The Reuters global sports blog
By Phil O’Connor
Unheralded and unpopular when he took over at Newcastle United, Alan Pardew has led them into the upper reaches of the English Premier League, and within touching distance of a Champions League place.
The question is whether he can beat Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Redknapp to fourth spot and the last Premier League place in football’s top club competition – and make himself a contender for the England manager’s job at the same time.
Pardew replaced Chris Hughton at the helm of Newcastle in December 2010. It wasn’t an easy task; Hughton, popular with players and fans alike, had brought the Geordies back to the Premier League on a shoestring following the ignominy of relegation.
Selling striker Andy Carroll didn’t help his cause, but this season has seen Pardew’s side climb almost unnoticed and return to the heights they enjoyed under Bobby Robson.
Inspired by Bubba Watson’s brilliance, beautifully encapsulated in that wedge from the pine needles on Augusta’s feared 10th hole en route to winning the Masters on Sunday, I took to the range for a good old clout of the golf ball rather than worrying about a textbook swing.
Ugly noise. Ball darts off right. Left-handed kid receiving a lesson two bays away, who when asked who his favourite player was replies “Bubba Watson”, hits it better with the same club (7 iron).
Follow all the action and excitement of the Masters with our team of reporters and photographers at Augusta National as Tiger Woods goes in search of his fifth Masters title while a host of rivals, including Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and world number one Luke Donald seek the famous green jacket for themselves.
The Champions League is heading for another spectacular climax after the quarter-final clashes produced expected winners in holders Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Bayern Munich, who must be relishing the prospect of taking centre stage in the final in their own stadium on May 19.
But rather than the usual suspects who predictably reach the latter stages of the money-spinning competition every season, it was the highly unheralded outfit of APOEL Nicosia that lit up the scene this time.
That man is Sweden coach Erik Hamren.
With Euro 2012 approaching fast, Hamren will be quietly pleased that top striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic won’t be involved in the final in Munich on May 19 and can instead avoid injury and stay fresh.
By Greg Rusedski
All the talk at the Miami Masters Series was again about the top four and if Roger Federer would be able to continue his amazing run. Miami is a tough event to win immediately after Indian Wells due to its slower conditions, heavy humidity and at times; strong winds.
Federer was trying to win Indian Wells and Miami back-to-back for the third time in his career. Federer has been on an amazing run since losing in the semi-finals of the US Open. He has won 6 of his last 8 events and has amassed the most points of any player since mid-September of last year. Unfortunately for Roger, he lost to Andy Roddick in the third round when he ran out of gas with Roddick playing well. This will hurt Roger because he owns Roddick and had beaten him in 24 out of 26 matches up until this match.
We don’t actually know what Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has done after manager Roberto Mancini refused to go into details about what his “stupid” injury was. All he did say was that the injury was not the Argentine’s fault.
Here is a list of 10 injury classics.
Santiago Canizares – the Spain goalkeeper missed the 2002 World Cup after shattering an aftershave bottle and a piece cut his foot
“So help me God”.
Four innocuous words but it nearly unnerved me enough to back out of the whole business. I somehow scribbled my name in the indemnity form below those four words and the face of my three-month son instantly flashed before my eyes.
By the time my head was squeezed into what looked more like an astronaut’s headgear than a helmet, I was a bundle of nerves, kicking myself for agreeing to do something as silly as this.
from India Insight:
The upcoming session of the Indian Premier League (IPL), India’s glamour-packed cricket tournament, will see a sartorial anomaly come to life -- cheerleaders wrapped in saris.
Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan’s IPL team, the Kolkata Knight Riders, has decided to cover their cheerleaders in one of the most traditional Indian outfits -- a marked departure from their 2008 wardrobe when a lot of skin, from midriff to thighs, was on display.
from Photographers' Blog:
By Darryl Webb
"I was really glad I saw it coming."
I know that statement above sounds a little confusing so allow me to explain.
I don't know how many professional sporting events I've covered in the last 20 years. Let's just say it's been a lot and in all that time I've never been hurt. There have been a couple of close calls here and there, but nothing serious until earlier this week.
Had I not seen this sphere coming toward me at a blistering speed, the end result could have been a lot worse. I'm not saying it would have been as bad as Sports Illustrated's photographer John Iacono, who was hit by an overthrown ball in 1999, shattering his jaw which resulted in two titanium plates, some wire mess and something like 20 screws. But it definitely would have been worse than a headache, a bump on the head and two hours spent at Urgent Care.