Golf, sports stars react with messages of support, including Adam Scott, Bryson DeChambeau, Jack Nicklaus, Justin Thomas, former president Donald Trump


“I have no doubt in my mind he’ll be back,” Bryson DeChambeau said of Woods. DeChambeau mentioned Ben Hogan, the legendary golfer who overcame a major car crash in 1949 to win six of his nine major championships, and praised Woods as “an amazing human being”.

“Heartbroken and shocked to hear about @Tiger Woods accident today,” DeChambeau tweeted. “My thoughts and prayers are with him for a full recovery.”

Describing the atmosphere in Bradenton as “very quiet,” Xander Schauffele told the Tour’s website, “Everyone I’ve talked to has been in a strange mood due to the news. I was talking to my caddie about the impact he’s had on the game of golf. It’s not good for us, not good for the game of golf. All we can do is hope that he’s fine and has a speedy recovery.”

Woods “means a lot to the game of golf,” said Tony Finau, who finished second in a play-off at the Genesis Invitational and who declared that Woods’s stunning, runaway victory at the 1997 Masters “changed the course of my life”.

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“When I saw the condition of his car, you just hope that he’s OK,” added Finau.

Jon Rahm said he was playing a practice round with Finau when Finau began seeing the news on his phone. “I couldn’t believe it – as if his body hasn’t endured enough,” Rahm said of Woods, whose career was derailed for several years by back surgeries and knee procedures.

“On behalf of the PGA TOUR and our players, Tiger is in our prayers and will have our full support as he recovers,” Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement. He added that his organisation was “awaiting further information when [Woods] comes out of surgery”.

“I’m sick to my stomach,” said a visibly upset Justin Thomas, who is 18 years younger than Woods but has formed a tight personal bond with him. “You know, it hurts to see one of my closest friends get in an accident. Man, I just hope he’s all right. Just worry for his kids, you know. I’m sure they’re struggling.”

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Thomas was speaking at the World Golf Championships-Workday Championship in Florida, where the Tour has arrived after a swing through California that included last week’s Genesis Invitational. In a non-playing capacity, Woods, who is recovering from back surgery he underwent in January, served as the host of the Genesis. The event was held in Pacific Palisades, California, approximately 40 kilometres north of the crash site.

Many current and former PGA players chimed in on Twitter, including Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson and a pair of British stars, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter.

Saying that he and wife, Barbara, were “deeply concerned” about Woods’ condition, Nicklaus tweeted, “We want to offer him our heartfelt support and prayers at this difficult time.”

Nicklaus’ record of 18 major wins has long been chased by Woods, who won his 15th at the 2019 Masters, capping a return to form that thrilled fans and peers alike. “Please join us in wishing Tiger a successful surgery and all the best for a full recovery,” Nicklaus wrote.

Mickelson, a longtime competitive rival who has forged a friendship with Woods, tweeted, “We are all pulling for you, Tiger. We are so sorry that you and your family are going through this tough time. Everyone hopes and prays for your full and speedy recovery.”

“We know how tough you are,” tweeted Rose, “we’ve seen it a hundred times. Hoping and praying you’re ok my friend.”

The golfing world is sending its best wishes to Tiger Woods, who was injured in a car crash in Los Angeles.Credit:AP

“Thoughts are with [Woods] and others involved,” Poulter wrote, “wishing a speedy recovery and I hope the injuries are not bad.”

Another golf legend, Gary Player, shared a note in which he said, “I would like to let Tiger and his family know that we are pulling for him in surgery and wishing him a speedy recovery. Prayers that it is not too serious.”

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Former president Donald Trump is unable to tweet from his own account, but through adviser Jason Miller he said, “Get well soon, Tiger. You are a true champion!”

In an appearance Tuesday evening on Fox News, Trump said it was “tragic” that Woods – whom Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2019 – suffered this calamity while already trying to recover from another back procedure. “It’s pretty bad on the legs, I understand, and he’ll figure a way – but he’s a wonderful person.”

Other major sports figures added well-wishes, including retired Lakers great Magic Johnson, who tweeted, “Everyone send your prayers out to Tiger Woods! He was just in a bad car accident. Let us all pray for his speedy recovery.”

Former MLB star Alex Rodriguez said on Twitter, “Praying for my brother [Woods] as we all anxiously await more news. Thinking of him and his entire family.”

Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps offered prayers, and former Olympic skier Lindsay Vonn – whose romantic relationship with Woods ended approximately six years ago – tweeted, “Praying for TW right now.”

Members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office said at a news conference Tuesday that Woods was “fortunate to come out of this alive”.

The fact that the golfer was wearing a seat belt helped, they said, as did the safety features of the SUV he was driving. The department also said there was no immediate evidence that Woods was driving while impaired.

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Timo Werner hails Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea impact: ‘It’s helped that someone can scream at me in German’


The £45million summer signing halted a well-documented run of 14 top-flight games without a goal at Stamford Bridge to help seal a 2-0 victory over Newcastle – in-form Chelsea’s fifth in a row across all competitions under Tuchel and fourth on the bounce in the League – that saw them leapfrog Liverpool and West Ham into the top four.

Getting the best out of Werner and compatriot Kai Havertz – who has also flattered to deceive since his £71m switch from Bayer Leverkusen – was said to be a crucial factor behind the Blues’ decision to appoint German former Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund boss Tuchel as Frank Lamapard’s managerial successor last month.

And while Werner only ended his barren run on Monday, the former RB Leipzig star has delivered a sequence of improved performances under Tuchel that have included assists and penalties earned.

“It’s helped me that someone can scream at me in German – he’s a really good guy, has a good idea of the football we want to play and when we have more and more training sessions with him we will get better and better,” Werner told BBC Sport after the win over struggling Newcastle.

“A few weeks ago we were somewhere and nowhere and we were a lot of points behind fourth place, we want to keep going.

“Only four points to second place and lots have said we won’t reach [the] top four at the end of the season, but here we are. We have a good shape, we’re back on track.”

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Chelsea defender Thiago Silva is targeting a return to action in two weeks, reveals Thomas Tuchel


C

helsea defender Thiago Silva is targeting a return to action against Southampton on February 20.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has revealed Silva will definitely miss this Thursday’s FA Cup tie at Barnsley and he is likely to also be absent for their game against Newcastle on February 15.

But Chelsea hope Silva will return against Southampton in two weeks’ time.

Speaking after the win against Sheffield United, Tuchel said: “With Thiago, we are fighting for him every day but he will be for sure out for the FA Cup so it will take time.

“It will be several days but we set the goal, I would like him back for maybe Southampton, that’s realistic but also ambitious. I know Thiago, he will do everything to be ready as soon as possible but it is a muscle injury so you cannot take any risk.”

Tuchel also revealed that Christian Pulisic missed Chelsea’s win against Sheffield United due to “family issues”.

Pulisic was not in the Chelsea squad for the trip to Bramall Lane and Tuchel explained why the American midfielder was absent.

“Christian has some family issues to resolve and family is always first so we decided to give him a rest for this game,” he said.

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Chelsea beat Tottenham to continue Thomas Tuchel unbeaten start


How different from the glory days of his two spells at Chelsea when he lifted the Premier League trophy three times and turned Stamford Bridge into a fortress.

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Given the team’s current slump, Mourinho will be hoping Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is more patient than Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

It was Abramovich’s restlessness that saw Mourinho fired twice, part of a managerial carousel at Chelsea that also led to Frank Lampard being dismissed last month. Tuchel is unbeaten in three matches since taking over, with two wins and a draw moving Chelsea up to sixth, four points from Liverpool in fourth place.

Tottenham are three points adrift in eighth place having played a game less, and is sorely missing the injured Harry Kane, who could return from ankle injuries next week.

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Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea clause that can see him trigger new contract


Thomas Tuchel will be offered a contract extension by Chelsea – but only if he keeps the club in the Champions League.

That is among a series of performance targets reportedly included in Tuchel’s contract after he took charge of the Blues last week.

Chelsea travel to face Tottenham on Thursday in Tuchel’s third game in charge after replacing sacked Frank Lampard.

It is a huge game for both clubs’ top-four aims, with Spurs and Chelsea level on points in sixth and seventh places respectively, having both topped the table earlier in the season.

For Tuchel, Champions League qualification is a must – not least because an extension to his current 18-month contract depends upon it.



Thomas Tuchel is under pressure to get results if he wants a contract extension

That’s according to a report from the Daily Mail, which says one of Tuchel’s targets is to keep Chelsea in Europe’s top club competitions for the next two seasons.

The publication says it is part of a move by Chelsea towards incentivised contracts, in a bid to avoid the huge compensation pay-outs the club has shelled out to managers in the past.

Since owner Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003, Chelsea have paid an eye-watering £110million to sacked managers.

Lampard was the latest to get the chop following a poor run which saw the Blues plummet down the table – although it is thought the club’s all-time record scorer will only be paid to the end of this season due to the terms of his contract.



Chelsea have paid £110m in compensation to sacked managers in the Abramovich era

Tuchel admitted before Sunday’s 2-0 win over Burnley that he had initially been reluctant to accept an 18-month deal at Stamford Bridge.

But the Mail claims he was swayed by the knowledge he could trigger an extension by ensuring consecutive top-four finishes.

“At first it was a concern, I was a little like, ‘Oh, why 18 months?” said Tuchel ahead of the Burnley game.

“But after only one minute I thought, ‘What does it change?’ What does it change if they give me four and a half years? They could sack me anyway.

“If they are not happy with me, they will sack me anyway. And if they gave me four and a half years they would put in a clause that when they sack me, they’ll pay me.”

Sunday’s win over Burnley followed a 0-0 draw against Wolves in Tuchel’s first game at the helm last week.



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Frank Lampard: Chelsea sack manager with Thomas Tuchel expected to replace him


Frank Lampard won 28 of his 57 Premier League games in charge of Chelsea

Chelsea have sacked manager Frank Lampard after 18 months in charge, with former Paris St-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel expected to replace him.

Lampard, 42, leaves with the club ninth in the Premier League after last week’s defeat at Leicester City, having won once in their past five league matches.

His final game was Sunday’s 3-1 FA Cup fourth-round win against Luton.

Lampard was appointed on a three-year contract when he replaced Maurizio Sarri at Stamford Bridge in July 2019.

In a statement released on Monday night, Lampard said he was “disappointed not to have had the time to take the club forward” and added that it had been a “huge privilege and an honour” to manage the club.

“When I took on this role I understood the challenges that lay ahead in a difficult time for the football club,” he continued.

“I am proud of the achievements that we made, and I am proud of the academy players that have made their step into the first team and performed so well. They are the future of the club.”

Chelsea are hopeful that new manager Tuchel will be on the bench for Wednesday’s Premier League game against Wolves at Stamford Bridge.

He will not be exempt from coronavirus quarantine.

But if Tuchel tests negative on entry to the United Kingdom and then negative again in order to enter a Premier League club’s bubble, he will be granted an exemption by the Football Association for attending matches and training.

He will still have to serve a quarantine period outside of those environments, which will last five days.

‘A difficult decision’

Former Chelsea midfielder Lampard guided them to fourth place and the FA Cup final in his first season in charge, and a 3-1 win against Leeds in early December put the club top of the Premier League.

However, the Blues have suffered five defeats in their past eight league games, as many as they had in their previous 23.

In a statement, Chelsea said: “This has been a very difficult decision, and not one that the owner and the board have taken lightly.

“We are grateful to Frank for what he has achieved in his time as head coach of the club. However, recent results and performances have not met the club’s expectations, leaving the club mid-table without any clear path to sustained improvement.

“There can never be a good time to part ways with a club legend such as Frank, but after lengthy deliberation and consideration it was decided a change is needed now to give the club time to improve performances and results this season.”

Owner Roman Abramovich said Lampard’s status as an “important icon” of the club “remains undiminished” despite his dismissal.

“This was a very difficult decision for the club, not least because I have an excellent personal relationship with Frank and I have the utmost respect for him,” said Abramovich.

“He is a man of great integrity and has the highest of work ethics. However, under current circumstances we believe it is best to change managers.”

DateScoreResult
12 DecemberEverton 1-0 ChelseaL
15 DecemberWolves 2-1 ChelseaL
21 DecemberChelsea 3-0 West HamW
26 DecemberArsenal 3-1 ChelseaL
28 DecemberChelsea 1-1 Aston VillaD
3 JanuaryChelsea 1-3 Man CityL
16 JanuaryFulham 0-1 ChelseaW
19 JanuaryLeicester 2-0 ChelseaL

Lampard did not sign a single player during his first season as the club were operating under a transfer embargo, but spent more than £200m on seven major signings last summer, including £45m on Leicester’s Ben Chilwell and £71m on midfielder Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen.

It is the most Chelsea have spent in one summer, eclipsing the £186m they invested at the start of the 2017-18 season.

Lampard is Chelsea’s all-time record scorer, with 211 goals for the club between 2001 and 2014, and is also joint-seventh on the list of most capped England players, having made 106 appearances for his country over 15 years from 1999.

During his 13 seasons as a player at Stamford Bridge, he made 648 appearances and won 11 major trophies – including four Premier League titles and the 2012 Champions League.

His first managerial job was at Derby. In his one season in charge, they reached the Championship play-off final, where they lost to Aston Villa.

Lampard became the 10th full-time manager appointed by Abramovich since the billionaire bought the club in 2003.

According to football finance journalist Kieran Maguire, Abramovich had spent £110m on sacking managers before Lampard’s dismissal.

Having finished with 66 points last season after 20 wins and 12 defeats, Chelsea have lost six times in their opening 19 league games this season.

Lampard’s points-per-game average of 1.67 is the lowest of any permanent Chelsea manager in the Premier League. During the Abramovich era, only Andre Villas-Boas (47.5%) has a worse win rate than Lampard’s 52.4%, in all competitions among permanent Chelsea bosses.

In contrast, Jose Mourinho’s win rate in all competitions during his first spell in charge was 67.03%, while Sarri, Antonio Conte, Avram Grant, Carlo Ancelotti and Claudio Ranieri all had win rates over 60%.

Analysis – lack of confidence among squad key to sacking

BBC Sport’s Alistair Magowan

Lampard was sacked because the club could not see him reversing a slide in form.

After qualifying for the Champions League last season and spending more than £200m on players in the summer, the aim this campaign was to close the gap on the leaders, but that has not been achieved.

Although links will be made between Tuchel’s heritage and the poor form of fellow Germans Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, the change was made because of the lack of confidence among the whole squad.

It is hoped that Tuchel can rejuvenate a team that is five points outside of the top four, and an announcement could be made within 24 hours.

The decision to sack Lampard was very difficult for Abramovich, who has never made a statement when changing Chelsea managers previously.

In the end, Lampard paid for his relative inexperience as a manager, which cannot be said of Tuchel.

Best of reaction to Lampard sacking

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola: “People talk about projects and ideas. They don’t exist. You have to win or you will be replaced. I am not judging Chelsea’s decision. I respect their decision. But our world is to win as much as possible.

“I hope to see Frank soon and go to a restaurant with him when lockdown is finished.”

West Ham boss David Moyes: “I’m disappointed for Frank as I saw him as one of the most up and coming young English managers in the country.

“It’s a big thing we try to encourage our own British managers into the big leagues, if we can. I’m sure he’ll come back and learn from it.

“He did a great job last year – he did a really good job with so many youngsters coming through the academy. It seemed a little bit harder for him this year. I’m sure he’ll take time off, come back and get better.”

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers: “Clearly I’m really sad for Frank and his staff. I know how much the club means to him.

“Looking at the squad and how young they are, they need time. He hasn’t been given that time. I really feel for him. He did great at Derby.

“He had the courage to step out of an amazing career and could have taken an easier route. It was a job he couldn’t turn down, even though he didn’t have a lot of experience.

“Results haven’t been what he would have wanted, but I feel it’s a job that needed time.”

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson: “It saddens me. I thought he did an excellent job last season. I was rather hoping that the idol of the fans and Chelsea legend that he is, he’d get a longer shot than 18 months.

“Managers who have had short stays at Chelsea have gone on to have good careers elsewhere. When you’re sacked for the first time, it is a devastating blow. There’s no doubt he has a pedigree to be a very good manager.”

Former Chelsea striker Chris Sutton speaking on BBC 5 Live’s Monday Night Club: “It is 52 days since Chelsea were top of the Premier League and 48 days ago that Chelsea had been on an unbeaten run of 17 games.

“So in the space of 48 days the owner has decided to write Frank Lampard off. How are we ever going to know if Frank Lampard is a good manager? You only every really learn about people and their characteristics and traits when they go through a little bit of adversity and Frank has gone through a little bit of adversity.

“Frank has basically been sacked for the owner’s expectations. I feel sorry for Frank because he is a club legend.

“They are five points off fourth place, but the bottom line is that the owner wants to win the Premier League and that was always going to be the pressure.

“Chelsea should have been more loyal. We know the owner’s track record – he is ruthless, he is brutal and guillotined Frank.”

Scott G: Been a Chelsea fan since Nevin, Speedie and Dixon and admit I’ve enjoyed all the success money has brought us over the last 20 years. However, there’s a sadness about that decision. Some things money can’t buy. #SuperFrank

Fil Harris: Isn’t the whole point of appointing a younger manager to give him time to build and develop? Craziness from Chelsea to sack Lampard after such a short time.

Simon Kirk: Been a Chelsea fan since 1969 and have never been so annoyed at a sacking of a Chelsea manager. He needed at least another 18 months. Shame on you Abramovich and the Chelsea board for supporting such a decision.

Ryan Howard: I find it such a weird sacking – a month or so ago Chelsea were in a nice groove, Zouma and Silva were scoring and keeping clean sheets, now after one bad run he gets sacked. Chelsea could be a world-class club if they just gave a manager proper time to build a team.

Peter Josi: Chelsea are totally right to sack Lampard, he lacked the experience or coaching prowess to lead the side. The next phase should start with an investigation into our transfer policy and how our last two record signings turned out to be flops.

Thomas Wilson: Why are people surprised Lampard was sacked? Chelsea have been ruthlessly successful for 15 years. They are not going to suddenly resort to being generously unsuccessful because of a club legend being at the helm.

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PGA Tour, Justin Thomas, homophobic slur


Justin Thomas wishes he could get a mulligan.

The PGA Tour star called himself a homophobic slur during the third round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Hawaii.

Thomas uttered the slur on the fourth hole after missing a two-metre put for par, and he was caught on a Golf Channel microphone.

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The 27-year-old Thomas, who has won the PGA Championship and 13 PGA Tour events, was apologetic when he discovered his slur was caught on TV after his round.

“There’s just no excuse. I’m an adult, I’m a grown man,” Thomas told the Golf Channel after his round.

“There’s absolutely no reason for me to say anything like that. It’s terrible. I’m extremely embarrassed. It’s not who I am. It’s not the kind of person that I am. But it’s … unfortunately, I did it and I have to own up to it and I’m very apologetic.”

Thomas vowed that he will learn from this incident.

READ MORE: Golf freak stuns world with monster drive

“Like I said, it’s in excusable. I’m speechless. … it’s bad,” Thomas said.

“There’s no other way to put it. I need to do better. I need to be better. It’s definitely a learning experience. I deeply apologise to anyone and everybody who I offended and I’ll be better because of it.”

Thomas stands at 17-under and is tied for fifth, four strokes behind third-round co-leaders Ryan Palmer and Harris English.

This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission

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PAUL THOMAS on… the new schools shutdown


PAUL THOMAS on… the new schools shutdown

To order a print of this Paul Thomas cartoon or one by Pugh, visit Mailpictures.newsprints.co.uk or call 0191 6030 178 

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Victoria’s new Agriculture Minister, Mary-Anne Thomas, on the Country Hour



Mary-Anne Thomas is Victoria’s new Minister for Agriculture. She joins the Victorian Country Hour to talk about her aspirations for the role, workforce …

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PSG coach Thomas Tuchel sacked, Maurico Pochettino contract signed


Paris Saint-Germain have sacked coach Thomas Tuchel with the club’s former defender and ex-Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino lined up as his replacement, according to various media reports on Friday.

The French champions shock Christmas Eve axing was revealed by L’Equipe newspaper, news outlet RMC and German tabloid Bild.

Pochettino, who spent two years and a half as a player at the club, could take his first training session on January 3 after the winter break.

Tuchel, 47, arrived at the Parc des Princes on a two-year contract in 2018, and guided the Parisians to their first Champions League final last season.

But now, if the reports are confirmed, less than three months on from the final defeat to Bayern Munich in Lisbon, the German has become the first PSG coach to leave mid-season since Antoine Kombouare was replaced by Carlo Ancelotti in December 2011.

Tuchel, who is set to depart six months before the end of his deal, guided PSG to a last 16 date with Barcelona in this season’s Champions League despite being plagued by injuries, suspensions and coronavirus infections.

And in contrast to his predecessors, Tuchel appeared adept at man-managing his band of superstar players, giving Neymar back the smile that was missing during the Unai Emery era.

The Qatari-backed club however are thought to be unhappy with recent comments in the press by Tuchel, the most recent an unauthorised interview which appeared in the German media on Wednesday.

“We missed winning the Champions League by one match. And we never had the feeling that we had convinced people and that they recognised our performance. Sometimes that makes you a little sad or angry,” he told Sport1.

He also complained about the demands imposed upon him: “During the first six months I was asking myself ‘am I still a coach … or a minister of Sport?’”

He was reportedly given his marching orders less than 24 hours after Wednesday’s 4-0 win over Strasbourg which left them a point off the top of the table in Ligue 1 ahead of the winter break.

If his dismissal is confirmed he leaves PSG with two Ligue 1 titles, a French Cup and a League Cup.

In 2017, he lost his job as Borussia Dortmund boss three days after guiding the Bundesliga side to the German Cup and reportedly fell out with the club’s hierarchy.

The new man in the PSG dug out when the season resumes in the New Year will be Pochettino, RMC suggest.

The Argentine, a popular PSG centre-back between 2001 and 2003, left his position as Tottenham boss in November 2019, six months after leading them into their maiden Champions League final.

The 48-year-old transformed Spurs’ fortunes during his five-and-a-half-year reign but failed to win a trophy.

He has been heavily linked with a return to the Premier League with Newcastle if their proposed Saudi Arabia-backed takeover goes through, while speculation over the Manchester United job has never gone away.

But now it appears he will be leaving his London home and finding fresh accommodation across the channel.

– AFP



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