Saturday, 9 August 2014

Rory McIlroy unstoppable with Caroline Wozniacki
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Apparently we have found the secret to Rory McIlroy becoming the greatest golfer ever. Do not date for the next 20 years. A vow of chastity until age 45 and the world is yours, Rors.

Since Rory McIlroy called off his wedding to tennis pro Caroline Wozniacki, he's been a tour de force on the course. He broke off the engagement in late May, and less than three months later he is 36 holes away from a third consecutive tour victory and second consecutive major victory. He's the leader of this PGA Championship by one shot heading into Saturday, and McIlroy has become a Tigeresque front-runner.

So is it that simple? Is hitting the little white ball that much easier without the ol' ball and chain? Was he spending more time selecting china patterns and bed sheets than hitting the range? The bachelor was asked Friday whether there is a correlation between his recent lights-out play and his recent single status. "I think it has happened to me for the better," McIlroy said. "I've put a little bit more time into my golf and it's refocused me in a way. … I guess, what else do I have to do? I get up in the morning, I go to the golf course, I go to the gym. It's just my life at the minute, you know. It obviously works pretty well, so I'm going to keep doing it. I've just really buried myself in my golf game."  Burying the competition has been the byproduct. McIlroy fired an opening-round 66 here to sit one shot off the lead heading into Friday, then backed it up with a 67 in what was the most challenging playing conditions of the day.

An early-morning deluge left Valhalla Golf Club soaked for McIlroy's 8:35 a.m. tee time, which ultimately was pushed back to 9:25. McIlroy and playing partners Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer began their round in steady rain, and it continued to drizzle most of their time on the course.

Watson looked and sounded like a petulant diva the entire round, whining to caddy/whipping boy/candidate for sainthood Ted Scott. Hopelessly burdened by being the only golfer in history to have to play in the rain, Watson splashed his way to a surly 72 and declined to speak to the media afterward. McIlroy ignored Bubba's tantrum and serenely stuck to his game.  "Look, hey, I've complained after a lot of shots before and everyone out here moans about something," McIlroy said. "It's just part of it. I don't really pay any attention to my playing partners that much anyway. I could see how some people could maybe be affected by it. … I've been guilty of it before and a lot of other players on tour have done the same thing. But it didn't affect me."

McIlroy was 1-over through his first three soggy holes, but then recorded two birdies and an eagle on the next six to take the lead. The question now is whether he'll ever relinquish it.

Rory's ears stick out at an almost elfin fashion beneath his flat-brim Nike hat, but the man has been a cold-blooded crusher when possessing a lead in the last couple of years. He wired the field at Hoylake last month to win the British Open, and in his previous major victories (the 2011 U.S. Open and 2012 PGA) he was unchallenged in the final round. He won both of those two events by eight shots.

There was a time when McIlroy was a tentative leader, and he learned painfully from it. That was the final round of the 2011 Masters, when he had the lead and a chance to win his first major and instead shot a ghastly 80.  "I wasn't quite comfortable in that position [at that Masters]," McIlroy said. "It's taken me a couple of years to grow into that where I am comfortable, and my mindset has stayed the same since that day at Augusta. If I'm two ahead I'm going to try to get three ahead, and if I'm three ahead I'm going to try to get four ahead, and if I'm four ahead I'm going to try to get five ahead. I'm just going to try and keep the pedal down and get as far ahead as possible."

Seeing how low McIlroy can go this weekend could provide an element of suspense. Or maybe this one won't be a walkover. He has some talented pursuers capable of keeping it competitive, and Valhalla has a history of drama. It took a playoff to decide its two previous PGA champions.

If I were Lee Westwood, Jim Furyk, Jason Day or Rickie Fowler, I'd try to set up McIlroy with a whirlwind romance this weekend. If he's getting lucky in Kentucky, it might give them a chance to win. If not, this tournament may already be over.

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Friday, 20 June 2014

World Cup 2014: England vs Italy
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England were sent tumbling out of the World Cup for the first time since 1958 after Costa Rica beat Italy 1-0.

Hodgson’s side needed Italy to take maximum points from the match to have any hope of survival. The result means Tuesday’s match against Costa Rica, who have now qualified for the knock-out stages, is meaningless for England.

Hodgson said he had no intention of resigning after the 2-1 defeat to Uruguay on Thursday in which Luis Su├írez scored both goals on his first appearance since undergoing knee surgery a month ago. And he was backed by FA chairman Greg Dyke who said the 66-year-old would be remaining in his post until after the 2016 European Championships.  “We’re supportive of Roy Hodgson, we’ve asked him to stay as manager,” Dyke said. “We do not see any value in changing. We think Roy has done a good job and it is an approach over four years and we hope to do better in the European Championships.”

It is the first time in 56 years England have fallen at this stage of the finals, with that World Cup squad the only one younger than the current crop. The other group-stage exit came in 1950 – the previous time the tournament was held in Brazil – and, while they approached the tournament more in hope than expectation, their early exit rankles.

The general consensus heading into the tournament was that it could not be any worse than the under-achievement in South Africa four years ago. However, defeats to Italy and Uruguay coupled with surprise package Costa Rica means it has been just that, with the inquest that follows unlikely to make pretty reading for the Football Association or Hodgson.

As well as Dyke, Hodgson retains the full support of FA board members Sir Trevor Brooking, Alex Horne and Adrian Bevington, who installed him as Fabio Capello’s successor two years ago. They have seen enough promise in Brazil to believe that Hodgson is the right man to take England through to Euro 2016, which is being held in France. “Everybody thought we played really well in the first game and narrowly lost,” Dyke said when asked why England had lost both their opening World Cup games for the first time in history. “In the second game it could have gone either way. We were not humiliated or anything like that. They were narrow defeats, but it is for the football people, not for me to identify why we did not win.”

Ever since he took on the job of FA chairman, Dyke has targeted victory at the 2022 World Cup.

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Sunday, 11 May 2014

Football Premier League
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The Premier League is an English professional league for men's association football clubs. At the top of the English football league system, it is the country's primary football competition. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the Football League. Besides English clubs, some of the Welsh clubs can also qualify to play, and participation by some Scottish or Irish clubs has also been mooted.

The Premier League is a corporation in which the 20 member clubs act as shareholders. Seasons run from August to May, with teams playing 38 matches each, totalling 380 matches in the season. Most games are played in the afternoons of Saturdays and Sundays, the other games during weekday evenings. It is currently sponsored by Barclays Bank and thus officially known as the Barclays Premier League. Outside England, it is commonly referred to as the English Premier League (EPL).

The competition formed as the FA Premier League on 20 February 1992 following the decision of clubs in the Football League First Division to break away from the Football League, which was originally founded in 1888, and take advantage of a lucrative television rights deal. This deal is worth £1 billion a year as of 2013–14, with BSkyB and BT Group securing the rights to broadcast 116 and 38 games respectively. The Premier League is the most-watched football league in the world, broadcast in 212 territories to 643 million homes and a potential TV audience of 4.7 billion people. In the 2010–11 season the average Premier League match attendance was 35,363, the second highest of any professional football league behind the German Bundesliga, and stadium occupancy was 92.2% capacity. The Premier League ranked second in the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) coefficients of leagues based on performances in European competitions over the last five years.

Since 1888, a total of 23 clubs have been crowned champions of the English football system. Of the 46 clubs to have competed since the inception of the Premier League in 1992, five have won the title: Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers. The current champions are Manchester City, who won the title in the 2013–14 season.

Despite significant European success during the 1970s and early 1980s, the late '80s had marked a low point for English football. Stadia were crumbling, supporters endured poor facilities, hooliganism was rife, and English clubs were banned from European competition for five years following the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985. The Football League First Division, which had been the top level of English football since 1888, was well behind leagues such as Italy's Serie A and Spain's La Liga in attendances and revenues, and several top English players had moved abroad.

However, by the turn of the 1990s the downward trend was starting to reverse; England had been successful in the 1990 FIFA World Cup, reaching the semi-finals. UEFA, European football's governing body, lifted the five-year ban on English clubs playing in European competitions in 1990 (resulting in Manchester United lifting the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1991) and the Taylor Report on stadium safety standards, which proposed expensive upgrades to create all-seater stadia in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster, was published in January of that year.

Television money had also become much more important; the Football League received £6.3 million for a two-year agreement in 1986, but when that deal was renewed in 1988, the price rose to £44 million over four years. The 1988 negotiations were the first signs of a breakaway league; ten clubs threatened to leave and form a "super league", but were eventually persuaded to stay. As stadia improved and match attendance and revenues rose, the country's top teams again considered leaving the Football League in order to capitalise on the growing influx of money being pumped into the sport.

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Sunday, 6 April 2014

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Basketball is a sport played by two teams of five players on a rectangular court. The objective is to shoot a ball through a hoop 18 inches (46 cm) in diameter and 10 feet (3.0 m) high mounted to a backboard at each end. Basketball is one of the world's most popular and widely viewed sports.

A team can score a field goal by shooting the ball through the basket during regular play. A field goal scores two points for the shooting team if a player is touching or closer to the basket than the three-point line, and three points (known commonly as a 3 pointer or three) if the player is behind the three-point line. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins, but additional time (overtime) may be issued when the game ends with a draw. The ball can be advanced on the court by bouncing it while walking or running or throwing it to a team mate. It is a violation to move without dribbling the ball, to carry it, or to hold the ball with both hands then resume dribbling.

Violations are called "fouls". A personal foul is penalized, and a free throw is usually awarded to an offensive player if he is fouled while shooting the ball. A technical foul may also be issued when certain infractions occur, most commonly for unsportsmanlike conduct on the part of a player or coach. A technical foul gives the opposing team a free throw, and the opposing team also retains possession of the ball.

As well as many techniques for shooting, passing, dribbling and rebounding, basketball has specialized player positions and offensive and defensive structures (player positioning). Typically, the tallest members of a team will play "center", "power forward" or "small forward" positions, while shorter players or those who possess the best ball handling skills and speed play "point guard" or "shooting guard".

In early December 1891, Canadian Dr. James Naismith, a physical education professor and instructor at the International Young Men's Christian Association Training School (YMCA) (today, Springfield College) in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA), was trying to keep his gym class active on a rainy day. He sought a vigorous indoor game to keep his students occupied and at proper levels of fitness during the long New England winters. After rejecting other ideas as either too rough or poorly suited to walled-in gymnasiums, he wrote the basic rules and nailed a peach basket onto a 10-foot (3.05 m) elevated track. In contrast with modern basketball nets, this peach basket retained its bottom, and balls had to be retrieved manually after each "basket" or point scored; this proved inefficient, however, so the bottom of the basket was removed, allowing the balls to be poked out with a long dowel each time.

Basketball was originally played with a soccer ball. The first balls made specifically for basketball were brown, and it was only in the late 1950s that Tony Hinkle, searching for a ball that would be more visible to players and spectators alike, introduced the orange ball that is now in common use. Dribbling was not part of the original game except for the "bounce pass" to teammates. Passing the ball was the primary means of ball movement. Dribbling was eventually introduced but limited by the asymmetric shape of early balls. Dribbling only became a major part of the game around the 1950s, as manufacturing improved the ball shape.

The peach baskets were used until 1906 when they were finally replaced by metal hoops with backboards. A further change was soon made, so the ball merely passed through. Whenever a person got the ball in the basket, his team would gain a point. Whichever team got the most points won the game. The baskets were originally nailed to the mezzanine balcony of the playing court, but this proved impractical when spectators on the balcony began to interfere with shots. The backboard was introduced to prevent this interference; it had the additional effect of allowing rebound shots. Naismith's handwritten diaries, discovered by his granddaughter in early 2006, indicate that he was nervous about the new game he had invented, which incorporated rules from a children's game called "Duck on a Rock", as many had failed before it. Naismith called the new game "Basket Ball". The first official game was played in the YMCA gymnasium in Albany, New York on January 20, 1892 with nine players. The game ended at 1–0; the shot was made from 25 feet (7.6 m), on a court just half the size of a present-day Street ball or National Basketball Association (NBA) court. By 1897–1898 teams of five became standard.

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Sunday, 2 February 2014

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Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on a field at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. Each team takes it in turn to bat, attempting to score runs, while the other team fields. Each turn is known as an innings.

The bowler delivers the ball to the batsman who attempts to hit the ball with his bat far enough for him to run to the other end of the pitch and score a run. Each batsman continues batting until he is out. The batting team continues batting until ten batsmen are out, at which point the teams switch roles and the fielding team comes in to bat.

In professional cricket the length of a game ranges from 20 overs of six bowling deliveries per side to Test cricket played over five days. The Laws of Cricket are maintained by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) with additional Standard Playing Conditions for Test matches and One Day Internationals.

Cricket was first played in southern England in the 16th century. By the end of the 18th century, it had developed into the national sport of England. The expansion of the British Empire led to cricket being played overseas and by the mid-19th century the first international matches were being held. The ICC, the game's governing body, has 10 full members. The game is most popular in Australasia, England, the Indian subcontinent, the West Indies and Southern Africa.

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Sunday, 5 January 2014

American Football 2014

American Football 2014  The 5 Biggest Dates
In so many ways, football is still America’s national pastime. A lot of American individuals and families still make their weekend itineraries around football games. That said, wouldn’t it be best to build your events around the best games?
Here are 5 biggest dates in the football calendar in the coming weeks and months.

1. The new International Series (September 29 and October 27 2014) - These are NFL regular season games to be played at the Wembley Stadium in London, UK. For travel any in the world contact Cheap Flight 4u. For the September 29 game, the Minnesota Vikings will face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers. While for the October 27 game, the Jacksonville Jaguars will face off against the San Francisco 49ers.

2. Thanksgiving Classic (November 28)- The Thanksgiving Classic is a series of games that commemorate Thanksgiving. This year, a triple-header will highlight the festivities. For the first game, the Green Bay Packers will visit the Detroit Lions. For the second game, the Oakland Raiders will visit the Dallas Cowboys. And for the third game, a rivalry game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens will take place.

3. The beginning of the NFL Playoffs (January 4, 2014)- This is the time of the year when all games become virtual do-or-die affairs. All the battles waged at this stage would determine who will get to the Super Bowl, the game that determines who wins all the marbles for the 2013-14 NFL season.

4. BCS National Championship Game (January 6, 2014)- This is the game that ultimately determines the  best team for this college season. The most prestigious of all bowl games, it is considered as a fitting culmination to the college football season. The protagonists for this match to be held at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena will be determined by the final BCS rankings at season’s end.

5. Super Bowl XLVIII (February 2, 2014)- This game will pit the AFC and NFC champions to determine who takes home the NFL championship. Scheduled to be held at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey (which doubles as the home field of the Jets and Giants), this game is expected to make history once again and turn football players into legends.