Monday, June 30, 2008

Macklin Eyes World Title Dream

Top middleweight contender Matthew Macklin is hoping that re-signing with promoter Frank Warren will help him win a world title. The 26-year-old will fight in his home city of Birmingham for only the second time when he appears at the Aston Events Centre on July 19. All-action Macklin will fight Francis Cheka in a 10-rounder on the bill joint-headlined by Audley Harrison versus Martin Rogan and the return of Enzo Maccarinelli. And he believes the fight will take him a step closer to a world title opportunity. "I've always dreamed of winning a world title, and I believe I can make my dream come true in the next two years," said Macklin. "I know with my ability and Frank Warren's connections, I'll soon be making my way up the world rankings. "Kelly Pavlik is obviously the man at middleweight at the moment, but I'm not sure how long he is planning to stay around. "And when he moves up, I'll be in a position to take advantage." Macklin, with 16 stoppages from 21 wins, is promising Birmingham fight fans an explosive performance next month. "I've not had the chance to fight in front of my own fans too often, so when Frank offered me the chance to box in front of my home fans, I jumped at it," said Macklin. "I've shifted hundreds of tickets already, and the fans in the Midlands are some of the most passionate in the world, and I won't be letting them down when I fight Cheka." Tickets for The Road Back, priced at £40, £75 and £100, are available from The Ticket Factory on 0871 945 6000 and See Tickets on 0870 060 3794

Cobra Calls Out Taylor

Carl Froch has now got his hard-earned shot at the vacant WBC super-middleweight title against Jermain Taylor later this year but hopes his co-challenger doesn't bottle out of it.Undefeated British champion Froch has been elected to fight American Taylor, the former undisputed middleweight champion, for the prestigious vacant WBC title after Joe Calzaghe vacated the belt rather than fight mandatory challenger Froch.The WBC have ordered a private negotiating period between Froch’s promoter Mick Hennessy and Taylor’s promoter Lou DiBella. If there is no agreement then a purse bid will be held on Friday July 25, 2008, at the WBC Executive Offices in Mexico City.‘Cobra’ Froch has challenged Taylor not to duck out of facing him in one of 2008's biggest global fights and also launched a stinging attack on Taylor’s promoter Lou DiBella after his recent comments on The Fight Network.“I’m delighted to get the title fight and just hope Taylor shows a real fighting heart and goes through with this fight,” said Froch, who has stopped 19 opponents in 23 fights.“I’ve heard he was talking about fighting Jeff Lacy next but that fight is a mismatch in my opinion.“I would knock Lacy out in a round or two and it is an easy fight for Taylor, so I just hope Jermain doesn’t squirm out of this situation with me and I think the broadcasters shouldn’t allow him to either.“I heard Lou DiBella has said ‘who is Carl Froch to American television', but he will know who the ‘Cobra’ is when his fighter is laying horizontal in front of him. Then I will ask him what does he know about boxing?“In my opinion doing Taylor versus Lacy is just as bad as doing Kelly Pavlik versus Gary Lockett. It’s a mismatch and anyone who buys into that has got to be nuts in my opinion.“Lacy seems scared of his own shadow at the moment and Taylor will also be a chicken if he swerves me.“DiBella says American TV isn’t interested in me but believe me they are. Once I knock out Taylor, I will do the same to Kelly Pavlik.”Froch’s promoter Mick Hennessy has been in talks with DiBella and is confident the ‘Cobra’ will be the new undisputed No 1 of the super-middleweight division.“Carl would have taken out Calzaghe in style but now he will do it to Jermain Taylor instead. He is the new star of world boxing,” said Hennessy.“I’ve been speaking with Lou DiBella for a while now and I just hope they don’t start opting for easier fights for Jermain. This could be a massive fight

Taco Proves a Dutch Master

A quite stunning final round saw Taco Remkes of the Netherlands blow the field away at the Scottish Challenge to claim his maiden Challenge Tour title. Remkes’ victory at Macdonald Cardrona Hotel Golf and Country Club meant a double delight for the Dutch on Scottish soil, following his compatriot Reiner Saxton’s Amateur Championship triumph at Turnberry just eight days previously. At 23 Remkes is the senior partner, but the man from Amsterdam still showed astonishing maturity to card six birdies on the front nine en route to a round of 65 to finish on 13 under par, five shots clear of his nearest challengers. A winner’s cheque for €35,200 also catapulted Remkes into the top five of the Challenge Tour Rankings in his maiden season, with the top 20 gaining cards on next season’s European Tour International Schedule. Remkes said: “I told myself to stay calm and relax, because it’s just another 18 holes of golf. Starting with three birdies was fantastic – every putt seemed to drop in the hole! On the back nine the wind got up a little bit, but I knew pars would be good enough to win. It’s a great feeling to win in my first season on the Challenge Tour. “It’s been a good couple of weeks for Dutch players in Scotland. I know Reiner Saxton very well, because we belong to the same golf club in Amsterdam. I was really pleased for him, because he gets to play the Masters – what more can you want? I don’t know why it is that Dutch players are doing so well in Scotland, but we certainly enjoy the place!” England’s Seve Benson and overnight leader Jeppe Huldahl finished in a tie for second on eight under par. Benson’s cheque for €19,800 saw the man from Surrey climb to the top of the Challenge Tour Rankings.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Finch Makes a Splash in May

Richard Finch’s memorable third shot on the final hole of The Irish Open, which ended with him taking an impromptu dip into the River Maigue before getting his hands on the silverware, has been voted The European Tour Shot of the Month for May. Finch was three shots clear of his closest challenger, Felipe Aguilar of Chile, coming down the par five finishing hole at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, when he drove his ball into the right hand rough before over-hitting his lay-up second onto the edge of the riverbank. Despite the ball being above his feet and perilously close to the water hazard, the Englishman managed to find the green with a fine third shot. However, the momentum also knocked him off balance and he plunged into the water, much to the amusement of the packed gallery. That mattered little to Finch, who was fished out by his caddie before crossing the river and taking three putts to secure the title and the €416,660 first prize. Of his crowd-pleasing shot, Finch said: “When I got there, I thought, well, it looks fine, I've got room to swing and I can get my stance, and I never really gave falling in a thought, to be honest. “As I hit the shot, I knew straight away I had sort of made decent contact. I don't know whether I slipped or went round with momentum. And then the next thing I sort of just was gradually falling down the bank. “I kept trying to follow the ball, but obviously then I looked up and saw it on the green, and I was sort in a bit of shock of, thinking my God, what have I done!” A close second in the Shot of the Month award was Spain’s Miguel Angel Jiménez for his hole-in-one on the fifth hole in the final round of the BMW PGA Championship, which he went on to win after defeating Oliver Wilson in a sudden-death play-off. Third was Jiménez again for his fairway wood at the second play-off hole to the middle of the green, at the same tournament. Previous monthly award winners were South Africa’s Richard Sterne (January), New Zealand’s Mark Brown (February) and the Northern Ireland pair of Graeme McDowell (March) and Darren Clarke (April). The European Tour Shot of the Month Award is presented to the Tour Member for the shot judged to be the most outstanding played during each calendar month on The European Tour International Schedule. The winning shots from each month are entered into The European Tour Shot of the Year Award

Free Tickets for The European Open

The start of The European Open at The London Golf Club is only a week away and there is a still chance to see the first day’s play free of charge with the Free Ticket Thursday offer. The European Open is being played in England for the first time in 14 years with the championship moving to The London Golf Club in Kent from July 3-6. Some 25,000 free tickets have already been taken up, setting the scene for one of the most exciting events on The European Tour International Schedule and there are still a few days left to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to see the likes of Open Champion Padraig Harrington, European Tour Number One Justin Rose, The Players Championship winner Sergio Garcia and defending champion Colin Montgomerie test their skills against Jack Nicklaus-designed Heritage Course as they compete for a £2.4 million prize fund. Jamie Birkmyre, The European Tour’s Director of Championship Management, said: “There has been a fantastic response to the Free Ticket Thursday offer and we are really excited about the first day and the atmosphere this will create. We are looking forward to welcoming spectators – both regular supporters of The European Tour and those who will experience the thrill of world-class competition for the first time – for what is sure to be a superb week.” It promises to be an unforgettable experience for spectators who can take advantage of the natural grandstands surrounding nearly every hole and enjoy the outstanding catering facilities and other features of the tented village at the course located near Brands Hatch, just 30 miles outside London. Anyone wishing to take up this outstanding Free Ticket Thursday offer should log on to: to apply for up to two tickets per applicant. Electronic tickets will then be emailed to applicants, incorporating details of how to collect discounted tickets for any one of the subsequent three day’s play. The Free Ticket Thursday e-tickets can be exchanged at the course on July 3 only for tickets for play on Friday, Saturday or Sunday at a cost of £15 each – a saving of £10 on the daily admission price on the gate. Senior citizens (aged 60 and over) will be entitled to a reduction from £15 to £5. A full price Adult Season Ticket costs £60 on the gate during tournament week. A one day ticket is priced at £25 on the gate, while for Senior Citizens the charge for a season ticket is £35 on the gate. Senior day tickets are £15 on the gate. Entry for Under 16s is free, providing they are accompanied by an adult. All public parking is also free of charge. Further information on the Free Ticket Thursday offer is available by calling 0800 0232557. Telephone applicants will receive their information by post. The European Open is also an opportunity to experience the finest hospitality. Situated alongside the 18th Green, with stunning views of the treacherous closing hole and panoramic views out across the course, The European Open Pavilion offers a wonderful sporting experience. For details of the hospitality packages, please contact David Watt, Hospitality Sales Manager, on +44 (0)1344 840 483 or

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Blues Back the Youth in USA

Chelsea Football Club announced today the start of an unprecedented initiative to partner with America’s top youth football clubs. Chelsea is beginning to build a network of top youth clubs across America to develop Chelsea Soccer Schools, a new tournament called the Chelsea Sevens, coaching clinics and exchange programmes. The first relationship is with one of the largest and most successful youth football clubs in the US, the Capital Area Soccer League (CASL) of North Carolina. Chelsea FC Chief Executive Peter Kenyon said: “Our new Chelsea youth super club network is the latest of many strategic projects Chelsea have in the US. “They are all designed to assist the growth and development of US soccer at the grass roots as well as the top level. The youth movement in the United States is a massive part of that. “CASL is clearly one of the leading American youth football clubs and I am delighted they are the first to become part of this project. “We will be working with them to support player coaching and development and this will be beneficial for both organisations. “In addition to our new partnership with CASL and continued support from key partners like adidas and Disney in the US Chelsea’s work should positively impact youth soccer and the wider game in the US. "This holistic approach is central to Chelsea's philosophy as a club and a business." Individual Chelsea first-team players are likely to serve as special ambassadors to each youth club in the programme along with Chelsea Ladies midfielder and former US World Cup winner Lorrie Fair also representing the programme. Demonstrating Chelsea’s commitment to grassroots player development, CASL is hosting three Chelsea Soccer Schools featuring courses from Chelsea Academy coaches in late June in North Carolina. CASL also will plan an inaugural Chelsea Sevens tournament at the WRAL Soccer Center in North Carolina. The 7 v 7 tournament will be for boys and girls U-10 to U-18. CASL Chief Executive Charlie Slagle said: “From their young Academy player to the first team super stars, Chelsea are one of the elite clubs in international soccer. For them to devote time, resources and energy to our young players and dedicated coaching staff truly shows their commitment to the game here in the US. “We work very hard to be one of the top full-service clubs in the country and to be selected to form an affiliation with a club of Chelsea’s standard is very gratifying to understand what we are doing is having an impact beyond our local community.” Chelsea encountered the CASL organisation recently after the Chelsea Academy U-16 team lost to the CASL U-16 Academy team in the Final at Disney’s Soccer Showcase in Orlando in December 2007. CASL includes approximately 9,000 registered youth soccer players, making up nearly 800 teams, totalling 20,000 players, coaches, officials, parents, volunteers and supporters. The American youth club includes girls and boys, aged 4 to 19 in the greater Raleigh, North Carolina area and hosts multiple tournaments throughout the year. The 2008 CASL Shootout and Showcase Tournaments in November and December will be presented by Chelsea FC. These tournaments feature 1,000 US youth soccer teams and have a regional annual economic impact of nearly 9 million dollars. CASL Director of Coaching Jay Howell said: “Chelsea are already providing us with an insider’s look at their coaching philosophy and training techniques. “When we are dealing with young, elite players – both boys and girls – we have to expose them to higher levels of training and new approaches. Chelsea clearly have a genuine interest in the game and player development because they are working with players from all over the world and yet the US is an untapped market.” The Chelsea youth super club network will comprise top regional clubs across America, affiliated with U.S. soccer organisations like US Youth Soccer, US Soccer Club, Super Y-League and the U.S. Development Academy. The American youth club initiative will lead to the first Chelsea association with the U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy. The current U-16 and U-18 CASL Academy teams now will be featured as the CASL Chelsea FC Academy Teams and will wear official Chelsea kits and training gear. As part of Chelsea’s ongoing commitment to American soccer fans, Chelsea have brought the first team to the US for pre-season tours in the last four years.

O' Donnell on the Comeback Trail

John O’Donnell continues on the comeback trail as part of a talented and exciting bill at the York Hall in Bethnal Green on Friday, 27th June 2008.Top of the Hennessy Sports in association with bill is the British Super-Bantamweight Title fight between Esham Pickering (Newark) and Matthew Marsh (Welling) and there is plenty of quality on display before the main event featuring London boxers.Stylish Shepherds Bush welterweight O’Donnell out-pointed Billy Smith over four rounds only last month after suffering his first professional loss to Mexican Christian Solano in Las Vegas in May. O’Donnell boxed in America with an ear problem which has since been resolved and is looking to put on an impressive display over six rounds to show he is still one of this country's outstanding talents.Morden’s Lenny Daws, the former British light-welterweight champion, faces Frenchman Mihaita Mutu in a ten-round international contest. Daws hopes victory over the former European lightweight title challenger will get him a British title shot.Sidcup’s Dave Walker is back in action against Isle of Wight’s Jay Morris over six rounds down at welterweight, having contested British and European titles up at light-middleweight.Undefeated Colchester lightweight Lee ‘Lights Out’ Purdy is gunning for his third successive first round knockout after stopping Jamie Spence and Craig Dyer in the opening sessions earlier this year. He has won all seven fights since his pro debut in December 2006. Purdy faces Kenyan Geoffrey Munika over six rounds.Gareth Couch is another unbeaten prospect and the High Wycombe light-welterweight is looking to build on his last win when he overcame Tom Glover by a four-round point’s decision two months ago. Couch, who faces Coventry’s Baz Carey over six rounds, said: “I want to box a lot more often after having just one fight last year and this next fight will get me even more sharper.”Canning Town crowd-pleaser George Hillyard is aiming for his fourth win in a row when he takes on Wimbledon’s Danny Goode in a six-round light-middleweight contest in his first fight in eight months.Stevenage light-middleweight Daniel Herdman and Canning Town super-middle Dwayne Lewis continue their young careers elsewhere on the bill in four round bouts. Lewis faces against Sheffield’s Dean Walker and Herdman boxes JJ Bird of Peterborough.The show will be televised live on Sky Sports 1 at 9.30pm.

Khan and Arthur to Star in Manchester

British boxing stars Alex Arthur and Amir Khan will both feature at the Manchester Evening News on Saturday 6th September in a blockbuster show promoted by Frank Warren. All-action Arthur, the WBO World Super-Featherweight Champion, makes the second defence of his title against a challenger to be announced. Edinburgh star Arthur, 29, won the Interim title against Koba Gogoladze in July last year and made one defence against Stephen Foster Junior last December before he was installed as full champion. Bolton hot-shot Khan won a thrilling five-round shoot-out against rival Michael Gomez to retain his Commonwealth Lightweight title last Saturday night.Khan, 21, dropped Gomez in the first but was then floored himself in the second before he stopped the brave Mancunian in the fifth round.Khan's opponent will also be announced in due course.This will be the first time that Arthur and Khan have fought at the M.E.N Arena that has hosted some of the biggest names and greatest fights in British boxing.

Gale Makes Million Pound Mark

Australian Terry Gale joined an illustrious group of Members when he became the seventh player to pass the €1million mark in official career earnings on the European Seniors Tour.
Gale’s tied 15th place and €7,209 prize cheque at the Irish Seniors Open in association with Failte Ireland and Allied Irish Bank took his overall winnings to €1,003,674. He joins, in order, Tommy Horton, Noel Ratcliffe, Carl Mason, Nick Job, Jim Rhodes and Denis O’Sullivan as the only players to pass the milestone on the Seniors Tour since its inception in 1992. The 62 year old, who is the second Australian after Ratcliffe to join the group, has seven Seniors Tour victories to his name – the first arriving in his rookie season at the 1996 PGA Seniors Championship and the last at the 2005 Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open. He admitted he was relieved to finally pass the €1million mark after fearing he was stuck in the “nervous” €990,000s since last season. Gale said: “I should have passed it last year really but I didn’t have a good season. I feel like I have been in the €990,000s for ages! I thought this year I would pass it but I thought I might have done it a few weeks ago after playing in Poland, and Jersey, and Wales. I think I handled the conditions better in Ireland as I think I got used to links courses.
“It is only a figure – some of these young guys win €1million in a week – but it’s still a nice thing to achieve. I think I was in front of Denis O’Sullivan and Nick Job for a while but I think they played better than I did last year and did it before me. “The others who have done it are better players than me by a long way. You look at Tommy Horton, who dominated the Seniors Tour in its early stage, and Carl Mason who dominated it in recent years. I started well winning the PGA Seniors in my first year and it’s something nice to say I’ve done but I’ve got to work out whether I’ve spent €1million getting there! I won’t lead the Order of Merit but I’ve sure I could lead an Order of Merit on air fares and distances covered. “It’s been great though. I’ve very appreciative of the opportunity I’ve had on the European Seniors Tour. I’ve made a lot of friends on this Tour.” Gale said the highlight of his 13 years on the Seniors Tour was the 2003 season when he finished third in the Order of Merit, behind winner Carl Mason and runner-up Bill Longmuir. He said: “I was lucky enough to win in Monte Carlo in 2002 but the year that was the highlight really was 2003, as I won in Barbados, Tobago and Scotland and finished third overall. I was 56 then and there was a time I thought I’d missed my best years but then I had a great year so that was probably the highlight for me.” Japan’s Seiji Ebihara is next in line to pass the €1million mark, lying eighth in the all time Seniors Tour career prize money list with current earnings of €982,030. A good season for 2002 Ryder Cup winning Captain Sam Torrance could also see the Scot join Gale in the exclusive group. The 2005 and 2006 Order of Merit winner currently has career earnings of €924,492 on the Seniors Tour.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Daws Ready to Strike

Lenny Daws believes he will deserve another crack at the British Title if he beats experienced Frenchman Mihaita Mutu at the York Hall on Friday, 27th June 2008. The Hennessy Sports light-welterweight is chief support on the same excitement-packed bill as British super-bantamweight champion Esham Pickering versus Matthew Marsh which Sky Sports will televise live. 'Lightning' Lenny (Morden/Carshalton) lost his British Light-Welterweight Title to Barry Morrison on points last year and is looking for another opportunity to prove he is the best of British. Daws wants the winner of Morrison (Motherwell) against new champion David Barnes (Manchester) on July 4 and sees beating Mutu as the ideal preparation. "This is a chance for me to show I'm ready for another shot," said Daws, who is supported by the Morden massive. "Mutu has got an eight round points win over Barry Morrison, who fights David Barnes for the British title a week after my fight, so he is no mug. "If I can look good against Mutu, it will help my chances of fighting the winner of Barnes-Morrison or may be get me an eliminator. "I was a little bit disappointed with my draw against Nigel Wright for the English Title last time out in November because I thought I did enough to win. "But this fight will get me sharpened up and it will not be easy because he has challenged for the European title before. "I want to get the win over him and then be ready for anyone, anytime."

For Tickets call the Box Office on: 0870 060 1795 or book via the web: Ticket Prices: Ringside £60 Reserved Unreserved £35

Wimbledon's On - You Bet !

The bookmaker Sky Bet has priced up odds on a spectator in the Royal Box to take a catch over the next fortnight in the expectation that balls will be flying everywhere on Centre Court at Wimbledon this year. At 66/1 for such a feat to occur, it doesn’t matter what your previous catching prowess is like, you’d better hope you’re not labelled the ‘Wimbledon butter fingers’ if caught on TV dropping one in the slips!

You could also be in the money should a line judge be filmed falling asleep live on TV over the Championships with 200/1 quoted for a quick snooze in public.

Wimbledon tennis specials with Sky Bet:

Somebody to catch a ball in the Royal Box (shown on TV) – 66/1
Line judges to fall asleep (shown on TV) – 200/1
Cliff Richard to sing in the stands over the fortnight – 25/1

More odds are available online so for all the latest please go to

Volvo Gear Up for World Matchplay

Following the signing of a groundbreaking joint management agreement between Volvo, golf’s most experienced and enduring corporate brand, and IMG, the leading sports management company in the world, a new chapter for the World Match Play Championship is about to be written under Volvo and IMG’s stewardship. The newly-named Volvo World Match Play Championship will be transformed into a truly worldwide showcase thanks to a new host country, Spain, a new blue-chip venue, Finca Cortesín in Andalucía, a new ‘champion’s league,’ match play format and the most rigorous and transparent qualification criteria in the 44-year-history of an iconic event that is about to go genuinely global. With a total prize fund of €3.25million (approx. US$5million / SEK30million) and the champion’s cheque worth more than a million dollars, the Volvo World Match Play Championship, scheduled for the autumn of 2009 and for an initial three-year period, will see 16 of the finest golfers in the world and drawn from every continent on earth going head-to-head in search of one of the most coveted crowns in global golf. With match play considered by many to be the purest form of golf, the Volvo World Match Play Championship is certain to be the ‘duel-in-the-crown’ of the circuit and will be a key component in the new European Tour ‘Race to Dubai.’ As one chapter commences, another concludes with the industry-leading Volvo Masters taking the final curtain in what is sure to be emotive and dramatic fashion with a record €4.25million (approx. US$6.6million / SEK40million) prize fund on offer at Valderrama from 30th October – 2nd November 2008. Arguably the biggest business name in European golf, Volvo, was today unveiled as the new exclusive title sponsor and joint Management partner of the World Match Play Championship ahead of its 45th anniversary in 2009 in an innovative initial three-year agreement with IMG, which created the iconic event in 1964. Along with a new format and qualification criteria, the Volvo World Match Play Championship will also move to a new home, the 7,439-yard Par-72 Finca Cortesín Golf Club near Malaga in the Andalucia region of Spain and will see a stellar match play field going head-to-head for a million-dollar-plus champion’s cheque. Sanctioned by The European Tour and bringing together 16 of the top golfers from every continent in the world, the new Volvo World Match Play Championship, scheduled for Autumn 2009, will offer official prize money of €3,250,000 (approx. US$5million / SEK30million) and together with vital Official World Ranking Points is certain to play an important part in the closing stages of the inaugural Race to Dubai. Commenting on the new initiative at a special signing ceremony in Brussels, Per Ericsson, President & CEO of Volvo Event Management Golf, said, “Volvo is honoured to have been the driving force in the enormous strides taken by European golf over a generation and the inaugural Volvo World Match Play Championship will be our 113th title sponsorship in men’s professional golf and the 69th European Tour event under Volvo’s highly-respected stewardship.” Mr. Ericsson, who recently took over from Mel Pyatt who retired at the end of 2007, added: “Clearly, the Race to Dubai changed not only the commercial landscape of European golf but also encouraged us to review our strategy and we are delighted to inherit not only the title sponsorship of this landmark championship but also proud to partner IMG and Finca Cortesín going forward with this unique and prestigious event. “Innovation is a watchword with Volvo and we are also very excited with the creative evolution of the Volvo World Match Play Championship in general and in particular the manner in which the event now embraces each and every continent on the planet, including two firsts, ensuring that Asia, where Volvo and golf go hand in glove, will be involved and secondly taking this fine championship to Spain where the Volvo Masters has garnered such a huge following. “Volvo has enjoyed the longest-running and most mutually-beneficial relationship with The European Tour to date, a partnership we are delighted to be able to extend, whilst we look forward to establishing new partnerships with IMG and Finca Cortesín going forward into an exciting new chapter of the success story that is Volvo in golf. “Volvo has contributed to and benefited from the inexorable rise of golf in Europe over the past two decades and this historic championship fits perfectly with our company values, Safety, Quality and Environmental Care and given that the 23 men who have won this great title have 68 ‘Majors’ between them, and that Finca Cortesín already holds Environmental Protection Certificate ISO 14001, we are on very solid ground with the Volvo World Match play Championship.” Mr. Ericsson concluded: “Meanwhile, all-out focus will be on the 21st and final Volvo Masters and we are sure that is going to be an enormous success and an emotional send-off to a great championship. I would wish to pay tribute to Don Jaime Ortiz-Patiño for his great vision and to Felipe Ortiz-Patiño for continuing this unstinting support at Valderrama, without which the Volvo Masters would not have been the success story it became and we look forward to bowing out in style at the 21st and final Volvo Masters from 30th October – 2nd November 2008.” As a result of this commitment it has been confirmed by IMG that there will not be a 2008 edition of the World Match Play Championship. Welcoming the new initiative, Arnold Palmer, winner of the inaugural World Match Play Championship at Wentworth in 1964 and who regained the title in 1967, said: “I take great pleasure each year in following the World Match Play event. It was yet another of Mark McCormack’s fantastic ideas, and I remember being thrilled to win the inaugural event in 1964. It has been fascinating to see how the event has evolved over the years. I am delighted that this great Match Play Championship continues to hold it's own on the international stage.” Ernie Els, seven-time winner of the World Match Play Championship, added: "The World Match Play Championship has meant a huge amount to me and I am very proud of my record in it. I am delighted to hear the event is going to continue to grow even further in stature in the future." Speaking on behalf of the third part of the triumvirate, Finca Cortesín, Vicente Rubio, General Manager of Singlehome, real-state company that owns Finca Cortesín, said: “We are delighted to be selected as the host venue for the forthcoming Volvo World Match Play Championship and to join with Volvo and IMG in bringing this great championship to Spain, indeed to Andalucia for the first time ever. “Since we opened our golf course and its associated facilities have matured into what we believe is now one of the finest venues in Europe not only for our members and guests but also for major championships such as the Volvo World Match Play Championship.” “Of course, we already have a connection with the World Match Play Championship with the 1970 champion, the legendary Jack Nicklaus, an ambassador for our club, which also hosts his Nicklaus Academy and we look forward to welcoming the world to our golf course in the autumn of 2009.” Finca Cortesin’s Hotel, Golf & Spa General Manager, Javier Reviriego added: “We are certain, Finca Cortesin will be a great challenge to the top players in the world participating in the event. We are proud of this partnership and hope that this Event helps Finca Cortesin establish itself as one of Europe’s top Golf Resorts” Spain’s Sergio García, Number Eight in the Official World Golf Ranking, commented: “It is fantastic that such a prestigious event as the World Match Play has chosen to move to a Spanish venue. Andalucía has gone from strength to strength as a golfing destination and I am sure that Finca Cortesín Golf Club hosting such an international and high profile event will further highlight to the golfing world the benefits of visiting Spain." George O‘Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “Both Volvo and the World Match Play Championship have a superb golfing pedigree which makes them ideal partners. Volvo have title sponsored no fewer than 66 tournaments on The European Tour International Schedule, and the World Match Play Championship has a rich tradition going back to 1964. We are delighted that the Championship will continue to be a celebration to the memory of its founder, Mark McCormack, and also excited by the new format. We congratulate the IMG on continuing their support of The European Tour, and we look forward to welcoming the Finca Cortesin Golf Club as a new host venue.” Colin Montgomerie, winner of the World Match Play Championship in 1999, observed: “Players will be thrilled to hear that Volvo has committed to support the World Match Play Championship - one of the longest running and most popular events on The European Tour. I have always enjoyed the Match Play and all Volvo tournaments so this is a very good union. As people know, I do enjoy match play golf and I relish the opportunity to test out the new format which will definitely offer some exciting and challenging opportunities” Guy Kinnings, Director, IMG Golf (EAME), added: “We are very excited to be working with Volvo as we enter this new era for the World Match Play. It is a very popular tournament and one we are very proud of and it plays a vital role in our portfolio of tournaments on The European Tour for a tournament with such a long and successful history we are pleased to be able to add some interesting new changes and to introduce new elements as relate to the qualification criteria, format and venue and with the strong support and experience of Volvo and The European Tour we are confident that the tournament will go from strength to strength. We would also like to express our thanks to the Wentworth Club who have been such wonderful hosts to the World Match Play Championship these past 44 years” With over 60 years of combined expertise in golf, IMG and Volvo have devised a new exciting and innovative playing format that will deliver the ultimate accolade to the unique concept of Match Play golf.


The new qualification criteria has been devised to ensure that the 16-man starting field can feature many of the World’s top players:

Defending Champion (As there will be no 2008 event, Ernie Els, the 2007 Champion qualifies)

The leading player, based upon their nationality, listed on the Official World Golf Ranking, from each of the following regions:

Africa/Middle East
North America
South America

The leading 4 players (not otherwise qualified) from the Official World Golf Ranking.

The leading 4 players (not otherwise qualified) from The European Tour Race to Dubai.

The 2009 Volvo China Open Champion

NB. Qualification cut off dates to be confirmed.


The new format will see the 16-man field divided into four groups of four players, seedings based upon their Official World Golf Ranking:


Within groups of four, every player will play each other in a round robin format over full 18-hole matches. (NB. Each match will complete 18 holes every time)
Points will be awarded based upon win, tie or loss. The leading player from each group will qualify for the semi final knock out stage. (Aggregate number of holes won will be used to determine tied positions)


Semi -finals- played over 36 holes in head-to-head match play.

Semi-final winners will progress to the Volvo World Match Play Championship Final.

Semi-final losers will contest the Volvo World Match Play Championship Consolation Match.


The Volvo World Match Play Championship Final will be played over 36 holes in head-to-head match play.

The Volvo World Match Play Championship Consolation Match will be played over 18 holes in head-to head-match play.


The Prize Money for the 2009 Volvo World Match Play Championship will be €3,250,000 divided as follows:

1st €750,000
2nd €450,000
3rd €250,000
4th €200,000
Runner up in group €150,000
3rd in Group €130,000
4th in Group €120,000

Monday, June 23, 2008

Tennis Legend Gives Wimbledon Predictions

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova, a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy, talks at length on Laureus TV about this year’s Wimbledon Championship and a variety of issues in tennis, plus her work for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and her interest in Art. Among Martina’s comments are: · On Wimbledon: “The Williams sisters will be hard to beat on grass. And on the men’s side, I’d have to go for Roger Federer.” · On the new names in tennis: “Ana Ivanovic is a superstar in waiting. She’s beautiful and a great personality, and she’s got the game to back it up, so…watch out Maria!” · On Justine Henin: “It’s too bad that Justine didn’t find it in her heart or in her soul to find the passion for just a couple of months to win Wimbledon.” · On young British and American players: “The Brits and Americans have gone soft. It’s too easy. Your mum drives you everywhere…..they get distracted because they have too many opportunities.” · On the future… "Because tennis is an Olympic sport, the Chinese Government has got behind it, so you will see more and more players from China playing, and the next wave will be coming out of Africa."

Exciting Final Day at The Boodles Challenge

Nicolas Kiefer put in a superior performance in the Final of The Boodles Challenge at the Stoke Park Club today to defeat the talented Spaniard Tommy Robredo 6-3, 3-6, 13-11. In his final warm-up match before Wimbledon, the German looked at ease on the grass despite the varying weather conditions and completed his third win of the week in impressive style. The match was decided in a final championship tie break which saw the German seal the title with some scintillating ground strokes. Kiefer now goes into his first round match at Wimbledon against the Frenchman Julien Benneteau, whilst Robredo comes up against the little known Belgian Kristof Vliegen. Nicolas Kiefer commented: “Three wins in a row on grass is pretty good form and I feel honoured to have won the title here at The Boodles. If I can play like this at Wimbledon then who knows what can happen. I felt like I was hitting the ball really well and, despite the rain, I managed to maintain my concentration which is always a huge part of playing on grass with all the stops and starts. I love playing here and my preparation for SW19 wouldn’t be the same without it.” The first match of the day saw the British Wimbledon pairing of James Auckland and Jamie Delgado cause a major upset by defeating the world number 1 doubles pair the Bryan brothers 6-3, 6-4. The British pair will now face number 9 seeds Lukas Dlouhy (CZE) and Leander Paes (IND) in the first round of the doubles at the All England Club. Jamie Delgado commented: “The Bryan brothers are obviously the best team in the world so it’s good timing to come into Wimbledon next week. We felt really good on court today and hopefully we can show this type of from on the grass again next week.” In the third match of the day, Kevin Anderson battled to a 6-3, 6-4 victory over the Peruvian Luis Horna to complete a week of entertaining grass court tennis.

Results from Saturday 21st June:
N. Kiefer (GER) bt T. Robredo (ESP) 6-3, 6-4

J. Auckland/J. Delgado bt B. Bryan/M. Bryan 6-3, 6-4
K. Anderson bt L. Horna 6-3, 6-4

Djokovic Ready for Wimbledon

World number 3 Novak Djokovic produced a confident performance against Marcos Baghdatis in an exhibition match at The Boodles Challenge at the Stoke Park Club. The Serbian found his touch on the grass against the talented Baghdatis and secured a 6-4, 5-7, 11-9 victory. Both players looked at home on the quick surface and the conditions made for an exemplary display of grass court tennis. Following his defeat against Rafael Nadal in last Sunday’s final at Queen’s, Djokovic showed the type of form he will need to compete with the likes of Federer and Nadal at SW19 over the next two weeks. Novak Djokovic commented: “I’m feeling great in the build up to Wimbledon and playing here at The Boodles Challenge is great preparation. I only have one match here this year but who knows, maybe next year you’ll see more. The crowds were great and it is the perfect way to prepare for one of the Grand Slam events.”

Horsey has the taste of Victory

England’s David Horsey captured his maiden European Challenge Tour title with a one-shot victory at the Telenet Trophy on a day of high drama. Needing to birdie the par five 18th at Limburg Golf and Country Club in Houthalen, Belgium, to avoid a play-off with Wil Besseling of the Netherlands and Denmark’s Soren Juul, who had both finished on 18 under par, Horsey found the heart of the green with his approach shot and duly two putted to become the 15th different winner on this season’s Challenge Tour Schedule. Horsey’s cheque for €22,400 also saw the man from Stockport climb into the top ten of the Challenge Tour Rankings, and put him in sight of a place on The European Tour next season. He said: “It’s a brilliant feeling. To be honest, I struggled with my game a bit to start with today. But I hung in there with a few good putts, and finished strongly with three birdies in the last four holes. Coming down the 15th, I told myself to create four chances, because I thought I’d need four birdies. But it turns out three was good enough. I was a bit surprised to see Wil [Besseling] drop a shot on the 17th hole and then only par the 18th hole. So I feel for him, but from my own point of view I’m delighted. “I was pretty nervous standing over my approach shot on the 18th, but I just tried to keep calm and trust my golf swing. I’d hit two good approach shots on the first two days, so it was just a case of “same again please”. Knowing I had two putts for the title was a great feeling – I’m chuffed to bits. I’ll have a few drinks to celebrate, before heading to next week’s Scottish Challenge in great shape. I can’t wait for the rest of the season now.” Besseling, already a winner on the Challenge Tour this season, signed for a round of 67, whilst Juul’s round of 63 – which equalled the course record – was the lowest of the day. Italy’s Michele Reale and Inder van Weerelt of the Netherlands finished in a tie for fourth on 16 under par.

Quiros pips Smyth to Title

Spain’s Juan Quiros produced a stunning approach shot on the 18th hole to pip home favourite Des Smyth by a single stroke in a titanic battle at the Irish Seniors Open in association with Failte Ireland and Allied Irish Bank. Quiros and Smyth headed to the final green locked on level par after a fascinating seesaw battle in adverse conditions at Ballyliffin Golf Club, but it was Quiros, rather than the man from Drogheda, who produced a moment of magic to clinch the title.The 52 year old pitched his third shot from 132 yards to within 18 inches of the last hole with a wedge and then made the birdie putt to edge past Smyth. Quiros punched the air with delight as the ball sank for his third European Seniors Tour win, to add to his previous victories at the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open in 2006 and the Open De France Senior de Divonne last year. It meant Irishman Smyth, who had started the day one stroke ahead of Quiros, was denied a popular home win, just as Ian Woosnam was by Peter Mitchell a week ago in Wales. For Quiros, however, the victory continued his sequence of winning in each of his three years on the Seniors Tour and moves him up to fourth in the Order of Merit. The spectators who had braved the driving rain in Co. Donegal were treated to some finger-biting golf as Smyth open up a three shot lead early on only to see it clawed back by Quiros, following the Irishman’s double bogey on the 13th.
Both players were battered by the conditions on the course, with no player teeing off after 8.45am carding an under par score today, but Quiros managed to steady himself when it mattered to go one better than his tied second behind Costantino Rocca at last year’s tournament. Quiros admitted he had never played in conditions quite like those affecting the links course today. However he vowed to stay on a little bit longer in the clubhouse to toast his win and watch his beloved Spain take on Italy in Euro 2008 with Italian Giuseppe Cali, who was one of six players tied for third on three over par. He said: “The course was okay this morning but an hour before I started the conditions changed, the wind was coming in from the beach and it was unbelievable. I can’t remember the last time I played in conditions like that. But that’s golf and you have to play. The greens were perfect and the course was in perfect condition. “In my first year on the Seniors Tour I won in Switzerland at Bad Ragaz. Then last year I won in France. And now I win here. It is one win every year so far. I am a lucky man.” “Everyone knows Des Smyth. He is a great person and a great player. It was beautiful to be on the course with a professional like Des. I played with his brother Val on the first day and he is another very nice person. “Des took a lead of a few shots at one point but mentally you tell yourself that there are still a lot of holes to play and you tell yourself, okay, let’s see what we can do. “Then he had bad luck on the 13th hole and made a six. But it was the same for me on the 14th. “To celebrate, I hope Spain beat Italy tonight. I will stay here and drive to Dublin. And then tomorrow morning I will fly to Malaga. After that I will go to America for the US Senior Open.” Smyth was naturally disappointed not to become the first home winner in 10 years since Joe McDermott in 1998 but he praised Quiros for his winning shot on the 18th. He said: “It was a great shot there. I’m disappointed not to win but I’ve had a great week. I was going well and played great early on but the wind and rain came and I found it hard. I found it hard to swing out there.” Meanwhile Wales’ Ian Woosnam, who had been battling all week with a troublesome hip injury, carded a 74 to finish in tied ninth place on four over par – five shots behind the winner – to leapfrog German Bernhard Langer at the top of the European Seniors Tour Order of Merit. He said: “It’s great to move to the top of the Order of Merit. I’m going to play a few more tournaments later on in the season. I’ve got a week off now then I’m going to Russia and then the Senior Open Championship.”

Khan acknowledges the Fans in Birmingham

Commonwealth lightweight Champion Amir Khan has thanked the Birmingham public for coming out to watch him defend his title on Saturday night.Khan headlined at the National Indoor Arena in front of a capacity 10,000 crowd that had been sold out weeks in advance.The Bolton sensation made the fourth defence of his title against Michael Gomez in a thrilling fight that saw the 21-year-old floored in the second round to come back and win in stunning style in the fifth.It was the first time that Khan had boxed in Birmingham as a professional and he wants to return to the 'Second City' soon." I was stunned by the fantastic reception I got from the fight fans in Birmingham and that definitely gave me a big buzz going into the fight," Said Khan." The atmosphere was electric inside the arena and I could feel it building up while I was warming up in my dressing room,"" Michael Gomez is a proud warrior and he gave me one of the toughest nights of my career but I've showed that I've got a big heart and I give the crowd plenty of excitement when I fight,"" The fans were great and I hope that I can return to Birmingham soon,"Khan also praised the local prospects who also featured on the show.He added, "There are some great lads from the Midlands area coming through, my mate Don Broadhurst had a great win and is a tremendous prospect, as well as Thomas Costello, Curtis Woodhouse and Richard Collins."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Khan Eyes Winner of Pacquiao and Diaz

WBC #4 ranked lightweight Amir Khan will be keeping a close eye on next weekend's fight between Manny Pacquiao and David Diaz - and says he wants the winner. The pair fight for the WBC World Lightweight title in Las Vegas on June 28. And Khan is hoping that he'll be in line to fight whoever emerges victorious. "I'm fighting in front of a 10,000 sell out on Saturday night so I think I'm one of the main men in the division," said Khan. "And by the end of the year I'm not just going to be one of the main men, I'm going to the number one, and everyone's going to be after me. "I've got a high rating with both the WBO and the WBC, and I feel ready for a world title shot. "Diaz and Pacquiao are both great fighters, but I'm confident that I could beat both of them. Khan defends his Commonwealth lightweight title at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham on Saturday night against Michael Gomez - live and exclusive on ITV1. And he is aiming to fight for his first world title before the end of the year. WBA/IBF/WBO world champion Nate Campbell is also on Khan's agenda, and promoter Frank Warren has held talks with the American. "I'd love to fight Campbell," enthused Khan. "I've dreamed about becoming a world champion all my life and I'm nearly there. "I read some of the stuff that Campbell said about me the other week, and it just made me laugh. "After I've taken his world titles away from him he'll be giving me the respect I deserve. "But I can't get too far ahead of myself, and I have to do a job on Gomez first on Saturday night. "He's got nothing to lose and that makes him a very dangerous fighter. "I want Gomez to be at his best because I want to show everyone how good I can be, and I'm sure he's going to come in really fired up. He said the other day that he wants a war, and that's what I plan on giving him."

Midlands Match Up Ready for Action

Wayne Elcock says there is no way he is taking challenger Darren McDermott lightly ahead of their British Middleweight Title showdown at the Civic Hall, Wolverhampton on Friday, 20th June. ‘The Battle of the Midlands’ is Elcock’s first title defence since beating Howard Eastman on points last year and Sky Sports will televise the action live on the Hennessy Sports show in association with and 1st Team Promotions. Birmingham banger Elcock is aiming to get back to world title contention after losing to IBF champion Arthur Abraham in December. But ‘Mad Dog’ is not looking beyond Dudley’s undefeated challenger McDermott in what promises to be an electric encounter. “There’s no way I’m looking past Darren, that’s why I had to be 100 per cent for this fight and didn’t want to fight when I wasn’t totally fit after having a chest infection which caused the fight to be postponed from 20th April,” said Elcock. “He’s going to be even more fired up for this fight with it being a local derby and the atmosphere from the fans will be absolutely electric. This is a fight between two Midlands boxers for the British Title, the biggest fight in the region for a long, long time. “I know it’s going to be tough but I’m ready for it and can’t wait to show I’m the best middleweight in Britain. “Of course I want to fight for European and world titles, but first things first and I have to prove I’m the best in the Midlands and Britain by beating Darren.”

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Murray Wins Close Exhibition Match

British number 1 Andy Murray confirmed his fitness for Wimbledon by coming through a tough grass court workout against the Serbian Janko Tipsarevic on Tuesday afternoon. Murray won the opening match of The Boodles Challenge at the Stoke Park Club in Buckinghamshire 6-3, 5-7, 12-10 as he made his return to action after pulling out of the Artois Championship last week because of a thumb injury. A championship tiebreak decided the match which saw both players picking themselves up off the grass on several occasions. World number 40 Tipsarevic, who was close to putting out Roger Federer in the Australian Open this year, was certainly a challenge for the Scot and it proved a great test of Murray's fitness ahead of Wimbledon next week. Andy Murray commented: “It felt good and it was a very interesting match seeing as I had not hit a ball for four days since I pulled out of Queen's. I enjoyed it thoroughly and even though I spent half my time face down I love playing on the grass. The court was playing really well today and it's great preparation for Wimbledon. I love everything about coming back to The Boodles. The people, the place, everything is second to none and I’ll definitely be back next year." In the second match of the day, former Wimbledon finalist David Nalbandian (ARG) defeated American Robby Ginepri in a close fought match coming through 3-6, 7-6 and 10-7 in the day's second championship tiebreak. David Nalbandian commented: “I found it very tough out there today but felt there was some great tennis on show. Coming straight from playing on the clay court circuit it certainly takes a bit of getting used to but it's great to be here again - that's the reason it's my sixth year at The Boodles. I'm sure over the week I'll go from strength to strength on the grass and really look forward to my next match.” In the final match of the day, French Open quarter-finalist Ernests Gulbis (LAT) defeated Spain's Feliciano Lopez 7-6, 6-4.
Results from Tuesday 17th June:

A. Murray (GBR) v J. Tipsarevic (SRB), 6-3, 5-7, 12-10
D. Nalbandian (ARG) v R. Ginepri (USA), 3-6, 7-6, 10-7
F. Lopez (ESP) v E. Gulbis (LAT), 6-7, 4-6

The tournament, which is created and hosted by boutique international sports management and marketing company, ACE Group, is now in its seventh year and sponsors at this year’s event include title sponsor Boodles, Fortnum & Mason, Patek Philippe, The Financial Times, Chubb Insurance, and Bentley Motors. Tickets are available by calling 020 7384 4877 or visit

Monday, June 16, 2008

Warriors Rage War in Wigan

Hennessy Sports in association with are proud to announce the all-Manchester showdown between Lee Meager and John Murray for the vacant British Lightweight Title at the Robin Park Arena in Wigan on Friday, 11th July 2008. The Hennessy Sports pair have been given their opportunity after Jon Thaxton was given another shot at the European title. Meager is a former British champion who lost the title to Thaxton on points in 2006 while Murray is the former English and WBC Youth champion who is still unbeaten. Both Murray and Meager fought on the same Las Vegas bill in December, the night before Ricky Hatton's fight with Floyd Mayweather, and the two stable-mates know each other very well from sparring sessions. Sky Sports will televise the fight live and promoter Mick Hennessy is expecting it to be one of the best fights of 2008. "They've sparred together on a few occasions and ringside observers in the gym at the time have all said they have been out and out wars really entertaining encounters," said promoter Mick Hennessy. "It's hard to see two of your own fighters square off but the British title means so much to them and they both want this title really badly." Tickets will be available for purchase from Ticketmaster box office on 0870 060 1795 or via the web from the end of this week.

Elcock Ready for Title Shot

Wayne Elcock sees Friday's first defence of the British Middleweight Title as the first step on the road back to the top. Birmingham's 'Mad Dog' was unsuccessful in a world title shot when he faced IBF champion Arthur Abraham in his last fight in December 2007. Elcock is confident he can secure another world title opportunity with a series of British Title defences. First up is Midlands rival Darren McDermott (Dudley), who is an unbeaten challenger for his belt at the SkyDome Arena Coventry on Friday, 20th June on a Hennessy Sports show in association with Sky Sports will televise the 'Battle of the Midlands' live. "I've still got enough time to achieve what I want to achieve in boxing," said Elcock. "I've had a taste of what it’s like in a world title fight – now I want more. "There's still plenty of time for me to get another world title shot. The journey back to the top starts here. "I believe I'm the best in Great Britain and in this fight I want to show people there is still a lot more to come from me."

Gavin offers support to Khan

Frankie Gavin is backing close pal Amir Khan to score a spectacular victory when big time boxing returns to Birmingham at the weekend. Birmingham's world amateur champion is flying back from a multi nations tournament in Poland later this week, and hopes to be ringside for Khan's Commonwealth lightweight title clash with Michael Gomez at the sold out N.I.A, televised live and exclusive on ITV1. "Amir is a great inspiration to the Great Britain Olympic squad, and I'll be giving him my full support on Saturday night," said 24-year-old Gavin, who boxes at the Beijing Games later this year. "It's fantastic to have a massive show like this in Birmingham, and I'm planning on being there to see Amir do the business. "I know there's been a real buzz in the city for the last couple of weeks, and everyone at my amateur club, Hall Green ABC, is right behind him as well." Gavin, who became Britain's first amateur world champion when he won lightweight gold in Chicago last year, is a former room mate and sparring partner of Khan, and is hoping to go one better than the Bolton sensation - and win Olympic gold. And Khan believes he can do it. The undefeated 21-year-old said: "I spent a lot of time with Frankie in the amateurs, and he's a wicked little fighter. "The Olympics is a hard tournament to win, but I know he can do because he's so talented. "I was cheering him on when he won the gold medal in Chicago, and it's a great boost to know that he's pulling out the stops to be there in Birmingham. "The show has been sold out for a couple of weeks now, and boxing in front of a full house always brings out a little bit extra in me. I plan to put on a sizzling show for all my fans in Birmingham."

Robinson Flourishes in Finland

England’s Simon Robinson produced a record breaking performance to storm to his maiden Challenge Tour victory in the SK Golf Challenge in Finland. The 26 year old from Hartlepool carded a sensational final round 63 at St Laurence Golf in Lohja for a 13 under par total of 271 to cruise to a six shot winning margin over his nearest challengers, Australian John Wade and Andrew Willey of England. Robinson’s 63 was the lowest final round by a winner this season on the European Challenge Tour, comfortably beating the 66s carded by Argentina’s Estanislao Goya, England’s Gary Clark and Wil Besseling of the Netherlands in their respective successes earlier in the year. Indeed, had he not dropped a shot at the very last hole, he would have equalled Besseling’s seven shot winning margin when the Dutchman took the II Club Colombia Masters in Bogota in April. But all that mattered little to the former World Boys Amateur Champion who had had three PGA EuroPro Tour successes under his belt in the past. The win, and the cheque for €24,000 moved him to 17th on the Challenge Tour Rankings and now in excellent position to claim one of the 20 cards available for The 2009 European Tour at the end of the season. Starting the day two shots behind firm favourite and local hero Mikko Ilonen, who was lending his support to the event after failing to qualify for this week’s US Open at Torrey Pines, Robinson showed his intent straight away with a birdie at the opening hole. He reached the turn in 32 to move into contention and as Ilonen fell back with a final round 72 to share fourth place in the end with Spain’s Sebastian Garcia-Grout on 278, Robinson powered to the title with a sensational back nine. He birdied six of the eight holes between the tenth and the 17th to build himself an unassailable lead and he could even afford the luxury of a bogey five at the 382 yard 18th and still pick up the title. Wade carded a flawless 67, which included birdies at the 17th and 18th holes, to share second with Willey on seven under par 277, the Englishman’s final round 70 containing four birdies and three bogeys.

Mitchell Captures Landmark Victory

England’s Peter Mitchell denied Ian Woosnam a popular home victory by finishing two shots clear of the Welshman to clinch his maiden European Seniors Tour title and the biggest pay cheque of his career at the Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open. Playing in only his second Seniors Tour event after making his debut in Jersey last week, Mitchell carded a one under par final round of 71 to finish with a three under par total of 213, with Woosnam on 215. Mitchell’s victory came 10 years after the last of his three wins on The European Tour, in the 1998 Portuguese Open, and the £75,000 first prize eclipsed the £58,330 he picked up at Le Meridien Penina a decade ago. The 50 year old’s win was all the more remarkable given that he has barely played the game for five years, instead dedicating his time to running his own golf academy in Kent.Prior to Jersey, Mitchell’s last competitive tournament was back in 2003 but he showed few signs of ring rust out in the glorious sunshine at Conwy (Caernarvonshire) Golf Course.
After a nervy start with two bogeys inside the first five holes, Mitchell steadied himself and picked up shots on the seventh, ninth and 14th, while Woosnam crucially bogeyed the 16th to give the Englishman a two stroke advantage. Mitchell then held his composure to par the final two holes in front of the packed Welsh support there to cheer on Woosnam, and seal the biggest pay day of his 34 year professional career. “I’ve not even looked at the prize money to be honest,” he said. “For me just to win was special. It was great to play with Woosie. He was a real gentleman to play golf with, as he always is. He didn’t take his chances today and I got a few breaks and came through. “I played well in Jersey and it gave me a boost coming here. I think the age of 50 came round too quickly for my liking but it is here and it seems to be going all right so far.“I’ve enjoyed every minute of this week. It’s still not quite sunk in that I’ve won. I think it probably will over the next few days when I’m back at home. “It was a fantastic golf course to play. It was in great condition and you had to play well around here.” Having secured his first title, Mitchell said he was looking forward to playing in more events on the Seniors Tour in 2008 before having a charge at the Order of Merit next year. “I’m going to play in the Senior Open Championship and a few other tournaments,” he said. “I’ve still got some stuff to sort out and I’m still recovering from a torn ligament in my right foot so I might rest that a bit and pick and choose a few tournaments and then next year I’ll play a full season.” Woosnam, who was chasing back to back wins after his maiden victory in the Parkridge Polish Seniors Championship, was unable to give the packed home support the win they had craved but his second place means he is now just £10,000 behind leader Bernhard Langer in the Seniors Tour Order of Merit. “I missed a lot of putts today and that was the difference really,” said the 2006 Ryder Cup winning Captain. “I hit a great shot on 17 but couldn’t convert the putt. I went for the green on the 18th but again I couldn’t hole the putt. “It’s nice to be contending all the time and you’ve just got to be patient. I thought I played decent during the week and if I can keep doing that I will win again soon.” American Jerry Bruner surged up the leaderboard to finish in third place on two over par after a stunning four under par round of 68, while Scotland’s Sandy Lyle finished in tied 11th place on five over par after following his opening round 69 with back to back rounds of 76.

Calzaghe Awarded a CBE

British boxing legend Joe Calzaghe has been awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list announced yesterday.The 36-year-old from Newbridge in Wales, who was appointed an MBE in 2003, was recognised for his services to sport and voluntary services to Wales.Calzaghe said, "The award came completely out of the blue and for the first time in my life I was knocked out!"" It's unbelievable when I think back to when I was a kid that one day I would have achieved so much through boxing, and to think my teachers laughed at me when I said I was going to be a boxer,"" I am extremely honoured to receive this award and I'm delighted that my achievements in boxing and for British sport have been recognised,"" I dedicate this award to my parents, especially my dad, Enzo, for training me, my girlfriend Jo-Emma and my boys Joe and Connor."Calzaghe can lay claim to be the greatest fighter to ever come out of Britain with the following achievements:- Undefeated in 45 professional fights.- A record 21 WBO World Super-Middleweight title defences.- Into his eleventh year as reigning world champion.- The longest current reigning world champion in boxing in any weight division.- Unifying the super-middleweight division.- Recognised as arguably the greatest super-middleweight of all time.His last fight was against American great Bernard Hopkins in Las Vegas - Calzaghe's US debut - who he beat on points..

Maccarinelli on the Comeback Trail

Former WBO World Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Maccarinelli returns to action on Saturday 19th July when he headlines at the Aston Villa Events Centre as he aims to reclaim his title.This will be the Welshman's first fight since his loss to David Haye in March and he is out to prove that he is still a major force in the 200lb division." I'm back and I've got it all to prove to myself and the public," Said Big Mac." I was never going to let the loss to David Haye be the end of my career,"" Even though I was absolutely devastated and at the lowest point in my life, I knew in my heart that I couldn't go out on a loss like that,"" I was so frustrated with myself because I knew that I could have beaten Haye but at the end of the day it doesn't matter what has gone on outside of the ring, people will only remember what happened inside and on the night Haye was the better man and he beat me,"" Since then I've re-grouped, got my head together and now I'm raring to get back into the ring once again,"" People will be questioning whether I am lacking confidence or I'm gun shy but from the first bell they will see that I mean business,"Maccarinelli will feature in a ten-round contest and an opponent will be announced shortly.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Woosnam Back On Home Soil

Welshman Ian Woosnam returns home for the first time as a Senior player fresh from his first strokeplay victory in more than 10 years when he tees up at the Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open this week. It promises to be a special occasion for the Oswestry born player, who has set his sights on back-to-back victories after winning the Parkridge Polish Seniors Championship, his first strokeplay title since the PGA Championship in 1997. The 2006 Ryder Cup winning Captain, who joined the European Seniors Tour after turning 50 in March, began his playing career as an amateur in Wales before going on to enjoy a glittering career on The European Tour, famously winning The 1991 Master Tournament at August National.Woosnam now heads to Conwy (Caernarvonshire) Golf Course, North Wales, determined to win the Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open, admitting that it would help make up for never getting his hands on the silverware at his national Open on The European Tour. He said: “It’s always great to come home to Wales. This is my first Seniors Tour event in Britain so it promises to be a special one and I’m really looking forward to it. I was never able to win the Wales Open so I’m very much hoping I can win The Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open instead. “To win in the Parkridge Polish Seniors Open was fantastic, especially as Parkridge are my sponsors so it was nice to do it for them. Obviously it would now be special if I could win back-to-back tournaments here at Conwy. “This is the second biggest prize money on the Seniors Tour and I hope to support the tournament for years to come and hopefully win it a few times along the way. “I played here about 35 years ago as an amateur and that was all part of my learning curve which helped me in my career and I’ve been very lucky with the success I’ve had over the years since. “I hope my golf has brought some joy to people and I’ve had a great time along the way.” Woosnam was a rival of Sandy Lyle in Shropshire County Golf in the early stages of their careers and the pair will go head-to-head once again, with the Scot also joining the strong field chasing a share of the £500,000 prize fund.
Lyle, a two time Major winner himself, was one of Woosnam’s Assistant Captains at The Ryder Cup in Ireland two years ago and he is relishing the chance to play alongside the Welshman.
He said: “It will be an honour for me to play in this year’s Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open. It means a great deal to me to play in front of British fans here in the British Isles, and the chance to compete against some of my old adversaries will make the experience even more enjoyable.”Another of Woosnam’s Assistant Captains, Des Smyth of Ireland, is also part of the impressive field, as are past Ryder Cup players José Rivero and Costantino Rocca. While Woosnam’s homecoming promises to be emotional for him, Tony Johnstone is likely to go in the tournament still on a high after his fairytale maiden Seniors Tour win at the Jersey Seniors Classic, his first victory since being told he would never play golf again after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Johnstone finished two shots clear of the field at La Moye Golf Club for an emotional win he labelled a personal triumph and his sweetest ever victory. It is the second consecutive year that the event has been played at Conwy (Caernarvonshire) Golf Course and the 2007 champion Carl Mason will once again be competing for the £75,000 first prize, having also won the title in 2005.

Pickering Out to Prove a Point

Esham Pickering feels he has a point to prove when he defends his British Super-Bantamweight Title against Matthew Marsh at the York Hall in Bethnal Green on Friday 27th June 2008. Pickering (Newark) will make his second defence of the British crown on a Hennessy Sports in association with after stopping Sean Hughes in the ninth round in January. That victory was revenge for Esham after Hughes (Pontefract) had pulled off a shock eight-round points win in a non-title fight in November last year. Pickering (33-6) is out to prove the critics wrong when he takes on Marsh (Welling) as he targets a crack at European champion Rendall Munroe or IBF world champion Steve Molitor. "In the first fight against Hughes I got beat badly against an opponent I shouldn't have lost to, but to come back from that in my next fight and beat him like I did was good," said Pickering, who is trained by Carl Greaves. "I wasn't at my best in either of those fights and I feel I have got a point to prove in this next one. "Everyone is saying I'm shot but I'm not and they won't be saying that after I beat Matthew. "People are saying I can't do what I used to but I'm fitter than I've ever been now and I'm treating it as the most important fight of my life. "I'm not offering any excuses for those two fights against Hughes, but you're going to see the old Esham Pickering back in this fight." Marsh (9-1) is happy to be fighting back at super-bantamweight after suffering his first professional defeat to Derry Matthews (Liverpool) when he stepped up a division in October. "I took that fight because it was a good opportunity but it wasn't my natural weight and he was way too big for me," said Marsh, a former amateur star with West Ham ABC. "Matthews was coming down a weight really and I was going up one, so it was no disgrace for me to lose that one. "I've come back since with a first round knockout of Ajibu Salum and I feel ready for this chance now. "I went in with Matthews in only my ninth fight so I'm not worried about facing Esham even though he is way more experienced."

Siddique Shakes Up Lighweight Division

Unbeaten Nadeem Siddique is ready to shake up the British lightweight division.The Bradford boxer meets Canadian Julius Odion in a clash of two unbeatens as chief support on the Hennessy Sports show in association with at the SkyDome Coventry. Top of the bill is Wayne Elcock’s British Middleweight Title defence Darren McDermott which will be televised live by Sky Sports. Siddique, who trains at the same Sheffield gym as former WBC light-welterweight champion Junior Witter, has compiled a record of 22 wins and stopped his last two opponents. Sid halted Ghana's Alex Brew in just two rounds at the Nottingham Arena on May 10 – ideal preparation for his 10 round international contest with Odion (11-0-2). Sid claims victory over Odion will further improve his reputation as one of Britain's top lightweight contenders. "When you are boxing kids who are coming to win you have got a better chance of stopping them and that’s what has happened to me," said Sid. "It's also a result of all the hard work and dedication I’ve been putting in during training. I'm taking it a lot more serious now, and am a full-time professional. "I'm with the Ingles and they have a system of producing world champions so hopefully my time is coming soon. I know I'm one of the best in the country right now. "I can make lightweight and that's where I want to be contesting titles, but I’m not interested in anyone else at the moment but myself. "Julius is slick and a southpaw, but I'm confident my speed and power will be enough to beat him. If I take away his unbeaten record it will continue to improve my reputation. "I sold 400 tickets for my last fight and more people are beginning to realise what I'm capable of. People had better start to spell my name right because I'm going to be making a name for myself in the next year. It's only a matter of time before I prove myself."

Harrison Headlines in Birmingham

Audley Harrison returns to Britain on Saturday 19th July at the Aston Villa Events Centre in Birmingham as he focuses on his last chance at winning a world title.The 2000 Olympic Champion takes on Belfast puncher Martin Rogan - who shot to stardom following his win in the Prizefighter tournament - in a ten-round heavyweight contest.Harrison's last fight was against Jason Barnett in Las Vegas on the Joe Calzaghe-Bernard Hopkins undercard when he blasted out Jason Barnett in five rounds.Now under promoter Frank Warren, Harrison is under no illusions of what he has to do." This is it for me. I'm in a position where I have to beat Rogan and everybody else put in front of me from now on," Said Harrison." I've got another chance with Frank to achieve the dream of winning the world title and it starts against Rogan on July 19,"" Rogan looks like a tough guy with plenty of heart and he wants to have a 'W' next to my name on his career record, but he's going up against a guy with everything to lose so that will make me a very very dangerous man on the night,"" I said from the beginning that I am going to win a world title. I've had my ups and downs on the way but I'm still here fighting away and I know that a loss at this stage is fatal but I'm re-focussed and know in my heart that I will win a world title."All-action, 6ft 3in and 16 1/2 stone, Rogan is unbeaten in ten fights and has stopped five early.He says he will finally end the career of Harrison." I'm delighted to get a fight against a big name like Audley Harrison," said Rogan, know as the Entertainer." He probably wouldn't know me if he passed me on the street, but he's going to know all about me when I land a big right hander on that porcelain chin of his,"" Harrison wants me because he thinks I will be an easy touch, but this is his last chance and will be finished if he losses," " He will have to come and fight me because I don't do tip-tap, fancy, boxing. I'm a big guy and so is he so let's just stand toe-to-toe, slug it out, and see who has the best heart and chin," " It is very fitting that we are coming up to the second Olympic Games since Harrison won Gold in Sydney and on that anniversary he will have his career ended by Martin Rogan."Chief support on the card features Birmingham middleweight star Matthew Macklin, the former Irish Champion and British title challenger, who is back with Frank Warren and looking ahead to big title ambitions. On the undercard, unbeaten prospects Kenny Anderson and Denton Vassell continue their progress; plus undefeated Birmingham stars Don Broadhurst, the 2006 Commonwealth Games Champion and Thomas Costello plus Driffield light-middleweight Curtis Woodhouse.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Woosnam returns to Ireland

Ian Woosnam will make an emotional return to Ireland, the country where he led Europe to a historic Ryder Cup win two years ago, when he tees up at this year’s Irish Seniors Open at Ballyliffin Golf Club, in Co. Donegal, from June 20-22. The Welshman is certain to receive a warm reception from Irish golfing fans after he memorably steered Europe to an unprecedented third consecutive Ryder Cup victory with an 18½-9½ win against the United States at The K Club in 2006. Woosnam’s first appearance in Ireland since The Ryder Cup came at last year’s European Open at The K Club and he has since joined the European Seniors Tour after turning 50 in April, securing his maiden victory when he won the Parkridge Polish Seniors Championship at the start of the month. It was the 1991 Masters Tournament winner’s first strokeplay title since he won the PGA Championship in 1997 and he heads to Ireland keen to add another victory to his long list of career achievements, as he tries to close the gap on Bernhard Langer at the top of the Seniors Tour Order of Merit. Woosnam said: “I always enjoy playing in Ireland. I’ve got lots of friends there and I’m sure it will bring back some great memories for me. Hopefully I will be able to make some more at the Irish Seniors Open. I’m really looking forward to playing in this tournament.” Woosnam is part of the strongest field in the event’s 12 year history, which also includes his Assistant Captain from The K Club, two-time Major winner Sandy Lyle, and his Vice-Captain from 2006, Des Smyth of Ireland. Leading all-time Seniors Tour Career Money winner Carl Mason of England, who lifted the Irish Seniors Open title in 2004, will also compete for the €450,000 prize fund, along with the 2006 winner Sam Torrance. Sir Bob Charles of New Zealand and defending Champion Costantino Rocca of Italy are also in the field. Charles Perring, Deputy Managing Director of the European Seniors Tour, said: “We are delighted that Ian Woosnam will be joining what is already a superb field for the Irish Seniors Open at Ballyliffin Golf Club and I’m sure it will be an emotional occasion for him. “This is the third week in a row that the Seniors Tour has visited a links course following on from La Moye Golf Club and Conwy (Caernarvonshire) Golf Course and I’m sure that we’ll have another exhilarating week of golf over one of Ireland’s finest links courses.” Ballyliffin Golf Club in Co. Donegal, which was officially opened in 1947, has two courses: the more recent Glashedy Links, unveiled in 1995, and the Old Links, which will be used for the Irish Seniors Open. Tickets for the Irish Seniors Open can be purchased at the course on a daily basis. They 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.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Small Sets Sights on Contender Star

Light-middleweight prospect Anthony Small is determined to spank another yank - and has set his sights on new WBC World light-middleweight champion Sergio Mora. Small beat Contender star Walter Wright last year in a UK v USA event in Newcastle. And now he is keen on turning his firepower on the winner of the first Contender series - Mora. The American beat caused a major upset by beating Vernon Forrest at the weekend to capture the WBC crown. " Tell Mora that Small is coming to get him, I can't wait to spank another yank," said the out-spoken 26-year-old, who fights big punching George Katsimpas at York Hall on Saturday." I beat Walter Wright in the UK, but I'll go to America to fight Mora, and I'll give him a whole lot more than he can handle. I'll give him a lesson in his own backyard." Small also says that he wants a rematch with Commonwealth light-middleweight champion Bradley Pryce, who stopped him controversially at the O2 Arena last year." I was robbed against Pryce, it was an utter joke," said Small. "As soon as he landed a couple of punches, the referee called the fight off. " I'd hurt Pryce a couple of times in every round, and felt I was winning the fight with ease. I just covered up because I was pacing myself, and before I know it the fight is off with me still on my feet! " As soon as I beat Katsimpas on Saturday night, I'll do everything in my power to get a rematch with Pryce. " If I can't get a fight with Pryce, then I'll happily take on British champion Ryan Rhodes, and after I've beaten him I'll look to win a world title. " I'm a world class fighter and in the next couple of fights, I'm going to start fulfilling my potential. I've always known I'll be a world champion, and nothing that's happened has dented my confidence." Top of the bill on Saturday sees Kell Brook fight Barrie Jones in a challenge for the vacant British welterweight crown.

Garcia and Harrington Re-Live Open Rivalry

Sergio Garcia and Padraig Harrington will lock horns on British soil for the first time since their epic Open Championship duel last year when they will renew their rivalry in The European Open at The London Golf Club, Kent, from July 3-6. Garcia and Harrington will be joined in a world-class field by the defending champion Colin Montgomerie and reigning European Tour Number One Justin Rose for the £2.4million event, played over the Jack Nicklaus-designed Heritage Course. Last July Garcia and Harrington went head-to-head in a four hole play-off at Carnoustie, with Harrington emerging victorious to be crowned The Open Champion, and two weeks before memories of that encounter are rekindled at Royal Birkdale, the pair will line-up at The London Golf Club. Garcia will be making his first appearance in Europe since winning The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass last month. It was the biggest of his 17 titles worldwide and lifted him back into the top ten in the Official World Golf Ranking in addition to boosting his prospects of a fifth successive Ryder Cup appearance for Europe against the United States. Harrington, the World Number 12, will be looking to fine tune his game ahead of his Open Championship defence from July 17-20 by claiming his first title in England. Rose heads to The London Golf Club having recently finished joint runner-up in the Memorial Tournament, a performance which lifted him to World Number Six and the position of the highest placed European on the Official World Golf Ranking. Montgomerie became the most prolific British winner in European Tour history when he claimed his 31st title by winning The European Open at The K Club in Ireland twelve months ago, surpassing Nick Faldo’s record of 30 wins. England’s Richard Finch, who alongside Tiger Woods has the distinction of being a multiple winner of The 2008 European Tour International Schedule, is also in the field alongside other 2008 champions, Felipe Aguilar, Grégory Bourdy, John Bickerton, Mark Brown, S S P Chowrasia, Alastair Forsyth, James Kingston, Peter Lawrie, Thomas Levet, Graeme McDowell, Damien McGrane, Hennie Otto, Jeev Milkha Singh and Scott Strange. Situated just 25 miles from central London and easily accessible by road and rail, the Club was designed with large-scale events in mind. Natural grandstands surround almost every hole on the 7,254 yards, par 72 Heritage Course, making it ideal for hosting the large number of spectators anticipated for The European Open, now in its 31st year. Golf fans will be able to enjoy the first day’s play free of charge on Free Ticket Thursday, with the chance to watch one of the subsequent days at a substantially discounted rate. Any spectators wishing to take advantage of this unmissable offer should log on to the official website to apply for up to two tickets per person. Electronic tickets will then be e mailed to applicants, incorporating details of how to collect discounted tickets for any one of the following three rounds. The Free Ticket Thursday e-tickets can be exchanged at the course on July 3 only for tickets for play on Friday, Saturday or Sunday at a cost of £15 each – a saving of £10 on the daily admission price on the gate. Senior citizens (aged 60 and over) will be entitled to a reduction from £15 to £5. A full price Adult Season Ticket costs £50 if purchased before Sunday June 22, and £60 on the gate during tournament week. A one day ticket is priced at £20 if purchased before Sunday June 22 and £25 on the gate, while for senior citizens the charge for a season ticket is £25 in advance and £35 on the gate. Senior day tickets are £10 in advance, and £15 on the gate. Entry for under 16s is free, providing they are accompanied by an adult. All public parking is also free of charge. Further information on the Free Ticket Thursday offer is available by calling 0800 0232557. Telephone applicants will receive their information by post. The European Open is also an opportunity to experience the finest hospitality. Situated alongside the 18th Green, with stunning views of the treacherous closing hole and panoramic views out across the course, The European Open Pavilion offers a wonderful sporting experience. For details of the hospitality packages, please contact David Watt, Hospitality Sales Manager, on +44 (0)1344 840 483 or

Blues to face the Chengdu Blades

Chelsea Football Club confirmed their second match in China this summer. The fixture will take place in Macau against the Chinese Super League team, the Chengdu Blades, on July 26. The Windor Arch-Macau International Football Challenge will be Chelsea FC’s second ever game in China, following the opening match of the Samsung/Chelsea Asia Tour 2008 in Guangzhou on July 23. The tour finishes in Kuala Lumpur on July 29 against a Malaysian Select XI. The Macau game takes on an added significance because of the opposition. The city of Chengdu in the province of Sichuan was very seriously damaged by the recent Chinese earthquake. There will be a series of events around the game to raise awareness and money for the earthquake relief effort. Chengdu is also well known to Chelsea officials as it is one of the cities in the Vision China grass roots project which the club is a partner in with the Asian Football Confederation. Chelsea Chief Executive Peter Kenyon said: “We are very happy to play this game in Macau as it has particular significance for us with our connections to Chengdu via the Vision China programme. “We did look at playing a game in Chengdu, and now for very obvious and tragic reasons, that will not be possible. But we are delighted to assist in raising awareness for the earthquake relief effort as well as having excellent opposition to help prepare for the new season. “We would like to thank our sponsors for the game, Windsor Arch, the Macau Sport Development Board and the Macau Football Association.” Chelsea has built a number of significant relationships in China and Asia recently. Last year it became the Official Football Development Partner of the AFC’s Vision China grass roots project, part of their larger Vision Asia programme. So far Chelsea has helped launch five of the planned 10 Vision China city leagues, in Nanjing, Wuhan, Qingdao, Zibo and Chengdu. Chelsea and the Chinese FA have worked closely together before and the club hosted the Chinese Olympic football team for a two week training camp in the winter of 2007. In addition Chelsea has become the exclusive football club partner of a grass roots talent search in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, where Guangzhou is the capital. The Super Soccer Star television was broadcast during the spring in the province of Guangdong and the four finalists recently visited Chelsea’s world renowned Academy and Stamford Bridge. The club is also a sponsor of the International Football Arena Beijing, the leading independent forum for debate amongst the game’s leading figures which took place last month in the Chinese capital for the second successive year. The tour will be the first time Chelsea has played in Asia since May 2005 when the opponents were the Suwon Bluewings, the K League team owned by sponsors Samsung. Chelsea also took part in the FA Premier League Asia Cup in Kuala Lumpur in the summer of 2003. Chelsea has also announced our participation in the pre-season tournament, the Railways Cup, in Moscow between August 1st and 3rd with Lokomotiv Moscow, AC Milan and Sevilla.

Chelsea join Creative Artists Agency

Chelsea Football Club has teamed up with the sports division of the world’s leading sports and entertainment agency CAA (Creative Artists Agency). CAA Sports will work on behalf of Chelsea FC in the areas of corporate partnership development, stadium development, athlete marketing, branding, touring, and Corporate Social Responsibility. Chelsea Chief Executive Peter Kenyon said: “Chelsea is delighted to be partnering with CAA Sports. As a club, our philosophy is to partner with market leaders and CAA is certainly that. It has unparalleled experience across a whole variety of areas that appeals to Chelsea. “Together we can build on Chelsea’s global business reputation, its unique position as the only soccer club in the centre of London, our talent, and our desire to be seen also as a force for good in our local community and around the world.” CAA has a stellar list of sporting and entertainment clients. CAA Sports represents more than 400 of the world's best athletes, coaches, on-air broadcasters, and sports personalities, including in the US the five most recent National Football League Most Valuable Players in American Football. CAA Sports entered into the soccer business in early 2007 when it helped orchestrate the landmark deal that brought David Beckham to the Los Angeles Galaxy, working with Beckham’s manager, Simon Fuller and has since sourced worldwide endorsement deals for the player. "Beyond their excellence on the field, Chelsea FC is renowned for its storied history, distinguished reputation, and passionate commitment to the community," said Howard Nuchow, co-head, CAA Sports. "We look forward to helping Chelsea FC build upon this tremendous legacy and widespread popularity to create new opportunities worldwide." The global appeal of Chelsea is one of the major factors in CAA partnering with the club. The Chelsea squad contains 23 national team players from 14 different nationalities and six current national team captains.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Mickelson and Immelman Set for Shanghai

Defending Champion and World Number Two, Phil Mickelson and 2008 Masters Champion, Trevor Immelman, have confirmed that they will be competing in the HSBC Champions at the Sheshan International Golf Club, Shanghai, from November 6-9, 2008, the first event of The 2009 European Tour International Schedule. Mickelson, fresh from his recent win at the 2008 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, his second title of the year, said: “I had a great time at the HSBC Champions last year. Winning such a prestigious international title was really important to me as I didn’t enjoy reading that I hadn’t won outside of the US since 1993 every time I teed it up at the British Open! It was also fantastic to have my family there to enjoy the experience of visiting China and we certainly saw some amazing sights. The “Champion of Champions” title is a great one to have and I will be doing all I can to defend my title in November.” South Africa’s Trevor Immelman, World Ranked Nunmber 16, enthused: “I am delighted to be able to include the HSBC Champions in my schedule this year. Since the inaugural event in 2005, all the World’s best players have competed there and it is a title everyone is keen to win. Obviously winning the Masters, my first Major title, was the most important moment of my career so far but I aim to build on that success by winning many more titles.” Giles Morgan, HSBC’s Group Head of Sponsorship, commented: “Last year people were debating whether the HSBC Champions field was the strongest ever seen in Asia. Then earlier this year, there was more discussion as to whether the HSBC Women’s Champions was the best golf event ever staged in Asia, because all of the best players in the world were competing in Singapore. We’ve set the bar high for ourselves, but we have our defending champion returning and we have the first Major winner of the year coming, so we’ve made a very strong start." Tournament winners from around the world are rewarded with an invitation to compete alongside the World’s Top 50 leading players at the Sheshan International Golf Club for the largest prize fund on offer in Asia of US$5 million. The event is co-sanctioned by The European Tour, Asian Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia, the Sunshine (Southern Africa) Tour, and the China Golf Association. A new qualifying criteria now allows the inclusion of past Champions from the previous three years ensuring the inaugural winner, England’s David Howell, and the popular Korean winner in 2006, Yong-eun Yang, will be assured of a place in the line-up this year.

McArthur Successful in Spain

Andrew McArthur secured the first professional victory of his career on a superb final day for the European Challenge Tour's Scottish contingent at the Reale Challenge de España in Madrid . The 29 year old Glaswegian came through some tough final round conditions to secure a one shot victory over his fellow countryman Lloyd Saltman and Spain's Alfredo Garcia Heredia at the Casino Club de Golf Retamares, after a final round of two over par 74 was good enough to take the €22,400 top prize. Richie Ramsay made it three Scots in the top six after a final round of 70 saw the man from Aberdeen finished on four under. McArthur, the 2004 Scottish Amateur champion, thought he was two shots off the lead as he played the closing holes, having been told by his fellow Challenge Tour pro – England's Gary Lockerbie – that he was behind with just a couple of holes remaining. It wasn't until he birdied the par three 17th that he saw the leaderboard and realised he was two clear with just the 18th to play. "Gary had said to me that I was a couple behind, but then said 'just try and win as much money as you can'. Then I birdied 17 and had a look at the board and realised I was two clear. I hit a good drive down the 18th but had a terrible overhanging lie for my approach to the green. I managed to knock it up there and chipped it on and two putted. "It was a strange feeling only finding out I could win when I got to the 18th tee, but I am delighted. It's a big hurdle to get over to get your first win out here – hopefully I can kick on and get my card for the main Tour for next year now. I came close last year and all I was missing was a win, so this is a big step for me." McArthur's win saw him into the top ten of the Challenge Tour Rankings. He made a huge leap of 55 places, from 64th to ninth with season's earnings of €29,795. The top 20 players at the end of the Challenge Tour season win a place on The 2009 European Tour.

Johnstone Joyous in Jersey

Zimbabwe’s Tony Johnstone clinched an emotional first victory since being told he would never play golf again after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis by winning the Jersey Seniors Classic. Johnstone hailed the inspirational win, his maiden European Seniors Tour title, as a “personal triumph” after finishing two shots clear on three under par at La Moye Golf Club.
The 52 year old Sky Sports analyst fought back the tears as he holed a par putt on the 18th for a two over par round of 74 to seal a fairytale wire-to-wire victory in the Channel Islands. It completes a remarkable recovery for Johnstone, who only four years ago was told by experts that he would never play again after he was diagnosed with the condition that affects the central nervous system. After undergoing revolutionary treatment, he had to relearn large parts of his game, including completely overhauling his putting technique to use his left hand.
Johnstone said he first win since the Qatar Masters in 2001 - the last of his six titles on The European Tour - was the sweetest of all his victories. He said: “This feels so good. It is a massive victory for me. In terms of personal satisfaction no other win mean s as much to me. Four years ago when I was diagnosed I could never have dreamed of standing here – I didn’t even think I would play golf again. “I’ve had so much support from family and friends. Ecstatic doesn’t even come close to describing what I am feeling now. I was holding back the tears on the final putt. “I was so nervous out there today. My drive on 16 into the rough was probably the worst shot I have played in my whole professional career but I ended up with a birdie. That putt to make that birdie answered a lot of questions I had about whether I could still do it. “There are so many MS sufferers out there. Hopefully this win will show them not to give up hope. There are a lot of people when they first find out go into a tailspin and press the panic button but I was lucky to get a clinical trial. “There is a lot being done in research and hopefully this will show people not to give up hope. That’s one of my goals really, to show MS sufferers it’s not the end of the road.“There were a number of times on The European Tour where you’d three-putt on the last green on a Friday afternoon and miss the cut and you’d come off and think “why do I do this for a living?”. It’s only when they tell you that you’ll never do it again that you realise how much you love it. After taking a two stroke lead into the final day, Johnstone understandably endured a nervous round as the chasing pack put the pressure on him in breezy conditions. But his birdie on the 16th hole proved decisive, with Paraguay’s Franco Angel, England’s Gordon J Brand, Scotland’s Ross Drummond and South African Bertus Smit all finishing on one under par for a share of second place. The evergreen 73 year old Sir Bob Charles of New Zealand shot lower than his age for the second successive week with a superb three under par round of 69 to finish in tied 17th place.