Woods, McIlroy set for second duel in China

Updated 13 July 2013
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Woods, McIlroy set for second duel in China

BEIJING: Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will go head-to-head in a two-man exhibition for the second time in China following last year’s outlandish Duel at Jinsha Lake, organiZers said Saturday.
Golf’s world number one and two will appear at an as yet unnamed venue on October 28, reprising their one-day meeting a year earlier which became infamous for its unruly crowds and gratuitous displays of wealth.
“Rory and I have played against and with each other a lot over the past few years, and he beat me in China last time so I’m looking forward to playing again,” said Woods in a press release.
“We’re good friends, but both of us love to win, so I’m expecting more great golf,” added the 14-time major-winner.
“I’ve played in China since 2001 and the event last year showed me there’s still huge enthusiasm for growing the game in cities all across the country, especially as it’s again an Olympic sport in 2016.”
McIlroy won last year’s event in Zhengzhou but it is remembered mainly for the behavior of fans who stole balls from the driving range and were rugby-tackled by staff as they mobbed the players on the fairways.
The 18-hole strokeplay tournament, held to advertise a new housing development, also featured the bizarre sight of models standing at the tee boxes, helicopters, drum majorettes, fireworks and a luxury yacht.
Few details were revealed about the upcoming event but McIlroy said he was looking forward to taking on Woods again.
“It’s exciting to play against Tiger in this format. We’ve played together many times in regular four-day Tour events, but it’s different when it’s just the two of us in an 18-hole battle,” said McIlroy, 24.
“Everyone knows he’s hugely competitive each time he steps on the golf course, so I know he’ll want to beat me, just as I’ll be very keen to beat him again.
“The crowds we had last year were incredible. I had never seen so many people following one match and I’m sure we’ll have more of the same this year. The support is testimony to the growing strength of golf in China and I’m looking forward to getting back there.”
Event organizer Infinite Ideas International said several leading Chinese golf clubs were interested in holding this year’s show and the venue will be announced soon.


Toni Kroos dismisses Mesut Ozil's claims of racism in Germany World Cup camp

Updated 16 August 2018
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Toni Kroos dismisses Mesut Ozil's claims of racism in Germany World Cup camp

  • Germany still in turmoil after early World Cup exit and Ozil's claims of racism.
  • Loew's side set to face France next month in first match after Russia tournament.

Germany midfielder Toni Kroos says Mesut Ozil was “out of order” to make accusations of racism within the German set up as he retired from international football last month.
“Basically, Mesut is a long-serving national team player and deserved a better exit as a footballer,” Kroos, 28, told German daily Bild.
“I have played with Mesut for many years and know that he is a nice guy. But the way he retired was out of order.
“The proportion of his statement which was fair and justified was unfortunately overshadowed by a much higher proportion of nonsense.
“I think he himself knows that racism does not exist within the national team and the DFB.
“On the contrary, we are always committed to diversity and integration. Mesut was a good example of that, like many of our team mates.”
Ozil, 29, created a furor last month when he retired from international football in an explosive three-part statement in which he accused German FA (DFB) president Reinhard Grindel of racism.
“In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose,” wrote Ozil, sparking a storm in Germany and triggering fierce debate about integration.
Ozil fell foul of German fans and was booed during pre-World Cup friendlies after he and fellow midfielder Ilkay Gundogan posed for pictures with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May, raising questions about the pair’s loyalty to Germany.
Only a handful of Germany players have spoken about the saga, which captain Manuel Neuer described as “stressful” while Thomas Mueller said there is “no question of racism within the team.”
Real Madrid star Kroos says Arsenal midfielder Ozil, who like Gundogan has Turkish roots, was wrong to meet with Erdogan and then wait two months before breaking his silence.
“Mesut was criticized for the photo — and rightly so,” said Kroos. “And he missed the chance to explain himself.
“Nevertheless, he was completely supported by the coaching staff and the (national) team.
“Later he was — like the rest of us — criticized for the performance at the World Cup.
“The type of criticism was certainly not always at a good (justified) level — but then you have to deal with that as a player.”
In the first game since their World Cup debacle, Germany, who have plummeted to 15th in the FIFA rankings, will host world champions France in Munich on Sept. 6 in the newly-launched Nations League tournament.
Germany head coach Joachim Loew has promised sweeping changes and Kroos has resisted the urge to retire.
“Yes, I will continue until Euro 2020 and have set the big goal that we will be far more successful than last time,” said Kroos.
Fellow German midfielder Sami Khedira, 31, also ruled out retirement on Thursday and hopes for a call-up against France to make amends for the World Cup disaster.
“After a good season with Juventus, I played my two worst matches at the World Cup with full fitness. That was really bad,” Khedira, wrote on Instagram.
However, Kroos says the squad Loew selects on Aug. 29 must find the necessary drive that was so badly missing in Russia.
“We have to be greedy and more forceful again, as far as goal-scoring is concerned,” added Kroos.
“And we have to be more unpleasant to play against in terms of defense — without just defending.”
Loew welcomed Kroos’ decision to stay on.
“With his experience, class and personality, he is of course a key player who plays a very important role in our future plans — on and off the pitch,” reacted Loew on dfb.de.
However, the head coach has yet to comment on the Ozil fiasco.