Oosthuizen smashes Tiger’s mark, grabs big lead

Updated 03 November 2012
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Oosthuizen smashes Tiger’s mark, grabs big lead

DONGGUAN, China: Louis Oosthuizen smashed Tiger Woods’ record for the lowest halfway score in World Golf Championships history yesterday as he opened up a big five-stroke lead at China’s $7 million WGC-HSBC Champions.
Oosthuizen’s nine-under-par 63, helped by a run of eagle, birdie, birdie, birdie, birdie, left him 16 under through 36 holes, beating Woods’ 15-under score at the 2000 Bridgestone Invitational and 2006 Cadillac championship.
His second round, which followed Thursday’s 65, put clear distance between the South African and nearest rivals Adam Scott and Ernie Els, who shared second spot on 11-under-par 133.
Oosthuizen’s spell-binding performance at southern China’s par-72 Mission Hills also evoked memories of his five-stroke halfway lead at the 2010 British Open, when he successfully closed out over the weekend.
“Scoreboard-wise, it’s probably the same,” he said. “Looking at the leaderboard, there’s so many great players up there. It’s far from over. It was probably the same at the Open.
“With this tournament, I’m in a great position to win it, but it’s not even crossed my mind at the moment. There’s still a lot of golf to be played, and I need to put myself in a great position going down the back nine on Sunday.” Four-time Major-winner Els, who sprained his ankle playing tennis two weeks ago, turned at seven under par and then added two more birdies for a 63, matching his fellow South African Oosthuizen. Scott finished on 68.
“You know what they say — beware the injured golfer,” smiled Els.
Phil Mickelson, the event’s only double winner, was also set for a share of second place until he found greenside rocks on the 18th for double-bogey and dropped down to tied sixth with Dustin Johnson.
Jason Dufner, Mickelson and Johnson’s Ryder Cup teammate, shot 66 to share fourth spot with Ireland’s Shane Lowry, who had 68.
Scott, who had shared the first-round lead with Oosthuizen, played a sumptuous front nine studded with four birdies but he stumbled on his return with three bogeys and another three birdies.
“I played OK today — I got off to a good start but on the back nine I missed a few greens and I had to scramble, and it’s tough when it’s fast around the greens,” said Scott.
“I don’t know about tomorrow but as long as I catch (Oosthuizen) by the end of Sunday, that’s the most important thing,” he added.
The Australian escaped from a bunker on the third hole for his first birdie of the day, and he picked up further shots on four and five to take a two-shot lead early in the round.
A cry of “Adam, we love you!” from the sidelines spurred him on, but it was Oosthuizen who then took charge with his eagle on the par-five seventh, cueing up a birdie blitz around the turn.
Oosthuizen birdied the par-three eighth, escaped out of a bunker to within a foot on nine, drained a 20-footer on 10 and then chipped to an unmissable distance on 11.
Two more birdies on 15 and 16 completed a pleasing day’s work for the South African, who was greeted at the clubhouse by his wife and two daughters, who are traveling with him.
Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell played with his right hand strapped after shutting it in his hotel door, and will undergo tests on Saturday before he decides whether to continue.


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.