US Open golf champion Graeme McDowell and World Cup final soccer referee Howard Webb were among the sports figures whose achievements were recognized yesterday in Britain’s New Year’s Honors.
Northern Ireland’s McDowell, who also struck the winning putt in the final match as Europe beat the US to win the Ryder Cup in October, was made an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire).
Just months before his Ryder Cup success, the 31-year-old McDowell had become the first European golfer in 40 years to win the US Open, one of golf’s four major titles.
“It is a huge honor for me to be included on the New Year Honors List,” McDowell said. “For my achievements as a professional golfer to be recognised in this way is truly special.”
Webb, also made an MBE, had already enjoyed a memorable 2010 after taking charge of both the Champions League final and the World Cup final.
Unusually for a referee, the English official received widespread public sympathy despite showing 14 yellow cards and a red during a World Cup final where Spain beat the Netherlands 1-0 in Johannesburg, with the Dutch seemingly intent on kicking their opponents off the field.
“It has been an unbelievable 12 months and this honor tops off an amazing 2010,” said Webb, who put his career as a policeman on hold to concentrate full-time on refereeing.
“The World Cup final was the highlight of my career and although it was a tough game to referee it will live with me forever in a very positive way,” added Webb, the first Englishman to take charge of the showpiece match since Jack Taylor in 1974.
Former England rugby union back Mike Catt, who only retired as a player in May aged 38, was made an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire), a rank up from an MBE.
Now the attack coach of Premiership club London Irish, the South Africa-born Catt, a World Cup-winner with England in 2003, said he felt “privileged” to receive an OBE.
There was an OBE too for Toby Balding, the Grand National-winning horse race trainer, while former Glamorgan and England cricketer Peter Walker was made an MBE.
George Kerr received a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire), one level below a knighthood, for his services to judo.
In February, the 73-year-old from Edinburgh became only one of 19 people since 1935 — and only the second Briton — to achieve the elite status of 10th Dan in the Japanese martial art.
“I am ecstatic, I could not believe it,” said Kerr, nicknamed “Mr Judo,” who is also due to receive the Order of the Rising Sun, one of Japan’s highest honors, this month.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7