Sunday 26 February 2017

In brief: Stricken tree makes the cut at Augusta

When a storm struck Georgia last Monday night, one of the 61 trees which frame Magnolia Lane at Augusta National succumbed to the elements. But unless some fastidious member happened to do a tree-count on Tuesday morning, he wouldn't have noticed.

Using arc lamps, the ground staff sawed the fallen tree into manageable sections and had it removed before daybreak. Apparently, it was all in a night's work for them while they cleared the precious course of debris, almost as it fell.

Will the missing magnolia tree be replaced? It seems that there are some things which remain beyond the scope of golf's wealthiest club. "One hundred and fifty-year-old magnolia trees are in short supply for transplanting," was the comment by club chairman Billy Payne.

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Tipperary hurler Lar Corbett is looking forward to welcoming a contingent of the United States Marine Corps, known as The Wild Geese, to Thurles to take part in the international festival of hurling in Semple Stadium on July 8 and 9.

Although it's Munster final weekend and Corbett hopes to be busy, he will be on hand after the game in his new bar with the Liam MacCarthy Cup to show the Marines a thing or two about the art of hurling. If things go to plan, he may even have the Munster senior cup on show for visitors to the bar.

The Marines, who are based in Suffolk, will bid for the Tom Semple Trophy in the 13-a-side festival organised by Thurles Sarsfields GAA club. Also taking part will be teams from England, Northern Ireland, Brussels and the Republic.

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Sky Sports' Time Of Our Lives series, so often the preserve of former footballers pining for the days when you could kick the living daylights out of your opponent, featured a touching moment of poignancy last week.

The programme, to mark the 30th anniversary of Aldaniti's Grand National win, featured Bob Champion (jockey), Josh Gifford (trainer) and Nicky Embiricos (owner).

Champion won after recovering from cancer on a horse that was written off as 'crocked' more then once and he and Embiricos spearheaded the formation of the Bob Champion Cancer Trust which continues to raise funds to fight the disease.

But Gifford displayed the emotion so often associated with great moments in sport when he failed to hold back the tears as he tried to put into words what the victory and the horse had meant, and still mean, to him. Aldaniti lived to 27 when he "keeled over in the field where he spent his summer holidays," recalled Gifford. "The way we'd all like to go."

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Since Tiger Woods rarely seems to come up with any snappy quotes from his press conferences these days, British scribe Dick Turner decided to liven things up last week. So his heavily-loaded question for Woods was: "We have a foul-mouthed footballer in the UK called Wayne Rooney. You may have heard of him. He has been suspended for foul and abusive language. Would you like to see suspensions coming to golf for the same thing?"

"You like to ask questions each and every year, don't you?" said Woods, while dismissing him with one of his special smiles.

It could be said that the Sunday People's man has form in this area. On the Saturday of the 2004 Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills, after Woods and Phil Mickelson had failed utterly as a partnership, they were announced at one and two in the singles order.

Addressing American skipper Hal Sutton, Turner asked: "Why have you put your weakest players out first, when you need to get points on the board?" By that stage of the week, Sutton was too exasperated to reply.

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Paul Galvin has put his college course on hold to give his full attention to Kerry football. The former All Star suffered a hip injury earlier in the year which forced him to miss the Sigerson Cup and, as a result of intensive rehab and training commitments, Galvin has decided to defer his Diploma in Fashion Buying and Management. He intends to resume his studies in DIT next year, but for now he is putting Kerry football first.

Dermot Gilleece, Marie Crowe

and Fergus McDonnell

ssport@independent.ie

Sunday Indo Sport

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