Saturday 16 December 2017

Tiger: Ryder Task Force 'a great step'

Golf: Former world number one Tiger Woods and five-times major champion Phil Mickelson have been named on an 11-man United States Ryder Cup Task Force.

The PGA of America, smarting from Europe's eighth win over the U.S. in 10 editions of the team event last month, announced the group would examine "the entire Ryder Cup process" including the selection of the captain and the points qualifying system.

The Task Force will also contain past captains Ray Floyd, Tom Lehman and Davis Love III, players Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker, PGA secretary Paul Levy, PGA chief executive Pete Bevacqua and PGA vice president Derek Sprague.

"I think this is a great step by the PGA to accomplish what we all want - to win the Ryder Cup," Woods said.

"The Ryder Cup is very important to every player who has the honour to represent his country. I'm excited to be part of this group."

Martin 2nd in Beijing

Cycling: Former world champion Philippe Gilbert of Belgium won the Tour of Beijing by three seconds over Dan Martin of Ireland.

Gilbert held onto his overall lead after a 117-kilometer (73-mile) fifth and final stage from Tiananmen Square to the Bird's Nest Piazza.

Sacha Modolo of Italy won the stage in a bunch sprint ahead of Greg Henderson of New Zealand, and Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway.

Gilbert, who won a shortened second stage, finished three seconds ahead of Martin after a "stressful" last lap, and nine seconds over third-place Esteban Chaves of Colombia, the winner of the young rider classification.

Flower gets 6 months

Rugby League: Ben Flower, the Wigan prop whose punching of a prone, stricken opponent in Saturday's Super League Grand Final had caused huge dismay within rugby league, has been given a six-month ban from the sport.

Under pressure to severely punish the Welshman, who twice punched St Helens' Lance Hohaia in the face -the second time as the New Zealander lay dazed on the ground - in the showpiece event, the Rugby Football League (RFL) ruled on Monday that Flower cannot play until April 14 next year.

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