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Tiger Woods announced
today he would miss
next week's masters after
undergoing back surgery
for a pinched nerve that has
troubled him for months.
e world No 1 pulled
out of his traditional
masters warm-up event
in Florida last month and
released a statement on his
website today saying he
was withdrawing from the
rst major of 2014, starting
at Augusta National on
"After attempting to get ready for
the masters, and failing to make
the necessary progress, I decided, in
consultation with my doctors, to have
this procedure done," Woods said.
"I'd like to express my disappointment
to the Augusta National membership,
sta , volunteers and patrons that I
will not be at the masters. It's a week
that's very special to me. It also looks
like I'll be forced to miss several
upcoming tournaments to focus on my
rehabilitation and getting healthy."
Woods won the masters four times,
in 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2005, and had
never missed the event since he made his
debut at Augusta National as an amateur
"Tiger was gracious in keeping us
updated of his condition and making us
aware of his decision," Billy Payne, the
Chairman of Augusta National Golf
Club and the Masters Tournament, said
in a statement.
"We wholeheartedly o ered our best
wishes for his immediate and long-term
recovery. Tiger will be in our thoughts
and will be missed by our patrons and
all of us at the masters tournament next
week. He is one of our most decorated
champions and we look forward to his
healthy return in 2015 and beyond."
Woods skipped two British Opens, one
US Open and one PGA Championship
since 2008 because of injury and the
38-year-old has been plagued by painful
back problems since last year that have
worsened over the past month. He failed
to nish the Honda Classic at Palm
Beach Gardens in early
March, quitting after 13
holes in his nal round.
en the American
tweaked his back again on
the last day at the WGC-
in Miami a week later,
tumbling out of contention
with a nal-round 78 to
nish tied for 25th. He then
pulled out of the Arnold
Palmer Invitational, a key
lead-up tournament he
has won eight times, in the
hope that he could play
at the Masters before he
opted to undergo surgery instead.
" is is frustrating, but it's something
my doctors advised me to do for my
immediate and long-term health,"
Woods said, who has not won a major
since the 2008 US Open.
Woods said he would begin intensive
rehabilitation and soft-tissue treatment
within the next week and expected to
start chipping and putting in about
three weeks, as long as his recovery went
according to plan.
He said he risked further injury had
he kept playing because of the repetitive
motion from golf but there should be
no long-lasting e ects from the surgery
and he hoped to resume playing by the
middle of the year.
e next major after the masters is
the US Open, to be played at Pinehurst,
North Carolina in mid-June.
Woods currently has 14 majors to his
credit, four short of the all-time record
of 18 held by Jack Nicklaus. He has also
won 79 PGA Tour events, three behind
Sam Snead's record of 82.
His latest injury is sure to raise fresh
doubt about whether he will ever break
those records but Woods was adamant
that time was still on his side.
"It's tough right now, but I'm absolutely
optimistic about the future," Woods
said. " ere are a couple records by two
outstanding individuals and players that
I hope one day to break. As I've said
many times, Sam and Jack reached their
milestones over an entire career. I plan to
have a lot of years left in mine."
Holders West Indies sailed into
the World Twenty20 semi- nals
after Dwayne Bravo's power-
hitting and Samuel Badree's lethal
spin bowling fashioned their
comprehensive 84-run victory over
2009 champions Pakistan today.
Darren Sammy's men overcome
a wobbly start to post a strong 166
for six before returning to bowl out
Pakistan for 82 runs in 17.5 overs
and set up a semi- nal clash with
Sri Lanka on Friday.
India, who won the inaugural
edition in 2007, take on South
Africa in the second semi- nal on
Opting to bat rst in what was
e ectively a quarter- nal contest,
Bravo (46) and Sammy (42 not
out) provided the late assault as
West Indies plundered 59 runs in
the last three overs at the Sher-e-
Bangla National Stadium.
"We had nothing to lose, we
were under pressure," man-of-the-
match Bravo told reporters of the
stage when West Indies were 81
for ve in the 14th over.
"I said to Sammy 'Don't worry
about picking (Pakistani spinner
Saeed) Ajmal or trying to rotate
(strike) ... Keep your eyes on the
ball. We are powerful enough. If
we get close to the ball, we'll hit it
over the ropes'."
Pakistan's chase got o to
a horror start with paceman
Krishmar Santokie hitting Ahmed
Shehzad's toe with the rst ball
of the innings to trap the in-form
batsman leg before.
Leg-spinner Badree (3-10) then
took over, wrecking the rivals with
a three-wicket burst and Pakistan
could not recover after they had
been reduced to 13 for four in the
Badree's spin colleague Sunil
Narine (3-16) then ran through
the top order to complete the rout.
e 19 runs Mohammad Hafeez
scored was the highest individual
score in the Pakistani collapse.
Earlier, Pakistan captain Hafeez
drew rst blood by removing Chris
Gayle ( ve), arguably the most
destructive batsman in 20-over
cricket, to give his team a perfect
Hafeez lured Gayle out of the
crease and beat his bat for Kamran
Akmal to complete a simple
Lendl Simmons (31) and Marlon
Samuels (20) somewhat arrested
the slide with a 39-run stand
before falling in quick succession.
Bravo then set alight the stadium
with his sizzling power-hitting to
revive West Indies before he ran
himself out after a 26-ball blitz
that included four sixes.
Sammy remained unbeaten after
a breezy 20-ball knock as West
Indies launched a spectacular
late assault to amass 82 runs in
the nal ve overs, exactly what
Pakistan managed in their entire
"Our aim was to get to at least
135-140 with the start we got
but the self-belief we had, the
form and power that we have, the
momentum (being) with us, there
was chance to be positive and get
Hafeez said Pakistan could not
recover once West Indies broke
loose in the nal overs.
"We gave 70-71 runs in the last
overs that took the game away
from us," the Pakistan skipper said.
"In the last four overs, even
our best bowlers Saeed Ajmal
and Umar Gul did not get their
basics right and conceded too
many runs in the end... When our
chase started, we did not get any
momentum, playing shots which
were not there." --- Reuters
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
PICTURE: Getty Images
West Indies Dwayne Bravo and Darren Sammy gesture after hitting a boundary during their ICC World
Twenty20 match against Pakistan at Sher-e-Bangla Mirpur Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Oberhausen, the former mining town
in Germany's Ruhr district, is where New
Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker's
professional ght-game education will
continue and his assignment in three weeks
against Sherman Williams is likely to be
one steep learning curve.
It is not only the fact that Williams is a
durable, experienced opponent who has
been stopped on only once in 52 ghts, it is
the wider signi cance of the evening which
makes this easily the biggest ght of his
Parker, 22, is ghting on the undercard
of the Wladimir Klitschko v Alex Leapai
heavyweight title clash, a bout which
will attract a huge crowd and television
ere is also the broader context of
Ukrainian Klitschko ghting for more than
With the political situation in his
homeland reaching critical levels as
big brother Russia asserts its authority,
Klitschko has stated that his ght against
Leapai, a Samoan Australian who spent
his childhood in New Zealand, is the most
important of his career.
"How can I even think about boxing
when my fellow countrymen and women
are being murdered in the streets of Kiev?"
Klitschko asked during an inter view with
London's Daily Mail.
"It is so terribly sad. I want to pay my
respects to those tortured and beaten up, to
those put in prison and to those who have
been killed. ey died as heroes."
Klitschko added: "It is the most important
ght of my entire career.
"What can be more important
than nding a way to keep your country
at is one daunting backdrop against
which to prepare for your eighth
professional bout. Parker is known to
be a cool customer before ghts but his
ner ves have the potential to be stretched
to breaking point at the Koenig Pilsener
Arena on April 27.
However, the man from South Auckland
has faith in his skills and preparation and
another comfort is the fact his younger
brother, John, and his parents will be in the
dressing room with him.
"Just thinking about the crowd that's
going to be there and the people watching,
that excites me," Parker said yesterday.
" at's what motivates me at training. I
know it's going to be a big event but I'm
not going to let it get to me. I'm still at the
beginning of my career, I've only had seven
ghts, so for someone to be on this stage
after seven ghts, I'm very fortunate.
" e training I do before ghts gives
me con dences. I go in cool, calm. In the
changing rooms (I will be) smiling, chilling
out and just dancing around listening to
music. It's important to stay relaxed and not
tense up. If you tense up you get too tired
before the ght."
Leapai earned the right to ght Klitschko
after his upset victory over Denis Boytsov
in November, a triumph which has earned
him a shot at the big time and which has
resonated strongly with Parker.
"I'm very excited for him, thinking about
that motivates me as well --- a Samoan
brother ghting for the world title."
Australia signed o their dismal
World Twenty20 campaign with a
consolation win against Bangladesh
after skipper George Bailey hit a six
to seal their seven-wicket success
against the hosts today.
Smarting from a hat-trick of
defeats in a tournament they began
as one of the favourites, Australia's
only interest in their nal group two
game was to nish with a victory
which they achieved with 15 balls
to spare in chasing a target of 154.
Openers Aaron Finch (71) and
David Warner (48) added 98 runs
in just over 11 overs to provide
the kind of ying start they could
not deliver in the previous games,
one of the reasons behind their
"Myself and David have been very
disappointing in this tournament as
a partnership," man-of-the-match
Finch told reporters.
"What makes it even more
disappointing is that it took the
nal game to have a big partnership
and to be out of the tournament
already. To not be able to progress
and provide good starts for the side
was very disappointing," the hard-
hitting batsman said.
Finch dominated the Bangladesh
attack but was lucky to be given not
out on 41 when replays suggested he
had nicked o -spinner Sohag Gazi
to wicketkeeper Mush qur Rahim.
Paceman Al-Amin Hossain
bowled Warner in the 12th over
but not before the left-hander had
struck three sixes and ve fours in
his 35-ball knock.
Finch took 35 balls to reach his
half-century and hit four sixes and
seven fours before becoming Al-
Amin's second victim.
Bailey hit a four and a six o
successive deliveries to take
Australia to victory.
Bangladesh nished their super 10
campaign with a single win.
Opting to bat rst, Shakib Al
Hasan (66) and captain Mush qur
(47) shared a 112-run third-
wicket stand to help the hosts
to a competitive total of 153 for
ve wickets at the Sher-a-Bangla
eir decision to bat rst appeared
to be back- ring as the hosts lost
both the openers for 12 in the
Shakib and Mush qur steadied
the innings, however, before
negating Australia's short-ball ploy
with some crisp hitting in their
century stand from 13 overs.
Shakib was harsh on anything
short, hitting three sixes and
ve fours in his 52-ball innings
and his aggression rubbed o on
Mush qur who helped himself to
ve boundaries and a six. --- Reuters
Rugby league legend
and former long-serving
tribunal member Ron
Coote admits he would
not know how to decide
the fate of Jordan
McLean at what is certain
to be an intense and
emotional NRL judiciary
e Melbourne prop's
chief involvement in a
three-man tackle that left
Alex McKinnon with a
"devastating spinal injury"
was referred directly to
Channel Nine said
on Monday night that
McKinnon had been
told he is a quadriplegic,
a claim disputed by
the Newcastle Knights
Understood to be deeply
distressed by the tragic
incident, McLean now
faces the possibility of
a lengthy suspension,
but he could also escape
punishment, with the
Storm likely to plead
not guilty to a dangerous
throw after naming
the 22-year-old on the
bench for Sunday's clash
with Gold Coast in
NSW captain Paul
Gallen yesterday summed
up the the general feeling
in the league community
when he said he thought
McKinnon fell victim to a
"As a player, and
speaking to other players,
we really don't think there
was a lot in the tackle,"
"It made me feel sick
about what I heard last
night (about McKinnon's
reported condition). It is
just such a tragic accident
that has happened. It is
the most unfortunate
thing I have ever seen
in rugby league and,
unfortunately, Jordan is
stuck in the middle of it.
But I don't think there
was a lot wrong with the
was postponed out of
respect for his family and
Coote --- who served as a
member of the NSWRL
judiciary throughout the
1990s --- said the three-
man panel asked to decide
the Storm player's fate
also faced a di cult time.
Former players Royce
Ayli e, Paul Whatuira
and Michael Vella ser ved
last week, but the three
panel members for
McLean's hearing will not
be known until tonight.
"I don't know how you
deal with it," Coote told
AAP. "It's not as if it is
something that happens
every week. It is a really
tough decision whatever
one they make. People
will be saying he is guilty
but the tackle could
happen again next week
and no one gets blamed
and the bloke doesn't get
"Are the three of them
guilty, then what do you
say? It is just a contact
sport and you have look at
it that way."
e founder of the
Men of League support
network, Coote said his
thoughts were with the
McKinnons. "I really feel
for their family," he said.
e judiciary hearing
will form two stages. In
the rst stage, the three
panel members will have
to decide if McLean is
guilty or not guilty of a
dangerous throw after
judiciary counsel, or
prosecution, and defence
counsel have submitted
If McLean is found not
guilty, the case is over.
If he is found guilty,
the two parties will put
forward their submissions
as to what should be
considered an appropriate
Melbourne can call
upon any witnesses they
please, including Kenny
and Jesse Bromwich, who
were also involved in the
tackle on McKinnon
but not charged of any
wrongdoing, and bio-
As per judiciary rules,
those witnesses can then
be questioned by the
Aussies bow out with comfortable win
Tiger to miss
masters for first time
since 1995 debut
Home comfort will keep Parker cool in Germany
e Black Sticks women last night
won their two-test hockey series
e second match in Taupo was
drawn 1-1 after the New Zealanders
won the opening match 3-2. A
stunning rst half goal from North
Harbour's Rhiannon Dennison
had the New Zealanders in front
1-0 at half-time before Yang Peng
responded in the second half to
draw the score level.
Head coach Mark Hager said
much like the rst game, the team
had good patches but were rusty at
"We played a good rst half
tonight, but had too many turnovers
in the second half which really hurt
our ow," Hager said.
"On the whole our team continues
to progress and we still have a few
players recovering from injury.
"We're happy to win the series
and are looking forward to our next
challenge in Hawke's Bay."
e Black Sticks opened last night
with all the momentum, creating
plenty of chances with four early
penalty corner opportunities.
Dennison got the Black Sticks on
the scoreboard when she pounced
on a penalty corner de ection and
drilled a stinging reverse shot into
the top of the net.
After half-time the Chinese were
much more composed and managed
to nd an equaliser early.
e Black Sticks reacted with
some good patches of play but
couldn't nd a way past China's
New Zealand now play in the
Hawke's Bay Festival of Hockey
from April 5-13 where they on
Australia, Argentina, Korea, Japan
and China. Senior players Krystal
Forgesson, Stacey Michelsen and
Kayla Whitelock return to the side.
omas Leuluai wants to nd his place in
the Warriors' starting line-up, and the most
likely destination is at ve-eighth, but the
possible suspension of Sione Lousi o ers an
Lousi was charged with a grade two
dangerous throw o ence for a tackle he made
on Wests Tigers' back-rower Cory Paterson
in last weekend's big 42-18 win. e Warriors
have entered a guilty plea but disputed the
grading --- Elliott questioned whether it
was even a penalty immediately afterwards
--- and Lousi's case will be heard in Sydney
tomorrow night. "We're naturally hoping
Sione will be free to play for us against the
Sharks," Elliott said.
Feleti Mateo, who is named on an extended
bench after missing the Tigers game with a
knee injury, is the most obvious replacement
if Lousi is suspended --- he will collect a
three-match ban if his appeal is unsuccessful
--- but Leuluai looms as an interesting option.
On Saturday he played his rst game since
injuring his groin at last year's World Cup.
e 28-year-old started on the bench and
had expected to see time at dummy-half but,
instead, found himself playing back-row.
e early injury to Jerome Ropati (broken
jaw) meant Konrad Hurrell slotted into
the centres and Leuluai was needed in the
middle of the park --- a role Hurrell had been
slated for and did so e ectively against the
It was the rst time Leuluai had ever played
as a loose for ward but his approach was not
too dissimilar to a combination of ve-eighth
and hooker. On attack he was like another
playmaker, often acting as rst or second
receiver, and on defence he was like a hooker.
He is both adaptable and tough enough to
do both and Mateo's form has so far been
"I wasn't expecting to play in the middle
(against the Tigers) but with Jerome getting
injured it was what the team needed," Leuluai
"Obviously I want to nd my spot in the
team wherever that may be but at the moment
it's about me getting some match tness and
testing my body.
"It was pretty easy (with three playmakers
on attack). We have a pretty simple gameplan
and it falls into place."
It worked very well at times against the
Tigers, as they collected their rst win in
Wellington in seven attempts and also the
biggest winning margin in 12 victories over
"We had some good moments but some
of those moments against better opposition
won't get us the win," Leuluai said.
e Warriors will take on a Sharks out t
who sit bottom of the NRL ladder --- the
only winless team to date --- but have not
won at Shark Park since 2010 and were
hammered 28-4 there last year.
e Sharks will still be without Paul Gallen
(ankle) and Luke Lewis (shoulder) but have
plenty of repower with the likes of Todd
Carney and Andrew Fi ta.
" ey've had a couple of tight losses and last
weekend they came up against a Newcastle
side which understandably played with
enormous passion and intensity following
Alex McKinnon's dreadful injury," Elliott
said. "We always have the greatest respect for
the Sharks. ey're a tough side to play at any
time, especially at their place."
Hurrell replaced Ropati at centre for the
Warriors in the only change to the starting
side. Sebastine Ikahihifo is set to come into
the playing 17 if Lousi drops out and back-
rower Raymond Faitala-Mariner has also
been included on an extended bench.
Tai Wo nden is
vowing to line up in
Saturday night's world
championship opener at
Western Springs but his
prospects have taken a
massive injury blow.
Crashes during a league
event in England saw
Wo nden hospitalised
and the young British
star said he discharged
himself to make the
ight to Auckland.
e 23-year-old, who
arrived yesterday, is on
painkillers and su ered
serious lower back pain
and ligament damage to
his right foot.
England, he said: "I'm
struggling for movement
in the left leg because of
the impact on my lower
back, hip and backside.
"It's seriously painful
but the scans showed it's
all good where the bones
are concerned, nothing
"But I'm on crutches
and the problem is I
have to use my right foot
which is the one with
the ligament damage."
He also tweeted that
"one leg ain't working".
World champ to race
in NZ, despite injury
Leuluai could be right man for job
Draw gives NZ series victory
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