Furyk wins PGA Grand Slam
Jim Furyk won the PGA Grand Slam of Golf by birdieing the final hole to force a playoff with Padraig Harrington and winning with an 8-foot eagle putt on the first extra hole on Wednesday. Furyk shot his second straight 2-under 68 to match Harrington at 4-under 136 on the Mid Ocean Club course in Tucker’s Town, Bermuda. Harrington, the British Open and US PGA champion, also shot consecutive 68s. “Obviously, I had a chance to win,” Harrington said. “I think Jim played well, solid golf through the two days, and you know, is a deserved winner, but I had opportunities ... That’s the way it goes sometimes.” Retief Goosen shot a 71 to finish at 1 over, and Masters champion Trevor Immelman had a 69 to end up last at 5 over.
Venus triumphs in Zurich
Venus Williams began her bid to recapture the Zurich Open title she last won in 1999 by defeating Alona Bondarenko of Ukraine 6-3, 6-4 on Wednesday. The second round match did not go entirely smoothly for the American, although she was never placed under any real pressure. Although Williams hit four aces she also produced four double-faults, and her several advances to the net were not always successful. After failing to convert three break points at 2-1, and needing to save a break point at 3-3 before holding on her sixth game point, Williams finally broke to lead 5-3 with a fine forehand winner. The second set was decided when Bondarenko double-faulted to drop her serve at 1-1, and although Williams failed to take two match points on her opponent’s serve at 5-3 she closed out the match in the next game. In other matches, Italy’s Flavia Pennetta took just 54 minutes to overwhelm Russian Nadia Petrova 6-1, 6-1 and Swedish qualifier Sofia Arvidsson rallied to defeat Austria’s Sybille Bammer 0-6, 7-5, 6-4.
Federer advances in Madrid
Roger Federer beat Czech Radek Stepanek 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) to advance into the third round of the Madrid Masters on Wednesday. The Swiss second seed returned successfully to the ATP after a three-week pause as he determines his remaining schedule through next month’s Masters Cup in Shanghai. In other matches Jo-Wilfried Tsonga came back from 3-5 down in the final set to beat Spaniard Marcel Granollers 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) while Novak Djokovic escaped against Romanian Victor Hanescu, who retired with a groin injury to hand a 6-7 (8/10), 7-6 (10/8), 3-1 victory to the Serb. Ninth seed Juan del Potro also advanced without completing his match as Finn Jarkko Nieminen quit while trailing 6-2, 4-2 with a thigh injury. David Nalbandian began his title defense by overcoming Czech Tomas Berdych 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1. Ivo Karlovic fired 24 aces as he beat Swede Robin Soderling 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (10/8). Robby Ginepri shocked fifth seed Nikolay Davydenko 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Ballesteros stable after op
Seve Ballesteros was in stable condition on Wednesday after undergoing surgery on a brain tumor a day earlier. La Paz hospital said were no complications from the surgery. Spanish state news agency Efe reported the operation lasted 12 hours. The hospital said a sizable part of the 51-year-old Spaniard’s tumor was removed. It was not immediately known if it was malignant. “At the moment he is conscious and stable, although he will not be able to receive any visitors in the coming days until he has recovered from the surgical process,’’ the hospital said in a statement.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker found himself in need of an assist to help the state fight the COVID-19 pandemic. He called on the New England Patriots. One of the team’s private airplanes on Thursday evening landed in Boston after returning from China carrying more than 1 million masks critical to healthcare providers fighting to control the spread of the coronavirus. Members of the Massachusetts National Guard met the airplane and offloaded the containers of masks onto waiting trucks for transport to warehouses for distribution. Baker secured the N95 masks from Chinese manufacturers, but had no way of getting them to the US. He
WAIT AND SEE: The estimated cost of postponement started at US$2 billion and has kept rising, but the IOC has yet to say whether it would help pay for the extra expenses Postponing the Tokyo Olympics to next year would make the event more costly for all parties, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) acknowledged on Thursday, although it offered few details on what the final bill might be. Four directors of the Olympic body held a conference call three days after Tokyo’s new dates were finalized, with the Games pushed back to July 23 to Aug. 8 next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the new dates cleared up any uncertainty about the event’s future, there are still plenty of question marks as the committee begins to work with Tokyo organizers and the
MEDIA RUMORS? With no pay agreement secured and players’ representatives calling for more financial information ahead of talks, the sport had another week of bad press Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle could be sacked in a matter of days, media reported yesterday, as the embattled governing body struggles to deal with a financial crisis compounded by a shutdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Castle this week took a 50 percent pay cut and laid off 75 percent of Rugby Australia (RA) staff members, saying that the body would face losses of up to A$120 million (US$71.95 million) if no more rugby was played this year. With no pay agreement secured with the players and their representatives calling on RA to provide more financial information ahead of negotiations, the
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are planning to play a charity golf match next month with Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, CNBC reported on Wednesday. CNBC, which cited an unnamed person familiar with the negotiations, said that the charity match would be held at an undisclosed location without fans and is being organized by the PGA Tour and AT&T’s WarnerMedia. The negotiations are still being finalized, but the match pitting 15-time major champion Woods and Manning against five-time major winner Mickelson and Brady could be aired on live TV and is unlikely to be featured on pay-per-view, CNBC said. “Discussions