Death in the London Marathon: Claire Squires, 30, from Leicestershire, collapsed on the final stretch of the 26.2-mile course on Sunday. She was running to raise money for the Samaritans, for whom her mother has been a volunteer for 24 years, and in memory of her brother who died of an overdose. She hoped to raise a few quid. As of this post, her Justgiving account had raised almost £450,000 from more than 40,000 donations.
The second weekend in April: means only one thing to a golf fan - it's Masters time. Tiger Woods won two weeks ago at Bay Hill and is the 5/1 favourite. Mark O'Meara likes what he has seen of him in practice. Rory McIlroy threw it away last year, but is second favourite this time out. Faldo thinks Donald has got what it takes. Hunter Mahan cursed himself by wining last week. Big Phil's playing well, and even Harrington thinks he might have something to show. Martin Kaymer has yet to make the cut in four starts, but skipped one over the water into the hole at 16 in the practice round, so maybe this is his year! Let the jacket fight commence!
Tiger Seal: Tiger Woods was considering abandoning golf and joining the Navy SEALS, former coach Hank Haney has claimed.
Tiger back on top: ... of the second page of golf's World Rankings. After 780 weeks in the top 50, Woods drops to number 51 in the world. He will play this week in a 2nd tier event in California, fulfilling one of his recently added "goals for 2011" of playing in a tournament he hadn't played in before.
Juventus have a new stadium.: In 1903, Notts County answered the call of a Juventus member to send a set of the club's black and white striped shirts to replace the pink ones worn by the players of the Italian club since their founding. So to return the favour, Juve invited Notts County - currently 12th in the third tier of English football - to come and play in the stadium's inaugural game.
Thomas Levet finished 2nd in the Open Championship in 2002: losing in a play-off to Ernie Els. A week ago, he wasn't even in the field for this year's Open at Royal St George's, but on Sunday he won his home (French) Open for the first time, gaining him automatic entry to next week's Open Championship. Then he jumped into the lake [YouTube] by the 18th green at Le Golf National (which will host Ryder Cup 2018) to celebrate and broke his shin, so now he can't play in the Open. What is it with Frenchmen, water hazards and missed opportunities [YouTube - WARNING: Van de Velde] at the Open Championship?!
Woods to miss US Open: "It's time for me to listen to my doctors and focus on the future. I was hopeful that I could play but, if I did, I risk further damage to my left leg. My knee and achilles tendon are not fully healed. It's been a frustrating and difficult year but I'm committed to my long-term health. I will be back playing when I can."
The decline and fall of brand Tiger Woods: is a story best told by a journey, along the Emirates Road to the south of Dubai and then left down an unmarked road. One year after Tiger crashed his car into a tree, Lawrence Donnegan visits what's left of The Tiger Woods Dubai, golf's chosen one's first foray into course design. In September 2008, it was moving units rapidly and being built at a furious pace. Two years on, no one seems to know what will become of the half built development.
Just tap it in...: It was getting dark and starting to look like the three-way play-off for the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open was going to have to be finished on Monday. Jonathan Byrd, Martin Laird and Cameron Percy agreed to play one more hole, the 204 yard par three 17th, but mutually agreed that any one of them could call it off if they couldn't read their putt. Byrd decided to save them all the trouble and holed his six iron tee shot to claim the title [video]. Several hours earlier, Italian Matteo Manassero became the youngest ever winner on the European Tour. The former British Amateur champion, who turned pro at the Italian Open this year, isn't sure what he's going to do with all the money he's won so far as he's not yet old enough to drink or drive and he hasn't got a girlfriend.
European Ryder Cup Team Finalised: In addition to the 9 qualifiers, European captain Colin Montgomerie selected Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald and Edoardo Molinari, who finished birdie-birdie-birdie to win by a shot at Gleneagles on Sunday, and whose brother Francesco is one of the 9 automatic selections. How do you like the look of the team? [more inside, including some incredibly spurious use of numbers]
The 92nd PGA Championship starts tomorrow: returning to Whistling Straits, where Vijay Singh won in 2004. For perhaps the first time since he first played in one as a pro in 1997, Tiger Woods does not start a major as the favourite. Phil Mickelson is the bookies' choice, despite the revelation that he's been suffering from psoiatic arthritis since before the US Open. The most notable thing about the course so far? The mosquitoes.
'Dear Tiger... I thought you'd like some good news': John Novosel, founder of Tour Tempo writes an open letter to Tiger Woods on Golf.com explaining that virtually all tour golfers have the same tempo: a 3-to-1 elapsed-time ratio of backswing to forward swing, measured to impact. he uses frames of TV footage to measure each aspect: 'I clocked you at a perfect 21/7 in the second round, when you nearly aced the par-4 18th. I had you at 24/8 on several other shots, which is how you swung a decade ago when you were winning tournaments by Oosthuizen-like margins.' Bobby Jones was a languid 27/9, Ernie Els in his prime was a 24/8, and Jack Nicklaus was a brisk 21/7. No mention of Charles Berkley.
Challenger for Best Goal Celebration Ever?: After Orri Halldor Bjornsson scored a late penalty goal to put Stjarnan over Fylkir 2-1 in Iceland's top flight of soccer, he began a choreographed routine that pays homage to the nation's love of fishing. See the video.
Snooker Legend Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins dies at 61: After a long battle with throat cancer, snooker's original troubled genius was found dead in his flat in Belfast today. World champion in 1972 and 1982, Higgins was never far from controversy, on one occasion headbutting a referee. Renowned for the speed of his play and his unorthodox playing style, he was a driving force behind snooker's surge in popularity in the late 70s and early 80s in the UK [When Snooker Ruled the World, wiki, most recent interview, documentary I'm No Angel].
The Open's 150th Birthday: In October 1860, Willie Park beat the seven other entrants to win the Morocco Belt and become the first Open Champion. Monetary prizes weren't awarded until 1864, when Old Tom Morris won and collected six pounds for his trouble. This week, in St Andrews, the world's oldest championship will be contested for the 139th time in its 150 year history. There is a Past Champions Challenge today, but the real show gets underway on Thursday and the bookies still like Tiger, even if no one else does. On Sunday night, the winner of the Claret Jug will trouser a cheque for 850,000 pounds (around $1.3 million) and a replica of the Morocco Belt, although, if it's Tiger, Old Tom Morris's great great grandson says he shouldn't be allowed it, and nor should anyone else who behaves badly on the course.
What's Gazza up to? : Twenty years and seven days ago, Paul Gascoigne's defining moment came on a football pitch in Turin. What's he up to this final World Cup weekend? Oh, you know, just normal stuff like taking a taxi from Newcastle to Rothbury to try and diffuse the police stand-off with the gunman Raoul Moat. "I brought a dressing gown for him, a big jacket, I brought some chicken, some bread - I know you're going to laugh at this one - I brought him a can of lager. I brought him a fishing rod, cause I heard he was by the river, and I brought a fishing rod, so we can fish together and I'll have a chat with him." [YouTube audio from radio interview with Gazza]
Seve denied an emotional return to St Andrews: In 1984, Severiano Ballesteros won the Open at St Andrews. In October 2008, he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Four operations and 72 days in hospital followed. Last year he watched Tom Watson almost win at Turnberry and vowed he would return to St Andrews this year to compete in the four-hole Open Champion's Challenge, but his doctors have advised him not to travel.
Craig Johnston: the Australian former Liverpool striker and the developer of the Adidas Predator boot once said that playing soccer for Australia would be like surfing for England. He recently aired his views about the World Cup Jabulani ball on the BBC, but now he's written a 12-page open letter to Sepp Blatter at FIFA.
Paul Lawrie hits the green in regulation at a par five and walks off with an 11: Playing in the Welsh Open at Celtic Manor (venue for October's Ryder Cup), Britain's last major winner hit his second shot at the 610 yard par-five 10th hole into a greenside bunker. He was two shots off the lead and in good shape for his sixth birdie of the day. He splashed out and eight putts later walked off with an 11. From two behind with 9 holes to play, he ended up shooting 74 and missing the cut.
The World Cup and Economics 2010: - Let your inner economist geek out with Goldman Sachs' 69-page analysis of the upcoming World Cup. Check out how they did with their predictions in 2006[.pdf] and an extract[.pdf] from their efforts in 2002. Check out the competition from UBS[.pdf]. Then have a quiet sit-down in a darkened room for half an hour.
YouTube to show live cricket: Indian Premier League cricket games will be streamed live on YouTube in every country except the US.
The Guardian's Sport Quiz of the Year: a fairly British-centric 100-question sport quiz from the Guardian. Answers will appear on the same link on New Year's Eve.
Doctor who treated Woods faces FBI investigation into doping claims: reads the slightly inflamatory headline atop a story about Anthony Galea, a Toronto-based doctor who faces an investigation after a medicine bag belonging him was found to contain human growth hormones and Actovegin. Galea has links with several top athletes and worked with Tiger Woods during the golfer's recovery from knee surgery last year.