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Sports Then and Now

Transparency at Augusta: Change with the Times 3

Posted on October 31, 2013 by Daniel Lofthouse
Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera provided a memorable finish at the 2013 Masters.

Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera provided a memorable finish at the 2013 Masters.

The end of the 2013 Master’s really was a scene from a fairy tale. Only months after his excruciating Open defeat, Adam Scott triumphed; becoming the first ever Australian to win the green jacket. Angel Cabrera’s defeat (and the way he embraced it) personified golf.

A twelve-foot putt has changed one man’s life forever. Scott’s life, however, was not the only one to change at Augusta. The infamous club had also transformed, allowing female members for the very first time in a breakthrough for women’s rights activists everywhere.

Jack Nicklaus has dubbed current chairman Billy Payne as ‘the most forward-looking steward the club has ever had’. To an extent, this appears true, as Payne has persuaded the committee to allow female members and has expanded the tournament’s outreach, a move that made Guan Tianlang a household name. Guan’s actions, however, and Augusta’s lack of perceived fairness, show how the club still has work to do to change its image and ‘get with the times’. 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 →

Healthy Tiger Woods Struggles at PGA Championship 8

Posted on August 11, 2011 by William Taylor

Despite a self-proclaimed return to health, Tiger Woods has not yet found a return to form.

Tiger Woods blames his alarming slide down the golf world rankings on his health, and says he feels better now than he has for a long time. The former world number one has undoubtedly had his problems over the last few years, with a knee injury the most recent issue he has faced.

Woods believes that now he is finally over his injuries, he will be able to concentrate on his golf, and getting back to his best. However, he isn’t off to a great start in his return after finishing 18 strokes back last week at the Bridgestone Invitational and then shooting an opening round 77 to make it likely that he will miss the cut at the PGA Championship.

“In order to win, I had to be healthy,” Woods said. “That’s what we’re trying to get to. Now I can go, now I can do the work.

“I can do the practice sessions, and I think that that’s the only way that my game will get to where I need to get to.” Read the rest of this entry →

Can Tiger Woods Regain His Magic? 3

Posted on August 04, 2011 by Thomas Rooney

It has been a frustrating year so far for former top golfer Tiger Woods.

Some bookmakers are offering odds of 16-1 that Tiger Woods will mark his return to golf with a sensational win at the Bridgestone Invitational this week.

The event, which begins this week, will see Woods make his first appearance in a competition since he limped out of The Players’ Championship after just nine holes, 12 weeks ago.

At such odds, Woods is considered by most placing free bets to be the fourth favorite to win the tournament, testament to his undoubted ability as a player.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is a Northern Irishman who goes into the event as favourite. US Open winner Rory McIlroy will be looking to put a disappointing British Open behind him, and remind the world that he is one of the finest players in golf at the moment.

England’s Lee Westwood is another who will be hoping to win this week – he is second favourite, just ahead of Steve Stricker.

But it is Woods who will no doubt be the main talking point.

There are many questions that cannot be answered until he gets out onto the course and shows everyone what level he is at. Read the rest of this entry →

Thomas Levet Joins Tiger Woods on the Sidelines for the British Open 10

Posted on July 10, 2011 by Pete South

Thomas Levet will miss the British Open thanks to an injury suffered during this celebration jump after winning the French Championship.

Paris-born golfer Thomas Levet might be feeling a little bit silly today, after his over-enthusiastic celebration at the French Open Championship left him with an injury to his lower leg. Levet, who finished seven under par to win the contest, one shot ahead of closest rival, Thorbjorn Olesen, fractured his shin jumping into a lake with his manager, Patrice Bartez.

Speaking about the painful injury, the Frenchman said, “I will be off for six weeks”. The length of Levet’s hiatus means that he will not be available for the start of the British Open, which begins next week. The 42-year-old is the second high-profile golfer to be forced out of the Open, following the news that Tiger Woods’ injuries have consigned the American to a sun lounger for the immediate future. Those following the British Open betting will have noted their withdrawals with interest.

The Open Championship will be contested at the Royal St. George’s Golf Course for the first time in almost a decade. Levet finished tied for 2nd after a playoff at the British Open in 2002. Read the rest of this entry →

Tiger Woods Still Planning to Play at 2011 U.S. Open 4

Posted on May 18, 2011 by Pete South

Tiger Woods hopes his trip to the U.S. Open will last longer than the nine holes he played at the Players Championship.

Tiger Woods is still confident of competing in next month’s US Open despite suffering another injury setback. The former world-number one pulled up after nine holes at last week’s Players Championship at Sawgrass, with a series of nagging injuries in his left leg.

Tiger’s left knee (again), Achilles and calf all tightened halfway through his opening round, so much so that he was forced to withdraw from the tournament. It was clear to anybody watching that Tiger wasn’t fully fit, his opening nine holes saw him shoot a disastrous 42 before making the decision to retire hurt. Anyone following the 2011 US Open golf betting will have been very worried by the nature of the injury.

Speaking after his enforced withdrawal from the Players Championship, Woods confirmed the injury was worryingly a flare up of an old knee problem, which had then caused tightness in his achilles and calf.

“The knee acted up, then the achilles followed and then the calf started cramping up. Everything started getting tight, so it’s just a whole chain reaction,” he said.

With the US Open less than a month away Woods has maintained he is still focusing on participating at the season’s second major, to be held at the Congressional from the 16th to the 19th of June. Woods released a statement on his personal website following his withdrawal from Sawgrass.

“Aggravating my injury is very disappointing. I’ll do whatever is necessary to play in the US Open and I’m hopeful I can be there to compete,” it read.

The course at the Congressional has happy memories for Tiger after he won the AT&T National in 2009 at the Maryland held event. The US open was Tiger’s last major win in 2008 and that year had a similar feel to it for the former dominant force in world golf. Injury then had affected Tiger’s warm-up to the Torrey Pines held US Open in 2008, a lack of practice rounds didn’t hinder him though and Woods prevailed at the first extra hole after the 18th hole play-off. Those looking at the US Open betting won’t be expecting him to pull off a miracle this time around.

While plenty will never lose any doubt that Tiger will one day return to the top of his game, some however don’t believe we’ll ever see the day when Woods is the same player as he was before his problems. Winning this year’s US Open would certainly silence those critics, but it would take a hell of an effort to do it without any preparation time.

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rocky Colavito: Super Slugger
      March 30, 2020 | 7:24 pm
      Rocky Colavito

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was just the fifth player in Major League Baseball history to have 11 straight seasons with 20 or more home runs, yet could not sustain that greatness long enough to earn a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      In some sense, the legend of Rocco “Rocky” Colavito Jr. began long before he ever started pounding home runs at the major league level.

      Born and raised as a New York Yankees fan in The Bronx, Colavito was playing semipro baseball before he was a teenager and dropped out of high school at 16 after his sophomore year to pursue a professional career. The major league rule at the time said a player could not sign with a pro team until his high school class graduated, but after sitting out for one year, Colavito was allowed to sign at age 17.

      Read more »

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