Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Big names fall at Wentworth

The West Course at Wentworth continued to throw up surprises during the World Match Play Championship, none more so than the opening day on Thursday, with the slaying of the Tiger, as American counterpart, Shaun Micheel, bellied his official world golf ranking of seventy seventh, to beat the World number one,
Woods, by 4 & 3. With the Big Easy, Ernie Els, falling at the first hurdle to Angel Cabrera by 2 & 1, and World number two, Jim Furyk of the U.S.A. getting first day nerves with a 4 & 3 defeat to Robert Karlsson, Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie, was the only fans favourite, left in the field. But it was fellow Ryder Cup compatriot, Paul Casey, who was taking the tournament by storm, first blowing away Retief Goosen 6 & 4, and then Mike Weir by 5 & 3, to set up a semi final with Montgomerie, who battled back from adversity to beat Michael Campbell, on the final hole in the quarter finals. It was misery for Monty, as he was comprehensively beaten 6 & 5 by Casey , to see a battle of the under dogs going into Sunday’s final, as Casey goes head to head with Micheel, after the American saw off the challenge of Sweden’s Karlsson, with a close shave victory on the final hole, in the other semi final. With the winner assured of one million pounds and four hundred thousand for the runner up, there was a lot at stake for both players and a win for Casey had the added bonus of putting him top of the order of merit, and a major boost for the Ryder Cup. Rising to the challenge, Casey carded his biggest win as a tournament professional, by comprehensively beating Micheel 10 & 8 in the final, to scoop golf's biggest money winning prize.

“That is still the goal for the remaining tournaments left so far this year. Obviously next week is very important but yeah, you still didn’t tell me how much it counts. But there’s still a lot to play for. The three events I play after this one are big money events, the AMEX, Dunhill and Volvo Masters,” added Casey.

Although it would be hard for Casey to match the prize money on offer at the World Match Play Championship, as he continued:

“Well, I’ve never had the opportunity to play for that much money before, so I don’t know whether that will play on the mind tomorrow or not. I guess I can start thinking about it. Where else can we win a million pounds ? Unless we get on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.’ And I can’t answer those questions, so this is the best opportunity I’ve got.”

After three big wins already this week, Casey was quick to explain the key to his successes, as he concluded:

“I’ve holed a lot of key or crucial putts at the right time, a few par saves which are really, sometimes, you know, better than knocking it 330 yards down the fairway. I think for example, the par I made on the first this morning won me the second hole. I don’t think Colin expected a 4 there, a bad tee shot, a bad second shot, and to walk away with a 4, I think that’s really been the key this week. I’ve stuck it out when I’ve hit poor shots and figured out a way of getting it into the hole and not trying to give my opponents anything if possible.”

Joe's In for Bika Sting

He survived a sting from the worlds deadliest scorpion and now Sakio Bika reckons he can take the venomous punches of the planets best super-middleweight Joe Calzaghe when they meet on October 14 at the M.E.N Arena.

The hard-hitting Cameroonian - who recently gave WBC Champion Markus Beyer a close call in Germany - had to fight for his life when an African Thick Tailed scorpion stung him in his hometown of Doula when he was a 12-years-old boy.

Bika said, "In Cameroon, scorpions are as common as ants and they run about everywhere so when we were younger we used to capture them and keep them as pets,"

"Generally, the scorpions we used to catch were harmless and if they stung you it would nothing worse than a bee sting. But on this particular day I found a rare thick tailed Scorpion which I knew, if I caught, I could sell and make a lot of money to feed our family as I am one of nine children,"

"Anyway, I smothered the scorpion with a piece of rag and as I went to pick it up it somehow got it's tail free and it struck me on the hand,"

He continued, "I dropped the scorpion and immediately started to feel an immense pain in my hand which had started to swell. I then started staggering towards the nearest house with my heart was beating really fast and I began to get dizzy with blurred vision. I just made it to the front door of a house and that is all I remember before passing out. The lady who answered the door said to me later that I was frothing at the mouth and my whole body went into a violent shake. A doctor was called I had to be taken to the nearest hospital where I was given the life saving anti-venom and I recovered. After a week I was fine. I was lucky to be alive, a few more minutes and I would have been dead. Apparently these scorpions kill between 1 and 4 people a year."

Following his near-fatal experience Sakio gave himself the nickname 'The Scorpion' and still keeps them as pets.

Bika insist he has nothing to fear from WBO/IBF king Calzaghe - who stung Jeff Lacy an incredible 1006 times in March - and believes it is now his time to become world champion.

He added, "Calzaghe's a great fighter but just one scorpion bite is more painful than being hit with a billion punches from him,"

"I was close to death you can't get more close than I have so what have I got to worry about Joe Calzaghe for?"

"This is my second chance at the World title and I'm not scared to travel and fight an opponent in there own backyard to achieve my dream of becoming World champion."