Thursday, May 31, 2012

Louis's shot of the Month

Louis Oosthuizen’s stunning albatross during the final round of the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club has been voted by fans of My European Tour as Shot of the Month for April. A sublime four iron from 235 yards, Oosthuizen’s moment of genius at the 575-yard second hole propelled him into the record books as only the fourth man to make an albatross in 76 editions of the Masters Tournament, and was the first to come on the second hole, also known as ‘Pink Dogwood’. The South African’s magic Masters moment – one of three entries for the five-time European Tour winner shortlisted for the April competition – was a landslide winner, securing more than 95 per cent of the public vote, also holding off entries from Martin Kaymer, who holed a bunker shot at the Maybank Malaysian Open, and Anthony Wall, who chipped in for eagle from off the green at the Ballantine’s Championship. Oosthuizen’s approach to the second at Augusta landed on the front of the green in between the two bunkers, and the ball fed its way across the green to the pin’s back right position before falling softly into the cup. Not only was Oosthuizen’s strike one for the record books, it also thrust him into the lead for the tournament at ten under par as the 2010 Open Champion went on to narrowly miss out on a second Major Championship after a dramatic play-off defeat at the hands of Bubba Watson. “That was my first albatross ever,” Oosthuizen said afterwards. “It was a good four iron for me. I needed to pitch it about five, six paces on the green, and I knew if I got it right, it was going to feed towards the hole. But I never thought it would go in.”  Oosthuizen joins Gene Sarazen (1935), Bruce Devlin (1967) and Jeff Maggert (1994) in the select club of players to hole their second shots on a par five since the Masters Tournament began in 1934, and was the first to be televised. The shot is the fourth to go forward to the 2012 Shot of the Year competition, following Sergio Garcia (January), Martin Kaymer (February) and Paul Casey (March).

Khan steps back in the Ring

Former Unified Super Lightweight World Champion Amir "King" Khan makes his 2012 ring debut when he returns to the venue of perhaps his most accomplished professional triumphwhen he meets undefeated phenom and current WBC Super Lightweight World Champion Danny "Swift" Garcia Saturday, July 14 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in a fight televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing. Amir "King" Khan (26-2, 18 KOs), who at only 25 years old is already a star in the United Kingdom, selling out huge arenas and racking up impressive pay-per-view numbers. Considered one of the sport's future stars, Khan has sailed to the heights of the worlds of amateur and professional boxing, however, he is far from finished on his quest to becoming the best of his era. An accomplished amateur who earned a silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens at only 17 years old, the Bolton, England native took the professional game by storm in 2005 and, with the exception of a brief bump in the road in 2008 when he was upset by Breidis Prescott, Khan has since been nearly unstoppable. Khan first became a world champion in July 2009 when he defeated WBA Super Lightweight World Champion Andreas Kotelnik. Khan defended the crown five times, first knocking out previously undefeated Dmitriy Salita in less than one round. Next, in his United States debut at Madison Square Garden in May 2010, he dominated the always tough and current WBA Welterweight World Champion Paul Malignaggi en route to an 11th round technical knockout win. On December 11, 2010 at Mandalay Bay, Khan battled Marcos Maidana in what was eventually named the Boxing Writers Association of America 2010 Fight of the Year. The fight saw Khan dominate the early rounds, scoring a first round knockdown, but Maidana closed the gap in the later rounds. Khan displayed some extremely impressive fortitude in surviving a vicious 10th round onslaught by Maidana in which the British star looked to be on the brink of being knocked out. Khan made it out of the round on his feet and came out swinging in the 11th and 12th rounds, sealing the unanimous decision victory in an instant classic.On April 16, 2011, Khan retained his title by defeating European Champion Paul McCloskey via technical decision in front of a sold-out crowd of more than 17,000 at the MEN Arena in Manchester, England. Next came a July 23, 2011 win over then IBF Junior Welterweight Champion Zab Judah, making Khan the unified 140-pound world champion. Next up was an IBF mandatory bout against Lamont Peterson, and in another Fight of the Year candidate on December 10 of last year, Khan lost a controversial split decision and his titles. A rematch was the first order of business, but after Peterson failed a pre-fight drug test and their scheduled May 19 bout was canceled, Khan was forced to look for another big fight. Luckily, he found it in the form of a bout against WBC Super Lightweight World Champion Danny Garcia on July 14. The latest world champion to emerge from the fighting city of Philadelphia, WBC Super Lightweight World Champion Danny "Swift" Garcia (23-0, 14 KOs) is unbeaten and untouched as a pro, a testament to his world-class talent, style and determination. A United States Olympic alternate who compiled a 107-13 record as an amateur and won the 2005 Under-19 National Championship, the 2005 International Championship in Finland and the 2006 United States National Championship before deciding to turn pro in November 2007, Garcia's road to the top has been a smooth one for him, but not for his opponents. After winning seven of his first eight professional fights by knockout, Garcia began showing aspects of his game other than his power as his level of competition increased. By mid-2009, he started to make his move with knockouts of well-regarded Pavel Miranda, Oscar Leon and Enrique Colin, the latter fight earning him the WBC Youth Intercontinental title. 2010 was even more impressive for Garcia as he defeated top prospect Ashley Theophane and stopped contenders Jorge Romero and Mike Aranoutis, before announcing his arrival to the world in 2011. Last year, "Swift" defeated former World Champions Nate Campbell and Kendall Holt in successive bouts, earning himself a shot at a world title against legendary future Hall of Famer Erik Morales. In that fight on March 24 earlier this year, Garcia was in top form, knocking the Mexican icon down in the 11th round en route to a unanimous decision and the world championship. As the old adage goes, winning the title is the easy part, defending it is the tough part. After a celebratory few months that included being honored by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, the tough part now begins for Garcia, and the 24-year-old is ready to defend his belt against all comers, starting with an extremely stiff test in former Two-Time World Champion Amir Khan this summer in Las Vegas.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Luke Donald triumphs again at Wentworth

Luke Donald conjured a perfect déjà vu moment at Wentworth Club as he successfully defended the BMW PGA Championship to once again become the best player in the world. Having triumphed in a play-off against Lee Westwood over the West Course 12 months ago, Donald was once again unbeatable in The European Tour’s flagship event as he overcame another of his compatriots, Justin Rose, and Scotland’s Paul Lawrie to become only the third man in history, after Sir Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie, to defend the title. Rose made an electrifying start to his final round in front of record crowds at Wentworth to pull level with Donald after four holes before the World Number One proved himself exactly that by putting his foot on the accelerator and driving into an unassailable lead. Donald eventually completed a four stroke victory over Lawrie and Rose, to pick up the first prize of €750,000, with an accomplished closing 68 and 15 under par total of 273. Rose, joint second with Lawrie, had the consolation of moving to the top of the Race to Dubai with season’s earnings of €1,695,687.  His seventh European Tour International Schedule victory in his 109th European Tour event. Moves to €1,021,669 in The Race to Dubai. Has now won more than €1 million in a single European Tour season for the sixth time in his career. Moves back to Number One in the Official World Golf Ranking. This is the start of his fourth stint at World Number One. Moves to Number One for the second consecutive year as a result of his performance at the BMW PGAChampionship.Makes a successful defence of his BMW PGA Championship title, just the third player to win in back-to-back years following Sir Nick Faldo (1980-1981) and Colin Montgomerie (1998-2000). This marks the first time in his professional career he has successfully defended a professional title. The second player on The European Tour in 2012 to successfully defend a European Tour title, following Louis Oosthuizen (2011-2012 Africa Open). Becomes the fourth different Englishman to win multiple titles in this event. He follows: Sir Nick Faldo (1978, 1980, 1981 and 1989), Peter Alliss (1957, 1962 and 1965) and Tony Jacklin (1972 and 1982). Becomes the ninth different player to win multiple titles in the event. He follows: Sir Nick Faldo (1978, 1980, 1981 and 1989), Peter Alliss (1957, 1962 and 1965), Bernhard Langer (1987, 1993 and 1995), Colin Montgomerie (1998, 1999 and 2000), Tony Jacklin (1972 and 1982), Seve Ballesteros (1983 and 1991), Ian Woosnam (1988 and 1997) and Anders Hansen (2002 and 2007). The fourth consecutive English victory in the BMW PGA Championship. This follows Paul Casey (2009), Simon Khan (2010) and Donald (2011). His fourth European Tour International Schedule victory in his last 18 appearances on The European Tour, dating back to the start of 2011. Has now won for three consecutive seasons on The European Tour.His third European Tour International Schedule victory on European soil from his last five appearances, dating back to the 2011 BMW PGA Championship. Also won the Barclays Scottish Open in July 2011.Since the start of the 2011 European Tour season he has won €6,345,069 from 18 European Tour events, at an average of €352,503 per event. Since the start of the 2011 European Tour season, he has amassed 12 top ten finishes from his 18 European Tour events. Becomes the 34th different player to successfully defend a European Tour title. The 29th English victory in the Championship, dating back to the first event in 1955. The 274th English victory in European Tour history. Moves to €1,459,696 in The European Ryder Cup Points Table. Becomes the third English winner on The European Tour in 2012. They are: Robert Rock (Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship) and Justin Rose (WGC – Cadillac Championship) and Luke Donald (BMW PGA Championship). His 13th victory worldwide as a professional. Moves over €14 million in European Tour Official Career Earnings.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Haye wants showdown with Vitali Klitschko

Former world heavyweight and cruiserweight champion David 'The Hayemaker' Haye has reiterated that the prospect of a fight against current WBC kingpin Vitali Klitschko is one of the sole reasons he decided to return to the ring in 2012. The 31-year-old meets fellow Londoner Dereck Chisora on July 14 at Upton Park, but admits a clash against Klitschko remains his ultimate goal, despite recent claims he turned down a fight with the Ukrainian two weeks ago. “It makes absolutely no sense for me to turn down a fight I desperately want,” said Haye. “Remember, the whole idea behind going ahead with this Chisora fight was that a victory may then lead to a fight with Vitali Klitschko. That was my plan, my reason for returning to the ring. I want to fight on July 14 and then again in September, and have been telling people this for months now.” Haye's trainer and manager Adam Booth is just as perplexed by the latest noises coming from the Klitschko camp.  “A few weeks ago I received a first draft contract from K2/KMG (the Klitschkos), as a formal offer for the fight between David and Vitali,” explained Booth. “Once we'd announced the Chisora fight I left a message for Shelly Finkel, in which I informed him we were ready to move to completion of the agreement for Vitali versus David. However, since that message was sent to Finkel, I have received no reply. “Today I read that Herr Boente claims David 'turned the fight down' and 'does not want to fight Vitali'. Both of these claims are completely false. If Vitali wants to fight David in September, we are here and happy to accept. If not, no worries or sadness from our side. “Maybe K2 realised during Vitali's fight with Chisora in February that their precious champion was drastically slowing down and didn't fancy going up against anyone too quick in the future. Whatever their reasoning, if Herr Boente is happy to spin the lines he feeds people, good for him."  Eager to defeat both Chisora and Klitschko this summer, Haye stresses he's “fed up with being used as a smokescreen” for a bigger agenda. “What is clear to me is that K2 are now happy to protect an ageing Vitali and usher him towards politics as soon as possible,” said Haye. “Politics is about popularity, and Vitali's popularity in Ukraine would take a massive hit if he were to get knocked out by me before retiring. It's imperative for him to keep winning and beating up puddings en route to retirement, as that sets him up nicely for a career in politics. “At this advanced stage in his career, the last thing on Vitali's mind are tough challenges in the ring. He's essentially semi-retired, which is fine, so long as he comes clean about it. Don't go stringing everybody along – fighters and fans – when some of us know the truth. “Unfortunately, Vitali will probably now look to fight some no-hoper, while telling the boxing world I turned down the fight. I will never turn down a fight with Vitali.” One week before Haye meets Chisora in East London, former nemesis Wladimir Klitschko defends his array of world titles against Tony Thompson, a man he already knocked out some four years ago. And, while Haye is prepared to accept some criticism for his upcoming fight with Chisora, he draws the line at Wladimir's recent 'freak show' label. “They can call my fight against Chisora a freak show as much as they like, but we all know that so-called freak show will have more people interested in it than either of the Klitschkos' next fights,” said Haye. “Who wants to see Wladimir fight Tony Thompson again? Even Tony Thompson doesn't want to see that again. Their first fight was horrible enough. “Also, anybody with an ounce of intelligence would know that Boente and the Klitschkos were only name-dropping and ridiculing my fight with Chisora to raise some publicity over here for the Klitschko film, which they happened to be in London promoting on Monday night.” Booth added: “It's bizarre just how much hatred with agenda the Haye versus Chisora fight has attracted. Maybe Bernd Boente has short-term memory issues. A quick look back at the video of that infamous Munich press conference clearly shows Bernd agreeing with Frank Warren that Haye and Chisora should fight for the right to challenge Vitali.”

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Oosthuizen named Golfer of the Month for April

Louis Oosthuzien’s heroic performance in winning the Maybank Malaysian Open, just a week after suffering a heart-breaking play-off defeat at the Masters Tournament, has earned the South African The Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Month Award for April. Oosthuizen battled jetlag, high humidity and a world-class field at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, in the Malaysian capital, to seal his fifth European Tour title and swiftly banish the disappointment of missing out on his second Major Championship. The 2010 Open Champion admitted his agonising play-off defeat to American Bubba Watson at Augusta National had caused him sleepless nights, but he showed few signs of fatigue in compiling four sub-70 rounds to cruise to a three-shot victory over runner-up Stephen Gallacher of Scotland.  His €314,700 winner’s cheque, allied to the €652,080 he received for finishing runner-up at the Masters Tournament, lifted Oosthuizen to second place in The Race to Dubai behind World Number Two Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland. The Golfer of the Month panel, comprising members of the golfing media, also praised the performances of South African Branden Grace and Bernd Wiesberger. Perhaps inspired by his friend and compatriot’s feat in Malaysia, Grace followed Oosthuizen into the winners’ enclosure at the Volvo China Open. It was Grace’s third victory of a stunning season, and moved the South African up to fourth place in The Race to Dubai. One week later, Wiesberger made his mark on The 2012 European Tour International Schedule by claiming his maiden title at the Ballantine’s Championship, where he cruised to a five-shot victory to confirm his status as the rising star of Austrian golf. The panel also commended the victories of American Ben Curtis at the Valero Texas Open on the US PGA Tour and Australian Scott Hend at the ISPS Honda Singapore Classic on the Asian Tour, as well as Englishman Lee Westwood’s successful title defence at the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters, also on the Asian Tour. Oosthuizen follows Branden Grace (January), Paul Lawrie (February) and Rory McIlroy as monthly winners so far in 2012. All four players will join the subsequent award recipients in being considered for The 2012 Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Year, an award won last year by World Number One Luke Donald of England.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Arsenal agree terms with Lukas Podolski

Arsenal Football Club is delighted to announce that a deal has been agreed to sign German international striker Lukas Podolski on a long-term contract for an undisclosed fee. The Polish-born attacker will team up with the Gunners in the summer ahead of the 2012/13 season from Bundesliga side FC Cologne, where he has been in fine form this season, netting 18 times in 28 league appearances. After spending his early years training and playing with FC Bergheim 2000, the 26-year old joined the youth set-up at Cologne in 1995, before making his first-team debut in 2003. After three successful seasons with Cologne he moved to Bayern Munich in 2006. He spent three seasons with Bayern before re-joining FC Cologne in 2009, and is now regarded as one of the leading strikers in the Bundesliga. Podolski has made 95 appearances for Germany and scored 43 goals since making his debut as a 19-year old in 2004. He made a huge impact with a series of impressive performances at the 2006 World Cup, where he scored three times and followed this up with three more goals at Euro 2008. Podolski was also part of the German team that produced a number of eye-catching displays at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, including a goal-scoring contribution in the 4-1 win over England in Bloemfontein, in the Last 16 stage of the tournament. He also featured for ‘Die Geißböcke’ in the pre-season friendly against Arsenal at the RheinEnergieStadion last July. Manager Arsène Wenger said: “We are delighted to secure the deal for Lukas Podolski and see him as an important part of our future. He is a top-class player, a very good finisher and a proven performer at club and international level. He is a very strong player and will provide us with good attacking options. We are happy to have made this signing early and we’re looking forward to watching Lukas contribute at the European Championships over the summer, a level where he has already made 95 caps at the age of 26 – a phenomenal record and just shows his quality as a player.” Speaking about his move, Lukas Podolski said: “I’m so happy to be joining Arsenal Football Club and to play in the Premier League. Arsenal is one of the top clubs in Europe with a huge history. There are many top quality players at Arsenal and the style of football which the team plays is fantastic. I’m proud to become an Arsenal player and am looking forward to playing my first match at Emirates Stadium and doing my best for all the Arsenal fans.” Podolski continued: “I’m looking forward to becoming an Arsenal player, but at the moment, my focus is with my current club Cologne. I will give everything I have until the end of season to make sure the team finish as high as possible in the Bundesliga. There will always be a place in my heart for FC Köln.”