Tag Archives: curtis

Jack Rodwell ruled out for up to four weeks

Mancini set to be without Rodwell for up to FOUR weeks after hamstring injury recurs to haunt City midfielder yet again

By
John Curtis, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

20:37 GMT, 4 March 2013

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UPDATED:

01:28 GMT, 5 March 2013

Roberto Mancini's relief at Manchester City keeping their slim hopes alive of retaining their Barclays Premier League title was tempered by another injury setback to Jack Rodwell.

A first half goal from Carlos Tevez was sufficient to earn City a 1-0 win at Aston Villa and cut the gap on leaders Manchester United to 12 points.

But midfielder Rodwell suffered a recurrence of his hamstring injury midway through the opening period and will be sidelined for 'three to four weeks'.

Injury curse: Jack Rodwell was marking his 11th appearance for Manchester City since his summer arrival from Everton

Injury curse: Jack Rodwell was marking his 11th appearance for Manchester City since his summer arrival from Everton

Mancini said: 'We are very sorry for Jack, because he is a good guy, a good player, but he is unlucky. It is his hamstring.

'I think it is impossible to resolve
his problem after six or seven months because he's had this problem for
five or six years and we need maybe more time.

'How long will he be out Maybe he will be back after the international break, three or four weeks. It is the same injury.

'I am very sorry because he is a
young player. He needs to improve but he has played very well against
Chelsea and was playing very well tonight.'

Mancini repeated his determination
that City will not give up on the title without a fight but admits they
probably have to win their 10 remaining games.

Blow: Rodwell was replaced by Edin Dzeko after suffering an apparent hamstring injury

Blow: Rodwell was replaced by Edin Dzeko after suffering an apparent hamstring injury

He said: 'It is difficult because we have 30 points to play for and we need to try to win.

'At the end, we will see what happens. In football everything can happen right up to the last second.

'We probably need to win all 10 matches that are left. We need to win all the matches.

'If they (United) lose three or four or five games…..it is difficult because they are too strong for this.

'When you have to win always, it is difficult to win every game. But last year we did this. Why can't we do it this year'

Sergio Aguero was also ruled out with
a knee injury and will also miss the weekend FA Cup tie with Barnsley
but Mancini is hopeful he will be available for the next league clash
with Everton.

Villa remain in the bottom three and
manager Paul Lambert admitted a mistake by defender Ciaran Clark proved
crucial in the build-up to Tevez's decider.

Not again: Rodwell looked disappointed after the recurrence of his hamstring complaint

Not again: Rodwell looked disappointed after the recurrence of his hamstring complaint

Lambert said: 'I thought we were well
in the game. The goal is a mistake. I wouldn't have minded if someone
had put one in the top corner with a bit of skill.

'But it's a mistake by us. It is easy
to be critical of Ciaran. The lad has been excellent all season. He
will learn from it, he won't make the same mistake again.'

Midfielder Fabian Delph will be
suspended for the next two games against Reading and QPR after
collecting his 10th booking of the season for handball.

Lambert said: 'He's playing extremely
well, really well. You are pressing forward, to try and get a goal back
and things like that happen.'

The Villa boss knows the significance of the next two matches.

He said: 'The next two games are massive for us. If we play like that, we will give teams a fright, that's for sure.'

West Brom will not sell Peter Odemwingie to QPR

QPR dealt blow as West Brom refuse to sell Odemwingie in January transfer window

By
John Curtis, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

07:56 GMT, 24 January 2013

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UPDATED:

07:56 GMT, 24 January 2013

Peter Odemwingie has been told that he will not be allowed to leave West Brom during the current transfer window, the club's new sporting and technical director, Richard Garlick, has confirmed.

The Baggies striker is a target for QPR who have already had one offer rejected – believed to be 2million.

But Garlick insists the Baggies will only allow players to leave on their terms.

Staying put: Peter Odemwingie (centre) will not be leaving West Brom

Staying put: Peter Odemwingie (centre) will not be leaving West Brom

He said: 'Last summer there were supposedly players leaving but we kept hold of most of them.

'We don't have to sell any of our players. It's only on our terms.

'It's well documented about Peter. We had an offer and we don't intend to sell any of our players.

'When an offer comes in, we speak to the player out of courtesy. We've had that chat with Peter and he knows the situation.'

Albion also rejected a 5m bid from Rangers for defender Jonas Olsson who only signed a new four year contract in October.

In the market: Harry Redknapp was keen to sign Odemwingie for QPR

In the market: Harry Redknapp was keen to sign Odemwingie for QPR

Garlick does not expect West Brom to sign any players before the transfer window closes a week today.

He said: 'We're happy with the squad we've got and there are no immediate plans to bring anyone in.

'If an opportunity presents itself, then we will look at that, but we're looking more towards the summer.'

Ian Holloway set for Crystal Palace move from Blackpool

EXCLUSIVE: Holloway ready to walk out on Blackpool and take charge of Palace

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UPDATED:

13:38 GMT, 2 November 2012

Blackpool will struggle to hang on to Ian Holloway after it emerged that family ties are driving him towards the managerial vacancy at Crystal Palace.

Singled out by Palace as the man they wanted, from the moment Dougie Freedman left to take over at Bolton, the Selhurst Park board finally made an official approach for the Blackpool manager on Thursday night, as revealed in Sportsmail.

Incoming: Crystal Palace have made an official approach for Blackpool's Ian Holloway

Incoming: Crystal Palace have made an official approach for Blackpool's Ian Holloway

Football League blog

Holloway was locked in talks with
Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston, and it is understood he outlined the
emotional background to his wish to succeed Freedman at Palace.

His three daughters were all born
profoundly deaf and all now work in London, 240 miles away.

Though he
has been fully committed to launching another promotion campaign at
Bloomfield Road, the chance to live and work close by twins Chloe and
Eve and Harriet is one he is keen to take.

Replacement: Old Eagles boss Dougie Freedman left for Bolton Wanderers

Replacement: Old Eagles boss Dougie Freedman left for Bolton Wanderers

Palace are aware of a 400,000
compensation clause in Holloway’s Blackpool contract and seem prepared
to pay it to make a swift appointment and minimise disruption, following
an encouraging start to their Championship campaign.

They are awaiting the conclusion of
talks between Holloway and Oyston and hoping for a positive outcome that
would then allow Palace coach Curtis Fleming to follow Lennie Lawrence
to Bolton.

Dougie Freedman waits to take charge as Bolton hold talks with Crystal Palace

Freedman waits to take charge as Bolton continue talks with Crystal Palace

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UPDATED:

05:49 GMT, 24 October 2012

Confusion continues to surround the
vacant managerial position at Bolton after caretaker boss Jimmy Phillips
claimed he will be in charge for Saturday's trip to Middlesbrough.

Such a turn of events seemed
improbable earlier on Tuesday afternoon when Crystal Palace announced
their manager Dougie Freedman had left the club to succeed Owen Coyle at
the Reebok Stadium.

Palace of dreams: Dougie Freedman has had a superb start to the season

Palace of dreams: Dougie Freedman has had a superb start to the season

Wanderers chairman Phil Gartside made his move for Freedman over the weekend and, following an initial rejection, npower Championship counterparts Palace granted permission for discussions to take place.

But those have not been concluded, according to Phillips, who spoke to the press following Tuesday night's 2-2 draw at Wolves with his club yet to make an official response to Palace's earlier statement.

Phillips said: 'As far we are aware, the future is there are still negotiations to be concluded between Bolton and Crystal Palace.

'Myself, (and coaches) Sammy Lee and Julian Darby will be preparing the team and then taking the team at Middlesbrough.

'That is as much as I know. Obviously things could change between now and the Middlesbrough game but that is what I was told.'

On Palace's statement, Phillips added: 'I don't think the timing was what we would have hoped for.'

Nevertheless, Freedman's move to Bolton remains widely expected to go ahead.

Late bloomer: Bolton earned a deserved point against Wolves

Late bloomer: Bolton earned a deserved point against Wolves

Assistant manager Lennie Lawrence and
first-team coach Curtis Fleming led Palace to a 1-1 draw at Barnsley in
the 38-year-old's absence and Lawrence spoke of the Scot's tenure in the
past tense.

'He's kept us posted and he phoned to say it was all done and phoned to wish us well,' he said.

'It's been a great experience working under him and it's been a terrific experience working at Crystal Palace Football Club.

'The owners have been very supportive and the whole thing's been terrific.

'Managers don't normally leave the club when they're in as good a state as we're in but it's going to happen.'

Former Eagles striker Freedman, 38, succeeded George Burley on a
permanent basis at Selhurst Park in January 2011 and led Palace to a
League Cup semi-final last season.

He continued to enhance his reputation this term with Palace riding high
in fourth place in the Championship and on a nine-match unbeaten run,
which includes a 1-0 win at Bolton on September 29.

That loss was one of five in Wanderers' first 10 Championship matches
this term – a run on the back of relegation from the Barclays Premier
League last year that forced Coyle to pay with his job on October 9.

All over: Owen Coyle was sacked by Bolton after a poor start to the campaign

All over: Owen Coyle was sacked by Bolton after a poor start to the campaign

Palace remain 12 places ahead of Bolton in the table after Tuesday
night's fixtures and, speaking to Sky Sports News earlier in the day,
Eagles co-chairman Steve Parish identified the fluctuating pressures of
football management as driving Freedman's departure in these
circumstances.

'I think there is an element of things going on in football that are different to things that go on in the real world,' he said.

'It's a precarious situation for managers. Eight games ago I had a
boycott to get him out because we weren't winning any games and eight
games later every club in town wants to hire him.

'So it is a very different and very public profession and I think managers' terms are often very short.

'I felt that we had something different going on because of both of our
affinities to the club, but Dougie obviously feels that his career can
be served elsewhere and that's his priority to do that.

'We wish him all the best. The most important thing for us now is to
find a manager as quickly as possible to continue on the great run we've
been on.'

Ryder Cup 2012: Rory McIlroy a victim of trash talk in American press

McIlroy a victim of trash talk in American press ahead of Ryder Cup

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UPDATED:

21:45 GMT, 24 September 2012

If Jose Maria Olazabal is the sort of European Ryder Cup captain who likes to pin articles on a noticeboard to serve as motivation, he would not have been short of material upon his arrival in Chicago on Monday.

The Americans are always banging on about the British press and their perceived penchant for inflammatory headlines, but how about this one from the New York Daily News: 'Here's how Team USA can shut down Rory McIlroy and take out the Euro Trash.'

The piece certainly contained plenty of trash-talking from two ex-American captains, Paul Azinger and Curtis Strange. The former questioned Rory's stomach for a fight while the latter claimed Europe, whose team contain three of the world's top four, were little more than a one-man band.

Easy Ryder: McIlroy is the only European player 'with an aura', according to Curtis Strange

Easy Ryder: McIlroy is the only European player 'with an aura', according to Curtis Strange

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'I'm looking at Europe's team and I don't see an intimidating figure other than McIlroy,' said Strange, a losing American captain in 2002.

'Between Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Bubba Watson, they fall out of bed and make five birdies a round. Rory, to me, is the only one on their team who looks like he has any of that aura at all.'

Those thoughts would certainly be worth showing to the likes of English duo Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood, wouldn't they Amazing to think that Europe have eight players with winning Ryder Cup records and America, with all that aura, have none.

Azinger, the only winning American captain this century, was equally provocative. 'Rory has that youthful enthusiasm, he's going to be the most fun guy in the locker room,' he said.

'But he can slump his shoulders. 'And I just think if you can get him to slump his shoulders, if he loses two matches that first day, that whole dynamic in the European team room changes.'

My, the home team are up for this one, aren't they Just one more reason not to move far from a television set this weekend.

An apology

Thanks to all the readers who reminded me yesterday that Paul McGinley also made three appearances in the Ryder Cup and was never on a losing side. I had claimed Luke Donald was the only one. As for another keen Sportsmail reader – Paul himself – due apologies.

Money, money, money

No wonder all these top British players are competing in America rather than Europe these days. At the FedEx Cup jamboree in Atlanta on Sunday, Lee Westwood finished last at the Tour Championship and still went home with $625,000.

Hats off: Westwood had a bad week but still took home $625,000

Hats off: Westwood had a bad week but still took home $625,000

Luke Donald never really featured in the FedEx play-off race and yet added another $1million to his pile. Justin Rose made a cool $1.66m. Rory McIlroy Another $3.2m. What we have said before is worth repeating: what a lucky age this is if you're a world-class golfer.

Snedeker cashes in but stays grounded

With a wife about to give birth, a father who recently had liver transplant surgery and the son of his coach battling for his life after a horrific car crash two weeks ago, perhaps it wasn't surprising that golf's latest $11.44million man Brandt Snedeker had no trouble keeping his feet on the ground in Atlanta on Sunday.

Give some golfers that sort of loot and they wouldn't be able to get on the phone to a luxury car salesman or a fancy real-estate merchant quick enough.

In the money: Snedeker pocketed a cool $10m on Sunday

In the money: Snedeker pocketed a cool $10m on Sunday

After his victory in the Tour Championship (with a first prize of $1.44m) won him the FedEx Cup (a bonus cheque of $10m) Snedeker intimated that some of his first calls will be to various charities near his home in Nashville.

'I never thought about having this sort of crazy money before,' said the 31-year-old. 'Now that I have, I need to figure out how to take care of my family and help other people. I really think we can make a difference and help a lot of people out in Nashville and the surrounding areas.'

It is hard not to take to a sportsman who, when asked whether he fancies a new car, replies: 'I have a five-year-old car that has 20,000 miles on it, so it is practically new. Why on earth would I need another'

Snedeker's double was not the one Europe wanted on Sunday. Not with Rory McIlroy in pole position in the FedEx and Justin Rose in the mix at the Tour Championship. Both settled for the respective runner's-up spots. But this was certainly a victory for decency, and restraint in the face of all that excess.

Quote of the week

'I don't read articles about myself. I figure you're all saying nice things about me, and I don't need to read that. Or maybe you're saying really horrible things about me, and I definitely don't need to read that.'

Who would ever say anything nasty about gentleman Jim Furyk Well, maybe the American press if the controversial Ryder Cup wildcard has a stinker this week.

Ryder Cup: Who's hot

Charley Hull wins battle of nerves at Women"s British Open

Teenager Charley wins battle of nerves at Women's British Open

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UPDATED:

20:35 GMT, 13 September 2012

Standing on the first tee at the Ricoh Women's British Open and treating it like a game with your friends sounds like rule one in a sports psychologist's manual.

Far easier said than done, surely Maybe it helps if you're 16 years of age and have already given the paid ranks glimpses of your burgeoning promise.

Focused: England's Charley Hull lines up a putt

Focused: England's Charley Hull lines up a putt

England's No 1 Melissa Reid played with the teen in question, Charley Hull recently and came away raving about her mental acumen. So it was that the nerveless Hull underlined her considerable potential by becoming one of the few players to shoot under par on the opening day at Royal Liverpool.

I know it's a major but that's how I think about it, like I'm out with my mates and I enjoy courses like this one that are long and challenging,' said Hull, following a one under par score of 71 that left her just a stroke off the lead held by South Koreans Heiji Kang and So Yeon Ryu.

Hull, from Woburn, shot the same total in the year's first major, the Kraft Nabisco in California, only to follow it with a 77. She's keen to show what she's learned from that experience.

'In the second round in California I got under pressure and started to hit the ball too hard but I rebounded well in the third round with a 68,' said Hull. 'I learned then just to swing slower and keep taking it shot by shot and hole by hole and that's what I will be telling myself here.'

Treating it like another round with her pals might help as well.

Charley Hull (amateur)

Charley Hull (amateur)

With New Zealand's 15 year old sensation Lydia Ko shooting 72, this was a day when the two youngest players in the event rather stole the show. Like her Curtis Cup team mate Hull, 21 year old Holly Clyburn from Cleethorpes came through Monday qualifying and shot 72.

As if to emphasise the shifting scene, America's much-decorated Juli Inkster, now 52, could only manage a 79, while 48 year old Laura Davies fared even worse with an 80. Perhaps you needed to be very young to cope with the crushingly slow pace of play.

Davies, who has always played the game with refreshing briskness, delivered her own withering commentary by appearing to fall asleep on the 8th tee, while waiting for the backlog to clear.

The wind picked up during the afternoon and the two young stars of the British professional scene, Melissa Reid and Carly Booth both struggled, signing for scores of 77.

Booth looked devastated at the finish of her first major championship round, one that had seen her struggle off the tee, and this is not a course you can play from the rough. 'I couldn't keep the ball on the fairway and pretty much everything was just off,' said the 20 year old Scot. 'The conditions were really tough as well.'

Struggle: Laura Davies

Struggle: Laura Davies

Booth was in good company in failing to cope, mind. In 2006 when the men's Open returned here after an absence of 39 years, the sun shone brightly, the fairways were parched and there was little wind. Here it is green, the rough is up and all it took was a typical breeze of 15mph for a telling reminder of what a truly forbidding links this can be.

'If you didn't have total control of your ball out there, you had no chance,' said former champion Karen Stupples, who shot 76 and was just one of many who will return today with a little trepidation in her heart. The forecast is for winds of up to 45mph, and if that happens there will be some embarrassing numbers posted. Imagine how Reid's French playing partner, Anne-Lise Caudal is going to feel, for example. She shot 87 in yesterday's conditions.

Catriona Matthew, winner of this title on the Lancashire coastline three years ago, fared little better than Booth, labouring to a round of 76. At the other end of the scale, 21 year old Kang opened with a bogey but thereafter was almost flawless, keeping the ball out of the penal rough and the notoriously difficult bunkers to post her 70. As if to emphasise the nature of the challenge, it was the highest leading score since this event became a major in 2001.

As for the big name Americans, Paula Creamer did well enough with a 73 but Michelle Wie has had a poor year by her standards and it didn't get much better with a 75, with all the damage being done during an outward half of 39. At least the 22 year old didn't lose her sense of perspective. As she came towards the recorder's hut, she acknowledged a couple of young girls who had come straight from school to watch.

Curtis Good set for Newcastle medical

Good move by Newcastle as Melbourne defender heads for Toon medical

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UPDATED:

11:54 GMT, 25 July 2012

Melbourne Heart defender Curtis Good is closing in on a move to Newcastle as he prepares to head to England for a medical.

The 19-year-old, a graduate of the Australian Institute of Sport, made 25 appearances for the club in his debut Hyundai A-League season.

Toon time: Curtis Good (stripes) is heading for Newcastle

Toon time: Curtis Good (stripes) is heading for Newcastle

Head coach John Aloisi told Football Australia: 'It's a fantastic opportunity for Curtis. Newcastle United is one of the biggest clubs in the United Kingdom, and we are absolutely delighted he has the opportunity to test his wares on such a stage.'

It is understood that Good will go straight into the development squad at Newcastle and be given the opportunity to force his way into manager Alan Pardew's long-term plans.

Luke Donald annoys golf writers before The Open: Charles Sale

Charles Sale: Golf writers teed off by Donald's digs

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UPDATED:

23:12 GMT, 18 July 2012

World No 1 Luke Donald caused a
considerable stir on the eve of The Open with his less than gracious
response after winning the prestigious Golf Writers’ Trophy.

Donald, making his acceptance speech
in front of the game’s top brass at the Association of Golf Writers’
annual dinner at Royal Lytham, chose the occasion to be chippy in the
extreme about the tabloid press who had helped vote him top golfer of
the year.

However, Donald, who wrote the speech
himself rather than relying on his IMG management team, claimed
yesterday that he must have been misunderstood by the critical audience.

Ruffling feathers: Donald

Ruffling feathers: Donald

He said: ‘I was just trying to be
light-hearted. I’ve no problem with the British press. I get on well
with them and was trying to reflect that. It seems some people have
got the wrong impression.’ They certainly have.

Meanwhile, the AGW missed an
opportunity by not giving more recognition to the Curtis Cup-winning
quartet in attendance, who all look like models as well as being top
sportswomen. It was a particular shame considering the sexist men-only
Royal St George’s hosted The Open last year and another male bastion,
Muirfield, will do so in 2013.

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Ashley's 2m payout

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley, who is considering bringing 35million striker Andy Carroll back to Tyneside if the price is right, might have to put 2m aside for Open Championship expenditure.

The sponsorship deal the Ashley-owned Dunlop brand has with Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke pays them 2m for winning a major. Westwood is again one of the favourites this week — as he was last year when Clarke took the Claret Jug and Ashley paid up just three days later.

Olazabal absent

Jose Maria Olazabal is nowhere to be seen at Royal Lytham despite being captain of the Ryder Cup team who will defend the trophy in Chicago in two months.

It is understood the Spaniard doesn’t feel the need to be at The Open, having failed to qualify, although his US counterpart Davis Love III is in the field.

It would be extremely rare in any other high-profile sport for a team boss not to watch all his players in action, as well as the opposition, ahead of an event as big as the Ryder Cup.

However, the last European captain to win in America was Bernhard Langer in 2004 and he missed that year’s Open for family reasons.

Staying away: Olazabal

Staying away: Jose Maria Olazabal

BBC's big bid

BBC Sport are understood to have paid around 100million to secure exclusive TV and online rights to the summer Olympics in 2016 and 2020 and two winter Games.

This is despite Sky having discussions with the IOC about buying the contract and then sub-leasing it to fulfil free-to-air commitments. In the event Sky did not bid.

And having had the door closed on their Olympic ambitions, Sky’s resolve for hours of daily non-rights Olympic coverage will be tested.

G4S score Open goal

The biggest surprise at Royal Lytham this week is that the 200-strong workforce from bungling security firm G4S, who have a three-year contract, have all turned up at the course.

R&A executive director of championships Johnnie Cole-Hamilton said: ‘All the managers and supervisors, who we’ve been using for many, many years, are back with us. The numbers we asked for are all here. We have no issue whatsoever.’ Pity London 2012 can’t say the same, although some of the G4S golf personnel are bound for Stratford after The Open.

Is Rio on course

Golf enters the Olympics in 2016, but work on constructing the course in Rio will not start until October at the earliest following complications over the land ownership.

Despite the tight timescale, R&A chief executive Peter Dawson is confident it will be ready for a test event in 2015. Dawson was on the panel that chose American Gil Hanse as course designer ahead of golfing greats Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Greg Norman.

Hanse, responsible for Scottish Open course Castle Stuart, is prepared to live in Brazil during construction.

Derek Lawrenson: Portrush is the place to be

Portrush is the place to be for the party of the year

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UPDATED:

22:28 GMT, 25 June 2012

What event do you look forward to the most Alongside ‘What’s Tiger Woods really like’ – a closed book I haven’t got near to opening – and ‘Can I fit in your suitcase’ – trust me, you don’t want to go in there – that might be the most frequent question I get asked.

No need to dance around the houses this year and wonder whether to plump for the Masters, The Open, or a number of other 72-hole goodies.

No 1, by a Frankel-like margin, is this week’s momentous Irish Open at Royal Portrush. Praise to the Stormont politicians for stumping up the funds and giving Rory, Darren and G-Mac the homecoming their major championship exploits deserved.

Let the party commence: Portrush hosts the Irish Open

Let the party commence: Portrush hosts the Irish Open

Let the party commence: Portrush hosts the Irish Open

This will be the first time the event has been staged in the province since 1953 and what an occasion it promises to be. For the first time in European Tour history the sold-out notices have been posted. So many tickets were purchased in advance, they didn’t want to risk being mobbed at the weekend by people turning up at the gate.

As it is, more than 100,000 spectators will flock to one of the world’s great courses and no prizes for guessing who most of them will be watching. Welcome to Northern Ireland’s very own Big Three.

As if the air of celebration was not thick enough, local resident Alan Dunbar returned home from Royal Troon on Saturday with the Amateur Championship. Portrush member Stephanie Meadow sank the winning putt at the recent Curtis Cup. How about another Northern Irishman, Michael Hoey, who can’t get a look in but just happens to have won three times on the European Tour in little more than a year No wonder they say success breeds success.

One day, they hope The Open itself will return to these parts for the first time since 1951. Officials from the Royal and Ancient Golf Club will be in town this week and not because their two biggest trophies are in residence. If the event goes well, who knows what might happen ‘Can’t wait for Portrush,’ tweeted Rory McIlroy at the weekend. Neither can I.
It is going to be totally manic. And utterly marvellous.

The big three: McIlroy, McDowell and Clarke all return to play

The big three: McIlroy, McDowell and Clarke all return to play

The big three: McIlroy, McDowell and Clarke all return to play
Quote of the week

‘I’ve got this wrong. I’ve done something bad. I wish it hadn’t happened.’
Jose Manuel Lara’s hapless caddie Mathias Vinson was certainly right on all three counts. But what possessed the Argentine to think he could cover up the mistake of having one club too many in Lara’s bag last week by getting rid of it in a bush, for heaven’s sake Unlike the club, it is safe to assume Vinson will now disappear.

Willett has found his calling

While enjoying immensely the achievements of all these top English golfers in their thirties, there have been some nervous looks in the rear-view mirror wondering who will follow in their footsteps.

That’s one reason the victory of 24-year-old Danny Willett in the BMW International in Germany on Sunday was so welcome. Maybe you would expect the son of a preacher to have a good Christian work ethic, but when combined with God-given talent, it was hardly surprising to see his peers lining up on Twitter to predict this victory as the first of many.

Man of the hour: Willett (in bunker) celebrates his win in Germany

Man of the hour: Willett (in bunker) celebrates his win in Germany

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What I liked about his play-off success,
however, was the way he played all four sudden-death holes with a smile
on his face. Even when he missed a five-foot putt to win, or a mid-iron
that was all over the flag, flew 20 yards too far and finished in the
rough at the back of the green.

Not only talent and dedication, now he’s got the temperament as well. I hope his father won’t think it too irreverent to suggest his son has found his calling.

An incredible show of bravery

Headmistress Dr Helen Wright made lots of headlines last week for holding up American television star Kim Kardashian as a symbol of everything that’s wrong with society.

How about Melissa Reid as a humbling example of everything that remains right Brave is never a word to be used lightly in a sporting context, but no other word will suffice when talking about Reid’s victory in Prague on Sunday.

A month ago, the 24-year-old from Derby was preparing to play in a tournament in Germany when her mother Joy, in town to watch her daughter compete, was killed in a car accident.

In this, her first tournament back, Melissa holed a six-foot putt to win, before being embraced by friends and fellow competitors. ‘It means a lot because it’s good news for the family and will put a smile on our faces at such a horrible time,’ she said afterwards.

Yes, we could spend our time tut-tutting. But wouldn’t the teaching profession be better employed lauding women like Reid and her admirable illustration of the resilience of the human spirit

Fraser Forster"s Celtic future in doubt

EXCLUSIVE: Celtic deal for Forster stalls over his wages after Newcastle agree fee for keeper

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UPDATED:

00:55 GMT, 12 June 2012

Fraser Forster's future at Celtic was shrouded in doubt after his agent revealed the club had so far failed to meet the goalkeeper’s wage demands.

Celtic have agreed a 2million fee with Newcastle for the stopper — with the terms and length of contract at Parkhead the only remaining impediments to a deal.

The 24-year-old impressed sufficiently during two one-year loans in Glasgow for Neil Lennon to prioritise securing his signature on a permanent basis and Forster will now meet with his agent Mark Curtis face to face on Friday to chew over the deal Celtic have made to him.

In the balance: Fraser Forster is stalling over a move to Celtic due to wages

In the balance: Fraser Forster is stalling over a move to Celtic due to wages

Curtis, however, told Sportsmail that there’s a disparity between the ball-park figures currently on the table and both he and his client’s expectations.

‘I’ve spoken to Fraser today — I’m meeting him on Friday and I’ll speak to Peter Lawwell again after we’ve had our meeting, to tell him whether he’s going to be coming or not,’ revealed Curtis.

‘We’re a little bit away on the deal at the moment, but we’ll see what transpires between now and the end of the week. Maybe we’ll get a bit closer.

‘The only reason we’ve not met before now is Fraser’s been away, then I’ve been away. It just happens at this time of year — there’s nothing sinister in it.

‘We need to talk face to face and we’ll do that on Friday. We’d like to get this sorted out one way or another in the next 10 days. Fraser wants to know what he’s going to be doing next season.’

QPR have also been linked with Forster and, if he decides to reject Celtic’s deal, it is likely he will open talks with potential suitors south of the border next week.

With a Champions League qualifier possibly as early as July 31, Celtic do not have time on their hands to put a Plan B into action.

One possible option is Craig Gordon and, while the man who was recently freed by Sunderland would prefer to land another Premiership club, he insists he is ‘open-minded’ about his next destination.

‘Financially, there are bigger contracts to be had in the English Premier League. There is no secret in that. It’s a good level of football and I have enjoyed my time playing in the EPL,’ said Gordon.

‘But we have to wait and see where the offers come in from and where I can go from here. There’s been a little bit of contact from a few clubs, although nothing concrete as yet.

‘With the window just opening and everything about to start happening, the next few weeks should be a bit busier. I’m open-minded to anything that’s on the table from any club in any country.

‘I’ll take stock of what’s there, look at my options and decide what’s the best one after that.’

Asked if he’d had any direct contact from Celtic, Gordon replied: ‘Not as yet. I have not heard from them, but it is early days. The window is just opening now and we’ll see what happens over the next couple of weeks.

‘There are a few managers getting new jobs and the transfer window is opening, so I’ll take stock of what offers come in over the next few weeks and see what’s the best for me after that.

‘At the moment, I’m not training anywhere. I’m going on holiday for a week, then after that I’ll get back into training.

‘I’ve been offered a place to train that will give me access to coaches which is a possibility if nothing is sorted out by then.’