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Faldo 'lunch list' fuels media speculation

  • Story Highlights
  • Nick Faldo runs into controversy after appearing to reveal his foursomes pairs
  • Faldo's scribbled notes were caught on camera and seen by the world's media
  • Ryder Cup begins in Valhalla on Friday with Europe the defending champions
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(CNN) -- European Ryder Cup captain Nick Faldo inadvertently revealed his likely pairings for the opening foursomes matches against the United States after being caught out by an eagle-eyed press photographer.

Faldo faced uncomfortable questioning from the world's media after his apparent blunder.

The snapper used his zoom lens to capture scribbled notes on a piece of paper he was showing to Swedish golfer Henrik Stenson during Wednesday practice at Valhalla.

They were only initials, but it wasn't hard to figure them out.

"SG" was next to "LW" -- Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood, who have gone 4-1-1 in two previous Ryder Cups; "JR" and "IP" would be Justin Rose and Ian Poulter, who are the best of friends with similar games.

"RK" and "PH" would indicate Faldo was considering matching Robert Karlsson and three-time major champion Padraig Harrington.

Stenson's initials were next to the initials of Graeme McDowell and Paul Casey.

Faldo was confronted with the evidence at a later press conference and gave a less than convincing explanation to the world's media.

"It just had the lunch list," he said. "It had sandwich requests for the guys, just making sure who wants tuna, who wants the beef, who wants the ham. That's all it was."

The microphone went dead when the reporter tried to follow up, letting him off the hook. But only for a short time. Another reporter pointed out that only 11 initials were on the paper (Miguel Angel Jimenez was left out). "Put my name down, then," Faldo said.

He was later forced to own up that the scribbled notes were his likely pairings and when asked what is the biggest difference he can make to the outcome of the Ryder Cup, he admitted: "The biggest thing I can do is to keep things secret."

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Faldo's performance was greeted with unfavorable headlines in British newspapers, casting doubt on his abilities as a captain.

"Skipper Faldo in Euro team farce" was one of the kinder headlines in the Daily Mirror. "Faldogate" blazed the Sun tabloid, whose chief sports writer was scathing of his media conference performance. "It was car-crash TV. That Nick Faldo moment we had all been dreading. Or Nick Fal-DOH," wrote Steve Howard.

The six-time major winner had always been an accident waiting to happen since his contentious appointment as Ryder Cup captain," he added.

Faldo and U.S. captain Paul Azinger will officially reveal their pairings for the opening foursomes -- alternate shot play -- after Thursday's lavish opening ceremony in Kentucky. Play begins on Friday with the foursomes, followed by fourball action in the afternoon.

Europe are defending the Ryder Cup and go into the event as clear favorites against an inexperienced United States line-up lacking injured world number one Tiger Woods.

Copyright 2008 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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