By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly
Welcome to another edition of The Layup Drill. In this edition, we talk about Tiger Woods’ return, a racially-motivated attack, and Pacquiao winning a title.
Tiger Woods is back, from a back injury
After taking an extended leave from golf due to a back injury, Tiger Woods returned to the PGA Tour entering an unofficial tour event in the Bahamas. Woods was focused as he once was when he dominated the sport of golf as the number 1 player in the world. Once thought to break the record for number of major tournament victories, personal problems and nagging physical injuries sidetracked the 40-year-old. Back surgery in 2015 left Woods rehabilitating for most of 2016. He hopes to regain his former form. In his first round of golf on Dec. 1, Woods showed signs of his old self, but rust from inactivity caused him to place 17th out of 18 golfers.
Woods was once thought to be destined to be the greatest golfer in history. Despite his extramarital affairs, which caused a divorce from his wife, Woods continued his career but he has not won a major golf tournament since 2008 when he won the U.S. Open. At 14 major golf tournament victories, Woods still hopes he can surpass the record of 18 golf titles by Jack Nicklaus.
Woods was a joy to watch and brought so many fans to the sport of golf. Woods, who is part Chinese, Thai, Dutch, and Black, has been sidetracked by major injuries, which was due to the way he played golf. Can he make it back to be a top golfer? We will have to wait and see.
Chinese rugby player cleared of wrongdoing in attack
A Chinese college rugby player was cleared of wrongdoing by a court in England after he allegedly kicked a man outside a London bar for calling him a “chink.” 20-year-old Sidney Chan broke a fellow college student’s nose and eye socket. Prosecutors claim that Chan provoked the altercation when he made fun of the student. Chan denies the claim. Security cameras show Chan needing to be held back by friends before kicking the student. Chan stated that the student continued to taunt him.
Chan was charged with one count of wounding with intent. But the security cameras could not show the full altercation. The student admitted to racially taunting Chan.
Although there might not be a perception of Chinese athletes playing rugby, the country is seeking to expand its athletes into the sport in hopes of developing players that may compete at the Olympic level.
Pacquiao returns to win title, Donaire loses title
Manny Pacquiao returned to the ring last month and defeated Jessie Vargas to win the World Boxing Organization welterweight title. Pacquiao, who said that he would retire after his fight against Timothy Bradley last spring but changed his mind, announced his fight against Vargas this fall.
Although Pacquiao knocked down Vargas, he was unable to finish the job and knock him out.
Pacquiao earned a unanimous decision. The fight was the first in some time in which HBO did not distribute via pay-per-view, a sign of the decline in interest in Pacquiao fights. Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, focused more on the international market when promoting the fight. A part of the reason for the decline in Pacquiao’s popularity was due to his remarks about same-sex marriages. Despite backtracking on his statements, the once popular boxer saw the loss of his longtime sponsorship with Nike. Pacquiao wore Anta, a Chinese sportswear brand, to replace the swoosh. Anta was one of the primary sponsors of the event.
In addition, Nonito Donaire, known as “The Filipino Flash,” fought on the undercard of the event.
Unfortunately, Donaire was upset by Jessie Magdaleno and lost his super bantamweight title.
We will likely see both Pacquiao and Donaire fight again. But they currently have issues with their popularity. For Pacquiao, fewer fans are excited to see him as he ages and becomes less of a threat to knock out opponents. Also, he is no longer facing top opponents which would draw more interest. For Donaire, he will need to recoup from his loss.
Jason can be reached at email@example.com.