Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Title shot for DeGale

Former British Super-Middleweight Champion James DeGale will challenge for the European title in September against the champion Piotr Wilczewski from Poland. The Londoner is raring to get back into the ring following his contentious points loss to George Groves in May when he lost his British title. Wilczeski, who is ranked number three in the world by the WBO, has lost only once in 30 fights and he captured the vacant European and WBO Intercontinental titles with a an eleventh round stoppage of Amin Asikainen in March this year. "Challenging for the European title is a fantastic opportunity to get myself back in the big picture in my first fight back," said DeGale. "I've been hard in training since my last fight and I'm ready to box tomorrow if I need to, come September I'll be in great shape," "The fight with Groves is in the past, I still believe I beat him, but I'm a positive person and now I'm focused on the future and a win will put me in a great position for a world title," "My promoter Frank Warren has done a great job in getting me home advantage for this title shot and now I've got to go out there, do the business and win it in style," "In fact, I'm about to sign a new three year deal with Frank and I'm really happy that he will continue to build my career as he has done since I turned professional," "He brought Amir Khan back from a devastating knockout loss to a world title in only three fights so I know that he can do it for me." Warren said, "This is a make or break fight for James. He's got a big opportunity in front of him against Wilczewski and now has to go out there a deliver the goods and show the fans what he can do."

Donald's crafty Tree Iron

Luke Donald’s brilliant recovery from trees during the third round of the BMW PGA Championship, a shot reminiscent of the great Seve Ballesteros, has been voted by fans as the European Tour Shot of the Month for May. The shot through a narrow gap in the trees on the 13th hole on the West Course at Wentworth Club polled more than 55% of the votes cast by fans from My European Tour, and one lucky fan who picked the winning shot wins a golf break to PGA Catalunya Resort in Spain, part of the European Tour Courses portfolio and host venue of numerous Tour events. This fantastic prize includes two rounds of golf for two people and overnight accommodation at Meliá Golf Vichy Catalan. After struggling with his driver throughout the front nine on the third day of the Tour’s flagship event, Donald had just picked up two birdies but his fight back looked to be stalling after he carved his tee shot right into the trees on the 13th. But rather than take the safe option of chipping out onto the fairway, Donald threaded the ball through a tiny gap and cut it to the back of the green, from where he managed to get up and down to save par and keep the momentum going. He then went on to win the title, and become the new World Number One, the following day when he beat Lee Westwood in a play-off. “I felt like Seve,” said Donald at the time. “I was in trees, leaves all over my back. I was dropping balls in high grass and escaping from everywhere.” Describing the shot on the 13th, he said: “It was an easy chip out and I could have played for five. And there was a decently narrow gap. The trees were about 20 yards ahead of me with probably about a six-foot gap there. “But I had a decent enough lie where I felt like I could get it through it and create some left-to-right spin on it. And I hit the shot perfectly and made a great up-and-down for four, and that kept the momentum going. Sometimes you have to take risks. That one paid off.” The winners of each Shot of the Month Award will be put forward for The European Tour Shot of the Year, won last season by Graeme McDowell for his unforgettable birdie putt on the 16th green at The Celtic Manor Resort which helped Europe regain The Ryder Cup. Donald joins the other monthly winners so far: Paul Casey (January), Alvaro Quiros (February), David Horsey (March) and Matteo Manassero (April).

McIlroy in the Spotlight

Rory McIlroy has been named The 2011 Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Month for June following his devastating performance at the US Open Championship. The 22 year old Northern Irishman’s sensational eight-shot victory at the Congressional Country Club saw him post the lowest winning score (268) in the Championship’s illustrious history by an incredible four strokes as he became the youngest winner of the season’s second Major since Bobby Jones in 1923. McIlroy, who receives an engraved alms dish and a jeroboam of Moët & Chandon champagne for winning the Golfer of the Month award, moved to third place in The 2011 Race to Dubai and is now hot on the heels of the two men ahead of him – World Number One Luke Donald and Masters Champion Charl Schwartzel.“It is always nice to win any award for playing good golf but this Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Month has to go down as an extra special one given that I won the award due to my performance at Congressional,” said McIlroy I hope this will not be the first Golfer of the Month Award I receive after winning a Major Championship!” In much the same way as his US Open victory left the rest of the field playing for second place, McIlroy similarly distanced himself from the other candidates despite a number of outstanding performances in June. Alex Noren won the SAAB Wales Open; Robert Rock captured his maiden European Tour title at the BMW Italian Open as did Matthew Zions at the SAINT OMER OPEN presented by NEUFLIZE OBC; Pablo Larrazabal overcame Sergio Garcia in a play-off for the BMW International Open; Fredrik Jacobsen won the Travellers Championship on the PGA Tour; and at the Alstom Open de France where Thomas Levet claimed the title. The judging panel – which comprises members of the Association of Golf Writers as well as commentators from radio and television – were swift to acknowledge the sheer brilliance of McIlroy’s history-making performance. McIlroy joins an illustrious list of Race to Dubai Golfer of the Month winners in 2011, following Martin Kaymer (January), Luke Donald (February and May), Paul Lawrie (March) and Charl Schwartzel (April). McIlroy will now join his fellow award winners to be considered for The 2011 Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year Award, which was won jointly by Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer in 2010.