We are edging closer to the release of Football Manager 2020 on November 19, meaning new elements and features of the game are seeing the light of day.

That also means talk of those precious 'wonderkids' is starting, as managers look to get a head start on which young talents to snap up early instead of forking out massive sums for the same kids a few years down the line.

A player's potential is never a guarantee of future success. Injuries, a lack of faith from the manager or poor mentality can cause havoc with so-called 'hot prospects'.

Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo Goes, Jadon Sancho and Kai Havertz are all 'wonderkid' certainties, but only a select few clubs will ever be able to afford them.

But, with the right guidance, the following lesser-known players could prove to be similarly smart acquisitions and cost significantly less...

Dillon Hoogewerf - Manchester United

A 16-year-old forward, Hoogewerf was one of the hottest prospects in Ajax's academy before Manchester United snapped him up ahead of this season. A silky dribbler and all-round attacking threat, he promises to be a talent would-be United bosses will want to focus on the development of. On the flipside, youngsters don't always reach their potential at the biggest clubs, meaning he might prove an interesting option to smaller sides… if you're patient.

Pedrinho - Corinthians

The latest - after Vinicius and Rodrygo - in a long line of Brazilian talents to be dubbed the 'next Neymar', Pedrinho looks destined for the top. An outrageously skilful attacker who usually plays out wide for Corinthians, the 21-year-old likes to come in off the right flank and on to his left foot, as he relishes a shot after beating his man. Comparisons with Arjen Robben are understandable, but the quicker you make a move, the less you'll have to stump up.

Sandro Tonali - Brescia

Given Tonali now has a full season of professional football under his belt, he's likely to be one of the hardest to attain from this list. Nevertheless, he is still at Brescia despite links with the big Italian clubs, therefore making him a tantalising proposition if you've got a bit of a budget to play with. Dubbed the 'next Andrea Pirlo', Tonali is a deep-lying midfielder who possesses a brilliant range of passing. He will also be among the very best teenagers right at the start of the game.

Antonio Marin - Dinamo Zagreb

A favourite of many on FM19 due to his immense potential and relatively low cost, left-winger Marin should still be a hot prospect and fairly attainable. He made seven league appearances for Dinamo last season, most of them coming in the final few months of the campaign, so his fee is unlikely to have rocketed just yet. Securing the 18-year-old in a deal that sees him remain in Croatia on loan for a season could be wise for his development, particularly if Dani Olmo is sold in the first few months of the game.

Devyne Rensch - Ajax

As you might expect from an Ajax academy product, Rensch is calm and composed in possession and a fine reader of the game from centre-back. He has already signed professional terms despite being only 16, so you won't be able to poach him like United have done with Hoogewerf, but he certainly shouldn't be considered unattainable. Similarly, Perr Schuurs is another interesting option at centre-back, though at 19 and now exposed to first-team football with the Dutch champions, he could be trickier to acquire.

Julian Aude - Lanus

Although Argentinian football can truly be a treasure trove of promising talent, work permits are often an issue for many players, particularly if they're young. But with Aude you shouldn't have such problems, as the 16-year-old also has Italian citizenship. The Lanus academy product has impressed with Argentina's youth sides due to his remarkable technical wizardry for a full-back, while he's also a tenacious competitor. Obviously, his age makes Aude a gamble, but he'll be affordable for many and there's little doubt about his potential, it's just a case of nurturing him.

Bryan Gil - Sevilla

The production line that nurtured Jesus Navas, Antonio Puerta, Sergio Ramos and Jose Antonio Reyes has gone a little stagnant in recent years, but Bryan arrived on the scene last term and made 11 substitute appearances in LaLiga, making an impact on the left flank in most - if not all - of them. Unless you want him on loan, he'll be difficult to sign initially for smaller clubs, but if he does become a realistic target at any point, he will provide a strong option as an out-and-out, old-fashioned left winger.

Odin Thiago Holm - Valerenga

A technically gifted central midfielder, Holm, 16, is yet to make a splash in the Valerenga first team. However, he is very highly rated in Norway, with his ability on the ball and eye for a pass drawing comparisons – perhaps predictable, given his name – with Bayern Munich star Thiago Alcantara. Considering his relative unknown status and the fact he is not playing in one of the more fashionable leagues, Holm would likely be a cheap, low-risk purchase that could really pay dividends down the line for managers aiming for a long stay.

Fernando Ovelar - Cerro Porteno

It's still to be confirmed if Ovelar will be on the game, as he is only 15. However, he has already made nine appearances for Cerro Porteno in Paraguay and scored his first goal in November 2018 when he was just 14, making him the Paraguayan Primera Division's youngest scorer and appearance maker. Although it's still early days in his career, he's a skilful and gifted forward, and if you fancy yourself as a manager adept at bringing youth talents through to the first team, he could be a shrewd investment.

Ronaldo Camara - Benfica

Already a regular for Benfica's Under-19s despite being 16, Camara is a potential diamond. A well-rounded attacking midfielder, the Guinea-Bissau native is not your average playmaker. He has a fine range of passing and can certainly dribble, but he is also a tireless worker and loves to tackle. Benfica are famous for selling cheaply acquired talents for huge sums and Camara looks to be of the same ilk… unless you can get him early.

The last time England faced South Africa at a World Cup with a Farrell playing as the designated goal kicker at inside-centre, Andy Farrell only took kick-offs.

In 2007, the defending champions went into a pool-stage encounter at the Stade de France with an injury crisis in midfield. Both Jonny Wilkinson and Olly Barkley were unavailable, thrusting Mike Catt into his first international outing at fly-half for eight years.

Outside him was the Wigan Warriors rugby league great who Saracens, with no little financial help from the Rugby Football Union, had persuaded to switch codes. Injuries and prolonged conjecture over what would prove his best position meant Farrell's transition had been far from smooth.

The knives sharpened further as an abysmal England were crushed 36-0. The experiment had failed. What a waste of money. A gritty, back-to-basics line-up with Farrell consigned to the bench recovered to reach the final and lose a more competitive rematch 15-6.

Twelve years later, the on-going returns might mean the RFU have never spent cash so shrewdly, even if Farrell Jr was obviously not a part of the initial grand plan.

Rugby league royalty

"He was kicking and screaming when we came down here," Andy Farrell told the Daily Mail, when recalling his son Owen's reaction to the family's 2005 move from Wigan to Hertfordshire for the switch to Saracens.

"He didn’t want to leave Wigan because he was playing league. But that lasted about two weeks."

By virtue of his father alone, Owen Farrell's lineage is one of rugby league royalty.

A Wigan regular at 16, a Great Britain international at 18 and captain of his country three years later, Andy Farrell was the loose forward, goal-kicking titan of a Warriors team that won six league titles and four Challenge Cups during his 13 seasons there.

Throw in Owen's rugby apprenticeship at the town's celebrated St Patrick's club and the fact his maternal uncle is current Wigan captain Sean O'Loughlin and it is easy to see how tightly those ties seemed to bind.

"We planned for him to go back up north on the train every weekend, to carry on playing league," Andy explained.

"He did that once or twice but then I took him to training at Saracens and he soon forgot what he was missing out on."

Hot-housed talent

Speaking to the Mirror last month, Wilkinson recalled Owen Farrell and his partner in England's creative department George Ford as eager teenagers along for the ride at the 2007 World Cup.

Ford's father Mike was England's defence coach at the tournament having been part of the backroom team at Saracens, essentially plotting a path for Andy Farrell as an esteemed former league player who became a high-end union tactician.

“When you look at the calibre of rugby talent in their fathers it comes as no surprise to me what those two have become," Wilkinson said.

"It is no surprise those guys are exploring stuff that we did not get near until we were much older."

Running to fetch Wilkinson's practice balls was virtually second-nature to Farrell. Watching elite training sessions and joining in wherever and whenever he could was something he had done from infancy.

“Faz brought him down from a really early age – it must have been five or six. He always had a rugby ball in his hands – he was destined to play the game,” former Wigan full-back Kris Radlinski told the Express in 2013.

"The players made it a comfortable environment for him. At the end of training, we would start catching and kicking a ball around with Owen. He became one of the lads."

Playing in tandem, as they will in Saturday's World Cup final, Owen Farrell and George Ford lend England an uncommon flair, one forged in the everyman surrounding of league's heartlands in the north of the country – a long way removed from union's public-school tradition.

Big Faz and Little Faz

Owen and George transferring their league-reared and hot-housed skills gave them an advantage racing through England's age-group teams before becoming the heartbeat of Eddie Jones' seniors.

As Andy Farrell discovered more than a decade ago, making the switch in the autumn years of your career is an altogether different challenge.

"He is getting to grips with it but it is probably a bit too late, with his age, to be where he wants to be," Mike Ford said in the aftermath of his friend's South Africa ordeal in 2007.

An international career effectively finished at the end of the tournament, it might have been tempting to return to the loving bosom of league – see Sam Burgess' understandable decision after England's 2015 World Cup campaign went south with him playing inside-centre and scapegoat.

But, despite speculation sometimes hinting in that direction, Andy Farrell's interest in coaching was already piqued and he had a son making waves in the Saracens academy. This was no time to walk away, something his innate determination might never have allowed in the first place.

By 2008, "Big Faz" and "Little Faz", as they were known at Wigan, were part of the same Premiership first-team squad under Jones. Since retiring in 2009, Andy Farrell has become one of the most respected defence coaches in the sport thank to stints with Saracens, England, the British and Irish Lions, Munster and Ireland. He will replace Joe Schmidt as Ireland's head coach when they return to action after the World Cup.

Owen Farrell has won five Premierships with Sarries, three European titles, starred on his second Lions tour in 2017 and risen to become his country's Mr Dependable and captain across an international career where – for now, at least – a 2016 Six Nations Grand Slam is the highlight in terms of honours.

As ferocious in the tackle as he is metronomic from the kicking tee, Owen has quietly become an inspirational leader in his father's mould. Something outlandish will have to happen in Saturday's final for his smirking stare down of the Haka before England's semi-final evisceration of New Zealand not to be the image of the tournament.

"I was always watching dad lift trophies," Owen Farrell told the Daily Mail in 2013. "That made me want to do what he does."

This weekend, the major prize that eluded his father and one that could not have felt further away on that bleak Paris night against the Springbok will be close to Owen's grasp. A would-be centrepiece in the dynasty building of the Farrells: rugby league and rugby union royalty.

When Rassie Erasmus took over as South Africa head coach just a year and a half before the Rugby World Cup, the former Springbok knew he had taken on a "huge task".

Erasmus already had more than enough on his plate as South Africa's director of rugby, a role with a wide-ranging remit.

The 47-year-old was still getting his feet under the table in that job when Allister Coetzee's turbulent reign as head coach was brought to an end in February 2018.

Erasmus agreed to the challenge of turning around the fortunes of a Springboks side who had won only 11 of Coetzee's 25 games in charge and dropped to sixth in the world rankings.

"It is a huge task to coach the Springboks and I am very privileged," Erasmus said.

"I really believe we have the players and the rugby IP [intellectual property] to turn things around and to mount a serious challenge at next year's Rugby World Cup."

Even the most optimistic fans of the Springboks might have raised eyebrows over such positive comments from the new head coach.

Yet the potential was there to see in a 2-1 home Test series defeat of England, led by Siya Kolisi after he was named as South Africa's first black captain.

A shock defeat of New Zealand followed last September and South Africa dethroned the All Blacks to win the Rugby Championship just a month before facing Steve Hansen's side in their first match of the World Cup.

Although Steve Hansen's two-time defending champions won that World Cup opener at International Stadium Yokohama almost six weeks ago, it is the Springboks who will contest the final with England at the same venue on Saturday.

Cheslin Kolbe has established himself as one of the most lethal wings in the world after being handed a debut last September, while Faf de Klerk is among the recalled players to have thrived under Erasmus after the 30-cap eligibility rule for overseas-based stars was scrapped.

Erasmus has turned South Africa into an uncompromising, well-drilled side, possessing relentless and brutal physicality, with explosive backs and busy scrum-half De Klerk pulling the strings.

Hooker Bongi Mbonambi said: "Rassie has made a massive difference. That difference has not just been to the South Africa team because his decisions have affected the whole nation.

"He is a coach who has an honest opinion about every player and he is not someone who does things behind closed doors but does it openly and everyone knows about it.

"Players have respect for someone who is honest and open and says what he is looking for. It gives you more freedom to go out there and express yourself. He does not put you in a box and that has been one of his outstanding features."

Erasmus will relinquish his head coach duties after the showdown with England this weekend and, regardless of the outcome, he has lifted the gloom and made a proud rugby nation a major force once again.

"Take it back".

It is not a complicated slogan. But it is one the Houston Astros took on before this year signifying one thing: they wanted to take the title back after failing to repeat as World Series champions in 2018.

Taking that into account, there is no other way to look at the 2019 season for the Astros than as one of failure.

With Houston's 6-2 loss to the Washington Nationals on Wednesday, the Astros fell in seven games in the World Series. It is a second-place finish for Houston, something this team wanted no part of during the year.

"It was a good year," Alex Bregman said before the start of the playoffs. "But none of that means anything now. It's all about the postseason."

He continued: "In this game, when we show up to spring training, we're not worried about winning the Hank Aaron award or MVP. We're worried about winning a World Series. The only MVP award we worry about is the World Series MVP."

Bregman went 0 for three in the Game 7 loss and six for 32 (.188) in the series.

The 2019 season was about one thing for the Astros: winning. It was not about winning their first title, it was about winning another one. It was about getting back to the World Series and winning a second title in three years; something that the San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox and St Louis Cardinals have all done since the start of the millennia.

Wednesday's loss was a failure. Not a failure for one game, but a failure over 180.

Gerrit Cole's Game 5 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, in which he struck out 10 batters while allowing one run in eight innings, does not matter anymore. Jose Altuve's walk-off homer against the New York Yankees to win the pennant is a distant memory now.

Former Astros catcher Brian McCann put it best after throwing out the first pitch in Game 1 of the World Series: "When you win a championship somewhere, it's special. It lives on forever."

But it is the Nationals who claimed this year's title. The Astros won 117 games but they were not crowned the champions.

The reasons why are simple: Justin Verlander went 0-2, Houston went 15 for 57 (.263) with runners in scoring position including one for eight in Game 7, the Astros overexposed Will Harris as he gave up two huge home runs in Games 6 and 7 and they went 0-4 at Minute Maid Park – losing four games in a row at home for the first time all season.

Were the Astros great this year? Absolutely. Were they the best team in baseball? You can certainly make that argument.

But if Houston are put on the spot and asked after this series if this season was a failure, they can answer with only one word: Yes.

The Washington Nationals are the 2019 World Series champions.

A team that started the year 19-31 are walking away with the Commissioner's Trophy this season, while a 107-win Houston Astros have been left empty-handed.

So how did this Astros team that had the best wRC+ since the 1927 New York Yankees and a rotation featuring the likely first- and second-place finishers in the American League Cy Young race fail to win a championship?

The reason is simple: the Nationals beat them. So how did they beat them? Here are a few ways.

 

Why the Nationals won the World Series

Rendon and Soto were the best position players in the series

This is not up for debate. While Alex Bregman might win the AL MVP, George Springer has a World Series MVP already under his belt, Carlos Correa was a Rookie of the Year and Jose Altuve was the MVP in 2017, Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon were without a doubt the two best players in this series.

These two men combined to go 17 for 56 (.303) with five home runs and 14 RBIs in the World Series. They were constant threats every time they stepped up to the plate and went 12 for 33 (.363) on the road. They hit four of their five home runs at Minute Maid Park.

There is little doubt who the best position players in this series were.

Strasburg etched his name into the postseason record books

Stephen Strasburg is basically Sandy Koufax in the playoffs. That is a bold statement but statistically, it is true. Koufax went 4-3 with a 0.95 ERA with 61 strikeouts in 57 innings in his postseason career. Strasburg is now 6-2 with a 1.46 ERA with 71 strikeouts in 55.3 innings. In this postseason alone, he went 5-0 with a 1.98 ERA in six games (five starts). He struck out 47 batters in 36.3 innings.

While Rendon and Soto were the best position players, Strasburg was undoubtedly the best pitcher.

They were road warriors

Coming into series, the Nationals were pretty good on the road this season and in the playoffs. They went 43-38 during the regular season away from home and 4-1 on their way to winning the pennant.

That success continued Wednesday as the Nationals won their fourth game in as many attempts at Minute Maid Park this series. That was the absolute difference. The Astros had home-field advantage — which should have mattered considering they were 60-21 at home in the regular season — but the Nationals were the team that played better in Houston.

The Astros were helpless at home, scoring a total of 11 runs in four games. The Astros' ineptitude at the plate had something to do with that, but Washington's pitching did too. While the Astros certainly contributed to the Nationals' road success, tons of credit have to go to Washington for playing their guts out on the road.

Lewis Hamilton will again go looking for a sixth Formula One title at the United States Grand Prix this week.

The Briton won in Mexico last time out but could not finish far enough ahead of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas to clinch the drivers' championship.

However, Hamilton needs only to finish eighth or better to celebrate in Austin, while he will be handed the title regardless of his finish if Bottas fails to win.

Hamilton has had championship success in the United States before, as we learn with this week's F1 numbers, courtesy of Opta.
 

2 - Hamilton could become the first driver to claim the title in the United States twice. Jack Brabham (1959), Jochen Rindt (1970), Emerson Fittipaldi (1974) and Hamilton (2015) have all celebrated Stateside previously.

6 - Hamilton has the most wins in the United States and is just one pole away from Ayrton Senna's record of five at this event.

10 - The defending champion has 10 race wins this season, putting him just one short of his best career haul of 11 in a campaign (2014 and 2018).

17 - Hamilton, like Michael Schumacher, has 17 career victories in the Americas, meaning he could take the outright record this weekend.

7 - All seven previous winners in Austin have started from the front row, with three of them on pole.

3 - Mercedes have won the past three races (Hamilton in Russia and Mexico, Bottas in Japan) without starting from pole – their best ever such run.

9 - Only one driver has ever claimed more pole positions in a season without winning the title than Charles Leclerc's seven so far. That was Ronnie Peterson's nine in 1973. Leclerc, who is tied with Juan Pablo Montoya in 2002, has also contributed five of six consecutive Ferrari poles – one short of their all-time record run.

100 - Max Verstappen will race his 100th grand prix – as will Carlos Sainz.

8 - The United States Grand Prix has had eight different circuits – the most in F1 history – while Austin will host the race for the eighth time. Only Watkins Glen (15) has hosted this event more often.

England were stunning winners against New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals, destroying the title ambitions of the mighty defending champions.

A 19-7 triumph last Saturday sets up Eddie Jones' side for a shot at South Africa in the final, and already England are being tagged as firm favourites.

But the Springboks side that edged past Wales to reach the showpiece match will have plenty to say about the destination of the trophy this weekend.

And history is littered with examples of teams bringing out their best for semi-final matches, only to fall short on the big day.

Here is a look at some of the notable occasions when sides have not saved their best until last.

1987: Rugby World Cup - France stun hosts, surrender to All Blacks

In the days before World Cup semi-finals were automatically played in super stadia, Sydney's modest Concord Oval staged Australia's semi-final against France. A thriller was locked at 24-24 going into the dying moments, with Michael Lynagh having missed kicks to put the game to bed, when a jaw-dropping French attack resulted in Serge Blanco diving in at the left corner for the winning try. France were ecstatic, through to the first World Cup final, but New Zealand were behemoths lying in wait and the Eden Park final was a one-sided affair, the All Blacks powering to a 29-9 victory.

1999: Rugby World Cup - Quelle horreur! France falter at the last again

Jean-Claude Skrela's apparently formidable French swept through the group stage unscathed before dropping 47 points on Argentina and - mon dieu! - demolishing the All Blacks 43-31 in the semi-finals. France scorched back from 24-10 behind to sink the Kiwis in a Twickenham classic, inspired by the brilliant kicking of Christophe Lamaison and the gallivanting Christophe Dominici. Having edged out South Africa a day earlier, the Wallabies had considerably more left in the tank than Les Bleus when it came to the final, Rod Macqueen's men roaring to glory as 35-12 winners on the back of 25 points from the boot of Matt Burke and tries from Ben Tune and Owen Finegan.

2003: Premiership - Twickenham agony for dominant Gloucester

Gloucester looked bankers to be crowned kings of English rugby for the first time, after a stunning 2002-03 regular season saw them finish 15 points clear of distant nearest rivals Wasps at the pinnacle of the Premiership. Nigel Melville's side were far and away the best team over the campaign but then collapsed when it mattered most. The Cherry and Whites went straight into the final, which was the privilege at the time for the table-toppers, with Wasps and third-placed Northampton scuffling it out in a single semi-final for the right to join them. Wasps edged that game and then the side captained by Lawrence Dallaglio defied all logic by thumping Gloucester 39-3 at Twickenham to take the trophy.

2007: Premiership - Cherry and Whites off colour as Tigers pounce

Dean Ryan this time led Gloucester to the top of the Premiership table, albeit only marginally ahead of Leicester, but again there was crushing disappointment around the corner. A seven-try, 50-9 destruction of Saracens in their Kingsholm semi-final pointed to Gloucester being in great shape to gun at glory. At the very least they should have been highly competitive against Leicester in the championship match, so the 44-16 outcome in favour of the Tigers was a baffling outcome. Ryan admitted there was "mismatch.... across the field", while the Guardian memorably described the final as being "like watching field mice fleeing a combine harvester".

2015 Super Rugby: Hurricanes' hopes blown away

Everything was set up for the Hurricanes. They played a supreme regular season, finishing streets ahead of the Super Rugby pack with 14 wins from 16 matches, and after bulldozing the Brumbies 29-9 in the semi-finals they had home advantage at Westpac Stadium in Wellington for the title match. Chris Boyd's team looked nailed on, yet sport is rarely that straightforward. The Highlanders, who had never before won the competition, produced a powerful performance in the final and emerged 21-14 victors, silencing the home support who had showed up for a coronation. As Boyd said: "We were just a little off." And that can be enough in finals, where the switched-on invariably get their reward.

Tiger Woods has matched Sam Snead's record haul of 82 PGA Tour wins.

Woods ended an 11-year wait for his 15th major title by triumphing at Augusta National this year, and he started his 2020 PGA Tour season with yet another title.

Snead's mark of 82 PGA Tour victories has stood since 1965, but on his return from knee surgery the 15-time major champion moved onto the same total after triumphing by three shots at the Zozo Championship on Monday.

We take a look at Woods' 82 triumphs to date.

1996
Las Vegas Invitational
Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic

1997
Mercedes Championships
Masters
GTE Byron Nelson Golf Classic
Motorola Western Open

1998
BellSouth Classic

1999
Buick Invitational
Memorial Tournament
Motorola Western Open
US PGA Championship
NEC Invitational
National Car Rental Golf Classic Disney
Tour Championship
American Express Championship

2000
Mercedes Championships
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
Bay Hill Invitational
Memorial Tournament
U.S. Open
The Open
US PGA Championship
NEC Invitational
Bell Canadian Open

2001
Bay Hill Invitational
The Players Championship
Masters
Memorial Tournament
NEC Invitational

2002
Bay Hill Invitational
Masters
U.S. Open
Buick Open
American Express Championship

2003
Buick Invitational
Match Play Championship
Bay Hill Invitational
Western Open
American Express Championship

2004
Match Play Championship

2005
Buick Invitational
Ford Championship at Doral
Masters
The Open
NEC Invitational
American Express Championship

2006
Buick Invitational
Ford Championship at Doral
The Open
Buick Invitational
US PGA Championship
Bridgestone Invitational
Deutsche Bank Championship
American Express Championship

2007
Buick Invitational
CA Championship
Wachovia Championship
Bridgestone Invitational
US PGA Championship
BMW Championship
Tour Championship

2008
Buick Invitational
Match Play Championship
Arnold Palmer Invitational
U.S. Open

2009
Arnold Palmer Invitational
Memorial Tournament
AT&T National
Buick Open
Bridgestone Invitational
BMW Championship

2012
Arnold Palmer Invitational
Memorial Tournament
AT&T National

2013
Farmers Insurance Open
Cadillac Championship
Arnold Palmer Invitational
The Players Championship
Bridgestone Invitational

2018
Tour Championship

2019
Masters
Zozo Championship

Tiger Woods, who two years ago was unsure if he would ever play again because of injury, landed another big win on the PGA Tour to match Sam Snead's record of 82 titles.

After his emotional 2018 Tour Championship success and his stunning triumph at this year's Masters, where he landed a 15th major, Woods won again at the Zozo Championship in Japan.

Following Tiger's return to the top, Omnisport looks at some of the most stunning statistics from the 43-year-old's illustrious career.

 

MAJOR WINS

Woods famously sits second in the list of men's major winners, edging to just three behind Jack Nicklaus' tally of 18 with his fifth Masters success earlier this year. Tiger has won the US PGA Championship on four occasions and boasts three successes at The Open and U.S. Open.

PGA TOUR WINS

Sam Snead has long held the record for the most wins on the PGA Tour, but Woods has moved alongside his fellow American great, who died in 2002. Snead won titles in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, landing his last win on the tour at the age of 52.

 

MOST WEEKS AT WORLD NUMBER ONE

Woods has topped the Official World Golf Ranking, which was introduced in 1986, for 683 weeks, more than double the time spent at number one by his nearest rival in this regard, Greg Norman (331 weeks). In eight years - 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 - Tiger remained atop the rankings for all 52 weeks of the year. His stint as number one between June 2005 and October 2010 - a period of 281 weeks - is another record.

 

CAREER EARNINGS ON PGA TOUR

Woods came into the Zozo Championship with career earnings of $118,704,468 on the PGA Tour, a figure that will now rise even further. He has earned over $25million more than his nearest rival in this regard, Phil Mickelson.

 

CONSECUTIVE CUTS

Between 1998 and 2005, Woods made the cut in 142 consecutive PGA Tour events, comfortably surpassing the previous record streak of 113 held by Byron Nelson.

 

RECORD SCORES IN MAJORS

Woods' record for the lowest 72-hole score in relation to par at The Open was taken by Henrik Stenson in 2016, the Swede's 20-under total at Royal Troon one shot better than Tiger's winning mark at St Andrews in 2000. Woods still holds the joint-best winning score at the Masters, having finished 18 under in 1997. Jordan Spieth matched that effort in 2015.

 

CAREER GRAND SLAM WINNER

In addition to being one of only five men, together with Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Gene Sarazen, to have won golf's four majors since the introduction of the Masters in 1934, Woods held all four titles at once following his 2001 triumph at Augusta, which completed the much-vaunted 'Tiger Slam'. No player has ever won the four present majors in the same year

Tiger Woods made more history on Monday when he matched the great Sam Snead's record haul of 82 PGA Tour victories.

When Woods rolled in the winning putt at the Masters in April it was like reliving a bygone era, given it had been 11 years since the American's last major triumph.

There was considerable doubt whether Woods would ever challenge at the highest level again, as he sought to overcome career-threatening back injuries and a slump in form.

But he has shown he still has the game to land big titles, and by triumphing at the Zozo Championship in Japan, which drew a star-studded field, Woods moved level with Snead.

Here, we take a look at the timeline of Woods' dramatic, albeit largely injury-affected, fall and rise to becoming a major champion again.


September 2013 - Woods was named PGA Tour Player of the Year after winning five titles in 2013. He ended the year as world number one.

March 2014 - Underwent surgery to treat a pinched nerve and missed that year's Masters.

June 2014 - Returned to play the Quicken Loans National in June but missed the cut. He played The Open, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and US PGA Championship but struggled at all three and ended the year ranked 32nd.

February 2015 - After withdrawing from the Farmers Insurance Open, Woods announced an "indefinite break" due to poor form, He had recently shot an 11-over-par 82 at the Phoenix Open.

April 2015 - Returned to play the Masters and showed signs of promise - finishing tied-17th after going five under par for the tournament.

September 2015 - Having missed the cut at the U.S. Open and the Open Championship, the first time he had failed to make the weekend at back-to-back majors, Woods confirmed he had undergone a second major back surgery to correct a pinched nerve.

October 2015 - A month later, Woods underwent a follow-up procedure to his previous surgery to help relieve discomfort.

September 2016 - Woods filled the role of non-playing vice-captain in the United States' Ryder Cup victory at Hazeltine.

December 2016 - After a 15-month absence, Woods finally made his comeback at the Hero World Challenge and placed 15th.

February 2017 - Having failed to make the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open a week previously, Woods withdrew from the Dubai Desert Classic on the European Tour ahead of the second round, with his agent citing back spasms.

April 2017 - Woods announced he would miss the Masters for a second year running, and later that month he underwent a fourth major surgery to help ease pain in his back and leg.

May 2017 - A humiliating mugshot of Woods was released after he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. Woods quickly explained the incident was due to "an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications". He later pleaded guilty to reckless driving at a Palm Beach County courthouse.

July 2017 - Woods' inactivity led to him dropping out of world's top 1,000.

December 2017 - Made his latest comeback at the Hero World Challenge and finished tied-ninth, before showing good form at the Valspar Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational early in 2018.

July 2018 -  Finished three shots behind winner Francesco Molinari at The Open, having held the lead midway through the final round at Carnoustie.

August 2018 - Carded a 64 - his lowest final round in a major - on the last day of the US PGA Championship to claim second place, two shots behind winner Brooks Koepka.

September 2018 - Woods secured the Tour Championship at East Lake, his long-awaited victory coming after he was named by captain Jim Furyk as a wildcard pick for the US team to face Europe in the Ryder Cup at the end of the month.

April 2019  - Fourteen years after winning the Masters for a fourth time, Woods claimed a fifth green jacket and celebrated a 15th major victory, coming from behind to win such a title for the first time.

October 2019 - Woods landed more silverware in brilliant style in Japan, landing the Zozo Championship title by three shots in Japan. It gave him an 82nd PGA Tour title, equalling the record set by Snead.

Leicester City equalled a Premier League record that had been unchallenged since March 1995 when they destroyed Southampton 9-0 on Friday.

Their thumping win at St Mary's was the joint-biggest margin of victory in the Premier League, level with Manchester United's 9-0 thrashing of Ipswich Town.

Leaders Liverpool came from behind to beat Tottenham 2-1 at Liverpool and maintain their six-point advantage over Manchester City at the summit.

Manchester United missed two penalties in their 3-1 win at Norwich City, while Christian Pulisic shone as Chelsea beat Burnley 4-2.

Our Premier League Data Diary sheds some light on the detail behind the major stories from this weekend's big games.

 

FOXES MAKE HISTORY AGAINST SORRY SAINTS

Brendan Rodgers' Leicester took full advantage of Ryan Bertrand's early dismissal for Southampton, steamrollering the Saints on their way to a slice of Premier League history. 

The margin of victory is the largest by a top-flight side away from home in the 131-year history of league football in England. It was also Southampton's biggest defeat of all time.

Leicester became the second team to have two players score a hat-trick in the same Premier League game (Ayoze Perez and Jamie Vardy) after Arsenal duo Jermaine Pennant and Robert Pires in May 2003 – also against Southampton.

The breathtaking result means the Foxes have 20 points after 10 games – one more than at the same stage of their 2015-16 title-winning campaign.

SPURS LATEST TO FALL FOUL OF RELENTLESS REDS

Liverpool have now gone 20 Premier League games unbeaten against 'big six' opposition at Anfield following their slender win over Tottenham.

They got off to a terrible start, however, with Harry Kane scoring inside the first minute for Mauricio Pochettino's side. It was the striker's 150th goal involvement (131 goals, 19 assists) in the top flight in what was his 191st appearance in the competition.

Jurgen Klopp's side clawed their way back into the game courtesy of Jordan Henderson's first Premier League home goal since December 2015 before Serge Aurier's foul on Sadio Mane allowed Mohamed Salah to seal the win from the penalty spot.

Aurier has now conceded four penalties in 48 games in all competitions since his Spurs debut in September 2017 – no Premier League player has given away more.

It could have been worse for Tottenham, but Paulo Gazzaniga was in inspired form. The Argentinian made 12 saves, which was the most by a goalkeeper in the Premier League since David de Gea against Arsenal in December 2017 (14).

PULISIC POWERS CHELSEA CLOSER TO CLUB RECORD

Christian Pulisic arrived at Turf Moor with a point to prove and did exactly that with a stellar treble in Chelsea's convincing 4-2 victory over Burnley.

The 21-year-old became the second American – behind Clint Dempsey – to score three times in a Premier League match and the youngest to do so for the Blues.

Willian later buried his third goal in six appearances in all competitions, as many as he netted in his previous 30 outings combined.

Chelsea now need one more away victory to equal their record winning streak on the road of seven in all competitions, set between February and April 1989.

UNITED BACK TO WINNING WAYS DESPITE PENALTY WOES

Manchester United ended a run of eight league games without a win on the road as they saw off Norwich City at Carrow Road.

Scott McTominay's opener saw United become the first team in Premier League history to reach 2,000 goals in the competition.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side could have won by a far greater margin but Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial were denied by Tim Krul from the penalty spot.  

The former Newcastle United man became the eighth different goalkeeper in Premier League history to save two spot-kicks in a game, and the first to do so since Maarten Stekelenburg for Everton in October 2016.

Rashford bounced back from his miss, however, to score his 50th goal in all competitions for the club with a cool finish under Krul.

The signs on Sunday evening were ominous for Marseille inside the opening 20 seconds of Le Classique.

Angel Di Maria struck just wide following slick interplay with Mauro Icardi and Kylian Mbappe, and the Paris Saint-Germain trio would go on to dominate the headline match of the Ligue 1 weekend.

Neymar, expected to be out for at least another two weeks due to a hamstring injury, was looking on from the stands at Parc des Princes as PSG's new-look front three ran riot against fallen giants.

As far as attacking performances go, it was as close to perfect as you will get. PSG were 4-0 up by half-time, meaning there was no pressing need to inflict further damage on their floundering rivals, though the champions certainly tried.

The Parisians were spearheaded by players who have ensured the absences of Neymar and Edinson Cavani have not only not been felt, but rather embraced as an opportunity. Thomas Tuchel's side are eight points clear in Ligue 1 and have looked imperious in the Champions League.

Winning over PSG's fans again after his public attempt to leave the club may not be the only battle Neymar faces once he returns to fitness.

Marseille are winless in the last 16 Classique meetings in Ligue 1, but with their opponents in this kind of form, Andre Villas-Boas' side never stood a chance as PSG's fearsome front three reigned supreme in the capital.

MARVELLOUS MBAPPE TAKES THE SPOTLIGHT... AGAIN

Neymar strutted into PSG as the club's superstar signing, but it is Mbappe who is now the leading frontman in this show. It did not take him long to claim the starring role on Sunday.

With Icardi having helped himself to PSG's opening two goals, Mbappe - who scored a hat-trick and provided an assist after coming on as a substitute against Club Brugge in midweek - got in on the act with a tap-in just after the half-hour mark.

A typical poacher's goal was followed by the typical Mbappe goal, France's prodigy racing onto a perfect Di Maria pass before beating Steve Mandanda.

Mbappe is a force of nature and, despite his own injury struggles this term, already has eight goals from 10 appearances in all competitions.

DI MARIA DAZZLES

Di Maria thundered in an outrageous free-kick as PSG went on to win the corresponding fixture 3-1 in March last season. This time, he settled for a playmaking role, and did not disappoint.

After teeing up Icardi's opener, Di Maria slipped in Mbappe to put PSG 3-0 by the 32nd minute, though it was his sublime, sensational throughball for the France forward just prior to half-time which topped the lot.

Arguably in the form of his career, Di Maria has surely cemented himself as the first player on Tuchel's team sheet, whether Neymar is fit or not.

CAVANI'S BOOTS A GOOD FIT FOR ICARDI

If you are going to phase out the leading goalscorer in a club's history, then having a replacement of Icardi's quality certainly helps.

While Romelu Lukaku's fine form has meant Inter are not exactly feeling the loss of their former captain, Icardi has played like a man with a point to prove since his arrival in Paris. Heading into Sunday's encounter, the Argentina striker had scored a goal every 24 touches during his time in Ligue 1.

Record scorer Cavani came on as a substitute for Mbappe, yet at 32 and with injury problems having plagued his start to the season, his days as PSG's chief marksman look to be at an end.

Icardi's deal is at this stage a temporary one, but with seven goals in as many matches, surely PSG have found the heir to Cavani's throne.

If games and seasons turn on moments, Son Heung-min's strike against the woodwork at Anfield might prove huge for both Tottenham and Liverpool.

From a tight angle early in the second half, Spurs forward Son went agonisingly close to handing the visitors a 2-0 lead.

Liverpool would have been deflated, Spurs elated. Yet come the final whistle, with that single-goal deficit overturned, it was the Reds chalking up another victory.

They remain bang on target for a first Premier League title, while Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham lurk uncomfortably in mid-table.

Liverpool, then, are back to winning ways in the competition they yearn to capture most of all, chasing another streak of successes after their 17-match sequence came to a halt with the draw against Manchester United in their previous game.

As setbacks go, drawing at the home of your fiercest rivals is more molehill than mountain. But Liverpool would understandably have been disappointed with their display in the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.

The Reds are winless in their past six Premier League visits to Old Trafford, despite last week facing the poorest United side in decades.

If toiling but getting the job done at home to Leicester City and then taking an eight-point lead into the international break felt significant, so too did seeing that advantage immediately cut to six by a Manchester City outfit determined to respond.

In recent title tilts, Liverpool have made a habit of seizing control, only to swiftly let their firm grasp of the situation slip.

The 2013-14 season saw Liverpool lead City with three games remaining. Brendan Rodgers' men, having won 11 matches in a row, then dropped five points across their next two and even made hard work of nine-man Newcastle United on the final day, falling two points and several goals short.

Last season, City lost three of four games in mid-December and dropped to third, seven points behind Liverpool, but beat the leaders in the first game of 2019 en route to winning 18 of their remaining 19 matches. Liverpool drew four of six games at one stage in that stretch, meanwhile, and were trailing again.

At Anfield, where they are still waiting for a first title of the Premier League era, and where they know pesky City have punished their every error in seasons past, these slumps can feel cataclysmic.

There may have been no disgrace in drawing at United, but a failure to beat Tottenham in Liverpool's final home game before welcoming City in early November really would have really piled on the pressure.

Desperate for a victory, this felt for 45 minutes like a day when fate was conspiring against Jurgen Klopp's side.

Moussa Sissoko, who missed a huge chance at Anfield last season and crucially handled within 30 seconds of the first whistle in the Champions League final, drove Spurs forward to prompt another early goal in this fixture, this time for Harry Kane after just 47 seconds.

Liverpool were gifted victory by Hugo Lloris in the corresponding fixture last season but found Paulo Gazzaniga, the deputy, improbably unbeatable before the break.

"Where's your European Cup," chanted the Kop early on, provoked by the Tottenham supporters, but only after a decisive five-minute second-half spell were Liverpool roared on in pursuit of the trophy they all really want.

Jordan Henderson - talismanic in the European final - lashed beyond Gazzaniga and celebrated in the fashion one might a title-defining effort, before Mohamed Salah thrashed in another penalty against Spurs to settle the contest with 15 minutes to play.

As against Leicester, the scoreline was unconvincing but here the performance was not. Liverpool's momentum is unchecked after that Old Trafford blip.

Tottenham, on the other hand, a threat on the counter but still so flimsy at the back, sit 11th and could not even play the role of spoilers as they had in a draw at Etihad Stadium in August.

They will scarcely be considered interested spectators when Liverpool and City face their next big Premier League tests, against one another, in a fortnight.

Scott McTominay had the honour of scoring Manchester United's 2000th Premier League goal as the Red Devils defeated Norwich City on Sunday and became the first team in the competition's history to hit the milestone.

A look back through the Old Trafford archives offers a striking masterclass from some of the greatest marksmen to have graced English football, with the likes of Mark Hughes, Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke and Ruud van Nistelrooy having plundered goals for the club.

Every United fan has their own favourite goal from the Premier League era, with unforgettable hits lighting up each of the 13 title triumphs achieved under Sir Alex Ferguson.

We've picked out eight of the very best, all of which came during the Ferguson era - a time when goals were easier to come by than they have been of late for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.


David Beckham v Wimbledon, August 17, 1996

It was the opening day of the 1996-97 season and Ferguson gave the number 10 shirt to the 21-year-old midfielder David Beckham.

United were already 2-0 up and heading for a straightforward victory at Selhurst Park when Beckham received the ball from Brian McClair and, from just inside his own half, launched it audaciously into the air, over the head of Dons goalkeeper Neil Sullivan and into the net.

It was one of the most memorable goals in Premier League history and one Beckham himself names as the pick of his career.

Eric Cantona v Sunderland, December 20, 1996

Four months after Beckham's famous lob, United were 4-0 up against Sunderland at Old Trafford when Eric Cantona - in what was to be his final season at the club - collected the ball just inside the Black Cats' half.

The enigmatic Frenchman drove forward in possession, exchanged passes with Brian McClair, and then produced an exquisite chip over the stranded Lionel Perez that clipped the inside of the post on the way in.

He then turned, flipped his collar, and spawned a celebration that would be imitated by United fans everywhere for years to come.

Paul Scholes v Bradford City, March 25, 2000

Paul Scholes has spoken about the understanding he shared with Beckham during their days at United, and that intuition paid off in spades at Valley Parade in 1999-2000.

Beckham sent a corner straight to the edge of the Bradford City penalty area where Scholes was waiting with his hammer of a right foot, which arrowed a volley into the Bradford net with scorching ferocity.

Ruud van Nistelrooy v Fulham, March 22, 2003

Given his reputation as a penalty-area predator, it is understandable that Fulham's defenders might not have taken the threat of Van Nistelrooy running towards them from just inside his own half too seriously.

The Netherlands international had the last laugh, though, waltzing past a host of flat-footed Cottagers before tucking the ball past Maik Taylor with his customary composure.

Paul Scholes v Aston Villa, December 23, 2006

This entire list could feasibly be made up of the gifted midfielder's goals, given his penchant for strikes sent from the heavens.

One of his best was undoubtedly against Aston Villa in December 2006 when he met a cleared corner with a volley that crashed in off the underside of Gabor Kiraly's crossbar.

Cristiano Ronaldo v Portsmouth, January 30, 2008

He can often be wayward from dead balls but when Cristiano Ronaldo gets it right, it is usually a thing of beauty.

His free-kick against Portsmouth in 2008 was a case in point, the Portuguese superstar crashing a free-kick past David James with the kind of speed and accuracy that most players can only dream of.

Wayne Rooney v Manchester City, February 12, 2011

United's all-time leading scorer with 253 goals, Wayne Rooney did not score many as important - or indeed as special - as his overhead kick against Manchester City in February 2011. Combine the two and it is clear to see why this acrobatic volley is regarded as one of the most iconic in Premier League history.

Rooney reacted to a slight deflection off Pablo Zabaleta on Nani's cross by checking his run and sending his shot flying past Joe Hart.

The moment of magic arrived 12 minutes from time at Old Trafford after David Silva's deflected equaliser cancelled out Nani's opener, giving United a 2-1 win and putting their title assault back on track.

Robin van Persie v Aston Villa, April 22, 2013

Brought to Manchester United by Alex Ferguson in August 2012 with the sole aim of wrestling the title back from Manchester City, Robin van Persie did exactly that with 26 Premier League goals in his maiden campaign at Old Trafford.

The Dutchman's flying volley against Aston Villa in April 2013 was the pick of the bunch, with the strike helping to seal his side's 20th league title with four matches to spare in a 3-0 victory.

United were a goal to the good when Van Persie, watching strike partner Rooney's searching ball all the way, smashed an unstoppable left-footed volley past Brad Guzan.

Van Persie scored all three goals at Villa Park that day, but only one of those strikes - one worthy of sealing any title - truly stands the test of time.

Leigh Halfpenny disabused any notion of solidarity with Willie le Roux when he caught his opposite number in mid-air after half an hour of Sunday's attritional Rugby World Cup semi-final in Yokohama.

Wales and South Africa's fullbacks had an abundance of work to get through in swirling conditions as the opening 40 minutes produced 40 kicks from hand.

After the thundering intensity and brilliance of England's Saturday dethroning of New Zealand, this felt like a different sport at times. Opposition 22s were not usually places to set up camp but visit fleetingly.

This clash of two brutally physical packs meant such an encounter was always on the cards, placing huge onus on a pair of fly-halves whose route to a defining match has been nowhere near as smooth as they would have hoped four years ago.

When South Africa beat Wales 23-19 in the 2015 quarter-final at Twickenham in an eminently more watchable affair, a 21-year-old Handre Pollard landed five penalties and a drop goal.

A career on the line

Already named IRB Junior Player of the Year for 2014, Pollard's cool-headedness and nerveless accuracy had him marked out for greatness. However, a shoulder injury sustained playing club rugby in Japan set off a career-threatening chain of events.

He decided to try to nurse the problem through the 2016 Super Rugby season with the Bulls, but that plan was shelved after he suffered a snapped anterior cruciate ligament during training.

Pragmatically, Pollard elected to have surgery to fix his shoulder while incapacitated, only to contract an infection in hospital.

"It got to the point where the doctors raised the subject of amputating my arm, although it wasn't an immediate option," he told The Guardian. "I spent six weeks in hospital pumped full of antibiotics about seven hours a day."

The treatment worked and an absence from the international stage of almost two years ended against New Zealand in North Shore. Pollard was a replacement in a 57-0 mauling at the hands of the All Blacks, yet he was playing with the perspective that things could have been so much worse.

It helps to know a World Cup semi-final is at once much more than a game of rugby but still only a game of rugby. South Africa anticipated a tight contest and bet on Pollard's goal-kicking. He was perfect in a game where they were never behind.

A career forever questioned

The responsibility of leading the catch-up operation fell to Dan Biggar, who kicked 14 points to Pollard's 18 in that Twickenham meeting.

Acclaim has rarely arrived so easily for Biggar as it does for his counterpart, though. His 11-year international career has been a fight for approval against celebrated compatriots, while measuring up uncomfortably to the aesthetic demands of a Welsh 10.

From competing against James Hook and Rhys Priestland during his early years to recent jousts with Gareth Anscombe, Biggar has been a loyal servant to his country, always striving to belong.

When an injury to Halfpenny four years ago thrust kicking duties upon him, many doubted Biggar's chops for the task. His 23 points sent England on the way to heartbreak at their own party.

Anscombe being ruled out of this competition persuaded Wales great JJ Williams to declare his country could not win a World Cup with Biggar at fly-half.

"I've had it my whole career,” Biggar told WalesOnline. "There could be another ex-player calling for someone from Penclawdd to play number 10 next week! It's one of those things."

There was similar defiance in each swipe of the boot that took Wales from 3-0, 6-3 and 9-3 behind to parity early in the second period.

Glory and despair

Unfortunately for Biggar, the Springboks had decided to target him at the gain line and he missed Damian de Allende as the South Africa skipper burst through for a game-breaking try.

It was his last involvement, as Rhys Patchell came on in his place – the words of Williams and others perhaps unfairly pounding in Biggar's ears.

Josh Adams went over to level matters once again after a monumental Wales effort by the South Africa line, but the glory would be Pollard's.

Wales brought a maul to ground right in front of referee Jerome Garces and, after a frivolous drop goal attempt, Pollard took it back to the tee.

Ice cold as usual, he bisected the posts with a certain inevitability. Of course, his presence on such a stage was anything but inevitable when faced with the consuming darkness of that hospital bed.

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