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.”
Maurizio Sarri wants to meet Eden Hazard to discuss Chelsea future
- Maurizio Sarri says Eden Hazard is one of the top two or three players in Europe and he wants to meet the Belgium forward
- Hazard is taking time off after the World Cup along with Belgium teammate Thibaut Courtois
LONDON: Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri says Eden Hazard is one of the top two or three players in Europe and he wants to meet the Belgium forward face-to-face to discuss his future.
Hazard said at the World Cup in Russia that “it might be time to discover something different“ after spending the last six years with Chelsea. He has been linked with a move to European champion Real Madrid, which recently sold Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus.
Hazard is taking time off after the World Cup along with Belgium teammate Thibaut Courtois, whose future is also the matter of some debate.
Sarri says he doesn’t just want to phone the players who have yet to return to preseason training because a “telephone call without looking in their eyes will not give any certainty. I want to meet them face-to-face and understand what’s the best thing to do for everyone.”
Sarri says Hazard is “one of the top two or three European players,” adding that he hopes “to improve Hazard but that will be difficult.”
In his first news conference as Chelsea coach since joining from Napoli, Sarri said he will play in a “slightly different way” to predecessor Antonio Conte, who won the Premier League in his first season and FA Cup in his second after changing to a three-man defense.
Chelsea has already signed holding midfielder Jorginho from Napoli this offseason. Sarri says he would like more quality in the midfield area to fit his preferred approach, while adding that he could also adapt to the players he currently has in the squad.
Chelsea didn’t qualify for this season’s Champions League.