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Adam Scott pays tribute to Greg Norman after US Masters win

Scott pays tribute to Norman after breaking Australia's majors duck with Masters win

By
Phil Casey, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

00:35 GMT, 15 April 2013

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UPDATED:

01:30 GMT, 15 April 2013

Adam Scott paid tribute to Australian great Greg Norman after breaking his major duck, and that of his nation at the Masters.

Scott saw off Angel Cabrera at the second hole of a sudden-death play-off at Augusta to win the 77th Masters and lay the ghost of Lytham last year, when he bogeyed the last four holes of the Open to lose by one stroke to Ernie Els.

'I don't know how that happens,' Scott said of today's dramatic finale. 'It seems a long way away from last July when I was trying to win another major.

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Looking good in Green: Adam Scott became the first Australian to win the US MAsters

Looking good in Green: Adam Scott became the first Australian to win the US Masters

Adam Scott wins the Masters

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'It fell my way today, there was some luck there. It was incredible.'

Scott and Argentinian Cabrera had finished at nine under, two shots ahead of Jason Day with a third Australian, Marc Leishman, tied for third on five under alongside world number one Tiger Woods.

And Scott said: 'Australia's a proud sporting nation and this was one notch on the belt that we'd never got.

Enlarge

Nail biting: Scott beat Argentinian Angel Cabrera in a tense finish

Nail biting: Scott beat Argentinian Angel Cabrera in a tense finish

'It's amazing that it's come down to me today, Marc and Jason Day, it could have been any of us.

'But there was one guy that inspired a nation of golfers and that's Greg Norman. He's been incredible to me and all the young golfers in Australia and part of this definitely belongs to him.'

Scott looked to have avoided the need for a play-off when he drained a superb 25-foot putt on the final hole of his fourth round to card 69.

So close: Cabrera throws his putter after just missing his birdie putt on the second playoff hole

So close: Cabrera throws his putter after just missing his birdie putt on the second playoff hole

Embrace: Second placed Angel Cabrera (right) congratulates Scott on his win

Embrace: Second placed Cabrera congratulates Scott on his win

But Cabrera, in the following group, hit a magnificent approach to little more than three feet and holed out to extend the contest.

'It was a split-second I thought I'd won, you should never count your chickens,' said Scott of his wild celebrations on the 72nd green.

'But that was the putt, we've seen so many guys make it to win and I thought 'it's time for me to step up' and see how much I wanted it.

Passover: Bubba Watson gives Scott his jacket

Passover: Bubba Watson gives Scott his jacket

'To make a couple of putts to win the Masters tournament is just an amazing feeling.'

Cabrera himself went close when his chip at the first play-off hole ran just past the cup and said: 'That's how golf is. I came back and I had that chip on 18, I could have won it.

But Adam's a good winner. I would have been happier if I had won but he's a great player, I get along with him, we've played together in the President's Cup and I'm happy for him.'

The Masters: Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus in our five of the best at Augusta National

The Masters: An old Golden Bear and a young Tiger plus Faldo, Mickelson and Crenshaw – five of the best at Augusta

PUBLISHED:

08:59 GMT, 8 April 2013

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UPDATED:

08:59 GMT, 8 April 2013

The Masters almost always produces dramatic golf worthy of the beautiful backdrop of Augusta National.

Here, Sportsmail picks out five of the most memorable tournaments starting with the legend that is Jack Nicklaus way back in 1986.

1) 1986 – Jack Nicklaus

Nicklaus was 46, had not won a tournament in two years or a major in six, and was being written off as a spent force. But the Golden Bear produced one more back-nine charge in the 50th Masters, coming home in 30 for a final round of 65 to beat Greg Norman and Tom Kite by a single shot.

Nicklaus went eagle-birdie-birdie on the 15th, 16th and 17th as Seve Ballesteros squandered the lead by hitting his approach to the 15th into the water short of the green.

Dry Spell: Jack Nicklaus' win in 1986 was his first victory in a major in six years

Dry Spell: Jack Nicklaus' win in 1986 was his first victory in a major in six years

Handing over: Bernhard Langer (left) hands Nickalus his sixth Green Jacket

Handing over: Bernhard Langer (left) hands Nickalus his sixth Green Jacket

2) 1997 – Tiger Woods

Kite was again the runner-up 11 years later, but this time by an incredible 12 shots as Woods tore up the record books to claim his first major title. That had looked distinctly unlikely as the 21-year-old played the front nine of his opening round in 40, but he came back in 30 to lie just three shots off the lead.

A second-round 66 took Woods three clear of Colin Montgomerie, a lead he extended to nine shots after round three and a record 12 after a closing 69 made him the youngest ever winner at Augusta.

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods

Passing the torch: Tiger Woods tore up the record books to win his first title at just 21-years-old

3) 2004 – Phil Mickelson

'I don't think any Masters will ever compare to the '86 Masters but, for me, this one does.'

That was the verdict of an emotional Mickelson after he had broken his major duck at the 47th time of asking. Mickelson had shared the lead with Chris Di Marco heading into the final round, but struggled to a front-nine 38 before a brilliant back nine of 31, culminating in a decisive birdie on the 18th, was enough to beat Ernie Els by a shot after the South African's excellent 67.

Crowd Pleaser: Phil Mickelson broke his major duck at the 47th time of asking

Crowd pleaser: Phil Mickelson broke his major duck at the 47th time of asking

Only just: A decisive birdie on the 18th hole gave Mickelson the title by just a single shot

Only just: A decisive birdie on the 18th hole gave Mickelson the title by just a single shot

4) 1995 – Ben Crenshaw

At 43, Crenshaw was not quite as old as Nicklaus in 1986, but his second Masters title in 1995 was equally remarkable and emotional.

Harvey Penick, who was Crenshaw's golf coach since he was seven years old, had died the week before and Crenshaw spent the Tuesday of Masters week at Penick's funeral in Austin, Texas.

The image of Crenshaw doubled over in grief and happiness after his final putt dropped – he did not have a single three-putt in 72 holes – has become an iconic Augusta image.

Ben Crenshaw

Ben Crenshaw

Emotional: Ben Crenshaw is hugged by his caddy Carl Jackson after winning for the second time at AQugusta National. Harvey Penick, who had coached Crenshaw since he was seven, died a week before the tournament

5) 1996 – Nick Faldo

Greg Norman had finished third behind Crenshaw in 1995, but it was the manner of his second-place finish to Nick Faldo the following year which was memorable for all the wrong reasons. Norman led from the outset after an opening 63, the joint lowest score ever in a major championship and only the second 63 ever at Augusta, and after adding rounds of 69 and 71 he was six shots clear of Faldo heading into the final round.

However, his lead was down to two shots by the turn and a back nine of 40 – despite two birdies – meant a closing 78 to Faldo's 67 and a five-shot winning margin for the Englishman.

Nick Faldo

Nick Faldo

Picking up the pieces: Nick Faldo took advantage of an awful final round from Greg Norman to win in 1996

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

|

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.

Bobby Moore beat testicular cancer before 1966 World Cup win

Revealed: Legend Moore beat cancer before leading England to 1966 World Cup

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UPDATED:

13:24 GMT, 23 November 2012

Sports writer Norman Giller has written a book that reveals Bobby Moore survived testicular cancer two years before he won the World Cup at Wembley in 1966.

The book, called Bobby Moore The Master, follows this golden era of English football and tracks every one of the 108 England matches in which Moore played – with exclusive comments on each by the man himself.

Author Giller told the Sports Journalists’ Association: 'Amazingly, Bobby survived testicular cancer two years before he collected the World Cup.

On top of the world: Bobby Moore led England to victory at Wembley in 1966

On top of the world: Bobby Moore led England to victory at Wembley in 1966

'I was among a small clique of Fleet Street sportswriters who hushed up the fact that he’d had a testicle surgically removed.

'In those uneducated days people kept secret the curse of cancer as if it was almost something of which to be ashamed.

‘Covering up a story of such weight today would, quite rightly, get the reporter the sack. But back in the 1960s cancer was a word to be whispered, and euphemistically dismissed with a Les Dawson-style mime as ‘the Big C.’

Bobby Moore The Master by Norman Giller

‘Can you imagine the hero he would have become had the nation realised the agony and torture he had been through before his World Cup triumph

'Knowing that, perhaps you agree with me that his statue at Wembley should be twice as high.’

All profits from the sales of the book will not go to the author but to the Bobby Moore Fund to help raise cancer research money.

The fund was launched in 1993 by Bobby’s widow, Stephanie, following his death from bowel cancer, and the book is being published to mark the 20-year anniversary of Bobby’s passing (and the fund’s birth) in February.

This is Giller’s 94th book — 20 of them were written in collaboration with Jimmy Greaves, who was one of Moore’s best friends.

To order a copy of the book, visit www.normangillerbooks.com

Ivor Powell dies aged 96

Welsh legend and former Blackpool, QPR and Villa midfielder Powell dies aged 96

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UPDATED:

18:20 GMT, 6 November 2012


Wales finest: Ivor Powell played for Blackpool, QPR and Aston Villa

Wales finest: Ivor Powell played for Blackpool, QPR and Aston Villa

Former Wales midfielder Ivor Powell, who won a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's oldest football coach, has died aged 96.

He was one of the finest players of his generation in a career that saw him play for Wales, Blackpool, Queens Park Rangers and Aston Villa.

Powell started his working life in the mines of South Wales before he made it as a top player.

A tough tackler, he set a record transfer fee for a half-back of 17,500 when he moved to Aston Villa in 1948.

At Blackpool he struck up his friendship with Sir Stanley Matthews, who went on to be best man at his wedding.

He was one of Bill Shankly's successors as manager at Carlisle and worked with the likes of Billy Bremner, Jackie Charlton and Norman Hunter who formed Don Revie's legendary Leeds side.

He had spells coaching at Bath City and also with PAOK in Greece, before joining the University of Bath as football coach in the early 1970s.

In 2004 he was inducted into the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame and in 2006 his role as the world's oldest working football coach was recognised as a Guinness World Record.

Powell was made an MBE in the 2008 New Year's Honours List and he finally hung up his boots in May 2010, aged 93.

The university has marked the end of his long service to the game with the Ivor Powell Sports Scholarship Fund.

Speaking in 2006 about his retirement, Powell said: 'I feel so proud of what I've done.

'I've been very, very happy at the University of Bath and I mean that.'

Explaining his coaching philosophy in 2007, Powell told the Independent newspaper: 'Aggression, determination, the will to win. These have always been my watchwords, and they still are.

'That's what I try to instil into these youngsters. And they listen, they really do.'

The University of Bath said Powell died last night after a short illness.

Deputy vice chancellor Professor Kevin Edge paid tribute.

'Ivor was an outstanding individual, a real character and a tremendous inspiration to countless generations of students and to his many colleagues at the university,' he said.

'He will be sadly missed. We would like to extend our sincere condolences to Ivor's family and friends.'

Jess Garland, head netball coach at the university, said: 'There are few people in life that have the ability to touch both the hearts and minds of so many but Ivor Powell had this capacity in abundance.

'People were drawn to his cheeky sense of humour, and the clear passion he had for the field of sport and coaching was infectious.

'It was 13 years ago that I first met Ivor, the morning of the passing of his dear friend Sir Stanley Matthews.

'Ivor's storytelling was second to none and he inspired so many of us to strive for the best.

'His coaching mantra of the key characteristics of sports people and teams needing passion, determination, aggression, the will to win and consistency of performance will transcend to many and will act as a legacy to such a true gentleman.

'It was a true privilege to have known and worked alongside Ivor.'

A spokesman for Queens Park Rangers said: 'The club is desperately saddened to learn of the passing of former half-back Ivor Powell.

'Powell passed away last night, aged 96. He made 159 appearances for Rangers in a 12-year spell that was interrupted by the War. He scored two goals.

'He was part of the R's team that clinched the Division Three South title in 1948 and was our first post-war player to be capped.

'Ivor was awarded an MBE for services to sport and collected his award from the Palace on June 25 2008.

'The club would like to extend its deepest condolences to Ivor's family and friends at this sad time.

'May he rest in peace.'

Hillsborough: Sir Norman Bettison resigns from police

Hillsborough police chief quits ahead of hearing amid allegations of 'boasts over lies'

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UPDATED:

15:02 GMT, 24 October 2012

One of Britain's most senior policemen – Sir Norman Bettison – who allegedly 'boasted' about cooking up lies to blame Liverpool fans for the Hillsborough disaster has resigned.

The chief constable of West Yorkshire Police was being urged to quit after devastating allegations about his integrity and had originally said he would leave the force next year.

But he tendered his resignation ahead of a meeting on Wednesday morning which was to consider his role in the aftermath of the 1989 tragedy, which he investigated for South Yorkshire Police.

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Under investigation: Sir Norman Bettison

Shadow Transport Maria Eagle

Allegations: Merseyside MP Maria Eagle said in
parliament that West Yorkshire Police's chief Sir Norman Bettison
'boasted' about smearing Liverpool fans in 1989 and chose to 'concoct' a
falsehood

Families of Hillsborough victims were celebrating as they believe Sir Norman had been at the heart of a police cover-up that blamed their loved-ones for causing the deaths of 96 fans.

Sir Norman said he had never blamed the fans for the tragedy and defiantly added: 'There’s nothing I’m ashamed of'.

'First, and foremost, the Hillsborough tragedy 23 years ago left 96 families bereaved and countless others injured and affected by it,' he said.

'I have always felt the deepest compassion and sympathy for the families, and I recognise their longing to understand exactly what happened on that April afternoon.

'I have never blamed the fans for causing the tragedy.'

It came after Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle told Parliament Sir Norman revealed a 'plot' to help 'concoct' a false version of events for the tragedy in a pub conversation with a survivor.

He has long been accused of smearing fans in the wake of
Hillsborough, when he was a chief inspector with South Yorkshire Police
at the time.

Ms Eagle used
parliamentary privilege, which protects her from being sued for
defamation, to make the allegations which were based on new evidence
from a witness who discussed the disaster with Sir Norman.

Sir Norman dismissed reports of the
conversation saying: 'The suggestion that I would say to a passing
acquaintance that I was deployed as part of a team tasked to “concoct a
false story of what happened”, is both incredible and wrong. That isn't
what I was tasked to do, and I did not say that.'

Sir Norman said the police authority
and some of the candidates in the forthcoming PCC elections made it
clear that they wanted him to go.

'I
do so, not because of any allegations about the past, but because I
share the view that this has become a distraction to policing in West
Yorkshire now and in the future.'

Margaret Aspinall, chairwoman of
the Hillsborough Families Support Group, welcomed the announcement but
said Sir Norman's pension should be frozen while the investigation takes
place into the police cover-up highlighted by the Hillsborough
Independent Panel.

Tragic: Liverpool fans try to get away from the crush

Tragic: Liverpool fans tried to get away from the crush in the stadium in the 1989 tragedy

She said: 'I'm absolutely delighted he's gone but as far as I am concerned he should have been sacked.

'I would now like to know what payments and pension he's going to get.

'Any financial benefits should be frozen until the outcome of the investigation into the cover-up.

'This is not the end of it, the next thing is to make sure his role is properly investigated.'

Mrs Aspinall, who lost her 18-year-old son James in the disaster, said the families had 'no vendetta' against the former chief constable.

'He's not the only one who we believe took part in this cover-up. But as a senior officer he should have been honest from the very beginning,' she said.

'He allowed the families to suffer for 23-years while knowing the truth all along.'

Maria Eagle, a Labour Merseyside MP, said he had 'always denied any involvement in the dirty tricks campaign' but she alleged he was behind the 'black propaganda' campaign.

She quoted from a letter from John Barry, who was at Hillsborough for the FA Cup semi-final tie that led to the death of 96 Liverpool fans.

Pleased: Chair of the Hillsborough Families Support Group Margaret Aspinall (pictured at Westminster last week) welcomed the news but said Bettison 'is not the only one involved in this cover-up'

Pleased: Chair of the Hillsborough Families Support Group Margaret Aspinall (pictured at Westminster last week) welcomed the news but said Bettison 'is not the only one involved in this cover-up'

The letter, written in 1998 to a solicitor for the Hillsborough Family Support Group, was copied to Ms Eagle in 2009 and she has been given permission to make it public.

Ms Eagle said Mr Barry was studying part-time at Sheffield Business School where one of his fellow students was a 'middle-ranking police officer'.

Mr Barry wrote: 'He told me that he had been asked by his senior officers to put together the South Yorkshire Police evidence for the forthcoming inquiry.

'He said that 'we are trying to concoct a story that all the Liverpool fans were drunk and we were afraid that they were going to break down the gates so we decided to open them.'

Ms Eagle said: 'Mr Barry confirmed to me in the covering letter in 2009 that the middle-ranking police officer to whom he referred is Norman Bettison.'

Earlier this month the chief constable said the recent uproar made him 'reflect' on 'what is best for the future of policing' in his force area.

In September he was forced to issue a humiliating apology after saying
Liverpool fans were partly to blame for what happened.

He said his role was never to 'besmirch' the fans and said the Reds' supporters were in no way to blame for the disaster.

Chaos: Thousands spilled onto the turf to avoid the crush that was happening in the stand

Chaos: Thousands spilled onto the turf to avoid the crush that was happening in the stand and for years Liverpool fans were wrongly blamed for the problems

He
faced calls to resign from the families of victims for criticising
fans' behaviour despite an independent panel clearing them of
wrongdoing.

Sir Norman, 56,
said he would retire from his 225,000 post on March 31 next year,
despite being recently granted an extension to his contract.

It
remains to be seen whether he will receive any extra pay off over his
gold-plated public sector pension of up to 150,000 a year.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating Sir Norman's conduct in the aftermath of Hillsborough.

It came as it was revealed more than 1,400 police officers face investigation over the Hillsborough disaster.

The names of 1,444 serving and retired officers have been given to the Independent Police Complaints Commission for its probe into the 1989 tragedy which killed 96 fans.

Labour MP Keith Vaz, the chairman of the Commons home affairs committee, revealed the number handed over by South Yorkshire chief constable David Crompton.

Tribute: A man lays flowers at a memorial to the 96 people who died in the Hillsborough disaster. The 1,444 officers face a rpobe from the Independent Police Complaints Commission

Tribute: A man lays flowers at a memorial to the 96 people who died in the Hillsborough disaster. The 1,444 officers face a rpobe from the Independent Police Complaints Commission

He said: 'This is a huge number of names, more than we expected.'

Home Secretary Theresa May said during a debate on the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report which vindicated the fans, that the number pointed to the 'enormity' of the controversy.

She promised that a ‘thorough and wide-ranging’ IPCC probe would focus on ‘potential criminality and police misconduct in respect of police officers, both serving and retired’.

The debate took a dramatic twist when Labour MP Maria Eagle read out a letter from a witness on the day which implicated Sir Norman Bettison, the current chief constable of West Yorkshire, as being part of a conspiracy involving police trying to ‘concoct a story that all the Liverpool fans were drunk’.

The allegation – made using parliamentary privilege – could add to the pressure on Sir Norman to be sacked and stripped of his pension, which he is due to receive when he retires in March.

Mrs May said the Government was considering fast-tracking laws to compel police to give evidence to a new investigation by the IPCC watchdog. ‘This includes proposals to require current and ex-police officers who were maybe witnesses to a crime to attend an interview.’

Recent controversies involving newspaper phone hacking and potential sexual abuse had undermined the public’s confidence in police, she said. Mrs May paid tribute to the 96 Hillsborough victims, their families and survivors.

She said: 'Their persistence and indomitability has been an inspiration and I offer them the commitment the Government will do everything in its power to move them from truth to justice.'

VIDEO: Bettison resigns after claims he 'boasted about smearing Liverpool fans'

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Bulgaria golf resort Thracian Cliffs to host World Match Play Championship in 2013

Bulgaria's 'Pebble Beach of Europe' picked to host 2013 World Match Play title

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UPDATED:

08:24 GMT, 23 October 2012

Bulgaria will host a European Tour event for the first time when the 2013 World Match Play Championship is staged at stunning Black Sea resort of Thracian Cliffs.

Organisers said that the move from Andalucia in Spain, where the tournament has been staged for the last three years, to Bulgaria was part of a plan to rotate the venue of the championship that has been in operation since 1964.

Yet the news comes just one month after financial problems saw the Andalucian Masters cancelled in the Spanish region.

Pure delight: Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach resort in Bulgaria will play host to next year's World Match Play championship

Pure delight: Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach resort in Bulgaria will play host to next year's World Match Play championship

Golf blog

'This is a real coup to be chosen to host such a prestigious international tournament with a rich heritage and sporting tradition,' said Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boiko Borisov.

'The recent growth of golf in our country will have the opportunity to be showcased around the world.'

Some of the biggest names in the sport have won the World Match Play – Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Greg Norman, the late Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo and South African Ernie Els who has lifted the trophy a record seven times.

Player designed Thracian Cliffs and the course has been described as the 'Pebble Beach of Europe', a reference to the spectacular championship links in California.

Glorious greens: The Bulgarian resort, designed by Gary Player, is considered the 'Pebble Beach of Europe'

Glorious greens: The Bulgarian resort, designed by Gary Player, is considered the 'Pebble Beach of Europe'

thracian cliffs golf & beach resort, Bulgaria - the venue for the world matchplay championship

Nicolas Colsaerts, a member of Europe's triumphant Ryder Cup team in Chicago last month, will defend his World Match Play title from May 16-19.

'I've never been to Bulgaria but I've heard great things about the country and Thracian Cliffs,' said the Belgian golfer.

Per Ericsson, president of event management for sponsors Volvo, said future venues for the tournament would be announced at a later date.

Hands on: Nicolas Colsaerts will defend his World Match Play title next year in Bulgaria

Hands on: Nicolas Colsaerts will defend his World Match Play title next year in Bulgaria

'While our focus is firmly on delivering a magnificent 2013 championship at Thracian Cliffs, we then plan to rotate the World Match Play between a few very special venues around the world,' he added.

Bulgaria has a population of 7.3 million but there are just six courses and about 600 golfers in the country.

Former international football players Hristo Stoichkov and Krasimir Balakov are regular participants in local tournaments.

Bulgaria was named the undiscovered golf destination of 2012 by the International Golf Travel Market.

Tiger Woods moves ahead of Rory McIlroy in battle for $10m FedEx Cup booty

Woods drops old pals' act to move ahead of McIlroy in battle for $10m booty

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UPDATED:

23:50 GMT, 20 September 2012

If this is what Tiger Woods plays like when he is feeling intimidated, heaven help the rest of golf if he ever gets over it.

Greg Norman's bizarre belief that the
American has been somehow cowed by Rory McIlroy's recent success always
did sound fanciful, and certainly here as Woods breezed round East Lake
in a score of 66 to share the first round lead at the Tour Championship
with the Englishman Justin Rose.

McIlroy was more prosaic by comparison,
and was thankful for some exemplary bunker play to salvage a score of
69. As things stand, it is Woods who has moved ahead of the Northern
Irishman in the race for the FedEx Cup booty of $10million but this, of
course, was nothing more than a small jab to the ribs with three rounds
to play rather than a telling blow.

Behind you: Tiger Woods keeps a close eye on Rory McIlroy in Atlanta

Behind you: Tiger Woods keeps a close eye on Rory McIlroy in Atlanta

FedEx Cup

Click here for the latest leaderboard

McIlroy, for his part, was happy enough. 'Obviously I'd like to have been a couple of shots better but I'm still in a good position,' he commented.

The first three events of this FedEx race were marked by chumminess and almost non-stop banter between Tiger and Rory. On Thursday, there was a noticeable drop in the levels of conversation. Had they run out of things to say More likely, it was simply an awareness they are now in the final knockings of what has appeared for the past month to be their own private race to $10 million.

So it was that Woods had the game-face on he used to wear during all those major victories, while McIlroy's bore the strain we normally see on the final day of an event, not the first.

Just 30 players contest this event and,
in theory, all 30 could win the mammoth bonus. But such are the current
roles Woods and McIlroy occupy it felt like the first 14 pairings were
warm-up bouts.

Feeling it: McIlroy struggled early on in Atlanta

Scrappy: McIlroy struggled early on

Tiger's intent was there from the start. He should have birdied the first hole and did birdie the second and third.

McIlroy, by contrast, began like someone who has just had the biggest
cheque he has ever seen dangled under his nose. A pulled iron shot and a
clunked chip for an untidy bogey at the first was the classic start of a
man feeling a little tight, and another bogey looked on the cards when
he tweaked his tee shot into a bunker at the short second. A perfect
recovery, however, rescued a par.

At the third, with Woods tap-in distance away, McIlroy was looking over a
20ft birdie putt knowing if he missed it he would be three strokes
behind after three holes. But here was another indication of how much
his putting has improved, as he died the ball beautifully into the hole.

It was a fascinating start to another compelling duel, with Woods taking
this one. The great strides forward he has made with his driving were
on show here, and on the purest greens imaginable he made a few putts as
well.

Perfect start: Justin Rose

Perfect start: Justin Rose

McIlroy, by contrast, was a little scrappy, which was hardly surprising
given how hard it is to continue the momentum of successive victories.
It might be of interest to Norman that, of the five rounds McIlroy and
Woods have played together over the past month, Tiger has finished ahead
in four of them.

The feelgood factor established by the Europeans over the past six weeks
continued as Rose chipped in at the 14th and then holed a 50 footer at
the last on his way to his own four under par score.

A lot of things would have to go Rose's way for him to win the $10
million – Rory would have to finish outside the top 16 and Tiger outside
the top five, to name but two unlikely scenarios – but at least he has
made the perfect start.

As for the other home players, Luke Donald shot 71 and Lee Westwood a 72.

I"m desperate to finally end Major drought, insists Woods

I'm desperate to finally end Major drought, insists Woods

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UPDATED:

09:17 GMT, 8 August 2012

Tiger Woods has come a long way since this time last year – but not far enough, as far as he is concerned.

When the former world No 1 missed the cut by six shots at the US PGA Championship last August he looked a million miles away from the player who had won 14 majors.

He remains four behind Jack Nicklaus' record, but after finishes of 40th in the Masters, 21st in the US Open and third in the Open – plus three other tournament wins – things are certainly looking up again.

Getting ready: Tiger Woods hits a bunker shot during a practice round at Kiawah Island on Tuesday

Getting ready: Tiger Woods hits a bunker shot during a practice round at Kiawah Island on Tuesday

'I'm pleased at the way I was able to play at certain times and obviously disappointed that I did not win,' Woods said at Kiawah Island, where the 94th US PGA starts on Thursday.

'I've played in three major championships this year and I didn't win any of them. That's the goal.

'I was there at the US Open after two days [he was joint leader] and I was right there with a chance at the British Open.

'Things have progressed, but not winning a major championship doesn't feel very good.'

Not that the 36-year-old is fretting over a pursuit of Nicklaus that has stalled for four turbulent years in his life.

'I figure it's going to take a career – a long time,' he said. 'Jack didn't finish his until he was 46, so if you go by that timetable I've got 10 more years.
“Four more majors is a lot, but I've got plenty of time.'

Luke who's in contention: Donald in practice on Tuesday

Luke who's in contention: Donald in practice on Tuesday

Tom Watson nearly won the 2009 Open just short of his 60th birthday and the year before that Greg Norman was third at Birkdale aged 53.

'We can play late in our careers just because of our training and also just getting the right golf course,' he added.

Woods now finds himself on the longest course in major history – 7,676 yards if played from every back tee – and one made famous by its staging of the 'War on the Shore' Ryder Cup in 1991.

He also finds himself in the strongest field ever assembled for any event.
Barring any late withdrawals, it will be the first time since the rankings were launched in 1986 that the world's top 100 are all in the same place.

The last 16 majors have had 16 different winners. This season has seen Bubba Watson capture the Masters, Webb Simpson the US Open and then last month Ernie Els his second Open.

Lee Westwood

Rory McIlroy

Brit of all right: Lee Westwood (left) and Rory McIlroy (right) at Kiawah Island

It could easily become 17 – Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Woods are not on the list and nor, of course, is Adam Scott after he threw things away with four closing bogeys at Royal Lytham.

Watson is also celebrating something off the course this week – his adoption of a baby boy was finalised.

The American's victory at Augusta came just after he and wife Angie had welcomed month-old Caleb into their home, so perhaps the latest news will spur him onto more major glory.

'Monday was a great day for us, so that's the most important thing – and now we're on to trying to win this tournament,' he said.

Simpson, meanwhile, has become a father again since he triumphed in San Francisco, missing the Open while he waited for his wife Dowd to give birth.

The Open 2012: Ernie Els hopes Adam Scott recovers

Ernie: I hope Scott doesn't take major defeat as hard as me

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UPDATED:

21:57 GMT, 22 July 2012

Ernie Els put an arm around Adam Scott’s shoulder on Sunday night and told him: ‘Don’t fall into a pit of despair like I did.’

Australian Scott was seemingly cruising to his first major championship success, only to finish with four straight bogeys on a dramatic afternoon at Royal Lytham to hand the title to the South African.

Done it all before: Ernie Els is an experienced player

Done it all before: Ernie Els is an experienced player

Said Els: ‘I’ve blown majors, I’ve been on the other end more than I’ve been on the winning end, and I hope he doesn’t take it as hard as me.’ While Scott suffered a disappointment that mirrored some of the dramatic losses suffered by his great idol Greg Norman, Els savoured his comeback from the ranks of the forgotten.

As he said: ‘Just about everything that can happen in the game I’ve gone through.’

The 42-year-old said he couldn’t wait to see wife Liezl, and his kids Samantha and Ben, who suffers from autism. Els has raised millions of dollars to build a new school near his home in Florida for kids who are autistic. He said: ‘Ben has got his sayings and he will be happy with his dad. Samantha will be there right next to him and Liezl and it’s going to be a great time to see them. Ben is coming along nicely. He’s a wonderful boy now, and we are going to have a lot of fun.’

Shellshocked: Adam Scott misses his crucial putt

Shellshocked: Adam Scott misses his crucial putt

Els had spent the morning watching his cricket buddies rack up the runs against England. ‘While I was doing that, kind of daydreaming, it came to me in a split second that I would thank Nelson Mandela in my speech. I grew up in the apartheid era and he was right there. And right after the change, I was the first one to win a major and he was on the phone talking to me in Pittsburgh. So we have intertwined in a crazy way.’

While Els was feeling ‘numb’ with victory, Scott looked shell-shocked. ‘We got to the 16th tee and I thought six good swings to finish out the round. But I couldn’t do it,’ he said. ‘Ernie is great and his words will help. I will take all the good stuff I did this week and use that for the next time I’m out on the course.’