Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Has ‘Bubba golf’ got the legs for world domination?

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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).

Try again. Legs and body sway violently. My wrists, better suited for short game artistry (well, escaping from behind trees and the like), bend like rubber while my head is about as stationary as a last-day Masters crowd galloping up the side of the fairway to glimpse a view of the winning putt.

The result of my second shot, or the next 168 balls I hit, is irrelevant. The point is that the unorthodox genius of Watson is unrivalled in the world of golf. Long may it continue.

Rusedski makes his picks for the US Open

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The men’s side of this year’s US Open is going to be very interesting.

Will Novak Djokovic’s shoulder hold up and can he win his third major of the year? Will Roger Federer win another major with one of the toughest sections of the draw? Can Rafael Nadal get his form back to defend the title? Will Andy Murray win his first major? And finally, who are the dark horses?

Djokovic’s first two rounds look comfortable, then his route gets interesting with a possible match up against Nikolay Davydenko in the third, Richard Gasquet in the fourth and Tomas Berdych in the quarters before he most likely meets Federer in the semi-finals, if Federer gets there! Berdych could be the danger man in the section if his shoulder recovers from Cincinnati.

U.S. Open: Day Five

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Fans shelter under umbrellas during a rain delay at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 3, 2010. REUTERS/Kena Betancur

By Helen Cook

What a week! And now the players are facing a long rally with Mother Nature in the shape of Hurricane Earl - which was the size of a small country earlier this week.

Aside from the smashing tennis, the weather – come rain or shine – has had everyone chatting and the umbrellas are now out for the lashings of rain about to come crashing down on Flushing Meadows.

U.S. Open: Day Three

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Victoria Azarenka of Belarus collapses on the court during her match against Gisela Dulko of Argentina during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 1, 2010. Azarenka was unable to continue the match. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

By Helen Cook and Josh Hargreaves

Earlier in the day tournament talk swirled around the moment Victoria Azarenka collapsed in a heap on court under the searing sun at just 11:30 a.m., but the heat took a back seat in the evening matches when the best American hopeful in the men’s draw Andy Roddick stumbled to a bad-tempered second round exit.

Roddick, who was called for a foot-fault in the third set, went off on both the lineswomen and the chair umpire, with his best line being, “What is this, call 1-800-RENT-A-REF?”

New York City eyeing NHL Winter Classic

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For the third straight year, the National Hockey League hit all the right notes at its annual outdoor extravaganza at one of baseball’s most revered shrines: Fenway Park. The Boston Bruins fought back to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in overtime in front of nearly 40,000 fans.

“It was neat,” Boston defenseman Derek Morris said. “We were trying to yell and scream to each other, but you couldn’t hear yourself it was so loud. It was amazing. We wanted to win that game for the fans. It’s a fairy-tale ending. It was pretty special.”

The Brooklyn Nets and the battle for Big Apple affections

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CHINA/The Brooklyn Nets …. LeBron James …. Battle for Big Apple affections …. Hot topics for sure among New York-area hoops fans with news that Russia’s richest man is riding to the $200 million rescue of the Nets, and Brooklyn may once again rise to alter the sports landscape of The City.

The long-ago announced plan to relocate the Nets — struggling to establish an identity and profitability in the swamplands of northern New Jersey — to Brooklyn has been an on-again, off-again mess with team owner, real estate mogul Bruce Ratner, fighting zoning boards, politicians, preservationists, environmentalists and the general economic morass for a mega development deal that included a new arena for the NBA club.

Chris Paul’s Ricky Rubio regret

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paulNew Orleans point guard extraordinaire Chris Paul told Reuters he was dreaming big about the Hornets this upcoming season, setting his sights on an NBA title, but he was also realistic about how stiff the competition would be.

Asked who he regarded as improving teams, Paul went right to the reigning champions.

Clijsters reminds us what we’ve been missing

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TENNIS-OPEN/

Venus Williams must wish Kim Clijsters had stayed retired and enjoyed a relaxing life as a millionaire mum.

The Belgian returned to grand slam action for the first time in 31 months and has left each and every one of her opponents at the U.S. Open embarrassed.

A tale of two draws at Flushing Meadows

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roddickIt has been a tale of two draws at the U.S. Open, with the men’s seeds advancing full steam ahead and the women’s field in disarray.

Eight of the top 16 women’s seeds have been given the boot at Flushing Meadows, while all 16 men have strolled forward — the first time men’s seeds have marched in lock step into the third round of a grand slam.

Bowled in the USA

If you think soccer is a hard sell in the United States then what about cricket? As we reported today, an American Premier League Twenty20 tournament is to be held in October on Staten Island, New York, with a cast made up largely of players from the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL).

 

Usually whenever the words ‘cricket’ and ‘America’ are in the same sentence, it prompts laughter -– if the world’s most popular team sport, soccer, can’t breakthrough into the U.S. mainstream, what chance is there for cricket with rules and vocabulary that are unfathomable to most who haven’t grown up with the game?

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