Tiger in de­nial af­ter new lows

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

LON­DON — Liver­pool’s hopes of qual­i­fy­ing for the Cham­pi­ons League all but ended on Sun­day af­ter a 1-1 draw at Pre­mier League ti­tle win­ners Chelsea epit­o­mised a sea­son of short­com­ings.

Liver­pool went be­hind af­ter five min­utes at Stam­ford Bridge when John Terry headed Chelsea in front but Steven Ger­rard grabbed an equaliser when he nod­ded home just be­fore half­time.

Bren­dan Rodgers’ men huffed and puffed in search of a win­ner to close the gap on fourth-placed Manch­ester United, who won 2-1 at Crys­tal Palace on Satur­day, but had to set­tle for a point.

With two games re­main­ing, Liver­pool have 62 points from 36 matches, six be­hind Louis van Gaal’s United who also boast a bet­ter goal dif­fer­ence (+25 to +11).

“I think we got off to an aw­ful start. A dis­ap­point­ing goal from our per­spec­tive,” Rodgers told Sky Sports.

“We got our­selves back into the game, a good header from Ste­vie, and I thought in the sec­ond half we were out­stand­ing, we just lacked that bit of qual­ity in the fi­nal third. It’s hap­pened too much this sea­son. We’ve started games poorly and we’ve been pun­ished for it.”

Liver­pool scored 101 Pre­mier League goals last term, with Daniel Stur­ridge and Luis Suarez netting 52 be­tween them to help the Merseysiders fin­ish run­ners-up to Manch­ester City.

How­ever, Rodgers could not find a suit­able re­place­ment for Suarez fol­low­ing his move to Barcelona, while Stur­ridge has missed large parts of the sea­son with per­sis­tent in­juries.

Fel­low for­wards Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lam­bert and Fabio Borini have all been be­low par at An­field as Liver­pool failed to build on last sea­son’s suc­cess.

Cap­tain and tal­is­man Ger­rard will join LA Galaxy at the end of the sea­son and the 34-year-old for­mer Eng­land skip­per said the club must bol­ster their ranks with new sign­ings. — Reuters

Sport24 FLORIDA — A re­mark­ably up­beat Tiger Woods pre­dicted a re­turn to win­ning ways this sum­mer, which was quite some­thing af­ter round­ing off his week at the Play­ers Cham­pi­onship on Sun­day with a triple whammy of ca­reer lows.

A day af­ter record­ing two dou­ble bo­geys on par fives in the same round for the first time in 18 years as a pro, the 39-year-old racked up his first-ever triple bo­gey. It came at the par-four 14th on his 1 058th hole at the Play­ers.

It was his fifth dou­ble bo­gey or worse dur­ing the tour­na­ment, which equalled an­other ca­reer worst on the PGA Tour. He signed for a 72 for tied 69th place — his worst fin­ish in 16 ap­pear­ances in the Tour’s flag­ship event.

What, then, could pos­si­bly have jus­ti­fied the fol­low­ing ver­dict: “I played some re­ally good stuff out there and it’s go­ing to pay div­i­dends in the end. Can I see my­self con­tend­ing and win­ning some­time this year? Ab­so­lutely.”

One rea­son for the op­ti­mism was he fin­ished a gru­elling 72 holes feel­ing strong and healthy. Al­lied with his top-20 show­ing at the Masters, it was the first time in 18 months that he had com­pleted 72 holes in con­sec­u­tive tour­na­ments.

“Phys­i­cally, I feel good and it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to say that,” he said. “For a long time, I couldn’t prac­tise af­ter a round be­cause my back was so bad but I’m able to do that now, which is huge when you’re try­ing to bed down some swing changes. I’m mak­ing progress. I felt a lot more com­fort­able over the ball here than I did at Au­gusta.”

Woods man­aged 18 birdies dur­ing the week and when you think that third-round leader Chris Kirk had achieved his po­si­tion on the back of 14 birdies over 54 holes, it demon­strated that there is noth­ing wrong with Tiger’s good golf. “Three sev­ens dur­ing the week is ob­vi­ously not good but I do think the mis­takes will get cleaned up over time,” he in­sisted.

“This is one of those cour­ses that ex­poses any weak­nesses. You can be go­ing along fine and then all of a sud­den you make a dou­ble and it’s like, what’s just hap­pened?”

This com­ing week­end, Woods will be over­see­ing his an­nual mu­sic fes­ti­val known as the Tiger Jam — Ed Sheeran is the star turn — be­fore turn­ing his at­ten­tion to next month’s US Open, which is be­ing staged on a new course known as Cham­bers Bay near Seat­tle.

“I’ll def­i­nitely get out there ahead of time to have a look at it,” he said. “From what I hear, it’s a course you need to take a look at a few times be­fore the week.”

As for the other end of the Play­ers’ leader­board, with 30 golfers sep­a­rated by just five shots at the start of the last round, the re­quire­ment was clearly for some­one to sprin­kle a round with birdies and emerge from the pelo­ton. A poor front nine of 38 strokes meant it wouldn’t be Ian Poul­ter, while world No 1 Rory Mcil­roy failed to break the par of 36 for the out­ward half for the fourth day in a row.

Things be­gan to hap­pen as he turned for home once more, how­ever, with birdies at the 11th and 12th lift­ing him to eight un­der par and into the top 10. A won­der­ful shot to the 13th left him with a seven-footer for a third straight birdie but the putt re­fused to drop.

The pace was be­ing set by Ser­gio Garcia, who was so dis­grun­tled with his putting on Fri­day that he de­posited his put­ter into a garbage bin be­fore dis­cov­er­ing a re­place­ment that was prov­ing any­thing but rub­bish. The Spa­niard birdied four out of five holes from the sec­ond to move to 11 un­der.

Welsh­man Jamie Don­ald­son rounded off a four-month stint in Amer­ica with ar­guably his best round dur­ing the stretch, a fine 67 that moved him to eight un­der and into the top 10. — Daily Mail

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