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Sports Then and Now



European Challenge Looks Strong To End US Masters Drought In 2012 16

Posted on January 25, 2012 by Rod Crowley

Jose Maria Olazabal - The last European to win the "Green Jacket" in 1999.

Despite the fact that the US Masters is still a couple of months away, the start of the new season in Golf means that players will be looking to fine tune their games ahead of the first “major” of the year, the US Masters, and with European players occupying the top four places in the World rankings currently, the question is whether a European can finally win the “Green Jacket”, some 13 years after the last!

It seems an eternity since Jose Maria Olazabal last won what is arguably the sport’s most prestigious tournament. His win in 1999 added to his first win at Augusta in 1994 and came after Sir Nick Faldo’s third triumph in the event in 1996. Other European winners of the Masters in a golden era for players from across the Atlantic included the late, Seve Ballesteros, who won it twice in 1980 & 1983. German, Bernard Langer, also won two “Green Jacket’s” in 1985 and then eight years later in 1993. Sandy Lyle became the first ever British winner in 1987 and while Faldo followed him with back to back wins in 1989 & 1990, it was Welshman, Ian Woosnam who took the title in 1991. However, despite recent European winners of the other three “Majors”, the Masters has seemingly become elusive for Europe’s top players.

Of course, Rory McIlroy had the 2011 Masters when he took a four shot lead into the final round but the young Ulsterman imploded early on the Sunday and his chance was very quickly gone. As we know, he made some amends a few weeks later when winning the US Open but losing the “Green Jacket” will still sit heavy on his shoulders and McIlroy will be out to avenge that final round performance in April and he is arguably Europe’s best chance of ending the 13 year wait. Read the rest of this entry →

2011 In Golf – Europeans End Year On Top of the World 3

Posted on December 15, 2011 by Rod Crowley

The biggest lesson to be learned from golf in 2011 was quite simply that the standard of the game and the levels of competition just gets higher and higher, not just in the standards set by the players but also with the tournament organization and TV coverage.

The re-vamped European Tour now known as the Race to Dubai has added a new dimension to European Golf. Although it possibly has some way to go before it begins to attract some of those star names from the US PGA Tour, it is constantly discovering new talent and it should be noted that it is four European players who sit in the top four places in the world rankings.

Top of that list is Luke Donald, who became the first man in golf history to win the money lists on both the US tour and Race to Dubai Tours. Four wins during the year and whole host of top five and top ten finishes, confirmed him not only as the best in the world right now but also by far and away the most consistent.

The young Ulsterman, who sits one place behind Donald in the rankings, Rory McIlroy also enjoyed an unforgettable year. The 22 year old won a first Major at the US Open, where he broke just about every record that is to be broken in that most prestigious tournament. That win came on the back of a hugely unfortunate final round at the US Masters in April where after three rounds McIlroy had decimated the field and the daunting Augusta course. We all know what happened to him in that final round, but the courage he showed from that disaster to win the US Open in such style was actually almost beyond belief. The lesson learned by all golf fans and players is that Rory McIlroy is going to be around at the very top for a very long time. Read the rest of this entry →

Luke Donald Finishes Strong At The British Open 1

Posted on July 23, 2010 by Thomas Rooney

Luke Donald shot a final round 69 at the British Open.

Luke Donald was all smiles as he finished positively at St Andrews to end up as one of the highest placed British players on the leader board.

After four days where he his form has been inconsistent, Donald saved his best until last as he completed his round with an eagle at the 17th and a birdie at the 18th for an impressive score of 69.

Speaking about the final stages of his tournament, Donald joked that he could “sell that finish for quite a few pounds to anyone in the last two groups”. It was a finish he enjoyed enormously and one which made the hard work of the previous days worthwhile.

It was a spectacular ending to what has been an average few days for the Englishman. He has performed solidly, without ever excelling – with the exception of the final two holes of course. The golf betting odds never had him challenging the leader. Read the rest of this entry →

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