DeChambeau wins John Deere, books Open berth

Bryson DeChambeau reacts after making a birdie putt on the 18th green during the final round of the John Deere Classic golf tournament Sunday. (AP)
Updated 18 July 2017
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DeChambeau wins John Deere, books Open berth

CHICAGO: Bryson DeChambeau drained a 14-foot birdie putt at the 72nd hole on Sunday as his storming back nine lifted him to a first PGA Tour title at the John Deere Classic.
The 23-year-old had six birdies coming in as he rallied for the victory over a faltering Patrick Rodgers, punching his ticket to next week’s British Open in the process.
“I don’t even know what it means right now,” said DeChambeau, who carded a final-round 65 for an 18-under par total of 266 at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois.
After starting the round four adrift, he finished one stroke in front of Rodgers, who started the day with a two-stroke lead but fell behind DeChambeau with a bogey at the par-five 17th and could not come up with a birdie at the last to force a playoff.
Rodgers signed for a 70 that put him in 267, alone in second and one shot in front of Wesley Bryan and Rick Lamb.
Bryan closed strong with a 64 and Lamp carded a 66.
DeChambeau was in the practice area, trying to stay warm for a possible playoff when Rodgers’ challenge ended.
“I’ve just been working so hard my whole life to try and do this,” the emotional player told a television interviewer.
“To finally have it happen at the John Deere — where I started pretty much a couple of years ago — is just incredible,” added DeChambeau, who played the tournament on a sponsor’s exemption in 2015.
DeChambeau had endured a series of disappointing finishes this season, includuing a missed cut on six-over at the US Open last month.
He played the front nine in level par after one birdie and one bogey, then put together three bursts of back-to-back birdies — at 10-11, 13-14 and 17-18.
Rodgers was one-over through the first nine holes, but reasserted himself with birdies at 10, 12 and 13. A bogey at 14 was quickly followed by a birdie at 15 and the rough at the par-five 17th off the tee.
He eventually found himself chipping from the green to get over a bunker and missed an eight-footer to save par.
DeChambeau said he felt the victory was something of a vindication of his unorthodox decision to play with irons and wedges of similar shaft length, which he believes is a scientifically sound approach.
“I think that’s the true meaning behind what I try and do,” he said. “I show everybody there’s plenty of ways to do it and I like doing it my way and I feel comfortable doing it my way. Whatever way you want to do it out there, you can do it.”


Why even the #WengerOut brigade should lament Arsene Wenger's exit from Arsenal

Updated 20 April 2018
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Why even the #WengerOut brigade should lament Arsene Wenger's exit from Arsenal

  • The Frenchman revolutionised the game in England across all leagues, not just the Premier League.
  • After initial success he found the going tough in the second half of his reign, but will still go down as an all-time great.

Over the past few seasons it has been fashionable to view Arsene Wenger as some sort of figure of fun — a man living in the past, left behind by the modern game, but too stubborn to realize it.
In time, though, even the most ardent, frothing-at-the-mouth #Wenger Out believer would have to agree that the Frenchman will go down not just as one of the best managers Arsenal have had, but also among the greatest in English club football.
As with any caricature, there is a hint of truth in the picture created, crude as it sometimes is. Yes, Wenger’s past few years at the Emirates have been painful to watch. Yes, he was stubborn when it came to both activity in the transfer market and belief in his methods and tactics. Yes, it is fair to say he leaves the club, on the pitch at least, in a bit of a mess. And, yes, he should have left two or three years ago.
But if there is one thing that any sane fan should remember about Wenger’s 22 years as Arsenal boss, it is this: He was a game-changer, a manager who oversaw not only a revolution of the Gunners, but also of the English game.
As soon as Wenger landed in England in 1996, he banished Arsenal’s Tuesday drinking club and munching of Mars bars — in their place came stretching sessions and broccoli. Hardly profound or radical in today’s game, but this was the era when change in English football invariably meant no pies and pints on a Friday night.
The technical, passing, possession football that is now the norm for any side with ambitions to remain in the Premier League, let alone win it, and the idea that eating vegetables rather than a tub of lard would help player performance, were brought in by Wenger alone.
He won the double in his first full season in charge, signed unheralded foreign talent such as Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Viera — who went on to become world-class players — and created teams that were a joy to watch, culminating with “The Invincibles” of 2003-04, who won the Premier League without losing a match.
The irony is that the one-time revolutionary ended up being viewed as a throwback, a stuck-in-the-mud anachronism; a manager who harked back to a time when playing with the owner’s chequebook was not seen as the only path to success and when paragraphs were favored over 140 characters.
And that perhaps explains why so many Arsenal fans seemingly wanted him gone: Wenger is not of the Twitter generation, of instant opinions for the 24-hour news agenda and of hype over humility. The man who was once seen as the future stuck to principles that were deemed as belonging to the past.
It is clear there is a lot of bad blood at the club — a ridiculous Facebook post by an Arsenal fan claimed Wenger’s announcement he was leaving made it the “greatest day in Arsenal’s history.”
But for all the bluster and nonsense, Wenger’s legacy will be that of “The Invincibles” — one of the greatest club sides of modern times; of beautiful football played at pace and with artistry; of being a decent, yet flawed, man who was never anything but articulate and courteous.
Having been in charge of Arsenal for 22 years, he is undoubtedly the last of a kind, and in the era of trigger-happy owners, short-term fixes and sensationalism over stability, that is something everyone, even the #WengerOut brigade, should lament.