Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

No Woods, no problem … but for how long?

Tiger Woods hacked and shanked his way to a two-round score of five over par at this year’s British Open, missing just the fifth cut of his professional career and only his second in a major championship.

Facing a Tigewatsonclubr-less weekend must have had television executives and sponsors sweating. The 2008 British Open, which Woods missed recovering from reconstructive knee surgery, saw TV ratings of the final round on ABC plummet 13.3 percent from the previous year.

But the ’09 British Open had a secret weapon, Tom Watson.

The 59 year-old self proclaimed ‘geezer’ was battling not only course, but he was fighting father time. A victory would have made him the oldest major champion on the PGA tour by 11 years.

After 54 holes, Watson looked poised to shatter the record as he led the field heading into Sunday’s final round at Turnberry.

British Open proves elementary for Watson, tough on Tiger

watsonIt is fair to say we all expected an American with a surname beginning with W to be soaring up the British Open leaderboard but everyone has been shocked that it is 59-year-old senior Tom Watson topping the strong field and not a certain Tiger Woods.

Whilst the world number one toiled in calm conditions at Turnberry’s Ailsa course on Thursday, five-times Open champion Watson was recording a bogey-free five-under-par 65 to take the early clubhouse lead.

Rory McIlroy: Genuine Open Contender

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Rory McIlroy can win The Open Championship at Turnberry this weekend.

The bushy-haired 20-year old from Northern Ireland is playing only his second Open, and first as a professional. But he is such a talent that he is capable of pulling off the biggest win in a major championship since the 21-year old Tiger Woods ran off with The U.S. Masters in 1997.

Rory’s youth should not hamper his chances. In fact it could encourage him. Only Tiger himself — who only a lunatic would argue is not the greatest golfer who ever lived — has a comparable early career record.  Tiger had just turned pro when he won the 1996 Las Vegas Invitational as a 20 year-old, but McIlroy was still a teenager when he secured his first victory as a professional: the high profile Dubai Desert Classic earlier this year.

from Raw Japan:

Japan’s Tiger in the tank?

What goes up must at some point come down.

The world of sports is full of examples of bright lights who shone briefly before crashing back down to earth.

Tennis burnout used to grind teenage sensations into the dust with alarming regularity, with even all-time greats such as Bjorn Borg stressed into premature retirement, albeit the Swede was 26 when he made his shock decision to quit.

Daly brightens up Wentworth (and it’s not just down to the trousers)

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GOLF-PGA/World number seven Paul Casey may be less than enamoured with John Daly’s dress sense but he remains a big fan of the colourful American’s golfing skills.

Twice major winner Daly is in the middle of a five-week run of tournaments in Europe and while his golf has been largely unspectacular, his multi-coloured trousers have certainly captured everyone’s attention.

17th at Sawgrass — gimmick or greatest finish in golf?

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Tiger Woods and Adam Scott have described it as gimmicky. Phil Mickelson believes it is the midway point in golf’s most exciting finish but former British Open champion Mark Calcavecchia says it has the same effect as a nervous wait for a nasty dental appointment.

It is the infamous par-three 17th at the TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, the signature hole on the Stadium Course which will host the Players Championship this week for the 28th time.

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