Woods, McIlroy set for second duel in China

Updated 13 July 2013

Woods, McIlroy set for second duel in China

BEIJING: Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will go head-to-head in a two-man exhibition for the second time in China following last year’s outlandish Duel at Jinsha Lake, organiZers said Saturday.
Golf’s world number one and two will appear at an as yet unnamed venue on October 28, reprising their one-day meeting a year earlier which became infamous for its unruly crowds and gratuitous displays of wealth.
“Rory and I have played against and with each other a lot over the past few years, and he beat me in China last time so I’m looking forward to playing again,” said Woods in a press release.
“We’re good friends, but both of us love to win, so I’m expecting more great golf,” added the 14-time major-winner.
“I’ve played in China since 2001 and the event last year showed me there’s still huge enthusiasm for growing the game in cities all across the country, especially as it’s again an Olympic sport in 2016.”
McIlroy won last year’s event in Zhengzhou but it is remembered mainly for the behavior of fans who stole balls from the driving range and were rugby-tackled by staff as they mobbed the players on the fairways.
The 18-hole strokeplay tournament, held to advertise a new housing development, also featured the bizarre sight of models standing at the tee boxes, helicopters, drum majorettes, fireworks and a luxury yacht.
Few details were revealed about the upcoming event but McIlroy said he was looking forward to taking on Woods again.
“It’s exciting to play against Tiger in this format. We’ve played together many times in regular four-day Tour events, but it’s different when it’s just the two of us in an 18-hole battle,” said McIlroy, 24.
“Everyone knows he’s hugely competitive each time he steps on the golf course, so I know he’ll want to beat me, just as I’ll be very keen to beat him again.
“The crowds we had last year were incredible. I had never seen so many people following one match and I’m sure we’ll have more of the same this year. The support is testimony to the growing strength of golf in China and I’m looking forward to getting back there.”
Event organizer Infinite Ideas International said several leading Chinese golf clubs were interested in holding this year’s show and the venue will be announced soon.


Al Hilal hit out at ‘inflexible’ AFC over Champions League axing

Updated 24 September 2020

Al Hilal hit out at ‘inflexible’ AFC over Champions League axing

  • The Saudi club, who had already qualified for the last 16
  • The AFC said when announcing Al Hilal’s exit that they had already allowed the club to bring in players to replace some of those who had contracted the virus

Al Hilal have slammed the Asian Football Confederation for their “inflexibility” after the reigning champions were kicked out of Asian Champions League because they were only able to muster 11 players for their final Group B fixture.

The Saudi club, who had already qualified for the last 16, said they had been determined to defend their title despite 30 players and staff becoming infected by COVID-19 in the Qatar hub where Asia's premier club competition resumed last week.

“The board of directors ... sought to work on a number of methods that preserve Al Hilal’s right to compete without any disorder to the tournament,” the Riyadh-based club said in a statement.

“All these requests were rejected by the AFC, in spite of facing compelling circumstances that require greater flexibility from the AFC in assessing the situation.”

Among the suggestions rejected by the AFC, they said, were that they would forfeit their final group match against Shabab Al Ahli Dubai but not their place in the competition, as well as a one-day postponement of Wednesday’s fixture.

They also suggested the knockout stages, scheduled to start on Sunday, should be put back “in light of the outbreak of COVID-19 at the level of the whole tournament, not just Al Hilal.”

The AFC said when announcing Al Hilal’s exit that they had already allowed the club to bring in players to replace some of those who had contracted the virus and that a postponement would have a “huge negative impact” on the schedule.

Al Hilal also said the competition rules demanding matchday squads of 13 players contravened FIFA’s “basic law of the game” that only 11, including one goalkeeper, were required to contest a football match.

The board said they were considering submitting a protest to the “judicial authorities” to “preserve the club's rights at the official authorities.”

Al Hilal’s departure means Shabab Al Ahli Dubai qualify for the knockout stage from Group B along with Uzbeki club Pakhtakor, who beat Iran’s Shahr Khodro 1-0 in their final round robin match in Doha on Wednesday.

Group A, which was reduced to three teams when Emirati club Al Wahda were kicked out before the resumption after an outbreak of COVID-19 in their squad, also concluded on Wednesday.

Iran’s Esteghlal beat Saudi group winners Al Ahli 3-0 at Al Janoub Stadium to secure second spot and a place in the knockout stages ahead of Iraqi champions Al Shorta.

Al Ahli will play Shabab Al Ahli Dubai in the first round-of-16 clash on Sunday at Al Janoub Stadium before Pakhtakor take on Esteghlal in the later match.