Tiger’s Tale: Woods shoots career-worst 78 at the Masters

Tiger’s Tale: Woods shoots career-worst 78 at the Masters
Tiger Woods hits out of a bunker on the second hole during the third round of the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National on Saturday, April 9, 2022, in Augusta, Ga. (AP)
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Updated 10 April 2022

Tiger’s Tale: Woods shoots career-worst 78 at the Masters

Tiger’s Tale: Woods shoots career-worst 78 at the Masters
  • The magic the five-time Masters champion summoned so easily for so long was nowhere to be found during another labored four-plus hour journey underneath the Georgia pines on Saturday

AUGUSTA, Georgia: Tiger Woods used to turn weekends at Augusta National into gripping theater, relentlessly charging up the leaderboard one fearless drive, one feathery iron, one nervy putt at a time.
Not now. Maybe not ever again.
The magic the five-time Masters champion summoned so easily for so long was nowhere to be found during another labored four-plus hour journey underneath the Georgia pines on Saturday. His 6-over 78 marked his worst in 93 career rounds at the tournament he has come to define and left him at 7-over.
The limp from his surgically repaired right leg growing more pronounced with each deliberate, cautious step, the 46-year-old slipped further down the leaderboard to end whatever chance — however unlikely — of being a factor come late Sunday afternoon.
There was no familiar charge in the early April chill. Just the reality that 14 months removed from a serious car accident that threatened to end his career, Woods can still play golf. He just can’t do it — at least not at the moment — at the level needed to compete in a field consisting of younger players, many who grew up idolizing him but have long outgrown standing in awe of him.
Following a gritty back-nine push on Friday that helped him stay on the fringe of contention, Woods walked to the first tee Saturday two hours before the leaders. Looking to send a jolt through the gallery that stood five-deep in places hoping for a glimpse and a chance to roar, Woods instead spent most of the afternoon silently glaring at the hole or his putter — or both.
He three-putted the par-4 first from 54 feet for a bogey, a sign of things to come. On the par-4 fifth, he slung his club in disgust after his approach drifted to the right, far away from a back left hole location. His lag attempt from 60-feet over a ridge was well short. His 9-foot par putt rolled his 3-feet by and his comebacker for bogey hit the hole and bounced out. It was Woods’ first four-putt at the Masters — ever.
Things never really got better. Three more three-putts followed on an afternoon where nothing really felt right. And it wasn’t just his leg. It was his back. His hands. His posture. Everything.
Even worse, there seemed to be no way to compensate. He tinkered, the kind of searching usually reserved for the practice range, not in the middle of a major.
“As many putts as I had, you’d think I’d have figured it out somewhere along the line, but it just didn’t happen,” he said.
While Woods was slowly making his way up the 18th fairway, leader Scottie Scheffler — just 25 and the world’s top-ranked golfer — was making the turn doing at the Masters what Woods has done so often over the last quarter-century: imposing his will on the course and the tournament.
“We all wish we had that two, three-month window when we get hot, and hopefully majors fall somewhere along in that window,” Woods said. “We take care of it in those windows. Scottie seems to be in that window right now.”
A window that is currently closed for Woods. While it would be easy to call his mere presence in northeast Georgia this weekend a victory in itself considering last fall he wondered if he’d ever play competitively again, Woods isn’t in this to be a feel-good story. He has no interest in being a ceremonial field filler.
His steely 1-under 71 during the first round on Thursday only seemed to embolden him. Following a shaky front-nine 39 on Friday, he recovered to shoot 74 and easily get in under the cutline.
He opened with another sloppy 39 on the front Saturday. And for a few fleeting minutes shortly after he made the turn, it appeared another rally was in store.
A crisp iron to 14 feet on No. 12 and a two-putt birdie at the par-5 13th provided a spark that never became a flame. He bogeyed the 16th and 17th and his approach up the hill to the 18th sailed into the gallery. His bump-and-run caught the slope and kept rolling, with Woods gingerly chasing after it long before it came to a stop nearly 60 feet away from the pin.
Three more putts and his worst round at Augusta was finally over. His 78 was one more than the 77 he put together in the third round of his first trip to Augusta in 1995.
He was an amateur back then, a 19-year-old phenom. Two years later, he was a champion. Two-plus decades later, he is a Hall of Famer and one of the greatest in the history of his sport. He’s also a middle-aged father of two trying to recapture something far more elusive than it used to be.
“Each and every day is a challenge,” he said. “Each and every day presents its own different challenges for all of us. I wake up and start the fight all over again.”


Pope, Trippier help Newcastle grind out 0-0 draw at Brighton

Pope, Trippier help Newcastle grind out 0-0 draw at Brighton
Updated 58 min 16 sec ago

Pope, Trippier help Newcastle grind out 0-0 draw at Brighton

Pope, Trippier help Newcastle grind out 0-0 draw at Brighton
  • Pope racked up a second straight clean sheet since joining Newcastle
  • Newcastle struggled for clear openings despite high endeavor in searing heat

BRIGHTON, England: Nick Pope conjured two fine saves and Kieran Trippier made a goal-line clearance as Newcastle’s two England internationals helped the team grind out a 0-0 draw at Brighton in the Premier League on Saturday.
Pope racked up a second straight clean sheet since joining Newcastle from relegated Burnley, thwarting both Adam Lallana and Solly March at the Amex Stadium.
March thought he had scored with a low shot through a crowd of players in the first half, only for Trippier to clear off the line at the very last opportunity.
Brighton midfielder Pascal Gross then turned the ball the wrong side of the post near the end, after Kaoru Mitoma’s neat cutback.
Newcastle struggled for clear openings despite high endeavor in searing heat, with both teams still unbeaten after two Premier League outings. Newcastle opened with a win over Nottingham Forest and Brighton won at Manchester United.
Brighton increased their domination the longer the match wore on, but Graham Potter’s team was unable to strike again after last weekend’s 2-1 victory at United.


Manchester City earn second win by thrashing Bournemouth 4-0 in Premier League

Manchester City earn second win by thrashing Bournemouth 4-0 in Premier League
Updated 13 August 2022

Manchester City earn second win by thrashing Bournemouth 4-0 in Premier League

Manchester City earn second win by thrashing Bournemouth 4-0 in Premier League
  • Haaland was mostly crowded out by Bournemouth who sat deep with plenty of men behind the ball in a match that resembled an attack vs. defense training exercise

MANCHESTER: Erling Haaland might not hog all of Manchester City’s goals this season, after all.
Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden were City’s scorers — along with an own-goal — in a 4-0 win over Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday, with Haaland barely getting a sight on goal at Etihad Stadium.
The Norway striker scored both of City’s goals in their opening-weekend 2-0 win at West Ham but was mostly crowded out a week later as Bournemouth sat deep with plenty of men behind the ball in a match that resembled an attack vs. defense training exercise.
City’s midfielders reaped the benefits of the extra focus on Haaland.
Gundogan’s goal did involve City’s new star striker, with Haaland holding off his marker with his back to goal and clipping a ball through to the Germany midfielder. Gundogan’s left-footed finish found the bottom corner in the 19th for his 50th goal for City.
De Bruyne scored the pick of the goals, the playmaker cutting inside on a counterattack led by Foden in the 31st, beating a defender and bending his shot with the outside of his right foot into the far corner.
De Bruyne returned the favor for Foden six minutes later, slipping a brilliant pass through the legs of a defender and into the path of his teammate, who took a touch and fired in a deflected shot that beat goalkeeper Mark Travers.
Haaland’s best chance fell in the 73rd when he mishit a first-time shot wide from Jack Grealish’s cut-back. The striker was substituted moments later.
The scoring was completed by Jefferson Lerma, who unwittingly turned a cross from Joao Cancelo into his own net from inside Bournemouth’s six-yard box.
It was a wake-up call for Bournemouth after the promoted team started the season with a surprisingly comfortable 2-0 win over Aston Villa last weekend.
City manager Pep Guardiola again chose to start with Bernardo Silva on the bench. The Portugal midfielder has been linked with a move to Barcelona and didn’t start against West Ham, either.


Barcelona sells more assets to clear Lewandowski for opener

Barcelona sells more assets to clear Lewandowski for opener
Updated 13 August 2022

Barcelona sells more assets to clear Lewandowski for opener

Barcelona sells more assets to clear Lewandowski for opener
  • The troubled Spanish club were only able to ensure that their star signing will be available against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday
  • They sold 24.5% of their Barça Studios production hub to Orpheus Media in a deal worth $103 million

BARCELONA, Spain: Working against the clock, Barcelona sold off even more of their club assets on Friday so they could meet the Spanish league’s financial rules and clear Robert Lewandowski and other summer signings to play in their season opener.
The troubled Spanish club were only able to ensure that their star signing will be available against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday after they sold 24.5 percent of their Barça Studios production hub to Orpheus Media in a deal worth 100 million euros ($103 million).
That improved their financial balance enough to satisfy the Spanish league, which added Lewandowski and fellow newcomers Raphinha, Franck Kessié and Andreas Christensen as well as the recently renewed Ousmane Dembélé and Sergi Roberto to their list of eligible players.
But, by late Friday, the league had yet to declare eligible France defender Jules Koundé, who arrived to Barcelona from Sevilla last month. The club will still need to reduce their current salary load by selling one or more current players to register Koundé.
Last month Barcelona sold an initial 25 percent stake in their production hub to Socios.com, a blockchain provider, for another 100 million euros as well as 25 percent of their Spanish league television rights for the next 25 years for nearly 670 million euros ($689 million).
All told, the heavily indebted Catalan club has mortgaged their future for 870 million euros ($895 million) to sign Lewandowski, Raphinha and Koundé for a combined 160 million euros ($165 million). Kessié and Christensen arrived as free agents.
But the Spanish league has strict financial requirements that limit the amount clubs can spend on players’ salaries and transfers based on the clubs’ financial health. Despite efforts to reduce costs and pay down their debt, Barcelona still hold 1 billion euros ($1 billion) in debt and has seen their salary cap slashed by the league in recent seasons.
Earlier on Friday, coach Xavi Hernández said he was “optimistic” that he can have his new players available for the first game of the season.
“Everyone at the club is very optimistic,” Xavi said. “We have until two hours before the match.”
The club are also pushing to sell players with big salaries like Frenkie de Jong or players unwanted by Xavi such as Samuel Umtiti and Martin Braithwaite.
Orpheus Media is run by Catalan businessman Jaume Roures, the owner of Mediapro, a major television company involved in Spanish soccer but whose 2020 broadcast rights deal for the French league collapsed. Roures was a major financial backer of Barcelona club president Joan Laporta when he returned to run the financially troubled club in 2021.
Roures said on Friday that he was not sure if the money he paid Barcelona would be sufficient.
“The league won’t have any problems with this operation,” Roures told Cadena SER radio. “If the 100 million euros are enough, I don’t know. If it isn’t, the (necessary) amount must be close to that.”
Xavi also said that Barcelona may not be done signing new players, but that any arrivals would have to come after current players were sold. Barcelona are linked to interest in Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso, who would provide competition for Jordi Alba at left back.
Laporta at least was able to avoid the embarrassment of having Lewandowski watching from the Camp Nou stands on Saturday.


Ancelotti ‘surprised’ by Kroos absence from Ballon d’Or nominees

Ancelotti ‘surprised’ by Kroos absence from Ballon d’Or nominees
Updated 13 August 2022

Ancelotti ‘surprised’ by Kroos absence from Ballon d’Or nominees

Ancelotti ‘surprised’ by Kroos absence from Ballon d’Or nominees
  • New signing Antonio Rudiger is also on the list but there was no room for the German midfielder Kroos
  • "It surprises me a bit, because Kroos had a fantastic season," quipped Ancelotti in a press conference

MADRID: Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti on Saturday said he was surprised that German midfielder Toni Kroos did not feature on the list of 30 finalists for the Ballon d’Or.
Five members of the Champions League winning side were nominated on Friday in the shape of Thibault Cortois, Casemiro, Luka Modric, Vinicius Junior and favorite Karim Benzema.
New signing Antonio Rudiger is also on the list but there was no room for the German midfielder Kroos.
“It surprises me a bit, because Kroos had a fantastic season... But it’s true that it could be a problem if we named all the Real Madrid players, I can understand that,” quipped Ancelotti in a press conference ahead of Madrid’s Liga opener at Almeria on Sunday.
“But (Federico) Valverde, (Eder) Militao, (David) Alaba... all deserve to be there.
“All of them had a fantastic season. I’m not talking about winning the Ballon d’Or, but they deserve to be on the list.”
Ancelotti was particularly pleased with the inclusion of Brazilian forward Vinicius on the 30-strong list of nominees.
“He scored the winning goal in our 14th Champions League, he had an incredible season,” said the Italian.
“He doesn’t care if he finishes fourth or second. For the players, only victory matters. He will do better in the future. But unfortunately for Vini, this season, we already have the winner with us.”
Ancelotti was in little doubt, it seems, that French striker Benzema, who is hotly tipped to succeed would walk away with the award.
The Ballon d’Or will be awarded on October 17.
Real Madrid will kick off the defense of their La Liga title at newly-promoted Almería.
“We are feeling good, we have all the hope in the world as we start this season,” said Ancelotti, adding that “each game will be very difficult, starting tomorrow.”


Saudi weightlifter Siraj Al-Saleem wins 3 silvers at Islamic Solidarity Games

Saudi weightlifter Siraj Al-Saleem wins 3 silvers at Islamic Solidarity Games
Updated 13 August 2022

Saudi weightlifter Siraj Al-Saleem wins 3 silvers at Islamic Solidarity Games

Saudi weightlifter Siraj Al-Saleem wins 3 silvers at Islamic Solidarity Games
  • Kingdom’s handball team reaches semifinals after topping group

KONYA: Weightlifter Siraj Al-Saleem on Friday claimed three more medals for Saudi Arabia at the fifth edition of the Islamic Solidarity Games in Turkey.

Al-Saleem’s three silver medals came in the 61 kilogram division after he managed a lift of 123 kilograms in the Snatch category, 154 kilograms in the Clean and Jerk, and a points total of 277 to finish second overall.

Saudi’s medal tally on Friday night stood at 15, with one gold, 10 silvers and four bronzes.

Al-Saleem’s teammate Nawaf Al-Mazeedi finished seventh overall in the under-67 kilogram competition with a points total of 296 (136 in Snatch, 160 in Clean and Jerk).

In the women’s weightlifting competition, Saudi’s Al-Anoud Al-Shehri took sixth place in the 59 kilogram division with a total of 141 points, a new personal record.

Meanwhile Saudi Arabia reached the semifinals of the handball competition after playing out a 27-27 draw with Qatar in their final group match.

With that result, the Kingdom qualified to the last four as group winners on goal difference, and will now face hosts Turkey on Saturday evening.

Qatar will meet Iran in the other semifinal.