I'm scarred by Valhalla: Faldo finally opens up about failure as Ryder Cup captain in 2008
21:30 GMT, 26 September 2012
Perhaps it is not surprising it has taken Sir Nick Faldo so long to talk publicly about his captaincy and the events at Valhalla in 2008.
When you've been a winner all your life and accustomed to talking only about success, how difficult must it be to converse about failure
'The bottom line is that it was a tough experience and very tough for me to deal with afterwards,' said Faldo.
Scarred: Nick Faldo finally opened up about Europe's Ryder Cup failure in 2008
'I wanted to leave with a win, I wanted to have that feeling because you know you only get one chance and I am a winner. Sure it left a scar. There's still a small one there, even now.'
Back in 2008, Faldo's tortured final three words on the morning after becoming the only losing European captain this century were: 'Officially, no more.'
That is how it remained, until talking openly to Sportsmail.
During the past four years, a legend seems to have grown that it was all Faldo's fault that Europe lost by the margin of five points.
There was no passion in the team room, declared a number of players. He was too aloof and remote, declared others.
The atmosphere was more like the players were preparing for a testimonial than a Champions League final, one insider memorably declared.
Lee Westwood had a pop recently about Faldo's controversial decision to drop him from a series of matches for the first time in his career, at a time when he had just equalled Arnold Palmer's record for matches unbeaten.
Faldo either did not see the criticism or chose to bite his lip. Until this interview.
So let's deal with the passion
question first, because that is the one that causes him to lean forward
in his seat and become animated.
the one I really don't understand,' he said. 'So you need someone to
tell you to be passionate to play well in the Ryder Cup
'I have to say I didn't need a battery inside me to go and play in the
Ryder Cup. I'd have walked barefoot to the first tee to play if that was
what was asked.
the Ryder Cup doesn't inspire you and give you passion, I don't know
what would. I was desperate to win a point every time I played.
Disaster at Valhalla: The USA team celebrated a win over Faldo's Europe
'Golf is not like team sports. It is not like a rugby coach shouting and pushing his message down people's throats. In golf, you go play and it's down to you and you take responsibility for your own actions.
'If a man is one down and has a curling putt on the 14th hole and misses it, how is it the captain's fault
'I remember when we came back to win with a great comeback in the singles in 1995. We didn't do it by jumping around a room.
'We just wanted to pull off a victory and you do that by every player going out and doing his job.'
Did his well-earned reputation for aloofness as a competitor follow him into captaincy and affect the sense of European camaraderie
'I don't know what more I could have done to address that issue,' he said.
'On the first day I stood up in the team room and said if anyone sees me looking through them, they have my permission to kick my backside.
'I thought I had broken down that barrier of what I am supposed to be like.
'I didn't want to walk beside them and ask them do they want this, do they want that.'
In the team room, the entertainment was provided by the Iron Maiden drummer, Nicko McBrain, and DJ Spoony.
Did this compromise the atmosphere and send out the wrong message that they were not taking it seriously enough
'I got a lot of stick for that, but don't tell me it was a wrong move,' responded Faldo.
'It loosened people up, because you can't play if you're wound tight like a ball.
Not our year: Faldo (right) was criticised by some of the players for his style of captaincy
'As a funny aside, what I didn't know is that Iron Maiden are huge in places like Sweden and Denmark, and so the wives of the Scandinavian players were coming up to me and telling me they had their first date listening to Iron Maiden, or got engaged to Iron Maiden.'
It should be said that in the days following the calamitous loss, the Daily Mail was as critical as any of Faldo's captaincy and its contribution to the defeat.
Now we've heard his responses to some of the leading points, what is his explanation for it all going wrong
'The bottom line is that my top three players won one-and-a-half points,' added Faldo, who was also denied the services of Luke Donald through injury.
'Sergio Garcia was sick and he was having a bad time trying to get over splitting from his girlfriend (Morgan-Leigh Norman, daughter of Greg).
'Padraig Harrington was the best player in the world at the time but it was of no use to us because he was mentally exhausted, having won two majors that year.
'I dropped Lee from one series because he had blisters and I thought that telling him during his match would make him extra-determined to win that point.
Pop: Lee Westwood (left) was irritated that Faldo dropped him in 2008
'But that's not to blame them. At some point I do think we have to accept that the overwhelming reason why we lost is that the Americans just played better than us. They putted us off the course.'
Indeed they did and perhaps he's right – perhaps that was all there was to Valhalla proving a burial ground for Europe's Ryder Cup hopes.
But it is interesting that Faldo's deputy that year, Jose Maria Olazabal, is doing things differently here at Medinah.
No drum kits this time. 'A captain can't have a significant effect on you winning a Ryder Cup but they can have a significant effect on you losing it,' reckons Westwood.
Faldo's place in Ryder Cup history is secure. The record books show that he is still the greatest points-scorer of all time.
But being a losing Ryder Cup captain is that nagging ache that might never go away. The small scar that doesn't heal.