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Donald: Future tough for Tiger

GOLF: World number one Luke Donald does not recall declaring the Tiger Woods era over but the Briton did not rule out that possibility after his practice round at the BMW Championship.

Backtracking slightly from comments made recently, Donald said Woods has a steep hill to climb to reclaim the mantle of golf's dominant player but hedged his bet adding that he would not wager against the American winning again.

As Woods' struggles continue, more of his fellow golfers, including US Open champions Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, have felt emboldened enough to step up and declare the 14-time major winner no longer a force to be feared.

"Whether the Tiger era is over, I don't know," Donald, said. "I don't recall ever saying the Tiger era is over."

A five-time winner of the BMW Championship, Woods is not in Chicago this week after failing to qualify for the season-ending FedEx playoffs.

Jimenez strikes first ball in memory of Seve

GOLF: Ryder Cup stalwart Miguel Angel Jimenez honoured his late friend Seve Ballesteros by hitting the first shot in the Seve Trophy team event in France today.

Jimenez was leading the Continental Europe side into action when he and fellow Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal took on Britain and Ireland's Simon Dyson and Jamie Donaldson in the first of five fourball matches at St Nom La Breteche.

Britain and Ireland skipper Paul McGinley agreed to give up the right of the visiting team to strike the opening shot.

"It was Jean's idea and a very good idea. I was very happy to roll in behind it," said McGinley.

Van der Merwe skittles Canada as Irish run riot

CRICKET: Alber van der Merwe decimated the Canada batting order yesterday as Ireland raced to an InterContinental Cup victory by an innings and 11 runs at Rathmines.

The YMCA off-spinner grabbed 5-70 as Canada were bowled out for 194 in less than two sessions and then claimed another two victims as Ireland polished off their opponents for 257 in even quicker time after enforcing the follow-on.

With George Dockrell taking the final two wickets deep into the added half-hour, the job was done and the 20 points in the bag. Ireland top the Inter-Continental Cup table with a maximum 40 points from the first two of seven qualifiers.

MLB: Atlanta 4 Florida 1, Pittsburgh 2 St Louis 3, Boston 4 Toronto 5, Houston 0 Philadelphia 1