Nick Faldo and Paul Azinger, the 2008 Ryder Cup captains and former ABC announcing teammates, were in Orlando to film a commercial Wednesday for Citi, the big financial services company. They were coaxed into doing a quick interview on the set with Sports Illustrated senior writer Gary Van Sickle, who tested their knowledge of the Ryder Cup and each other.
SI: OK, guys, which movie best describes your relationship-Fight Club, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Starsky & Hutch or On Golden Pond?
Faldo: “Starsky and Hutch.”
Zinger: “Starsky and Hutch as well.”
Faldo: “We both drive cars. And we’re very arresting.”
Zinger: “We get along pretty well but we kinda sorta fight.”
Faldo: “Yeah, as long as I’m the driver.”
SI: If you were directing this Citi commercial, which way would you go: You two battle in an Ultimate Fighting Championship with stunt doubles, watching a sunset on the beach in adjacent bathtubs like in the Cialis commercial, the last two guys left in the World Series of Poker and both going all-in with king high, or as ghosts haunting Tiger Woods’s Buick?
Faldo: “Too many choices. Sitting in the bathtub playing poker sounds more like fun.”
Zinger: “I’d rather be playing poker pushing in king high.”
SI: I bet that works pretty well.
SI: Have either of you ever done your own tax returns?
Faldo: “Well, a million years ago. I did one when I was leaving South Africa, about 1976. They scared us and said if you don’t do it, you can’t leave the country. I literally grabbed my receipts and wrote them out on the spot.”
SI: What was the last TV show that you watched an entire episode of?
Zinger: “Family Guy.”
Faldo: “I don’t know if you get it here—Extras, with Ricky Gervais. Yeah, it’s brilliant.”
Zinger: “Yeah, yeah, yeah-never heard of it.”
SI: You’re both avid fisherman. Have you guys gone fishing together?
Faldo: “Not yet.”
SI: Why not?
Zinger: “I don’t know. I keep inviting him to come catch redfish. We just haven’t done it yet.”
Faldo: “Too busy. We’re going to do some real fishing, too—we’re going trout fishing.”
SI: Nick, what are the names of Zinger’s two daughters?
Faldo: “Don’t know.”
SI: Zinger, do you know?
Zinger: “Sarah Jean and Josie.”
SI: That’s correct. Zinger, Nick has four kids, how many can you name?
Zinger: “Matthew, um … Natalie.”
Faldo: “Very good.”
Zinger: “I don’t know the other two.”
SI: You want to fill him in, Nick?
Faldo: “Georgia is the middle daughter and there’s little Emma.”
Zinger: “Emma! Gosh, I can’t believe I forgot Emma!”
SI: Nick, can you name a TV network that Azinger hasn’t done a golf telecast for?
Faldo: (Laughing) “Yeah. Oprah. O, I guess.”
SI: How about a major network?
Faldo: “I thought it was. A major network that Zinger hasn’t done a commercial for?”
Zinger: “No, a golf telecast.”
Faldo: “Oh, you mean like me. Well, he hasn’t done CBS, obviously.”
SI: Can you name a network Nick hasn’t worked for?
Zinger: “Fox is the only one.”
Faldo: “I did NBC at the ’02 Ryder Cup.”
SI: Zinger, who’s your pick to win the Olympic gold medal in men’s soccer?
Zinger: “I think Italy’s going to win it.”
SI: Is that a total guess?
Zinger: “No, didn’t they win the World Cup?”
Faldo: “Spain just won the European Cup.”
Zinger: “I’m picking Italy.”
SI: Nick, who’s your choice to win the World Series in baseball?
Zinger: “Oh, this is a beauty.”
Faldo: “I don’t’ know. No idea.”
SI: Nick, how many tournaments did Zinger win in his career?
Faldo: “He won a few. About 14-ish or more-ish.”
SI: “I guess you’re right, 12 in the U.S. and two BMW Internationals. You got it.
Faldo: “Spot on!”
SI: Zinger, what was the last tournament that Nick won?
Zinger: “The ’96 Masters.”
SI: Wrong. It was the ’98 Volvo Masters at Andalucia.
Zinger: “Oh, was that sponsored by who gives a rat’s ass?”
Faldo: “You’ve got it wrong. The last tournament I won was Riviera in ’97, then I won the World Cup for England in 98. The Volvo Masters? In ’98? It was ’89. I won the first Volvo Masters.”
SI: That’s not what is says in your bio in the PGA of America media guide.
Zinger: “Somebody went dyslexic on themselves.”
SI: Let’s test your Ryder Cup knowledge now.
Faldo: “Oh, god.”
SI: Zinger, true or false, Nick once beat Johnny Miller in Ryder Cup singles.
SI: Nick, you remember that match?
Faldo: “Yeah, yeah, I beat him 1 up, didn’t I ? I think.”
SI: No, 2 and 1 at Walton Heath.
Faldo: “I beat him on the 17th green, I putted like God. He couldn’t believe it. I holed everything from outside him. One of the happiest days of my life.”
SI: Nick, how many Ryder Cup teams was Zinger on?
SI: No, four.
Faldo: “Only four? I thought you said he was good?”
SI: Zinger, How many Ryder Cup teams was Nick on?
Zinger: “Eleven. Next question.”
SI: Nick, only four Americans have lost more four-ball matches than Zinger. Name any of them.
Faldo: (Laughing) “Hmm, who keeps losing at four-ball?”
SI: Everybody, lately..
Zinger: “That’s so easy.”
Faldo: “He’s helping me. Don’t help me. Gosh, how many did you lose-four? What, you played in four and lost all four, did you?”
Zinger: “Nope, I beat you. Kicked your ass. Chip Beck and I took you and Woosie down.”
Faldo: “You did. I’ll say. Chip Beck. No, he didn’t play enough of them, did he?”
SI: You’re stumped. The answers were Phil, Tiger, Davis Love and Jim Furyk. All right, Zinger, name any of the three guys who beat Jack Nicklaus in singles.
Zinger: “Who’s the dude with the pipe?”
SI: Brian Barnes, he did it twice in one day. Who else?
Zinger: “Gordon Brand Jr. — somebody. No, Eamonn Darcy.”
SI: Tony Jacklin and Bernard Gallacher. Nick, besides yourself, name any of the three Euros who played more Ryder Cups than Peter Alliss.
Faldo: “Seve must have and Olazabal, I should think.”
SI: No, Christy O’Connor Sr. and Langer played in ten, Dai Rees in nine. Alliss played in eight.
Zinger: “I’m pretty much thinking Faldo sucks at this trivia.”
SI: Zinger, how many Ryder Cups have been played in Scotland?
Faldo: “Probably not many, actually.”
Zinger: “I’m going to say three.”
SI: Only one, at Muirfield in ’73. Zinger, which of the following players did Nick not beat in Ryder Cup singles—Tom Watson, Lee Elder, Jay Haas, Raymond Floyd or Hubert Green.
Zinger: “I’ll take Hubert.”
SI: You got it.
Faldo: “When did I play Hubert Green? I didn’t beat him, I lost?”
SI: That was in ’85. Nick, who’s beaten Zinger more in Ryder Cup matches, you or Gordon Brand Jr.?
Faldo: “I don’t know. It must be Gordon.”
SI: Yes, you’re 0-3-1 against Zinger.
Zinger: “That’s what I was thinking!”
SI: Zinger, who’s the only Euro to beat Tiger in singles?
Faldo: “No, Rocca.”
SI: Nick’s right. Zinger, who won more Ryder Cup matches overall, Peter Oosterhuis or Tony Jacklin?
Zinger: “I’d say it’s got to be Oosty.”
SI: Correct. Nick, who won more Ryder Cup matches, Fred Couples or Tony Lema?
Faldo: “Tony Lema.”
SI: Right. Last question. Which player is going to score the point that clinches the Ryder Cup at Valhalla?
Zinger: “Kenny Perry.”
Faldo: “Ohh, there’s your winner. Poulter.”
Zinger: “Ian Poulter? He’s not even on the team! You just tipped your hand! You must be picking him!”
Faldo: “He will be in.”
Zinger: “Ha-ha-ha-hah! Inside information!”
SI: Thanks, guys. See you in Valhalla.