Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Witter looks to Shine on the Silver Screen

Junior Witter is looking forward to impressing a big TV audience in the next defence of his WBC light-welterweight title at the Trent FM Arena Nottingham on Saturday, 10th May. Witter (Bradford, England) is aiming to end the undefeated record of mandatory challenger Timothy Bradley (Palm Springs, USA) in the third defence of his prestigious world title on a Hennessy Sports in association with show that also features WBC Super Middleweight mandatory challenger Carl Froch. After knocking out former world champion Vivian Harris (Guyana/USA) in his last fight in September, Witter is looking to produce another brilliant performance in front of the ITV1 (UK) and ShoBox Special (USA) cameras for a watching television audience on both sides of the Atlantic. He said: "It’s a great chance for me to show a wider audience what I can do, and I intend to grab that opportunity and show the world I’m the best light-welterweight in boxing right now.” "Some people who will have perhaps heard of me but not seen me box will get the chance to see me in action for the first time and they won’t be disappointed.” "Bradley is a top opponent and the better opponent the better I perform… just ask Vivian Harris. Bradley has got a great knockout ratio as his record suggests, so I expect him to be aggressive and he will come to fight, which is just how I like them.” "After seeing me box in front of a massive TV audience both in the UK and the States, once I do a job on Bradley even more people will be asking: why won’t Ricky Hatton fight Junior Witter?" Tickets can be purchased from Trent FM Arena Nottingham 24hr Ticket Hotline on 08444 124 624
or via

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Clarke eyes up a BMW Double Victory

Darren Clarke is already eyeing a potential BMW ‘double’ as he looks to add the BMW PGA Championship to his BMW Asian Open victory in Shanghai. Clarke will be able to enjoy the comforts of home when he tees up in The European Tour’s flagship event from May 22-25 at Wentworth Club, Surrey, England, and having once again enjoyed the sweet taste of victory, the Ulsterman’s appetite for success has been whetted. Victory at Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club was Clarke’s first success worldwide since 2005 and his first European Tour title since he won the WGC – NEC Invitational in 2003. Since then he has suffered the tragic loss of his wife Heather to cancer in 2006 and a subsequent loss of form, but Clarke has worked tirelessly to work his way back to become a European Tour champion once again. Hours spent on the range and in the gym finally paid off when the Ryder Cup player won the BMW Asian Open, and he is gearing up for more success. “If anything, my win has given me renewed vigour to carry on and keep working because I want more of this,” he said. “To put the work in and get a bit out again feels good. “BMW are one of The European Tour’s best sponsors worldwide. They sponsor the BMW Asian Open, the BMW International Open in Munich and our flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Every event they do is among the very best we play. “The BMW PGA Championship is our flagship event and one we all want to win around a fantastic golf course. I get to stay at home that week. And a BMW double would certainly be nice.” The 2008 BMW PGA Championship will boast one of the strongest fields on The European Tour International Schedule, with many of the world’s best players in action. All four days will be broadcast live on BBC Television. Tickets are now on sale for the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club from May 22-25, 2008 with special prices available in advance via or by calling +44 (0) 800 023 2557. Adult Season tickets, which guarantee entry to Wentworth Club for the full week of the BMW PGA Championship, are currently priced at £50, a £10 saving on the 2007 prices and the cost on the gate. Concession Season tickets can be purchased for £20, a saving of 20% on the gate prices. An Adult Weekend pass for Saturday May 24 and Sunday May 25 costs £40, while Any One Day passes can be bought now for £25, a saving of £5, with significant savings also on offer for Senior Citizen, Disabled and Unaccompanied Junior Tickets. For details of hospitality packages available call +44 (0)1344 840 483 or email

Murray looking for a British Title Shot

English lightweight champion John Murray hopes that beating fellow unbeaten lightweight prospect John Fewkes next week will lead to a British title shot. Murray (Manchester, 23-0) is expecting a tough first defence of his English title against Fewkes (Sheffield, 17-0) when they meet at the Nottingham Arena on a Hennessy Sports in association with show on Saturday, 10th May. But the 23-year-old, who won the English title with an impressive win over Dean Hickman in November, believes the experience of boxing in Las Vegas twice last year will ensure he keeps his undefeated record and bring him closer to challenging British champion Jon Thaxton (Norwich). He said: "It was a great experience to be part of the build up on two fantastic shows, boxing on the undercard of Oscar De La Hoya-Floyd Mayweather and then the night before Ricky Hatton-Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas. I learnt a lot, like how the top boxers conduct themselves in and out of the ring. "John Fewkes is a slick boxer and he is coming down a weight, so I’m just going to stick to my boxing. "Once I have got this fight out the way, I want a shot at the British title because I feel I am ready for Jon Thaxton now. "I’ve watched Jon Thaxton over the years and I know it would be a tough fight against him, but I just feel I’m at the point now where I’m ready for it." Murray-Fewkes is part of a blockbuster bill, which features Junior Witter (Bradford, England) making the third defence of his WBC light-welterweight title against Timothy Bradley (Palm Springs, USA) and Nottingham’s Carl Froch, the WBC super-middleweight mandatory challenger, as joint top of the bill.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Klitschko and McGuigan fight for Youngsters

World Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko and former World Featherweight Champion Barry McGuigan have teamed up to visit the newest Laureus supported project based in London’s East End. Fight for Peace is a boxing and martial arts charity committed to promoting sport and personal development for young people. Originally established in Rio de Janeiro, Fight for Peace is now opening a new academy located in North Woolwich in Newham, one of the five London 2012 Olympic Boroughs. Wladimir Klitschko, the current IBF, WBO and IBO Heavyweight Champion, was in London to help launch Fight For Peace on behalf of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Klitschko met youngsters from the academy and took part in a boxing training session, even sparring in the ring with some of the young people. He and Barry McGuigan also took part in a council session at which the children were able to put questions to the two boxing legends. Laureus World Sports Academy member and All Blacks rugby legend Sean Fitzpatrick also joined the session to lend his support to the project. The project is aimed at young people between 11-21 years, specifically targeting hard-to-reach youngsters not in full-time education or employment. Fight for Peace will offer boxing training after school and college hours and provide vocational training sessions aimed at improving attendees’ chances of securing long term employment. Klitschko said: “I have just loved being in the East End of London to visit this wonderful project and meet the kids taking part. Fight for Peace is a great concept and I'm very pleased to support it with Laureus. It takes care of kids at an age when it is really important to get them off the streets and prevent them from getting involved in crimes and drugs. Through Laureus I have visited projects in the Bronx in New York and in Berlin and I know that boxing can provide a real sense of achievement and confidence to young people that are in difficult circumstances. I am sure Fight for Peace will be a real success in London.” Klitschko, who beat Sultan Ibragimov at Madison Square Garden in February to unify the IBF/IBO and WBO versions of the world heavyweight title, is a keen supporter of the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and is a member of the Laureus Friends & Ambassadors programme. Fight for Peace Chairman and Laureus Friend & Ambassador Barry McGuigan said: “It was a magnificent visit. The youth council session was fantastic and the most elating part of the day. To listen to Wladimir’s stories and to follow the lessons he gives to the kids was so inspiring. We could not have anybody better to represent boxing.” The project’s sister programme in Rio de Janeiro, the Fight for Peace Sports and Education Centre, provides over 1000 young people from the shanty town of Complexo da Maré with the opportunity to participate in sporting activities. The project channels youthful aggression positively through sport, providing opportunities for low-income youngsters. Supported by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation for the past five years, it represents a sanctuary in the midst of an area where drug trafficking and violence dominate. Luke Dowdney MBE, founder of Fight for Peace said: “I am extremely grateful to Wladimir and Barry for the support they have given to Fight for Peace as we launch in the UK. Our project in Rio de Janeiro has demonstrated what can be achieved by working with young people that are not in full-time education or employment in terms of building their self-confidence and offering them a way out of what can often be very challenging social circumstances.” The mission of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation is to fund and promote the power of sport to effect positive social change in communities around the world. The Foundation supports almost 60 projects worldwide and has improved the lives of over 150,000 children since its inception, through its global foundation and a growing network of eight subsidiary foundations in Argentina, France, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and the United States. The Foundation addresses issues in particular involving, but not limited to, young people impacted by social exclusion, gun and gang violence, discrimination, community integration, peace and reconciliation and education. The Laureus World Sports Academy is a unique association of 45 of the greatest living sporting legends led by its Chairman Edwin Moses. The Academy members share a belief in the power of sport to break down barriers, bring people together and to improve the lives of young people around the world. They act as global ambassadors for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, volunteering their time to visit projects in order to draw attention to the problems afflicting society today.

Ballyliffin to host Irish Seniors Open

One of the strongest fields in the 12 year history of the Irish Seniors Open will for the first time visit the stunning Old Links Course at Ballyliffin Golf Club, in Co. Donegal, from June 20-22.
Dual Ryder Cup winner Costantino Rocca of Italy has set his sights on a successful title defence after claiming his maiden Seniors Tour victory at last year’s Irish Seniors Open, played at PGA National Ireland. In order to lay claim to the €67,500 winner’s cheque, Rocca will have to fend off the challenge of the in-form European Seniors Tour rookie Sandy Lyle of Scotland, who celebrated the 20th anniversary of his Masters Tournament victory by playing all four rounds at Augusta National recently. Also competing for the €450,000 prize fund are former winners Seji Ebihara of Japan, who triumphed in 2001 and 2002; the 2004 champion Carl Mason of England; and the 2006 winner Sam Torrance of Scotland. The roll call of past champions features only one Irishman, Joe McDermott, who triumphed at Woodbrook Golf Club in 1998. Eamonn Darcy and Denis O’Sullivan, who recently finished seventh at the season-opening DGM Barbados Open, are amongst the home contingent bidding to end the foreign dominance of the Irish Seniors Open.Another notable name in the field is Sir Bob Charles, who underlined his eternal golfing pedigree when finishing second at the 2007 Wentworth Senior Masters and when setting a record by making the cut at this year’s Michael Hill New Zealand Open at the venerable age of 71. This year’s Irish Seniors Open will again be supported by Fáilte Ireland and AIB, who have been involved since the inaugural event in 1997, won by five time Order of Merit Champion Tommy Horton of England. The tournament will for the first time be played at Ballyliffin Golf Club in Co. Donegal. Officially opened in 1947, the club boasts two courses: the more recent Glashedy Links, unveiled in 1995, and the Old Links, which will be used for the Irish Seniors Open. The 6,910 yards, par 71 Old Links course was upgraded and re-opened in 2006 by Nick Faldo, European Team Captain for this year’s Ryder Cup at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. Andy Stubbs, Managing Director of the European Seniors Tour, said: “We are delighted to be holding the Irish Seniors Open for the first time at Ballyliffin Golf Club, and we know that our Members are excited at the opportunity to play a true links course, which is reflected in the quality of the field. “Our thanks go to everyone involved at the club for their tremendous enthusiasm and hospitality, and we would also wish to acknowledge the input of our Associate Sponsors Fáilte Ireland for their continued involvement in Seniors Tour golf, and AIB for their 12 years of support for the Irish Seniors Open.” Shaun Quinn, Chief Executive of Fáilte Ireland, said: “Fáilte Ireland is delighted to continue its association with the Irish Seniors Open, an event which affords us the opportunity to showcase the Irish golfing experience to an international audience. With over 430 courses across the country, we have something to offer all golfers – no matter what their skill level or budget. “Ballyliffin Golf Club has for a long time offered a fantastic golfing experience to its visitors, and truly represents great value for money. We wish the club every success with its hosting of the event, and for the season ahead.”Billy Andrews, General Manager of AIB Bank, said: “In our 12 years as title sponsors of the Irish Seniors Open, we have had some wonderful experiences in fabulous venues with many of the European Senior Tour’s professionals. This year, the move to the renowned Old Links course at Ballyliffin Golf Club will allow us to continue this trend, and enable AIB customers in the north west of the country to sample the uniqueness of a Seniors Tour event.” John Farren, General Manager of Ballyliffin Golf Club, said: “We are delighted to welcome The European Tour back to our Old Links course, and are particularly proud to be the first Irish links to host the prestigious Irish Seniors Open. The Old Links is widely regarded as a treasure of world golf, and we look forward to showcasing the recent improvements made by Nick Faldo to a wider audience in June.” Séamus Brennan, Irish Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism said: “It is a privilege to welcome the European Seniors Tour’s star golfers to Ireland. This tournament will bring to Ireland many of the legendary names of golf, and will provide the players with a demanding challenge over true links terrain. The rugged scenery will provide a captivating backdrop, and all involved can expect the traditional Irish hospitality, which attracts golfers from all over the world. “This event has been supported through the Fáilte Ireland Sports Tourism Initiative, which sponsors events which enjoy a high-profile position in their own sporting calendar and can showcase Ireland as a major sports tourist destination. I have no doubt the competitors will enjoy the challenge which this scenic course presents, and that they will provide a weekend of exciting golf for the spectators and the international television audience.” Advance tickets for the Irish Seniors Open are on sale via or can be purchased at the course on a daily basis. Tickets are priced at €10 for a daily ticket, or €20 for a season ticket. Admission is free to under 18s. AIB Bank card holders will receive a discount of 50% off the ticket price when purchased on the gate on presentation of an AIB banking card.

Haeggman Hits Dizzy Heights of Fame

Sweden’s Joakim Haeggman took his first step on the road to regaining his place amongst the golfing elite with victory at the AGF-Allianz Open Côtes d’Armor Bretagne on the European Challenge Tour. Haeggman, who made a miraculous up and down on the final hole at Golf Blue Green de Pléneuf Val André to save par, carded a final round 68 to finish on five under par and take the title by one shot from England’s Marcus Higley.The Swede’s last victory came at the Qatar Masters in 2004, since when a loss of form and fitness has seen him slide down the Rankings and lose his card on The European Tour. Haeggman, who now heads to Seville to compete at the Open de Espana on The European Tour, said: “I hit a lot of quality shots in the tournament, but it’s still going to take a while for all the different aspects of my game to come together at the same time. This week is the best I’ve played for at least two years, though obviously there’s still room for improvement. “But I’ve got my confidence back now, and I feel I can start winning golf tournaments again. It’s not a case of reaching out blindly to find some form – it’s more a case of looking inside to bring out the game I know I have. If I can find it consistently, I know I’m good enough to compete and win again on The European Tour. That’s the ultimate goal, but I’m taking it one week, one day, one shot at a time.” Higley shot a 67 – the lowest round of the day – to finish on four under par, with his compatriot Stuart Davis, Sweden’s Andreas Högberg, Northern Ireland’s Gareth Maybin and Italy’s Allesandro Tadini in a tie for third two shots further back.

Record Prize Fund for BMW Golf at Wentworth

A record prize fund of €4.5million (approx £3,600,000), the biggest outside of the four Major Championships and the individual World Golf Championships in 2008, will be at stake for The European Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club, Surrey, England, from May 22-25. The 2008 Champion will receive €750,000 (approx £600,000), which is €25,000 more than Denmark’s Anders Hansen collected for his second BMW PGA Championship success in 2007 when he beat England’s Justin Rose in a sudden-death play-off.This year’s total prize fund represents a €150,000 increase on 2007 while prize money has grown by €500,000 in the three years since the inaugural BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club in 2005, when reigning US Open Champion Angel Cabrera picked up the first prize of €666,000 after claiming a two shot victory over Ireland’s Paul McGinley. In 2006, when England’s David Howell became the first English winner of the event since Nick Faldo’s record breaking fourth title in 1989, the prize fund stood at €4,250,000 and last year it increased again to €4,350,000, with Hansen winning €725,000 – almost €200,000 more than he won for his previous victory in 2002. The 2008 BMW PGA Championship will boast one of the strongest fields on The European Tour International Schedule, with many of the world’s best players in action over the famous West Course at Wentworth Club. All four days will be broadcast live on BBC Television. Tickets are now on sale for the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club from May 22-25, 2008 with special prices available at or by calling +44 (0) 800 023 2557. Adult Season tickets, which guarantee entry to Wentworth Club for the full week of the BMW PGA Championship, costing £50, a £10 saving on the 2007 prices and the cost on the gate. Concession Season tickets can be purchased for £20, a saving of 20% on the Gate Prices. An Adult Weekend pass costs £40, while any One Day passes can be bought now for £25, a saving of £5, with significant savings also on offer for Senior Citizen, Disabled and Unaccompanied Junior Tickets. For details of hospitality packages available call +44 (0)1344 840 483 or email

The Rocket Man Flies to Atlantic City

Gary Lockett has vowed to follow in the footsteps of Joe Calzaghe and win his debut fight in America. The Rocket Man takes on middleweight number one Kelly Pavlik in Atlantic City on June 7 for the WBO and WBC world titles live on Setanta Sports 1. And although the 31-year-old goes to the States a massive underdog, he possesses the explosive KO power to create a huge upset. "Joe's win over Bernard Hopkins was an inspiration to me," said Lockett. "He went to the States and did British boxing proud, and I'll do the same in June. Not many people have heard of me in the US, but once I've beaten Pavlik, I'll be a household name." Yet confident Lockett realises the size of the task he is up against. "Obvioulsy Pavlik is a huge name and a very dangerous fighter," he said. "He's already beaten Jermain Taylor twice, and you have to give him massive respect for that. "Added to that, he's unbeaten in 33 fights and will be a very, very tough customer. "He's a puncher like me and I recognise that I'll have to be at my very best to win the fight. "But I've seen a few weaknesses in Pavlik's style that I believe I can exploit. "He's been tagged before, and with my power, I've got a great chance of knocking him out." Lockett has been training hard with Enzo Calzaghe in Newbridge, Wales, and will be getting some tips from Calzaghe Jnr when he returns from the Caribbean from his post-fight holiday.

Name Change on Chelsea Shirts

Chelsea Football Club is delighted to confirm that it will carry the global company brand Samsung on the team's shirts next season. The Chelsea FC shirt and merchandise currently carries the company’s Mobile Division brand, Samsung Mobile. However the Korean multi-national has opted for the change, a measure of Chelsea’s ability to deliver world wide exposure for its sponsors. Samsung Electronics currently has a European turnover of £12 billion (US$23.5 billion) and their mobile business has increased by more than 50% since the Chelsea sponsorship began in the 2005/6 season. Chelsea Chief Executive Peter Kenyon said: "Samsung have been a fantastic partner for the last 3 seasons and we take this latest move as a measure of the strength of that relationship and the ability of Chelsea to deliver global exposure, value and brand awareness for its partners." IS Kim, President and CEO of Samsung Electronics Europe said: "Samsung has already enjoyed great success in our partnership with Chelsea and we continue to extend our support, as well as engaging in marketing activities with the club across the whole business.” As a result of the change Chelsea will have 3 new kits next season, home, away and European. It is standard industry practice to change all 3 kits when a sponsor name changes. Samsung picked up the prestigious Sport Industry Award in 2007 for Best Sponsorship of a Team or Individual and has also been shortlisted for 2008 in the Best Integrated Sponsorship category at the same awards.The new home kit will be worn for the first time by the team for the last Premier League game of the season against Bolton on May 11 at Stamford Bridge. And you can pre-order now by using this link, It is on sale to the public from May 8.

Friday, April 25, 2008

10 companies compete for Ryder Cup Branding

A diverse range of ten companies from the Golf Industry have signed up to become Ryder Cup Official Licensees, offering an eclectic mix of golfing products to the general public both in the run-up to The Ryder Cup at Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, Kentucky from September 19-21, 2008, and beyond that to the home match at The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, South Wales, in 2010. The companies who have contracted with Ryder Cup Europe are; Titleist, Ashworth UK Ltd, Bobby Jones Lifestyle Ltd, Fairway & Greene, Glenmuir Limited, Level 4 Golf Ltd, Oscar Jacobson Ab, ProQuip Ltd, Sunderland of Scotland Limited and Tommy Hilfiger Europe BV. For Titleist, Ashworth UK Ltd, Glenmuir Limited, Level 4 Golf Ltd, Oscar Jacobson Ab, ProQuip Ltd and Sunderland of Scotland Limited , it represents a renewal of their position as licensees. Sunderland of Scotland Limited was first associated with Ryder Cup Europe in 1981 and ProQuip Ltd has a relationship stretching back to 1985. Glenmuir Limited and Oscar Jacobson Ab have both been associated with Ryder Cup Europe since 1987. For Bobby Jones Lifestyle Ltd, Fairway & Greene and Tommy Hilfiger Europe BV, however, 2008 represents their first involvement with the world’s leading golf team event. Products from the companies which will feature the unique 2008 Ryder Cup logo include men’s, ladies and children’s apparel, golf accessories, waterproofs, golf balls, golf bags and luggage. These will be available from the individual licensees themselves as well as from Richard Hills, European Ryder Cup Director, said: “We are delighted to welcome these ten companies – some of whom we have long established relationships with, some of which are new acquaintances – as Ryder Cup Official Licensees. “Together with their commitment to grow distribution and help us to market our brand, the high quality of the products they supply mirrors perfectly the excellence with which we pride ourselves in relation to all aspects of The Ryder Cup and we look forward to working with these companies in the months leading up to the contest itself.” Ryder Cup Europe will make further appointments in the run up to The 2010 Ryder Cup and, as part of this process, is working closely with the Welsh Government to explore opportunities for Welsh based companies to supply products, services and licensed goods.

Virgin Atlantic fly high for Ryder Cup

Ryder Cup Europe is delighted to announce that Virgin Atlantic Airways will be the Official Airline Sponsor for The European Ryder Cup Team for The 2008 Ryder Cup. Special dispensation has been granted for the Team to fly direct from London Heathrow Airport to Louisville International Airport aboard a Virgin Atlantic Airbus A340-600 flight for The 2008 Ryder Cup at Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, Kentucky, USA, from September 19-21, 2008. European Captain Nick Faldo and his 12 man Team will fly out on Monday, September 15 to defend The Ryder Cup before flying back the following Monday, September 22. Joining The Team onboard the Virgin Atlantic Airbus A340-600 will be their wives and girlfriends, Ryder Cup Partners, Sponsors and Suppliers, the Official Party, the respective Boards of The European Tour and the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) and VIP guests. They will all enjoy the benefits of Virgin Atlantic’s flagship new Clubhouse at Heathrow Airport before boarding the transatlantic flight. Virgin Atlantic Airways was the Official Airline Sponsor of the European Ryder Cup Team’s last visit to America in 2004, for their record breaking winning score of 18½- 9½ at Oakland Hills Country Club, in Michigan. After equalling that record points haul at The K Club in Ireland in 2006, Faldo’s Team will be looking to maintain their stunning Ryder Cup form at Valhalla Golf Club in September as they bid to secure a fourth consecutive victory in golf’s greatest team competition. Sir Richard Branson, President of Virgin Atlantic, said: “It is a great honour for us to be carrying Nick Faldo and his Team to Louisville. “This is the second time that Virgin Atlantic has been chosen to carry the Team and The Ryder Cup, and we are thrilled that Europe’s top golfers have selected us again. I’m sure they can do Europe proud and win again.”Richard Hills, Ryder Cup Director, said: “We are delighted that one of the world’s biggest brands will once again be part of one of the world’s biggest sporting events. The Team and Official Party will all benefit from Virgin Atlantic’s excellent service. “Virgin Atlantic Airways will once again benefit from being associated with The Ryder Cup and, along with our other Partners, Sponsors and Suppliers, will play an active part in making The 2008 Ryder Cup another huge success for The European Team.” The European Team will enjoy Virgin Atlantic’s award winning Upper Class Suite, which includes the longest fully flat bed in business class and in-flight entertainment facilities. They will also speed through Virgin Atlantic’s newly launched Upper Class Wing at Heathrow’s Terminal Three, with its private security channel, before being pampered in the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse. Before take-off, the players can enjoy a massage or haircut in the Cowshed Salon, or play pool and enjoy the Deli bar.

McDowell's magic shot for March

Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell has won The European Tour Shot of the Month Award for March for his stunning approach shot under pressure on the third play-off hole in the inaugural Ballantine’s Championship. McDowell had to give himself a decent birdie opportunity after watching Jeev Milkha Singh of India hit his second shot to within a few feet of the 18th pin at Pinx Golf Club, Jeju Island, Korea. He held his nerve to land his seven iron approach from 179 yards inside Singh’s ball and just 12 inches from the cup to create a swing in momentum that secured his third European Tour title. The award caps a superb month for the Ulsterman, who was also named The European Tour Golfer of the Month for March following his victory in Korea.McDowell admitted his shot in the sudden-death play-off ranked amongst the finest in his professional career. He said: “There’s no doubt it’s in my top five best shots I’ve ever hit under the gun. In the play-off, Jeev looked like he had hit it pretty close and I had a similar yardage to what I had the second time around and I knew a seven iron was obviously perfect. This time I just had to make sure I aimed right at the flag, and it came off perfectly. The second I hit it, I thought it was the right club.” Runner-up in the March Shot of the Month Award was France’s Thomas Levet for his delightful bunker shot on the final hole of the MAPFRE Open de Andalucia by Valle Romano, which helped set up a play-off victory over England’s Oliver Fisher. Third place went to teenager Fisher for his marvellous approach shot on the 15th hole in the same tournament, which helped settle his nerves after bogeys on the 13th and 14th. The European Tour Shot of the Month Award is presented to the Tour Members for the shot judged to be the most outstanding played during each calendar month on The European Tour International Schedule. South African Richard Sterne won the January Award and New Zealand’s Mark Brown picked up the February Award. The winning shots from each month are entered for The European Tour Shot of the Year Award.

Dutch Delight for Besseling

Dutchman Wil Besseling was simply unstoppable as he romped to a seven shot victory in the II Club Colombia Masters at the Country Club de Bogotá. Enjoying a two stroke overnight lead, the 22 year old’s final round 66 for a 16 under par total of 268 saw him finish out of sight of second placed Antti Ahokas of Finland and Denmark’s Mark Haastrup who each carded 71 for matching totals of nine under par 275. Besseling picked up the winner’s cheque for €18,303 which moved him from 41st to sixth place on the European Challenge Tour Rankings. “I started very well and my swing felt good all day,” he said. “I struggled a little yesterday, but today it was really good. I didn’t make any mistakes and it feels great to be the winner.” On another overcast and chilly day, the Dutchman got off to a hot start in the final round with four birdies in his first nine holes which saw him to the turn in impressive figures of 31 which extinguished any real hope his challengers harboured of catching him. On the back nine, a bogey at the 12th was immediately righted with an eagle three at the 13th and five solid par figures to finish saw him home in style.“Although I had a lead, I just tried to keep playing one shot at a time,” he added. “The guys made some bogeys behind me and that made the gap even bigger but I just kept playing my own game and it all worked out perfectly. It feels awesome.” A studier of form would have earmarked the Dutchman for success as in the series of three events in Argentina and Colombia – co-sanctioned between the European Challenge Tour and the Tour de las Americas – he had constantly improved; finishing tied for 48th in the 77th Abierto VISA del Centro two weeks ago and tied ninth in the 103rd Abierto VISA de la Republica last week. His performance in the latter tournament was all the more laudable considering he had to attend the pre-qualifying tournament on the previous Monday and was one of the four European Challenge Tour Members to make it through. Argentina’s Estanislao Goya, winner of the 77th Abierto VISA del Centro, was one of four players who tied for fifth place in Colombia, a performance good enough to maintain his position at the top of the Challenge Tour Rankings.

Scottish excursion for the Seniors

The European Seniors Tour will return to the Marriott Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club to compete for a £225,000 prize fund at the 16th edition of the Scottish Seniors Open from September 26-28. Last year, an exciting contest saw former Ryder Cup player José Rivero of Spain hold off the challenge of Scotland’s Ross Drummond to claim victory and a winner’s cheque for £33,750. Drummond’s fellow Scot Gordon Brand Jnr will himself become eligible to compete on home soil on the Seniors Tour for the first time when he turns 50 on August 19, 2008. Brand Jnr, a dual Ryder Cup winner, will hope to emulate or even better his compatriot Drummond’s achievement in his maiden Seniors Tour season when he tees up at this year’s event, which will for the third consecutive year be played at the Marriott Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club near Edinburgh and is being supported by associate sponsors EventScotland. EventScotland, established in 2003, is Scotland’s dedicated national events agency and is responsible for attracting, creating and developing sporting and cultural events throughout the country. In 2008, the agency has already pledged its support to the Scottish Challenge on the European Challenge Tour from June 23-26, and The Senior Open Championship presented by MasterCard on the European Seniors Tour from July 24-27. The Scottish Challenge will be held at the Macdonald Cardrona Hotel, Golf and Country Club, whilst Royal Troon in Ayrshire is the venue for the Senior Open Championship. Paul Bush, Chief Operating Officer of EventScotland, said: “The increasing success of the Scottish Seniors Open justifies EventScotland’s long-term strategy to support and develop this, and other golf events in Scotland, particularly as we look towards hosting the 2014 Ryder Cup in Scotland. “Since our support began in 2003, the Scottish Seniors Open has continued to grow to become one of the annual highlights of Scotland’s golfing calendar. I’m sure this year will be no different as we look forward to returning to the Marriott Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club at the end of September. “Golf and Scotland are inextricably linked and it is important that we continue to develop Scotland’s golfing product, as it not only boosts our economy but also helps cement our reputation as a premier golfing destination, our status as the sport’s birthplace and helps continue the development of young golfing talent throughout the country.” Andy Stubbs, Managing Director of the European Seniors Tour, said: “Last year’s contest between José Rivero and Ross Drummond was indicative of the exciting and high-quality golf we have come to expect at the Scottish Seniors Open. “The tournament has been a happy hunting ground in recent years for Scottish golfers: in 1998, David Huish started the trend, before the in-form Bill Longmuir, winner of the recent DGM Barbados Open, triumphed in 2004. Sam Torrance completed the Scottish set in 2006, when the tournament returned to the Marriott Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club after a six year break. “We are always afforded a warm welcome at the Marriott Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club, and the support of EventScotland will further contribute to a thoroughly enjoyable tournament.” Neal Graham, Director of Golf at Marriott Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club, said: “We are delighted to welcome the Scottish Seniors Open back to Dalmahoy this year, and feel sure that the course will provide a tough but fair challenge for the competitors. Last year we received lots of positive feedback about the course and its condition, and this year we will be doing all we can to ensure it is better still. “Dalmahoy has a great tradition of staging top class tournaments, having previously hosted the Solheim Cup and the Scottish PGA Championship, and we look forward to working with the European Seniors Tour and EventScotland to make this a successful tournament.”

Methorios Capital to sponsor Italian Open

Italian Corporate Finance Company Methorios Capital has reached an agreement with The European Tour and the Italian Golf Federation to become the title sponsor of the Italian Open. The €1,700,000 Methorios Capital Italian Open will once again be staged at the magnificent Castello di Tolcinasco Golf and Country Club in Milan, from May 8-11, where Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño of Spain will defend the title he won so dramatically after a sudden-death play-off with Austria’s Markus Brier last year. Fernandez-Castaño’s victory sparked memorable celebrations, with the Spaniard being triumphantly thrown into the swimming pool at Castello di Tolcinasco Golf and Country Club after receiving the 83 year old Italian Open trophy. With expertise in asset management, financial services and investment banking, Methorios Capital is a valuable addition to The European Tour International Schedule. Fabio Palumbo, Chairman of Methorios Capital, said: “We are delighted to become involved in an event as prestigious as the Italian Open. To be associated with this great championship is a great honour, and we hope that Methorios Capital can play a part in enhancing Italy’s most important tournament.” George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “This is tremendous news for the Italian Open. We welcome Methorios Capital to The European Tour as our newest partner and thank them for their commitment to Italian golf and the Tour. We wish them every success in their new golfing venture and hope our partnership can develop in the coming years.”

Khan's next stop is Birmingham

British boxing sensation Amir Khan will headline Birmingham's National Indoor Arena on Saturday, June 21, as he rapidly closes in on a world title fight.The undefeated Bolton star has electrified fans with his speed, power and dazzling combinations up and down the country and is delighted to bring big-time boxing back to the Midlands.Khan, the Commonwealth and WBO Intercontinental lightweight champion, said, "Since turning professional I've boxed in most of the major cities in Britain and I'm excited that my next fight will be in Birmingham. I get fan mail from all around the country but the majority I receive is from Birmingham and the question is always the same: when are you going to fight in here? I've boxed there as an amateur and I know that the fans are very passionate and love their boxing so I'm expecting a great turn out from the public to make it a great night."The 21-year-old hot-shot was last in action earlier this month when he put in a powerful display to halt world-ranked Dane Martin Kristjansen - who had never been stopped in 24 fights - in the seventh round in their WBO World Lightweight title eliminator.He added, "I'm getting better and better with each fight and my last fight against Kristjansen, which I believe was my most complete performance yet, proved how far I have come in a short period of time. Of course there is still plenty of things that I need to improve on in the gym but I feel that I am on the right track to win a world title."An opponent will be announced shortly by promoter Frank Warren at a press conference to be held at the N.I.A. Details of which will will follow shortly.Chief-support on the cards sees the star of hit TV reality show The Contender, Paul Smith, defend his English Middleweight title against Steve Bendall in a potentially explosive showdown.Heading up an action packed undercard is Birmingham prospect Don Broadhurst - a big pal of Khan's from their England ABA days. Broadhurst, the 2006 Commonwealth Games Champion, is unbeaten in seven fights and is one of Britain's brightest young talents. He said: "When I won the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, the reception I got on my return from the local public was phenominal. This will be the first time that I have boxed as a professional in my home city and I'm really excited by the prospect of boxing on the same card as my mate Amir. It's going to be a fantastic night so get your tickets now!"Another up-and-coming Birmingham talent, Thomas Costello, will feature on the show. Costello had his first fight under promoter Frank Warren in February on the Amir Khan-Gairy St Clair show in London and knows what the Birmingham public are in for. "It was a real eye opener boxing on a major show with Amir and the atmosphere was unbelievable. I can't wait for the show at the N.I.A, I hope it will be the first of many big boxing nights in the city featuring myself and Don Broadhurst and the rest of the lads."A special attraction on the card see former Birmingham City midfilder Curtis Woodhouse make a return - this time in the boxing ring. Light-middlewieght Woodhouse, currently unbeaten in five fights, aims to become the first footballer ever to win a British title.Completing the fight card are Leicester light-middleweight Martin Concepcion and the professional debut of amateur star Joe Selkirk from Liverpool.Tickets priced at: £40, £50, £75, £100 and £150 (subject to a booking fee) are available from See Tickets on 0870 060 3794 and Khan Boxing on 08718 551 921 or online at, or

Arthur vs Guzman is Called Off

Alex Arthur's WBO World Super-Featherweight title clash against Joan Guzman has been postponed because the Dominican Republican has not received his Visa in time. Edinburgh star Arthur, the interim champion, was scheduled to meet full title-holder Guzman on May 3rd at the Meadowbank Stadium but with Guzman unable to travel, promoter Frank Warren will announce a new date for the super-fight shortly.Arthur, 29, was initially disappointed to be made to wait for his crack at the world number one but believes it will now work in his favour.He said: "After all the training that I had put in, that included going to America for two weeks, I was angry when I was I told that he couldn't get here on time because of a Visa problem. My training schedule is very precise and I plan everything with my training team to the minute so to have my plans thrown up in the air was a big blow. Once I calmed down and looked at the situation again I realised that I could use this to my advantage because I now have some valuable extra time to prepare with my team. Guzman is a great fighter and I know that I have the beating of him but if I can be 10 percent faster and stronger because of the delay then it will work in my favour."Promoter Frank Warren said, "We are hopeful to announce a new date for the fight very shortly once we hear from Guzman's promoters Sycuan Boxing that he has received his Visa. It's a big disappointment but Alex is a thorough professional and will have to take this in his stride."

Desailly brings Laureus Goodwill to Ghana

Laureus World Sports Academy member Marcel Desailly received an enthusiastic welcome from hundreds of young people when he returned to Ghana, the country of his birth, to visit the Laureus supported Sport and Skills project run by OrphanAid Africa. Sport and Skills has been developed to benefit orphans, deprived children and young people in the juvenile justice system. Over 400 children currently benefit from the project. French football legend Desailly visited two sites in the Greater Accra & the Eastern regions of Ghana - the DSW Correctional Centre in Labone, Accra and the GES OrphanAid District Assembly School, near Dodowa, to run football training sessions. Desailly was born in Ghana, but moved to France when he was four. He ultimately became one of France’s greatest footballers - a member of the 1998 FIFA World Cup winning team and captain of the side which won the 2000 European Championship. After the 2004 European Championship, he retired from international football after making 116 appearances for France. In 2007 he became a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy and has been very active in supporting the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, both in France and in Africa. He said: “ football gave me so much over my 20 year career. It’s made me who I am today and it gives me so much pleasure to see what sports can do for kids and that’s why the Laureus project is so important. It will make a significant difference and change their lives.’ I am delighted to be back in Ghana and I was overwhelmed by the welcome I received. I became Patron of OrphanAid Africa in 2005 and I am very happy that now the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation has decided to support this very worthy project which is doing so much good.” Sport and Skills is the first project in Ghana to be supported by the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. The project provides for young people from 6 – 21 to take advantage of informal training in life skills while also receiving sports coaching. For those over 17, the project offers educational training emphasising career advice, skills classes and HIV/AIDS education. In the DSW Correctional Centre, OrphanAid Africa, in association with volunteer Ghanaian lawyers, works with DSW to fast-track children in conflict with the law through the juvenile justice system and assists with tracing and reunification of the children with their families. The OrphanAid Africa District School, near Dodowa, has been set up to educate deprived children from the local community and children in foster care. OrphanAid Africa was founded in 2002 to help improve the standard of children’s homes and institutions caring for minors in Ghana. A non-profit, non-governmental organisation, it aims to help orphans grow up in a healthy, nurturing environment that provide quality care, protection, education and support. The children who need help the most are those who have been surviving alone on the streets. Many are emotionally disturbed. They may have lost their parents to disease or been sexually abused. In 2004 OrphanAid Africa was able to build its own self-sustainable home, which caters for children with special needs - those with severe illnesses and handicaps. It has been described as a ‘model in Africa’. The mission of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation is to fund and promote the power of sport to effect positive social change in communities around the world. The Foundation supports almost 60 projects worldwide and has improved the lives of over 150,000 children since its inception, through its global foundation and a growing network of eight subsidiary foundations in Argentina, France, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and the United States. The Foundation addresses social issues affecting young people which include social exclusion, gun and gang violence, discrimination, community integration, peace and reconciliation and education. The Laureus World Sports Academy is a unique association of 45 of the greatest living sporting legends led by its Chairman Edwin Moses. The Academy members share a belief in the power of sport to break down barriers, bring people together and to improve the lives of young people around the world. They act as global ambassadors for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, volunteering their time to visit projects in order to draw attention to the problems afflicting society today.

Witter in bouyant mood for Bradley

Junior Witter believes he is in the hottest form of his career ahead of his next world title defence against Timothy Bradley at the Trent FM Arena Nottingham on May 10. Witter (Bradford, England) makes the third defence of his prestigious WBC light-welterweight title on a Hennessy Sports show in association with as joint main event with Carl Froch’s (Nottingham, England) WBC super-middleweight title final eliminator against Denis Inkin (Russia). Witter is in Gran Canaria preparing for Bradley (Palm Springs, USA) and is confident the best is yet to come from him after knocking out Vivian Harris (New York/Guyana) in the seventh round in September. He said: "I think the Harris fight was the best of my career and it has raised the expectations on me, but I will deal with that when I deal with Bradley. "It was a brilliant stoppage of Harris, a former world champion, and it has given me a real boost. It showed that I am a big puncher after a few of my recent fights had gone to points. "But there’s still a lot more to come from me and the harder the fights, the better I perform." Witter has praised Bradley for stepping up to be his next challenger after American Demetrius Hopkins pulled out less than a month before a scheduled fight with ‘The Hitter’ in March. He said: "I was shocked when Hopkins pulled out and it was very frustrating because I had been training for 12 weeks. But Bradley has shown a lot of bottle for taking this fight and I give him respect for stepping up to the plate. I expect him to come at me with everything he’s got on the night." Witter needed surgery a week after his last fight on a knee injury, but says he is completely over the problem. He said: "The knee is fine and it has not slowed me down in training at all for this fight. I had surgery on it and the operation sorted the ligament problem in my left knee."
Both fights will be broadcast live on ITV1, with further fights from the under-card broadcast on ITV4, the show will also be shown on a ShoBox special in the US and on Super Channel Canada.
Tickets can be purchased via Trent FM Arena Nottingham on 08444 124 624 or via Ticket prices: Inner Ringside seating £150, Outer Ringside seating £75, Premium Tiered seating £40 & Reserved Tiered & Reserved Floor seating £30.

Froch gets on Calzaghe Bandwaggon

Carl Froch says he will produce a better performance than Joe Calzaghe did at the weekend in his WBC Super-Middleweight Title Final Eliminator against Denis Inkin (Russia) at the Trent FM Nottingham Arena on May 10. British champion Froch (22-0) 18 KO’s was not overly impressed by Clazaghe's points win over Bernard Hopkins in Las Vegas on Saturday. 'Cobra' Froch (Nottingham, England) fights Inkin live on ITV1 in the UK and on a slight delay on a ShoBox special in the US for the right to be the next mandatory challenger for the WBC title held by Calzaghe. "I've been a big Calzaghe fan down the years and I obviously wanted him to win, but it was a terrible performance from him and I thought Hopkins did enough on the night," said Froch. "Calzaghe was messy and inaccurate with his punches. Nothing really landed on Hopkins. I thought Calzaghe got beat”. "To be fair to Joe styles make fights and Hopkins was just looking to spoil later on, but I intend to give a better performance against Inkin. I'm treating this as a world title fight even though it is a final eliminator because I think Joe would rather give up the belt than fight me, I’m to fresh and to dangerous." Also on the Hennessy Sports bill is Junior Witter's (Bradford, England) next defence of his WBC Light-Welterweight Title against his mandatory challenger Timothy Bradley (Palm Springs, USA).

Chelsea on a mission to Moscow

Chelsea Football Club will play in a prestigious pre-season tournament in Russia this summer. The news was announced at a press conference in Moscow attended by Chelsea FC Chief Executive Peter Kenyon. Kenyon was alongside senior representatives from Lokomotiv Moscow, the hosts, as well as AC Milan and Sevilla who will also take part in the Russian Railways Cup. The tournament, which is in its second year, is named after Lokomotiv’s previous history of being formed by workers of the state railway and will take place between August 1 and August 3. Kenyon said: “We are delighted to play against such great opposition in Moscow in this tournament. “It will be the first time Chelsea has been to Russia for pre-season so this has the added advantage of providing excellent preparation for the new season with the opportunity for our growing number of fans in Moscow to see us play live twice.” The matches will be in a cup knockout format with a semi-final, final and third-place play-off, with the draw yet to be made. Matches will be played at Lokomotiv’s Central Stadium, which has a capacity of 28,800. Chelsea already has good connections with Lokomotiv following the transfer in January 2008 of Branislav Ivanovic to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea’s previous visit to Russia was to play in the 2004/5 Champions League group phase against CSKA Moscow. According to independent research by TNS (October 2007), Chelsea is the most popular Premier League team in Russia with an estimated 10 million fans. This was part of the same research that estimated Chelsea had a global fan base of 90 million. The club has also recently partnered with the National Academy of Football in Russia to produce a local language version of Chelsea’s website, The announcement of Chelsea’s participation in the Moscow tournament is the latest in a number of pre-season matches to be confirmed. Chelsea will play in Guangzhou, China on July 23 and in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on July 29. Another game on July 26 in Asia is still to be confirmed.

Prize Draw to play alongside Harrington

Fans attending this year’s Irish Open can win the chance to play with reigning champion Padraig Harrington in The Irish Open Pro-Am on Wednesday May 14. Anyone purchasing a ticket in advance of the tournament will be entered into a draw to join Ireland’s Number One player for 18 holes around the stunning Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, the scene of Harrington’s emotional victory last year when he ended a 25 year wait for a home winner of The Irish Open.Harrington, who, of course, went on to win The Open Championship at Carnoustie after his Irish Open success, will make his first competitive appearance on home soil since 12 months ago when he defends his title at Adare Manor from May 15-18. But before that title defence gets underway, one lucky fan will get the chance to win the experience of a lifetime by playing alongside Harrington in The Irish Open Pro-Am on Wednesday, May 14. One ticket will guarantee one entry into the prize draw, and all entrants must be available to play at any time of day on Wednesday, May 14. All entrants must have an official handicap of 24 or below for men and 36 or below for women. Harrington can expect a hero’s welcome upon his return to Adare Manor and he is relishing the challenge of defending his Irish Open crown. “It will be the first time I actually tee it up as The Open Champion in Ireland so it will bring a different sort of pressure,” he said. “I think I have to say after last year that I have the wherewithal to handle it.” Throughout April, advance tickets for The 2008 Irish Open are available at a 20 per cent discount, with Daily Tickets reduced from €25 to €20, and Season Ticket prices cut from €75 to €60. Junior fans aged 16 or under accompanied by an adult will be admitted free of charge throughout the tournament week. Full details of tickets and corporate hospitality are available on or by contacting +353 (0) 61 605250.

Seniors on show in Brunei

The European Seniors Tour will team up with Aberdeen Asset Management to stage an historic visit to Brunei next season for the Aberdeen Brunei Senior Masters, to be played over the Jack Nicklaus designed Empire Hotel and Country Club from February 26 – March 1, 2009. The Empire Hotel and Country Club, built upon a stunning cliff top location, has hosted the Asian Tour’s Brunei Open since 2006 and will welcome former Ryder Cup Captains Bernard Gallacher and Sam Torrance for the Aberdeen Brunei Senior Masters next year, the Seniors Tour’s first tournament in the region. The Aberdeen Brunei Senior Masters is sure to have a festival atmosphere as the beginning of the tournament week will coincide with Brunei’s National Day which falls on Monday, February 23 next year. Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, said: “We are proud to continue our support of the European Seniors Tour, following our successful three year association with the Senior Open Championship. Aberdeen Asset Management's sponsorship of the Aberdeen Brunei Senior Masters combines our long-standing commitments to the Asia Pacific region and to golf. ” Shuif Hussein, Chief Executive of the Stapleford Forum, said: “The Stapleford Forum is the business and networking forum of Stapleford Park and we are delighted to be involved in the first European Seniors Tour event in Asia. We are honoured to play a role in promoting Brunei to the UK and Europe and look forward to a reunion of the biggest names in golf in one of Asia's best resorts.” Andrew White, Chief Executive of tournament Promoters WSM Sponsorship, said: “Seniors golf is important to WSM. We are the current leading independent promoter on the European Seniors Tour and run events throughout the world including Barbados, Jersey and Poland therefore we are keen to see the schedule grow not only in the number of tournaments but in the territories into which we are taking Seniors Golf. “We are also in the middle of brokering a major international TV deal which will serve to promote not only the tournament but Brunei as a leading global golf destination.” Charlie Perring, Deputy Managing Director of the European Seniors Tour, said: “We are delighted to have this opportunity to visit such an exciting destination as Brunei, which will be a first for the European Seniors Tour. “Our thanks must go to our title sponsors Aberdeen Asset Management, the Government of Brunei and to our Promoters WSM Sponsorship for enabling this tournament to take place. We look forward to the challenge that the Empire Golf & Country Club will provide for us and the part we can play in promoting Brunei to a worldwide audience.”

Jumeirah to host Dubai World Championship

Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai’s premier residential golf community, today named the Earth course as host venue for the inaugural Dubai World Championship, the world’s richest golf tournament with a US$10 million prize fund, being staged in November 2009. Earth is one of four elementally-themed golf courses being developed at Jumeirah Golf Estates and one of the two courses being designed by Greg Norman in the first phase of the project. The decision to host the first Dubai World Championship on the Earth course was taken after Norman visited the site this month to monitor progress and make final design enhancements. Greg Norman said: “As a golf course architect, it is both rewarding and challenging to know that this course will be hosting the Dubai World Championship. “I’ve been fortunate to have a number of PGA Tour events played on courses I have designed. Of course, Jumeirah Golf Estates will be showcased on a global basis and as the golf course designer, I’m proud to be a part of such a significant event. “From my perspective I think that both the Earth and the Fire courses will be equally playable and I’m pleased with the progress that has been made on them.” Norman was returning to Dubai for his ninth site visit and spent his time fine-tuning the course design for the Championship. The final four holes of the Earth course will, he said, offer a spectacular finish: “Of course, I think the entire course has a great balance, but the finish will really stand out. The last four holes will measure exactly a mile, 1760 yards. I expect it will be considered one of the most challenging and exciting miles of golf, in terms of risk and reward. “The ‘final four’ will be comprised of a short par 4, long par 4, a great par 3 and a medium to long par 5, so a lot of things can happen on the home stretch. There could be a two or three shot swing which will cater to the best players, and of course, will be a defining moment for spectators and the television audience alike.” The Dubai World Championship will be the richest tournament in golf when it starts in November 2009. The tournament is the climax to the new US$10 million Race to Dubai, a season-long competition replacing the European Tour Order of Merit. The Championship will welcome the players ranked 1 to 60 on the Race to Dubai, showcasing only the very best golfers worldwide. David Spencer, Chief Executive, Golf at Leisurecorp, the owner of Jumeirah Golf Estates, said: “Earth is a fantastic choice for the first event and will be a true challenge of golf for the world’s best players. Now that we’ve got growth on the fairways and greens, as well as a great deal of mature tree planting, you can really see Greg’s vision taking shape. I know he’s proud of the course – and we certainly are! “All four courses at Jumeirah Golf Estates are being developed to the absolutely highest standards and over time, we expect to see the Dubai World Championship being played on one or more of the other courses.” Greg Norman said he had made a number of changes to the course for the Dubai World Championship on his recent visit, including repositioning some of the tees, lengthening some of the holes and re-contouring some of the greens to allow for more challenging pin positions. He said: “There were some significant changes on 7 and on 9 but everything else has been more subtle, getting the greens ready for the speed that we need them and so on. And we’ve had to allow for the infrastructure of a major tournament. That means laying cabling and getting prepared for the full hospitality suites, designing the right driving range facility, creating ease of access for parking and everything like that.” Norman also said the local conditions would help ensure some tough golf: “The challenge is that the wind switches so much. So the variety of this golf course is going to change dramatically from 10 o’clock in the morning to 2 o’clock in the afternoon - and that’s why we had to be meticulous in the way we designed the course. “There are going to be guys that will get through this golf course teeing off at 11 o’clock one way and then finishing off a totally different way. So they could really get the brunt of all the hard holes into the wind and that’s where this golf course could really change things.” Work is well under way on the Fire and Earth courses, which will be ready for play by the end of 2008 and the first Jumeirah Golf Estates homeowners will move into their communities during the first part of 2009.

Harrington set for Homecoming

Padraig Harrington will make his competitive return to Ireland next month when he tees up for the first time in his home country as The Open Champion to defend his Irish Open crown at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Limerick, from May 15-18. Harrington can expect a hero’s welcome from the home fans at the only European Tour event to be played in Ireland in 2008 when he sets about trying to match Nick Faldo who retained The Irish Open title while Open Champion 15 years ago. Harrington’s remarkable 2007 season gained momentum with a thrilling play-off victory over Welshman Bradley Dredge which sparked joyous scenes in the shadow of Adare Manor, with 1982 champion, John O’Leary, among the first to congratulate the new national hero as the 25 year wait for a home winner came to an end. Two months later, Ireland was celebrating once again as Harrington prevailed in a four hole play-off, this time against Spain’s Sergio Garcia, to win The Open Championship at Carnoustie and become the first Irishman to lift the Claret Jug since Fred Daly 60 years earlier. Harrington’s win at Adare Manor was instrumental in his Open Championship victory and both successes have a unique place in the 36 year old Dubliner’s memory. Reflecting on his Irish Open victory last year, Harrington said: “As it turned out The Irish Open victory meant more than even I realised at the time. Initially I was euphoric about winning an Irish Open. I had been trying for at least ten years, with many frustrations at Irish Opens. I always found it very difficult to handle the pressure, the distractions and the general hype of an Irish Open. Years of that building up, the fact that no Irishman had won it in 25 years, the media hype going into the event and then to actually finally win the tournament was ever so big for me. “To get that on my CV – I don’t think I would have ever felt as if I had a true career unless I had gone on to win The Irish Open. It was a relief but overall there was a sense of euphoria to go on and win it. Also, going into Adare Manor having won the JP McManus Pro-Am there in 2005 I knew I liked the golf course and it was perhaps my best chance to win the tournament. In many ways, that added to the expectation, and then the excitement of winning. “The 18th at Adare is a great setting in front of the Manor, and winning the play-off was a beautiful moment for me. That’s how I felt at the time but little did I know how much of an effect it would have on the rest of my year. It definitely was a big catalyst for going on to win The Open. I definitely felt more comfortable and I gained self confidence from that win. Being able to win under that pressure and distraction, being able to win in front of the home crowd with all their expectation, winning something I so dearly wanted to win, having so many goes at it and finally coming through, all helped with the experience of going into The Open. “It was a fantastic year with those two wins. There is no question The Irish Open is the fifth biggest tournament in the world to me. You have the four Majors and then to win an Irish Open is right up there. I think I would have found it harder to live without winning an Irish Open than without a Major. A Major is a lofty goal in anybody’s book. A lot of players have very good careers without winning a Major but winning my National Open, something with so much focus on it, was something I had to do.” It will be a very different experience for Harrington this year with a new expectation as defending Irish Open and Open Champion, but he is confident he has the tools to cope. “It will be the first time I actually tee it up as the Open Champion in Ireland so it will bring a different sort of pressure,” he said. “I think I have to say after last year that I have the wherewithal to handle it. “The key is that it is not a normal week. It took me a long time to realise that. For many years I kept trying to treat The Irish Open like it was a normal week and the one thing it isn’t is normal. It can’t be and you have to accept the fact. “Eventually I finally accepted that I wouldn’t be able to spend the time practising the week of the tournament, couldn’t spend the time on the range or the putting green and couldn’t spend the time I would normally in the gym. There are a lot of things going on and I have to accept that and run with it that week. I managed to do it last year and the fact that I got a positive result encouraged me for when weeks come around like that and I can still play good golf even when my normal routines are a little broken.”

King brings boxing to Romania

Don King will continue his march into Internet webcasting on Saturday with a battle of undefeated boxers vying for the interim World Boxing Council light heavyweight championship that pits Adrian Diaconu against Chris Henry that can be seen live exclusively on for free beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET/10:30 a.m. PT (GMT 5:30 p.m.) from the Sala Polivalenta in Bucharest, Romania. Three additional bouts will be shown live from Romania. Undefeated Ion Ionut “Jo Jo” Dan (20-0, 11 KOs), from Romania will take on Argentinean veteran Raul Balbi (55-8-1, 38 KOs) in a North American Boxing Association 140-pound championship; undefeated Romanian prospect Viorel Simion (7-0, 3 KOs) tangles with Spanish battler Rudy Encarnacion (18-11-2, 8 KOs); and 2003 world junior champion Bogdan Dinu, from Romania, will make his professional debut against Stephane Tessier, from Canada. To celebrate his second webcast, King has broken into his vast vault of previous fights to allow Don King visitors to see three big fights for free that have never been shown in America. Beginning at 1 p.m. ET on Thursday through the weekend, fans can see the bout where Nikolai “Giant Russian” Valuev won his first world title in a controversial decision over two-time World Boxing Association heavyweight champion John “The Quietman” Ruiz at Max Schmeling Halle in Berlin, Germany, on Dec. 17, 2005. “I have been overwhelmed by the people’s blessings of success to our pioneer effort in launching,” King said. “ is the people’s global network. I want to thank all the people who have logged on and will long on and to the bloggers who are the modern-day apostles of the media.” Beginning at 1 p.m. ET on Friday through the weekend, two more fan-favorite fights will be added to the schedule: Andrew Golota’s memorable Madison Square Garden brawls with Mike Tyson conqueror Kevin “The Clones Colossus” McBride that took place on Oct. 6, 2007, and the slugfest against Chicago heavyweight contender “Merciless” Mike Mollo from Jan. 19. Diaconu (24-0, 15 KO), born in Romania and now fighting out of Montreal, is the WBC No. 1 ranked mandatory challenger at the 175-pound weight limit and was to have faced WBC champion Chad Dawson during a Don King-promoted fight card on Sept. 29 at ARCO Arena in Sacramento, Calif. Diaconu was forced to bow out two weeks prior to that contest after suffering a hand injury that included bone contusions and soft tissue damage. Diaconu’s perfect record, and ability to re-schedule the postponed match with Dawson, will be challenged by the similarly perfect Henry (21-0, 17 KOs), from Houston, Texas. “I’m going to win this fight,” Henry said. “He [Diaconu] has no idea what he signed up for and is up against in Chris Henry.” Henry has shown great power with an 86-percent knockout percentage in 21 fights after being a professional prizefighter for just over three years. Henry’s style is to come straight to his opponents, which should cause fireworks with Diaconu, who possesses power in both hands as well. “Henry is talking a good game,” Diaconu said. “Let’s hope he brings that spirit to the ring on Saturday.” Henry has recently teamed with Ronnie Shields, one of boxing’s greatest trainers. “I needed Ronnie Shields to add just a little polish and experience,” Henry said. “Bobby Benton has always been my trainer and he’ll still be in my corner as a second along with Mike Roberts. Ronnie’s been working with me for about six months now and he has me ready.” Col. Bob Sheridan will provide blow-by-blow ringside descriptions from Romania and is being joined by special guest analyst Glen Johnson, a former light heavyweight champion. Promoter of the Romanian event is Gankor Promotions. is the exclusive webcaster of this event.

Cleveland take hold of the Seniors

The European Seniors Tour has renewed its partnership with Official Club Manufacturer and Sponsor Cleveland Golf. Under the terms of the marketing agreement, which now enters its second year, the Cleveland Golf brand will again receive commercial exposure throughout the 2008 season, and will also for the first time appear alongside other leading golf brands in the equipment section on the homepage of the official European Tour website. The link will grant customers quick and easy access to Cleveland’s own website, enabling them to view hundreds of golfing products, equipment and accessories. These include the HiBore XLS woods, used by European Tour member and triple Major winner Vijay Singh of Fiji, as well as the new CG12 wedges with zip grooves and the VP milled putter. For the second season, the Cleveland Truck will again be seen at various Seniors Tour events across the nine-month Schedule. A popular feature of the truck is its club sampling facility, which enables Seniors Tour Members to road test Cleveland’s wide range of new products. Andy Stubbs, Managing Director of the European Seniors Tour, said: “We’re delighted to renew our partnership with Cleveland Golf, which proved so successful last year and was welcomed by our Members. “We also hope this developing relationship allows Cleveland Golf to grow its existing profile with the European Tour audience, and showcase some of their excellent products.” Todd Harman, President of Cleveland Golf Europe, said: “ Cleveland Golf welcomes the opportunity to continue as the Official Club Manufacturer of the European Seniors Tour. With Cleveland Golf’s continued brand growth in Europe, we see this sponsorship agreement as a key component to meeting our core marketing objectives. We are proud to support the Members of the tour and we are particularly looking forward to this year’s exciting schedule.”

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Barratt at home with Watford Football Club

BARRATT North London established its head office in Watford ten years ago and to mark a decade dedicated to Watford and the surrounding boroughs, the housebuilder has sponsored Watford Football Club’s On-Side project, run by the club’s Community Sports & Education Trust. Gary Ennis, managing director of Barratt Southern Region, presented Julian Winter, director of the Trust, with a cheque for £20,000 - the first of three payments over three years totalling £60,000 - at the Watford verses Barnsley match on 9th April.On-Side is an innovative, community-based, social inclusion project for young people, boys and girls, aged 8-19 years. The idea is to engage with youngsters through the use of local facilities, thereby offering them safe and stimulating areas in which to have fun.The scheme will be delivered in the districts of Dacorum, St Albans, Three Rivers and Watford and will provide young people with a diverse range of activities including evening football, sports and arts sessions, inter-estate matches, match day activities and opportunities to gain coaching qualifications.On-Side will run for three years and will take a co-ordinated approach, through sports/leisure related activities, to working with young people, including those who are traditionally more difficult to engage, with the aim of reducing levels of anti-social behaviour. These activities will help to raise young people’s self-esteem, confidence and a much-needed sense of identity, and will encourage their respect for their own communities.Gary Ennis said: "We have built new homes in all four boroughs where On-Side is being offered and it is great to have the opportunity to support youngsters within these communities in this worthwhile initiative. During the last ten years we have been involved with individual charities in the areas we work in and will continue to support special projects wherever we can. Sponsorship of On-Side has given us a chance to consolidate what we put back into the community and is a great way to celebrate our tenth birthday in Watford."Barratt celebrates a decade dedicated to Watford with £60,000 sponsorship of Watford Football Club’s project for youngsters.Julian Winter said: "On-Side will have a positive impact for young people at a local level as it will promote active participation in healthy activities, encourage community cohesion and provide positive opportunities and experiences for those taking part. On behalf of the Trust, I would like to thank Barratt North London for its generous sponsorship for the next three years."Barratt North London employs 80 staff at its head office and a further 89 site staff. The division also has three graduates currently on training programmes and nine apprentices who work at the various housing developments. During the last ten years, Barratt North London has built around 5434 houses, with a third of these affordable homes for key workers, rent and shared ownership.More than 400 apartments and houses are currently being built in Watford at Queensgate in Derby Road; West Gate Mews in Whippendell Road; Willow Grange in Church Road and The Xchange in Exchange Road. Also planned for Watford is a development of 223 homes in Cow Lane and another 56 homes in The High Street; 157 homes are also planned for Croxley Green. Barratt North London is also building in Harlow, Harrow, Harpenden and Frogmore; future developments are planned for Baldock, Hemel Hempstead and High Wycombe.Barratt North London has been involved in many community projects and with various charities over the decade and is particularly keen to support young people. Last year, the division commissioned students at Barnet College to design and build two sculptures for its Osidge Park development in Barnet, and this year it is sponsoring students at Harlow College to produce a sculpture for its Fifth Avenue development in the town.The division’s current adopted charity is The Watford New Hope Trust, where fundraising activities have included staff abseiling down the side of the Harlequin Centre; an old-fashioned sports day is planned for May. Staff also recently raised £34,475 for the Liverpool Women’s Hospital Special Baby Care Unit following the excellent care it provided to a Hertfordshire couple and their premature twins.Barratt North London works closely with primary schools, hosting site visits for the children and sponsoring various school activities. The division also sponsored this year’s Youth Homeless Conference in Barnet and will be the major sponsor of the Harlow Show this year for the third consecutive year.Gary Ennis said: "We have enjoyed an excellent decade, both on the building front and in our involvement with the communities where we build. We are looking forward to another ten years and are delighted to be making such a good start with Watford Football Club’s On-Side; we wish the project every success."Barratt celebrates a decade dedicated to Watford with £60,000 sponsorship of Watford Football Club’s project for youngsters.Not only is Barratt North London located in Watford, the housebuilder also chose the town as the ideal location for the Southern Regional Office.

Turin to host Challenge Tour event

The European Challenge Tour will now include three visits to Italy in 2008 with news that a new tournament – the €150,000 Piemonte Open in Turin from Wednesday May 14 to Saturday May 17 – will feature on the schedule. The tournament will be contested at two venues– the Royal Park Golf Club and Torino Golf Club – with the first two rounds being played over both courses while the final two rounds will be contested solely at the Royal Park GC. The Piemonte Open will be the first trip to Italy in 2008 with the remaining two completing the season; the Toscana Open Italian Federation Cup at Le Pavoniere Golf and Country Club from October 16-19, followed by the Apulia San Domenico Grand Final at San Domenico Golf from October 23-26.The timing of the Piemonte Open will mean a fortnight of top quality European golfing action in Italy in May for the tournament comes the week after the Italian Open on The European Tour is staged at the Castello di Tolscinasco Golf and Country Club in Milan. Lorenzo Silva, President of Torino Golf Club, said: “In my position as Club President, I have great pleasure in hosting the Piemonte Open which will take place from May 14-17. The Torino Golf Club staged the Italian Open in 1999 and it is a great honour that our courses were selected by the Challenge Tour and the Italian Golf Federation Organising Committee to host such an important event.” Alain de Soultrait, European Challenge Tour Director, said: “We are delighted to welcome the Piemonte Open to the European Challenge Tour and in particular acknowledge the support we have received from the Italian Golf Federation in making this tournament a reality. “We always enjoy our trips to Italy and I am sure all the players who compete will relish the challenges presented by both the Royal Park Golf Club and Torino Golf Club.”

Seniors to converge on Royal Troon

Many of the iconic names in world golf will converge on Royal Troon Golf Club in Ayrshire, Scotland, from July 24-27 for The 2008 Senior Open Championship presented by MasterCard – and you, too, can be there to witness them at close quarters. Defending champion Tom Watson of America has fond memories of Royal Troon Golf Club, having triumphed there in 1982 to claim the third of his five Open Championship titles. Also included in this year’s Senior Open Championship field are two European Team Ryder Cup Captains, England’s Mark James and Ayrshire’s favourite son Sam Torrance, whilst the likes of Tom Kite, Mark O’Meara and 2006 champion Loren Roberts are expected to join Watson in leading the American challenge. Special prices are now available to golf fans who book advance tickets for the 2008 Championship. Anyone purchasing a season ticket before July 1, 2008, will receive £10 off the gate admission price of £60. One day tickets are available at £15 – a saving of £5 – if booked before July 1. A further 10% discount is also available for customers booking and paying by MasterCard. A Championship hospitality package in the Barcelό Troon Marine Hotel is also available to fans wishing to catch the action in style. For £120 (plus VAT) per person per day, you can enjoy luxurious surroundings while enjoying the exploits of the best Senior golfers in the world. Included in the hospitality package price are: course admission ticket; reserved parking label; continental breakfast; three course buffet lunch with wine; afternoon tea; complimentary programme and a draw sheet. To reserve your package, call today on +44 (0)1292 314444. Alternatively, you can e mail Tickets for the event can be booked now either via the hotline on 0800 023 2557, or online

Shoe sponsors boost Challenge Tour

Outstanding performance on the European Challenge Tour will for the first time this year be rewarded with a cheque for €10,000 and a 12-month shoe contract courtesy of official sponsors ECCO. ECCO representatives Thomas Bjorn of Denmark and Colin Montgomerie of Scotland have both leant their support to the award, which will be presented on two occasions in the season to the Challenge Tour Member who has shown the most promise over the preceding months. Bjorn and Montgomerie will be joined by Dieter Kasprzak, CEO of ECCO, and Alain de Soultrait, European Challenge Tour Managing Director, on the four man judging panel. The first winner will be selected following the conclusion of the Telenet Trophy at Limburg Golf and Country Club in Houthalen, Belgium, from June 19-22. The second award will be presented after the penultimate event on the Challenge Tour Schedule, the Toscana Open Italian Federation Cup at Le Pavoniere Golf and Country Club in Prato, Italy, from October 16-19. Each winner will be given a €10,000 cheque and the chance to take up a 12-month shoe contract with ECCO. ECCO, who will this year again support six Challenge Tour events and the season-ending Apulia San Domenico Grand Final in Italy, will also offer a pair of golf shoes to the winner of eachtournament on this season’s Schedule. Jesper Thuen, ECCO Sponsor and Event Manager, said: “At ECCO we believe excellence should be rewarded, which is why we are extremely proud to announce this new award on the European Challenge Tour. Our sponsorship of last year’s Challenge Tour was very fruitful for both parties, and we hope our continued commitment brings us even closer this year.” Alain de Soultrait, European Challenge Tour Managing Director, said: “We are very grateful to ECCO for their generosity in sponsoring this award, which gives our Members even greater incentive to perform well this season. We thank ECCO for their support, and I look forward to judging the first award in June.”

Scotland flys the flag for Ryder Cup 2014

While The 2014 Ryder Cup at The Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire is still over six years away, golf in Scotland is already feeling the benefits. That was the message delivered at this year’s Scottish Golf Show in Edinburgh where The Ryder Cup trophy was on public display. Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer of EventScotland said: "EventScotland is the lead agency as Scotland prepares to host The 2014 Ryder Cup. “Staging the competition at Gleneagles will provide a massive economic boost to Scotland and profile our country to millions of people around the world. A key part of our work as we build to that year is securing professional golf events that broaden interest and participation in the sport. “This year EventScotland is investing in the Ladies Scottish Open, the Scottish Challenge, The Senior Open Championship, and the Scottish Seniors Open and we are looking at all golf opportunities through to 2020 and beyond.” EventScotland also supports The Open Championship in conjunction with VisitScotland and Scottish Enterprise. Additionally Scotland hosts three European Tour events every year (The Barclays Scottish Open, the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship). In the future Scotland will also host the Walker Cup in 2011, and the Curtis Cup in 2008 and 2012. Minister for Communities and Sport, Stewart Maxwell, said: “I’m sure people across Scotland are extremely excited about the prospect of The Ryder Cup coming back to the ‘Home of Golf’ in 2014. Together with the Commonwealth Games, which we’ll be hosting in Glasgow the same year, 2014 promises to be a truly spectacular year for sport in Scotland. “I’m delighted that through EventScotland we’re continuing to secure high-profile golf events for Scotland, as they not only boost our economy but also help to cement Scotland’s reputation as a premier golfing nation and our status as the sport’s birthplace. “In recognition of the importance the Scottish Government places on golf, we are investing more than £900,000 this year in the sport, including £500,000 for the Clubgolf programme which gives young people across Scotland the chance to try golf – helping to spot our stars of the future.” Richard Hills, Ryder Cup Director, said: “Ryder Cup Europe is delighted to make The Ryder Cup trophy available to EventScotland to showcase at the Scottish Golf Show today. This will provide visitors to the Scottish Golf Show with the opportunity to view the trophy which Europe will be seeking to win for a record fourth straight time against the United States when the 37th edition takes place at Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, Kentucky on September 19-21. “We would like to thank EventScotland and the Scottish Government for their continued commitment to The 2014 Ryder Cup at The Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire in addition to the annual programme of golf tournaments which includes the Scottish Challenge, the Scottish Seniors Open, the Senior Open Championship, presented by MasterCard and the widely-acclaimed Junior Golf initiative, ClubGolf.”

Mason gunning for a Hat-trick

England’s Carl Mason will bid to become the first player to win a European Seniors Tour title for three consecutive years when he tees up at Woburn Golf Club for the Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters from August 29-31. With the return of tournament sponsors Travis Perkins plc, the prize fund on offer to this year’s field has been increased to £250,000, giving Mason further scope to improve his standing on the all-time career money winners list – which he currently heads with earnings of €1,642,960. Mason first triumphed over the tree-lined 6,896 yard, par 72 Duke’s Course at Woburn Golf Club in 2006, before successfully defending his European Senior Masters title last year – and in the process becoming the richest golfer in the history of the Seniors Tour. After he and Italy’s Costantino Rocca had tied on an aggregate total of six under par 210, Mason birdied the first extra hole to register his 17th Seniors Tour victory and claim a winner’s cheque for €49,713 and an additional Woburn Golf Club bonus of £10,000 presented by the Duke of Bedford. That took his career earnings to €1,512,836 and saw Mason surpass compatriot Tommy Horton, the previous record holder, as the leading Seniors Tour money winner of all time. Mason will return to Woburn this year, hopeful of setting yet another record in a career already overflowing with “firsts". He said: “I always enjoy playing at Woburn – along with Wentworth, it’s one of the country’s great courses. It’s beautiful, and it helps that I’ve got a good record there. The course really suits my game. “The Senior Masters is always a tournament I look forward to anyway. It’s always an honour to defend your title, and I guess this year there’s an added incentive for me to win the tournament three times running. “It would obviously be an honour to become the first player on the Seniors Tour to achieve the feat. I feel privileged to have set and broken records, because it’s a great feeling – even if it’s not something I necessarily set out to do when I joined the Seniors Tour.” Mason is unlikely to have it all his own way this year, however, as a number of former winners are expected to confirm their attendance in this year’s field, including European Team Ryder Cup Captain Mark James of England, who beat Scotland’s Sam Torrance in a play-off in 2005, and Jamaica’s Delroy Cambridge, who finished fourth at the season-opening DGM Barbados Open in March. Andy Stubbs, Managing Director of the European Seniors Tour, said: “We’re delighted to be returning to Woburn Golf Club for the European Senior Masters, and to welcome back Travis Perkins plc as sponsors on the Seniors Tour. “We’ve seen some epic battles over the Duke’s Course in recent seasons and, with Carl Mason looking to win the tournament for the third year running, we should be in for another feast of golf this year.” The Duke of Bedford said: “We are delighted Carl has confirmed he will be returning to Woburn again in August. He will be bidding to win the trophy for the third consecutive year against a very strong field who will be out to prevent the hat-trick – but he definitely has a favourite’s chance of pulling it off.” Golf was first introduced at Woburn by the late 14th Duke of Bedford in 1973, with the construction on his estate of the Duke’s Course in 1976 and the Duchess Course two years later with the third course, the Marquess Course, opening in June 2000. Woburn Golf Club first hosted a professional tournament on The European Tour in 1979, when Australia’s Graham Marsh won the Dunlop British Masters over the Duke’s Course. His aggregate total of five under par 283 through 72 holes saw Marsh edge out Japan’s Isao Aoki and England’s Neil Coles. Woburn Golf Club subsequently staged a further 15 British Masters until 2002, when England’s Justin Rose won, and has hosted the European Senior Masters on seven occasions since 2001. The 2008 Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters will be the 48th professional tournament held at Woburn Golf Club in its 32 year history.

McDowell claims Top Spot for March

Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland has been named as The European Tour Golfer of the Month for March following his victory in the inaugural Ballantine’s Championship at Pinx Golf Club, Jeju Island, Korea. McDowell captured his third European Tour title after a sudden-death play-off with Jeev Milkha Singh of India, producing a magnificent seven iron approach from 179 yards to 12 inches for a tap-in birdie at the third extra hole. The Ulsterman won the March Award ahead of several notable contenders, including Frenchman Thomas Levet, who showed he has recovered from vertigo by winning the MAPFRE Open de Andalucia by Valle Romano – also in a play-off from England’s Oliver Fisher. Also in the running were India’s Arjun Atwal, winner of the Maybank Malaysian Open; Scotland’s Alastair Forsyth, who claimed the Madeira Islands Open BPI – Portugal and Bernhard Langer of Germany, who heads the US Champions Tour money list after his victories in the Toshiba Classic and the Ginn Championship Hammock Beach Resort. McDowell admitted that the shot to win the play-off was “definitely up there” with the best he has hit in his professional career. He said: “There’s no doubt it's in my top five best shots I’ve ever hit under the gun. “In the play-off, Jeev looked like he had hit it pretty close and I had a similar yardage to what I had the second time around and I knew a seven iron was obviously perfect. This time I just had to make sure I aimed right at the flag, and it came off perfectly. The second I hit it, I thought it was the right club.” Other monthly winners in 2008 have been Germany’s Martin Kaymer (January) and Mark Brown of New Zealand (February). At the end of the year, all the monthly winners will be considered for the award of The European Tour Golfer of the Year.

King is a hit on Cyberspace

Don King’s illustrious promotional career ventured into cyberspace with his first-ever live webcast of a boxing event on on March 27. As usual, his presence was felt when 400,000 total page views and 200,000 unique page views were recorded for his championship doubleheader featuring Cory Spinks vs. Verno Phillips and Devon Alexander “The Great” vs. Miguel Callist from Scottrade Center in St. Louis. “I am delighted with the super-sensational response to my first webcast at,” King said. “I felt the timing was right for me to begin providing boxing matches on the Internet and the public’s response with more than 200,000 individual visitors logging on in 94 countries has confirmed that. It’s definitely the wave of the future and Don King Productions will be on the leading edge.”

Calzaghe out to end Hopkins career

Joe Calzaghe has vowed to turn the tables on Bernard Hopkins - and "execute" what remains of the American's career.The 36-year-old Welshman tackles Hopkins on April 19 at the Planet Hollywood Ring in Las Vegas, and the winner will be declared the best light-heavyweight in the world.And Calzaghe says it will be a night to savour for British fight fans fed up with motor-mouth Hopkins' disrespectful comments." I'm going to bring the final curtain down on Ol' Popkins," said Calzaghe." He likes to dress up in his Executioner mask, but it will be the last time anyone sees it on April 19 because I'll retire him once and for all." This will be the executioner's last song. I'm sure the Fat Lady will be singing when he makes his ring entrance on the night!" I don't know if he's got any last requests as far as his career is concerned, but he better get them in quick because he'll be retiring after I've defeated him."Calzaghe, the undisputed super-middleweight world champion, has been in Las Vegas for almost a week now as he fine tunes his preparations for the biggest fight of his career." There's a tremendous buzz out here at the moment," said Calzaghe. "I've already seen a few British fans, and I know it is going to be a night to remember." I've waited a long time to make my US debut, and to do it on a massive card in Las Vegas is a dream come true." I know other British fighters have come over here and failed to produce the goods, but I won't be one of them. This is my moment and I'm relishing the fight with Hopkins."

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Medical Checks for Ryder Cup Europeans

Many of the leading candidates seeking places in The European Team to defend The Ryder Cup in the United States this autumn will be offered a unique opportunity to monitor their fitness ahead of the rigorous examination to be faced in golf’s greatest team event at Valhalla Golf Club from September 19-21. Through an arrangement between Ryder Cup Europe and Sports Orthopaedics Spinal Ltd (SOS), based in Weybridge, Surrey, the leading 20 players in The 2008 Ryder Cup Points List will be invited to undergo a comprehensive Health and Fitness Screening procedure, at one of the country’s most sophisticated medical facilities, during the week of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club from May 22-25. The proposal was instigated by Jonathan Shrewsbury, the Clinical Director of SOS, who worked closely with four European Ryder Cup Teams between 1993 and 1999 as part of The European Tour’s Physiotherapy Team.
Aware how exhausting The Ryder Cup can be, both physically and emotionally, Shrewsbury felt it might be possible to marry medical expertise and the health levels of the leading players, with the aim of optimising Europe’s performance in Louisville, Kentucky. European Captain, Nick Faldo, has already participated in a dry run – which lasted almost five hours – at SOS and is enthusiastic about the process which, he says, could make a significant difference during The Ryder Cup. Faldo underwent a full range of eight separate procedures, under the scrutiny of five highly qualified clinicians, including bio-mechanical screening, cardiovascular analysis, strength testing, balance, flexibility, core stability, diagnostic and scanning procedures the latter involving the ‘state of the art’ MRI facilities at Weybridge Diagnostic Centre. Now Faldo is hoping that many of those players who have the chance to qualify for his Team will take the opportunity to undergo the examination on Monday and Tuesday May 19 and 20, just prior to the BMW PGA Championship. He said: “The range of tests, screening and analyses which I went through at SOS and Weybridge Diagnostic Centre was, to use a phrase, ‘the appliance of science’ as it relates to golf. “I believe it is a non-intrusive set of procedures which can be informative to all the guys who have a chance of making the Team at Valhalla. It can offer clues to their levels of fitness and health in the months building up to The Ryder Cup. “From my own point of view, I like to know what condition I’m in and it’s a pleasant feeling when the doc says: ‘you’re in great shape’. You are only as strong as your weakest point and such is the workload in The Ryder Cup that fatigue can easily kick in. “These guys all perform at the highest level and want to improve. In terms of their fitness, their exercise regime, their diet, their bio-mechanical condition - going through this process can identify areas of weakness which might need improving before The Ryder Cup. “One tiny change to any of those elements could make a world of difference under the cosh at Valhalla. I would strongly encourage the guys to accept the invitation to go through the screening process. Even if they don’t qualify for the Team or get one of my Wild Cards, they will certainly benefit from the fitness evaluation.” Shrewsbury said: “The Health and Fitness Screening Programme can take from two to three hours, in which the subject undergoes in-depth analysis and assessment of his physical well-being. “Nick spent almost five hours going through every procedure imaginable and five different specialists supervised the testing. I was fortunate enough to work with The European Team at four consecutive Ryder Cups between 1993 and 1999 and there is no question that the intensity of those three days can place a huge emotional and physical strain on the players, especially those who play all five matches. “This procedure, undertaken by Sports Orthopaedics Spinal, can determine how players and the Captain might optimise their performance at Valhalla. Naturally, Nick is looking at any possible edge he and his Team can get and we both hope that the players will take advantage of this unique opportunity during the BMW PGA Championship.” Richard Hills, Ryder Cup Director, commented: “We are delighted, in conjunction with Jonathan and his team, to offer this superb opportunity to the leading 20 players on The Ryder Cup Points List at the time of the BMW PGA Championship. Physical and mental wellbeing are important at any time, but especially during the heat of a Ryder Cup. “We would like to thank Sports Orthopaedics Spinal and Weybridge Diagnostic Centre for making this service available to our Members, and if it makes the difference between a half point and a full point at some stage of the match in September, then the exercise will have been a huge success.”