The Sports Matrix: Thursday 19 July 2012


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The Independent Online

Rose ready to flourish despite Woods challenge

Justin Rose begins the Open Championship this morning alongside the Spaniard Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods, but the 31-year-old Englishman is not daunted by the prospect of playing two days with the American former world No 1.

"Once it was a hindrance, which I might have tried to spin into being a help. Now it is just a matter of fact, it's normal," Rose said of playing with Woods. Rose is at a career-high ninth in the world rankings and in form having won the WGC Cadillac Championship at Doral in March.

"I said when I reached 30 that the next 10 years would be my prime and it has started out that way," added Rose, who hopes to emulate Darren Clarke's feat of winning last year's Open. "[Clarke] was 42 when he won his major," he said.

"Hopefully one will come my way. I remember my old coach Nick Bradley saying at 28 that I'd play my best golf at 30 onwards and thinking that was the last thing I wanted to hear. I'm a lot more mature now, and his words have proved wise ones." MORE

Britons on brink of making history

Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Vincenzo Nibali gained time on their overall rivals in the second of three Pyrenean stages. If Wiggins, Froome or both stay in the top three after today, the path is clear for the first GB rider in the race's history to make the podium in Paris. MORE

Wenger to decide if RVP goes on tour

Arsène Wenger will decide tomorrow if Robin van Persie is to travel with Arsenal to Malaysia on Saturday for the first leg of their Asia tour as both parties seek a resolution on his future. Arsenal want in excess of £20m for the striker who is out of contract in a year's time. MORE

Golfers warned against slow play

Players at the Open have been urged to play swiftly. Four and a half hours is the limit for three-balls over the first two days, three hours and 45 minutes for pairings. "We are intent on doing what we can to improve the pace of play," said committee chairman Jim McArthur. MORE

Garcia draws on Seve inspiration

Sergio Garcia will this week seek inspiration from the late Seve Ballesteros, his compatriot who won the first of his three Opens at Royal Lytham. "This place is extremely special for me," said Garcia. "With everything that Seve has done here, and the way he did it." MORE

Sinclairs set to make history

Footballers Scott Sinclair and his brother Martin, who was born with cerebral palsy, are both looking forward to the Games. "It's the first time British brothers have taken part in the Olympics and Paralympics. That makes it more special." MORE

'It's going to be a battle with Steyn'

South Africa have a strong bowling line-up, Dale Steyn is a big reason for that. He bowls an attacking length, always hitting the stumps. He can cause problems for tail-enders. There's no doubt he's one of the best I've faced. MORE

Pietersen left out of World Twenty20

Kevin Pietersen, who has retired from limited-overs cricket, was yesterday left out of England's preliminary squad for the World Twenty20. The list of 30 players will be reduced to 15 before England defend their title in Sri Lanka in September. MORE

Smith focused ahead of first Test

Graeme Smith has seen Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan resign as captains and is aware of the carnage he has wreaked. "I don't take any pride in watching an England captain sitting in tears," he said. "I focus on [captaining] South Africa." MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

David Duval yesterday talked about how it was to own the Claret Jug for a year – and at the same time he warned Luke Donald, Britain's world-ranked No 1, that it may be a lot later than he thinks. MORE