- Ask Steven
Tiger on the prowlSteven Lynch July 9, 2012
I read that Tiger Woods has beaten Jack Nicklaus's record of wins on the American golf tour. Is there anyone ahead of them? asked Peter James
Tiger Woods's two-shot victory in the AT&T National tournament at the Congressional Country Club in Maryland last weekend was his 74th win on the PGA Tour, putting him past Jack Nicklaus, who won 73. Woods started this year with 71 titles, but has now won three this season already, and is not far short of becoming the first golfer to win US$100,000,000 in official prizemoney (he now has $99,037,040; Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson come next with just over $66m). The only man ahead now is Sam Snead, who won 82 official tour titles between 1936 and 1965 (when he won the Greater Greensboro Open aged 52, the oldest Tour champion ever). The other players with more than 50 American Tour wins are Ben Hogan (64), Arnold Palmer (62), Byron Nelson (52) and Billy Casper (51). The next current player is Mickelson, with 40. Nicklaus still leads Woods for Major titles, though, with 18 to 14.
Spain retained the European Championship last week. Has any other nation done this - and has anyone else won the final 4-0 or better? asked Chris Compton
Spain, who also won Euro 2008, are indeed the first nation to retain the European Championship title. West Germany won it in 1972 and 1980, but lost in the final in 1976. The only other countries to reach the final twice running were the Soviet Union, who won the first championship in 1960 but lost to Spain in 1964, and Germany, who lost to Denmark in 1992 but beat the Czech Republic in the 1996 final at Wembley. And 4-0 is a new record margin for the final: West Germany beat the Soviet Union 3-0 in that 1972 final.
I noticed that Maria Sharapova has won all four grand slam singles titles once each. Has anyone else managed this neat career feat? asked Graham Browne
The only other player to have collected each of the four major tennis singles championships - Wimbledon, and the Australian, French and US titles - just once is the American Shirley Fry. She won the French in 1951, Wimbledon and the US titles in 1956, and the Australian championship in 1957, her last major tournament before retiring to get married. Nine other women have achieved the "career slam": Maureen Connolly, Doris Hart, Margaret Court, Billie-Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova (who completed her set at Roland Garros this year). Only seven men have done it: Fred Perry, Don Budge, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Has any boxer beaten both Klitschko brothers? asked Clive Marks
No-one has yet managed to beat both Klitschko brothers, though a few brave people have tried. Wladimir - the current WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion - has lost three of his 60 fights so far, most recently to America's Lamon Brewster for the vacant WBO belt in Las Vegas in April 2004. Before that he lost the WBO title to the South African Corrie Sanders in Hanover in March 2003, and had an early setback in a non-title fight to Ross Puritty, another American, in December 1998. The losses to Puritty and Sanders were avenged by his brother Vitaliy, who beat them both: he defeated Sanders to win the vacant WBC title after Sanders relinquished the WBO one. Vitaliy, the WBC title-holder, has lost only two of his 46 fights - to Chris Byrd in April 2000 (Klitschko had to retire with a shoulder injury), and to Lennox Lewis for the WBC belt in Los Angeles in June 2003 (the fight was stopped on cuts). Byrd, after defeating Vitaliy for the WBO title, lost it to Wladimir in his next fight.
How many gold medals did Great Britain win at the 1948 Olympics in London? asked Jeremy Sponder
Britain will be hoping for a rather better time of it in 2012 than they managed the last time the Olympics were in London, back in 1948. Back then GB managed only three gold medals, two in rowing and one in yachting. Ran Laurie (father of the actor/comedian Hugh) and Jack Wilson won the coxless pairs, and Dickie Burnell and Bert Bushnell won the double sculls, while Stewart Morris and David Bond sailed their Swallow class yacht to victory too. Britain also won 14 silver and six bronze medals. It was a different story when the Olympics were first staged in London, in 1908: helped by the fact that only 22 nations participated, Britain topped the medal table with 56 golds, as well as 51 silver and 39 bronze medals (the USA was next with 23 golds).
Is it true that Patton - of war and film fame - was an Olympic athlete? asked Trevor Macaulay
George S. Patton is best remembered as a Second World War general: he commanded operations in north Africa, Italy, and elsewhere in Europe, ending up in charge of the US Third Army. He died of injuries received in a car crash shortly after the war ended. A film was made of his life in 1970: George C. Scott won an Oscar for his portrayal of the general (and famously refused to accept the award). Before all this, Patton took part in the 1912 Olympics at Stockholm, in the inaugural modern pentathlon competition. He finished fifth, being let down, ironically for a future decorated soldier, by his shooting, in which he finished only 20th of the 37 competitors. Mind you, Patton claimed that some of his bullets had passed through the holes made by his earlier ones: the judges disagreed, saying he must have missed the target completely. Patton was also selected for the 1916 Olympics, but they were not held because of the First World War.