Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Atwal success fuels India’s major ambitions


Arjun Atwal’s PGA Tour triumph shone as a beacon on an otherwise dark Sunday for Indian sports, fuelling the world’s second most populous country’s hopes of celebrating a maiden major victory in the not too distant future, writes Amlan Chakraborty.

The Florida-based 37-year-old is often world number one Tiger Woods’ practice partner and keeping such company helped him become the first Indian to win a PGA Tour title with his one-stroke victory at the Wyndham Championship on Sunday

Atwal’s achievement came on a day when monsoon rains impeded Delhi’s Commonwealth Games preparations and the cricket-crazy nation slumped into depression after the one-day side were hammered by hosts Sri Lanka in the tri-series at Dambulla.

Celebrating the triumph almost as much as the player himself, Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) director Padamjit Singh Sandhu believes a major win for an Indian was now a distinct possibility.

Can Tiger recover from his Buster Douglas moment?


One happened in Tokyo in 1990, the other in Minnesota in 2009. One marked the beginning of the end for Tiger Woods reacts after a missed green on the 18th hole during the third round of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational golf tournament at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, August 7, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Munden (the predominate athlete of his sport, the question now is, did the other also mark the end of dominance for Tiger Woods.

Mike Tyson’s reputation seemed to intimidate opponents before they even stepped into the ring. Before the fight in Tokyo, Tyson was unbeaten as a professional and routinely knocked his foes out in the first round.

McIlroy and the new breed spice up golf’s dominant pack


Professional golf has benefited from two refreshing developments over the last year-and-a-half: the stunning impact made by some of the younger guns and a preponderance of first-time winners in the majors.

Sensational victories in the United States and Japan by Rory McIlroy and Ryo Ishikawa in early June served notice a new guard may be emerging to dominate the game over the next decade.

Picturing Player helps Oosthuizen to Open glory



The image of Gary Player running the gauntlet of hostile American fans on the way to a first U.S. Masters triumph almost 50 years ago helped to spur Louis Oosthuizen to victory in the British Open.

Player, who in 1961 secured the first of three Augusta green jackets, phoned his fellow countryman on Sunday morning ahead of the final round at St Andrews.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

If England’s footballers were matchplay golfers

SOCCER-WORLD/It's a strokeplay knockout golf tournament -- let's call it the World Cup of golf -- and an English player is on the tee box of the 18th hole needing a birdie four to advance.

After struggling earlier in his round he has fought back to be level with his opponent but the best finisher will play Paul Lawrie and then Tony Jacklin in the next two rounds while the loser will take on Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

Europeans seek breakthrough at U.S. Open


RTR2FBSD[1]westwood smallEurope’s undistinguished record at the U.S. Open over the last 40 years has been puzzling to say the very least but several signs indicate it could change for the better at Pebble Beach this week.

Seven Europeans lie in the world’s top 14 for the year’s second major where the spectacular par-71 layout on California’s Monterey Peninsula is running fast and firm in the style of a British Open links course.

Memorial offers pointers to Pebble Beach contenders


Tiger makes eagle on way to Memorial triumph

This week’s Memorial tournament, an elite PGA Tour event in its own right hosted by golfing great Jack Nicklaus, is sure to offer several pointers toward the likely contenders at this month’s U.S. Open.

Many of the game’s leading players are making their final appearances on the circuit before switching focus to the second major of the year, which takes place at majestic Pebble Beach from June 17-20.

Will Woods miss the cut again?



Among a bucketful of intriguing storylines going into this week’s Players Championship at the TPC Sawgrass is speculation on whether Tiger Woods will miss consecutive cuts on the PGA Tour for the first time in his career.

The American world number one, comfortably the greatest player of his generation and arguably of all time, was a shadow of himself at last week’s Quail Hollow Championship where he coughed and spluttered his way to scores of 74 and 79.

Tiger Woods at the U.S. Masters – live


Tiger Woods returned from a five-month absence with a blistering first round at the U.S. Masters and we continue to live blog his bid for another win here. Join us for hole-by-hole coverage, commentary, discussion and on-the-spot analysis from the Augusta National.

Tiger back to face the media — but is it too soon?


GOLF-MASTERS/The eyes of the golfing world will be firmly fixed on Augusta National at 1400 local (1900 GMT) on Monday when four-times champion Tiger Woods faces the media ahead of his highly anticipated return to competition at this week’s U.S. Masters.

It will be the first appearance at a news conference by the disgraced American world number one since his private life unravelled at the end of last year amid revelations he had a string of extra-marital affairs.