x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

All the jest for the New Year

Robert Philip takes a light-hearted look at what 2009 might bring.

The world No1 golfer Tiger Woods will be looking to come back from his long injury layoff as soon as he can and resume 
his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus' record 18 major titles.
The world No1 golfer Tiger Woods will be looking to come back from his long injury layoff as soon as he can and resume his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus' record 18 major titles.

As Old Father Time rudely bundles 2008 through the back door - "And never darken my house again..." - before turning to welcome 2009 through the front gates, it is time once again to give thought to our sporting heroes' possible New Year resolutions. Sir Alex Ferguson I resolve to say what I mean and mean what I say; no more fence- sitting for this lad... Quite right, too, Fergie. All too often his pronouncements are prone to be misconstrued. Take Sir Alex's reaction to Real Madrid's flirtation with Cristiano Ronaldo, for instance. "What made it really obscene was that Madrid, as General Franco's club, had a history of being able to get whoever and whatever they wanted, before democracy came to Spain..." In other words, they did not play fair.

Tiger Woods Bring Augusta to its knees... The Tiger may be bidding for his fifth Masters' win come April but his best round remains a "modest" seven-under-par 65. But if he were to repeat his lowest score on each of Augusta's 18 holes recorded on his past visits then he is capable of shooting a 21-under-par 51, comprising 15 birdies and three eagles. Impossible, I hear you say. But can anything be regarded as impossible when Tiger steps on to the first tee?

Nick Faldo To buy myself a new CD of Old Blue Eyes singing "My Way". The European golf captain wore out his old copy during the Ryder Cup at Valhalla where, Sinatra apart, the only voice to which he listened was his own. Regrets? Oh, I am sure he had a few but, then again, too few to mention.

David Beckham I must never, EVER report Victoria's super-platinum credit card as having been stolen. As Ilie Nastase explained to the New York police when they came a'calling to reveal that they had apprehended a thief with his then wife's American Express card in his possession: "I didn't want to say anything because whoever had it was spending a damn sight less than Dominique!"

Harry Redknapp I must find a new job; I've been stuck here at White Hart Lane for almost three months now. Our 'Arry is not one for long-term relationships. Consider his recent football marriages and divorces: March 2002 - appointed manager of Portsmouth, Nov 2004 - resigned...Dec 2004 - appointed manager of next-door neighbours Southampton, Dec 3 2005 - resigned...Dec 7 2005 - reappointed manager of Portsmouth, Oct 25 2008 - resigned...Oct 27 2008 - appointed manager of Tottenham. Jan 2009? Dear Real Madrid...

Evander Holyfield I am still young enough to regain the world heavyweight title. When reminded that he was born in 1962, Holyfield is said to have replied: "True. And the delivery room next to my mom's was 1963..." Anna Kournikova To win a tennis title and put an end to all those blonde jokes... Oh, Anna, how could you wish such a thing? According to legend, Anna was trying to unlock the door of her car with a metal coat-hanger one day when Maria Sharapova passed by. "You'd better hurry up, Anna, it's starting to rain and the top's down..."

Roman Abramovich I really should try to be less of a skinflint... With a first-team squad of just 27 galacticos to choose from, the manager Luiz Felipe Scolari could be faced with a serious selection problem should an outbreak of flu sweep through the Chelsea dressing-room. Adriano (Inter Milan), Michael Owen (Newcastle), Andrei Arshavan (Zenit St Petersburg), David Villa (Valencia) and French wonderboy Karim Benzema (Olympique Lyon) are among a long list of rumoured signing targets. However, with five yachts at sea - including his latest £200 million (Dh1.06bn) "James Bond" toy - and a gas bill or two to pay, Abramovich may just be beginning to feel the effects of the credit crunch.