Golf: Positive Faldo plans to play on for 20 years: Britain's world No 1 puts his defeat at Sandwich behind him as he prepares to reassert his dominance

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The Independent Online
NICK FALDO, the world No 1 and three times Open champion, said yesterday that he could be competing on the Volvo European Tour for the next 20 years - until he is 56.

Faldo, who celebrated his 36th birthday on the final day of the Open at Royal St George's 11 days ago, returns to the tournament scene today at the Scandinavian Masters in Gothenburg, and is clearly in good heart.

He has recovered from the disappointment of finishing second to Greg Norman at Sandwich and, asked how long he will play on the European Tour, he replied: 'I hope another 10 years and, if I'm still playing well, then maybe another 10.' He shot a four-under-par 68 on his first look at the Forsgardens course on Tuesday, his first round since the Open.

He said: 'I was really disappointed at losing at Sandwich because I thought I played pretty well throughout the week. But it hasn't hurt my game to lose like that. Often, it goes the other way. You become keener to improve your results and your golf. We all have faults.

'There is a lot of physical as well as mental preparation in golf. The old- fashioned golfer who just picks out his bag from the car and goes to the first tee might have problems to understand that.'

Faldo still harbours hopes of one day doing the Grand Slam of all four major championships. 'It will be very, very difficult,' he said, 'but it must be the ultimate goal.'

Faldo, currently leading the European money list and the Ryder Cup points table, has tough opposition in Sweden this week. Among his rivals are Seve Ballesteros, Jose Maria Olazabal, Colin Montgomerie, Ronan Rafferty, David Gilford, Mark Roe, Barry Lane, Rodger Davis, Tony Johnstone, Vijay Singh, David Feherty, Steven Richardson, Sam Torrance, Paul Broadhurst, Costantino Rocca, Joakim Haeggman and Jesper Parnevik.

Andrew Oldcorn, Jim Payne, Frank Nobilo, Jean Van de Velde, Greg Turner, Peter Baker and Ian Palmer, all of whom have won European Tour events this year, are also in the field.

Most of the contenders will be chasing Ryder Cup points, none more so than Ballesteros. Ballesteros is having a poor year and is 35th place in the Cup points table, well behind the top nine who are automatic selections.

Van Phillips, the Walker Cup player, sailed through his second-round match in the English Amateur Championship at Saunton yesterday. The winner of the Berkshire Trophy for the last two years beat Greg Evans six and five.

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