Shortened PGA season begins in Hawaii

Updated 04 January 2013
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Shortened PGA season begins in Hawaii

KAPALUA, Hawaii: American Rickie Fowler will strike the first ball as the 2013 PGA Tour season kicks off in Hawaii yesterday with 30 players in the field for the winners-only Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
Last year’s winner Steve Stricker is back and will have some strong competition to beat in his quest to repeat his victory.
Stricker, who is the only previous winner in the abbreviated field, posted a pair of 69s in the final two rounds last year, defeating Martin Laird by two strokes.
Stricker’s worst finish in his last four times at Kapalua was a tie for 10th three years ago.
Reigning major champions Bubba Watson (Masters) and Webb Simpson (US Open) are also contenders.
Watson, who has played here the last two years, carded his best finish last year when he tied for 18th.
“I’m excited about it,” Watson said. “A great time for the family, hanging out with friends and seeing the scenery and playing the golf course is a challenge but it’s a fun time to start off the year in Maui.” Watson said his goals this year are to get back to the winner’s circle and make the Presidents Cup team.
“For me it’s about winning a golf tournament,” Watson said. “And the second thing is making the team event. In the US we have a team event every year. This year it’s the Presidents Cup, so that would be the second goal.
“I got my tour card for five years now. That would have been number three, but I’m good for five years.” Watson also hopes to improve on his mental preparation as he revealed that he has been hospitalized three times during his career for panic attacks.
“I’ve had a lot of panic attacks off the golf course,” Watson said. “I actually went to the hospital three times thinking I was having something wrong with my heart ...” Watson said doctors are stumped but have suggested medication that he refuses to take.
“I’ve done everything,” he said. “I’ve done EKGs, we’ve done tests, all kind of things ... I need medicine that calms me down.” Simpson tied for third place in his first appearance at Kapalua last year.
Players Champion Matt Kuchar tied for sixth in 2011, while Tour Championship winner Brandt Snedeker is back after not playing the tournament last year.
The Kapalua event begins a shortened PGA season after organizers decided to switch to a 2013-14 season next year. The former Fall Series is now the beginning of the new season, resulting in seven fewer tournaments in 2013.

Hunter Mahan said the new so-called wrap-around season has added to the work load and created some uncertainty among the players.
“With golf now, it’s year-long,” Mahan said. “The season doesn’t end in September. I mean, it doesn’t really ever end. It just keeps kind of looping over and over and over again.” Mahan will play in a group that includes fellow American Zach Johnson in the Friday to Monday event. Fowler is partnered with Jason Dufner.
The PGA Tour stays in Hawaii next week for the Sony Open, where Johnson Wagner captured the title by two strokes last year.


Profligate Arsenal punished by 10-man Atletico Madrid

The gunners could not defeat 10-man Atletico Madrid. (AFP)
Updated 27 April 2018
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Profligate Arsenal punished by 10-man Atletico Madrid

  • The Gunners played with an extra man for over 80 minutes
  • Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week

LONDON: Arsenal’s hopes of sending outgoing manager Arsene Wenger off with a trophy suffered a major blow as they could only draw 1-1 with 10-man Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Europa League semifinal on Thursday.
The Gunners played with an extra man for over 80 minutes at the Emirates Stadium, with Sime Vrsaljko’s early red card handing them the initiative.
However, they were made to rue a host of missed chances before and after Alexandre Lacazette headed them in front on the hour mark.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone was also sent to the stands shortly after Vrsaljko’s dismissal, but the Spaniards resisted manfully and pounced when their chance came as Antoine Griezmann prodded home a vital away goal eight minutes from time.
Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week if Wenger’s last game in charge is to be the final in his homeland in Lyon on May 16.
Moreover, Arsenal’s hopes of Champions League football next season also hang on becoming the first side other than Real Madrid to eliminate Atletico from Europe for five seasons.
There was a far more highly-charged atmosphere for Wenger’s penultimate home game in charge than there had been for last weekend’s game against West Ham United.
And the hosts were given plenty of encouragement early on, even when still up against Atletico’s full complement.
Lacazette volleyed off the outside of the post and forced Jan Oblak into the first of a series of fine saves with a header from close range.
Vrsaljko had been booked within two minutes for bringing down Jack Wilshere.

And the Croatian left his side a man light after just 10 minutes when French referee Clement Turpin showed no leniency for another late challenge on Lacazette.
Moments later, Simeone was also dismissed by the officious referee for taking his protests too far when an Arsenal player wasn’t booked for what he thought was a similar foul.
Atletico’s excellent defensive record is what has carried them to five European semifinals in seven seasons under Simeone.
The visitors battened down the hatches with 10 men, but were reliant on Oblak to keep them in the tie.
Wilshere headed straight at Oblak when unmarked at the back post at the end of a flowing Arsenal move.
And the Slovenian then spread himself well with an outstretched leg to deny Danny Welbeck.
Having weathered the Gunners’ early storm, Atletico only began to threaten themselves late in the first half and David Ospina had to be alert to parry a fiercely struck Griezmann shot following a fine run from Thomas Partey.
Atletico retreated ever deeper toward their own goal after the break and were finally punished on the hour mark when Wilshere’s deep cross found Lacazette rising above Lucas Hernandez to head in his seventh goal in seven games.
However, the French international and Arsenal could have had more.
Laczette’s dangerous ball across goal found no takers before he headed another good opportunity wide.
And Arsenal paid heavily for their profligacy, and some comical defending, when Atletico grabbed a vital away goal on 82 minutes.
Griezmann outmuscled French international team-mate Laurent Koscielny and then benefited from a slip by Shkodran Mustafi after his initial effort had been saved by Ospina to prod his 27th goal of the season into the roof of the net.
There was still time for Oblak to show why Griezmann isn’t the only Atletico player wanted by Europe’s elite with a spectacular one-handed save to turn Aaron Ramsey’s header behind and keep Los Rojiblancos on course for another European final.