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The nervous nineties - and a record Bolt can't break

Steven Lynch July 29, 2013
Justin Rose and Sir Nick Faldo are two Englishmen to have won majors © Getty Images
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Who was the last Englishman to win the Open Championship? asked Kenneth Sands

Before 2013 the last English winner was 21 years previously - also at Muirfield - when Nick Faldo won the claret jug for the third time. Since then it has been won by a Scotsman (Paul Lawrie in 1999), an Irishman (Padraig Harrington in 2007 and 2008) and an Ulsterman (Darren Clarke in 2011). Faldo won six majors in all - three Opens and three US Masters titles, the last of them in 1996 - since when the only English winner has been Justin Rose in the US Open earlier this year.

There have also been British successes for the Northern Ireland pair of Graeme McDowell (US Open 2010) and Rory McIlroy (US Open 2011 and PGA 2012).

The Wimbledon singles finalist Sabine Lisicki is apparently allergic to grass. Are there any other sportspeople who are allergic to the surfaces they play on? asked Marcus Hawkey

The much-travelled Italian footballer Mario Balotelli also has some sort of allergy to grass - he had to come off at halftime in a Europa League match for Manchester City in 2011 because of it. Golfer Ian Poulter is apparently also allergic to grass, which doesn't seem to have hampered his career too much! The West Indian cricketer Lawrence Rowe scored 214 and 100 not out on his Test debut in 1971-72, but was later diagnosed as being allergic to grass (it rather spoiled his 1973 tour of England). And the British long-jumper Jade Johnson - a silver medallist at the European Championships and Commonwealth Games in 2002 - was allergic to sand, which I always thought was particularly unfortunate as she had to keep jumping into it.

Has anyone ever won the Tour de France without winning a stage in it? asked Lawrence Martin

This is not terribly uncommon: Greg LeMond won the Tour de France in 1990 without winning a stage that year, while Oscar Pereiro did likewise in 2006 (he inherited victory when the origjnal winner, Floyd Landis, was disqualified). Both of them did win stages in other Tours. But the 1956 winner, France's Roger Walkowiak, is unique: he never won a stage at any point in his Tour de France career.

Usain Bolt blew his chances at the 2011 World Championships © Getty Images
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Could Usain Bolt become the first man to win the 100m at the world championships three times running? asked James Weatherhead

No he couldn't, because although he did win the world title in Berlin in 2009, Bolt didn't retain his title in 2011 as he was disqualified for a false start in the final. The gold in Daegu went to his fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake, who won't be defending in Moscow because of injury. In any case Carl Lewis was the first to take a hat-trick of world 100m titles, in 1983, 1987 (after the disqualification of Ben Johnson) and 1991, while Maurice Greene won in 1997, 1999 and 2001. Bolt has won the 200m at the last two world championships, though, and could become the first man to pull off a hat-trick in that event. Allyson Felix won the women's 200m in 2005, 2007 and 2009.

Who was the only boxer to fight Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and George Foreman? asked Bill Daley

This was the durable Canadian heavyweight George Chuvalo, who was never knocked down throughout a professional career that stretched to 93 fights, 73 of which he won. Chuvalo, who was born in Toronto in 1937, lost on points to Ali in 1966 and 1972, while his defeats to Frazier in 1967 and Foreman in 1970 were the only times he failed to last the distance. Chuvalo also fought three other sometime world champions - Floyd Patterson (in The Ring magazine's fight of the year in 1965), Ernie Terrell and Jimmy Ellis.

How many footballers have won 90 or more caps for England but not got to 100? asked Dave Norman

There are only two men in this category, and one might yet make it to three figures: Frank Lampard has so far won 97 England caps. Bryan Robson won 90 caps between 1980 and 1991, while Michael Owen won 89. The Scotland goalkeeper Jim Leighton won 91 caps, while Neville Southall won 92 for Wales. David Healy has won 94 caps for Northern Ireland (the last to date in November 2012) and Mal Donaghy 91.

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