Grow Up, Faldo; Leadbetter Hits Back after Being Sacked by Letter

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Byline: MICHAEL MCDONNELL

NICK FALDO was told last night to start acting like an adult - by the coach who made him the top golfer in the world.

As their 13-year friendship dissolved into a bitter war of words, David Leadbetter, sacked without warning, said: 'Nick has a character flaw. He doesn't seem able to handle adult situations. He couldn't even meet me face to face after all that time to say he wanted a change.

'Instead, he just sent a note to my teaching academy in Florida, while I was in Japan. I don't even believe he wrote it because some of the phrases it contains Nick wouldn't use. Probably his manager did. But he definitely signed it.' Faldo blamed a breakdown in communication and said: 'David didn't turn up at the U.S. PGA championship in Seattle last month and I didn't speak to him for five weeks.' But Leadbetter explained: 'I wasn't at the PGA championship because my father had died and I needed to be with my mother. I thought Nick might have understood that.

'I don't think he has been as committed to his golf in recent years. There was a time when he would want to work for four straight hours.

'But more recently he just manages about an hour.

Either he has the children with him, or Brenna (his girlfriend) is there.

The old intensity has gone from him.' Leadbetter transformed Faldo into a world-class star and the most successful player in the history of the British game.

During their glittering partnership Faldo, now 41, earned six major titles and went close to several others. He held the top spot in the world rankings and was voted the 1990 American PGA Player of the Year.

Their alliance also made the former Welwyn Garden City carpet-fitter a multimillionaire.

Leadbetter himself became a millionaire in the process, with golf schools all over the world, and said: 'Don't get me wrong. …