Watched golf this weekend—no this was not a masochistic endeavor. It was sort of a one-man straw poll on the sport that once rose like a supernova that is now descending like a fallen star.What is watching golf like without Tiger Woods?It’s like having sweet tea without the sugar; like watching Training Day without Denzel; like a Beyonce video that’s too dark to see.Empty.It does not matter the event or the depth of the field. If Tiger Woods is not playing, the panache is absent.It once was considered an overstatement to say that golf lived and died with Tiger Woods. Not anymore. Golf is dying—professionally and recreationally—as Woods makes his descent.Watching Woods play badly is more interesting than seeing world No. 1 Rory McIlroy shoot 62.Who would have thought that a Black man would dominate the sport so significantly that at one point people wondered if it was good for the game that he won so much? Here’s the thing: Everyone won when Woods was at his apex.TV ratings were sky high. Prize money exponentially increased to induce Woods to play and because sponsors were at a premium, knowing Woods was going to fill the course with patrons in record numbers and generate unprecedented TV ratings. Many who never considered the game recreationally began playing, especially in the Black community.Woods made a lot of people a lot of money as a Black man reigning over a traditionally white sport, and doing it with flair.You had to watch. And you began to think you should at least try to play. Even if you weren’t very good—which describes everybody in the beginning.But the worst case scenario happened to the game: Tiger Woods is not playing as he tries to locate a game that has been missing for some time now. His absence and the decline of golf viewership run parallel. It is not a coincidence.Phil Mickelson’s a great American player who does not have the zest of Tiger. McIlroy is as interesting as Irish coffee. A host of young, talented players have no drawing power to the casual, would-be viewer.Television ratings have dipped to levels of the absurd without Woods. The final round of the 2014 Masters lured only 7.8 percent of television viewers. That weekend produced the unique major championship’s smallest TV audience since 1993.Sunday when Tiger does not probably could have been tallied by head count by Neilson.Unless Woods’ game has deteriorated to the point where he wouldn’t want to embarrass himself, he will tee it up next month in Augusta at the Masters. Watch the ratings skyrocket, whether he plays well or not.If, by some amazing reversal, Wood is in contention on Sunday, golf executives around the country would be kissing his spikes. He moves the interest meter like no one in sports has since Michael Jordan.Outside the PGA Tour, golf is losing, too. TaylorMade-Adidas Golf, the world’s biggest maker of golf clubs and clothes, had sales plummet 28 percent last year, its parent company Adidas said to The Washington Post.More stats: Sports & Fitness Industry Association data show those who said they played golf at least once last year has fallen to one of its lowest point in years. Young people—that coveted 18-to-30 demographic—playing golf has fallen an incredible 35 percent over the last decade.And more stats: More golf courses closed than opened in 2013 for the eighth straight year, according to the National Golf Foundation. And the number of course closures has sped up, averaging 137 closings every year since 2011, data from golf-industry researcher Pellucid show—right around the time Woods began to fall apart.“There’s nobody out there who’s going to save us,” Pellucid’s president Jim Koppenhaver said at a Professional Golfers Association of America gathering in January. “We have to save ourselves.”Tiger Woods gave golf a great gift. An identity. A reason to watch. Inspiration to play. All that’s fading now, and the numbers say the descent is in full throttle. As he works to get back to form, the game continues to diminish in stature and interest. Now, you can bet all those who were rooting against Woods are now praying for him to save the sport.
REUTERS/Darren OrnitzFormer Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj passed away at the age of 67 after suffering a cardiac arrest on Tuesday night. During her tenure as a minister, she was very much active on social media and was always offering help. But, she shares an interesting connection with Afghanistani spinner Rashid Khan. During the 2018 season of IPL, Sunrisers Hyderabad faced the Kolkata Knight Riders in a much-awaited clash at the Eden Gardens in the second qualifier of the tournament. The match had a nail-biting finish and Rashid Khan delivered a stand-out performance. The 20-year-old cricketer scored 34 runs off 10 balls and also finished with impressive figures of three wickets for just 19 runs in his quota of four overs.The Afghan all-rounder became the biggest topic of discussion on Twitter that day and there were demands for him to be given Indian citizenship. Then foreign minister Sushma Swaraj took to twitter and made a witty comment. Rashid Khan.IANS”I have seen all the tweets. Citizenship matters are dealt with by Ministry of Home affairs,” her tweet read.In response to that Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani stated that they were not going to let Rashid go and also appreciated India for giving the Afghani players a platform to perform and prove themselves.”Afghans take absolute pride in our hero, Rashid Khan. I am also thankful to our Indian friends for giving our players a platform to show their skills. Rashid reminds us what’s best about Afghanistan. He remains an asset to the cricketing world. No we are not giving him away,” his tweet read.This was not the first time that Swaraj spoke about Afghanistan’s success in international cricket. Earlier in an interview with the PTI, she praised their efforts.”The fact that Afghanistan attained the status of a Test-playing cricket nation is a testament to the indomitable spirit of the people of Afghanistan to not let the forces of death and destruction prevail,” she told PTI.
Chief election commissioner KM Nurul Huda. File photoChief election commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda on Monday urged judicial magistrates to act neutrally to gain people’s confidence and ensure a fair election, reports UNB.”You must be free and fair as you are the judges. You’ll have to apply your judicious minds,” said KM Nurul Huda while briefing the judicial magistrates at election office in Agargaon.The CEC asked the magistrates to perform their duties as per the constitution and law.He said, the election commission is accountable to the nation, constitution, political parties and public for holding a fair election.Some 600 magistrates will perform duty from 29 December to 1 January to ensure a fair election atmosphere, Nurul Huda further said.Election commissioner Mahbub Alam said, it is their aim to make sure no candidate goes to the Jatiya Sangsad without confirming their win through votes.Election commissioners Rafiqul Islam, Kabita Khanam, brigadier (retd) Shahadat Hossain and EC secretary Helaluddin Ahmed also spoke at the briefing.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina speaks in parliament strongly condemning the Sri Lanka terror attacks, before her question-answer session in the House on Wednesday. Photo: PIDPrime minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday urged all to remain vigilant and instantly inform law enforcement agencies of any suspicious terror and militant activity in their respective localities, reports UNB.”I would like to urge the people of the country to remain alert and inform the law enforcement agencies instantly if there’s any abnormal activity,” she said in parliament strongly condemning the Sri Lanka terror attacks, before her question-answer session in the House.The prime minister also called upon people to refrain from such terror and militant activities. “I’ve no word to condemn such terror and militant attacks,” she said, adding that 359 people have so far been killed in the recent series of bomb blasts in Sri Lanka.Sheikh Hasina said some 40 children, including Zayan Chowdhury, a grandson of Awami League presidium member and former health minister Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, were killed in the terror attacks.”I don’t know what they (terrorists) want to achieve through killing innocent people like this. Children are innocent. So, why do they lose their lives?” she said, adding that terrorism and militancy can never bring welfare for the mankind.Noting that Feni madrasa girl Nusrat Jahan Rafi fell victim to manmade terrorism, the prime minister said such brutal activities are very harmful to human beings.She said Islam is a religion of peace, but some people humiliate the religion to the whole mankind carrying out militant activities in the name of Islam.She prayed for salvation of the departed soul of Zayan and others who were killed in the brutal attacks carried out on Easter Sunday.In one of the attacks, Zayan’s father Moshiul Haque Chowdhury Prince (Selim’s son in-law) was also injured severely and he is now undergoing treatment at a Sri Lankan hospital.Prince was not informed of his son’s death yet, said Sheikh Hasina.
Kolkata: In a major revelation in connection with the ATM fraud case, the city police has come to know that the cloning of debit cards used to take place in a neighbouring country. The cloning of cards was done using details stolen from debit cards in Kolkata.The police have come to know about the information after the arrest of Adre Liviu and Cornel Constantine from Indore on Thursday.It has come to light that members of the Romanian gang used to install skimming machines in ATM counters in Kolkata. They used to remove the skimming machine after it had read details of some cards swiped at the ATM counter for any transaction. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThey extracted the stored data from the skimming machines and sent the same to their counterparts in theneighbouring country to prepare the clone cards. It took them around two to two and a half months to prepare a clone card.The cards were then sent to members of the Romanian gang in Delhi and using the same, cash was withdrawn from different ATMs in Delhi.Preliminary investigation has revealed that Adre was the main person in charge of installing the skimming machines at ATM counters. Both Adre and Cornel were close associates of another Romanian national Nana, who was arrested from the Indo-Nepal border on Wednesday by Customs. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedHe was later handed over to Kolkata Police. The police had come to know about Adre and Cornel from Nana.The duo had realised that they would also get arrested after Nana was caught. So they were also trying to flee from the country. The car in which they were travelling was fitted with a GPS system and it enabled the police to track them with the help of Indore Police.Preliminary investigation has revealed that Nana and the duo had connection with their counterparts in the neighbouring country. A shop has also been identified in the neighbouring country, where the cloning of cards used to take place. A team comprising members of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) are in constant touch with the security agency in the neighbouring country and may visit the place to further probe the case.The arrested persons have been brought to Kolkata on Friday and they were produced before the Bankshall Court. The police suspect that there could be more people involved in the crime and officers in the SIT are trying to ascertain the same.