March 27th, 2012
07:32 PM ET

Is Inter Milan still suffering a Mourinho hangover?

Claudio Ranieri is the latest coach to fail at Inter Milan following Jose Mourinho's departure.
Claudio Ranieri is the latest coach to fail at Inter Milan following Jose Mourinho's departure.

It was always a case of when, not if, Claudio Ranieri was going to be sacked by Inter Milan. Following a miserable run of results - just one win in 10 games - the Italian club's president Massimo Moratti decided enough was enough.

But the story here isn’t Ranieri, but rather Inter, and what has happened to the 18-time Serie A title winners since Jose Mourinho left after the 2009-10 season, in which he won the European Champions League plus a domestic double.

Nearly two years have passed since then, but I believe the ghost of the “special one” still haunts the training ground at Appiano Gentile. FULL POST

Posted by ,
Filed under:  Football
March 26th, 2012
07:30 PM ET

Can Tiger cap comeback with Masters triumph?

Tiger Woods shows off the Bay Hill trophy for the seventh time and will be eyeing a fifth Masters victory at Augusta.
Tiger Woods shows off the Bay Hill trophy for the seventh time and will be eyeing a fifth Masters victory at Augusta.

Tiger Woods' victory at Bay Hill was his 72nd on the PGA Tour. For the 36-year-old, that’s two victories for each year of his life.

The reality is that he’s now been in the winners’ circle on his home circuit 72 times in nearly 16 years on Tour. Pretty special and just one short of the legendary Jack Nicklaus and 10 behind Sam Snead's all-time record.

That he has come through a torrid time these last two and a half years, mostly self-inflicted, and re-emerged in the style of old, gives hope not least to himself regarding his next challenge: that of winning a major championship for the first time since the U.S. Open in 2008.

All eyes are on Augusta National next week and his bid to win a fifth Green Jacket at the Masters Tournament. The stage is set for one of the all-time great Masters, with so many of the world’s elite peaking for the first major of the season. FULL POST

Posted by ,
Filed under:  Golf
March 20th, 2012
01:47 PM ET

Is Muamba collapse a wake-up call for football?

Bolton manager Owen Coyle watches on as his player Fabrice Muamba receives urgent medical attention at White Hart Lane.
Bolton manager Owen Coyle watches on as his player Fabrice Muamba receives urgent medical attention at White Hart Lane.

The shocking sight of Premier League player Fabrice Muamba collapsing on the pitch while playing in a match on Saturday should act as a wake-up call to the football authorities in England and across Europe.

It has highlighted again that the standards and practices in place right now are not good enough to identify the type of heart problem which struck down the 23-year-old Bolton midfielder.

They leave too much to chance - and let's not forget that the Muamba incident is just the latest in a series of tragic events which has seen high-profile players such as Marc-Vivien Foe, Miklos Feher, Phil O'Donnell, Antonio Puerta and Daniel Jarque lost their lives due to heart problems. FULL POST

Posted by ,
Filed under:  Football
March 16th, 2012
07:57 PM ET

Vettel still the man to beat in year of the champions

Sebastian Vettel is the center of media attention ahead of the opening grand prix of the season in Australia.
Sebastian Vettel is the center of media attention ahead of the opening grand prix of the season in Australia.

The fact that there are six Formula One world champions on the grid for this weekend’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix, the most there has ever been, is amazing.

As racing drivers, what they all want to do is win a race with the best possible grid. If they win against nobodies, it means nothing to them. But with six world champions, if they win a race, it is a huge accolade to have.

One of the reasons it should be a really good season is all the teams seem much closer together this year. We won’t know the true nature of things until the end of the fly away races at the beginning of the season, but everything looks a bit closer. Even the midfield teams look closer to the front of the grid than normal. FULL POST

March 13th, 2012
03:17 PM ET

A rocky road to Rio and the 2014 World Cup?

The iconic Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro is being redeveloped and will host the 2014 World Cup final.
The iconic Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro is being redeveloped and will host the 2014 World Cup final.

A mess. That would be a good way to describe the situation in Brazilian football after Ricardo Teixeira, the chairman of its Football Federation (CBF) and 2014 World Cup organizing committee, stepped down on Monday.

With a little over two years to go until the biggest tournament on the planet kicks off, construction at stadiums is behind schedule, the relationship between Brazil’s government and the game's ruling body FIFA is in tatters - and now Brazilian football’s most powerful and influential man is gone.

It really doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the South American country’s preparations are in trouble. No wonder FIFA’s secretary general Jerome Valcke said Brazil needed a “kick up the backside.” FULL POST

Posted by ,
Filed under:  Football
March 7th, 2012
09:47 PM ET

Why golf must get it right for 2016 Olympics

An illustrative version of the proposed Olympic golf course in the Rio suburbs.
An illustrative version of the proposed Olympic golf course in the Rio suburbs.

Not Jack Nicklaus, not Annika Sorenstam, not Greg Norman, Lorena Ochoa nor Gary Player. Instead, it’s the American architect Gil Hanse who takes the honor of designing a course fit to host golf’s return to the Olympics in Rio in 2016. It would be fair to say it’s a surprise.

It’s not that Hanse isn’t good. In fact he’s very good indeed. His design for Castle Stuart, now host to the Scottish Open, won "Best New International Course" in 2009, and his portfolio includes the Boston Golf Club, Craighead at Crail and courses in South Korea and Japan. Donald Trump has just entrusted him with refreshing the Blue Monster at Doral.

Golf will be back in the Olympics after a gap of 112 years. It didn’t take quite that long for Rio and the International Golf Federation to choose a designer – it just seemed that way. A series of delays led to rumors that the selection committee had been split. FULL POST

Posted by , ,
Filed under:  Golf
March 7th, 2012
07:21 PM ET

What next for Peyton Manning after Colts departure?

Peyton Manning won the Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts in 2007. (Getty Images)
Peyton Manning won the Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts in 2007. (Getty Images)

"I don't want to retire." Those are the words of one of the greatest free agents that the National Football League has ever seen.

Emotions flowed on Wednesday in Indianapolis, Indiana as the Colts and quarterback Peyton Manning officially parted ways. Yes, the Colts released their best player.

The tears that were shed by Manning and team owner Jim Irsay were real as the two men faced the "business" realities of the NFL, all the while reminiscing about their 14 years together. FULL POST

Posted by ,
Filed under:  U.S. Sport
March 6th, 2012
10:40 AM ET

Can English clubs catch up with their European rivals?

Down and out? Both Chelsea and Arsenal suffered heavy defeats in their first leg matches in Italy (Getty Images).
Down and out? Both Chelsea and Arsenal suffered heavy defeats in their first leg matches in Italy (Getty Images).

There is a very good chance that, for the first time since 1996, there will be no English teams in the quarterfinals of the Champions League. Arsenal and Chelsea have to overturn four and two-goal deficits against AC Milan and Napoli respectively, and it doesn’t look good.

Why should we care? Because it has become a ritual for Premier League clubs to reach this phase of the competition. In recent years, two, three, even four teams from England have been part of the last eight.

So it begs the question, what is going on? In my view there are a few good reasons for this. FULL POST

Posted by ,
Filed under:  Football
March 5th, 2012
09:40 AM ET

Chelsea were right to sack Andre Villas-Boas

Chelsea are currently fifth in the Premier League, outside of the Champions League qualifying positions (Getty Images).
Chelsea are currently fifth in the Premier League, outside of the Champions League qualifying positions (Getty Images).

The sacking of Andre Villas-Boas proves that Chelsea is still a rich man's plaything but fans of the club should be grateful that owner Roman Abramovich is still paying attention to his footballing toy instead of leaving it, forgotten and unloved, at the bottom of the cupboard.

Forget talk of Abramovich shirking his long term project. He was right to ditch a manager who took the 2010 English Premier League champions, last season's runners-up, a club that's only been out of the top two once in the last nine seasons, and left them struggling to qualify for the UEFA Champions League after eight consecutive years in the competition.

Villas-Boas' oversaw just 19 wins in 40 games, giving him a win percentage of 47.5 per cent - the worst of any Chelsea manager in the Abramovich era.

Those bare statistics make it irrelevant whether or not Villas-Boas was the victim of dressing room militancy, senior players with a more direct line of communication to the owner than the manager himself. FULL POST

Posted by ,
Filed under:  Football
March 2nd, 2012
12:02 PM ET

In too deep: A swimmer's battle with depression

British swimmer Katy Sexton battled depression following the Athens Olympics in 2004. (Edelman)
British swimmer Katy Sexton battled depression following the Athens Olympics in 2004. (Edelman)

The trials for the British Olympic swimming team start this weekend, and training has been going really well. It’s not so intensive, it’s more recovery work and fine-tuning skills - so it’s nice to not be feeling tired all the time!

The big moment, when I find out if I have qualified for my home Games, is now just a matter of days away after what feels like years and years of preparation.

Having watched some of the cycling world championships at the Olympic velodrome recently, and having seen the enthusiasm and support from the crowd, the excitement ahead of London 2012 is really snowballing now.

Even the British public wants a piece of somebody or something that’s going to be at the Games. It feels more pressurized this time around, but it is about turning pressure into positive energy. FULL POST

Posted by ,
Filed under:  Olympics