- August 19 down the years
Mickelson misses out in record-breaking Major
At the US PGA, Phil Mickelson shot 266, the second-lowest total in any Major golf tournament. Unfortunately for him, the lowest ever was David Toms's 265 on the same day. They were one and two on the leaderboard before the final round, with Toms two shots clear. At the very last hole, a monster 490-yard par-four, Toms found the rough and was 90 yards from the hole with Mickelson only 30 feet away from it. But Toms took a sand wedge and his third shot spun back to within eight feet. It was the only Major he ever won. The left-handed Mickelson started accumulating them at last in 2004 (April 11).
Four more gold medals for Britain at these very successful Olympic Games.
There were the usual two on the cycling track, where British riders won both the sprints.
When the IOC removed the kilometre time trial from the schedule (August 20), Chris Hoy simply switched events - and won three of them. This was the third. After the keirin (August 16), he led another British one-two in the individual sprint. In the final, he faced 20-year-old Jason Kenny, who was 12 years younger than Hoy and helped him win the team sprint ( August 15.). The first race was close, Hoy winning it by only half a wheel. But he dominated the second, giving a victory salute before he crossed the line. Hoy was the first British competitor to win three golds at one Olympic Games since swimmer Henry Taylor a hundred years earlier (July 25).
In the women's event, Victoria Pendleton was the reigning world champion. But she was used to having other strings to her bow, winning world titles in the keirin and team sprint. They were excluded from these Olympics, so she was left with only one event. But she kept her nerve to win it decisively. In the final against the formidable Australian Anna Meares, Pendleton won both races easily, leading out in the first and coming from behind in the second. Victory didn't dampen her righteous anger: "The fact the men have seven events on the track and we only have three, I think that's sick to be honest, I think something really does need to be done about that."
On the athletics track, Christine Ohuruogu won the 400 metres - and it wasn't a surprise by now. The year before, after completing a one-year suspension for missing three drug tests, Ohuruogu led a shock British one-two at the World Championships ahead of Nicola Sanders. There was still the small matter of a lifetime ban from the Olympics, imposed by the British authorities on anyone who failed or missed drug tests - but it was conveniently overturned in Ohuruogu's case when she threatened to run for another country. At the Games, she came through down the home straight to shock the favourite, America's Sanya Richards, who tied up badly and finished only third behind Shericka Williams of Jamaica. Ironically, improved drug testing had something to do with Ohuruogu's 49.62 seconds being the slowest winning time since 1972.
Out on the open water at Qingdao, Paul Goodison kept up Britain's excellent showing in the sailing events. The last race of the light and nippy Laser class was effectively a one-to-one with Rasmus Myrgren, though the Swede needed a near-miracle: he had to win the race while Goodison finished tenth and last. In the end, Myrgren finished out of the medals while Goodison's gold made up for his fourth place in 2004.
Mo Farah became the first British man to run the 5000 metres in under 13 minutes at the Diamond League meeting in Zurich. A time of 12:57.94 was only good enough for fifth place, but it obliterated the 28-year-old British record set by David Moorcroft in Oslo in 1982.
Lee Trevino (born December 1, 1939) was 44 when he won today's US PGA. But even at his advanced age, he was four years younger than Gary Player (November 1,1935), who finished runner-up after leaving himself too much to do. In the first round, Player shot 74 to Trevino's 69, and although Player equalled the Major record with 63 in the second, Trevino's consistent scoring (69-68-67-69) kept him at bay. Leading by two shots before the final round, Supermex stretched his final margin to four. It was his sixth Major title, ten years after the fifth (the PGA again August 11) and sixteen years after his first.
Bobby Nicholls didn't always have much luck. At high school, he was paralysed after a joy ride. In 1975 he was struck by lightning. But when he avoided injury, he had one big moment in golf. At the US PGA, he took command with an opening round of 64, which equalled the Major record at the time. He dropped to 71 in the second and had Arnold Palmer breathing down his neck going into the last. But Nicholls kept his cool to shoot a really admirable 67, two shots better than Palmer and enough to hold off Jack Nicklaus, whose own 64 came too late to matter. If you're going to win only one Major in your career, beating Arnie and the Bear into joint second isn't a bad way to do it.
Gail Emms and Nathan Robertson won Olympic silver medals in badminton. But they should have been gold. In the final against defending champions Gao Ling and Zhang Jun, the British pair were thrashed 15-1 in the first game but did wonderfully well to take the second 15-12. Soon after leading 11-8 in the third, Robertson played a casual shot from the back - and changed the course of the match. The Chinese pair won six points in a row on their way to retaining the title 15-12.
Britain's Olympic champion Sally Gunnell set a world record in winning the 400 metre hurdles at the World Championships. As in the Olympics, she beat Sandra Farmer-Patrick into second place, but this time only just. Gunnell closed in after the last hurdle and caught the American on the line. The winning time of 52.74 seconds trimmed 0.20 from the seven-year-old world record. Bronze medallist Margarita Ponomaryeva from Russia was also a former world record holder, clocking 53.58 back in 1984. At the next World Championships (August 11, 1995), Gunnell was at trackside to interview the girl who broke her record.
The first man to run the 110 metres hurdles in under 13 seconds. Renaldo Nehemiah had been denied his big chance of gold when the USA boycotted the Moscow Olympics. Now he ran 12.93 in Zurich to break the world record of exactly 13.00 he'd set two years before. All these years later, it's still a time of the highest world class.
On the same day in the same stadium, Seb Coe regained the world record for the mile. In 1979, he'd run 3 minutes 49.0, a time broken by Steve Ovett's 3:48.8 the following year. Today Coe clocked 3:48.53 - and there was still some swapping to come before the month was over (August 26).
Mike Tyson won his comeback fight. Four years after his arrest and imprisonment for rape, he earned $25 million for a brief encounter with journeyman Peter McNeeley. When McNeeley's trainer stepped into the ring after his fighter had been knocked down twice. the fight had been going less than one and a half minutes. While Tyson was making $281,000 a second, McNeeley earned half a million all told.
James Tomkins was born. One of the greatest oarsman of all time, he was the only one to win world titles in five different events: coxed and coxless pairs, coxed and coxless fours, and the eights. Seven world titles in all, plus three Olympic golds from 1992 to 2004 (though only a bronze in his home town Sydney in 2000), two of them alongside Drew Ginn (born November 20,1974).
Lewis Jones scored in all four ways for the British Lions. A brilliant attacking full-back in the days when they were expected to be defenders first and last, he was only 19 when he flew out as a replacement in time to kick five points in a narrow defeat by the All Blacks in Auckland. Now he converted two tries, scored one himself, and landed two penalties and a drop goal as the Lions beat Australia 19-6 in Brisbane. A week later, Jones added another conversion and penalty in the 24-3 win in Sydney.