Wednesday, January 16, 2013

McGinley made European captain

Paul McGinley has accepted an invitation from the Tournament Committee of The European Tour to become Captain of The European Team in The 2014 Ryder Cup at The Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland from September 26 - 28, 2014.  Born in Dublin, Ireland, on December 16, 1966, McGinley becomes the first Irishman to captain a Ryder Cup Team against the United States. He will be the 24th different golfer to lead the European (formerly Great Britain and Ireland) Team.  McGinley, a four time winner on The European Tour, made three consecutive, and victorious, Ryder Cup appearances from 2002 – 2006 and will always be remembered as the man who holed the winning putt during his first appearance at the Belfry 11 years ago. McGinley succeeds José María Olazábal with the aim of retaining the Ryder Cup following the Spaniard’s brilliant stewardship of Europe’s ‘Miracle at Medinah’. The 46 year old was a Vice-Captain to Olazábal in Chicago last year, the same role he fulfilled for Colin Montgomerie’s victorious 2010 Team at The Celtic Manor Resort in Wales. Having suffered defeat to Stewart Cink and Jim Furyk alongside Padraig Harrington in his first Ryder Cup match during day one at the Belfry, McGinley came back to secure a vital half alongside Darren Clarke against Furyk and Scott Hoch in the Saturday afternoon fourballs. One down with two to play against Furyk in the Sunday singles, McGinley was looking an unlikely hero standing on the 17th tee but a brilliant birdie four squared the match just as Welshman Phillip Price put the seal on a magnificent 3 and 2 victory over Phil Mickelson to take the European Team’s points total to 14 with three matches left on the course.  Europe needed a half point to ensure Sam Torrance’s Team could regain the trophy that had been so dramatically lost at Brookline three years earlier.  Both men produced wayward approaches to the par four 18th, with Furyk finding the greenside bunker and McGinley the left rough. The Irishman chipped on to ten feet before Furyk almost spoiled the party by nearly holing his bunker shot. But when the American’s ball came to rest above ground, McGinley’s moment had arrived.  The rest, as they say, is history and moments after making his putt, McGinley found himself swamped by his Captain and team-mates as the celebrations began. While no Ryder Cup experience can substitute holing the winning putt, McGinley’s finest performance in the team event actually came two years later, during Europe’s record-breaking 18 ½ - 9 ½ victory at Oakland Hills. The Irishman was undefeated in three matches in Detroit, partnering Luke Donald to a half point against Chris Riley and Stewart Cink on the first day before he and Harrington beat Davis Love III and Tiger Woods with a 4 and 3 win in the Saturday foursomes. He then put the seal on a tremendous week with an outstanding 3 and 2 singles victory over Cink to finish the week undefeated. McGinley’s captaincy credentials are there for all to see. Not only has he played a crucial vice-captaincy role in Europe’s last two Ryder Cup wins, he has also been Captain of two winning Great Britain and Ireland Teams in the Vivendi Seve Trophy, defeating Continental Europe in both 2009 and 2011. At The Gleneagles Hotel, McGinley will look to continue Europe’s phenomenal recent record which shows them to have won seven of the last nine biennial contests with the USA. Since the change from a Great Britain and Ireland Team to that of Continental Europe in 1979, Europe have won nine and tied one of the 17 matches contested. Europe's victories were achieved under the captaincies of Tony Jacklin (1985, 1987), Bernard Gallacher (1995), Seve Ballesteros (1997), Sam Torrance (2002), Bernhard Langer (2004), Ian Woosnam (2006), Colin Montgomerie (2010) and Olazábal (2012), while Jacklin presided over the halved match in 1989. Richard Hills, Europe’s Ryder Cup Director, said: “We are delighted that Paul has accepted the invitation of the Tournament Committee to take up the role as Captain for 2014. Having played in three Ryder Cups and holed the winning putt at the Belfry in 2002, Paul has an innate understanding of every attribute required to be a successful Captain. “Paul’s meticulous nature and his passion for the strategic aspects of the Captain’s role have been evident for many years, through his role as a Ryder Cup Vice-Captain and as Captain of the Great Britain and Ireland Team in the Vivendi Seve Trophy. We already know that he will leave no stone unturned in his quest to retain The Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in September 2014.”

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hopkins on Cloud 9

Future Hall of Famer Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins was born 48 years ago today, and in celebration he will continue his record-setting career on Saturday, March 9 by facing undefeated IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Tavoris "Thunder" Cloud at Barclays Center in Brooklyn in a bout which will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing."Today is my 48th birthday and I feel half my age, so Cloud had better be ready" said Hopkins, who will be participating in his 29th world championship fight and if he is victorious will break his own record as the oldest fighter in history to win a world title. "People can say what they want. I have broken records, quieted doubters and solidified my legacy. Now, I am going to do all of that again, but this time at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn in front of a large crowd of people that understand and appreciate the sport." "This will be the last supper for Bernard Hopkins," said Cloud, the 30-year old pugilist who will be making the fifth defense of his IBF Light Heavyweight Title which he has held since in 2009. "I will retain my IBF Light Heavyweight World Title." "Just when you think you've seen it all, Bernard Hopkins continues to amaze me and I'm looking forward to seeing what he's going to do next at Barclays Center in March," said Oscar De La Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions. "Tavoris Cloud is a tough test and a proud champion and with his aggressive style and power, he's going to push Bernard like never before." "This is a history-making fight," said Don King, President of Don King Productions. "I made history with a guy from Brooklyn by the name of Mike Tyson. Now I have a mini-Mike Tyson in undefeated IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Tavoris Cloud who will fight at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on March 9. It will be an exciting evening." "Bernard Hopkins is one of the most legendary boxers in the sport and we are delighted to have him fight at Barclays Center against a powerful champion such as Tavoris Cloud," Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark said. "We're excited to bring this great bout to Brooklyn to headline our third boxing event at Barclays Center. There's no doubt that major championship boxing has returned to the borough in a big way."  "Bernard Hopkins is a historic figure in the sport of boxing and we're delighted to present his quest for another world title against Tavoris Cloud live on HBO World Championship Boxing," said Kery Davis, Senior Vice President of Programming of HBO Sports. "Bernard not only connects with boxing fans, but sports fans around the world and you can count on him delivering. This will be a terrific showdown and we're excited to be televising our first event from the sparkling new Barclays Center." One of the most compelling figures in boxing history, Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 KO's) is also one of the greatest fighters ever. The longest reigning middleweight champion ever with 20 successful title defenses over the course of his 10-year reign including his history-making victory over Felix "Tito" Trinidad to win the Don King-promoted Middleweight World Championship Series on a memorable post-9/11 night in New York City on September 29, 2001. The pride of Philadelphia has also proven there is life after 40 as light heavyweight world champion with his wins over Antonio Tarver, Winky Wright, Kelly Pavlik and Roy Jones Jr. In May of 2011, he made history again by defeating Jean Pascal for the WBC Light Heavyweight World Title, becoming the oldest fighter (48 years, 54 days) to win a world championship. On March 9, he will attempt to rule the 175-pound weight class once again by beating Cloud and breaking his current world record. Unbeaten as a professional, Tavoris "Thunder" Cloud (24-0, 19 KO's) has proven to be heavy handed as evidenced by his 79 percent knockout ratio. He captured the IBF light heavyweight title in 2009 with a points win over Clinton Woods. Since then, he has successfully defended his title four times, beating Glen Johnson, Fulgencio Zuniga, Yusaf Mack and Gabriel Campillo in his most recent defense on Feb. 18, 2012. On March 9, the 30-year-old former amateur star from Tallahassee, Florida will enter Brooklyn's Barclays Center for the mega-fight he has waited his whole career for and he has every intention of leaving New York with his title belt around his waist.