Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gallas crosses North London Divide

William Gallas has said that he cannot wait to open the latest chapter of his already illustrious career after putting pen to paper on a one-year deal with the Club. The France defender trained with his new team-mates on Monday and arrives in N17 with two Premier League titles and a League Cup winner’s medal to his name from his time at former club Chelsea, as well as 84 international caps for France. And despite being one of few players to cross the North London divide, having spent the last four seasons at Arsenal, William is focusing on the positives and getting his fitness levels back up. In an exclusive interview, he said: ““The atmosphere is great here. I like that and I’m just looking forward to playing as soon as possible and winning some games. “It was not an easy decision [having played for Arsenal] but I am here now and I will give my best. What is most important to me is to play games and to give everything. “I just want to be fit as soon as possible, train with my teammates and play matches. I want to show everybody I am still here.” William joins us at an exciting time for the Club as we prepare for our first-ever Champions League tie at White Hart Lane with the second leg of our Play-Off with BSC Young Boys coming up on Wednesday. We trail 3-2 from the first leg but William is confident the team can overturn the narrow deficit and progress to the group stages. Our latest signing has played in Europe’s elite competition in each of the past seven seasons and believes his new club are more than capable of competing at that level. And he insists the sky is the limit for us domestically after our top four Premier League finish last season. William added: "Finishing fourth last season shows Spurs have improved a lot and I hope this season we are going to finish even higher, maybe even win the Premier League. We just have to believe in ourselves. We have got young players with great quality, they just have to believe in their capacity to do something and I hope we can achieve this. "Spurs are ready for the Champions League, even though they lost the first game. I have seen the game and the team showed character to come back.“I am confident we will win that game on Wednesday because all the players know it is very important to play in the Champions League.“I have played many games in the Champions League. It is the best level to play at as you are up against the biggest teams and you can show how good you are. “The atmosphere is so great. When you hear the music, you just want to get on the pitch and battle for 90 minutes, and it would be good for Spurs.”

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

McDowell makes his Mark

Graeme McDowell’s towering seven iron tee shot on the fifth hole of his final round in the US Open Championship at Pebble Beach has been awarded The European Tour Shot of the Month for June. Having started solidly with four pars, McDowell needed something to kick start the quest which would ultimately bring him his first Major Championship and he got it at the testing 195 yard fifth hole, a superbly struck shot pitching in the perfect spot at the front of the green before rolling up to within eight feet of the pin from where he holed for a birdie two. “That shot was a big turning point for me,” said McDowell. “It set up my first and only birdie of the final round. I hit a seven iron which pitched exactly where I wanted it to and it released down to about eight feet on a very tricky par three. That was a big swing for me and gave me the confidence to go on and get the job done that afternoon. It was the right shot at the right time. It was one of the shots I look back on as one of the key shots during the round.” The honour marked a notable award double for the 30 year old Northern Irishman who also picked up The Race to Dubai Golfer of the Month Award for June following his memorable triumph on the Californian coastline. June provided a plethora of excellent shots for the judging panel to consider and, after much deliberation, second place went to Denmark’s Thomas Björn while South Africa’s Ernie Els took third. Björn’s shot of note came on the final hole at Penha Longa – an exquisite pitch from 94 yards to within two inches of the hole to help him claim the Estoril Open de Portugal title in style, while Els’ stroke of genius came at the short 12th hole in the final round of the US Open – his five iron tee shot pitching in the fringe in front of the green before rolling up to a foot from the hole. The Shot of the Month Award is presented to a Tour Member for the shot judged to be the best played each month on The European Tour International Schedule. At the end of the season, the winning shot from each month will go forward to contest The European Tour Shot of the Year, won in 2009 by Argentina’s Rafa Echenique for his albatross two at the final hole of the BMW International Open in Germany. The monthly winners to date in 2010 have been Germany’s Martin Kaymer (January), England’s Ian Poulter (February), Korea’s Noh Seung-yul (March), England’s Lee Westwood (April) and England’s Luke Donald (May).

Friday, August 06, 2010

Recognition for Open Champion

South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen has been named The Race to Dubai Golfer of the Month for July following his magnificent seven shot victory in the 150th Anniversary Open Championship. The 27 year old claimed his first Major title at the venue where every player wants to win – the Old Course at St Andrews – and he will receive an engraved alms dish and a jeroboam of Moët & Chandon champagne in recognition of his fantastic achievement. His opening round of 65 went into the record books as the lowest opening round by a winner while his 16 under par total of 272 helped give him the seventh biggest winning margin in Open Championship history. By lifting the Claret Jug, Oosthuizen followed in the footsteps of fellow South Africans Bobby Locke, Gary Player - four and three-time Open Champions respectively - and 2002 Champion Ernie Els, whose Foundation helped develop his career. He also became the sixth South African golfer in total to win a Major Championship. Furthermore, a week later, he almost made history again at the Nordea Scandinavian Masters, his bid to become the first player to win The Open Championship and triumph in the next event falling narrowly short as he finished joint fourth. “Winning The Open was special but winning at St Andrews was something else, it was incredible,” said Oosthuizen. “It was bigger than I ever imagined. You have this picture in your mind what it's going to be like after a Major win, and I think it was ten times what I expected. It’s been a fantastic reaction.” Peter Dixon, Golf Correspondent of The Times, said: “This was a stunning performance in difficult conditions. Louis took everything that was thrown at him, from the weather to the players giving chase, and came out comfortably on top. He is a worthy winner of the monthly award.” Oosthuizen returns to action at the WGC – Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club this week after a celebration at his home club of Mossel Bay in South Africa, where he has had a new bridge dedicated to him and had the pleasure of trying out the new tractor on his farm, purchased on the back of his Open success. Aside from Oosthuizen, July was an impressive month for European Tour Members, all of whom were highly commended by the panel of golfing media. The month began with Miguel Angel Jiménez winning the ALSTOM Open de France to become the oldest winner of Continental Europe’s oldest Open. Edoardo Molinari continued his meteoric rise with victory in The Barclays Scottish Open at Loch Lomond, lifting him into the world’s top 20 for the first time. Ross Fisher claimed his fourth European Tour title by winning the 3 Irish Open while on the US PGA Tour, Justin Rose captured his second victory of the season by winning the AT&T National. There was also honourable mention made of Bernhard Langer, who became the first player since Tom Watson in 2003 to win back to back Senior Major Championships when, in consecutive weeks, he captured the Senior Open Championship presented by MasterCard at Carnoustie and the US Senior Open at Sahalee in Washington. Oosthuizen joins fellow South Africans Charl Schwartzel (January) and Ernie Els (March), the English pair of Ian Poulter (February) and Luke Donald (May) and Northern Irishmen Rory McIlroy (April) and Graeme McDowell (June), as candidates for The Race to Dubai Golfer of the Year on The European Tour, which will be decided at the end of the season.