Sports Digest, February 27, 2013

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 February, 2013, 4:57am


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Asian golf's turf war puts off HSBC

The political turf war between the Asian Tour and rival OneAsia has created a messy environment that has ruled out the involvement of global golf sponsor HSBC, the bank's head of sponsorship Giles Morgan said. The two golf circuits have been at loggerheads since OneAsia's inception in 2009, with tournaments swapping hands and the Asian Tour fining their members who competed in their rival's events. "We absolutely support that we would want to see a clear hierarchy for golf in Asia, there is so much potential and growth here, but I don't want to be involved in it, no," Morgan said yesterday ahead of the HSBC Women's Champions event, which starts tomorrow. "In this part of the world, it hasn't always been politically plain sailing in golf. We sit above it, so that is not an issue for us." The bank, which said last year that it was not interested in sponsoring the troubled Hong Kong Open, has as it flagship Shanghai's WGC HSBC Champions event, which is run by the International Federation of PGA Tours. "That is why we were delighted to be a World Golf Championship event, the reason we absolutely mandated that," Morgan said. However, last year's tournament did not feature the sport's two top-ranked players, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, who opted to compete in a lucrative head-to-head duel elsewhere in China. Morgan described the snub as "disappointing", but was confident that the new three-year contract extension they had signed would help to avoid a repeat scenario. Reuters


Hart's belief counts for everything in title race

Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart's desire to hold on to the Premier League title is so great that he will not let the small matter of some basic maths get in his way. "Even if there is one game to go and we are 12 points behind, we'll still believe. We've got to," the England international was quoted as saying yesterday. "We've got to keep fighting, you never know." Champions City in fact have 11 games in which to overturn a 12-point deficit, at least mathematically possible if not easy. "We have just got to keep going," Hart added. Reuters


Ferrari confident they will compete from start

Ferrari are unlikely to have the fastest car when the Formula One season starts in Australia next month, but they hope to be close enough for Fernando Alonso to make the difference, according to team principal Stefano Domenicali. "The situation at the moment seems to be alright," the Italian said. "The target is to be close together with the leading cars … I would be very surprised if it was the quickest [car] at the first race. But if we are all close together in a couple of tenths, then the season is really long and everything is possible." Reuters


O'Sullivan ends exile in bid to keep crown

Ronnie O'Sullivan is set to end his snooker exile and defend his world title in April, the English cuemaster announced yesterday. The 37-year-old four-time world champion has played only one competitive match this season after growing disenchanted with snooker, and had until the end of this month to decide whether to defend his title before the entry list closed. He insisted a lack of match practice was no reason to disregard his title chances, saying: "I just thought it was time to come back. I have a different perspective now." AFP