Tag Archives: tour

Luke Donald misses the cut in Malaysian Open

Donald loses proud record as his Masters build-up takes knock in Malaysia

By
Derek Lawrenson

PUBLISHED:

11:49 GMT, 23 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:49 GMT, 23 March 2013

Poor form: Luke Donald missed the cut in Malaysia

Poor form: Luke Donald missed the cut in Malaysia

They were playing in tournaments thousands of miles apart, but Luke Donald and Phil Mickelson headed home united by one common thought: with the Masters less than three weeks away, they have plenty of work to do.

Donald crashed out of the Malaysian Open at the halfway stage on Saturday to spoil one of the things he was most proud about in his career.

It was the first time he had ever missed a halfway cut in a European Tour event.

'I guess all good runs come to an end eventually, but I'm hugely disappointed,' he said.

Mickelson looked positively shattered after running up a horrific 79 in the second round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

'I just played terribly,' he said. Only three times in his last 12 Masters appearances has the three-time champion finished outside the top five, but the gifted lefty sounded like a man who did not expect to keep that remarkable run going.

He also had a dig at the PGA Tour for changing the schedule this year. Instead of the Houston Open – a tournament Mickelson loves – being the event before the Masters, it will be the Texas Open.

'Personally, I like playing on a course the week before that's similar, but the Texas Open layout is tight and it's windy, and that's not conducive to getting ready for Augusta,' he said.

'That makes it difficult for me. I find when I take a week off I come out and play like I did here – not mentally sharp. That's not good at the Masters, where you have to be sharp out of the gate.'

Donald's first missed cut on the European Tour came in his 119th start, stretching back a decade, and followed poor rounds of 74 and 73 to fall short by three shots as he struggled to read the slow greens at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.

'I've got two weeks at home now and I'm going to have to be diligent in my Masters preparation,' he said.

Two up: Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand claimed a two shot lead in the second round

Two up: Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand claimed a two shot lead in the second round

Leaderboard

Click here for the latest standings

'It's true we've all seen players
who are seemingly out of form go and have a good week at the Masters,
but I need my scoring clubs – from 100 yards and in – to be better than
they have been.'

Meanwhile, as the third round of the
Arnold Palmer Invitational got underway at Bay Hill yesterday, Lee
Westwood did not improve his position among the back markers with a 72,
while Graeme McDowell is almost propping up the field after a 75.

One of the best early moves came from
Scot Martin Laird, a former winner of this event, who shot 68 to leap
up 35 places into the top 40.

Englishman Justin Rose began his third round tied for the lead with American Bill Haas, while Tiger Woods was four back.

Here in style: Charl Schwartzel of South Africa arrives in a helicopter on Saturday

Here in style: Charl Schwartzel of South Africa arrives in a helicopter on Saturday

Canada's Mike Weir, winner of the 2003 Masters, withdrew with a rib injury.

Weir, who was looking forward to
celebrating the 10th anniversary of his only major win at Augusta next
month, walked off the Bay Hill course after going four over through 11
holes.

Playing on a career money earnings
exemption after three barren injury-plagued seasons, Weir had begun to
show signs of turning his game around after making the cut for only the
fifth time in a PGA Tour event over the past three years.

Three of those have been this season, with a best finish of tied 50th at Pebble Beach.

'I'm feeling closer,' he said after his opening round on Thursday.

'It's not easy, but it's part of the game. I want to compete and that makes the hard work easier. I still love the game.'

Weir had been scheduled to play the Houston Open next week in his final competitive tune-up before the year's first major.

Cycling: Mark Cavendish wins Tour of Qatar

Golden boy Cavendish sprints home to glory with Tour of Qatar triumph

PUBLISHED:

15:31 GMT, 8 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:11 GMT, 8 February 2013

Mark Cavendish sealed overall victory at the Tour of Qatar with a fourth win in a row.

The 27-year-old from the Isle of Man triumphed on the sixth and final stage, the 116-kilometre route from Sealine Beach Resort to Doha Corniche to claim the race winner's golden jersey with a second stage race success of his career.

'I'm over the moon,' Cavendish said.

Six of the best: Former team Sky cyclist Mark Cavendish celebrates as he crosses the line in stage six of the Tour of Qatar

Six of the best: Former team Sky cyclist Mark Cavendish celebrates as he crosses the line in stage six of the Tour of Qatar

Six of the best: Former team Sky cyclist Mark Cavendish celebrates as he crosses the line in stage six of the Tour of Qatar

'We come here every year almost guaranteed an overall victory with Tom Boonen but he's recovering from an injury. So it put a little bit of pressure on me and I was a bit nervous.

'But I'm really happy to get the win. The guys worked incredible here. They really looked after me so, so well here and delivered every single day.

'I am so happy and proud I can bring it home again for the team.

Over the moon: Cavendish has enjoyed a new lease of life since joining Omega Pharma-QuickStep

Over the moon: Cavendish has enjoyed a new lease of life since joining Omega Pharma-QuickStep

'We've won the Tour of Qatar six times, and I don't know how many stages, so I am happy to be a part of that.'

It was a fifth win of the season for Cavendish to fully justify his close-season move from Team Sky to Omega Pharma-QuickStep.

The 10-second bonus for the stage win saw Cavendish triumph by 25 seconds from American Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing).

Golden boy: Cavendish lights up the peloton in the golden jersey

Golden boy: Cavendish lights up the peloton in the golden jersey

Golden boy: Cavendish lights up the peloton in the golden jersey

Mark Cavendish takes overall lead inTour of Qatar

Cavendish claims back-to-back stage wins to take overall lead in Tour of Qatar

PUBLISHED:

14:54 GMT, 6 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:05 GMT, 6 February 2013

British racer Mark Cavendish today claimed back-to-back stage wins and the overall lead at the Tour of Qatar.

The Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider won the 160km route from Camel Race Track to Al Khor Corniche, which is the longest of the race.

Stage success: Mark Cavendish on the podium after claiming a second consecutive stage win on the Tour of Qatar

Stage success: Mark Cavendish on the podium after claiming a second consecutive stage win on the Tour of Qatar

Yellow jersey: The win today, on the longest stage of the event from Camel Race Track to Al Khor Corniche, earned Cavendish the overall lead

Yellow jersey: The win today, on the longest stage of the event from Camel Race Track to Al Khor Corniche, earned Cavendish the overall lead

The 27-year-old from the Isle of Man, who quit Team Sky late last year, beat Holland's Barry Markus and Italian Andrea Guardini in the battle of the sprinters to claim the Golden Jersey after the peloton reeled in the leading breakaway group by 146kms.

Cavendish stayed clear of a crash in the closing stages to cross ahead of Vacansoleil-Dcm racer Markus with Astana Pro Team's Guardini in third.

Number One: Cavendish, of the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team, celebrates crossing the finish line in first

Number One: Cavendish, of the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team, celebrates crossing the finish line in first

Delighted: The stage wins have left Cavendish well placed to win the event overall

Delighted: The stage wins have left Cavendish well placed to win the event overall

The victory, and the accompanying 10-second time bonus, saw Cavendish take the overall lead by two seconds from American Brent Bookwalter of BMC Racing.

The fifth stage of the Tour of Qatar runs over 154km from Al Zubara Fort to Madinat Al Shamal.

Cavendish felt his results in Qatar back up the decision to part company with Team Sky, who helped drive Bradley Wiggins on to success at the Tour de France.

'I am really, really happy right now. Three wins already, shows me, and shows [team manager] Patrick Lefevere, that I made the right move to Omega Pharma-Quick-Step,' Cavendish said.

'I get along really well with the guys already, and we have a good ambience with the team. I hope this can continue and we can keep getting good results this year.'

Twitter in 2013: Who to look out for

Who should you be following in 2013 Ten rising sports stars to track on Twitter

. Who are the rising stars of 2013

Sportsmail takes a look at whose Twitter feed will be worth following this year.

Chris Froome – @chrisfroome

No-one is quite sure yet who the cycling top dog will be in 2013, but Chris Froome is determined to be Britain’s main man in the Tour de France. As last year’s runner-up, and having held back on a break for the yellow jersey himself at the behest of Sky’s management, Froome is itching to get his chance to shine.

He has already confirmed that, if asked to, he will repeat the task this year. But he has also made it clear that he believes his time is now, and he is organising his schedule around the assumption that he will be leading the team.

Should he miss out on that chance, this Twitter account may be one that features a few expletives in 2013.

Uncertain: Bradley Wiggins (left) and Chris Froome will bid to lead Team Sky in the Tour de France

Uncertain: Bradley Wiggins (left) and Chris Froome will bid to lead Team Sky in the Tour de France

Michelle Cound – @michellecound

Not technically an athlete, but if anyone wants an insight into tensions in the Sky Team camp as the Tour de France approaches, this woman’s Twitter account is the one to watch. The loyal girlfriend of Chris Froome garnered considerable attention in 2012 when a spat erupted between herself and Catherine Wiggins.

The pair traded digs relating to Wiggins’ domination of the race and the demands from Team Sky that Froome take the back-seat supporting role. 'Team work is also about giving the people around you, that support you, a chance to shine in their own right,' the sports photographer tweeted after Stage 11, in which Froome was asked to hold back to allow Wiggins to retain the yellow jersey.

On the move Wilfried Zaha is bound for the top

On the move Wilfried Zaha is bound for the top

Wilfried Zaha – @wilfriedzaha

The humble 20-year-old said this week that his friends in the Premier League have been asking why it’s taking him so long to get there.

This January, Zaha will be a stranger to the top flight no more, and the Crystal Palace striker is looking forward to the challenge.

Manchester United and Arsenal are ready to start the bidding at around 10million.

It’s not likely to be a completely smooth transition. Zaha admitted that training with the England team was a shock to the system and showed him the intensity that is required at the top level.

This year will definitely be the biggest of his career.

Laura Robson – @laurarobson5

It was back in 2008 that a fresh-faced Laura Robson held the junior Wimbledon trophy aloft. At the tender age of 14, the youngster had the expectations of a nation craving Grand Slam glory on her shoulders.

She took some time to make her mark on the seniors tour, but now Robson is starting to come into her own.

She rode the wave of Olympic euphoria to win a silver medal in the mixed doubles last summer, alongside Andy Murray. During 2012 she rose from No 113 to No 53 in the world rankings, and she now sits only four places down from Heather Watson, Britain’s No.1.

She also took Hsieh Su-wei to three sets in her first WTA final at the Guangzhou Open. Most of her tweets involve pictures of cute animals, so there’s another reason to keep an eye on this rising star’s Twitter in 2013.

Moving up: Laura Robson enjoyed a remarkable year in 2012 and will be hoping for more of the same

Moving up: Laura Robson enjoyed a remarkable year in 2012 and will be hoping for more of the same

Max Chilton – @maxchilton

Chilton’s time will come in 2013 as the 21-year-old joins Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Paul di Resta as the fourth Briton on the Formula One grid.

He was appointed as a reserve for the Marussia team last September, but has been called in to fill the gap left by Charles Pic, who recently joined Caterham.

So far Chilton doesn’t seem to have been intimidated by the prospect of joining the elite circuit. After receiving the news he tweeted: ‘It's hard to put into words how I am feeling but I know I am full of energy and ready give it my all next year in my first F1 season! #f1.’ Keep an eye on this young racer in the coming year.

Inspired: Manu Tuilagi will be crucial for England

Inspired: Manu Tuilagi will be crucial for England

Manu Tuilagi – @Manutuilagi

2011
was a year of disappointment for Manu Tuilagi, as an ill-fated dive in
the Auckland dock brought even more criticism from those back home who
had just witnessed England crash out of the World Cup.

But last year
brought a little more cheer for the Samoan, especially after his
starring turn against the All Blacks in the Autumn internationals.

His
magnificent interception and flight up the left wing sealed victory for
the England squad against the supposed insurmountable New Zealanders,
salvaging a considerable amount of dignity for the home side.

This year’s Lions tour is likely to see the spotlight settle on him once
more.

Yohan Blake – @YohanBlake

Usain Bolt is such a presence in athletics that it is sometimes easy to forget those running alongside him. But Yohan Blake is becoming a big enough personality alongside his fellow countryman that he is making himself hard to ignore.

He was the third runner in Jamaica’s team when they won the 100m relay last summer in a world record-breaking time.

In the 200m final he had to make do with coming second to Bolt, just as he did in the 100m. But he gave his compatriot much more of a challenge than any other athlete so far.

He has beaten his training partner on the smaller stages – at the Jamaican Olympic trials in June. Could this be the year that Blake overcomes his greatest rival while the world watches

We’ll have to wait for the World Championships in August to find out.

Fierce competition: Yohan Blake looks set to push Usain Bolt all the way in both the 100m and 200m

Fierce competition: Yohan Blake looks set to push Usain Bolt all the way in both the 100m and 200m

Dan Greaves – @DiscusDan

The British discus thrower actually trained for able-bodied competitions, and competed in them, before realising that his Talipes feet qualified him for the Paralympics. He has taken home a medal in every Games he has competed in – gold in 2000 and 2004, bronze in 2008 and silver in last year’s Summer Games.

He also broke the world record with his second gold in Athens, and then went on to break it three times in 2011, as well as winning his third World Championship gold medal. You can bet that when the IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon roll around, ‘Discus Dan’ will be seeking gold once more.

Looking forward: Dan Greaves will be looking for his fourth World Championship gold medal in 2013

Looking forward: Dan Greaves will be looking for his fourth World Championship gold medal in 2013

One to watch: England's Joe Root has a bright future

One to watch: England's Joe Root has a bright future

Joe Root – @joeroot05

The
youthful-looking 22-year-old has been hailed by Michael Vaughn as the
successor to the England captaincy. Now the opening batsman for
Yorkshire, Root made his Test debut against India last month and came
away with an innings of 73, after batting for close to five hours with a
permanent air of calm.

We
may see him included in the squad for England’s next Test against
Dunedin in March, and with back-to-back series against both New Zealand
and Australia in 2013, there’s likely to be a lot of exposure coming the
way of this Yorkshire lad.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson – @JohnsonThompson

Jessica Ennis might have been our golden girl at the Olympics, but look to the future and you’ll see someone ready to take her crown in years to come. Johnson-Thompson has already beaten Ennis’ British junior record by 338 points and her 1.89m in the Olympic high jump was a personal best.

She’s a consistent gold medallist at junior level, but looks set to take her place on the world stage in 2013 after being inspired by the Ennis' success this summer.

Bright star: Katarina Johnson-Thompson has been hailed as the 'next Jessica Ennis'

Bright star: Katarina Johnson-Thompson has been hailed as the 'next Jessica Ennis'

Chris Froome says he is Team Sky"s main Tour de France rider ahead of Bradley Wiggins

Froome convinced he will be Team Sky's main man for Tour de France bid ahead of Wiggins

|

UPDATED:

01:28 GMT, 18 December 2012

Chris Froome believes that he and not newly crowned Sports Personality of the Year Bradley Wiggins will be the main man in Team Sky's bid to win next year's Tour de France.

Froome, who sacrificed his chances in the 2012 Tour to support Wiggins, claims he has the endorsement of team director Dave Brailsford.

He told The Times: 'The team are saying they are going to back me with the Tour this year. That is directly from Dave.

Main man: Chris Froome (left) says he will be Team Sky's focus for the Tour

Main man: Chris Froome (left) says he will be Team Sky's focus for the Tour

No clues: Dave Brailsford remained on the fence

No clues: Dave Brailsford remained on the fence

'He said, “You're our main man for the Tour. Focus on it”. I am already following a programme building for the Tour with that as my core focus.'

Brailsford last night suggested the decision on which rider Sky will back had not yet been made.

He said: 'At the moment Chris is going full gas for the Tour and Brad is going there by a different route and we will see when they get there.

'The guys will be trying to be the best they can be. We will see what condition they are in. The legs will do the talking.'

Froome and Wiggins have an unsettled relationship – they do not mix socially and the doubt about which of them will be lead rider in 2013 is sure to cause more friction.

Wiggins made it clear after collecting his BBC award that he wants the chance to defend his Tour title.

In his book Wiggins suggested that he could not fully trust his team-mate.

'I think that’s sad,' said Froome. 'I will always do the job asked of me.

Sad: Froome was unimpressed at Wiggins suggesting he did not trust him

Sad: Froome was unimpressed at Wiggins suggesting he did not trust him

'We definitely have to rely on each other and I think Brad knows that he can rely on me to do the job. Despite everything said, I stuck by him in the Tour.

'I looked after him to the end. He’s more than professional enough to do the same for me.'

British and Irish Lions tour 2013: Warren Gatland unveils coaching team

Gatland announces Lions coaching trio of Farrell, Howley and Rowntree for Australia tour

|

UPDATED:

12:23 GMT, 12 December 2012

When Warren Gatland announced this morning the coaches who will work with him on the Lions tour next summer, the biggest talking point was the omission of Shaun Edwards.

For the Kiwi head coach, who fills the same role with Wales, the decision to overlook his long-standing coaching side-kick will have been particularly difficult to make. Telling Edwards will have been an even tougher exercise.

This is the man who has enjoyed so many
successes with him on behalf of Wasps and Wales – the former rugby
league icon whose blitz defence was such an integral part of two Grand
Slams, four successive Premiership titles and a Heineken Cup triumph.
This is the man who also worked alongside Gatland under the command of
Sir Ian McGeechan on the 2009 Lions tour and who came home enthused by
the whole experience, but so stung by the series defeat that making
amends in 2013 became a stated personal ambition.

Scroll down to watch former Lions reliving their favourite tour memories…

Lionhearts: (L-R) assistant coach Andy Farrell, head coach Warren Gatland, tour manager Andy Irvine, assistant coaches Rob Howley and Graham Rowntree

Lionhearts: (L-R) assistant coach Andy Farrell, head coach Warren Gatland, tour manager Andy Irvine, assistant coaches Rob Howley and Graham Rowntree

Lionhearts: (L-R) assistant coach Andy Farrell, head coach Warren Gatland, tour manager Andy Irvine, assistant coaches Rob Howley and Graham Rowntree

Now, for Edwards, the hope of being
part of a successful Lions campaign has been deferred, maybe forever,
certainly for four years. While Gatland is understood to be open to the
notion of adding further man-power to his management team before
departure for Hong Kong in late May, his preference is for a tight-knit
coaching group to oversee preparations to face Australia.

It would appear that the omission of
Edwards reflects a late change of heart on the part of the head coach.
Until recently, it is understood that his name was in the frame, while
Rob Howley was destined to miss out on the trip, with the sizeable
compensation of continuing to deputise for Gatland in charge of Wales,
with a view to one day succeeding him. It was thought that Howley and
Robin McBryde would lead Wales on their summer tour of Japan, while
Gatland and Edwards were away with the Lions.

Left out: Edwards (above) had been hoping to embark on another Lions tour with Gatland (below left)

Left out: Edwards (above) had been hoping to embark on another Lions tour with Gatland (below left)

Left out: Edwards (above) had been hoping to embark on another Lions tour with Gatland (below left)
How they compare…

Andy Farrell for England in 2012:
P9 W6 L3 Pts Against 140
Tries against 11

Shaun Edwards for Wales in 2012: P12 W5 L7 Pts Against 229
Tries against 15

But two issues emerged to alter the
plans. First, Howley struggled to ignite the Dragons when he was at the
helm for two recent autumn Tests, against Argentina and Samoa, which
both ended in grim defeat – leaving doubts about his ability to one day
assume the figurehead role. Secondly, Andy Farrell returned to the
England coaching fold and soon started building on his sterling work at
the start of the year. While the victory over New Zealand at Twickenham
on December 1 surely came too late to influence Gatland’s thinking, it
illustrated his contribution as a defensive co-ordinator and supreme
motivator.

The up-shot has been bad news for
Edwards and the appointment of a well-balanced Lions coaching team.
Farrell will fill the role that his one-time Wigan and Great Britain
rugby league team-mate would have coveted – as defence guru, while also
having responsibility for other fundamental areas such as the kicking
game and kick-chase routine which became a staple in his time at
Saracens.

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Pointing the way: Gatland has opted to take Farrell to Australia with him

Pointing the way: Gatland has opted to take Farrell to Australia with him

FIXTURES

Click here for all the fixtures for the 2013 tour of Australia

For Howley, any future concerns about
his suitability for the Wales head coach job can be set aside in the
summer as he seizes the opportunity to once again mould the Lions into a
dangerous attacking force. It will be a reprisal of his role in 2009,
when a 2-1 series defeat against the Springboks was not down to any
absence of craft or guile or adventurous intent. McGeechan’s side played
an audacious game – perfectly illustrated by stunning tries for Rob
Kearney in the second Test and Shane Williams in the third.

Graham Rowntree will take charge of
the forwards, as an expansion of his brief from 2009, when he was scrum
coach – in keeping with his enhanced England duties since the last World
Cup. He emerged with credit from that debacle of a campaign in New
Zealand. In addition to being technically astute, the former Leicester
and Lions prop is also a popular, engaging figure, respected by players.
Like Farrell, he is a man with strong motivational qualities.

Scrum's the word: Rowntree will be responsible for coaching the pack

Scrum's the word: Rowntree will be responsible for coaching the pack

This trio will form the core, if not
the entirety, of Gatland’s management group. In time, the Kiwi may bring
other specialists on board, but this half-Welsh, half-English line-up
brings a blend of Lions experience, big-game Test pedigree and
complementary qualities. While Farrell has not been involved with the
iconic touring team before, his background with Great Britain in league
provides a useful reference point. Howley’s morale may have been knocked
of late, but with the Kiwi in charge, he can focus on his area of
expertise Down Under.

These are surely the right men. There
are few other attack coaches of note who would have come on to
Gatland’s radar. Joe Schmidt, the Kiwi in charge of European champions
Leinster, was name-checked as a candidate, but there would have been an
appetite among the Lions hierarchy to avoid having two overseas coaches
in prominent positions, even if both are based in these islands.

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Neither Scotland – who are currently
searching for a new head coach to replace Andy Robinson – nor Ireland
offer strong candidates who have been overlooked. For England, being
without two of their four front-line coaches for the summer tour of
Argentina is far from ideal, but Stuart Lancaster sees the prestige
involved in contributing to the Lions, so he will accept this as a badge
of honour.

Finally, there may be a knock-on
consequence of these appointments when it comes to the identity of the
captain. A Scot, Andy Irvine, is tour manager and Wales and England
dominate the coaching team, so what price an Irishman to lead on the
field

Last time out: Paul O'Connell led the Lions in South Africa in 2009

Last time out: Paul O'Connell led the Lions in South Africa in 2009

The coaching team

ANDY FARRELL

Born: May 30, 1975 in Wigan, England.

Tests (as player): 8 (all in 2007).

Position: Centre.

Club(s): Saracens, Wigan RL.

Coaching career: Saracens (from 2009), England (2012-).

Lions background: none.

Other: Made Great Britain rugby league debut at age of 18 and was youngest-ever captain at age of 21. Won five championships and four Challenge Cups in successful Wigan side. Former world Player of the Year in league.

Crossed codes in 2005 but missed a whole season through injury. Part of England (union) squad which reached Rugby World Cup Final 2007.

ROB HOWLEY

Born: October 13, 1970 in Bridgend, Wales.

Tests (as player): 61 (from 1996-2002).

Position: Scrum half.

Club(s): Wasps, Cardiff, Bridgend.

Coaching career: Cardiff Blues, Wales (from 2008).

Lions background: Toured South Africa in 1997, but injury ended his tour early. Toured Australia in 2001, playing in two Tests. Served as attack coach under Sir Ian McGeechan in South Africa in 2009.

Other: Captained Wales 22 times in 1998 and 1999. Welsh Player of the Year in 1996 and 1997. Famously won 2004 Heineken Cup for Wasps with last-gasp try against Toulouse at Twickenham.

GRAHAM ROWNTREE

Born: April 18, 1971 in Stockton-on-Tees, England.

Tests (as player): 57 (from 1995-2006).

Position: Prop.

Club(s): Leicester.

Coaching career: Leicester, RFU national academy, England (from 2008).

Lions background: Toured South Africa in 1997, but unable to break into Test squad. Toured New Zealand in 2005 and played in two Tests. Served as scrum coach under Sir Ian McGeechan in South Africa in 2009.

Other: Part of the 2003 Grand Slam-winning England squad but overlooked for World Cup. Played 398 matches for Leicester from 1990-2007, winning two Heineken Cups and four Premiership titles.

Official ticket, travel and accommodation packages are available from Lions Rugby Travel starting from 2,199– contact www.lionstour.com or call 0844 788 4070.

Adam Scott, Keegan Bradley, Ernie Els and Co wait to hear if long putters will be banned

Scott, Bradley, Els and Co wait to hear if controversial long putters will be banned

|

UPDATED:

11:08 GMT, 26 November 2012

Golfers around the world are waiting to hear if long putters are to be banned – or at least the way many currently use them is banned.

But one influential voice is urging professionals not to take radical action even if they do not like having to change.

European Tour chief executive George O'Grady said: 'Speaking personally on behalf of the Tour, one of our great facets is that we are connected to the game that every amateur can play as well.

Verdict: Long putters could be banned from the game

Verdict: Long putters could be banned from the game

Justin Rose feels the fourth

Justin Rose

Justin Rose's closing 62 for second
place behind Rory McIlroy in the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai has
taken him to fourth in the world – his highest placing.

But by finishing only joint 48th in
the 56-strong field, Lee Westwood has dropped to sixth – his lowest
position for over three years.

'We could go separately. I would urge the Tour to follow the rules as laid down by the governing bodies.

'We are a very strong lobbyist, our views being sought all the time. There's been a lot of discussion throughout the year with the USGA (United States Golf Association) and the R&A (Royal and Ancient Club) and the PGA Tour.

'I think the rules-making bodies have to do what they think is right for the game.

'The view of our leading members and our players must be listened to, but I haven't heard one of our members want to break away at the moment. They want to be connected to the game.'

The issue has come to the fore with three of the last five major champions – Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Ernie Els – among those using long putters.

Nobody had ever won a major with one until Bradley's victory at the USPGA Championship last year.

Peter Dawson, the R&A chief executive, said in July after The Open: 'Anchoring is what we're looking at -method of stroke – and it's all about putting around a fixed pivot point, whether that is in your belly or under your chin or on your chest.

'It has dramatically increased and we're also seeing now people who can putt perfectly well in the conventional way thinking that an anchored stroke gives them an advantage.

'I think that's the fundamental change that we've witnessed in the last couple of years.

'The objections I find from those at elite level are “if people have become failed putters in the conventional way why should they have a crutch to come back and compete against me when I haven't failed in the conventional way” That's the general argument one hears.'

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

Rory McIlroy feels cheated over FedEx Cup bonus

Winning $10m is nice… but I deserved double! McIlroy proud of phenomenal year but feels cheated out of huge FedEx bonus

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UPDATED:

12:57 GMT, 20 November 2012

He's already earned more than $10million during his 'phenomenal' season but Rory McIlroy admitted for the first time here in Dubai that he felt cheated he hadn’t doubled his money.

The bone of contention concerns the four tournament FedEx Cup play-offs in America in September, where the 23-year-old won two events and yet somehow still didn’t walk off with the $10m bonus.

‘I did feel a little hard done by to play so well and not win that,’ he said.

Last effort: Rory McIlroy talks on Tuesday ahead of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship

Last effort: Rory McIlroy talks on Tuesday ahead of the season-ending DP World Tour Championship

In the swing: McIlroy in action on the 12th hole during the pro-am on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates

In the swing: McIlroy in action on the 12th hole during the pro-am on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates

You said it: McIlroy is world No 1

You said it: McIlroy is world No 1 by some distance

No such problems at the season-ending
Dubai World Championship, which begins on Thursday. This is supposed to
be the grand climax to the Race to Dubai but McIlroy has been so
dominant he has already wrapped up what used to be known as the European
Tour Order of Merit and claimed the $1m bonus.

‘I
guess it is a bit of an anti-climax in one way but the way I look at it
is that I want to finish the season on a high and pick up two trophies
on Sunday,’ he said.

Who would bet against him after a year that has seen him win his second major, the USPGA Championship, by a record margin, plus three other titles and finish top dog on both sides of the Atlantic

‘I feel very proud and honoured to have had such a phenomenal year,’ he said. ‘Any year where you win a major is going to be a great one but to win the money list titles and join such great names on the trophies really is the icing on the cake. Now I have one tournament left and I want to finish the season strong. This is definitely a great way to end what has been a great season.’

Ever the perfectionist, McIlroy revealed that he is already looking at ways to improve for next year. One key area will be cutting down on the 26 tournaments he has played this season so that he doesn’t go into some events feeling mentally jaded. A perfect example came last week in Hong Kong, where a clearly exhausted McIlroy missed the halfway cut.

‘I feel like scheduling is going to be a big thing for me going forward,’ he said. ‘I need to feel fresh and ready every time I tee it up.

'I think if I do feel that way every tournament that I enter, I have a better chance to win. What takes it out of you is being in contention a lot, that feeling of pressure and adrenaline on Sundays and trying to get yourself back up the following week. That takes more out of you than finishing 30th or so every week.’

The race is already run: McIlroy has claimed both the European and US money list titles this year

The race is already run: McIlroy has claimed both the European and US money list titles this year

Honour: McIlroy is presented with his 2013 European Tour members' clip by chief executive George O'Grady in celebration of his victory in the 2012 Race To Dubai

Honour: McIlroy is presented with his 2013 European Tour members' clip
by chief executive George O'Grady

There might be no Race to Dubai title on the line but this should still prove a fitting finale to a wonderful season. Fifty-seven of the top 60 in Europe who are eligible have shown up – the absentees are the injured Thomas Bjorn and Retief Goosen, while Ross Fisher is at Q-school for the US Tour – including all 12 members of Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup side.

Scotland heads bid to lure the Tour de France

Scotland heads bid to lure the Tour de France

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UPDATED:

21:31 GMT, 17 November 2012

Britain looks certain to welcome back the Tour de France in the next three years, with a decision on a proposed Grand Depart in 2014 or 2015 expected within weeks.

The impetus for a rapid return to British roads, after its last visit in 2007, has come from Bradley Wiggins' victory this year.

'With Bradley's success, the organiser ASO want to capitalise on that as quickly as possible,' said Jonny Clay, British Cycling's cycle sport and membership director, 'and they want to come as soon as possible, in 2014 or 2015'.

Inspiring: Bradley Wiggins in the Tour de France yellow jersey

Inspiring: Bradley Wiggins in the Tour de France yellow jersey

The only question seems to be whether
the Tour starts in Edinburgh or Yorkshire, with two rival bids going
head-to-head and both understood to have received glowing reports from
ASO.

A 10million Scottish-led bid appears to be in pole position, having received the backing of British Cycling and UK Sport.

Clay said that Yorkshire had ignored
an appeal by UK Sport to get behind a single British bid and had refused
to engage with British Cycling.

'We're not anti-Yorkshire,' said
Clay, 'but we want the Tour in this country for as many days as possible
and to reach as many people as possible.'

Paul Bush, the chief operating
officer at EventScotland, said: 'The sad thing for us is that the UK has
the most exciting proposition ever for the Tour yet Yorkshire won't
talk to us.'

The Scottish-led bid would see the
Tour begin with a stage starting in Edinburgh and finishing in the south
of Scotland, or north of England – Dumfries and Newcastle are
understood to be in the frame to host the finish.

The race would then wind south via
Manchester, into Wales, and end up near the south coast of England, from
where the riders and their entourage – around 4,000 people in total –
would transfer back to France.