#1 Monday he would follow the lead of McIlroy, Day an von mary123 27.08.2019 11:17

Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty has criticised the scheduling of next years 10-match British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand, saying it is not sustainable for players.The touring team are due to depart before the Premiership and PRO12 finals, with the first match taking place on the same weekend as the Top 14 final in France -- a clash which could rule out Toulons Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny.But McCaffertys main concern is the length of the tour so soon after the gruelling domestic season.It is going to be very difficult next year, he told the Observer. It is a punishing schedule and I do not know why it was signed up to. Ten games over that period is a lot and there will be difficulty for players coming off that tour going into the 2017-18 Premiership.The Lions is in the mix as we move towards the season structure post-2019. It is a fabulous brand and an important part of the economics for the southern hemisphere. It should carry on but it is not sustainable that players can go through a club and international season, be involved in that scale of tour and then be in shape for the following season.People involved in the Lions need to listen. Do you need to play that number of midweek games when the economics are driven off the back of three Tests in the main? Nothing can be done about next year but then the agreement will be up and things need to be worked out.The first game of the 10-match series is scheduled for June 3, 2017, with the final fixture coming against the All Blacks on July 8. TROON, Scotland -- Rory McIlroy still considers himself a full-fledged member of the Fab Four.No chance hell get kicked out of the group, certainly not without putting up quite a fight.As if to show hes still as relevant as ever among golfs elite players, even as he approaches the two-year mark since the last of his major titles, McIlroy pulled no punches Tuesday leading to the British Open at Royal Troon.He called out golf for its lax drug-testing procedures and questioned the relevance of his sport being part of the Olympics, saying he wasnt even sure hed watch it on television.And, if there was any doubt that he still deserves to be mentioned in the same breath with Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth, McIlroy pointedly reminded everyone how they rank in terms of majors.Ive got four major championships, and Id love to add to that tally, he said, just as those guys would love to add to their one or two majors that they have and just keep going.Message received.McIlroy missed last years British Open at St. Andrews after tearing a ligament in his left ankle playing soccer with his buddies, denying him a chance to defend the title he won in 2014.I guess its the start of a new chapter for me in the Open championship, he said. Im determined not to miss any more, for the foreseeable future anyway.Hes even more eager to add another major title to his trophy case.Two years ago, McIlroy followed up his victory at Royal Liverpool by winning again in the PGA Championship. He was the most dominant golfer in the game, the guy everyone else was chasing as Tiger Woods faded from view. But golf is a fickle game, and players such as Woods, who remain on top for years at a time, dont come along very often.In 2015, Spieth surged to the pinnacle by winning the Masters and the U.S. Open, and just missing out on a playoff at St. Andrews. Before the year was out, Day had claimed his first major title at the PGA Championship, holding off Spieth.Then, at this years U.S. Open, it was Johnsons turn to shine. After some excruciating near-misses in the biggest events, he finally claimed his first major with a dazzling display at Oakmont.The game is in a great state, said defending British Open champion Zach Johnson, one of only two players outside the Fab Four to win at the past eight major championships. Great, young talents carrying it and pushing it. I dont know if theres a ceiling, but if there is, it seems like its being nudged a little bit higher month after month, year after year.Even though McIlroy hasnt been a serious contender at the majors since his victory at Valhalla, McIlroy sees no reason for concern. Hes still only 27, an enormous talent who surely has some of his best golff still in front of him.ddddddddddddHe rolled his eyes when someone mentioned a reference in the British media that he was on the verge of becoming the Ringo of the Fab Four.Probably the first time Ive been compared to the Beatles, he said, managing only the hint of a smile. Im happy where my game is. I cant worry about other guys. If I focus on myself and make sure that Im playing the best that I can, Im pretty confident that ... Im going to win more times than not.McIlroy has other things on his mind as well.He called on golfs major governing bodies to step up their anti-doping efforts, which he said are limited to a handful of urine tests each year.I could use HGH and get away with it, so I think blood testing is something that needs to happen in golf just to make sure that it is a clean sport going forward, he said. If golf is in the Olympics and golf wants to be seen as a mainstream sport as such, it has to get in line with the other sports that test more rigorously.Ahh, the Olympics.So far, its been the predominant story line in the buildup to the golfs oldest major championship, with Spieth announcing Monday he would follow the lead of McIlroy, Day and Johnson by not playing in Rio next month when the sport rejoins the Summer Games for the first time since 1904.All of them cited concerns over the Zika virus as the primary reason for staying away. But, while Spieth said Tuesday it was probably the hardest decision Ive ever had to make in my life, McIlroy was much more cavalier about skipping the Olympics.I dont think it was as difficult a decision for me as it was for him, McIlroy said. I dont feel like Ive let the game down at all. I didnt get into golf to try and grow the game. I got into golf to win championships and win major championships.That was clearly a shot at golfs Olympic boosters, who have said its the best way to spread the sport to nontraditional areas, with South America being at the forefront this year.But McIlroy made it clear hes not in that camp. In fact, he made it sound as if golf doesnt belong in the Olympics at all.Im very happy with the decision that Ive made and I have no regrets about it, McIlroy said. Ill probably watch the Olympics, but Im not sure golf will be one of the events I watch.So, what will he watch?Probably, he replied, the events like track and field, swimming, diving -- the stuff that matters.Another zinger from a player who has no intention of fading away.---Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/paul-newberry . ' ' '

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