Thursday, July 10, 2008

Czech Golf Open Set for Next Year

The European Tour will return to the Czech Republic for the first time in 12 years with the announcement that the Czech Golf Open will feature on the 2009 International Schedule. The €2.5 million tournament will be played at the Miguel Angel Jiménez-designed Prosper Golf Resort from July 30 – August 2, 2009 and will form part of the inaugural Race to Dubai. The European Tour last visited the Czech Republic in 1997, when two-time Masters Champion Bernhard Langer took the title by four strokes from Niclas Fasth and Ignacio Garrido, and by five from Jiménez. Tournament Promoters, Altamira Agency, a company formed by J.C Decaux and Teleaxis to promote the Czech Golf Open, will be hoping to attract many of The European Tour’s biggest stars to the 2009 edition of the tournament, while the event will be a special week for BMW PGA Championship winner Jiménez, who will see his design project featuring on The European Tour for the first time. Keith Waters, Director of International Policy for The European Tour, said: “We would like to express our thanks to both the Czech Golf Federation and the Prosper Golf Club for their support and co-operation in bringing The European Tour back to the Czech Republic. “We are delighted to be able to call upon the expertise and experience of two great institutions like J.C Decaux and Teleaxis as we move into a new era for both The European Tour and professional golf in the Czech Republic.”

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Boxing Tickets Go on General Sale

Tickets are now on sale for Sports Network's blockbuster show titled 2 Hot 2 Handle at the M.E.N Arena on Saturday 6th September. Edinburgh star Alex Arthur headlines with the first defence of his WBO World Super-Featherweight title in an all-British showdown against tough Londoner Nicky Cook. All action Arthur faces a real battle against Cook - a former British, Commonwealth and European Champion - who aims to win a world title on his second attempt.Superstar Amir Khan features as chief-support and defends his Commonwealth Lightweight Championship against a challenger to be confirmed. Khan thrilled the public with his amazing five round war against Michael Gomez and is now looking forward to making his glittering debut at the M.E.N Arena; joining a long list of British greats to have fought there including: Joe Calzaghe, Nigel Benn, Naseem Hamed, Ricky Hatton and Chris Eubank. A full-supporting card, including further big title fights and the best in young British talent, will be announced shortly. Tickets, priced at £30, £40, £50, £100, £150 and £200, are available from the following outlets:
M.E.N Ticketmaster
0870 190 8000
See Tickets
0871 220 0260
Ticket Factory
0871 945 6000
0871 871 2932
Khan Boxing
01204 535 332

Man City Fan Murray in Fighting Mood

John Murray is confident he can win the British Lightweight Title on Friday, 11th July and strike a blow for Manchester City over Manchester United.Undefeated Murray faces Manchester rival Lee Meager at the Robin Park Arena in Wigan on a Hennessy Sports show in association with Hennessy Sports boxers badly want to win the title and the fact that they support rival football teams has added extra spice to the Sky Sports televised event."I'm a Man City fan and I know Lee is a big Red, but this is boxing and not football and I'm going to make sure the blue side of Manchester is the winner in this derby for a change," said Murray."We had some right wars when we sparred together and if the fight is anything like them it will be as feisty as any Man United-Man City derby."City have been doing better recently and like me they are going to be a new force over the next year.”"It's not just local pride at stake but the British title, and we both need the win to push our own careers on."Former British champion Meager will be returning to his roots when he takes on Murray in Wigan and is determined to make sure United overcome their rivals City at the Robin Park Arena."I'm a massive Man United fan and used to be a season ticket-holder so with John being a City fan, it adds that extra bit of edge to it," said Meager."I went out to Moscow for the Champions League Final against Chelsea in May and I certainly want to make sure United get the better over City in this title fight."I was born in Salford and even went to school in Tyldesley, which isn't far away from the Robin Park Arena in Wigan. So fighting there is going to be special for me and hopefully I'll have a few old mates there."

Larrazabal victorious in June

Pablo Larrazabal has been named The European Tour Golfer of the Month for June following his sensational maiden victory in the Open de France ALSTOM. Not only did the 25 year old Spaniard lead from start to finish and hold off a chasing pack which included two former European Tour Number Ones, Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood, he also became the first player in history to come through the qualifying event to triumph in Continental Europe’s oldest national Open championship. The victory saw the man from Barcelona make giant strides in both The European Tour Order of Merit and the Official World Golf Ranking as well as gain entry for next week’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. He also followed in the footsteps of his fellow countryman Sergio Garcia who won the May award after his victory in The Players’ Championship. “I played great golf in France and to win the Golfer of the Month Award is a superb feeling for me because a lot of players in could have won that award for June,” he said. “In the third and fourth rounds in France I probably played the best golf of my life and to beat guys like Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood is amazing. “Montgomerie is one of the three best players in the history of The European Tour. He won eight Order of Merit titles and Lee Westwood finished third at the US Open that I was watching on TV two weeks before France, and to know that I can play like those guys is great for me.” Larrazabal secured the nomination from the judging panel – which comprised members of the Association of Golf Writers along with journalists from both radio and television – ahead of several other worthy contenders from another excellent month of golf both in Europe and worldwide. Leading the way were January’s award winner Martin Kaymer, who came through a play-off with Denmark’s Anders Hansen to become the first German golfer to win the BMW International Open in Munich; England’s David Dixon who sampled his first European Tour success when he won the dual ranking SAINT-OMER OPEN, presented by NEUFLIZE OBC; and India’s Jeev Milkha Singh who became the third Indian golfer to win on The 2008 European Tour International Schedule when he claimed the Bank Austria GolfOpen presented by Telekom Austria. Also noted by the panel for their achievements during June were Lee Westwood, Robert Karlsson, Miguel Angel Jiménez and Carl Pettersson who finished, respectively, third, fourth, sixth and sixth in the US Open Championship, while Prayad Marksaeng and Thaworn Wiratchant were recognised for their respective victories in the Yomiuri Classic on the Japan Golf Tour and the Bangkok Airways Open on the Asian Tour. The Golfer of the Month Award winners thus far in 2008 have been: Kaymer (January), Mark Brown of New Zealand (February), Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland (March), Trevor Immelman of South Africa (April) and Garcia (May). At the end of the year, all monthly winners will be amongst the players considered by the panel for The European Tour Golfer of the Year.

Major Trio set for Senior Open

Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle and Ian Woosnam, three of European golf’s ‘Big Five’ from the 1980s and 1990s, will go head-to-head on the continent for the first time as senior players when they make their debuts in The 2008 Senior Open Championship presented by MasterCard at Royal Troon Golf Club, from July 24-27. The illustrious trio will all be looking to become the first European winner of the event since the turn of the millennium, after all three turned 50 in the past 12 months. Japan’s Noboru Sugai was the last non-American winner back in 2002, while Europe’s most recent Champion came courtesy of Ireland’s Christy O'Connor Jnr’s successful defence in 2000. Germany’s Langer, winner of the Masters Tournament in 1985 and 1993 and Ryder Cup winning Captain in 2004, is currently challenging at the top of both the European Seniors Tour Order of Merit and the US Champions Tour Money List. “I like to win any tournament I enter but The Senior Open Championship would be a very nice thing to have alongside my name,” he said. “I will be trying very hard to have one Open title to my name, seeing as The Open Championship itself eluded me. “Royal Troon is a very good golf course, a demanding golf course, and you have to hit the ball well. It just depends on the conditions whether it is bouncy or not. I remember playing with Tiger Woods there in the early stages of his career. It is a good links course where you have to avoid the bunkers and hit proper shots in the wind. “It’s great to come up against defending champion Tom Watson again who I see a lot over in America. On both sides of the Atlantic Seniors golf is getting more and more competitive as a lot of the guys stay in shape and try and keep their games going.” Two-time Major winner Lyle, like Watson, is an Open Champion having famously claimed the Claret Jug at Royal St George’s in 1985 as well as the Green Jacket at Augusta National in 1988, and the Scot has admitted he would dearly love to add a Senior Open Championship to that crown on home soil. “Troon is a good links golf course with strong holes,” he said. “I will have played plenty of links golf by the time I get there following Wales, Ireland and The Open Championship the week before so hopefully my game will be in good shape. “Bernhard is obviously playing really well. He is scoring very well and I think he will be the main man to keep an eye on during the week. There are sure to be some great crowds up there too. Troon is obviously well established and has attracted great crowds for The Open Championship in the past and I’m sure The Senior Open Championship will be no different.” Welshman Woosnam, who won the Masters Tournament in 1991 and captained Europe to Ryder Cup victory in 2006, has made a superb start to his European Seniors Tour career after turning 50 in March and goes to Ayrshire as leader of the Order or Merit. He clinched his maiden title at the Parkridge Polish Seniors Championship and followed that by finishing runner-up on his homecoming at the Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open before lifting his second trophy at the Russian Seniors Open at the European Seniors Tour’s last tournament. The Welshman is also confident that one of the European players can mount a strong challenge at Royal Troon. “It is the dream of every British professional golfer to win a Major in Britain and as I am not playing The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, then the next biggest win would be The Senior Open Championship at Troon,” he said. “All three of us are certainly going to give it a try. I have already played two tournaments at links courses this year – in Wales and Ireland - and with Bernhard playing fantastic golf in the US we certainly have as good a chance as any this year.” “It would be fantastic to win my maiden Order of Merit in my first season and winning at Troon would certainly give that a serious boost. Winning tournaments, especially Majors, is what it is all about.” David Hill, Director of Championships for the R&A, said on behalf of the Championship: “It will be great to see three players who dominated European golf, and who had such success in the Major Championships, join an already strong field at Royal Troon. The Senior Open Championship has developed into one of the highlights of the golfing calendar and we look forward to another fine championship.” To reserve a Championship hospitality package in the Barcelό Troon Marine Hotel, call today on +44 1292 314444. Alternatively, you can email Tickets for The 2008 Senior Open Championship presented by MasterCard - which is jointly run by the European Seniors Tour and The R&A and co-sanctioned by the US Champions Tour - can be booked now either via the hotline on 0800 023 2557 or visiting

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Broadhurst Tackles Tough Spaniard

Flyweight sensation Don Broadhurst has vowed to halt Spain's modern-day sporting Armada.Broadhurst tackles tough Spaniard Jordi Gallart over ten-rounds at the Aston Events Centre, Birmingham, on July 19 featuring on the undercard of Audley Harrison v Martin Rogan.And the unbeaten 24-year-old says he won't let Gallart notch up another Spanish success, following his nation's football team winning at Euro 2008, and Rafael Nadal sensational Wimbledon triumph after an epic victory over Roger Federer. Spain also have two of the favourites to win the Tour De France, Alejandro Valverde and Carlos Sastre. "Like the rest of the nation I watched Sunday night's Wimbledon final between Nadal and Federer and they were going at it like Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, I hope my fight against Gallart doesn't end up like that!" said Broadhurst. "The Spanish are on a high at the moment with there sporting wins this summer but seeing as England didn't make it to Euro 2008 and Andy Murray got knocked out of Wimbledon, I'll bring some victory for England by beating Gallert next Saturday. "He's never been stopped, but I'm punching harder than ever and I'm confident I'll be having an early night." Broadhurst, who scooped flyweight gold at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, has raced to 8-0 as a professional, and boxes in his native Birmingham for the second time in a month. When he appeared at the N.I.A last month on the undercard of Khan-Gomez, he personally sold 1,000 tickets and rewarded his army of supporters with a thrilling win over experienced Frenchman Alain Bonnel. It was easily his best victory - and underlined why a title shot could be just around the corner. "I'll fight anyone in Britain," said Broadhurst. "The next 18 months are going to be massive for me, especially as there is a real buzz about big-time boxing in Birmingham at the moment."Having all those fans at the N.I.A was a real boost, and I was as fired up as I've ever been."I'm desperate to fight for domestic honours, but that will just be the start. I know I'm good enough to win European and world titles."

Monday, July 07, 2008

Siddique homes in on Saville

Nadeem Siddique aims to prove he is one of Britain's top lightweight contenders with an emphatic win over Steve Saville on Friday, 11th July 2008. Unbeaten star Siddique's eight round contest is chief support to the vacant British Lightweight Title battle between Manchester duo Lee Meager and John Murray at the Robin Park Arena in Wigan on a Hennessy Sports show in association with Ghana's Alex Brew lasted just two rounds against Sid at the Nottingham Arena in May and was due to meet Canadian Julius Odion last month before the bout had to be postponed. The Bradford boxer will now box Saville (Walsall), who made a successful comeback last month after six years out. After campaigning at welterweight earlier in his career, Siddique is now aiming to face the likes of the winner of Murray-Meager. "Steve will be fired up after making a good comeback but I intend to look good in this one like I did in my last fight," said Nadeem, who is unbeaten in 22 fights. "It was difficult having the fight with the Canadian kid cancelled, but that's boxing and I can't wait for my chance against Saville. "I want to put on a good display for the Sky Sports cameras and it's a chance for me to show people that I'm getting closer to title contention. A British title fight could happen soon. "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." Also in action on the Wigan bill is two-time British title challenger Brian Magee, who will be aiming to win his third fight in a row on the comeback trail. The Belfast boxer was held to a draw in a challenge for Tony Oakey's British light-heavyweight title in Dublin a year ago but has since out-pointed Tyrone Wright and Mark Nilsen since drawing with Oakey. Manchester light-welterweight Darren Askew looks for his fifth win since making his professional debut in October 2007. Southpaw Darren, 23, bounced back from his first loss his last fight with a six round win over Kristian Laight. Walsall light-welterweight Martin Gethin hopes to keep his unbeaten record intact against John Baguley (Rotherham) over six rounds while Blackburn welterweight Ali Shah has his second pro fight and welterweight Khurram 'Iceman' Hussain (Bradford/Sheffield) hopes to improve his record of 6-1-1.

Meager Means Business

Lee Meager is putting friendship aside when he takes on John Murray for the vacant British Lightweight Title at the Robin Park Arena in Wigan on Friday 11th July 2008 on a Hennessy Sports in association with event. The two Manchester lightweights are part of the same Hennessy Sports stable and know each other from numerous sparring sessions together. The sparring sessions have been described as being explosive but former British champion Meager is not reading too much into them ahead of his much-anticipated showdown with unbeaten Murray, the English champion. Salford-born Meager lost the British Title in his first defence on points after an epic encounter with Jon Thaxton in 2006 and believes victory over Murray will get him back to the level he was at a few years ago. "Me and John might be good mates and we know each other well after the sparring sessions, but it will be strictly business on the night," said Lee, who was crowned British champion in 2006 after his exciting stoppage of Dave Stewart. "I know what to expect from John in a way because we have sparred with each other, but I’m not taking those sparring sessions too seriously. "Sparring is nothing like the real thing where you are a different weight and wear different gloves. So I’m treating those sparring sessions with a pinch of salt. "But I’m expecting a tough fight and I know he is a good hooker. "The Thaxton defeat took a while to get over but this is a great opportunity for me to make something of my career."

Horsey on a Charge

England’s David Horsey became the first double winner on the European Challenge Tour this season after holing a crucial 36ft birdie on the final hole to clinch the tightly contested AGF-Allianz EurOpen de Lyon by one stroke. In driving rain more akin to his home town of Manchester than Monthieux, Horsey carded six birdies on the back nine to come home in 30 and move ahead of countryman Seve Benson in the Challenge Tour Rankings. Horsey finished on a 22 under par total of 266 – the lowest 72 hole total to par on the Challenge Tour this season - after a flawless final round 65 at the Golf du Gouverneur for his second title in three weeks following his victory at the Telenet Trophy. After starting the day in sixth position and three shots behind leader John E Morgan, Horsey carded four straight birdies starting on the 13th hole to give him the outright lead for the first time on the 16th. His huge birdie putt on the 18th hole came after he thought he might have blown his chance of victory when he three putted the penultimate hole to miss another birdie chance. Fellow Englishman Marcus Higley then picked up a shot on the 17th to move to within a shot of Horsey. But Higley could only par the last to finish runner up and leave Challenge Tour rookie Horsey only needing one more victory to secure automatic graduation to The European Tour, just 10 months after turning professional. The win also capped off a fabulous week for 23 year old Horsey, who secured his qualification for The Open Championship at Sunningdale last Monday. He said: “It feels fantastic to win again so soon again after Belgium. To get that third win and qualify automatically is one of my main goals for the season, to by-pass the rankings and go straight to The European Tour. “I started off playing quite nicely but didn’t really make any putts on the front nine. I birdied ten and then four in a row from 13 onwards. For the first 12 holes it was raining non-stop then cleared up and I thought I was going to have to make some birdies “I was really into it on the back nine trying to make everything I could. The three putt on 17 I thought might have cost me though. “I thought that was my chance gone. I just had to regroup on the last and make the putt for birdie. It was playing long, the last hole, and I played rescue but I gave myself a chance and took it. “Hopefully I can now kick on from here and get a third win. That’s the priority now. Winning two in three weeks and also qualifying for The Open means it’s been quite a few weeks for me.” Higley’s second place finish – his second runners up place of the season following the AGF Allianz Open Cotes d’Armor Bretagne - takes him from 20th to sixth in the Challenge Tour Rankings, boosting his chance of winning his European Tour card back. Spaniard Carlos Del Moral and Austrian Bernd Wiesberger were a shot further back in a tie for third on 20 under par, while overnight leader Morgan finished in a share of fourth with Switzerland’s Raphaёl De Sousa

Woosnam Wins in Russia

Ian Woosnam captured the second title of his rookie European Seniors Tour season after securing a three shot victory over Paraguay’s Angel Franco at the Pestovo Russian Seniors Open at Pestovo Golf and Yacht Club near Moscow. Woosnam braved persistent rain to card a closing two under par round of 70 for a winning total of 204, 12 under par. It was the Welshman’s second title in eastern Europe following his maiden success at last month’s Parkridge Polish Seniors Championship in Krakow and the €71,432 first prize consolidated his top spot on the Seniors Tour’s Order of Merit with earnings of €210,018 (£165,893). Woosnam started the day two shots ahead of Bill Longmuir but lost that advantage when the Scot birdied two of the first three holes. The 2006 Ryder Cup Captain staged a recovery with birdies on the sixth ninth and 12th but dropped a shot on the 14th before sealing the 46th victory of his long and illustrious career with a birdie two on the par 3 17th. “I feel as if I’ve been drowned,” joked a drenched Woosnam at the end. “It’s great to get a win so soon after the last one but at the moment what I want most is to change into some dry clothes. “It rained from start to finish and it’s so difficult to control the ball when it gets as wet as that,” he added. “It was so wet I’m surprised we managed to finish but I am delighted we did and it is great to win the first Russian Seniors title.” Franco started the day in a share of fifth place but moved up to second with a best-of-the-day 68 that included a stunning birdie on the 382 yard closing hole where he holed out from 18 feet. That was enough to pip Longmuir for second place and to earn a cheque for €47,621 (£37,616). It turned out to be a hugely disappointing day for Sam Torrance who started out just three shot s behind Woosnam but dropped six shots in an untidy 78. That left him languishing in a share of eighth place eleven shots behind the winner. “It was just one of those days,” said Torrance. “I got off to a bad start when I dropped two shots on the fifth and I just couldn’t get going after that.”

Changes Made to SAS Masters

Two changes of venue, a different date in the calendar and plans for an increased prize fund, are amongst the far reaching developments announced today for the SAS Masters on The European Tour International Schedule. The tournament, which this year will be played again at Arlandastad Golf from August 14-17, will move to Barsebäck Golf & Country Club in 2009 and then to the new Bro Hof Slott course for eight years from 2010 to 2017, part of a multi-million Swedish kronor agreement with the Stockholm venue. The 2009 tournament at Barsebäck Golf & Country Club will also move dates to July 23-26 which is the week following The Open Championship at Turnberry. It will feature a minimum prize fund of €1.6 million – the same prize fund for this year’s tournament – with plans to increase that in the future. “It is every promoter’s dream to stage an event the week after The Open and we have been striving to do that for almost 20 years,” said Fredrik Nilsmark, Managing Director of the SAS Masters. “We are very happy that The European Tour has given us the opportunity. It shows that the Tour sees us as an important player.” Looking ahead, Björn Örås, Bro Hof Slott Chairman and Managing Director, said: “As a move towards our ambition to be one of the best golf venues in Europe, it is very important to host a big event. To have the week after The Open gives us a chance to attract the best players.” “There are clear advantages of staying at the same venue year on year. To do this at one of the premier venues in Europe is even better.” Björn Nordberg, Chairman of the Swedish Golf Federation, admitted he was also looking forward to the partnership. “For the SGF and the continued development of golf it is important to offer golfers a European Tour event of the highest quality,” he said. “Through the agreement with Bro Hof Slott we have created the platform for a first class event and the opportunity to further develop the SAS Masters.” Last year saw the tournament played for the first time at Arlandastad Golf in Stockholm where Finland’s Mikko Ilonen triumphed and when the event moves to Barsebäck Golf and Country Club in 2009, it will be the ninth time it has been played there.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Barker Embarkes on North America

When somebody asked undefeated Commonwealth middleweight champ Darren Barker how he wanted his tea, I half expected him to say: "Shaken, not stirred." Not only does the personable puncher from Barnet, England, look and talk like a young James Bond, he exudes the same understated cool as Her Majesty's devoted Agent 007. The fact that the British press has nicknamed him "Dazzling" doesn't hurt, either. Barker will make his North American debut at the River Cree Resort & Casino on Aug. 15 when he puts both his Commonwealth title and a perfect record (17-0) on the line against an as-yet unsigned challenger. "I'm thrilled to be making my North American debut in Edmonton for a lot of reasons - not the least of which is because I have a tremendous respect for Canadian fighters and their reputation around the globe," said Barker, who turned pro after striking gold at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester. "To be headlining a card that also includes some of the best young guns in Canada is very special for me. I don't care who they put in front of me to fight; I'll put on a show." Those 'young guns' include the likes of Edmontonians Trevor Moyah, Jason De Laronde and Nick Penner, along with Canadian bantamweight champ Andrew Singh Kooner of Toronto. Promoted by London-based Hennessy Sports in association with the River Cree Resort, the card will be televised live across Canada on Super Channel, with a live satellite feed to Europe. In his first defence of the Commonwealth crown in February, Barker KO'd former IBO world title challenger Steven Bendall (28-3) in seven rounds. "The knockouts are starting to come," said Barker, who has nine stoppages on his ledger. "My style is constantly evolving, as shown by the fact that three of my last four fights have ended in KOs. "When I first turned pro a lot of people said I wouldn't make it because my style was too 'amateurish,' but good fighters learn to adjust and adapt. That's what I'm doing." Those adjustments have been on both sides of the ropes. In December 2006, Barker's 19-year-old brother Gary, who had just been named the U.K.'s amateur fighter of the year, was killed in an auto accident. The champ took a nine-month break from boxing to come to grips with his family's tragedy. "I just wanted to collect my thoughts on life in general ... how precious it is, and how we've got to live it to the fullest," he said. "When I got back into the ring, I was re-energized. It was like a switch came on, telling me 'This is what's been missing.' Now, with every fight, I think of Gary. Through my success, he can live on." Barker, who trains fulltime in London, said he plans to return to Edmonton two weeks before the Aug.15 card and hopes to get in some sparring with local fighters, including De Laronde and Moyah.

Putting for a Good Cause

Leading financial security company Genworth Financial and GOLFAID in conjunction with The European Tour, are pleased to announce an extended commitment to their popular ‘Putts for Charity’ initiative. As part of their commitment to raising funds for good causes, this innovative concept will now feature at all remaining tournaments on The 2008 European Tour International Schedule. For the next 14 European Tour events, starting at The European Open at The London Golf Club this week, Genworth and GOLFAID will contribute €2 to charity for every one putt made during tournament play. In addition to this extended player activity, visitors attending the SAS Masters and Volvo Masters later in the year will also have the chance to make one putts at specially constructed greens. Each of these successful one putts will also generate a contribution to charity. It is hoped that this combined effort will exceed last year’s €100,000 raised for good causes. Genworth Brand Ambassador and European Tour Member Ross Fisher said: “European Tour players have a tradition of assisting charities through a wide range of practical and monetary ways; it’s great that we can lend our support to the ‘Putts for Charity’ concept knowing that if we are having a good game, more money is being raised for a worthy cause. It’s great to launch this extended initiative here at The European Open.”

Murray in a Hurry for Khan

British lightweight title challenger John Murray is offering to be Amir Khan’s next opponent on 6th September 2008.Former unbeaten English champion Murray faces fellow Manchester boxer Lee Meager for the vacant British Lightweight Title at the Robin Park Arena in Wigan on Friday 11th July 2008.Hennessy Sports pair Murray and Meager face each other after Jon Thaxton vacated the belt on a show scheduled to be televised live on Sky Sports.Murray, who has also won the WBC Youth Lightweight Title in an unbeaten career, believes Commonwealth champion Khan should agree to box him if he beats Meager to become British champion.“I would love to fight Amir and it’s the logical fight to happen,” said former Young Boxer of the Year Murray.”“We are both unbeaten and both from Lancashire. Hopefully I will be winning the British belt and then it will be a fight with two belts on the line. It could happen at the MEN Arena in Manchester on 6th September.”“He’s talking about fighting for the world title, but he’s not even the best in Lancashire. It would be a massive fight for Greater Manchester and also for the whole country.”“I wasn’t really impressed with him against Michael Gomez the other week. Gomez will probably tell you himself he is past his best but he still gave Amir lots of trouble. Khan should be taking care of people better than he has done.”“This fight with Lee is an excellent opportunity for me to move my career on, especially as it could lead to a fight with Amir.”

Thursday, July 03, 2008

New Identity for European Tour

The 2009 European Tour International Schedule will herald an exciting new era in the game with the introduction of The Race To Dubai and, in recognition of this significant development, The European Tour today unveil the restyled branding which will reflect that evolution.Through discussions with the players and with Leisurecorp, with whom we are partners in The Race to Dubai and The Dubai World Championship, we confirmed the importance of linking the past with the future. With golf this is especially valid because of the tradition of the game and its continuing global growth with which The European Tour is delighted to be associated. Harry Vardon is an iconic figure whom many identify as the first touring professional and the world skyline provides an invocative image of the stage on which the players of The European Tour now compete. In bringing them together in the new branding we respect tradition and recognise the future. Vardon’s vision in 1912 is interesting in that after his travels to the Continent and to the United States he “found evidence of great enthusiasm for the game in other parts of the world.” Vardon wrote of receiving invitations to Australia, India, South Africa and other countries and, although deeming to be “so very many driver shots away that I have hesitated to leave my native teeing-ground,” he pointed out that “Golf is now the game of all nations as it deserves to be.” The new European Tour identity will be officially introduced at the start of The 2009 European Tour International Schedule in November when The Race to Dubai – a US$10,000,000 season-long competition for the world’s leading golfers - will culminate in the Number 1 to 60 players qualifying for the US$10,000,000 Dubai World Championship. The Dubai World Championship will be played on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai, UAE, from November 19-22, 2009, at which time a player could face the prospect of standing over a putt for US$3,666,660 to capture the title, Number One position in The Race to Dubai and The Harry Vardon Trophy. Justin Rose, the reigning European Tour Number One, said: “To be Number One, to follow in the footsteps of so many great players, is an awesome feeling and it was huge for me to receive The Harry Vardon Trophy. It’s like the Premiership – a season long challenge that tests all your skills and demands consistency. “That was the key to me winning in 2007 – with two wins and three second places. The best thing is that I did it as a champion by winning the season-ending event. It would be brilliant to do that again – especially in 2009 when The Race to Dubai kicks in with The Dubai World Championship bringing it to a massive crescendo.” Padraig Harrington, Number One in 2006, said: “It certainly meant a lot to me to win The Harry Vardon Trophy. It’s a good marker to success in a career. I had been a professional for more than ten years and it underlined how far I had come. I had been runner-up twice so it was good to finally win it. “That took me to a new level and winning The Open Championship last year has raised the bar again. It was a great year for me personally and for The European Tour, ending with the announcement of The Race to Dubai and The Dubai World Championship. It is a great concept and looks like The European Tour have found the right formula.” Retief Goosen, Number One in 2001 and 2002, said: “To be Number One in Europe is unbelievable. To have The Harry Vardon Trophy in my trophy cabinet was something very special and then to win it in successive years was a really good feeling. The Race to Dubai is going to be great for everyone – we are all going to want to be the Number One in the first year that it unfolds and we will all hope to have that putt on the final green to win a possible US $3,600,000 and, of course, The Harry Vardon Trophy.”Colin Montgomerie, who was Number One a record seven times in succession from 1993 to 1999 and again in 2005, said: “Winning The Harry Vardon Trophy in 2005 was very important to me. I was incredibly proud of my seven Vardon Trophies in a row but it was very special to win it again for an eighth time when it was certainly less expected of me. “Who knows whether that record will ever be beaten but nothing would give me greater pleasure than to make it even tougher by winning a ninth in the year The Race to Dubai for The Harry Vardon Trophy begins.”

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Glory for Goya on Challenge Tour

A series of scintillating early season performances on the European Challenge Tour have seen Estanislao Goya of Argentina receive the first ever ECCO Performance Award presented by Colin Montgomerie. Goya was the unanimous choice of the four man judging panel, comprising European Tour Members Thomas Björn and Colin Montgomerie, Challenge Tour Managing Director Alain de Soultrait, and ECCO Chief Executive Dieter Kasprzak. The starlet, who only recently turned 20, was presented with a cheque for €10,000 on conclusion of the Scottish Challenge, where he finished in the top 20 for the seventh time this season. He said: “It means a lot to me to win this award, because it is nice to be recognised for my hard work. I’ve had a fantastic start to my professional career, and I hope to win many more awards in the future. Playing in Europe on the Challenge Tour has taught me a lot, and it’s good preparation for achieving my dream of playing on The European Tour. I have improved so much over the last year, and if I can keep improving I have a great chance of finishing in the top ten in the Rankings. The award is good for my confidence, and I would like to thank ECCO for their support.”
Goya has enjoyed a stratospheric rise through the ranks since turning professional. He first came to prominence at the end of 2007 when winning the Tour de las Americas Qualifying School by nine shots, in the process breaking Johnnie Miller’s 32 year course record at the Bonaventure Country Club in Florida with a superb round of 61. Just four months later, in March 2008, Goya clinched his first title as a professional when he triumphed in his homeland at the 77 Abierto VISA del Centro presentado por Personal on the Challenge Tour. In searing temperatures on the final day, the youngster kept his cool and belied his tender years by fending off the challenge of reigning US Open champion Angel Cabrera, amongst others, to collect the €20,716 winner’s cheque – his first as a professional. Not one to rest on his laurels, Goya followed up that victory with top five finishes in his next two tournaments: third at the 103 Abierto VISA de la Republica presentado por Peugeot, and fifth at the II Club Colombia Masters. On the back of those three results Goya rose to the top of the Challenge Tour Rankings, but his best performance was arguably yet to come. Having for the first time been invited to step up to European Tour duty at the Methorios Capital Italian Open, Goya proved he had the temperament to match his undoubted ability by thriving in such exalted company. A 15 under par total saw Goya claim a share of 12th place and a cheque for €26,316. Montgomerie said: “Estanisloa Goya is a thoroughly deserving winner of this exciting and worthy new award on the Challenge Tour. The way he went about his business when competing against the so-called big boys of The European Tour was a measure of the man, and I take my hat off to him.” Dieter Kasprzak said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring this award, and to present it to such a bright young prospect as Estanislao Goya. His growing maturity and continued development made him an obvious choice, and we wish him well for the rest of the season.” Alain de Soultrait said: “Having seen Estanisloa at close quarters, I have no doubt this young man has a big future ahead of him. He embodies all that is good about the Challenge Tour, and indeed the game in general. Whilst he is talented and fearless, he also shows humility and a healthy respect for his fellow pros and the spirit of golf. We are proud to have him on the Challenge Tour.” The winner of the second award of the season, the ECCO Performance Award presented by Thomas Björn, will be presented with his €10,000 cheque at the final event of the Challenge Tour season, the Apulia San Domenico Grand Final in Italy from October 22-25. All players competing at the Apulia San Domenico Grand Final, as well as the winner of every Challenge Tour event, will receive a pair of golf shoes courtesy of ECCO, who are also supporting seven events on this year’s schedule.