Bradley confused by own spit
A dumbfounded Keegan Bradley said even he was taken aback by his excessive spitting as he watched television replays of his play during the final round of last week’s Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles. Bradley ended up losing a three-way playoff for the title at Riviera Country Club, where fellow American Bill Haas triumphed, and was initially surprised his on-course expectorating had sparked widespread criticism on Twitter. However, once he saw for himself via the telecast how much he spat during his pre-shot routine, the PGA Championship winner issued a public apology on his Twitter account. “To be honest with you, I really had no idea I was doing it ... and I feel bad,” Bradley told reporters at Dove Mountain on Tuesday while preparing for this week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. “It’s something that I’m going to work on and I just ask everybody to just kind of bear with me as I go through this, because it’s something I’ve done without even knowing it. I’m going to truly work on it,” he said. “It might take some time, but I will do my best to stop. It’s something that I’m glad that’s come up, because I’m able to kind of nip it now. It’s just a thing where I’m watching myself.”
Tiger ‘beatable’: opponent
Tiger Woods’ opponent in the opening round of the Match Play Championship said he’s “beatable.” There was a time when comments like that — from Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, in this case — would serve as motivation for Woods. However, on Tuesday, he didn’t seem the least bit bothered except to say of the Spaniard: “He’s beatable, too.” Woods says he has matured since the days he beat Stephen Ames, nine and eight, after Ames questioned Woods’ accuracy off the tee. However, that’s the case for all 64 players at Dove Mountain this week in the first World Golf Championship of the year. Everyone is beatable in 18 holes of match play. Among the first-round matches: Luke Donald, the defending champion, against three-time major champion Ernie Els.
Okubo promises to play nice
Japan forward Yoshito Okubo has promised to be on his best behavior after being brought in from the cold for tomorrow’s home friendly against Iceland by coach Alberto Zaccheroni. The hot-head striker, whose international career has been littered with ill-timed red cards and run-ins with coaches, said yesterday he planned to repay the Italian’s faith in him. “I’m just going to get my head down and work hard,” Vissel Kobe’s Okubo told reporters before Japan’s first game of this year in Osaka. “I’ve been told to play by the rules the coach has laid out. It’s a little difficult to find your rhythm at the beginning, but I’ll try to get a feel for it again quickly. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been away from the national team,” added Okubo, who last played for Japan at the World Cup in 2010 when he helped them reach the last 16. While injury had kept Okubo out of Japan’s side, Zaccheroni’s list of walking wounded has given the pint-sized forward a chance to force his way back into the Japan side. Zaccheroni said Okubo deserved his place in a Japan squad made up solely of J-League players. “After I took over the Japan job, Okubo suffered a serious injury,” the Italian coach said when naming his squad. “It took time to get his fitness and form back.”