February 20, 2011
Posted: 2027 GMT
I've covered FIFA World Cup football finals, UEFA Champions League finals and a fair few other high-profile tournaments in my time, but I was not quite sure what to expect when I was asked to attend my first ever NBA All- Star weekend here in Southern California.
Of course, I had a reasonable idea in one respect given the location of the event - Los Angeles, Hollywood. And we all know that nobody does showbiz or razzamataz quite like the Americans. There was a celeb sighting pretty much every which way you looked and the legions of young fans following Canadian singing sensation Justin Bieber were not disappointed with his appearance on court during the All- Star Celebrity game.
October 13, 2010
Posted: 1932 GMT
I've covered World Cup and European Champions League finals and witnessed some of the most niggly and bad-tempered Manchester and Merseyside derbies in the English Premier League, but nothing quite prepared me for my trip to the University of Alamaba where the Crimson Tide faced Florida last weekend.
I was curious as to just what to expect. I know from nearly seven years of living in the States that College Football is a big deal, especially here in the South. But was there really going to be 101,000 fans showing up for what, at the end of the day, was a meeting between a pair of rival universities?
September 28, 2010
Posted: 1130 GMT
It's already advantage team USA ahead of this week's Ryder Cup in Wales. Jim Furyk held off the challenge of England's Luke Donald at the Tour Championship to give the Americans' confidence a boost.
After banking the tidy sum of $11.35 million over the weekend, Furyk immediately turned his attention to his country's defense of the trophy.
His success at East Lake in Atlanta was the second biggest win of his career following his 2003 U.S. Open success and once again golf's "Mister Unflappable" showed at the age of 40 he's still very much a formidable opponent.
August 16, 2010
Posted: 1616 GMT
The theme of the week at Whistling Straits was the relentless march of golf's young guns as they continue to sweep away the old guard and sure enough 25-year-old Martin Kaymer became the latest major winner.
But it was a massive controversy centered on another rising young star, American Dustin Johnson, that will be the abiding memory of this year's PGA Championship.
Leading Kaymer and Bubba Watson by a stroke playing the 18th, his tee shot found one of over 1,000 sandy hollows which pit the links-style course in Wisconsin.
Surrounded by a mob of fans and marshals, Johnson had little other thought than locating his ball and then finding the green with his second shot because a par-four would be enough to secure his first major title.
August 14, 2010
Posted: 1446 GMT
Kohler, Wisconsin (CNN) - I like Whistling Straits, home of this week's PGA Championship. It's not just that it looks spectacular either. Nestled along the rugged shores of Lake Michigan here in the beautiful state of Wisconsin, it's a privilege to say this is actually my second visit to this part of the world.
The course is about an hour's drive from Milwaukee where we're staying, and while it's quite a trek to get here it really is well worth it. It's not just that the people here are so warm and welcoming either. No, I think it's possibly something to do with the fact that, on seeing the course, I feel very much reminded of home.
June 21, 2010
Posted: 1014 GMT
In recent weeks, I've been more than happy to witness a couple of important sporting successes for the British Isles.
I was on hand for the recent ICC World Twenty20 cricket event in the Caribbean and was in Barbados for the final which saw England beat the Aussies very comfortably indeed.
If I enjoyed that, then what I've just witnessed at the U.S Open golf this week at Pebble Beach in California was truly special too.
June 18, 2010
Posted: 1711 GMT
I always knew the golfing landscape had changed but this week at the season's second major the U.S. Open I experienced it first hand.
There was a time when the incessant buzz in the media center at these kind of events was all about not whether Tiger Woods was going to win but by how many.
How those times have changed! Of course, the American can instantly point to the fact he's still world number one (though Phil Mickelson's closing in on him fast) but there's no doubt the man who once dominated the majors and the build-up to them has been upstaged somewhat.
May 19, 2010
Posted: 1904 GMT
Is this really a new glorious dawn for English cricket or another false one? The exciting, fun, entertaining thrill-a-minute ride that is 20/20 cricket was first played and devised in England and now a nation not exactly noted for regular sporting triumphs on the world stage can rightly claim to be the best.
I was in Barbados for the comfortable seven-wicket victory over Michael Clarke’s Australia and I have to say the English were certainly worthy winners.
Superbly led by captain Paul Collingwood and a rejuvenated Kevin Pieterson, they never looked in trouble. The squad combined experience with youth. Stuart Broad for example is an exciting prospect. It’s certainly unfair and way too early in his career to label him the next Ian Botham – I’m sure Stuart himself would be the first to conceed that – but the future’s bright for this nucleus of players.
May 13, 2010
Posted: 1837 GMT
You might think a work assignment in Saint Lucia and then onto Barbados for a spot of cricket is an out of this world gig to get for a sports reporter.
You certainly won't get any arguments from me on that score but amid all the thrills and spills of this exciting ICC World 20/20 tournament in the West Indies was the heartache I witnessed late Tuesday as the host nation went crashing out.
Hopes were high Chris Gayle could lead his team to the last four in what would have been a repeat of their notable success last year in England.
But it wasn't to be as the sport's former power-house nation surrendered meekly to a surging Australia, who icemented their spot in the semifinals.
Make no mistake, in this part of the world, they live and breathe cricket.
It hurts hugely among the locals here that their team won't be partaking in the tournament's latter stages and that was plain to see as thousands poured out of the Beausejour stadium after the setback against the Aussies.
Some left quietly dejected, others were vocally irate and didn't care whose ears they burned. Either way, it all adds up to show how high passions have been aroused by that initial surge of hope then the sheer pain of seeing their team crash out.
Post-match, captain Gayle reflected on a lack of consistency amongst his squad. I asked him whether committment was at all an issue, something he catagorically denies.
Windies legend Clive Lloyd joined in the debate as he ruefully reflected on a last four line-up of Australia, Sri Lanka, England and Pakistan.
This 20/20 is a hugely exciting form of the game. The fans love it and it brings a new set of skills to the players out there who smash the ball to all corners of the ground in totally unrestricted fashion.
After the disappointments and tragic events which played out during the 50-over World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007, this part of the world desperately needed something to lift the spirits and this past couple of weeks has done just that.
Just a shame for the locals here their team won't be taking part in the showpiece final at Barbados come this Sunday.
April 17, 2010
Posted: 1517 GMT
I don’t want to say ‘ I told you so” but late last year I confidently blogged Phil Mickelson would be the main man when it comes to 2010.
Feel free to check back! (more posts from Patrick Snell). My assertion was based on a new–found confidence around the greens and the fact this is wife Amy was showing good signs in her battle against cancer.
All the hype at last week’s Masters predictably surrounded Tiger Woods and in my view that was just fine by Phil! As Woods struggled awkwardly and at times nervously in front of the world’s media, “Lefty” was able to quietly go about his business with little fuss and to quite devastating effect by week’s end!
With one major down and another three to go this year, I stand more than ever by my convictions.
As the personable Californian approaches his 40th birthday, I honestly feel he’s about to embark on what we could all one day look back on as his golden years.
I sense the next three to four years will be ones of huge opportunity for Mickelson and more pertinently, I’m certain he does too.
Woods is far from being a spent force of course and while his time will certainly come again, there’s no doubt in my view - for reasons well documented - he’s making hard work of surpassing the record feats of the game’s all-time leading player Jack Nicklaus.
There may well once have been a time when what Tiger did - or didn’t do - was of concern to Phil. Those days are long gone.
Come next April, Woods will be seeking his first green jacket in six barren years while his Ryder Cup team-mate will be going all out for his fourth since 2004.
Quite simply, Phil now knows he can stare down his compatriot face to face and emerge top dog. Just look at what’s happened the last three times they’ve both competed in the same field.
Mickelson blew Tiger away with ease in the final round at East Lake last year at the Tour Championship, romped to victory in China and was never seriously threatened by him at any point at Augusta.
The U.S. Open at Pebble Beach looms large on the horizon. In short, it’s an event Mickelson is desperate to win.
He has the most unwanted of records when it comes to the season’s second major with five runner-up finishes including last year at Bethpage but I really do feel the man with 38 PGA Tour successes to his name is primed to shatter that undesirable stat.
Woods fans will doubtless point to the fact their man was so dominant the last time the Open was played at Pebble Beach, when he won by 15 shots, but they should be reminded Phil is hardly a novice on that track having won on it no less than three times himself!
If “lefty” can take a first U.S. Open come June, may I be so bold as to ask what might the odds on a Mickel-slam be this season? On curent form, don’t rule it out!