Golf: Don't 'over-tinker' is Nick Faldo's warning to world No. 1 Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth in the final round of the WGC-HSBC Champions golf tournament in Shanghai, China, Nov 8, 2015.
Jordan Spieth in the final round of the WGC-HSBC Champions golf tournament in Shanghai, China, Nov 8, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - Six-time Major winner Nick Faldo has sent Jordan Spieth a 'careful what you wish for' message after the world No. 1 said he wanted to try and gain an extra five to 10 yards on his driving distance next year.

Spieth rocketed to the top of the rankings with a spectacular run of form this season that included maiden Major championship victories at the Masters and the US Open.

The 22-year-old American, however, is not renowned for his long hitting and he told reporters at the WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai earlier this month that he would like to add some distance off the tee.

Faldo went through a similar thought process 30 years ago. The Briton completely remodelled his swing when he was No. 1 in Europe and the gamble paid off as he went on to land three Masters Green Jackets and three British Open Claret Jugs.

"He doesn't need to (change)," Faldo told Reuters in an interview. "I've been there, when you're playing well you're always looking for more but all you really want to do is just maintain things.

"If you're playing good enough to compete against everyone ... and your game is good enough to beat the best in the world ... I wouldn't go and look to over-tinker with it.

"That's what many have done before, (thinking) 'I've got this good, I want to keep going', but maintaining it is a tough enough game."

Faldo, who spent a total of 97 weeks at the top of the world rankings in four spells from September 1990 to January 1994, said he could not stress enough the importance of self-belief.

"There's a knife edge between playing so well that it makes you feel so darn good that you feel 100 per cent confident ... to then, very simply, hitting a few bad shots - that whacks your confidence," he explained.

"All of a sudden, you don't feel right and don't feel the same," said the 58-year-old Englishman as he launched a range of wines from six of Europe's classic regions to celebrate each of his major victories (www.miltonsandfordwines.com).

"Crumbs, it's 30 years ago that I went through that, decided to change my swing. I was European No. 1 at the time."

Faldo, who won the Open in 1987, 1990 and 1992 and the Masters in 1989, 1990 and 1996, said things had changed dramatically for the modern generation of players.

"The fortunate thing now is that you don't have to go through that process," he explained.

"I did it the old-fashioned way, tip your balls out and beat them.

"Now you have what I call the appliance of science. You have machines to tell your swing path, club-face angle, ball flights after one shot - that's fantastic.

"I wish I would have had that rather than hit a million balls and then go, 'Oh, I wonder how this feels?"

Europe's 2008 Ryder Cup captain also said golfers were much more powerful nowadays.

"The physical side has been taken to a new level. They've really done a good job in dispelling the thought that it's an old man's sport," said Faldo.

"These guys now are unbelievably strong. We have more than a dozen doctors travelling on tour with degrees in biomechanics ... they know exactly how to build a golfer and that's fantastic.

"This is all factual information, it's not a guess. It's been around for years now and kids at 15 get this knowledge for five years and bang, that's why they can come out at 20 and be impressive golfers."

Faldo, who now works as a golf analyst on television in the United States, saluted the 'New Big Three' of Spieth, world No. 2 Jason Day and third-ranked Rory McIlroy.

"Many thought it was all doom and gloom and golf would start to fall off people's interest after Tiger Woods' dominance ... but the quality of golf this season was astonishing," he explained.

"I call them the 'New Big Three' and fortunately they are being chased by a dozen other guys. TV ratings are up 30 per cent in America, people are watching.

"Kids who used to be surfing dudes are now talking golf, that's the important thing.

"I've been travelling the world and everybody's now talking golf.

"Hopefully we've got a generation of three players for at least the next 10 years who can keep bashing each other's brains in."