Friday 19 January 2018

In brief: Flexibility key to G-Mac mega-deal

GRAEME McDOWELL will be paid $10m-plus by Srixon to play with and promote their clubs and golf balls over the next three to five years, WRITES KARL MacGINTY.

In money terms, it's the biggest deal the Portrush star has signed in his professional career and marks his entry into a new, upper echelon in the world game since winning the US Open at Pebble Beach last June.

McDowell replaces Jim Furyk at Srixon following the FedEx Cup-winner's move to TaylorMade.

According to the official press release issued by the equipment manufacturer yesterday, the Ulsterman will wear a Srixon hat and glove, use their golf ball and irons, play with wedges made by their sister company Cleveland and carry a Srixon bag.

Significantly, this leaves McDowell free to use the driver, fairway metals, rescue club and putter he might prefer.

Having such flexibility built into his new contract is a major plus for a player who, for example, explained he made great strides last autumn and found eight extra yards off the tee with his new Callaway driver and it's 46 and a half inch shaft (one and a half inches longer than usual).

Under his previous equipment contract, Callaway required that all 14 clubs in the bag must be of their own manufacture -- yet Srixon plainly are happy to grant McDowell freedom of choice in key areas.

Athletics

IRELAND'S Joe Sweeney and Mark Kenneally have received a massive New Year boost by being called up to run for Europe in next Saturday's Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross-Country, WRITES CLIONA FOLEY.

The big IAAF Scottish race is including an inaugural three-team international challenge -- Europe against USA and Great Britain and Northern Ireland -- this year.

Sweeney (DSD) was the first Irishman home, in 21st place, in the senior race at the recent European Cross-Country Championships, where Kenneally was 35th, but the Clonliffe man was eighth in the same event a year ago and also has strong cross-country pedigree.

The two Dubliners will be joining forces with multiple European champion Sergey Lebid (Ukraine), and Spain's Ayad Lamdassam and Portuga's Youssef El Kalai who took silver and bronze behind him in the Algarve last month.

France's fourth and fifth finishers at the European Championships -- Mourad Amdouni and Abdellatif Meftah -- are also included, as is Spain's European 5,000m silver-medallist Jesus Espana (ninth in Albufeira) and Belgium's Joeoen D'Hoedt, who was fourth in the U-23 race where Ireland won team gold.

The event always features individual women's and men's international races but this is the first time it has included an additional inter-continental team competition and it will be broadcast live by the BBC.

Darts

Jackpot Adrian Lewis lived up to his name with a superb performance in last night's PDC World Championship final to defeat the flying Scotsman Gary Anderson 7-5.

Lewis, a teenage protege of Phil Taylor, seized control from the off with a stunning run of 180s, including a nine-dart finish. Despite a late comeback by Anderson, Lewis held his nerve to take the £200,000 prize.

Irish Independent

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