GOLF : New focus for happy Faldo

During his press conference on Sunday night at the Doral Open here, Nick Faldo was asked if he was especially pleased that his first win in America since the 1990 Masters had come in his new home state of Florida. "Home?" Faldo laughed. "It's only a place to hang my clothes. It's only a closet."

A few minutes later Faldo hinted that the rented home he now has in Orlando might well give way to a permanent base. "By the end of this year I've got to make a decision, whether I'm going to play in the States full-time or Europe or whatever. This has obviously swayed it towards the US of A."

There are other factors. One of the first things Faldo mentioned was the tax laws, and tax-friendly Florida is where dozens of his fellow millionaire athletes live.

One of the most potent motivations that Faldo will have for staying is the reception he has had from American golf fans, press and other players. Since his loose and witty Mizuno advertisements have saturated golf telecasts, Faldo is perceived as a golfer of humour and charm.

Leading money-winner and tour funny man, Peter Jacobsen, who shared second place with Greg Norman here, said: "Nick has always had one of the best senses of humour of anybody I've ever met. It's just that he's so focused on the golf course. He becomes somebody that he thinks he needs to be in order to win. And you know what? It works."

DORAL OPEN (Miami) Leading final scores (US unless stated): 273 N Faldo (GB) 67 71 66 69. 274 P Jacobsen 68 69 64 73; G Norman (Aus) 68 68 65 73. 275 J Leonard 68 68 71 68; S Elkington (Aus) 67 72 67 69; D Love 65 69 70 71. 276 H Irwin 70 70 67 69; W Austin 66 71 68 71. 277 S Stricker 70 68 71 68. 278 S Lowery 65 72 73 68; M O'Meara 69 72 66 71. 279 M McCumber 70 71 69 69; M Bradley 70 73 67 69; V Singh (Fiji) 70 70 67 72; J Sluman 69 67 70 73; F Allem (SA) 66 71 68 74. Selected: 280 C Montgomerie (GB) 72 68 68 72.

LEADING SONY WORLD RANKINGS: 1 N Price (Zimb) 22.42pts ave; 2 G Norman (Aus) 20.17; 3 N Faldo (Eng) 17.67, 4 E Els (SA) 15.02, 5 J Olazabal (Sp) 14.91; 6 B Langer (Ger) 14.62; 7 F Couples (US) 14.04; 8 C Montgomerie (Sco) 12.67; 9 M Ozaki (Japan) 11.39; 10 C Pavin (US) 11.01.

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