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Rory McIlroy can break Jack Nicklaus record before Tiger Woods, says Greg Norman

Rory stands a better chance than Tiger of breaking Nicklaus' record, says Norman

PUBLISHED:

12:30 GMT, 12 December 2012

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UPDATED:

12:31 GMT, 12 December 2012

Golf blog

Former world No 1 Greg Norman believes Rory McIlroy is more likely to break Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships than Tiger Woods.

Woods claimed his 14th major at the 2008 US Open in a dramatic 19-hole play-off with Rocco Mediate, but has not won one since after seeing his career set back by the sex scandal which led to the breakdown of his marriage.

And Norman, speaking on the eve of the Australian PGA Championship at Coolum, would like to see McIlroy – who has two majors to his name – be the man to surpass Nicklaus instead.

Glory boy: Rory McIlroy celebrated his second major success by winning the PGA Championship earlier this year

Glory boy: Rory McIlroy celebrated his second major success by winning the PGA Championship earlier this year

'I don’t think so, no,' Norman said when asked if Woods was capable of winning the five majors he requires to pass Nicklaus.

'Every year that passes by that he hasn’t won a major it just gets that much harder to win a major.

'I don’t care how many you have won, it just becomes more and more difficult He might win one or two more but I don’t think he will win the four or five more that he needs to win to break the record.'

Legend: Jack Nicklaus has won the most majors in the history of golf, with 18 to his name

Legend: Jack Nicklaus has won the most majors in the history of golf, with 18 to his name

Waiting game: Woods won his last major - and 14th - at the US Open in 2008 when he defeat Rocco Mediate in a sudden death play-off at Torrey Pines

Waiting game: Woods won his last major – and 14th – at the US Open in 2008 when he defeat Rocco Mediate in a sudden death play-off at Torrey Pines

McIlroy won the US Open in 2011 and this year’s US PGA Championship and Norman says the sky is the limit for the talented 23-year-old.

'I think if anybody can break Nicklaus’ record I think he could, because he is young, he is ahead of the game, he is ahead of the curve on a lot of things and he has a very balanced life across the board,' Norman said.

'So I will keep my fingers crossed for him because I would love to see that happen. Somebody will do it one day and it could be Rory.

All smiles: Greg Norman has backed McIlroy to continue his success in 2013

All smiles: Greg Norman has backed McIlroy to continue his success in 2013

'I am a big fan of Rory’s, he can be as big as he wants to be.'

Norman was bullish about his chances at this week’s PGA Championship but conceded golf is low down on his list of priorities these days.

Asked his goal for the week, Norman quipped, ‘to do a Peter Senior’, referring to the 53-year-old’s victory at last week’s Australian Open.

Don"t throw a wobbler!

Lineouts will be key so it is important that Youngs doesn't throw a wobbler!

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UPDATED:

00:30 GMT, 10 November 2012

There will be particular focus on the service Tom Youngs provides at the lineout. Here is what he will aim to do…

Tom will want to arrive at the lineout as early as he can, before the rest of the forwards. He will get the call from the team’s lineout leader and settle, so he can judge the wind and get his breathing right. Measured breathing helps when you are switching from performing aggressive skills to a part of the game which requires calm composure.

lineout masterclass.jpg

1 Once set, he will look at the opposition defence to assess how they are preparing. What comes next should be a steady, repetitive action. That is vital in achieving consistency, but also to avoid giving tell-tale clues to the opposition.

When I was playing I would scrutinise hookers to see if they did anything which gave away whether they were going long, for example. It was often something like a huge intake of breath, or the ball held further forward.

2 The hooker’s feet should be shoulder-width apart and remain planted. If he is moving on one foot it affects balance, which in turn can result in a wonky throw. Elbows should be tight into the body for the same reason.

3 If a hooker is right-handed, his right hand should be two-thirds back on the ball, with the other hand providing balance. The best exponents of the art start with the ball in the firing position, which allows them to react more quickly in propelling it.

P.S.

For all the concern over Youngs’ accuracy, his throwing success in the Premiership is 81 per cent, compared to Dylan Hartley’s 86 per cent, so he isn’t far off England's No 1 hooker.

When throwing, the hooker wants both hands to go through together and release together. If one hand releases early, the ball is likely to drift. The fingers impart as much speed and spin as possible, which help the ball to fly true. A rugby ball that is not spinning in the air can go all over the place.

The easier throw is the fast, flat one and Youngs is better at that. If I was Fiji’s coach, I would be making sure all my jumpers went up front — forcing him to try long, looping throws. He isn’t as comfortable then.

The players who performed well on the summer tour, such as forwards Tom Johnson and Tom Palmer, have been rewarded. Now they have to build on that form. What’s great is that Tom Wood is back and Joe Launchbury makes his debut, so there is pressure from the bench. One area that needs development is midfield. I want to see more of a centre partnership emerge. Brad Barritt deserves another shot and Manu Tuilagi provides a fear factor, but makes mistakes.

Practice makes perfect: Tom Youngs, prepares to throw the ball during the England training

Practice makes perfect: Tom Youngs, prepares to throw the ball during the England training

It was a tough call to leave out Ben Morgan and perhaps that is a hangover from the summer. I don’t think he was fit, but he could still come back and have a stormer in this series. Thomas Waldrom’s running game is superb and will suit playing Fiji.

The visitors haven’t had long together so they won’t be well-drilled, but their captain, Scarlets prop Deacon Manu, will know most of the England team well. In midfield, Vereniki Goneva of Leicester has real quality.

England have to keep the ball because Fiji have so many natural ball-carriers. I expect an intense first 20 minutes from Fiji before England pull away. It should be fairly comfortable.

Prediction: England 38 Fiji 15.

Ben Kay is a World Cup Winner and ESPN rugby analyst

Boxer Dillian Whyte fails drugs test and faces ban

Heavyweight hope Whyte fails drugs test and faces ban from the ring

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UPDATED:

19:05 GMT, 8 November 2012

British heavyweight hope Dillian Whyte faces being banned from boxing after failing a drugs test.

The 24-year-old pulled out of a press conference to promote his up coming fight with John McDermott for the English title on November 30 – but the fight now hangs in the balance.

All fingers point to a pre-work out drink named JACK3D, which Whyte used in the lead up to his last bout, unaware that the product had been banned from retail outlets in the UK only weeks before.

It's not all Whyte: British boxer faces Dillian Whyte faces a ban after failing a drugs test

It's not all Whyte: British boxer faces Dillian Whyte faces a ban after failing a drugs test

Whyte and his team have committed to co-operate fully with the UKAD and the British Boxing Board of Control over the next few weeks until a decision is made.

Whyte said: 'I have nothing to hide its a genuine mistake and I urge all boxers to double check all ingredients in all pre-workout drinks they take, I would hate to see another boxer make the same mistake I have.'

MHA is not a steroid and is often referred to by other names on supplement containers: 1,3-dimethylamylamine; dimethylamylamine; dimethylpentylamine; DMAA: forthan; forthane; floradrene; geranamine; and geranium oil.

Graham Arthur, director of Legal at UKAD was recently quoted about the substance, saying: 'Methylhexaneamine (DMAA) is a banned substance ‘in-competition’ that frequently appears in over the counter and internet bought products but not clearly on the label.'

The best moustaches in sport

The Saturday debate: Which sportsman has sported the best moustache

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UPDATED:

23:51 GMT, 2 November 2012

To celebrate Movember, the moustache-growing charity event, Sportsmail asked: who has the best tache in sport

Mike Dickson: Tennis Correspondent

Rollie Fingers was the baseball relief pitcher with a great name and a moustache to match. While playing for the Oakland Athletics in the 70s, the future Hall of Famer cultivated a classic handlebar number in order to win a $300 bonus offered by owner Charles O. Finley to whichever player could grow the best. So many players tried that they became known as the Moustache Gang. Fingers kept it his whole career.

A head-turner: Rollie Fingers

A head-turner: Rollie Fingers

Dominic King

Graeme Souness. Not only was Souness a formidable midfielder, he was once the owner of the best moustache in Liverpool’s history. While a mere puff of wind would blow the bum fluff off Gary Neville’s chin, a hurricane wouldn’t have budged the undergrowth above Souness’s lip. Provided the perfect partner for his curly perm. Unbeatable.

Model moustache: Graeme Souness in his pomp

Model moustache: Graeme Souness in his pomp

John Edwards

This is a tough one between Australia’s cricketing legends Merv Hughes and David Boon. Both fearsome sights, but, applying Aussie rules, necking 52 tinnies (cans of lager, to the uninitiated) on a flight from Sydney to London in 1989 just tilts this battle Boon’s way. Good call.

I am the walrus: David Boon

I am the walrus: David Boon

Joanna Rowsell: Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist and Sportsmail columnist

In cycling, there is only one answer — America’s David Zabriskie. It’s not only a fantastically big moustache, he has a goatee beard underneath to match. Not good for aerodynamics but he certainly pulls it off in the style stakes!

Aerodynamic asset David Zabriskie

Aerodynamic asset David Zabriskie

Chris Foy: Rugby Correspondent

Merv Hughes. It has to be Big Merv, by a landslide. As a fixture of an Australian team with an abundance of facial hair, he was head, shoulders and top lip above the rest. Captain Allan Border couldn’t compete, while David Boon was good, but not good enough for me. Do an internet image search for Hughes and the first predicted phrase is ‘Merv Hughes moustache’. Case closed.

Costly: Merv Hughes insured his moustache during his playing days

Costly: Merv Hughes insured his moustache during his playing days

Andrew Magee

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Mark Spitz has this in the bag. When he turned up to the Olympic pool sporting his fine facial hair, every other swimmer was shaving theirs to save precious milliseconds. The American told a Russian coach it helped deflect water from his face and made him swim faster. The following year, every Russian male swimmer had a moustache.

Iconic: Mark Spitz poses with the seven gold medals he won at Munich

Iconic: Mark Spitz poses with the seven gold medals he won at Munich

Ian Ladyman: Northern Football correspondent

Johnson Wagner. It’s one thing trying to look like a porn star and another modelling yourself on Tom Selleck. But a combination of both That’s the look that the US golfer has been rocking this year on tour. And, frankly, he looks absurd.

Not a winning look: Johnson Wagner

Not a winning look: Johnson Wagner

Richard Dunne back in training in November

Boost for struggling Aston Villa with Dunne set to return to training this month

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UPDATED:

08:23 GMT, 2 November 2012

Crocked: Dunne has had a groin problem

Crocked: Dunne has had a groin problem

Aston Villa central defender Richard Dunne has set his sights on a return to training in two weeks after undergoing a second operation on his long-term groin problem.

Dunne has been sidelined since initially suffering the setback with the Republic of Ireland during their Euro 2012 campaign and has not played since.

But the 33-year-old, who is in the final year of his contract, is finally hoping there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Dunne told the Birmingham Mail: 'The last operation I had seems to have really worked so I'm hopeful that I'll be back soon.

'I've set a few targets but I keep missing them.

'It's frustrating when I can do all the running and the rehab but not the final bit.

'But I'm hoping – fingers crossed – that I can start training in a couple of weeks.

Long lay-off: Dunne last played at Euro 2012

Long lay-off: Dunne last played at Euro 2012

'I've got to see the doctor and from there, hopefully it will be the all clear.'

Dunne has endured a frustrating period with injuries during 2012 after suffering a broken collarbone which caused him to miss the final part of last season.

He said: 'I've been lucky not to have too many injuries during my career but it's been almost seven months where I've not been fit.'

Clint Hill backs Mark Hughes despite QPR form

QPR players are behind under-fire Hughes despite sloppy start

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UPDATED:

11:42 GMT, 12 October 2012

QPR boss Mark Hughes has the full support of the Loftus Road dressing room, according to defender Clint Hill.

Under pressure manager Hughes has yet to see his side win in the Barclays Premier League this season and Rangers sit bottom of the table despite an influx of big-name signings over the course of the summer.

Trouble: Mark Hughes (left) is struggling at the moment

Trouble: Mark Hughes (left) is struggling at the moment

Despite their meagre tally of only two
points, QPR's chairman Tony Fernandes has backed Hughes and Hill has
revealed the players also believe the Welshman will turn things around.

'Everybody on the inside is pulling in the same direction and trying to get the result we need,' he told the Fulham Chronicle.

'The gaffer's confident he can turn things around – he wouldn't be here if he wasn't. He's still got the full support of all the boys. We're fully behind him and the staff.'

The 33-year-old defender likened Hughes' situation to that of Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas.

The Spurs manager was under intense early pressure after taking over at White Hart Lane in July and starting the season slowly.

Persistence: Clint Hill says all the players support Hughes

Persistence: Clint Hill says all the players support Hughes

But following a string of good
results, including a 3-2 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford,
Villas-Boas is now much more comfortable and Hill feels the same could
be said of Hughes in a month's time.

'If you have three or four bad results, people from outside the club start writing things and pointing fingers,' he said.

'If
you look at the Tottenham manager three or four weeks ago, everyone was
saying he was a bad manager. All of a sudden he gets a few results and
nothing is said.'

Caretaker boss Eric Black throws his hat into ring to take charge at Blackburn

Caretaker boss Black throws his hat into ring to take charge at Blackburn

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UPDATED:

21:48 GMT, 5 October 2012

Interest: Caretaker boss Eric Black

Interest: Caretaker boss Eric Black

Caretaker Blackburn boss Eric Black has made it clear he would like to be
considered as Steve Kean's full-time replacement.

Black will be in charge for Rovers' first home game since the departure of Kean when they take on Wolves in the Championship.

And Black said: 'I'm not getting too
fixated about it, and I am happy to see what happens, but if things work
out my way, and we can add a couple of wins to the two away draws we've
had, then maybe they will decide I am the right man.

'I know there are a lot of
high-calibre candidates out there, but when I left Coventry some years
ago, I did feel there was unfinished business for me in management.

'This is a fantastic job for someone.
It is a club with phenomenal history, a great fan base and first-class
facilities. It's no wonder so many have sent their CVs in.

'All I hope is we can move on and draw a line in the sand over what has happened. There has been turmoil, without doubt, over the past year or so, but something has broken, something has stopped. I am not pointing fingers at anyone, when I say that, but it would be great now if we could play in a positive atmosphere.

'I have been here as an opposing coach on numerous occasions, and I know what a difficult place it can be when the crowd are behind the team. If we are to get out of this division, we require the backing of our supporters, and I want people hanging off the rafters.'

London Olympics 2012: Ye shiwen: "I am not on any drugs"

'I swear I am not on any drugs': Ye hits back, saying critics are biased against China

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UPDATED:

22:57 GMT, 31 July 2012

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LIVE RESULTS |
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MEDALS TABLE

Ye Shiwen has hit back at claims she is taking drugs, saying people making the accusations have an agenda against China.

Ye, 16, won her second gold medal of the Games with a sensational swim in the 200 metres individual medley and afterwards told a packed press conference afterwards that she has not taken drugs and feels she is being picked on.

Hitting back: Yi Shiwen poses with her second gold of the Games

Hitting back: Yi Shiwen poses with her second gold of the Games

‘They are biased,’ said Ye, who won the 400m individual medley title earlier in the week. ‘In other countries people have won multiple medals and people have said nothing. Why are they just criticising me I have absolutely not taken anything.’

Ye was impressive, keeping calm and forcing an occasional smile. She has been left to fight the doubters on her own, with no representative from the Chinese Swimming Association there. Support came from a Chinese journalist, who kept urging Ye to put across her side of the argument, and American bronze medallist Caitlin Leverenz.

On the charge: Ye picked up the women's 200m individual medley title

On the charge: Ye picked up the women's 200m individual medley title

‘It’s easy to point fingers but you can do that at any of the other racers,’ said Leverenz, who finished behind Ye and Australia’s Alicia Coutts. ‘She has proved that girls can go faster than the men. I want to congratulate Shiwen on what she has achieved.’

Ye added that she has always had a good physique and, after seeing fellow teenager Missy Franklin win two medals already, thinks young swimmers will continue to succeed.

‘The teacher in my kindergarten noticed I had a good physique so they picked me,’ she said. ‘I do well because of our training. It is two-and-a-half hours in the morning and the same in the afternoon. I’ve been doing it for nine years.

‘It’s very likely that swimmers will keep getting younger. There will be more people even more capable.’

England v South Africa was proper cricket: Patrick Collins

After our diet of fish fingers, this was proper cricket

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UPDATED:

21:50 GMT, 21 July 2012

The South African total was swelling hour upon hour, a relentless accumulation of runs and minor records. The English fielding was starting to wilt, with Andrew Strauss frowning his concern.

And high in the grandstand, a man who captained England long ago was nodding his approval of the scene. ‘Test cricket,’ he growled. ‘Proper cricket.’ And we knew just what he meant.

A philosopher once observed that the English, not being a spiritual people, invented cricket to give them some sense of eternity. At The Oval, their understanding became a little more profound. Not that it was dull, never that. But it was decidedly different to the usual diet of Twenty20 hit and giggle.

Floored: Andrew Strauss is left to ponder one of the toughest days of his England captainsy

Floored: Andrew Strauss is left to ponder one of the toughest days of his England captainsy

Different to the sudden death attitudes of the one-day game. And quite different to most modern Tests, which involve the opposition briefly flattering to deceive before capitulating to the best English side of recent years.

Capitulation was never on the South African agenda, as they played the kind of cricket that Tests were designed to provide. It is a game which examines character as well as technique; a game in which pressure is incrementally exerted, advantages are subtly seized, and tame concession is never contemplated.

The players had grown used to the rhythms of the shorter form. You could almost watch them altering their methods, adjusting their expectations.

After a diet of fish fingers, they were being served Dover Sole, and they found it rich for their taste. Likewise the crowd. This was not quite what they had come to see, but they became slowly absorbed by the intricacies.

Not out: Hashim Amla was immovable, batting all day for 183 not out

Going nowhere: Hashim Amla was immovable, batting all day for 183 not out

True, there were a few Mexican waves when affairs slowed drastically in mid-afternoon. But they knew what was at stake, how much mental effort was being expended on the battle.

South Africa have players who relish this kind of conflict, none more than the captain Graeme Smith. In the course of this short tour — far too short for most tastes — he has dispensed a stream of soothing platitudes: ‘It’s a very open series . . . two good teams going up against each other . . . we wouldn’t expect it to be easy.’

All true, of course, but that is not what he is saying in the dressing room. Smith believes that there are weaknesses, technical and temperamental, in this England side, and he is desperate to exploit them. Since they are rated the best in the world, he offers the English the mandatory compliments, but his body language does not hint at excessive respect.

In this, as in much else, he resembles other successful Test captains. Australia’s Allan Border springs to mind as a man prepared to bat for days without offering a sociable word or a plausible chance. There were times when it seemed that Smith still might be in the middle come Monday evening, and it took the rankest fluke to remove him.

Hungry: South Africa have never lost a Test when Graeme Smith has scored a century

Hungry: South Africa have never lost a Test when Graeme Smith has scored a century

Stuart Broad had just donated 21 off three overs with the new ball when Tim Bresnan was brought on to stem the flow. With his first delivery, he had Smith hesitating for a millisecond.

The ball found the inside edge, struck a pad and touched the wicket with scarcely sufficient force to dislodge a bail. Smith had scored 131, yet he strode blackly away, as if he had left the scorers untroubled. It had been something of a tour de force, his first 50 taking him 160 balls, his second whipped off in just 41. And he had left his side in a position of some security.

Smith’s collaborator, Hashim Amla, was in equally implacable mood. He scores his runs with rather more wristy style and grace than his captain, but he scores them in similar quantities. He was the nimble, resourceful player he had always promised to be and he was to find a formidable accomplice.

Jacques Kallis is not the man a fielding side would most like to see coming down the pavilion steps when the scoreboard is showing 260 for two. His career statistics are overwhelming, certainly with ball, but most ferociously with bat.

Power show: Jacques Kallis helped himself in the afternoon session, moving to 82 off 161 balls

Power show: Jacques Kallis helped himself in the afternoon session, moving to 82 off 161 balls

And this match has revealed no diminution of his abilities. Pretty soon, he was filling his boots; slowly at first, then with accelerating ease as control passed into South African hands. His face gives little or nothing away, but as the total passed 400 the whole of The Oval knew he was enjoying it.

As was my friend, the ex-England skipper. ‘Test cricket. Proper cricket,’ he called it. And he called it just right.

Manchester United battle Tottenham for Joao Moutinho

Manchester United continue their pursuit of Tottenham target Moutinho

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UPDATED:

06:24 GMT, 6 July 2012

Manchester United are continuing to monitor Porto midfielder and Tottenham target Joao Moutinho.

The Red Devils are understood to have opened talks with the Portuguese club over a deal for the attacking midfielder, who is rated in the 25million mark

After bringing Nick Powell and Shinji Kagawa to Old Trafford in the close season, Sir Alex Ferguson told MUTV earlier this week that he hopes to add two more faces – with Moutinho widely rumoured to be a top target.

In demand: United want Moutinho

In demand: United want Moutinho

'We're working on one or two things but there's nothing really to tell you to be honest.

'We always try to get our work done at the end of the season – we spent a good deal of time sorting the deal with Shinji and we'd agreed a deal with Nick Powell before the play-offs which was a good move by us because the boy had an outstanding final at Wembley.

'When you don't get deals done immediately and you're negotiating with a club over a long period, then you can't expect to just snap your fingers and get it done,' he said.