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Masters 2013: Guan Tianling to do homework while becoming youngest ever Masters player

Teen sensation Guan balances schoolwork and golf ahead of becoming youngest ever Masters player

By
Phil Casey, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

19:25 GMT, 8 April 2013

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UPDATED:

00:46 GMT, 9 April 2013

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China's Guan Tianlang has done his homework, in every sense of the word, ahead of his historic appearance in the US Masters this week.

Guan secured his place at Augusta by winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Thailand last year and, at the age of 14, will become the youngest player Masters history when he tees off on Thursday.

The Guangzhou schoolboy says he will do 'pretty much all' of his homework while in America, but has found plenty of time for seven practice rounds at Augusta, with today's being alongside two-time winner Ben Crenshaw and tomorrow's scheduled to be with another double champion Tom Watson.

Juggling: Tanlang Guan, during the first Masters practice round today, will do his homework while in America

Juggling: Tanlang Guan, during the first Masters practice round today, will do his homework while in America

Juggling: Tanlang Guan, during the first Masters practice round today, will do his homework while in America

Guan

'I'm really excited in the morning when I come out on the course and there's many people here and I'm really looking forward to the tournament,' said Guan, who will also play the traditional par-three contest on Wednesday with three-time winner Nick Faldo.

'I'm not going to push myself too hard and I'm going to enjoy my game. Hopefully I can play well.

'The general manager of my home course is friends with Ben (Crenshaw) and he told him I wanted to play with him. He told me a lot and we really enjoyed it on the golf course.'

Picture perfect: Guan enjoyed his practice round with Tiger Woods on Monday

Picture perfect: Guan enjoyed his practice round with Tiger Woods on Monday

Picture perfect: Guan enjoyed his practice round with Tiger Woods on Monday

Guan has already played with Tiger Woods in a pro-am in his native China but will also seek out the world number one for a chat.

'I
think probably we will talk,' he added. 'The players here are all great
players, so I'm looking forward to speaking to any one of them.

'When
I was three or four years old I was looking at him (Woods) winning the
Masters and it's pretty exciting to watch him. I played with him twice
in the past couple of years and he gave me a lot of advice. Every time I
play with him I feel a lot better and give myself some confidence.'

Starlet: Guan will become the youngest Masters player in history when he tees off on Thursday

Starlet: Guan will become the youngest Masters player in history when he tees off on Thursday

Guan

Guan

Guan's appearance at Augusta may have made headlines around the world, but world number eight Steve Stricker was still taken aback when he realised exactly how old the former world junior champion is.

'I knew he was playing, I knew he was young. I didn't think he was the same age as my daughter,' Stricker said. 'I thought he was 16.

'That's remarkable. I just can't imagine being that young and competing at this level at such an early age.

'It will be interesting to see how he does and how he handles it. It's remarkable that he's even playing.'

Final preparations: Staff in Augusta are making last changes ahead of the tournament's start on Thursday

Final preparations: Staff in Augusta are making last changes ahead of the tournament's start on Thursday

Final preparations: Staff in Augusta are making last changes ahead of the tournament's start on Thursday

Ashley Cole had a go at Chelsea team-mates, claims Brentford striker Clayton Donaldson

I heard Ashley Cole blast his Chelsea team-mates, claims Brentford's Donaldson

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Donaldson added: 'You couldn’t
really see that they were European champions. We set out to unsettle
them, and we did that. They didn’t really create that many chances,
which I am very surprised about to be honest, especially with the
quality of players they have got. That was down to our hard work.

'We’d
done our homework on them and we stopped them creating. We have to take
some credit for that. We’re confident, especially given their run of
form at home recently not having been the best. The pressure will be on
them again.'

Rangers look set for newco option

Rangers' history will not be lost, claims McCoist as newco option moves ever closer

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UPDATED:

23:00 GMT, 1 May 2012

Manager Ally McCoist insists the history of Rangers will never be lost — even if the Ibrox club are reborn as a newco.

As another day passed without the appointment of a preferred bidder, McCoist expressed the view that a newco club, reapplying for membership of the SPL, now looks increasingly likely.

That was later denied by Brian Kennedy, one of the two bidders in the frame, who insisted that he and Paul Murray’s Blue Knights consortium still believe they can achieve their goal of a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) with creditors and exit administration before next season.

History boy: Ally McCoist is not concerned about the effects of a newco

History boy: Ally McCoist is not concerned about the effects of a newco

With time running out, however, Kennedy or American Bill Miller cannot rule out the possibility of dumping the toxic debts of old Rangers and buying up the assets to establish a new club, playing out of Ibrox.

Supporters remain opposed to losing the heritage and history of the existing club, but McCoist believes it wouldn’t be a disaster. He said: ‘If it happened, we would still have the history of the club, absolutely. I have done a bit of homework on it and newcos have happened at clubs like Plymouth and Crystal Palace.

‘I can imagine people would try to wind up supporters about it — that’s part and parcel of the game.

‘But, make no mistake, we wouldn’t lose our history at all. We wouldn’t allow that to happen.

‘If there is a team playing at Ibrox in blue shirts, it’s Rangers. I think I’m right in saying we only became a plc in 1899, which was 27 years after we were formed. Nobody really recognises that change, but there have been changes all the way down the years.

‘Rangers are Rangers and that would be the opinion of the vast majority of people.’

Still in the game: Brian Kennedy is waiting to hear from the adminstrators

Still in the game: Brian Kennedy is waiting to hear from the adminstrators

Kennedy submitted a ‘materially increased’ conditional offer to the Rangers administrators on Saturday night and he awaits news of its fate from Duff & Phelps.

The Edinburgh-born businessman has said all along that his offer is conditional on the delivery of a CVA and Craig Whyte’s shares and that remains his stance, despite McCoist’s view both bids could feature a newco structure.

Kennedy told Sportsmail: ‘There is still time to do a CVA. That remains our preference, but it is very difficult.’

Miller has proposed setting up an ‘incubator company’ into which he would transfer the club’s assets. Asked if his plan involved a newco in any shape or form, Kennedy said: ‘The fact is that when people talk about a newco they don’t mean an investment vehicle.

‘They mean that the SPL share will transfer from Rangers’ old company into a new Rangers company — and that is why they need to be accepted into the SPL.

In the running: Bill Miller

In the running: Bill Miller

‘It’s also why they can’t play in Europe for three years. That’s all it means.’

Kennedy had hoped to be given the green light to move forward by Tuesday night, but McCoist believes the process could drag on until the end of the week.

He added: ‘Two potential purchasers are still in heavy negotiations with the administrators.

‘They are really hopeful to have named preferred bidders very soon —certainly before the end of the week and maybe before that.’

‘I spoke to Bill Miller on Friday for an-hour-and-a-half. I also spoke with Brian Kennedy on Friday.

‘They are both seriously interested and they are certainly asking the right questions of myself and the administrators.

‘Right now, it’s looking like a newco. I’m told that both potential purchasers have newco as part of their plan, but it’s not liquidation.

‘That’s a very important point because I think the vast majority of the fans do not want liquidation. I would imagine there are some of them who won’t be happy with a newco.

‘I think if the newco is the best option without liquidation, then hopefully the fans will come round to it.’

Danny Care given second chance by England coach Stuart Lancaster

Care free for comeback as Lancaster signals controversial Quins scrum-half has second chance

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UPDATED:

23:15 GMT, 1 May 2012

Stuart Lancaster has confirmed that Danny Care has earned a 'second chance' with England by proving he is addressing his off-field conduct following recent controversies.

As revealed by Sportsmail last week, the 25-year-old Harlequins scrum-half is on course for a return to the national squad for the tour of South Africa, after a meeting with Lancaster.

He was banished in January following two alcohol-related incidents and has been in trouble with the police since, but Lancaster believes he has turned a corner of late.

Back in England frame: Danny Care (centre)

Back in England frame: Danny Care (centre)

'Danny is working hard and has put himself into contention for the tour,' he said. 'I wanted him to demonstrate to me what he is doing off the field to show that he is maturing.

'I've done my homework on how he's been at the club; his behaviour and his attitude. The feedback has been universally positive so if he continues to convince me, he will be in the equation.

'Everyone deserves a second chance and he is a good person. He'd lost his way a bit but he's back on the right track.

'He knows he has to build trust with me in order to be selected but that trust can be very quickly eroded again, in one incident. He knows it's a very fine line.'

Moving on: Care will be hoping to resurrect his England career

Moving on: Care will be hoping to resurrect his England career

AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX: Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull struggling

Vettel admits Red Bull have work to do after qualifying disappointment in Melbourne

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UPDATED:

15:51 GMT, 17 March 2012

Sebastian Vettel expressed a rare lack of confidence in his Red Bull, but is adamant there is no need to panic.

After claiming a record-breaking 15 pole positions last year, and 22 in the past 30 races stretching back into 2010, Vettel was forced to settle for sixth in qualifying ahead of Sunday's Australian Grand Prix.

For a man who has only been off the front row of the grid just once in the past 25 races – his lowest spot was third in Germany last year – such a position will likely feel very strange to the 24-year-old.

Plenty to ponder: Sebastian Vettel struggled with his Red Bull

Plenty to ponder: Sebastian Vettel struggled with his Red Bull

Crucially for the reigning double world champion it is the fact Vettel feels uncomfortable in a car that last year barely put a wheel out of place.

'Things didn't come together perfectly for me today, so there is a lot of homework to do,' said Vettel.

'I can feel the balance is not quite there, and maybe I don't yet have the confidence to really find the extra tenth (of a second) looking for one quick lap in qualifying.

'For me, when you don't feel as confident as you would like to, here and there you struggle to find that extra bit of laptime.

'So you push harder and that makes you more vulnerable to making a mistake.

'Of course, we've had difficult times as well, races where we've not been the quickest and been beaten, so it's not a disaster.

Side tracked: Vettel will be hoping for an improved performance on race day

Side tracked: Vettel will be hoping for an improved performance on race day

'It's still early days. It would be wrong to start panicking and reviewing every single aspect of the car.

'The way we've worked has not been bad the last couple of years, nevertheless today we learned we are not quick enough, and that's what we want to change.'

Vettel ultimately finished three quarters of a second behind the pole of Lewis Hamilton as McLaren locked out the front row with team-mate Jenson Button 0.152secs adrift.

Vettel is even behind his own team-mate Mark Webber, who starts a place ahead of him in fifth, a feat that occurred only three times last year.

'I would love to be further up, but I wasn't entirely happy with my second run in Q3 as I made a mistake in the first sector and lost quite a bit,' added Vettel, whose troubled day began with a spin into the gravel in final practice.

One up: Mark Webber enjoyed the rare feat of out-qualifying team-mate Vettel

One up: Mark Webber enjoyed the rare feat of out-qualifying team-mate Vettel

'We have to accept McLaren are strong and they deserve pole. We wouldn't have got there, but we could probably have been two or three positions higher up.

'It didn't happen, so we start from P5 and P6. We have a good race car, so we will see what we can do tomorrow.'

Asked whether today was a wake-up call for the team, Vettel said: 'You can be certain we are not happy with this result.

'We always said McLaren were strong, but today they were stronger than everyone expected them to be.

'Lotus had the potential to surprise, and they did; Mercedes are definitely closer.

'Although we're not starting at the front, we are not at the back either, so it's far from disastrous.

'We have a long race ahead of us and a lot of opportunities, so I'm looking forward to it.'

Aston Villa plan swoop for Bayern Munich forward Ivica Olic

EXCLUSIVE: Villa plan summer Bosman swoop for Bayern forward Olic

Ivica Olic is one of the names on Alex McLeish's summer wish-list.

The Bayern Munich forward was scouted by Aston Villa a couple of weeks ago as the Scot looks to complete a major overhaul of his playing staff this summer.

Olic, 32, is out-of-contract following an injury-played few seasons with the Bavarian club but fits the bill as far as McLeish is concerned.

Up for grabs: Striker Ivica Olic (centre) in action for Croatia last week

Up for grabs: Striker Ivica Olic (centre) in action for Croatia last week

Villa scout Glenn Roeder travelled to watch Freiberg and Munich battle out a 0-0 draw and although Olic was on the bench that afternoon, he is understood to be the one on McLeish's radar.

The Croatia international was one of the
hottest properties in Europe when he starred for Martin Jol's Hamburg
side. And it is likely that the Cottagers' boss too will be interested
in securing a quality player on a Bosman.

However, McLeish has admitted making plans already ahead of next season.

He said: 'We have already made plans to bring some players in. We have looked at a lot – Bosman signings but of good quality.

'I've not been able to stamp my own personality on the team yet. But it was something I agreed to.

'We agreed we would drive the wage bill to a certain level before we started doing business again.

'So
we are doing our homework now because we are being prudent. That's why
we are scouting as many good Bosman signings as we can.

'I'm sure the chairman would sanction big wages again as long as it was kept within our parameters.

'Like I said in January, if somebody
coveted one of our players and maybe I had to sacrifice to strengthen
other positions, then that's something that could be the way ahead in
terms of the plans.'

Injury-plagued: Olic has had a frustrating couple of seasons at Bayern Munich

Injury-plagued: Olic has had a frustrating couple of seasons at Bayern Munich

But when asked if that meant either Darren Bent and Gabriel Agbonlahor, McLeish said: 'No. There would be some players that we would obviously like to hold onto for the long run.'

McLeish has constantly stressed that the current campaign is one of transition for Villa but he is confident there will be more encouraging times ahead.

He said: 'I do have to stamp my own personality on the team. I've not been able to do that. But that was something I took on and something I agreed to.

'We bought three players in and it was agreed that we would keep trying to drive the wages to a certain level before we started doing business again.

'My message is give me a chance and I'll get it right. I know it's a little bit gloomy at the moment but I definitely believe that Villa will come out of this well.'

American businessman Lerner has been a regular visitor to Villa's training ground in recent weeks and McLeish believes his commitment to the club is as strong as ever.

He said: 'Mr Lerner still loves the club. I can only go on face value in football but what I've seen from Randy is that he loves the club.

'He's hurting for the club but he wants to get the finances right. He is 100% behind the club, absolutely.'

Cardiff 1 Crystal Palace 1: Tom Heaton did his homework

Heaton admits studies paid off after keeper earns Cardiff place in Wembley final

Tom Heaton credited homework and guesswork for the penalty saves that took his Cardiff side to Wembley.

The former Manchester United keeper emerged as the hero for Malky Mackay’s side as he saved from Jermaine Easter and Sean Scannell in a shoot-out won 3-1 by the hosts.

Heaton said: ‘It would have been a travesty if we had lost.

Hero: Tom Heaton celebrates after Cardiff beat Crystal Palace on penalties

Hero: Tom Heaton celebrates after Cardiff beat Crystal Palace on penalties

‘I did my homework so I knew where some of the players may put the penalties, but obviously there’s a bit of guesswork, too. Going into the game we knew we had to keep a clean sheet and we did that.

‘But some of the football we played and the chances we created were fantastic.

‘Getting to the final is massive, it’s something to look forward to — but we want to win the game. Who do we want to face in the final, Manchester City of Liverpool Either.

'We'll look forward to the game but we'll try to win the game. We won't just be there for the day out.

Spot on: Heaton saves from Jermaine Easter (above) and Sean Scannell (below)

Spot on: Heaton saves from Jermaine Easter (above) and Sean Scannell (below)

Spot on: Heaton saves from Crystal Palace's Jermaine Easter (above) and from Sean Scannell (below)

'[There are] two great teams in the other semi-final but I think we've got enough about us in this team with the players and the management that we can go and get a result.'

Mackay said: ‘We’ve been at this stage before in this competition and the boys who took the penalties had nerves of steel.

‘Tom Heaton has been our cup keeper and, with some of the blame on him after the goal in the first leg, maybe there was a bit of justice tonight.’

Speaking on the BBC, former Liverpool defender Alan Hansen said: ‘Plaudits to Crystal Palace, they battled well but Cardiff were the better team.

‘Mackay kept faith with Heaton, but ultimately he’s the hero.’

Meanwhile, Cardiff boss Mackay reflected on a 'fine night's work' after watching his Cardiff side book a place in the Carling Cup final.

Oops: Anthony Gardner (right) scored an own goal to level the tie

Oops: Anthony Gardner (right) scored an own goal to level the tie

He said: 'I was delighted with the way we went about our business. I was very proud of them. We started the game on fire.

'The early goal calmed everything down and allowed us to probe. It calmed the crowd down and let them attack the game. It was a fine night's work.

'When Aron Gunnarsson hit the bar with the last header of the tie you do think it may be one of those evenings.

'It's obviously a lottery when it goes to penalty kicks but I had great belief in their ability and spirit to keep going.

'I'm delighted for the group of players, I'm delighted for the football club tonight.

'You look all the way through the competition, from Oxford when we had 10 players missing through international duty to tonight where it was always going to be tough, we've shown character and spirit.

'Tonight another little bit of history has been made for this football club.

'It's terrific for everyone at the football club and everyone should embrace it.'

Thought he'd won it: Gunnarsson heads the ball against the crossbar

Thought he'd won it: Gunnarsson heads the ball against the crossbar

Mackay reserved special praise for Heaton, who made the most of his moment in spotlight to capture the headlines.

Heaton has played second fiddle to first-choice stopper David Marshall for much of Cardiff's league campaign but has started six of the Bluebirds' seven Carling Cup clashes.

And Mackay was pleased the former Manchester United man, who was blamed for Palace's goal in the first leg at Selhurst Park a fortnight ago, took his chance once again.

'He knew this was his competition, I told him that all the way through,' he said.

'He probably had a little bit of criticism after the goal in the first leg but I'm delighted for him tonight.

'He's someone who's got great character about him and he's one of the leaders in the dressing room and he thoroughly deserves the accolades tonight.'

Palace boss Dougie Freedman expressed his pride at the way his players dealt with the dismissal of McCarthy to force the match to penalties.

End of the road: Crystal Palace players look dejected after their defeat

End of the road: Crystal Palace players look dejected after their defeat

Freedman was left devastated after Sean Scannell and Jermaine Easter were thwarted from the spot by Heaton before Parr blazed over, but he paid tribute to the 'never-say-die' mentality evident amongst his matchday squad.

He said: 'It was a fantastic physical effort. I felt we were asked a lot of questions which we answered. We dug in and I felt we grew into the game.

'The sending-off was disappointing but the response – you could not ask much more as a manager.

'The pride we've shown and the desire to work hard for each other and the commitment to each other was second to none and I'm really proud of that.

'I'm disappointed short-term, but long-term I think we can take a lot from that. We can take a lot from the challenge and the way we responded to it.

'I thought we were prepared and up for the challenge and we came close tonight.

'I think we won a lot of hearts tonight. It was a great cup tie and overall it was a very well-played game. It just wasn't to be.

'With the physical output we had to put out in the game, it's difficult to compose yourself and slot the penalties.'