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d they want to play the T20

  • 03 Jun
    导出博客文章RIO DE JANEIRO -- Padraig Harrington was a strong voice in golfs bid to become
    an Olympic sport for the first time in more than a century.And then golfs image
    took a hit as players began dropping out, and the Irishman went quiet.He
    desperately wanted golf to succeed, and that meant unified support from the top
    players. But as they began pulling out -- particularly Rory McIlroy of Northern
    Ireland -- it became personal. Without players withdrawing, he wouldnt have a
    chance to play.I was wearing two hats when it came to this, Harrington said.
    Obviously, I want golf to be a success in the Olympics, but I clearly wanted to
    go. So I wasnt jumping up and down saying, `Guys, you should all go. I was
    staying out of it. Because it is a dream of mine.It becomes a reality when
    Harrington arrives in Rio de Janeiro on Monday and the draw is announced for the
    72-hole competition that starts Thursday and concludes with the first medals
    awarded since 1904 in St. Louis.Golf began its bid process in April 2008, about
    the time Harrington soared to his greatest heights. He repeated as British Open
    champion that year, and then won the PGA Championship to become the first
    European to win back-to-back majors in the modern lineup of Grand Slam
    events.Harrington joined the biggest names in golf -- Tiger Woods, Phil
    Mickelson, Annika Sorenstam -- in a strong pitch to the IOC to put golf back in
    the program. But when the Rio Games rolled around, Harrington was nowhere close
    to qualifying because of three Irish golfers well ahead of him in the world
    ranking.And then McIlroy pulled out, citing the Zika virus. Graeme McDowell
    withdrew because his wife is due with their second child and he didnt want to be
    out of the country. Shane Lowry also withdrew. And now Harrington, the most
    famous of all Irish golfers, is headed to the Olympics.He hasnt even met the
    other Irish qualifier, Seamus Powers, who plays on the Web.com Tour. But he is
    thrilled to have him as a teammate.Id be hoping that the two of us have a chance
    coming down the last nine holes, Harrington said.Why are the Olympics so
    important? Why would a three-time major champion care more about gold than the
    silver claret jug or Wanamaker Trophy?That dates to his teenage years, when
    Harrington was starting to blossom in golf and was invited to three or four
    banquets each winter that honor the best sporting achievements in Ireland and
    feature the heroes of Irish sport over the years.Every sports awards I went to
    from 15 years of age, the first man they called out was a guy named Ronnie
    Delany, who won the 1,500 gold medal in 1956, he said. Every sports award. Thats
    how big a deal it is. I sat there and looked up and this guy ... who is this
    guy? Its a huge deal in Ireland.Harrington can recite the Irish history in the
    Olympics, from Delanys gold medal in Melbourne to Pat OCallaghans two golds in
    boxing in 1928 and 1932, Bob Tisdall in the 1932 Olympics for the 400-meter
    hurdles, even Jack Butler Yeats winning a silver in mixed painting, when art
    competitions were part of the games.So yes, its a huge deal.He even chose to
    sacrifice his standing on the PGA Tour. Harrington played the Travelers
    Championship in Connecticut last week, failing in his bid to move into the top
    125 in the FedEx Cup. There are two events remaining, but hell be in Rio --
    playing one week, watching the next.I normally come back and would play, but I
    think so much of the Olympics, Im going to take a weeks holiday and go to a
    number of events, Harrington said. Its an opportunity of a lifetime to really
    have a great weeks holiday the second week. The first week will be all business
    but hopefully the second week well have a good week.On his agenda are table
    tennis, gymnastics, diving, cycling, boxing.Im sure Im missing out on one or
    two, he said. This is all the second week. So Im trying to do two things a day
    the second week. Im really keen on it. Its really great fun watching all those
    sports. The Olympics ... the pain of losing is exceptional, the joy of winning,
    its right there on the line. So Id watch anything in those circumstances and
    obviously, the Olympics is the pinnacle of it all.He felt that way when he
    lobbied hard for golf to be part of it. And now he gets to take part of it
    himself.To listen to him, this is pure joy.
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    .Y. -- Bills receiver Stevie Johnson has a bone to pick with the NFL
    schedule maker. Joel Garner, the former fast-bowling great who is now West
    Indies team manager, feels players from the region have promise but dont work
    hard enough.Weve always had promising players, weve always had attractive
    players, the problems we have is that, most of the players are identified, I
    dont think they work hard enough, and they fall away, Garner said, in a media
    interaction on Tuesday. I think that if the players are prepared to work as hard
    as they need to work, they can get to the top of world cricket as well.When
    asked which areas the players might need to work harder on, he pointed to the
    lack of long innings and sizeable partnerships, which has been a problem for
    West Indies right through their ongoing Test series against India, apart from
    the final day of the drawn second Test in Jamaica.I think that the longer they
    spend in the middle, the easier the batting becomes, he said. And I think that
    is one area that Id like to see improve, where youd like to see the fellows
    batting long, not only batting long but batting effectively.If you look at it,
    partnerships are important in any cricket game. The reason we were able to save
    the game in Jamaica was we had batting partnerships virtually whole day. If you
    dont get the partnerships, you wont get the performances. Its very important to
    take something away from the game in Jamaica, to look at how we prepare and how
    we can build on it.Garner said the lure of T20 may be hampering West Indies
    younger players coming through the junior ranks.I think that, when you look at
    our cricket, we are challenging maybe up to Under-19s, he said. If you look at
    every world competition, when you look at them, West Indies is there. Where we
    have the challenge is when we go away. I think everybody looks at the T20
    cricket and they want to play the T20 format of the game as opposed to playing
    the longer version of the game, and, you know, it is a matter of choice. Why
    work for five days if you can work for three hours? I think that thats the
    mentality and its something that weve got to try and change in terms of how our
    players look at the cricket and the typee of cricket our players want to
    play.ddddddddddddWhile Garner clarified that he wasnt dissuading players from
    playing T20, he wanted revenues earned from T20 to be invested in the
    grassroots, and for the players to be able to play more first-class cricket. He
    compared the current situation, where domestic players play ten matches a year,
    to the situation of the best West Indies players of his era, who were all
    overseas professionals in county cricket.I dont know about discouraging [players
    from taking part in T20], he said. As I said, T20 cricket is used to raise
    finances for everybody, and I think that if you look at it, that is where we
    should have been trying to say we can, you know, earn some income that we can
    reinvest in our junior cricketers and in our local cricket.We are fortunate that
    we can play ten games now as opposed to five. Are ten games enough in a year?
    When I played, I played 20-somebody or 40-somebody games in a year playing
    county cricket, and that is where the strength of the cricket is - the more you
    play, the more you get accustomed to it, the harder the cricket is, and the more
    professional you become.Asked about the proposal to split Test cricket into two
    tiers, Garner said such a move would keep Test cricket to a chosen few.I wish
    them luck if they want cricket to remain with the big three or the big four, he
    said. You have the two-tier system, I mean, youve got to start someplace, and
    the only way you can get into the two-tier system is by playing against the
    teams that are above you in the table. If you cant play the teams above you on
    the table, how will you get in?So, to me, it begs the question, what purpose
    does it serve? Are you trying to preserve Test cricket or are you trying to keep
    it to a chosen few? I cant answer it for you because you want to preserve Test
    cricket, the only way you can preserve Test cricket is to let people at the
    lower level play against teams above them to be able to compete and to be able
    to progress. ' ' '