Jack Nicklaus backs Tiger Woods to overhaul his Major record

Jack Nickluas holds the record for most Majors won with 18. (Reuters)
Updated 24 September 2018
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Jack Nicklaus backs Tiger Woods to overhaul his Major record

LONDON: Tiger Woods has been backed to break Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 Majors by none other than the golfing great himself.
Woods ended a five-year winless run on Sunday, claiming victory in the Tour Championship to usher in emotional and frenzied scenes at the East Lake Golf Club. This time last year, after a fourth back operation, it was widely assumed his time as a top-class golfer was over. But this year has seen him hit those predictions into the long rough as he has found form and fun on the fairways once again.
And fresh off Woods’ first “W” since 2013 Nicklaus predicted more titles for Tiger, not least in respect of the American’s charge to try to overhaul the all-time great’s record of 18 Majors.
Woods has been stuck on 14 Majors since 2008, and it has been generally accepted that having looked all but certain to reach Nicklaus’ mark, Woods’ personal and injury problems would mean he would not get close to the 78-year-old’s mark.
“Maybe Tiger’s got another 40 Majors to play. Out of 40 majors can he win five of them?” Nicklaus, known as the Golden Bear, said.
“He’s playing well enough. It depends how much he wants to work at it, how interested he is, and long he wants to make a commitment to do that.
“With today’s equipment, and the way the guys take care of themselves, I think they could play well into their 50s.
“I’m proud of him. He’s worked very hard to get his golf game back. He even worked really hard to get the five inches between his head thinking the right way again.”
For now all thoughts of getting back on the Major-winning trail will doubtless be put to the back of Woods’ mind, with the Ryder Cup starting on Friday. Ahead of the biennial battle against Europe, Woods revealed how much the Tour Championship win meant.
“I was having a hard time not crying on the last hole,” Woods said, his voice choking at times. “I just can’t believe I pulled this off.
“It hasn’t been so easy the last couple of years. It’s hard to believe I was able to do it again.
“(This win) is certainly up there with obviously all the Major championships I’ve won,” Woods added.
“I just didn’t know whether this would ever happen again. It means a lot. It really does.”
Phil Mickelson, once Woods’ arch-rival, led the tributes to his Ryder Cup teammate.
“He’s played such good golf all year that it is just not surprising,” he said.
“Tiger’s played so well on a very difficult golf course and we almost kind of expected it.
“We never doubted he would not win again, not from what I’ve seen (with the way) he’s been swinging the club.
“It was just a matter of time.”


NBA, FIBA announce plans for pro league in Africa

Updated 18 sec ago
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NBA, FIBA announce plans for pro league in Africa

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina: The NBA is bringing a pro league to Africa.
The Basketball Africa League, a new collaboration between the NBA and the sport’s global governing body FIBA, was announced Saturday. The initial plan is for the 12-team league to begin play in January, and former President Barack Obama is among those who are expected to have direct involvement with the league’s plan to keep growing the game in Africa through the league and other initiatives.
The scope of what Obama’s involvement will be remains unknown, and it’s yet to be determined which existing club teams will be part of the league. Qualification tournaments will be held later this year to determine those clubs, with teams from Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia expected to be among those taking part. No nation will have more than two teams in the league.
“As we’ve been talking about this concept over the last several months, there’s been a tremendous reception from many of our NBA team owners ... and in addition, several of the partners of the NBA have expressed a strong desire to work with us in Africa,” Silver said.
Silver said Pepsi and Nike’s Jordan Brand — Charlotte owner Michael Jordan was among the owners in the room where Silver made the announcement — are among the partners who have reached out to the NBA and said they want to be part of the Africa league. Silver also said that Obama, an enormous basketball fan, has told him he wants to “be directly involved with these activities in Africa.”
Silver said talks between the NBA and Obama are ongoing. Obama spoke on a video that was shown during the event where Silver announced the league.
“I hope you know through sport, that if you put in effort, you will be rewarded,” Obama said. “I hope you learn through sport what it means to play as a team, and even if you are the best player, your job is not just to show off but your job is to make your teammates better.”
The NBA and FIBA’s involvement will include financial support and resources toward continued growing of the game on the continent, as well as providing training for players, coaches and referees and some infrastructure for the new league. Silver said there are 438 companies in Africa that generate more than $1 billion in revenue annually, but that sport there has not seen the same growth — yet.
“Africa is a huge economic engine,” Silver said. “And one place, though, where we haven’t seen enormous economic growth yet is in the industry of sport. And that’s something that we are all particularly focused on.”
The NBA has held three games in Africa since 2015, all of them selling out — two games in Johannesburg, the other in Pretoria. Many of the league’s current players and coaches, along with several legends and Hall of Famers, have been part of those trips.
“I went with them last year,” Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said. “The NBA reaches out across the world.”
The league has an office in South Africa, has helped create 87 learn-and-play facilities in seven African nations, and 13 players who were born in Africa on opening-night NBA rosters this season. The league also built an academy in Senegal that opened nearly two years ago.
“It’s a huge joy to see our partnership with the NBA enter uncharted territory as we work together for the first time to maximize the potential of professional basketball in Africa,” said Andreas Zagklis, FIBA’s secretary-general.
This marks the first time the NBA has been involved with the operation of a league outside of North America.
“We’re excited to work closely with the NBA to develop and put in a place a professional league like none that we have ever seen in our region before,” said FIBA Africa Executive Director Alphonse Bile. “Through the Basketball Africa League, we can provide the many great clubs and players with the best possible environment to compete for the highest stakes.”
The NBA says more details about the new league will be released in the coming months.