon and Pyotr Kochetkov. (Game 4 is Friday night at the MassMutual Center with Game 5 there Saturday.) ...

Family and friends of Mike Miller will toast his life and staggering wit this weekend in Arlington Heights. Miller -- who died in December -- was one of the great all-around athletes during the early decades of St. Viator. He's long overdue to be in the school's Sports Hall of Fame. ...

And the keenly discerning Taylor Bell, on the odd coupling of Laurence Holmes and Dan Bernstein at drooping WSCR-AM (670): "Why? Both are insufferable."

• Jim O'Donnell's Sports and Media column appears Thursday and Sunday. Reach him at jimodonnelldh@yahoo.com.

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