Northern Ireland beat Faroes
Aaron Hughes scored his first goal for Northern Ireland at his 77th attempt in Belfast on Wednesday in a 4-0 victory over the Faroe Islands in European Championship qualifying. After the captain’s fifth-minute goal, Steven Davis added the second and Pat McCourt netted twice in the second half. The victory lifted Northern Ireland to third in Euro 2012 Group C, two points behind Slovenia with a game in hand. Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington singled out Celtic winger McCourt for praise. “He’s a fantastic individual player with good feet and he’s learning how to play for the team,” Worthington said. Italy have a five-point lead in the group, while the Faroe Islands are bottom.
Woods takes high road
Tiger Woods is taking the high road in his nasty split with caddie Steve Williams. Woods said in Johns Creek, Georgia, on Wednesday that he was happy to see Adam Scott win the World Golf Championship last week. He said he even sent a text of congratulations to his ex-caddie, who now works for the Australian. He said he was surprised that Williams took a shot at him on national TV when the tournament was over and that they have exchanged texts since then. Woods said that’s between him and his former caddie, and he doesn’t want to speculate why Williams was so motivated to win. As for his own hopes in the PGA Championship, Woods said it was always about winning.
Li Na holds on to cash
China’s Li Na is tipped to become the richest woman in sports, but the French Open champion has yet to venture on a shopping spree and prefers using her husband’s credit card rather than spending her money. The 29-year-old world No. 6, who has many companies battling to cash in on her enormous popularity in China, seems to be in no rush to dip into her cash windfall. “I still like to use my husband’s credit card because I want to save my money,” Li told reporters this week at the Toronto Cup, where she is the sixth seed. “But right now I am always busy doing many things for the sponsors and I do not have time to enjoy shopping. So maybe at the end of the year I will find time.” Li was ranked eighth on a recent Forbes list of top earning female athletes, but is expected to charge up the rankings and challenge Maria Sharapova for top spot after her breakthrough win at the French Open in June. According to Forbes, Sharapova’s earnings, mostly off-court endorsements, were estimated at US$25 million, twice as much as her nearest rival and well ahead of Li’s US$8 million.
Evans returns as hero
Tour de France champion Cadel Evans has arrived in Australia and is looking forward to his victory parade. First priority, though, is a hug from his mother. Evans, the first Australian — and only the third non--European — to win the most prestigious event in cycling, landed at Melbourne Airport yesterday ahead of a parade in his honor today. After working toward a Tour de France win for the best part of his life, he said: “When it all comes together, to have been supported all this way through and be able to bring the yellow jersey back to Australia, of course I’m proud to do it.” Evans and wife Chiara planned to spend yesterday with family and friends. “It’s always nice to come home and get a hug from your mum.”