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Tiger not so great in this British Open

Kim Clijsters eyeing full-fledged comeback

England’s Flintoff announces retirement from test arena

Chiang Mai Pool League

Tiger not so great in this British Open

Tim Dahlberg
Turnberry, Scotland (AP) - The obligatory handshakes were over, and there wasn’t much left for Tiger Woods to do last Friday evening other than sign his scorecard and tell his pilot to fuel up the Gulfstream.

Tiger Woods reacts after putting on the 18th green during the second round of the British Open Golf championship at Turnberry, Friday, July 17. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

The chef had to be notified, too, because Woods had worked up quite an appetite kicking away his British Open chances in a stunning collapse on the Scottish coast.
Greatest player in the world. Maybe the greatest golfer ever.
Gagging it up in front of everybody but the Queen.
Thankfully, Queen Elizabeth was off watching cricket so she didn’t have to see the mess Woods made at Turnberry. She was probably waiting to come on Sunday, when she and the rest of Britain presumed he would be holding the claret jug trophy.
Instead, Woods was heading home early for only the second time in 49 major championships as a pro.
Heading home from a major championship a 59-year-old Tom Watson, recovering from hip replacement surgery, was leading. A tournament where a 16-year-old amateur from Italy easily made the cut.
Sure, Turnberry was hard. But it wasn’t that hard.
Tom Watson proved that with two rounds that were 10 shots better than Woods. Watson, who is eligible for retirement pay in three years, was playing just a few groups in front of the great one, so there was no difference in conditions.
Steve Marino played when the weather was even worse, and he’d never even seen a links course before last week. Yet he was also 10 shots clear of Woods, the supposed master of the links.
Bookies thought Woods would run away with this tournament. Instead, he was last seen running away with two rounds left to be played.
All because of a six-hole collapse. So cancel the Nike commercials. Hold the texts to Roger Federer.
And give a nod to Jack Nicklaus, too. Woods has had a great run but winning majors is a tough business, and Nicklaus has still won more than anyone.
The only thing more shocking about Woods missing the cut for the only time since the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, when his father had just died, was how it happened. He was cruising along the coastal holes of Turnberry making pars when a misplaced 3-wood off the tee on No. 8 set off a chain reaction - including a lost ball - that Woods could not bring under control until the 14th hole.
“It was just problem after problem,” Woods said. “I just kept compounding my problems.”
By the time he scrambled for par on 14 he was 7-over, all but done. He made two birdies coming in, but after missing the green on 18 he needed to hole a chip from off the green to play on the weekend.
It came up short, and he was done for good.
“Obviously, you can’t make mistakes and expect to not only make the cut but also try and win a championship,” Woods said. “You have to play clean rounds of golf, and I didn’t.”
For Woods that has been the story in majors all year. He fought a bad swing at the Masters and fell short in a late run, and his putter cost him any chance at the U.S. Open.
Now he must win the stepchild of the majors, the U.S. PGA Championship, next month in Minneapolis or be shut out for the year in the only measure - other than his checkbook - that he keeps.
Unlike his other losses, this one can’t be explained by a bad draw, a lousy swing or a balky putter. This was a pure mental meltdown by a guy whose mental toughness has never before been questioned.
“You don’t often see him play shots like that, some of the shots he played,” playing partner Lee Westwood said. “But everybody is entitled to a bad day every now and again. It happens to all of us.”
The disappointment from this one was deep. This was a collapse that could shake even his confidence.
Knowing Woods, he’ll analyze it all until he sorts out what went wrong. As the sun went down over Turnberry, though, he had just one thing in mind.
“Head home,” he said.


Kim Clijsters eyeing full-fledged comeback

Howard Fendrich
Washington (AP) - Kim Clijsters is married and a mom these days. Now she hopes to again become a year-round professional tennis player.

Kim Clijsters, seen here playing at the 2007 Australian Open, will make her comeback to the women’s professional tour at the WTA tournament in Mason, Ohio next month. (AP Photo/file)

The former top-ranked woman is ending a two-year retirement next month with a three-tournament test run. After returning to the U.S. Open for the first time since winning it in 2005, Clijsters will decide if a full-fledged return to the tour next season is feasible.
“I’ve been training like a professional, with my mindset to coming back as a full professional. I’m just going to see after the U.S. Open how the whole trip went and just see which things I have to adjust,” Clijsters said last Friday. “Because it’s a new experience for me, as well, traveling with a family and just being back on tour and everything. It’s going to be completely different than it has been when I was on tour for 10 or 12 years in the past.”
The 26-year-old Belgian left tennis in May 2007 to start a family. She married American Brian Lynch that year, and their daughter, Jada, was born in February 2008.
Clijsters called what she’s doing now “starting back all over. I hardly played for two years.”
She reached No. 1 in the singles and doubles rankings in August 2003, and won 34 career singles titles, including her Grand Slam championship at Flushing Meadows. She was also the runner-up at four major tournaments.
Clijsters was given wild cards to enter WTA tournaments at Mason, Ohio, and Toronto, followed by the U.S. Open, which begins on Aug. 31.
“We should only be so lucky that she would come back on a permanent basis,” U.S. Open tournament director Jim Curley said. “Regardless of where we are - and where people think we are - as a sport, when the opportunity presents itself for a former Grand Slam singles champion and popular fan favorite to come back after retiring, that can only have a positive impact.”
Before those three events, Clijsters is making her return to competition with U.S.-based World Team Tennis.
“It’s great for the sport that Kim is back,” World Team Tennis founder Billie Jean King said. “Kim has a great game and personality for WTT, so our fans are the real winners here.”
She’s been in New Jersey, staying with Lynch’s family while getting ready for her return, so these initial trips aren’t as daunting as they might be if Clijsters were in Belgium.
The past several months of preparation have been enjoyable. Still, she can’t wait to compete.
“I like practicing,” Clijsters said, “but I like playing matches better.”
And she’ll have an important new fan tagging along. How much of Clijsters’ matches that fan will actually see is another matter.
“I don’t know how long Jada will be able to sit in the stands,” she said, “but she’ll definitely come.”


England’s Flintoff announces retirement from test arena

Sets himself goal to be the best in limited overs cricket

Richard Sydenham
London (AP)
- England’s talented but injury-plagued allrounder Andrew Flintoff wants to become the best player in the world in limited overs cricket after announcing last week that he is quitting test matches.

Andrew Flintoff celebrates taking a wicket in the 5th test between England and Australia at the Oval in London in 2005. Flintoff says he is retiring from test cricket after the current Ashes series against Australia. (AP Photo/Max Nash, file)

Flintoff, 31, has endured regular injury since making his test debut in 1998 against South Africa, when he was criticized for being overweight as a flabby 20-year-old.
Having got his body in shape and gone on to be man of the series against World Cup holders Australia in 2005, he was rarely fit for a prolonged period. This has ultimately ended a test career that seemingly had more to offer.
“I’ve had four ankle operations and knee surgery my body is telling me things, I’m actually starting to listen now,” Flintoff told reporters last Wednesday at Lord’s. “I can’t keep just playing games here and there, waiting until I’m fit. Not just for my own sanity but my family’s. They have to live with me, as I’ve gone through two years of rehab in the past four. It’s not been ideal so I’m going to draw a line under it and after this series concentrate on one-day international cricket and Twenty20s.
“We’ve got a (50-over) World Cup coming up in 2011 and I would like to play on after that as well. There is a lot of cricket left in me. I want to be the best in the world in that form of the game.”
Flintoff has played 76 tests, though one of those was for a World XI against Australia. Going into the match at Lords he had scored 3,708 test runs at an average of 31.69, with five centuries the last of which was four years ago against Australia.
He has been relied upon more in recent years for his hostile bowling, which has accrued him 219 wickets at 32.51. Despite being recognized as one of the world’s best bowlers, he has just two five-wicket hauls in a test innings.
“If you look through his bare statistics they probably don’t read that flatteringly, but as far as someone who has an impact on how a team plays and performs, then he’s got to be right up there,” Australia captain Ricky Ponting said.
England skipper Andrew Strauss agreed that Flintoff, nicknamed Fred or Freddie, has been a better player at least as a bowler than his statistics suggest.
“He’s had a dramatic impact for England over the last few years,” Strauss said. “He’s a been a bowler in world cricket who opposition batsmen don’t like facing even though his stats do not show that.
Flintoff said his best cricket in tests came from the 2004-05 tour of South Africa, which was preceded by England’s unprecedented eight consecutive test wins.
“From the South Africa series and for the two or three years after that was probably the best cricket I’ve played,” Flintoff said. “Since then I’ve missed two years out of four, so my career has been curtailed by injury. I’ve never managed to get the rhythm of playing cricket day in and day out.”
Although his finest moments came in England’s Ashes-winning series in 2005, there were other notable performances, such as leading a side minus several senior players to victory in Mumbai in 2006 and with it a series-equalling draw.
He said in the news conference after that match he had inspired the team by playing ‘Ring of Fire’ by American singer Johnny Cash at the tea break on the final day. His presence alone normally lifted his team, and spectators.
“He seemed to be one of those guys that everyone enjoyed playing with,” Ponting said. “He played the game in great spirit. With everything he does he’s always got a smile on his face.
“When we got him at his best in 2005, he was a match-winning player for them throughout that series. I’ve enjoyed every contest I’ve had with him. I’ll probably have a few more before my career’s over as well.”
While Flintoff said he cannot be any more motivated for his farewell matches because the Ashes is the ultimate; winning the Ashes at The Oval in the fifth test in August would be “the perfect end”, he said.
“Test cricket will miss him,” said Strauss, who also maintained England is not a one-man team. “We hope he will go out on in a way that befits a player of his ability.”


Chiang Mai Pool League

Results & Standings July 10 (week 10)

Division 1
Team                                Played           Won            Lost           Frames        Points

Blue Sky Bar                      10                  10                  0                  64             10
Oasis                                 10                   8                   2                  61             8
Half Moon                           10                   7                   3                  58             7
Inter Bar                             10                   7                   3                  58             7
Blue Sky Garden
                10                   6                   4                   45             6
Chiangers & Bangers          10                   4                   6                   37             4
Ralph Fitch (1)                    10                   3                   7                  41              3
Blue Sky Ladies                 10                   3                   7                   39              3
The Local                           10                   2                   8                  21               2
Chiangers Chicks               10                   0                   8                   27              0

Results
:  Blue Sky Bar 6 v 3 Inter Bar, Blue Sky Ladies 3 v 6 Blue Sky Garden, Chiangers Chicks 4 v 5 Chiangers & Bangers, Ralph Fitch 4 v 5 Oasis, The Local 0 v 9 Half Moon

Division 2
Team                               Played            Won            Lost           Frames        Points

Honey Moon                      11                   9                   2                   57                9
Ralph Fitch (2)                   11                   7                   4                   52                7
The Brickies                      11                   6                   5                   54                6
Oasis Soiy TT                    11                   6                   5                   51                6
Em & Em                          10                   6                   4                   52                6
Lucky Bar                          11                   6                   5                   48                6
Happy Bar                          11                   5                   6                   49                5
Rama Bar                           11                   4                   7                   47                4
Blue Sky Won                    11                   4                   6                   44                4
Tiger Bar                            11                   4                   7                   44                4
Smile Bar                           11                   3                   8                   42                3

Results:
  The Brickies 5 v 4 Lucky Bar, Tiger Bar 5 v 4 Smile Bar, Rama Bar 3 v 6 Ralph Fitch, Oasis Soi TT 5 v 4 Happy Bar, Honey Moon 7 v 2 Blue Sky Won,