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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 →

Martin Kaymer Endures Disappointing 2011 Season 2

Posted on August 24, 2011 by Pete South

After winning the 2010 PGA, Martin Kaymer struggled in 2011.

A year that started so well for Martin Kaymer did more than just fizzle out. The 2010 PGA champion and joint European player of 2010 confirmed his ascendency by claiming top spot in the rankings soon after a stunning eight-shot victory at the Abu Dhabi Championships. He certainly made himself popular in the Golf betting.

The German seemed sure to be the leading player in the vacuum at the top of the sport by the varying degrees of loss in form experienced by Tiger Woods and other Americans. Instead Kaymer has regressed, slipping to fourth in the rankings and failing to win another event.

An opening round 78 at the Masters, consigning him to his fourth straight missed cut at Augusta, revealed that his seemingly rock-solid all-round game could collapse. Kaymer has struggled to regain his composure since, although he did show glimpses of his best by starting the Open well and finishing joint 12th.

Jose Maria Olazabal might not be too concerned at Kaymer’s loss of form. The German’s best golf since Abu Dhabi have come in Match Play – he was runner-up to Luke Donald in the WGC-Accenture Match Play and was beaten by the same man in the semi finals of the Volvo Match Play Championship.
Read the rest of this entry →

Ryder Cup Lure Keeps European Tour Strong 0

Posted on September 18, 2010 by Kyle Green

Martin Kaymer has proven that you can win a major cahmpionship while playing primarily on the European Tour.

Whilst some golfing fans would have loved nothing more than to have seen the likes of Justin Rose and Paul Casey fighting it out against their PGA Tour rivals, the very fact that these individuals missed out on a place in the European Ryder Cup team is testament to the fact that the European Tour is benefiting greatly from the additional level of competition that the qualification process for the Cup generates.

Although some people who bet on Ryder Cup events will no doubt argue that the decision to continue to award points only to those competing on a tour that has traditionally been considered weaker than the US PGA is a mistake which could cost the European team the chance to win back the Ryder Cup, the majority of golf pundits have suggested that the mythical lure of the competition keeps players competing on the lower profile tour.

With players such as Martin Kaymer showing Ryder Cup betting pundits that they are capable of winning majors despite not playing week in, week out with golfers such as Phil Mickelson, and with the European team still earning itself the status of overwhelming favourites ahead of the Ryder Cup, there seems almost to be a case for only players taking part on the European Tour deserving a place on the team, with that rule even applying to wildcard picks.

Should this come into force, players such as Kaymer would find themselves in a situation in which they are unable to use the European tour solely as a launching pad from which to further their quest to compete in the more lucrative US Tour. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rusty Staub: A Man For All Ages
      April 8, 2024 | 1:26 pm
      Rusty Staub

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

      Read more »

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