I iger still calling shots on his way out
sixs s e ntn 0 0 n asa In 1987, Peru suffered one of football’s greatest disasters when a plane chartered by the Alianza Lima club crashed into the Pacific Ocean, killing 43 players, cheerleaders, staff away each and every personal query, saying he was there as Steve Stricker’s assistant and this was only about the team. Not now.
In a cliffhanger which had us all on the edge of our seats, Woods admitted he might never play golf again.
“Definitely”, he replied when asked if he could envisage his golf-less scenario. Was this the beginning of the end, should we prime the grand goodbyes?
Rory McIlroy seemed minded to, taking time out to give an emotional monologue.
“If this is it, he doesn’t have anything and crew members. The 38-year-old Cubillas came out of retirement to help the club get through the tragedy. The tragedy directly affects the 2017 team. The uncle of star striker Paolo Guerrero died in the 1987 crash, and Guerrero’s fear of flying is said to be linked to that. The 33-year-old Guerrero has scored a Peru record 33 goals in 86 appearances, including five from seven this year. Guerrero, who plays for Brazilian club Flamengo, is regarded as Peru’s only world recognised player. Apart from scoring goals, he is a strong target man who holds up the ball. But his role changes because Gareca has fluid tactics which change markedly from match to match. Other key players include 25-year-old attacking midfielder Christian Cueva, who plays for Brazilian club Sao Paulo. The diminutive Cueva, who can also play on the wing, has been dubbed the “Wizard of Sao Paulo” and was reportedly targeted by Tottenham Hotspur last year. Feyenoord midfielder Rento Tapia is the team’s anchor. He is regarded as a tough, hard-working player. Close to half the team play in the weak Peru league. The rest are spread around leagues in England (midfielder Andre Carillo plays for well-performing Premier League club Watford), Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Holland, the United States, Canada and Denmark, where star wing-midfielder Edison Flores is based. to prove to anyone — not to me, not to us, not to himself,” McIlroy said. “He can walk away with his head held high.”
The immortal pedestal thus was duly being erected.
But then, in the next instalment, the big tease released a video to social media of him playing what suspiciously looked like proper golf.
Alongside the 24-second clip came the tag-line — “Smooth iron shots”. Show, don’t tell, remember. On Tuesday, he took it up another notch. He was always going to be at the Tiger Woods Invitational, to be among the Peru play in the Estadio Nacional de Lima, which has a capacity of 40,000-plus and is only 137 metres above sea level. Its most recent renovation was completed in 2011. It was the scene of another dreadful tragedy in 1964, when more than 300 people died and 4000 were injured due to a riot and vicious police response after a Peru goal was disallowed against Argentina. This has been called the world’s worst stadium disaster. Peru play in one of football’s most enchanting strips — white with a broad red sash. American magazine
described it as “the best World Cup uniform of all time . . . simple, elegant, timeless, regal, polished, sashed.” millionaire amateurs who have paid ridiculous amounts for three days at Pebble Beach, but just a few weeks ago, it would have seemed implausible that he would be conducting a clinic there. But there he is, on another posted clip, in front of adoring bankers and lawyers hitting more full shots.
Granted, the motion appears a bit “snatchy”, a little tentative, but he certainly looks capable.
What does it mean? Is he close to coming back? Could we even see him again this year, perhaps at his own 18-man event in the Bahamas at the end of next month? The entry list shows us that one space remains unfilled.
Why does he still captivate us so? Why, with the emergence of so many young, fearless players, do we keep going back to this rapidly ageing 41-year-old without a win in four years and a major in eight?
It can only be because he is the superstar of our lifetime and no, we just cannot let go. Not until we know how the greatest golf story ever told concludes and the credits roll to their pitiful closure. For consistently being hopeless, few sports teams can match Cleveland’s NFL franchise.
Which is the most remarkable NFL franchise of the modern era? Which team has defied the draft and salary cap systems to achieve an unmatched consistency of results?
Those with a passing of knowledge of American football would volunteer the New England Patriots, winners of five Super Bowls in 15 years, but they would be wrong.
Even the seven conference and 14 division titles that the Bill BelichickTom Brady era has brought to Boston is surpassed by the reliable, rank awfulness of the Cleveland Browns.
So far this season, the Browns have lost all five of their matches following on from the previous campaign in which they finished 1-15. This is far from a blip. In the past 18 seasons, they have registered just two winning seasons, resulting in a single, short-lived trip to the playoffs in 2002.
It is a pedigree that allows the Browns to lay considerable claim to be the worst or at least most dysfunctional sporting team on the planet. Supporters of Leeds United, Sunderland and many other teams may raise their hands at this point, but what makes the Browns’ achievements (or lack thereof) all the more impressive is that the NFL system is designed to prevent recurring failure.
The team finishing with the worst record get the first pick of the best college players. Furthermore, struggling franchises should benefit from the better teams struggling to keep all their star assets within the salary cap. Hence, a couple of poor seasons often allow a side to rebuild and rebound.
And yet the Browns remain stubbornly impervious to all such safeguards. Their history of terrible draft choices has acquired its own mythology within NFL circles. The question is why the Browns are so terrible. There are many books explaining how head coach Belichick — ironically sacked by the Browns in 1996 — built a dynasty in New England: War Room, The Blueprint and Patriot Reign to name but three, yet there appear to be none examining the systemic failure of the Browns.
Of course, success is a far more attractive proposition to research and write about, but surely the lessons of how not to do it are just as important. After all, the Browns also employ many of the same strategies as trophywinning teams.
Their internal motto is Trust the Process (which seems like a sick joke) while their owner Jimmy Haslam last year appointed Paul DePodesta, one of the founding fathers of baseball’s moneyball philosophy. None of it has made the slightest difference.
So where do we start? Selecting draft picks is an inexact science, but the Browns have developed a bat-like radar to seek out the busts among all the future superstars.
The instability at quarterback is reflected by a carousel of coaches and general managers. Yet both these issues are hardly unique to Cleveland.
For a while, the most rational explanation seemed to be that the city of Cleveland was cursed. The Browns’ woes were reflected by the Cavaliers in basketball and the Indians in baseball. None had won a major championship since 1964. But then LeBron James returned and the Cavs won the 2016 NBA Championships, while the Indians last month set a MLB record of 22 consecutive wins. Like a sphinx, the Browns keep their flaws a secret.
For most sports teams, the real goal at the start of any season is not to win a title but to avoid abject failure. In this respect, the Browns are a much more valuable case study than the Patriots.
— Telegraph Media Group
Paolo Guerrero, Peru’s record top scorer with 33 goals in 86 games, has a fear of flying after his uncle died in a 1987 plane crash.