Tiger Woods and son hobble to a 59 and are 2 back of Team Thomas

Tiger Woods and son hobble to a 59 and are 2 back of Team Thomas
Tiger Woods, right, and his son Charlie bump fists on the ninth green during the first round of the PNC Championship golf tournament Saturday in Orlando, Florida. (AP)
Short Url
Updated 18 December 2022

Tiger Woods and son hobble to a 59 and are 2 back of Team Thomas

Tiger Woods and son hobble to a 59 and are 2 back of Team Thomas
  • Team Thomas won the championship two years ago, when Woods first introduced Charlie to a national television audience at the PNC

ORLANDO, Florida: Tiger Woods and 13-year-old son Charlie weren’t about to let a bad foot and a bum ankle keep them from playing together in the PNC Championship. The way they played Saturday, they might even be able to win it.

The partnership Woods referred to as “Team Ice Bath” because of their injuries finished with a 13-under 59 in the scramble format, two shots behind Justin Thomas and his father, club professional Mike Thomas.

Team Thomas won the championship belt two years ago, when Woods first introduced Charlie to a national television audience at the PNC Championship.

“They rubbed it in our face over Christmas dinner. They are in a great position to possibly do it again on Christmas dinner,” Woods said. “But we are going to have a little something to say about that.”

Even being in the mix, much less the last group, looked unlikely the way father and son were hobbling around The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Orlando.

Woods, limping from plantar fasciitis in his right foot, chipped in for eagle from behind the fifth green, hit whatever shot was needed and closed out the front nine with putts of 20 feet and 35 feet.

Charlie’s left ankle hurt to the point that he dropped to his knees after he topped his tee shot on the par-5 fifth hole. He rode in a cart with his dad — that’s allowed because this is sanctioned by the PGA Tour Champions — and even changed shoes on the practice range to see if it would help.

The young teen contributed a wedge to 3 feet for their first birdie, a 20-footer during their big run when they played an eight-hole stretch in 9-under par. Charlie finished the round with a 6-foot birdie putt, stooping to pick up his father’s coin before the ball even went into the cup.

“On some shots it hurt a lot. Walking was tough,” Charlie said in his first time in front of the media at this tournament. “But it was all right. It wasn’t that bad.”

They still have to track down Team Thomas, who delivered two eagles and closed with a birdie from the bunker for a 15-under 57.

Even though Vijay Singh and son Qass were the first to post 59, the final group will be Woods and Thomas. Charlie referred to it as a “big family,” because the Thomas family spends plenty of time with them at home. Joe LaCava caddies for Woods and LaCava’s son caddies for Charlie.

“You guys are now seeing what we do all the time at home,” Woods said about playing with his son. “We just have fun. We needle each other. We encourage each other. It goes back and forth. It’s just an amazing relationship, and it just deepens the bond between father and son. It’s been incredible over the years to be able to share this stage and this atmosphere with him.”

There is plenty of chirping.

Charlie made a 20-footer on No. 7 and Thomas said to him, “Welcome to the Father-Son,” a reference to the original tournament name and a chance to rib him for finally contributing to the score.

“We’re just four friends going out and playing golf,” Thomas said. “Charlie definitely hit his fair share of putts pretty hard today, so I made sure to remind him of that. He hit some really, really good putts and shots, as well, so it was good.”

Woods had to withdraw two weeks ago from the Hero World Challenge, and he didn’t look particularly sharp in a made-for-TV team match last week.

Except for the limp, he looked more than capable with a golf club in hand.

“It’s what I’ve been saying. I can hit the ball, I just have a tougher time getting from Point A to Point B,” Woods said. “I’ve had a frustrating couple years. But again, to be able to be a part of this game and to be able to do this, I’ve missed being able to compete and play.”

His lone goal going into 2022 was to play at St. Andrews in the 150th British Open. He wound up playing three majors and, “I’m able to play with my son.”

Singh and his 32-year-old son are playing for the 16th time, their best finish was a runner-up to Team Thomas in 2020. They birdied seven of their last eight holes for a 59.

Woods said he will start working on a recovery plan for his right foot on Monday. For now, he gets another day with his son as they try to win for the first time.

“For him to be out here playing, I know how difficult it is for him,” said Mark O’Meara, who was four back playing with his son. “Usually every time you want Tiger to do something, just tell him he can’t do it. And that’s usually when he does do it.

“I don’t know what the future holds, but it’s cool that he comes and plays with Charlie.”

Benzema inspires Al-Ittihad win before injury

Benzema inspires Al-Ittihad win before injury
Updated 12 sec ago

Benzema inspires Al-Ittihad win before injury

Benzema inspires Al-Ittihad win before injury
  • New coach Marcelo Gallardo got his first Roshn Saudi League victory following his appointment earlier in the month

JEDDAH: Al-Ittihad continued an impressive week of sport for Jeddah with a 4-2 win over Al-Khaleej on Thursday to give new coach Marcelo Gallardo his first Roshn Saudi League victory following his appointment earlier in the month.

It makes it two wins out of two in the space of four days for the Argentine coach who saw the Tigers book a spot in the knockout stages of the Champions League on Monday with a win over AGMK of Uzbekistan.

This was just as important, although it did not actually take place in the Red Sea port at all. With state-of-the-art boats from around the world thrilling sailing fans at the Jeddah Yacht Club on the Corniche, Ferrari spending time in the city, and the ATP Next Gen tennis tournament at King Abdullah Sports City, the game with Khaleej was moved to the King Abdulaziz Stadium in nearby Makkah.

Those who made the journey were soon celebrating as Igor Coronado opened the scoring after just nine minutes, the goal coming after great approach play from Karim Benzema.

The former Real Madrid marksman picked up possession just inside the opponents’ half and sped off into the distance. The Frenchman was well inside the penalty area when his shot was blocked, the loose ball falling to Coronado who converted from close range.

The lead should have been doubled after 12 minutes with Benzema coming close to finishing a slick move, only for his shot to come back off the post with the goalkeeper nowhere.

Soon after, Fabinho was marauding into the danger area but the former Liverpool midfielder was unable to get his shot away.

Just before the half hour, Ittihad claimed a handball by Abdullah Al-Shanqiti. The video assistant agreed and Benzema stepped up to roll the ball home from the spot for his ninth league goal of the season.

The former Ballon d’Or winner, who seemed to have picked up an injury, was then substituted, limping off the pitch on which he had contributed so much despite the short space of time.

There will be concerns given that Al-Ittihad are taking part in the FIFA Club World Cup in less than two weeks’ time.

Just before the break, Khaleej were awarded their own penalty after Mansour Hamzi went down following a challenge from Marcelo Grohe, Khaled Narey making no mistake from the spot after the referee had viewed the monitor.

There was another visit to the monitor on the hour as Abderrazak Hamdallah went down in the middle of four defenders just inside the area. For the third time in the evening, the kick was given, and for the third time it was converted. Hamdallah took over Benzema’s duties and the two-goal cushion was restored, though goalkeeper Marwan Al-Haidari got a hand to it.

There was not much he could do 16 minutes from the end, though, when substitute Zakaria Al-Hawsawi cut in from the left, feinted past one defender and skipped away from two more before driving a low shot into the bottom corner.

The visitors did grab another before the end, but a flying volley from Fawaz Al-Terais was too little, too late.

This was another good win for Al-Ittihad and another triumph for Jeddah.

Earlier in the day, Alhi picked up their biggest win of the season as they thrashed Abha 6-0. Gabri Veiga and Firas Al-Buraikan scored two each while Franck Kessie and Riyad Mahrez bagged one apiece. 

The result keeps Al-Ahli in third, four points behind Al-Nassr in second and eight behind the leaders Al-Hilal, with the top two meeting in the eagerly awaited Riyadh derby on Friday.

Brighton and West Ham seal spots in Europa League knockout round

Brighton and West Ham seal spots in Europa League knockout round
Updated 30 November 2023

Brighton and West Ham seal spots in Europa League knockout round

Brighton and West Ham seal spots in Europa League knockout round
  • Roberto De Zerbi’s side are competing in Europe for the first time in their history
  • The Seagulls’ adventure will continue into the new year thanks to Joao Pedro’s winner in Greece

LONDON: Brighton booked their place in the Europa League knockout stage with a 1-0 win at AEK Athens, while West Ham also advanced after a late Tomas Soucek goal against Backa Topola on Thursday.
Roberto De Zerbi’s side are competing in Europe for the first time in their history and the Seagulls’ adventure will continue into the new year thanks to Joao Pedro’s winner in Greece.
Brighton sit two points above Marseille at the top of Group B, with the French club able to regain pole position if they beat Ajax later on Thursday.
Europa League group winners go through to the last 16 automatically, while the runners-up play in a two-legged knockout round play-off in February against a team who finish third in a Champions League group.
Albion will vie for first place in the group when Marseille visit the Amex Stadium in the final round of fixtures in December.
The Greeks laid seige to Brighton’s goal for a period in the first half, with Orbelin Pineda denied by keeper Bart Verbruggen.
Steven Zuber became engaged in a virtually one-on-one battle with the Seagulls as the Swiss international’s effort was tipped over by Verbruggen.
Zuber flashed a header wide from the resulting corner, then evaded Joel Veltman and unloaded a powerful shot that was deflected onto the post by Lewis Dunk before Mijat Gacinovic put the rebound wide.
Gacinovic’s strike was well stopped by Verbruggen, whose heroics laid the foundation for Brighton to snatch the lead.
Damian Szymanski fouled Joao Pedro and the Brazilian striker picked himself up to slot home the penalty in the 55th minute.
That made the Brighton man the top scorer in the Europa League with five goals, three of those having been penalties against AEK Athens.
AEK’s fate was sealed when they were reduced to 10 men in the 85th minute when Gacinovic earned a second booking for a foul on Veltman.
Brighton fan Norman Cook, known as DJ Fatboy Slim, was set to perform in Athens after the game, with the Albion supporters who made the trip in party mood.
West Ham became the second Premier League club to move into the knockout round as Soucek’s late goal saw off Serbian minnows Backa Topola 1-0.
Soucek’s 89th-minute volley from Maxwel Cornet’s cross sealed the victory that put his team top of Group A.
The Czech midfielder has scored in his last five matches for club and country, after also netting a last-gasp winner at Burnley last weekend.
Second-placed Freiburg thrashed Olympiakos 5-0 to join West Ham in the knockout round.
The Hammers will seal first place if they avoid defeat against the German side in east London in December.
In Group C, Sparta Prague beat Real Betis 1-0 to close within two points of the first-placed Spanish club and keep alive their bid to reach the knockout stage.
Atalanta wrapped up top spot in Group D after a 1-1 draw against second-placed Sporting Lisbon, who are also through to the knockout round.
Rennes’ 3-0 win against Maccabi Haifa took the French team to the top of Group F and into the knockout round.

Tennis, the latest sport on the rise in Saudi Arabia

Tennis, the latest sport on the rise in Saudi Arabia
Updated 30 November 2023

Tennis, the latest sport on the rise in Saudi Arabia

Tennis, the latest sport on the rise in Saudi Arabia
  • The game has been making its mark in the Kingdom’s sports evolution, so much that its nationwide popularity cannot be missed
  • Arij Almutabagani, president of the STF, has spearheaded the federation’s efforts to grow the sport

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has become one of the fastest-growing countries in world of sports, emerging not only as an international sporting hub, but also a center of activities, events, and spectacles.
From athletics, football, F1, boxing, basketball, and golf, many sports are driving unprecedented socio-economic transformation under Vision 2030. They are enriching lives, enhancing well-being, and presenting a whole new world of opportunity, paving the way for people to discover passions, pursue dreams, and realize potential.
Tennis has been making its mark in the Saudi sports evolution, so much that its nationwide growth and popularity cannot be missed.
As president of the Saudi Tennis Federation, Arij Almutabagani is one of the key figures leading the charge. Since assuming her position in 2021, she has spearheaded STF’s efforts to grow the sport across all levels, laying strong foundations for tennis and all involved to thrive.
Almutabagani’s primary aspiration is building a vibrant junior tennis scene. With 63 percent of Saudi’s over 32 million population under the age of 30 and with nationwide sports participation now at 50 percent, she is adamant that tennis can embrace the Kingdom’s youth opportunities.
“Our strategy is to nurture young players, develop infrastructure, and invest in grassroots initiatives because youth is the key to any sport’s long-term success,” she said. “We’re certainly on the right path. Our strategy is working and we’re seeing interest and participation increase.”
Almutabagani’s statements are backed by glowing statistics. Saudi today is home to 177 tennis clubs, up 146 percent since 2019. In the last four years, the number of registered players has increased by 46 percent to 2,300, and U14 players by 100 percent — from 500 to over 1,000.
STF also holds 40 national tournaments annually, including hosting three ITF Juniors tournaments in the past year, which marked the return of ITF events since the first was played back in 2022.
“Major strides have been taken and one of these was tennis being added to the school physical education curriculum earlier this year,” said Almutabagani.
STF’s partnership with the Saudi Sports For All Federation presented “Tennis For All” in 2022, a 16-week mass participation program to introduce tennis to a new generation of sports enthusiasts. Over 13,000 people were introduced to tennis in the first edition, with a higher figure in 2023.
This past April, “Tennis For All” was introduced in the Ministry of Education’s curriculum at 90 public schools, with STF training 170 physical education teachers to provide lessons. Participation more than doubled this time around, with an estimated 30,000 people.
“We’re targeting 200 schools in 2024 and 400 by 2025,” Almutabagani said. “Achieving this will support sustained growth as more tennis academies are launched and more national tennis centers are built. We already have 505 coaches and 182 officials in the Kingdom and we’ll be rolling out more opportunities for people to get involved.”
A sure catalyst for further sports transformation, Saudi Arabia currently hosts its first-ever professional tennis event — the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM. A global, modern, and innovative competition featuring the world’s best U21 players, the finals are currently taking place at Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City from until Dec. 2.
Sanctioned by the ATP Tour and hosted by STF, this historic event marks the beginning of a five-year contract to bring the pinnacle of young global tennis talent to the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia’s top male tennis player, Ammar Alhogbani, has practiced with and played against some of the eight players competing in the Next Gen ATP Finals. He said: “The growth of tennis in Saudi Arabia and for Saudi Arabians has been exceptional in recent years, I’m blessed to be even a small a part of it. To now also have the first sanctioned ATP event in our backyard is an immensely exciting part of our next chapter.
“I’m sure having the best young players from around the world here in Jeddah will inspire future generations of Saudi to follow in their footsteps and encourage all Saudi’s players to come out and experience the event for themselves.”
Looking ahead, the value of Saudi Arabia’s sports event industry is growing by 8 percent per year and will reach $3.3 billion by 2024 — a $1.2 billion increase from 2018. Additionally, significant events investments are being made, with $2 billion committed to help sports grow by 2024.
“Tennis will become a big part of Saudi’s future sports event industry, and this will be the first of many professional tennis tournaments that we stage,” added Almutabagani.
“We eagerly anticipate welcoming tennis enthusiasts from across Saudi Arabia and beyond to witness the exhilarating matches and experience the innovation and excitement that the Next Gen ATP Finals will bring to Jeddah.”

Medals galore on Day 7 of Saudi Games 2023

Medals galore on Day 7 of Saudi Games 2023
Updated 30 November 2023

Medals galore on Day 7 of Saudi Games 2023

Medals galore on Day 7 of Saudi Games 2023
  • Princess Delayel bint Nahar Al-Saud crowns swimming champions
  • Saudi Professional League’s Riyadh derby broadcast live to spectators

RIYADH: Princess Delayel bint Nahar Al-Saud hosted a medal ceremony for the winners of the swimming competitions at the 2023 Saudi Games on Wednesday.
The princess, who is the Games’ deputy director, was joined at the Prince Faisal bin Fahad Olympic Complex by Patama Leeswadtrakul, who is a member of the International Olympic Committee, and Mona Shehab from the Saudi Swimming Federation.
The star of the women’s events was Imane Elbarodi of Al-Fateh club, who won gold in both the 50-meter freestyle and 50-meter breaststroke events. Halaa Diab from Al-Ahli club and Kawtar Elbarodi, also from Al-Fateh, took silver and bronze, respectively, in both races.
In the youth category, Nadine Abdallah of Al-Ahli took gold in the 50-meter freestyle race ahead of Mashael Alayed and Hana Shahhat.
In the youths’ 50-meter breaststroke, Solaf Elkemary of Al-Shabab won gold, beating Maryam Ahmed of A-ACWA and Mashael Al-Ayed of Al-Ettifaq.

Degnah tops climbers
Nidal Degnah took the individual gold medal in the men’s climbing competition at the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Olympic Complex.
Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al-Saud, chairman of the Saudi Climbing and Hiking Federation, officiated at the medal ceremony, where Taher Al-Haddad took silver and Matteo Largo bronze.
In the women’s event, Sarah Al-Qunebit saw off all-comers to take the gold ahead of Rouwaida Al-Aroui and Lydia Karpova.

Hot shots bag medals
Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Musaed bin Abdulaziz, vice president of the Saudi Shooting Federation, was in charge at the medal ceremony for some of the top shooters at this year’s Games.
The gold medal in the men’s 10-meter air pistol category, held at the City Public Security shooting range, went to Atallah Al-Enezie, with Muhammad Al-Maliki taking the silver and Salem Al-Mutairi the bronze.

Barghout beats them all
Omar Barghout was the star of the youth gymnastics event, taking gold in the all-around competition.
He held off the challenges of Khaled Al-Muzain from the Al-Ittifaq team and Al-Ittihad’s Faris Al-Harbi, who won silver and bronze, respectively.
The medals were presented by Sulaiman Mohamed Al-Jasser, chairman of the Saudi Gymnastic Federation.

Al-Hilal crowned men's volleyball winners
On Thursday evening, last year’s volleyball champions Al-Ahli lost the title race after Al-Hilal beat them (1-3) in the final match at the Ministry of Sports Hall at the Prince Faisal bin Fahd Olympic Complex. Al-Ahli had a straight-sets win over Al-Ittihad in the semifinals. Meanwhile, this year’s gold medal winners Al-Hilal beat Al-Nassr in their semifinals.
In the women’s event, Al-Nasr won the gold medal after beating Al-Hilal in the final (3-0).

Al-Ettifaq triumph in esports
Al-Ettifaq have been crowned kings of the gamers after seeing off Triple eSport and Quest Esports in the esports competition at Saudi Media City.
Princess Sara bint Faisal Al-Saud, deputy chairman of the Saudi Esports Federation, presided over the medal ceremony.

Masters of martial arts
General Shaddad Al-Omari, president of the Saudi Taekwondo Federation, was on hand at King Saud University to present the medals to the winners in this year’s taekwondo competition.
In the over-80 kg category, Ali Al-Mabrouk of Al-Shabab took gold, with Al-Faraa’s Aaron Cook taking silver and Majed Al-Salim of Al-Ittihad and Yatherb Ali of Al-Fra both winning bronze.
In the under-80 kg event, Al-Shabab’s Ahmed Abu Ghaush took gold after beating Faisal Ali from Abha. Mohamed Al-Suwaiq of Al-Shabab and Mohamed Khayyat from the Falcons each won bronze.
Hasham bin Dookhy emerged as champion in the under-68 kg category, ahead of Rayan Al-Taifi from Al-Ittihad. Abdel Baset Abu Talib of Al-Nahda and Ahmed Al-Khawaher from Al-Salam both took bronze.
In the under-58 kg division, Riyad Hamdi won gold while Abdul-Ilah Asiri from Abha took silver. Fahd Al-Sameeh and Abdul Majeed bin Mughaisib, both youths, took home a bronze medal.

Riyadh derby treat
The Riyadh derby between Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal in the Saudi Professional League was broadcast live to spectators on giant screens at the Saudi Games fan zone.
Visitors to the zone were also treated to live entertainment, children’s play areas and two DJ platforms.

Al-Khawahir lifts herself to the top
A year on from winning bronze at the 2022 Games, Fatemah Al-Khawaher from Al-Salam club rose to the pinnacle of her sport on Sunday, taking gold in the 59 kg weight category.
Guided by former champion and national coach Abbas Al-Qaisoum, the 22-year-old took the top prize lifting just 1 kg more than her nearest rival.
“I experienced remarkable moments that fueled my determination and resilience,” she said. “I achieved what I had worked tirelessly for during these past 15 months. I brought pride and joy to my family, supporters and my club.”

Uganda qualify for T20 World Cup as Zimbabwe miss out 

Uganda qualify for T20 World Cup as Zimbabwe miss out 
Updated 30 November 2023

Uganda qualify for T20 World Cup as Zimbabwe miss out 

Uganda qualify for T20 World Cup as Zimbabwe miss out 
  • Zimbabwe, who lost to both Namibia and Uganda, will miss out for the second time in three editions 
  • Pakistan are among 20 other nations that have qualified for next year's T20 World Cup in US, West Indies 

PARIS: Uganda will make their first appearance at a cricket World Cup next year after qualifying on Thursday for the T20 tournament to be hosted by the West Indies and the United States. 

A nine-wicket win over Rwanda secured Uganda second place in the African regional qualifying event, joining Namibia at the 2024 T20 World Cup while eliminating Zimbabwe from contention. 

Uganda bowled Rwanda out for just 65 and knocked off the runs in 8.1 overs to record their fifth win in six matches in Windhoek. 

Qualifying hosts Namibia sealed their spot on Tuesday with a 58-run win over Tanzania, ensuring they will play at a third consecutive T20 World Cup. 

Zimbabwe, who lost to both Namibia and Uganda, will miss out for the second time in three editions. 

They did not participate in the 2021 showpiece after the ICC suspended Zimbabwe's membership because of government interference. 

Zimbabwe also failed to reach the last two 50-over World Cups. Their recent absence in India cost them the chance to qualify for the 2025 Champions Trophy.  

List of the teams qualified for next year's T20 World Cup: 











New Zealand 



Papua New Guinea 


South Africa 

Sri Lanka 



West Indies