Sir Nick Faldo, who has just completed his first tournament as a golfing knight at the British Seniors Open Championship at Sunningdale, has a long association with the North East. Faldo hardly plays any competitive golf these days, having turned out at just a handful of tournaments in the last couple of years, and prefers to spend his time commentating for US television as well as designing courses and travelling the world as one of the best-known figures in the sport.
Sir Nick, who Nick firstly visited the North East in 1980 when he played in the Newcastle Brown 900 Tournament at the Northumberland Golf Club in Gosforth Park, had to settle for 38th place at the British Seniors following highly respectable rounds of 70, 70, 69, 73 that left him some way behind the winner, American Loren Roberts.
Faldo enjoyed an illustrious career as a youngster, winning the English Amateur Championship in 1975, though he couldn't defend his title as he turned professional the following year.
However, 23-year-old Peter Deeble from Foxton Hall, Alnmouth stepped into Nick's shoes, and won the English crown after beating John Davies (Sunningdale) by 3&1 in the final at Ganton, Yorkshire.
Ironically, in 1980, Deeble won it again, beating Peter McEvoy (Copt Heath) 4&3 in the final at Moortown, Leeds. McEvoy never won the English, but was the British Amateur Champion in 1977 and 1978.
He went on to successfully Captain the Walker Cup team at Nairn in 1999 when Graeme Storm (Hartlepool) beat J. Byrd 1up.
Storm, a seasoned European tour pro and Golf North East columnist of course, had the honour of sinking the winning putt for Great Britain and Ireland, who went on to win the cup by 15-9.
Coincidentally, two years later, McEvoy again captained GB&I at Sea Island in the States, and also won by 15-9! Storm wasn't in the team, as he'd turned professional prior to the match.