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Woods returns to action for second major of year

 Donald Trump presents US golfer Tiger Woods
US President Donald Trump presents US golfer Tiger Woods with the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington this week. PHOTO | AFP 

I have written this column for about 10 years, and there have been some weeks when, with the permission of my editors, I have strayed away from golf, with good reason. This is such a week. The last fortnight, the world has been blessed with great sporting action, and whether you are a diehard golfer or not, you simply cant ignore what is happening around you! And neither can I, so allow me to digress ever so slightly, I will get back to golf.

Eliud Kipchoge ran yet another beautiful race at the London Marathon, completing in 2:02:37, the second fastest marathon time ever! So officially, the only man who can beat Eliud Kipchoge is Eliud Kipchoge! Brigid Kosgei won the women’s race in a time of 2:18:20 to complete the Kenyan double. In the last few days, Kipchoge announced he would miss the Berlin Marathon and the World Championships and instead make another attempt at running 42 kilometres in under two hours. He first attempted this feat in the Nike Breaking2 campaign at the Monza race track in Italy in May 2017 where he ran in 2:00:25, just 25 seconds shy of the target. Commenting after the Monza event, Kipchoge said, “The world is only 25 seconds away.”

This time, the attempt is sponsored by Ineos, a chemical company owned by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the richest man in Britain. The attempt is branded, the ineos159challenge and will take place in October at a venue to be soon announced.

Liverpool beat Barcelona at home, scoring four goals to overcome a huge first leg defeat; they will now advance to the Champions League final where they will meet Kipchoge’s favorite team, Tottenham Hotspurs which features Kenya’s Victor Wanyama. Spurs beat Ajax by the skin of their teeth! Winning literally at the death! What a game, what a week! By the way, Liverpool are in the final courtesy of goals from Divock Origi whose parents are Kenyan. With football like this, can you blame me for turning my attention away from golf?

Back to golf; a few days ago President Donald Trump awarded Tiger Woods with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest Civilian medal in the US. Trump, a huge Woods fan said, “This evening, we are in the presence of a true legend, an extraordinary athlete who has transformed golf and achieved new levels of dominance," Trump said. "He's also a great person. He's a great guy." (www.cnn.com). Only three other golfers have received this honour, they include Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus in 2004 and 2005, awarded by President George W. Bush and Charlie Sifford, the first African American to join the PGA Tour, awarded by President Barack Obama. (www.foxnews.com). Woods named his son Charlie Alexis Woods after Mr Sifford. “I always called him (Sifford) “Grandpa,” because he was like the grandpa I never had. And I ended up becoming so close with him that I ended up naming my son, Charlie, after him.”

Woods is in action next week for the second major of the year, the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black in New York. Woods will be playing in search of his 15th major victory and an 82nd PGA Tour victory to equal the record held by Sam Snead. Will Woods win more Majors in his 40s? Will the weight of the Presidential Medal of Freedom weigh him down? The answers in one week.

The Bethpage State Park’s Black Course, one of five at the Park, is a public golf course. You read that right – the course that will host the PGA Championship next week is a public golf course. It has previously hosted the 2002 and 2009 US Opens and it will host the 2024 Ryder Cup.

Woods was the only player under par at the 2002 US Open at Bethpage Black, he will be the firm favorite going into the PGA Championship next week.

Enjoy the sports ahead and give Eliud Kipchoge, Divock Origi and Victor Wanyama their Presidential Medals of Freedom already!

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