NICK FALDO still as a big interest in building a links course on the West Coast of Ireland.Over the weekend he paid another visit to Bartra Island off the coast of Mayo to negotiate with the present owner with a view to building a course there.
``Negotiations are at a very early stage. It is a pipe line dream of mine. I love Ireland and have been looking at land to build a course for some time. I also did a bit of fishing for sea trout but without luck. The water was too dark or too wet or something but I love the fishing here.''
It is , therefore, something of a surprise to find him back at the Murphy's Irish Open. He finished third a year ago but was critical of the Druid's Glen, particularly the greens, the practice facilities and the fact that you had to get a bus there.
As well as playing a practice round he spent a lot of time on that same practice ground. ``The greens a lot better than last year. They got rid of the thatch and the surface is good.'' The practice ground? ``Its still there, there's still a lake in it and its still a long way.''
Nevertheless, it was good enough for him top spend several hours trying to get his ``overall package'' back to where it used to be.
Three times a winner of the Irish and a six time Major winner with three Masters and three British Opens, he has not won anywhere since the Nissan Open on the US Tour in early 1987. Always a perfectionist, he said ``things have not been going to plan. There are a few faults in the swing and in the putting that we have been working on.''
Always a favourite with Irish galleries he will attract more attention than normal in today's Pro-Am. Another of Faldo's passions is bringing on the youth of the game. With this mind he, along with Marriott Hotels, started the Faldo Junior series which embraces boys and girls under the age of 17 in Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.
Mervyn Owens, a 17-year-old from Mallow who won the Irish section and was runner-up in the Grand Finals of the Junior Series, will get part of his reward today when he gets to partner Faldo in the Pro-Am (9.05) this morning.
* ``GOLF for GOAL'' is the name of an unique fund-raising golf classic in aid of GOAL'S Child Shelter Project at Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia. First there's the normal golf event, which is for teams of four (any combination) to play at Connemara golf club in Ballyconneely, Clifden in Galway on Friday July 10. The entry is £300 per team and to get on the timesheet just contact 095 23502/23602; Fax 095 23662; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Then there's live entertainment and would you believe, internet coverage! This event, sponsored by Jury's Hotel Group, Sonaco Travel Club and Golf Club Ireland, is being run in conjunction with a Golf-A-Thon style fund raising event on the Internet from July 1 on www.golfforgoal.local.ie
Event sponsors will donate 10p for each person who signs the accompanying golf for GOAL pages on the Internet.