Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Liberty greens halt the talented Mr Woods


Tiger Woods putts on the second hole during the final round of The Barclays golf tournament at Liberty National Golf Course in Jersey City Tiger Woods charged and the lesser lights at the top of the leaderboard faded during the final round of the Barclays Classic on Sunday.

Yet for the second time in as many tournaments an unheralded player stood up to the pressure and prevailed.

A crack in the armour of the world number one?  Another defeat to dent the cloak of invincibility of the talented Mr Woods?  Time will tell, though Tiger chalks it all up to putting.


At the U.S. PGA Championship, Yang Yong-eun of South Korea outdueled the world number one head-to-head to win his first major title.

Where Bolt stands in my personal greatest hits


Having been privileged to be sitting a few metres from the finishing line as Usain Bolt shattered his own 100 and 200m world records in Berlin – and having also witnessed his double in Beijing, I got to wondering where those performances ranked in my personal bag of live events.

So, here is my list of contenders, followed by my podium. I’ve included only events I have attended in a professional capacity as a sports reporter as memories of some others I’ve enjoyed as a “punter” might be clouded by beer.

Has Yang diminished Tiger’s aura?


Yang celebrates his victory after sinking a putt on the 18th hole as Woods looks away in ChaskaSouth Korean Yang Yong-eun turned the golfing world on its head with his astonishing three-shot victory over Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship, sparking immediate speculation about the world number one’s apparently diminished aura of invincibility.

For the first time in his illustrious career, Woods lost a major after holding the lead going into the final round, having previously won a perfect 14 times out of 14.

Tiger still the inspiration despite Yang’s major success



Yang Yong-eun’s shock win at the PGA Championship ended an embarrassing drought in major championships for the male of the species in staunchly patriarchal South Korea, where men are men and the women — well, the women play golf.

Since Pak Se-ri’s trailblazing triumphs at the US Women’s Open and LPGA Championship in 1998, South Korean women piled up nine more major titles. Before Yang’s victory on Sunday, Korean men had never come close, KJ Choi giving false hope at the 2004 Masters before finishing third.

Does golf really deserve a place in the Olympics?


roggePierre de Coubertin must be turning in his grave at the news that golf, surely the globe’s ultimate consumerist, exclusive sport, is set to be played at the 2016 Olympics.

The Frenchman revived the ancient Olympic Games at the end of the 19th century to embrace the spirit of sportsmanship and amateur ideals of a bygone era.

from Raw Japan:

Ai, Ai, Ai!

The Japanese fairway is littered with golf stars who joined the U.S. or European game highly touted, but who found themselves decidedly unexceptional amid a wealth of international talent.

Indeed, "Japan's next Tiger Woods" -- a phrase tossed about more in hope than in fact ( by myself included) --  is a misnomer, as it really hasn't seen its first Tiger, on the global tour at least. 

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.

Woods you believe it? Tiger set to miss cut as Marino shares lead


After giving the players a gentle start, Mother Nature appeared to wake up on the second day of the British Open as the wind strengthened, claiming a number of high-profile casualties including Tiger Woods.

Overnight leader Miguel Angel Jimenez battled hard for a three over 73 which cost him his lead but there were worse cases.

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



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.