Golf can roar without Tiger
Golf can roar without Tiger
It may seem a bizarre statement to make considering the American ace has brought a sport once seen as staid and bland into the consciousness of millions around the globe. But Justin Rose claimed that a new generation of young superstars has emerged in his absence — and that even without the big beast, they now have the ability to drive the popularity of the sport.
Woods’ agent set the golfing world abuzz this week after revealing the 14-time major-winner had been cleared by his doctor to begin full practice as he prepares for yet another comeback from injury.
But Rose, who won the US Open in 2013 and came runner-up at this year’s Masters, said the group of 20-somethings now claiming golf’s top prizes had already eclipsed Woods’ (pictured) absence and illustrated life on the fairways can be exciting without sport’s main man.
“I think golf has found itself in a really healthy spot without Tiger at the moment,” former US Open champion and current Olympic champion Rose said.
“So many young players have come through and filled the void. I think to have him back is just a bonus. I don’t think golf is desperate for him back.”
Woods, 41, has not won a tournament in four years, and his Major drought stretches back to 2008, when miraculously he won the US Open with a broken leg. After undergoing spinal fusion surgery in April he said he may never play at the top level again.
But Woods, who has also been plagued by personal problems and pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in August, recently posted a video of himself using a driver, captioned “Making Progress.”
“Everyone just wants to see a healthy Tiger Woods,” said Rose. “It’s almost gone past the point of thinking ‘Oh we all really want to see Tiger win 18 majors’.”
The Englishman added: “I think that we want him back, just because of what’s he’s meant to the sport for the last 20 years.”
Besides Rose’s loss to 37-year-old Sergio Garcia in a thrilling playoff at the Masters, this year’s other men’s majors were won by Americans Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, all in their early- or mid-20s.
In a sport that traditionally favors comparatively older athletes, other heavyweights in the current world top 10 such as Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Jason Day are also yet to turn 30.
“It was definitely a year dominated by the young guys on tour,” said Rose, who will join Garcia next month at Fanling for the Hong Kong Open.
Rose, a Hong Kong winner in 2015, said he was still disappointed to have missed out on Masters glory so narrowly to the Spaniard this year, but added that he was looking forward to the rematch.
“It was great to see him breakthrough and win his first Major — but unfortunately it was against me,” he said.
“It’ll be fun to have us both in the same field again (in Hong Kong). Sergio and I, we’ve joked all year long, had some fun with it all year long, so it will be a continuation of that.”
Juventus too good for Man Utd on Ronaldo’s return
- Paulo Dybala scored the winner on 17 minutes as the Italian champions opened up a five-point lead over United at the top of Group H
- The hosts failed to threaten until Paul Pogba’s curling shot from outside the box hit the post 15 minutes from time
MANCHESTER: Cristiano Ronaldo emerged victorious again on his second return to Old Trafford, but this time did not get on the scoresheet as Juventus outclassed Manchester United to win 1-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Instead Ronaldo played a supporting role by helping set up Paulo Dybala’s winner on 17 minutes as the Italian champions opened up a five-point lead over United at the top of Group H.
Jose Mourinho’s men were handed a break before kick-off as Valencia’s 1-1 draw away to Young Boys means United still hold a two-point lead over the Spaniards, but a fourth defeat of the season will see speculation over Mourinho’s future increase once more.
But for a series of excellent saves from David de Gea, the margin of defeat could have been far greater too as any momentum United gained from fightbacks against Newcastle and Chelsea in recent weeks in the Premier League faded away against one of the favorites to win the Champions League.
Ronaldo was given a hero’s welcome on his previous visit to Old Trafford with Real Madrid in 2013 after scoring 118 goals for United in six seasons between 2003 and 2009 to help the Red Devils win three Premier League titles and the first of his five Champions Leagues.
The Portuguese’s early days as Juventus player since making the move to Italy from Madrid this summer have been overshadowed by a rape allegation made against him in the United States.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has strongly denied the allegation and been backed by his new club, who paid 112 million euros ($129 million) for the 33-year-old in July.
But the reception he received from the United faithful this time was far more muted with only a mild cheer raised when his name in the Juventus line-up was announced.
Ronaldo scored the winner in a contentious Champions League last-16 tie for Madrid five years ago, but this time played the role of provider for Dybala to be the match-winner.
His cross intended for Juan Cuadrado ricocheted kindly off Chris Smalling into the path of Dybala to sweep the ball past De Gea for his fourth goal in two Champions League games.
As Juventus dominated the rest of the first half, only De Gea stood in their way of killing the game off before the break.
The Spaniard flew to his right to save Joao Cancelo’s fiercely-struck shot then produced a fine double save to parry Ronaldo’s free-kick and swat away Blaise Matuidi’s follow-up effort.
Top scorer in this competition for the past six seasons, Ronaldo is still searching for his first Champions League goal for Juventus having been sent off after just 30 minutes of his European debut against Valencia and subsequently banned for a 3-0 victory over Young Boys.
He couldn’t have done much more with an effort that soared toward De Gea’s top corner seven minutes into the second half only to see the United ‘keeper produce a miraculous right-handed save.
Going behind brought out the best in Mourinho’s side against Newcastle and Chelsea to help ease the pressure on the manager.
But the hosts failed to threaten until Paul Pogba’s curling shot from outside the box hit the post 15 minutes from time.
Anthony Martial also tested Wojciech Szczesny late on but Juventus held out for a deserved victory.