Tiger Woods’ ‘aura’ has dimmed, says Presidents Cup rival Ernie Els

Tiger Woods is captaining and playing for the United States at the biennial matchplay showdown at Royal Melbourne. (AP)
Updated 04 December 2019

Tiger Woods’ ‘aura’ has dimmed, says Presidents Cup rival Ernie Els

  • Tiger Woods is captaining and playing for the United States at the biennial matchplay showdown at Royal Melbourne
  • One of Ernie Els’ key decisions will be who plays the 15-time major-winner in the singles on Sunday

SYDNEY: Ernie Els on Wednesday said Tiger Woods has lost some of his aura but the skipper of the International team will not be under-estimating his superstar counterpart at the Presidents Cup next week.
Woods is captaining and playing for the United States at the biennial matchplay showdown at Royal Melbourne, and one of Els’ key decisions will be who plays the 15-time major-winner in the singles on Sunday.
The big South African has seven rookies in his 12-man team, but he also has a core of experienced players such as Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman.
Els said he would decide who faces Woods after seeing how they perform in the three days of fourballs and foursomes, but suggested it would not be a newcomer.
“I don’t want to have a guy feel overwhelmed,” he said in Sydney ahead of the Australian Open, where Els will play from Thursday alongside a handful of his Presidents Cup team.
“I will not put a guy in there that’s going to feel that way. I’ll see who is going to feel like he’s really got the best chance against Tiger.
“I don’t think today he has the same kind of aura he had in the past. It’s different,” added Els, himself a matchplay specialist but will only be captain in Melbourne.
“It’s more of a celebrity kind of aura. But he’s still very competitive. He’s won the Masters and he won in Japan (both this year).
“When Tiger is healthy, he can play at a very high level. But he’s not what he used to be consistently. That’s just what age does. But we’ll see when we get to Melbourne.”
The United States go into the tournament as heavy favorites, boasting some of the world’s top-ranked players such as Woods, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas.
They have won all but one edition in the event’s 25-year history, with Melbourne in 1998 the exception.
Els said he had a good idea of what his pairings would be for the opening day of fourballs next Thursday, without giving anything away.
“There are a couple of pairings that are kind of natural pairings, if you can call it that, but I’m looking at it in a different way, not just a personality way.” he said. “I’m looking at how the guys can really perform together.
“I’ve spoken to the players, some of the players already. So my thing is kind of set already, my plan is kind of set in motion already.”
In addition to Scott, Oosthuizen and Leishman, Li Haotong of China, Taiwan’s CT Pan, Mexico’s Abraham Ancer, Australian newcomer Cameron Smith and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama all qualified automatically.
Adam Hadwin and Jason Day were Els’ captain’s picks alongside rookies Im Sung-jae and Joaquin Niemann, although Day has since pulled out injured and been replaced by South Korean An Byeong-hun.


‘Water bottle’ weights lift Abu Dhabi athletes to world record

Updated 03 June 2020

‘Water bottle’ weights lift Abu Dhabi athletes to world record

  • Researchers, students claim Guinness World Record with novel training approach

DUBAI: Using water bottles and school bags full of books as weights helped two Abu Dhabi athletes clinch a Guinness World Record (GWR) in a gruelling physical challenge. 

Eva Clarke and Brandon Chin Loy competed as part of a mixed team to complete 12,502 chest to ground burpees in a 24-hour period, more than double the minimum requirement.

The group, including students from an Abu Dhabi university, attempted the record on May 3 and were told they had succeeded on May 27, the same day some members of the team graduated. 

Clarke, a fitness trainer and mother of three who holds a string of Guinness World Records, told Arab News on Monday that taking part in the latest attempt was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“We started training for this relay event before the lockdown and when the pandemic happened, we thought we had to make the event unique, so we continued to train on Zoom,” she said.

Clarke, who led the fitness classes, held up to 50 workout sessions during the 12-week lockdown, sometimes starting as early as 4:30 a.m.

“Since I had to continue training without access to weights, I made my own by carrying six-packs of water bottles and encouraged the group to do that as well. I am going to miss the online training,” she added.

Clarke’s previous 12 records included most pullups in one hour (female), 12 hours, and 24 hours, equivalent. She also holds titles for the most knuckle pushups in one minute (female), one hour, and 24 hours equivalent, as well as most burpees in 24 hours (female), and 12 hours, most chest to ground pushup burpees in 24 hours (female), and one minute. 

Clarke also completed the fastest marathon carrying a 40 lb. backpack (female) in the 2015 London Marathon.

The burpee, or squat thrust, is a full-body exercise used in strength training and aerobics. The movement is performed in four steps, known as the “four-count burpee.”

The team was joined by two witnesses during their record attempt through a live conference call. 

“For us, the pandemic is no time to turn into a couch potato. Instead, the team challenged each other to double down on their efforts, even if our gym sessions are on hold and we are separated from our teammates,” said Daniel Gill, assistant director of wellness at a UAE university, in a statement by GWR on Sunday.

Brandon Chin Loy, a computer engineering senior at an Abu Dhabi university who broke his first world record, told Arab News on Monday that he set the event as a goal for himself. 

“I trained under Eva, and it was crazy training which used to start at 4:30 a.m.,” he said.

The team trained six times a week and completed 500 burpees an hour along with other cardio exercises, he said.

“We had to get creative with weights, so I packed books in a bag and carried that,” said Chin Loy.

Team member Ivan Camponogara, a researcher in movement science, said: “Coming face to face with physical challenges never seems to deter me. I take on each adversity with a determined mindset and a will to succeed.” 

Shaddy Gaad, senior marketing manager at GWR’s MENA office, said: “They adapted quickly to our newly launched Remote Adjudication service, where we received their application, adjudicated it online, and presented them with the certificate in a chain video.”

Tereza Petrovicova, who celebrated her university graduation and a Guinness World Record on the same day, said: “This cannot be a better day for us. We thank Guinness World Records for accepting remote adjudication. This online feature creates two measures of accountability, and we did not want to be left behind the eight ball.”

Anna Erdi, who also graduated with a degree in psychology, said: “Mind and body are linked together. All it takes is just one decision to change your attitude 180 degrees. Once that decision is taken, normal will be different. It will not be the same normal, but it can be a better normal.”

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