Tag Archives: latest

No Tiger Woods but alligators disrupt Zurich Classic

VIDEO: No Tiger but the alligators on the fairways are a hazard for Rose and Bubba

PUBLISHED:

00:48 GMT, 26 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

07:16 GMT, 26 April 2013

Ricky Barnes made the early running with an eight-under-par 64 in New Orleans despite the local alligators briefly holding up play in the opening round.

Boo Weekley came close, carding three birdies on his last five holes to open with a bogey-free 65. He was matched late in the afternoon by Lucas Glover, who had six birdies on the front nine (his second nine) en route to a 65 of his own. D.A. Points and rookie Morgan Hoffmann were another shot back after matching 66s.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST SCORES

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What a hazard: An alligator as it crosses the course during the first round

What a hazard: An alligator on the course during the first round at the Zurich classic

What a hazard: An alligator as it crosses the course during the first round

No fear: An alligator crosses through a sand trap on the 14th hole as golfers and caddies walk by

Sand trap: An alligator crosses the 14th hole as golfers and caddies walk by

Zurich Classic

Uninvited guest: The alligator crosses the 14th fairway during the first round of the PGA Tour Zurich Classic golf tournament

Capturing the moment: A caddie takes a photo as an alligator rests while crossing the 14th fairway

Capturing the moment: A caddie takes a photo as an alligator rests while crossing the 14th fairway

Minding his own business: A worker grooms away tracks after an alligator crossed through a sand trap

Minding his own business: A worker grooms away tracks after an alligator crossed through a sand trap

VIDEO: Alligator crosses fairway at the Zurich Classic

Gator on the green! Three-legged alligator gatecrashes PGA Tour…

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Another 10 golfers checked in at 5
under including Ernie Els, Rickie Fowler and 2006 Players champion
Stephen Ames, who needs a win this week to qualify for the 2013 event at
TPC Sawgrass.

A total of 84 players completed the
first round in red numbers. Not among them was 14-year-old amateur Guan Tianlang, whose three birdies were offset by three bogeys in an opening-round 72.

Guan Tianlang, 14, hits out of the tree line on the first hole

Bright start: Guan Tianlang, 14, carded an opening-round 72

Bubba Watson surveys the course with his caddie Ted Scott

Focused: Bubba Watson surveys the course with his caddie Ted Scott

 Justin Rose of England hits his tee shot on the 8th hole

Colourful: Justin Rose of England hits his tee shot on the 8th hole

Texas Open – PGA Tour: Rory McIlroy shoots five-under second round to move two shots behind the lead

Rory's back in the groove! McIlroy shoots five-under second round to close in on Texas lead

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

23:55 GMT, 5 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

00:06 GMT, 6 April 2013

LIVE LEADERBOARD

Click HERE for the latest scores from the Texas Open in San Antonio

Rory McIlroy allayed fears about the state of his game by storming into contention at the Valero Texas Open.

With the Masters just days away, the world No 2 shot a five-under-par 67 to follow his even-par opening round, and move three behind leader Billy Horschel in San Antonio.

The Northern Irishman was a late entry for this tournament as he desperately sought to play himself into form for Augusta, and by the looks of today's performance he has done precisely that.

Strong showing: Rory McIlroy carded a five-under round of 67 to finish three shots off the lead in San Antonio

Strong showing: Rory McIlroy carded a five-under round of 67 to finish three shots off the lead in San Antonio

Improvement: McIlroy started the day at level par after his opening round 72

Improvement: McIlroy started the day at level par after his opening round 72

He finished off with birdies at 16, 17 and 18 to make an already good round a quite excellent one, tying with Charley Hoffman and KJ Choi for the lowest score of the day.

McIlroy had a 25-foot eagle putt at the last to go into a share of the lead, and he put it close, but he would have settled for five under at the start of the round and made sure of that by tapping in from inside a foot.

Charley Hoffman, Daniel Summerhays and Steven Bowditch were in the clubhouse on six under, before back-to-back birdies from Horschel moved him two clear at eight-under.

In his stride: McIlroy entered at late notice

In his stride: McIlroy entered at late notice

Leader: Billy Horschel moved to eight-under-par

Leader: Billy Horschel moved to eight-under-par

Meanwhile, Ian Poulter’s attempt to use the Valero Texas Open to help get ready for the Masters threatened to leave him even more short of confidence instead.

Europe’s Ryder Cup hero, who has slipped outside the world top 10, went almost immediately to the driving range to do more work after his second round 75 left him one over for the tournament, just inside the cut.

Poulter tweeted: ‘On the range giving myself a talking to. I was utter dog meat today. Absolutely disgraceful off the tee. But I can still win. No mistakes.’

Struggle: Ian Poulter carded a round of 75 to end day two one-over-par

Struggle: Ian Poulter carded a round of 75 to end day two one-over-par

Struggle: Ian Poulter carded a round of 75 to end day two one-over-par

Later he added: ‘I hit two out of 14
fairways. That’s just simply s***. I’m so mad it’s crazy. Just hit 100
drives on the range and sorted it.’

He drove into the rough at the first hole and missed two short putts, then it got worse as he double-bogeyed the second.

Neil Lennon"s son Gallacher joins Celtic in training

He's one of the Bhoys! Lennon's son joins Celtic stars in training session

PUBLISHED:

15:38 GMT, 18 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:38 GMT, 18 February 2013

Meet the latest addition to Celtic's Scottish Premier League-chasing squad: Neil Lennon's seven-year-old son Gallacher!

The Hoops' lead at the top of the SPL is a mammoth 18 points, so maybe the Glasgow giants' boss wanted to show his players that the game remains child's play

He's one of the Bhoys! Gallacher joins the Celtic team during a training session on Monday morning

He's one of the Bhoys! Gallacher joins the Celtic team during a training session on Monday morning

He's one of the Bhoys! Gallacher joins the Celtic team during a training session on Monday morning

Gallacher joined the elite stars at the club's Lennoxtown training base for a kick-around during the preparations for Tuesday night's league clash with St Johnstone.

Coach Garry Parker and a number of other stars were on hand to share a few passes with the boss's son as the Parkhead club close in on a 45th league title.

Best foot forward: Gallacher is already following in his dad's footballing footsteps

Best foot forward: Gallacher is already following in his dad's footballing footsteps

Best foot forward: Gallacher is already following in his dad's footballing footsteps

Neil Lennon’s men closed in on
back-to-back crowns by moving 18 points clear at the top of the table
with Saturday’s 6-2 rout of Dundee United.

The
Parkhead boss has stated he could be willing to let some key men start
their holidays early if they get the job done with enough games to
spare.

Calling the shots: Lennon oversees the session with his players... and son

Calling the shots: Lennon oversees the session with his players… and son

Scott Langley and Russell Henley share the lead at the Sony Open heading into the final round

Rookie pair Langley and Henley still setting the pace at the Sony Open in Honolulu

By
Aidan Mccartney

PUBLISHED:

11:13 GMT, 13 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:18 GMT, 13 January 2013

Rookie duo Scott Langley and Russell Henley share the lead at the Sony Open in Hawaii with the pair on 17 under par heading into the final round.

After starting the day two shots behind, Langley managed to draw level after making his fifth birdie of the day on the par four tenth before pulling ahead on 13.

A bogey on the 14th brought Langley back level, before a birdie on the next hole once again gave Langley the lead.

Joint leader: Scott Langley follows his shot off the first fairway during the third round of the Sony Open.

On song: Scott Langley follows his shot off the first fairway during the third round of the Sony Open

Russell Henley, left, and Scott Langley are tied for first place at 17 under going into the final round Sunday.

Leaders: Russell Henley (left) and Scott Langley are tied for first place at 17 under going into the final round

In contrast, his 23-year-old rival had a unremarkable round with three birdies including a four on the par five last to become the first player to reach 17 under par after 54 holes, while he also maintained his record of not dropping a shot in the tournament.

Sony Open leaderboard

Click here to see all the latest scores

Langley could have moved to 18 under but could not putt his birdie attempt from 11 feet on the 18th and had to settle for a share of the honours.

South African Tim Clark is three back as he went four under in his third round, while Charles Howell III and rookie Scott Gardiner are a further shot back.

It’s Gardiner’s first tour start and the 36-year-old Australian, who is the oldest rookie on the circuit, was more than pleased with his performance over the first three days.

Rookie: Scott Gardiner of Australia

Rookie: Scott Gardiner is four off the lead after hitting -13 during his first PGA Tour start

“It’s amazing what happens when expectations are not there,” he said. “I only hit balls once in the two weeks before the tournament because we had snow at Christmas and a couple days after.”

He played 195 Web.com Tour events for the last eight years, winning once before graduating, thanks to a 15th-place finish on last year’s money list with 234,000.

“I’ve been trying to remember some of the times I’ve played well on the Web.com Tour and that’s helped me a little,” he added. “All the years on the Web.com Tour have been fantastic so this is not as unfamiliar as it might be for other rookies.”

Rory Sabbatini follows his shot off the 18th fairway during the third round

Looking on: Rory Sabbatini watches his shot off the 18th fairway during the third round in Hawaii

Volvo Golf Champions 2013: Live leaderboard

Volvo Golf Champions 2013 leaderboard: Keep up to date with the scores

By
Sportsmail Reporter

UPDATED:

12:01 GMT, 10 January 2013

The European Tour is at Durban Country Club in South Africa this week for the Volvo Golf Champions.

Branden Grace took first prize in this event at Fancourt last year and you can keep track of all the latest scores right here.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LIVE LEADERBOARD

Amazing Grace: South African Branden won the Volvo Golf Champions last year

Amazing Grace: South African Branden won the Volvo Golf Champions last year

Premier League transfers – January 2013

January transfer window 2013: Club-by-club guide to all the Premier League deals

PUBLISHED:

18:09 GMT, 2 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

18:12 GMT, 3 January 2013

Keep track of all the latest transfers this January with our club-by-club guide…

Dan's the man: Liverpool paid Chelsea 12million to take striker Daniel Sturridge to Anfield

Dan's the man: Liverpool paid Chelsea 12million to take striker Daniel Sturridge to Anfield

ARSENAL

IN

NONE

OUT

NONE

Click here for the latest Arsenal transfer news
ASTON
VILLA

IN

NONE

OUT

NONE

Click here for the latest Aston Villa transfer news
CHELSEA

IN

NONE

OUT

Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool, 12m)

Click here for the latest Chelsea transfer news EVERTON

IN

NONE

OUT

NONE

Click here for the latest Everton transfer news
FULHAM

IN

NONE

OUT

NONE

Click here for the latest Fulham transfer news LIVERPOOL

IN

Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea, 12m)

OUT

NONE

Click here for the latest Liverpool transfer news
MANCHESTER
CITY

IN

NONE

OUT

NONE

Click here for the latest Manchester City transfer news MANCHESTER
UNITED

IN

NONE

OUT

Joshua King (Blackburn, 1m), Angelo Henriquez (Wigan, loan)

Click here for the latest Manchester United transfer news
NEWCASTLE

IN

NONE

OUT

NONE

Click here for the latest Newcastle transfer news NORWICH

IN

NONE

OUT

NONE

Click here for all the latest Norwich transfer news QUEENS PARK RANGERS
IN

NONE

OUT

Michael Harriman (Wycombe, loan)

Click here for all the latest QPR transfer news READING

IN

Daniel Carrico (Sporting Lisbon, 500,000)

OUT

NONE

Click here for the latest Reading transfer news
SOUTHAMPTON

IN

NONE

OUT

NONE

Click here for the latest Southampton transfer news STOKE

IN

NONE

OUT

Danny Higginbotham (Sheffield United, free)

Click here for the latest Stoke transfer news SUNDERLAND

IN

NONE

OUT

NONE

Click here for the latest Sunderland transfer news
SWANSEA

IN

NONE

OUT

NONE

Click here for all the latest Swansea transfer news TOTTENHAM

IN

Zeki Fryers (Standard Liege, undisclosed)

OUT

Carlo Cudicini (LA Galaxy, free)

Click here for the latest Tottenham transfer news WEST
BROMWICH

IN

NONE

OUT

Chris Wood (Leicester, 1.5m)

Click here for the latest West Bromwich transfer news WEST HAM
IN

Sean Maguire (Waterford United, undisclosed)

OUT

NONE

Click here for the latest West Ham transfer news WIGAN

IN

Roger Espinoza (Sporting Kansas City, free), Angelo Henriquez (Manchester United, loan)

OUT

NONE

Click here for the latest Wigan transfer news

Clint Dempsey, Emmanuel Adebayor and Andre Villas-Boas beat the freeze at Spurs training

Tottenham coldspur! Dempsey, Adebayor and AVB bring out the snoods

|

UPDATED:

15:56 GMT, 5 December 2012

Tottenham's Clint Dempsey has unveiled football's ultimate winter outfit at training as the winter cold snap hit London.

The former Fulham midfielder turned up for training in Enfield with thermal leggings, gloves and even a snood drawn up over his face.

Keeping warm: Clint Dempsey

Cold snap: Emmanuel Adebayor

Toasty: Clint Dempsey (left) and Emmanuel Adebayor dressed for the occasion at Tottenham training

Hair-raising: Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas was in his winter gear but Benoit Assou-Ekotto swerved a hat

Hair-raising: Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas was in his winter gear but Benoit Assou-Ekotto swerved a hat

It must be a new phenomenon though – Graham Roberts would not have rocked up for training looking like that even if there was four feet of snow.

Manager Andre Villas-Boas was also wrapped up for the cold winter weather – and he was clearly bemused by Benoit Assou-Ekotto's latest hairstyle.

Striker Emmanuel Adebayor was also heavily protected from the icy air in thermal gear and matching snood.

Seeing double: Tom Huddlestone gives Assou-Ekotto a run for his money in the big-hair competition

Seeing double: Tom Huddlestone gives Assou-Ekotto a run for his money in the big-hair competition

Warming up: Jermain Defoe (centre) was in a relaxed mood as he trained on Wednesday

Warming up: Jermain Defoe (centre) was in a relaxed mood as he trained on Wednesday

Gareth Bale has been heavily criticised for diving over the past few weeks, but there was no argument on Wednesday morning as the frozen ground was far too hard for any player to go to ground.

Asked about Bale's diving, manager Villas-Boas said: 'Yes, he is frustrated about it. It is difficult for him, particularly in the last two games.

'If he has a reputation I think it's a little bit unfair… the last two have been unfair.

'I think he uses it as a precaution from different types of challenges. I'm not saying all of the players that challenge Gareth are malicious but the action is so quick that it might look like it's not a foul while it is.'

Martin Samuel: Arsene Wenger used to solve Arsenal"s problems… now he helps his rivals solve theirs

Wenger used to solve Arsenal's problems… now he helps his rivals solve theirs

|

UPDATED:

22:45 GMT, 2 December 2012

If Arsene Wenger genuinely had 70million to spend, do you know who his striker would be Robin van Persie. Still.

Van Persie would never have left Arsenal if, in his talks with Wenger, he had been convinced that lavish funds were available and would be spent on the team. If Wenger could have given Van Persie any form of guarantee that 70m was coming his way, he might not have been so eager to sign for Manchester United.

The figure of 70m is the latest jam tomorrow bulletin from Arsenal’s money men, following the sealing of a shirt deal worth 150m with Emirates.

This windfall is Wenger’s to spend, apparently, except he never does.

Cash back: If Arsene Wenger had 70m to spend Robin van Persie would have stayed at Arsenal

Cash back: If Arsene Wenger had 70m to spend Robin van Persie would have stayed at Arsenal

Cash back: If Arsene Wenger had 70m to spend Robin van Persie would have stayed at Arsenal

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02/12/12

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29/11/12

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27/11/12

Schools are falling for the hard sell from corporate sponsors
22/11/12

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He never seemed to spend the 30m that was his in the Highbury days, either, or the 55m it was claimed sat in Arsenal’s transfer kitty last summer. He has 40m reserved for improvements in January also. Whether that is part of the 70m or in addition to it, nobody is quite sure.

The funny thing is, no matter what is said to be available at Arsenal, Wenger’s outlay always seems commensurate with how much he brings in, as if the two are related. He sells his best player, he buys two or three inferiors. This is not an uncommon policy, indeed, a number of Premier League clubs have adopted it.

Most of them, though, reside in the bottom half of the table: where Arsenal may soon join them.

They are 10th now, two points above Liverpool, and their next home game is against the awkward squad of West Bromwich Albion.

Most years, an Arsenal win would be considered a certainty, but that was thought of a home fixture with Swansea City, too.

If only everything at Arsenal was as predictable as the forecasts of long-term wealth and success.

Arsenal would have known last summer that the shirt deal was up for renewal. Van Persie wanted a better contract, but he also wanted a sign that Arsenal would compete in the transfer market; like 70m dropping into his manager’s lap, for instance.

It seems strange, then, that he left unconvinced and disillusioned. A lot of Arsenal players have trod that path.

Personal finances were also an issue, true, but equally the direction the club was taking. Wenger used to solve Arsenal’s problems: now he solves those of his rivals.

Mountain to climb: Arsenal are languishing in tenth after home defeat to Swansea

Mountain to climb: Arsenal are languishing in tenth after home defeat to Swansea

Manchester United are first, Arsenal are 10th. It is not so crazy to speculate that those positions might be reversed had Van Persie stayed.

Think about it. United have gone behind to the first goal of the game in 10 Premier League matches and in seven have come back to win. Of those seven, five have featured crucial goals from Van Persie, including the equaliser against Fulham, a hat-trick against Southampton and the winner against Liverpool.

Imagine United without him this season. Wayne Rooney scored twice against Reading on Saturday but, on the eve of the game, Sir Alex Ferguson was bemoaning his strike rate. Even after the 4-3 win, Javier Hernandez had still outscored Rooney in the Premier League.

Now consider Arsenal with Van Persie’s 10 league goals this season added to their total. Supplement a single goal from Van Persie to the draws with Sunderland, Stoke City, Manchester City, Fulham, Aston Villa and Everton; add an equaliser to the one-goal defeats by Chelsea, Norwich City and Manchester United.

That is a difference of 15 points, or the current spread between Manchester United (top, 36 points) and Arsenal (10th, 21).

Obviously, this is not an exact science but the general point seems reasonably watertight: Arsenal’s loss has been United’s gain.

Maybe Van Persie was told of the 70m at the end of the rainbow; the problem is that Arsenal’s players have heard it all before. For seven barren years they have been fed talk of some mythical golden day, when the club will reap the benefits of careful husbandry, glory restored.

Who's next: How long will the likes of Thomas Vermaelen and Jack Wilshere tolerate inferior acquisitions

Who's next: How long will the likes of Thomas Vermaelen and Jack Wilshere tolerate inferior acquisitions

Who's next: How long will the likes of Thomas Vermaelen and Jack Wilshere tolerate inferior acquisitions

In two years, Arsenal will be able to compete with the best in the world, promises chief executive Ivan Gazidis. Yet the best of this current team might not wish to wait that long, and then what

Having already lost such vital players as Van Persie and Cesc Fabregas, take Jack Wilshere or Thomas Vermaelen away and 70m would be needed just to restore the squad, rather than enhance an existing world class group.

Also, it is hard, coming fourth. It is a risky business. Set out to win the league and, falling short, the Champions League still beckons. Yet increasingly Arsenal have revised their aims so that any place in the top four constitutes success.

Fourth place, however, has no safety net. Fail, and enter the Europa League; or worse.

The good news No team, beyond the Manchester clubs, have made a charge yet. Chelsea have not won for seven Premier League games, yet remain third.

Few believe West Brom or Everton are capable of maintaining early dalliances with elite positions.

Tottenham Hotspur have won three on the turn, but preceded that with four consecutive league defeats.

Arsenal are five points off fourth place with over half the season remaining. It is not unthinkable that they could be part of the elite quartet when the season ends.

Yet, one day, they will miss that mark. Football’s history says that reality must catch up with a selling club eventually and that is what Arsenal have become in recent years.

An exclusive, top of the range, elite clientele, bespoke selling club, true. But a selling club nonetheless.

What they certainly do not look like is a club with anything between 40m and 70m to spend; for if they were, they wouldn’t be 10th.

Wimbledon are the real winners

Jon Otsemobor having killed AFC Wimbledon with a flippant back-heel, the supporters of Milton Keynes Dons could not resist their moment. ‘You’re not singing any more,’ they crowed.

But the true Wimbledon are still singing. And they will always sing, because even in defeat they were empowered by the knowledge that every neutral in the land was on their side.

They have suffered kicks in the teeth far crueller than an FA Cup defeat and survived. They will be back this way again.

And they will always be the real and only Dons.

Top Dons: AFC Wimbledon left Milton Keynes with their heads held high despite defeat

Top Dons: AFC Wimbledon left Milton Keynes with their heads held high despite defeat

Dance or abuse: Liam Jones in grey

Dance or abuse: Liam Jones in grey

So, are we getting the full picture

The Sunderland fan accused of making a racist gesture to West Bromwich Albion striker Romelu Lukaku issued a strong denial.

Liam Jones claimed that what was perceived as a monkey gesture was, in fact, a chicken dance.

'I'm devastated,' he said. 'I have black friends and black cousins.'

No certain judgments can be made, but, revisiting the photograph of the incident, it is possible to concede that he could have been flapping his arms, not scratching his armpits.

His elbows are out, but slightly forward, and his fingers are pointing down. Your hands go up to scratch your armpits.

We can be sure, though, that Northumbria Police will be acting on far more than a single frame image, as they have already arrested Jones on suspicion of racially aggravated intentional harassment.

And if that was the sum of the evidence, it would be ridiculous.

AND WHILE WE'RE AT IT
Platini's grand plan would end up as a 64-team bunfight

There are 16 places up for grabs in the Champions League first knockout stage, and 13 are already decided. Matchday six this week is largely a glorified round of club friendlies played before disinterested crowds.

Juventus and holders Chelsea will fight over the last place in Group E; Celtic and Benfica in Group G; Galatasaray and CFR 1907 Cluj in Group H. None of these teams play each other, though, and all the action takes place on Wednesday.

Tuesday is as a good as dead. Exhibition stuff really. Squabbles over who comes first, as if that matters in a tournament in which Real Madrid, AC Milan and quite possibly Juventus will be in the runners-up pot; skirmishes over third place and the right to enter a competition that is so prestigious that UEFA are thinking of scrapping it: again.

The dreaded Europa League. Barely three years since the UEFA Cup breathed its last, UEFA president Michel Platini is checking the pulse of its replacement. Still, as ever, he has a cunning plan.

Man with not a very good plan: Michel Platini has touted merging Europe's two club competitions

Man with not a very good plan: Michel Platini has touted merging Europe's two club competitions

Expand the Champions League to 64 teams and merge the two competitions. Yes, that should get the juices flowing again. More lame ducks, more dead rubbers. A group stage that trundles on and on, like one of those freight trains in America taking forever to pass.

The problem is the Europa League is failing. Crowds are small, television interest minimal and post-Christmas brings the march of the useless in which all the third-placed teams from the Champions League are parachuted into the competition to confirm its mediocre status.

Fulham, who were charting unknown territory, had great fun in the Europa League, but the teams fielded by Liverpool this season suggest priorities elsewhere.

If any English club had a genuine chance of returning to the Champions League through league position next season, the Thursday game would be sacrificed in a heartbeat.

So what is Platini’s solution In an interview with Ouest-France newspaper, he entertained a merger, pairing the tournament that doesn’t work with the one that does, to create a giant bunfight in which a team that finished seventh in the Premier League, won the League Cup or lost the FA Cup final could potentially end up champions of Europe; or in a pool stage match with Barcelona.

Millwall, for instance, who lost 3-0 to Manchester United in the 2004 FA Cup Final, and qualified for the UEFA Cup as a result, would be there.

How would this format work Having first arrived at 64 teams through the usual summer round of preliminaries, one presumes they would split into 16 groups of four. This would then be whittled down to a further eight groups of four, before the knock-out stages begin with 16 teams, then eight, four, and eventually the two finalists.

Wise move Millwall, defeated FA Cup finalists in 2004 would have been in the Champions League

Wise move Millwall, defeated FA Cup finalists in 2004 would have been in the Champions League

That would make a total of 19 games, excluding preliminaries, up from a current campaign of 13. Maybe Platini could invent a 13th month to play it in, too.

Alternatively, the knock-out stage could start at the round of 32, meaning a group competition comprising teams so weak it would barely be worth watching (Manchester United v Hapoel Kiryat Shmona, Real Madrid v Neftci PFK), followed by an unfortunate pairing with Barcelona and then out.

Why would any elite club sign up for that It would be financial suicide.

It was Platini who turned the Europa League into a Champions League Lite, when a better solution would have been to make it wildly different, returning to the immediacy of the old knock-out format. A proper cup competition, without the safety net of group football.

Madrid, Milan, Barca, Chelsea... Neftci PFK: Merging would result in more dead rubbers and would likely discredit eventual winners

Madrid, Milan, Barca, Chelsea… Neftci PFK: Merging would result in more dead rubbers and would likely discredit eventual winners

Sadly, the Europa League, like most of Platini’s creations, was poorly conceived from the start. He isn’t very bright, this guy. He doesn’t think things through. That makes him dangerous.

His supporters say he often floats ideas, like a 64-team Champions League, to test the water – or so other people can do the hard work and point out the flaws –but that isn’t correct either.

Platini may have been answering a newspaper question but he could have, instantly, ruled out a merger.

Instead, he kept the plan alive. Some pretty half-baked schemes – financial fair play, expansion of the European Championship to 24 teams, those extra officials standing next to the goal doing nothing – have become reality this way.

For a man who played football in such a thrilling fashion, Platini comes up with plans that make for a moribund game.

Financial regulations linked to income cement in place the existing elite. An expanded European Championship is less competitive, therefore less interesting, and the same would be true of an inflated Champions League.

Just because Platini said it in a regional French newspaper does not mean his cogs are not already whirring away on a plan to pit Barcelona against AEL Limassol. He will then wonder insightfully, three years later, why nobody is watching.

Lazio v Tottenham, Liverpool v Young Boys and Newcastle v Maritimo live

EUROPA LEAGUE LIVE: Lazio v Tottenham – from the Stadio Olimpico as it happens

|

UPDATED:

17:52 GMT, 22 November 2012

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Europa League as Tottenham, Liverpool and Newcastle aim to book a place in the last 32 with one group game to spare. Spurs face a tough test at Lazio at 6pm needing a win to qualify, while Liverpool and Newcastle can also reach the last 32 with victories when they host Young Boys and Maritimo respectively at 8.05pm.

Latest scores

Lazio v Tottenham 6pm

Liverpool v Young Boys 8.05pm

Newcastle v Maritimo 8.05pm

5.50pm: It seems Hugo Lloris has won the battle of the goalkeepers at White Hart Lane. Brad Friedel is set to return to Blackburn which seems all rather sad to me.

He has been a phenomenal custodian for Spurs and has done nothing wrong yet finds himself out of the picture.

5.45pm: In case you're wondering what the thing above is, it's our brand new vidiprinter with the latest from tonight's games. Love it Loathe it Let me know below.

Main man: Paul Gascoigne in Rome with Lazio president Claudio Lotito

Main man: Paul Gascoigne in Rome with Lazio president Claudio Lotito

Paul Gascoigne

5.40pm: Sportsmail's Matt Barlow is in Rome and has indeed just seen the legend himself.

'First sighting of Gazza at the Stadio Olimpico, surrounded by camera. I can see his bald patch and little else'

You can follow Matt on Twitter here

5.35pm: Paul Gascoigne will be at the game tonight and earlier, Sportsmail took a look back at their best Gazza moments, here.

5.30pm: Lazio will clinch pole position in Group J with victory but a Spurs win will take them through if NK Maribor do not win at Panathinaikos.

5.25pm: Emmanuel Adebayor has been handed the lone striker role as Tottenham look to book their place in the knockout stages of the Europa League with victory over Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico.

Andre Villas-Boas makes four changes from the team that lost 5-2 to Arsenal on Saturday, with Gylfi Sigurdsson, Clint Dempsey, Steven Caulker and young midfielder Tom Carroll all handed starting berths.

Gareth Bale captains Spurs, while Lazio left out Germany striker Miroslav Klose.

5.20pm: Tottenham: Lloris; Walker, Caulker, Vertonghen, Naughton; Sandro, Carroll; Dempsey, Sigurdsson, Bale; Adebayor.

Subs: Cudicini, Dawson, Livermore, Lennon, Dembele, Huddlestone, Defoe.

Lazio: Marchetti, Cavanda, Biava, Ciani, Radu, Mauri, Gonzalez, Ledesma, Hernanes, Lulic, Kozak.

Subs: Bizzarri, Scaloni, Ederson, Onazi, Rozzi, Candreva, Floccari.

5.15pm: The first of our triple header should be a cracker as Tottenham take on Lazio in Rome. Unfortunately there were unsavoury scenes earlier today when two Spurs were stabbed.

You can read more on that here

5.10pm: Welcome to Sportsmail's coverage of tonight's Europa League fixtures.

Lazio

Lazio

DP World Tour Championship: Live leaderboard

DP World Tour Championship leaderboard: Keep up to date with the latest scores

UPDATED:

08:00 GMT, 22 November 2012

The European Tour season comes to an end this week at the DP World Tour Championship.

Rory McIlroy has the Race to Dubai wrapped up but plenty of big guns are looking to finish with a flourish at the Jumeirah Golf Estates.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LIVE LEADERBOARD

First past the post: Race to Dubai winner Rory McIlroy

First past the post: Race to Dubai winner Rory McIlroy