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Lawrence Donegan

Watching athletes go cold turkey

If the death of a racehorse is a sad event, then the death of a racehorse on live television is an obvious starting point for national catharsis. So it has been in the United States in the past few days after the collapse and ultimate euthanasia of the filly Eight Belles at the end of last weekend's Kentucky Derby.

A question of prestige?

In May a golfer's thoughts turn to the summer ahead and, if they have trainspotter tendencies, the age-old question of the prestige and status of the Players Championship. The PGA tour, which has its headquarters at TPC Sawgrass, where the event teed off on Thursday, likes nothing better than journalists posing the question: ''Is the Players golf's fifth Major?''

Rightly won, but the thrill has gone

Even in defeat Tiger Woods left his mark on the 2008 Masters, a tournament deservedly won by South Africa's Trevor Immelman on Sunday, but depressingly lost in the eyes of those who view the annual rites at Augusta National as golf's best opportunity to convince the world that the sport is capable of scaling the heights of drama and excitement.

Landis fights to clear his name

If appearances counted for anything, then Floyd Landis would be arriving in London for the start of the Tour de France next week as the pre-emptive favourite to defend his stunning victory of last July, and not as a pariah. Never has a man looked so innocent, so steady of gaze and sweet of disposition.

Wie’s comeback ends in chaos

Controversy, never a stranger to the career of Michelle Wie, turned into downright calamity this week amid suggestions that the game's most famous prodigy feigned an injury during an LPGA Tour event to avoid falling victim to the rule under which players who shoot a round of 88 or worse are banned from the women's tour for the rest of the season.

Carnoustie is tempered, but not tamed

The playing of this year's British Open championship will not be accompanied by the sound of golfers whining, it seems, after the Royal & Ancient on Thursday unveiled a remodelled Carnoustie and promised that it would offer a fair test of the best players in the world.

Tiger changed the game, but its colour remains the same

Of the countless stories about Clifford Roberts, the southern banker who founded Augusta National Golf Club along with Bobby Jones and who was the club's chairperson from 1931 to 1976, there is more than a ring of truth to one about his choosing to go on holiday to South Africa because he liked apartheid.

Singh: India’s man at the Masters

In a country that worships its athletes like no other, Jeev Milkha Singh has intimate knowledge of what it is like to be a sporting deity. His father, Milkha ''The Flying Sikh'' Singh, was and remains India's most famous sprinter courtesy of his exploits on the track back in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when he was recognised as one of the best 400m runners in the world.

Oprah’s logo a no-go for novelist

Not since Tom Wolfe called John Updike a pile of old bones has the United States literary scene witnessed such a catfight, writes Lawrence Donegan.

Tiger mourns his dad

After a nine-week absence from professional golf, during which his status as the man-to-beat at Major championships has been challenged by Phil Mickelson, he was the best man at his caddie's wedding and he buried his beloved father, Tiger Woods is back. But it was a close-run thing.

Tiger’s claws come out against Augusta changes

If Hootie Johnson, the chairperson of the Augusta National golf club, did not already know that the wholesale changes to the most familiar golf course in the world were unpopular with those who have to play it at the Masters this week, he knows now.

‘Give an old man a chance’

It can safely be assumed that Jack Nicklaus did not grow up with a burning ambition to win the Telus Skins Game, a made-for-television marketing event disguised as a Canadian golf tournament, but put a club in the hands the greatest player of all time and he just cannot help himself.

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