Lee Westwood Proving Age Is Just A Number

Former world number one Lee Westwood has had a fantastic career in golf.

Not only has he won 25 European Tour events, but he has also been inside the top-10 of the Major Championships on 19 occasions.

At the age of 47, Westwood is now in the twilight stages of his career. His form in 2021 is up there with the very best players on the PGA Tour. His most notable performance came in the Players Championship where he finished second behind Justin Thomas.

A week prior to his result at Sawgrass, Westwood was also second in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. On that occasion, it was Bryson De Chambeau who he was involved in a fantastic tussle with on the back nine on the Sunday.

Westwood has always been renowned for being a clean striker of the ball. He is an excellent iron player whose tee-to-green game has been up there with the leading players of the last three decades. If there is one area that has let him down at times, it is his putting. His numbers this season are better than average, which is why he is consistently at the top end of leaderboards.

The Englishman will be hoping he can win his maiden Major Championship in 2021. He is generally considered as one of the best players not to lift one of the four big trophies. It would be extra special for the man from Worksop if that was in the Open Championship where he is 28/1 in the golf betting for the tournament at Royal St George’s Golf Club.

Order of Merit Success

Westwood made history last December by becoming the oldest player to lift the European Tour’s Race To Dubai crown. It was the third time in his career that he had won the Order of Merit in Europe.

The Englishman was second in the DP World Tour Championship behind Matt Fitzpatrick, but it was enough prize money to secure the end of season merit ahead of the likes of Patrick Reed and Collin Morikawa.

Although it was his consistency across the season that helped Westwood lift the Order of Merit trophy, he was successful in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. That success helped him to climb up to the top end of the prize money charts very early into the campaign.

Ryder Cup This Year At Whistling Straits

Given how well he is playing, Westwood will be hoping he returns to the European team for the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits later this year. He has not appeared in the playing team since Europe lost to the USA in 2016 at Hazeltine National Golf Club.

Westwood is very experienced in Ryder Cup golf. He has featured in 10 different Ryder Cup matches stretching all the way back to 1997. With 23 points, he is one of the most successful golfers in the history of the bi-annual team competition.

It is set to be an exciting year ahead for Westwood. He has started 2021 very strongly and with so many big tournaments to come over the next six months, he could be set for one of the best seasons of his career.

Is Major Sporting Considering an Online Shift?

Many of our favourite forms of entertainment are increasingly shifting online – this year could see the movie industry make the big change following the announcement from Hollywood Studio Warner Bros and see a huge changing of the guard, gaming has already made the shift as many non gamstop casinos look to replace brick and mortar locations, and other forms of sporting already have with the huge success being found in the esports market.

One of the big hold outs so far has been within traditional sporting, but with major broadcasting deals set to expire in the coming years, are the big names considering an online shift?

It’s a tough question to answer, as there are clear benefits and drawbacks to both approaches, but a lot can be learned from current examples that have already tested the waters – one of the most popular being the UK Premier League which back in 2019 made its first approach to an online change as a contract was signed for 20 games to be played exclusively on Amazon Prime – initial numbers saw a good increase in viewership, and the three year deal was deemed a success from the offset.

The sum for Amazon to acquire the entire season however is a different story – as it stands, three broadcasters now have the rights with Sky Sports holding the majority, and BT Sport and Amazon holding the rest totalling a sum over £3bn, quite the fee to cover without much knowledge of whether success can be found.

There’s also the other drawback of expanding too quickly into multiple different services – many users in recent years have been cutting back on their different digital subscriptions as a huge number of services have become available each with unique titles, if too many of the different major sporting titles decide to move in different directions that will only add to this problem, the current example of the Premier League being split between three services has the costs add up with many looking at which games will be broadcast where and only choosing to pay for that one service instead of three, and this will likely only continue.

On the other hand, the good news certainly shows the support for change is there – other markets like esports have been so widely successful simply because of how easy to access the content is, and if major sporting can do the same it can certainly help bring in a huge number of new viewers – the next two or three years will be the key changing point as that’s when the big deals start to expire, and decisions will need to be made around whether many stick to the slowly fading television platform, or start a major shift to an online audience instead.

 

The Success Story Of Manchester City: How The Circumstances Finally Led Manchester City Towards The Victory Stand

In the initial days of the league, Manchester City was a small club owing to its low promotional relegation due to low success rates.

Manchester United was a very large and prestigious club with high financial status and back-to-back success in their records then. But in recent years a drastic change in the pattern has been observed with Manchester City emerging as a threat to Manchester United which is one of the most successful clubs known in the history of the premier league. Manchester City witnessed a back-to-back win in the league in recent years increasing its dominance and power over Manchester United emerging as one of the most powerful as well as a successful club in the league. 

Manchester United understood Manchester City as a potential threat to their glory and success which can be well understood from the following statement- “What he recognised with Manchester City very early on was that there was potential to cause United to bother,” said Simon Bajkowski about Sir Alex Ferguson manager of the Manchester United Club. It was obvious that such a situation gave rise to a significant rivalry between the two clubs. 

This can be well understood from this statement by Sir Alex Ferguson the then manager of Manchester United Club after they won the derby at Old Trafford dramatically with a score of 4-3 – “Sometimes you have a noisy neighbour. You cannot do anything about that, they will always be noisy. You just have to get on with your life, put your television on and turn it up a bit louder.” The rivalry between the two clubs was indirectly acknowledged by the former manager of Manchester United Club through this statement. 

But what could have led to such drastic changes in the equation between the clubs and the gradual emergence of Manchester City club as powerful and glorious winners? Let’s analyse it in detail.

Manchester City’s dramatic takeover by Sheikh Mansour

The most dramatic decision of Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan during September of the year 2018 to acquire the Manchester City Club which was on the defeating side for the last 32 seasons and finished the premier league in the ninth position changed the fate of the Manchester City Club for the better. Sheikh Mansour’s takeover of the Manchester City club had placed the club in an equal and strong financial position and status like that of Manchester United. This enabled the club to buy talented and efficient players in their team ensuring the success of the club and increasing its prestige.

Joining Of Efficient Players In The Manchester City Club After The Acquisition

As mentioned earlier, the takeover of the Manchester City Club made it financially stable may have motivated many of the efficient players to join the team resulting in the success of the team. One of the most important reasons for the change in power dynamics between Manchester United and Manchester City is Carlos Tevez who is such a talented and successful player leaving Manchester United at the end of his contract with the club and joining the rival club Manchester City. 

This situation added fuel to the fire of rivalry already present between the two clubs. Moreover, players like David Silva, Yaya Toure, Mario Boutelli, Striker Sergio Aguero played vital roles in the journey of the Manchester City Club towards the victory stand. One of the most noteworthy contributions was that of Richard Dunne who was seen more than 350 times playing for Manchester City as the captain. His dedication to the club is depicted through the following statement- “WhenI was playing, it meant everything to City fans. For us, it was the biggest game of the year” was said by Richard Dunne. “It had that period where the game meant everything and not just in terms of local bragging rights.”

Sir Alex Ferguson’s Retirement From Manchester United

It can be rightfully said that Sir Alex Ferguson was one of the backbones of Manchester United club and he was extremely efficient in managing the team. Manchester United club depended very much on the managerial abilities of Fergusson for successful coaching and winning the games. Hence it is obvious that Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in the year 2013 was a strong blow for the club that made the club unstable. Moreover, the club was going through a transient period and adapting to the new changes and was in search of an efficient manager who was responsible for the deteriorating performance of the club.

Finally, from all these, it can be easily implied that the turmoil situation in Manchester United’s managerial position and economic stability owing to the acquisition of Manchester City club and joining of talented players in the club led the club to achieve back to back success in the Pep Guardiola during the years 2019 and 2020 by winning league titles leaving the Manchester United behind and it is expected by the Goal’s Manchester United correspondent Charlotte Duncker that “City aren’t going to start a downward spiral any time soon.”

Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney take over Welsh side Wrexham

Wrexham isn’t known for being particularly glamorous, but it presented itself well enough to Hollywood stars and new owners of the town’s football club, Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.

The duo shocked the football world when they announced they were to take over as owners, following a vote.

In fact, a whopping 98.6% of the votes from Wrexham Supporters Trust (WST) were backing the bid.

2,000 votes from trust members were eligible, and 1,809 approved.

Following the result of the vote, WST has now wished the pair “the very best of luck in charge”, and “look forward to what the future brings”.

A statement distributed by WST read: “Subject to final agreement, league and FA confirmation – the RR McReynolds Company, LLC will take 100% control of Wrexham Football Club Limited from the WST.

“Both parties will now proceed with finalising the details of the takeover, and we will update Wrexham supporters as soon as we can.”

Reynolds and McElhenney told trust members they intended to make their club a “global force”.

Wrexham currently sit 14th in the Vanarama National League standings, but with this news a free bet on PaddyPower app could be a good shout on the club going on a good run of form, due to the feel-good factor surrounding the team.

The duo released a comical video on Monday afternoon, following their successful bid to take charge:

The club has been in fan ownership since 2011, but could now be set to see more than £2m invested in it.

Certainly an interesting story to keep an eye on over the next few seasons.

Dubois Expected to Deliver in All-British Bout with Joyce

At the age of 23, Daniel Dubois is already the next big thing in British heavyweight boxing. At a time when fighters from the UK hold all four major world titles in the premier division of the sport, his obvious future potential of joining those elite ranks should not go unnoticed or unheralded.

Nicknamed Dynamite and Triple D, Dubois is undefeated in 15 professional fights. He has also picked up several minor championships since joining the paid ranks in 2017.

In just his fourth pro bout, Dubois was crowned WBC youth heavyweight champion – a clear sign of him being a serious prospect. He has since added the English, British and Commonwealth, WBO European, global and international, and WBC silver titles to his collection.

Dubois now fights for the vacant EBU European heavyweight belt, and defends his British and Commonwealth straps, against compatriot Joe Joyce in one of the most anticipated UK bouts of 2020. This encounter on 28 November has a classic youth versus experience dynamic to it.

Joyce is 35, has a more extensive amateur background than Dubois and competed at the Rio Olympics of 2016 in Brazil. Only France’s Tony Yoka denied him a gold medal but, since Joyce turned pro in 2017, he hasn’t lost in 11 fights.

Something has got to give. Joyce has already reigned as Commonwealth champ, like Joyce winning a minor belt in his fourth fight in the paid ranks. He has since added the WBA continental and gold heavyweight titles to his CV.

Bookmakers are siding with the youth of Dubois in the boxing betting on their all-British bout, though, and make him the odds-on 2/9 favourite for victory. Joyce is 3/1, meanwhile, to cause what would be viewed as an upset.

However, this may not be as straightforward a task for Dubois as the market suggests. Joyce defeated former WBC heavyweight champion Bermane Stiverne, one of the best boxers in Canada of modern times, in 2019.

That sixth-round stoppage was huge for his career. Joyce arguably presents the most difficult challenge to date for Dubois whose previous opposition didn’t have that sort of feather in their caps.

These two London lads know full well there is more than area, national and continental championships at stake here. The WBO rankings have Dubois next in line after Ukraine’s former undisputed cruiserweight champ Oleksandr Usyk for a shot at Anthony Joshua.

Joyce is also among the top 10 rated contenders going into the fight with that governing body. The WBC places both men lower in their pecking order, meanwhile, with Dubois only seventh and Joyce down in eleventh.

Getting to Tyson Fury requires more, then, and neither man may get to share the ring with The Gypsy King who has hinted at retirement following a few more fights.

Whether Fury does hang up his gloves sooner rather than later, or Dubois goes on to tangle with Joshua, the feeling is very much that British boxing is in good hands with him. All he has to do is continue his upward trajectory and stop Joyce.

Kvitova talks of difficulties surrounding being a leading tennis player

The two-time Wimbledon Champion, Petra Kvitova, has admitted she sometimes wishes she could have lived life as a more “normal human being”.

This comes after she spoke of the “real life” negatives that come with being one of the best tennis players in the world.

“It’s tough to find friends, honest friends I mean. It’s tough to spend time with your family,” she admitted.

Despite the difficulties, the 30-year-old Czech claims she is still in love with the game, and remains motivated to continue winning accolades at the highest level in women’s tennis.

“If I don’t have the motivation to be great I will not play.

“I think we don’t really have a real life to be honest.

“Because we are still on the road, we are still practising, playing matches, eating, sleeping.

“I love the game itself so for me I can enjoy it, for sure, when I am on the court itself. I love matches. I don’t really like practice but that’s how it is.

“We have to deal with so many things, with our nerves, with the pressure, with the pressure from outside. To be a public person is not easy.”

A cash out from Coral option on Kvitova’s success at the next Grand Slam could be profitable, should she show any signs of losing her way during a match, and you want to take the money you are being offered.

Kvitova won Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014, but has since returned to the top of the game following a robbery in the Czech Republic in December 2016, which left her with a stab wound in her playing hand. 

Since returning to the sport five months later, Kvitova has gone on to win eight WTA titles.

 

Can Tiger Produce his magic again at Augusta?

Tiger Woods’ victory at the 2019 US Masters at Augusta is not only one of the best storylines golf has thrown up over the last couple of decades, it has been ranked by many sports writers as one of the leading sporting comebacks ever seen.

Woods sealed his 15th Major Championship in Georgia in 2019, 11 years after his last win in golf’s four big tournaments.

Over a career which has now spanned across four decades, Woods has often produced some of his best moments at Augusta. He blew the field away by 12 strokes there in 1997, and who can forget that spectacular chip shot when beating Chis DiMarco in a playoff in 2005.

Woods will now be looking to repeat what he did in 2002 by defending his crown in the Masters. No other champion has been able to follow up the year later since he achieved that feat. You have to go back to 1990 and Nick Faldo for the only other repeat winner of the last 50 years.

Augusta Can Often Find the Best Out of Woods

Although Woods has not shown anywhere near the form he produced last year in 2020 so far, the former world number one will be confident about his chances at Augusta.

Woods proved last year that the course suits his game very well. What was also so impressive about his win in 2019 was the way he closed it out on the back nine. He held his nerve very well on the Sunday which is a great sign for fans of the American.

With five Masters wins now, Woods is one shy of Jack Nicklaus’ record in the event. A victory would also see him two away from Nicklaus’ tally of 18 Major wins in his illustrious career.

Woods is 16/1 in the golf betting for the US Masters in 2020. Those odds suggest he is in with a great chance as he is ahead of Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose in the outright market for the tournament.

If the four-time Masters winner is able to win on the US PGA Tour before then, those odds will most likely shorten.

Thomas, Rahm and McIlroy All in Good Form

The top three players in the world golf rankings – Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy – are all at the top of their games at the moment. If they continue to remain in hot form, it could be one of the best Masters tournaments.

Thomas recently won the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational, his 13th success on the PGA Tour. A victory at Augusta would help him cement that spot at the top of the rankings.

McIlroy is also desperate to win his maiden Green Jacket. The US Masters is the only Major Championship the Northern Irishman has not won so far. He has performed well at Augusta though, which suggests it is likely to be only a matter of time before he completes the Career Grand Slam.

This year’s US Masters is set to begin on the 12th November in a later than normal tournament at Augusta National.

 

Borussia Dortmund set deadline for Sancho transfer to Man Utd

Bundesliga side have told Manchester United they have until August 10 to agree a deal for Jadon Sancho, or risk a no deal situation.

It is no secret that the highly-rated English youngster is at the very top of United’s transfer wish list this summer.

The German club have reportedly told the Red Devils they expect in excess of £100m to allow the 20-year-old to leave.

Currently, there is no agreement on the fee – and no idea whether Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side would have to pay in one lump sum, or in instalments.

Dortmund have put their foot down due to the 2020-21 season approaching fast, with a start date of September 18.

Sancho has enjoyed a highly productive three years at Dortmund, following his £10m move from Manchester City in August 2017.

The move to Old Trafford would certainly go a long way to improving United’s current odds on the 888 sport Android app of winning the Premier League title at 8/1.

Last month, Dortmund beat United to the signature of promising 17-year-old English midfielder Jude Bellingham, who joined from Birmingham in a whopping deal thought to be worth over £30m.

The black and yellows also splashed the class earlier in the season, when they signed Erling Braut Haaland from Red Bull Salzburg – funnily enough, another player that had been on United’s wish-list.

 

Third Canelo-Golovkin showdown still a possibility

Saul Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin have been two of the most dominant middleweight boxers of their generation over the last decade.

The two men have shared the ring twice in their careers in huge showdowns which did not disappoint. Although their last meeting was in September 2018, there is some hope that the two world champions will complete their trilogy in the near future.

Alvarez, who won the second clash between the two legends of the sport, has picked up world titles at two other weight divisions since then. He claimed the WBA super middleweight crown with victory over Rocky Fielding, while more recently, he stopped Sergey Kovalev for the WBO light heavyweight title.

The Mexican boxer has been linked with a fight with Billy Joe Saunders next. That contest would be for the WBO super middleweight title, which Saunders currently holds, and Alvarez’s WBA belt.

Canelo and Saunders have been tipped to meet in the ring for a number of years now. They both held world crowns in the middleweight division for a number of years. Despite many discussions between the two parties, a deal for the two men to meet has yet to be reached.

Saunders is a regular training partner of Tyson Fury. He is sure to be working with the WBC heavyweight champion ahead of his third fight with Deontay Wilder, where he is 2/7 in the latest boxing odds for that contest.

A clash with Canelo will be the biggest fight of Saunders’ career. If he were able to pull off an upset, it would rank on the same scale as Fury’s incredible success at a much higher weight division.

Golovkin still carries IBF middleweight title

If Alvarez is happy to drop back down to the middleweight division, the chances of a third showdown with Golovkin will increase significantly.

Golovkin became a world champion once again back in October when he defeated Sergiy Derevyanchenko for the IBF middleweight title. Triple G was given a unanimous decision from the judges after 12 touch rounds of that clash.

For Golovkin, a third fight with his rival would give him the opportunity for redemption. The first fight between the two men finished in a draw but many boxing pundits felt Golovkin had done enough to be given the decision.

The second showdown was also not without controversy either. Alvarez was handed the decision in another close fight. There was very little between the two men on the scorecards, with two judges scoring the contest 115-113 in favour of Canelo, while the third judge had it all square at 114-114.

Since that defeat, Golovkin has won both of his two bouts in the ring. He needed just four rounds to overcome Steve Rolls before his IBF title success last year.

GGG is 38 years old now so time is running out for him to avenge his defeat to Canelo. If a showdown later in 2020 can’t be scheduled, his last shot to defeat his foe may come in May 2021 and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if that was his last appearance in the ring.

Twiston-Davies’ Al Dancer has to shed pretender tag

Al Dancer failed to capitalise on his momentum in his first major test of the 2019/20 National Hunt season, finishing second in the Arkle Trial Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham.

The French thoroughbred was the leading contender for the meet, but he failed to rise to the occasion albeit in difficult conditions on soft ground. Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge placed behind 6/1 outsider Put The Kettle On, who claimed a solid victory by two-and-a-half-lengths.

Past Failures

A victory in the event may have propelled the six-year-old to be the favourite for the Arkle Chase at Cheltenham Festival in March. As it stands, Al Dancer is now backed in the horse racing odds in the ante-post for the Arkle Chase at odds of 16/1 to claim the crown. There are a slew of talented horses ready to compete for the title, including Fakir D’oudairies, Laurina and Samcro. The coming months will see respective owners and trainers move their charges into position for the honours, and even if the French thoroughbred does face off against elite competition he does have a top-quality performance in his locker albeit it has not come to fruition on the major stage yet.

Twiston-Davies’ charge rode a four-race winning streak into Cheltenham Festival last year. He produced a dominant run at Cheltenham in the Catesby Handicap Hurdle in December, beating out his nearest rival by 11 lengths. Al Dancer continued in that manner with another brilliant outing at Ascot two months prior to the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. He finished three-and-a-quarter lengths ahead of the field to establish himself as one of the top two contenders for the crown in the Festival’s opening race.

However, he endured a terrible outing in the Novices’ Hurdle, crumbling down the stretch with Sam Twiston-Davies at the reins. The French thoroughbred placed in a disappointing 10th out of the 12 horses that finished the contest.

Undoubted Potential

After a seven-month absence, Al Dancer returned to the track for the Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham. He was the odds-on favourite in a field that included Getaway Trump, and he duly delivered on expectations with a strong outing. Twiston-Davies guided his charge out of early trouble after making a mistake at the third fence. The six-year-old gradually moved into position before he made his move to take the lead over the penultimate hurdle. Al Dancer charged through to claim the victory by four lengths to atone for his underwhelming performance at the Festival.

As a result of his strong run, he was favoured again for the Arkle Trial Novices’ Chase. It presented an opportunity for the French thoroughbred to put down a marker as one of the firm challenges for the main event in March. However, he struggled to impose himself in wet conditions and failed to make the significant jump to move alongside Put The Kettle On.

Al Dancer did close on the final fence, but his rival had enough to break away down the stretch to claim the win. It was a decent outing, but both Nigel Twiston-Davies and his son Sam will be hopeful that there is more to come from the grey gelding at Cheltenham in the near future to avoid him becoming a pretender on the major stage.