Nick Faldo

Born on July 18, 1957, former carpet layer Nick Faldo took up golf when he was 14 after seeing Jack Nicklaus land the US Masters title on TV. The youngest player ever to compete in the Ryder Cup, Faldo has won 40 tournaments since turning professional in 1977.

He soon established himself as one of the best golfers on the European Tour scene, but in 1983 the success story began to show cracks. In that year he left his first wife Melanie Rockall for Gill Bennett his former manager's secretary, whom he married in 1984. Following their nuptials his game took a downturn, but three years later, after contracting golf-guru David Leadbetter to try and improve his game, he was back on form, scooping the British Open in 1987 and 1990. He also donned the coveted green jacket awarded to the winner of the prestigious US Masters Championship in 1989 and 1990.

While his game seemed healthy enough, the same thing could not be said for Nick's personal life. His nine-year marriage to Gill, with whom he had three children, had run into trouble and eventually ended in an estimated £7.5 million divorce settlement in 1998.

It was not long before Nick was turning up at tournaments with 20-year-old American golf student Brenda Cepelak. But the relationship was rocky and lasted only 30 months. Distraught at the break-up, the feisty young blonde took a golf club to Nick's brand new Porsche.

With his game no longer at its best, Nick, whose fortune is worth an estimated £40 million, entered into a highly public feud with Ryder Cup vice-captain Mark James. Annoyed at being left out of the 1999 Ryder Cup team and fuming over remarks made about him by James in his book Into The Bear Pit, Nick tried to have the vice-captaincy taken away from him.

Nineteen ninety nine also signalled the end of one of the world's greatest caddy-player partnerships when he parted from the charismatic Fanny Sunesson. The two remain good friends, however, and were married on the same day in July 2001 - although in different places. Nick's wife is Swiss public relations consultant Valerie Bercher, and this time the golfer is convinced that "This one is going to last". The happy couple welcomed daughter Emma Scarlet in July 2003.
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