Rory McIlroy’s Masters week received the ideal kick-start as the Northern Irishman produced a hole-in-one at Augusta National’s 16th on Monday. Using a seven iron, McIlroy delighted the crowd with a 170-yard ace.
It was as if the scriptwriters of The Archers had taken a sabbatical in India to oversee the World Twenty20.
Bubba Watson’s willingness to defy convention was apparent in his youth.
Jim Herman, who last week was ranked 191 in the world, has provided a Masters fairytale by clinching the Shell Houston Open and therefore the final spot in the 90-man field at Augusta National. Herman’s one-stroke triumph triggered tears and no wonder; this was the 38-year-old’s maiden victory on the PGA Tour.
Nico Rosberg made it five straight wins in Formula One when he took the fluttering flag in Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix. He may ponder, with a winsome smile, that he is unbeaten in six months, since Lewis Hamilton won in Austin in October to take his third world championship.
Nineteen. N-n-n-n-nineteen, for those old enough to remember Paul Hardcastle. Nineteen runs to defend in the final over of the competition and the World Twenty20 trophy would be in England’s hands. Ben Stokes to bowl it, a young player gaining a reputation as a reliable “death” bowler.
Stoffel Vandoorne made a memorable qualifying debut for McLaren, finishing 12th on the grid for Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix – two places ahead of his vastly experienced team-mate Jenson Button.
This Masters already serves as Rory McIlroy’s odd one out. For the first time since 2012, the Northern Irishman will arrive at Augusta National without an all-consuming narrative as baggage.
The tape will go up for the Grand National on Saturday at 5.15pm, the latest it has ever started, in the hope of an even bigger TV audience than the 8m or so of recent years, and allowing sports fans to follow the race on their way home from Saturday afternoon matches.
If a set of tennis can be described as flawless, that which Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares inflicted on Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut in the first 41 minutes of their semi-final win on day 11 of the 2016 US Open is surely a candidate.
Gennady Golovkin did not waste his energy on anything other than banalities and formalities when he addressed the world’s media for a final time before Saturday night’s intriguing clash of weights and styles against Kell Brook. There was no need. Why use words to sell a fight when his fists have long performed that job with such distinction?