Tag Archives: tournaments

Schwartzel on course for successive victories after opening up 10-shot lead

Schwartzel on course for successive victories after opening up 10-shot lead

|

UPDATED:

15:48 GMT, 15 December 2012

Out in front: Charl Schwartzel

Out in front: Charl Schwartzel

Charl Schwartzel, an 11-shot winner in Thailand last weekend, takes a 10-stroke lead into the final round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship in his native South Africa tomorrow.

But if the week is belonging to the 28-year-old from Johannesburg then the 192-yard 12th at Leopard Creek is compatriot Keith Horne's property – incredibly, he holed-in-one for the second day running.

/12/15/article-0-1686E1D3000005DC-518_634x393.jpg” width=”634″ height=”393″ alt=”Sealed with a kiss: Keith Horne of is presented with a BMW after his second hole-in-one ” class=”blkBorder” />

Sealed with a kiss: Keith Horne of is presented with a BMW after his second hole-in-one

'I just want to keep playing with no expectations. Tee it up, hit the ball down the fairway, hit it on the green, make the putt and see where it leads me.

'In the back of your mind you know what you want to achieve. We all want to win golf tournaments, but I can't be thinking about wanting to win because that's not how I'm actually going to win.

'I have to just stay right where I am and plod along. If I play the best I'll win – that's the way I see it.'

Froch three fights Bute Ward Kessler boxing Powell Sky pay per view

Froch lines up hat-trick of classy fights as Sky get ready to go back into the ring with pay per view boxing

|

UPDATED:

16:20 GMT, 1 November 2012

Carl Froch is planning an epic trilogy of fights next year which will cement his status as a ring legend.

Froch, not content with having come through the most demanding series of challenges in the history of British boxing, is closing in on deals to take on Lucian Bute, Mikkel Kessler and Andre Ward, starting next March.

The centrepiece will be the rematch with Kessler at Nottingham Forest football ground in high summer. Not only could that well be the sporting highlight of 2013 – a year devoid of major football tournaments as well as being a post-Olympics anti-climax – but it is likely to bring back boxing as a major pay-per-view attraction on Sky Television.

Froch on his way to defeat - one of only two in his career - to the outstanding Andre Ward (right) in Atlantic City in 2011

Froch on his way to defeat – one of only two in his career – to the outstanding Andre Ward (right) in Atlantic City in 2011

Froch (right) on top against Canada's Jean Pascal during the WBC super-middleweight title bout at the Trent FM Arena, Nottingham in 2008

Froch (right) on top against Canada's Jean Pascal during the WBC super-middleweight title bout at the Trent FM Arena, Nottingham in 2008


Jermain Taylor feels the force of Froch's power during their WBC Super Middleweight Championship bout at the MGM Grand in 2009

Jermain Taylor feels the force of Froch's power during their WBC Super Middleweight Championship bout at the MGM Grand in 2009

Sky have shied away from the pay TV element since the chronic disappointment of David Hayes' surrender to Vladimir Klitschko. But the high earning commercial element of pay-per-view for fighters is important to this hard old game.

With all that on the line, Froch insists there will be 'no complacency' when he defends his IBF World Super middleweight title in his home town, Nottingham, on Saturday week, November 17.

His American opponent, Yusuf Mack, is not widely known here, but the Cobra says: 'He is quick and a better fighter than people might imagine. Obviously, with so much else at stake, I'm setting about the job properly but then again I never do anything else. It's not in my nature.

'The one time I took training just a little easy early in my career, I really had to struggle. I learned that night that there is no half way in getting ready for any fight. You either do the work or you don't and if you don't, you can walk into a nasty surprise.'

Froch trains in Nottingham ahead of his fight against Andre Dirrell

Froch trains in Nottingham ahead of his fight against Andre Dirrell

After his stunning defeat of Bute in Nottingham to win the IBF belt – and join the elite club of three-time World champions – Froch is happy to go to the Romanian's adopted Montreal for the return match he promised.

Bute will have almost 20,000 roaring home fans but is bound to be psychologically weakened by the beating he took in Nottingham.

After that, Froch is eager to avenge his marginal defeat to Kessler in Denmark, the first of his two losses in a warrior career.

That fight was a dramatic thriller and Froch says: 'The rematch is perfect for a huge open-air crowd and a massive TV audience. I know that I can beat Mikkel next time.'

That will bring him to the more complex return fight with Andre Ward, by whom he was outpointed in America in the final of the Super Six series.

Ward is now ranked in the top five pound-for-pound fighters in the world. He is an exceptional defensive operator in the Floyd Mayweather idiom, and Froch says: 'I'm not stupid. I know that it will be the most difficult of all these fights, if not the most exciting spectacle because of his style.

It's not all about brute power: Froch at home with his son Rocco

It's not all about brute power: Froch at home with his son Rocco

Topless: Froch with his girlfriend Rachael in Nottingham

Topless: Froch with his girlfriend Rachael in Nottingham

'But although he is awkward, he is a world class fighter. However, I didn't perform at my best against him. If I am at the peak of my game, as I was against Bute, I believe I can avenge that defeat, also.'

Although 35, Froch adds: 'I didn't want to end my career on the defeat by Ward. Although people might say that it would be great to go out after winning these three fights we've got planned, I don't see it necessarily leading to my retirement.

'If I win and my body still feels good, I would want to defend the unified title. Why would I stop unless I have to I can look after my portfolio of properties in Nottingham and take the kids to school for plenty of years ahead.

'Like every other fighter, I can only box for so long. So the real question is why stop doing something you love'

With such a mouth-watering sequence of bouts now in the offing, the British public – who are at last giving Froch the recognition he deserves, we'll hope to see the Cobra spitting venom for two or three more years to come.

Froch talks at home to Sportsmail's boxing correspondent Jeff Powell.

Froch talks at home to Sportsmail's boxing correspondent Jeff Powell.

FIFA appoint first female member to executive committee

FIFA break from tradition to appoint first female member to executive committee

|

UPDATED:

11:43 GMT, 22 May 2012

FIFA have appointed the first female member of the world governing body's executive committee.

Lydia Nsekera, president of the Burundi Football Association, has been co-opted onto the executive committee and will be formally installed at the FIFA Congress in Budapest on Friday.

Nsekera is a member of several FIFA committees – for women's football, the women's World Cup and the organising committee for the Olympic football tournaments.

All change: Sepp Blatter (centre) will be joined by a woman for the first time

All change: Sepp Blatter (centre) will be joined by a woman for the first time

FIFA also announced that Swiss businessman Domenico Scala is to be the independent chairman of the new audit and compliance committee.

Scala was recommended by the Independent Governance Committee, the body set up to oversee FIFA reforms.

London 2012 Olympics: Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba set for Senegal call-up

Newcastle set for battle with Senegal ready to call up both Ba and Cisse for Olympics

|

UPDATED:

14:45 GMT, 24 April 2012

Senegal Football Association president Augustin Senghor has confirmed Newcastle duo Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse are in line to be chosen for his country's Olympic campaign.

Coach Alou Cisse claimed after Monday night's play-off win over Oman in Coventry he was still considering whether to draft in reinforcements to an already impressive Under 23 squad.

However, following the draw, which confirmed Senegal as Great Britain's first opponents, at Old Trafford on July 25, Senghor was more forceful in his assessment of the situation.

Draw: The groups for the Olympic football tournaments were decided on Tuesday

Draw: The groups for the Olympic football tournaments were decided on Tuesday

Big draw: Brazil legend Ronaldo

'If we can strengthen our young team with famous players from great championships like the Premier League, we should,' he said. 'We need top scorers like Papiss Cisse. If you leave players like that at home, it is a big mistake.'

Neither Cisse nor Ba have been contacted yet. However, Senghor is certain they would not turn down an invitation.

'If we call them, they will come,' he said. 'It is a privilege to participate in the Olympic Games. There are many great players who regret not playing in the Olympics.

'They are patriotic guys. They will come if we ask.

Instant hit: Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse

Instant hit: Papiss Cisse has taken St James' Park by storm since January

Wrecking Ba: Newcastle forward Demba has been a success on Tyneside

Wrecking Ba: Newcastle forward Demba has been a success on Tyneside

'Also, it will be a very good thing for them to play against their colleagues in England. It will create a lot of focus around the game and the stadium will be full.'

And, though they are outsiders to qualify from a group that also contains Uruguay, Senegal are clearly not turning up just to fill a space.

'It is a dream to be in a group with a great team like Great Britain,' said Senghor. 'Also, because it is the first match it means all the focus will be on our team. That is fantastic for a country like ours.

'We are just beginners. We are coming to learn. But we want to be good schoolboys and learn quickly enough to get a place in the quarter-finals.'

Henri Lansbury ready to answer West Ham goalkeeper SOS

Hammers to appeal Green red but stand-in Lansbury is ready to answer Big Sam SOS

Henri Lansbury is ready to answer Sam Allardyce's goalkeeping crisis after his stand-in heroics during West Ham's 4-1 win over Blackpool.

With no back-up goalkeeper on the bench, the on-loan Arsenal midfielder was unexpectedly hauled on to replace Robert Green after the Hammers No 1 was sent off at Bloomfield Road.

But Lansbury was unfazed during his 35 minute cameo and has offered to do it again this Saturday against Crystal Palace if Green's expected appeal over his three-match ban fails.

Super Hands: Henri Lansbury kept a clean sheet after replacing sent-off goalkeeper Robert Green during West Ham's win over Blackpool

Super Hands: Henri Lansbury kept a clean sheet after replacing sent-off goalkeeper Robert Green during West Ham's win over Blackpool

'I'm going to take my gloves into training! Hopefully I can make the squad as a goalkeeper,' Lansbury joked, speaking to the club's official website after the Hammers reclaimed their place at the top of the Championship.

'I was a bit shocked at first but then the gaffer turned around and said “You're going in” so I thought “Alright” and I couldn't wait to get on. It was enjoyable.

All smiles: Lansbury is congratulated by team-mate jack Collison

All smiles: Lansbury is congratulated by team-mate jack Collison

'I enjoy playing in goal. I did it quite a bit when I was with my mates and in five-a-side tournaments I go in goal, but to play out on the pitch is another level.'

West Ham's travelling fans sang 'Are you Ludo (Hammers favourite Ludek Miklosko) in disguise' to Lansbury in honour of his emergency shot-stopping stint between the sticks.

But it was not the first time he's played in goal – he had to replace Middlesbrough's Jason Steele for England Under 21s, letting in a penalty against Portugal in November 2010.

'I let a penalty in playing for England Under-21s, but I suppose you don't have to count that, so it's two clean sheets. Maybe I could go in goal again sometime!'

West Ham will lodge their appeal to the FA over Green's dismissal hoping they can overturn the decision.

Ruud Boffin is in contention to deputise or Allardyce might ask for an emergency loan signing should they fail after co-chairman David Sullivan admitted this week that highly-rated Czech Republic keeper Marek Stech is unlikely to play for the club again

Sullivan revealed the youngster has a clause in his contract which stipulates the east London side would have to pay his former club Sparta Prague 700,000 should he make two more first-team appearances.

Appeal: West Ham are set to challenge Robert Green's sending off

Appeal: West Ham are set to challenge Robert Green's sending off

Football League blog

It's the third successive game the Hammers have had a player sent off but Lansbury hopes the win will spur them onto promotion.

He added: 'I think we've started to play well now and even with ten men we look like we're going to score every time we attack.

'We've just got to try to keep this run going until the end of the season.'

Ernie Els determined to bounce back

Els determined to Master his game and bite back for Augusta

Ernie Els believes having to qualify for this year's Masters tournament will motivate him to get back to playing his best golf.

The three-time major winner, 42, has been eligible to play at Augusta National every year since his debut in 1994 but Els' poor form last season saw him drop out of the world's top 50.

Speaking ahead of the Northern Trust Open in Pacific Palisades, California the former world No 1 said: 'Obviously the Masters is right around the corner. I've never really been in that position where I had to try and qualify for it because I've been fortunate enough to basically glide through and get in there.

On a mission: Ernie Els is determined to get back to his best

On a mission: Ernie Els is determined to get back to his best

'I've got to do some work, and I think it's good for me. It will keep me focused, believe me, get me trying, and I think that that's a good thing.

'I'm going to play quite a few tournaments now running up to Augusta, so I'll give myself a good chance of getting in.

'It's a motivation, but my goal this year is to really get back and play proper golf and maybe get back to that short putter.

'I think I'm close to getting back to that and playing the way I can play and I think if I do that the rest will take care of itself.

'[When] I started out in life, I wanted to be the best player in the world and win as many tournaments as I could. I got married and had a family, and your direction goes a little different way.

'I'm still a professional golfer and I still want to win golf tournaments this year and in the future.'

Close: South African Els finished second in The Masters in 2000 and 2004

Close: South African Els finished second in The Masters in 2000 and 2004

This will be the eighth time Els has played the Northern Trust Open, winning the tournament in 1999, and the South African, who has a successful golf course design business, is impressed with the layout of the Riviera Country Club course.

'I love the bunkering, I think it's phenomenal,' he added. 'I love the angles they have with their greens, the way the course flows – you've got to draw a lot of shots, fade a lot of shots.'

Els will be joined in the tournament by Sergio Garcia with the Spaniard equally complimentary of the Riveria Country Club, ranking the course as one of his favourites.

He said: 'I love this course, it's one of my favourites on the tour. When it plays firm, it's one of the best that we get all year and I think it's got a mix of tough driving holes with some holes with small greens, small targets.

'And then the putting surfaces are quite difficult – when they're fast like they are now, they get very, very tricky.'

World No 1 Luke Donald will head a strong British challenge at Riviera, which includes Justin Rose and Martin Laird.

Wimbledon chief defends prize money for top players

They earn it! Wimbledon chief Ritchie defends financial rewards given to top players

Outgoing Wimbledon chief executive Ian Ritchie has defended the prize money given to players at the grand slam tournaments.

Along with the length and make-up of the tennis schedule, the percentage of prize money given to players has been a major complaint among the leading male players in particular, with a strike even mooted.

They believe the figure, which is reported to be less than 15 per cent of total revenue, undervalues them compared to other sports, but Ritchie cited the increase in prize money at Wimbledon in recent years as evidence the players are being listened to.

In the money: Novak Djokovic won the Australian Open against Rafa Nadal

In the money: Novak Djokovic won the Australian Open against Rafa Nadal

He said: 'If there are things that need to be addressed, the team here will address them. The record here has been a good one. It's not as if we've been parsimonious. The rises have been well, well over inflation.

'Do I think the players should get appropriate compensation Of course I do. Hopefully we try here to show how important the players are. We try to look after them. They do appreciate that this is a tennis club.

'When I started in 2005, the champion earned 630,000 and last year the winner received 1.1million.'

Pastures new: Ian Ritchie is leaving SW19

Pastures new: Ian Ritchie is leaving SW19

Ritchie, meanwhile, confirmed he was approached about succeeding Adam Helfant as executive chairman and president of the ATP, a job that eventually went to Brad Drewett.

Ritchie, who will leave the All England Club next month to take over as chief executive of the Rugby Football Union, explained things did not get further than an informal approach, which he subsequently declined.

'I had a conversation with a couple of the players about it,' he said. 'I was flattered that they even thought that it was a possibility that I could do it.

'I have the highest regard for them and I'm always very conscious of the fact that I'm the bloke in the suit. My speed about the court does not rival theirs.

'So for the slightly overweight bloke in a suit to be asked, 'Will you think about it', I took that as extremely flattering, but it wasn't the right thing for me.'

Australian Open 2012: Murray"s copycat tactics: Scot hopes to take the Lendl road to major glory

Murray's copycat tactics: Scot hopes to take the Lendl road to major glory

Andy Murray admits new coach Ivan Lendl is something of a storyteller.

And, after a week in his company in
Australia, where Murray is seeking to win his first Grand Slam title,
Lendl must have recounted the story of when he made his own major
breakthrough.

It is a tale that will embolden Murray for what lies ahead in his partnership with the Czech-American.

Similarities: And Andy Murray will hope his career ends like coach Ivan Lendl's (right)

Similarities: And Andy Murray will hope his career ends like coach Ivan Lendl's (right)

For Lendl had already accumulated a fortune – as Murray has – when John McEnroe looked poised to inflict further misery on him at his fourth attempt to win a Grand Slam final, at the French Open.

Those of us privileged to be in Paris in the summer of 1984 to watch McEnroe, playing aggressively on a slow clay court, saw Lendl fall behind 2-1 on sets and 4-2 in the fourth.

But Lendl, a forbidding force on a tennis court, staged an incredible recovery.

McEnroe's temper flared, and the crowd roared Lendl to an improbable triumph.

Been there, done that: Lendl ended up winning 8 grand slam tournaments

Been there, done that: Lendl ended up winning 8 grand slam tournaments

Lendl said with a smile afterwards: 'Maybe now people will ask me questions other than when I am going to win my first big title.'

After losing three major finals, two of them in Australia, Murray wants nothing more than to make a similar statement to the assembled media in Melbourne a fortnight today.

Murray believes his appointment of Lendl, hardly seen on the tennis circuit since he retired in 1994, has enhanced his prospects of fulfilling a lifetime ambition.

'I enjoy being around Ivan,' he said yesterday. 'He's good fun, with a good sense of humour. As you probably expect, he has a lot of great stories to tell. Yet he doesn't hang around all the time. When we get the work done, he leaves, does his own thing. We've got on well so far.'

Murray, James Ward , Elena Baltacha, Heather Watson, Ann Keovathong and Laura Robson provide the greatest complement of British players at a Grand Slam tournament outside of Wimbledon since the 1992 Australian Open, so the world No 4 will not be the sole focus of attention.

Main hope: Andy Murray is one of six Brits playing in Australia

Main hope: Andy Murray is one of six Brits playing in Australia

Yet Murray, who meets American teenager Ryan Harrison in the first round on Tuesday, remains central to the British narrative on the other side of the world.

After appearing in the semi-finals of all four majors last year, he is established as the primary threat to the reigning nobility of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

Yet Murray is not alone with questions to answer: Can Djokovic, winner of three majors last year, be as formidable again Is Nadal's body capable of sustaining his form across nine months Can Federer, 31 this summer, add to his 16 major titles

Lendl likes the possibilities opening up for Murray. 'I see a guy who wants to win and work hard,' he said. 'Obviously, I see the parallels between his career and mine, and I want his to end like mine.'

No djoke: But Novak Djokovic has some questions to answer

No djoke: But Novak Djokovic has some questions to answer

Lendl's final tally of eight majors, set alongside 94 titles in all, led him into Murray's sights once he realised his part-time coach, Darren Cahill would not join him on a permanent basis.

'Darren wasn't around enough at the Grand Slams,' said Murray. 'So I chatted with him about a few names, and Ivan was one of them. After speaking with him and spending a day on court together, it was obvious he was the guy I wanted.'

Lendl, 51, has blended comfortably with those closest to Murray.

'I think Ivan will give the team an extra bit of leadership,' said Murray.

Murray hopes Lendl will lead him away from that question: 'When are you going to win a major, Andy'

Stars could strike over prize money

Tennis stars voted to demand a greater share of the prize-money at Grand Slams with strike action a possibility at the French Open in May.

Britain's Andy Murray warned at the US Open last September that leading players felt they deserved a larger share of the huge profits generated by Wimbledon and the Australian, French and US Opens.

Chief executive of the players union, Brad Drewitt, wants the Grand Slam Committee to treat their claims with respect or they may strike in Paris.

Andy Murray appoints Ivan Lendl as his coach

Murray appoints eight-time grand slam winner Lendl as full-time coach

Andy Murray has appointed former world No 1 Ivan Lendl as his full-time coach.

World No 4 Murray will begin working with Lendl immediately as they prepare for the Australian Open next month.

“Ivan”s impact on the game is unquestionable and he brings experience and knowledge that few others have, particularly in major tournaments,” said the 24-year-old Scot.

New year, same target: Murray is desperate to seal his first grand slam title

New year, same target: Murray is desperate to seal his first grand slam title

Murray added: “It was important to me that any new person joining my team was able to add fresh insight.

“I look forward to working with him going forward.”

Czech-born Lendl, 51, is one of the most decorated players of all time, a winner of eight grand slam tournaments. In a statement released through Murray”s management company, Lendl said: “I am really excited to have the opportunity to work with Andy.

“He is a unique talent and I look forward to trying to help him reach his goals.”

Moving forward: The British No 1 has appointed Lendl (left) as his full-time coach

Moving forward: The British No 1 has appointed Lendl (left) as his full-time coach

Murray has experienced a mixed 2011. Currently the world No 4, he enjoyed a spell at No 3 before dropping back behind Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

He reached the final of the Australian Open and the semi-finals of the other three grand slams. And he enjoyed a rich run of form later in the year, lifting titles in Bangkok, Tokyo and at the Shanghai Masters before seeing his 17-match winning streak ended by Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals of the Paris Masters in early November.

His season ended with disappointment, pulling out of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London with injury.

But that ultimate grand slam prize continues to elude him, however, and it will be hoped Lendl”s presence will play dividends in 2012.

And with the Olympics in London taking place in the summer, Murray has set his sights on a successful year. Simon Fuller, Murray”s manager and business partner, said: “Andy”s achievements in 2011 have demonstrated the quality of his game.

“Having a champion like Lendl join his team will help him achieve his ultimate ambitions.”

2014 World Cup Brazil warned by FIFA

Brazil under pressure to deliver as FIFA sound 2014 World Cup warning

FIFA”s top executive will visit Brazil every two months to keep the pressure on to speed up preparations for the 2014 World Cup.

Jerome Valcke, FIFA”s secretary general, says “a lot of work” remains to be done, especially on transport infrastructure and airports.

Relations between FIFA and the Brazil government and organisers have been fractious but Valcke says there is a new spirit of co-operation.

Work to be done: The Maracana stadium is far from ready

Work to be done: The Maracana stadium is far from ready

Valcke said in his monthly column on fifa.com: “2012 will be a fundamental year for FIFA and Brazil in the operational preparation for the two major football tournaments – the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

“There is still a lot of work waiting for all of us in particular on general infrastructure such as airports and transport to make sure that all fans and visitors will have a memorable experience.

“As the person at FIFA responsible for the delivery of the FIFA Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup, it is essential that I also get a personal view on the status of preparations during my planned host city visits to take place every two months next year.

No excuse: Jerome Valcke has warned Brazil that they must be ready for 2014

No excuse: Jerome Valcke has warned Brazil that they must be ready for 2014

“Because we have no time to rest, the clock is ticking ever faster and the anticipation is rising for all of us.”

As well as welcoming the appointment of former Brazil striker Ronaldo to the board of the organising committee, Valcke added: “We must bear in mind that when Euro 2012 and the Olympic Games are over, the world media spotlight will be on Brazil.

“The key for success will be in continuing our open and constant dialogue between the Brazilian authorities led by sports minister Aldo Rebelo as the man in charge of the FIFA World Cup in government and FIFA in the spirit of respect and cooperation which characterises our relations now.”