Woods, who has long measured success by his hardware from golf’s major championships, sounded philosophical on Wednesday when asked to assess his 2013 season ahead of the opening round at Liberty National.

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“You’re going to have years where you don’t win major championships and years that you do,” said Woods, whose stated pursuit of Jack Nicklaus and his record 18 majors has stalled since winning the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.

But failure to end his majors drought did not diminish his achievements this year, Woods said.

“This year’s been a great year so far,” the 37-year-old American told reporters.

“I’ve won at two of my favourite venues (Torrey Pines and Bay Hill), plus winning two World Golf Championships and a Players (Championship) in there. It’s been pretty good,” he added with a smile.

The five tournament victories from 12 starts this year have put him firmly atop the world rankings and brought him to a total of 79, three away from the record 82 won by Sam Snead.

Woods said his PGA Tour wins column was something he was very proud of.

“It’s been an amazing, amazing run to get here,” he said. “The consistency is one of the things I’m most proud of, winning five or more tournaments, 10 years. That’s one of the stats that I look at as one of the ones I’m really proud of. This is one of those years.

“I’m second on the all-time list on both, whether it’s majors or all-time wins. That’s not bad at my age.”

Woods has twice won the FedExCup competition, in the inaugural 2007 series and again two years later, but his 2009 triumph began with a contentious start at The Barclays, which served as the coming-out party for the Liberty National venue.

The American was very critical about the layout, especially the heavily undulating contours of the greens.

Woods remarked to a player in his pro-am group the day before the tournament began that “maybe Tom (co-designer Kite) did this course before his eye operation.”

Kite shed his thick-lensed eyeglasses after having Lasik surgery in 1998, six years after first considering the challenge of turning the former landfill site into a world-class venue.

“The golf course is obviously very different than the last time we played it,” Woods, who still managed to tie for second in the 2009 event, said about the 74 changes made to the layout since then.

“They made some really nice improvements. Some of the landing areas have been changed. Some of the greens have been changed, and a couple bunkers have been repositioned, but they have made some really nice, positive improvements.”

Woods said his goal was to add to his wins total and play his way into the top five on the points list – which ensures that victory at the Tour Championship finale would clinch the FedExCup title and its $10 million bonus.

With all that winning, Woods was asked would the 2013 season be better with six titles, or none of those and one major.

“I think the major,” admitted Woods. who tied for fourth at the Masters, tied for 32nd at the U.S. Open, was tied for sixth at the British Open and finished tied for 40th at the PGA.

(Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by Simon Evans)

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Nyad came ashore about 53 hours after she set off from Havana, completing the estimated 110-mile (177-km) journey and setting a record for the longest ocean swim without a shark cage or flippers, according to her crew.

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She was met by crowds in Key West who surrounded her, snapping photos, when she staggered ashore as they were enjoying sunny beach weather on the annual Labor Day holiday.

Helpers were waiting to give her medical treatment and immediately placed her on a stretcher and hydrated her with an IV, before she was taken to a hospital. Her face looked sunburned except around the eyes, where she had been covered by goggles, and her lips were swollen.

It was her fifth attempt in 35 years to make the crossing.

About 2 miles (3.2 km) before she reached Key West, Nyad paused briefly to thank her support team, treading water as she addressed the vessels bobbing in the sea around her, according to blog updates on her website (www.diananyad.com).

“This is a lifelong dream of mine and I’m very, very glad to be with you,” she said. “So let’s get going so we can have a whopping party.”

The marathon swimmer had said this was her final attempt, this time using a protective silicone mask to better protect her from potentially deadly box jellyfish that forced her to end one of two attempted crossings last year.

Her doctors aboard a support vessel said earlier on Monday that Nyad’s tongue and lips were swollen, causing her speech to be slurred and raising concern about her breathing, her blog reported. Nyad was also “very cold” and had canceled scheduled feeding stops overnight “in the hopes that swimming would keep her warm.”

Nyad said at the outset that the custom-made mask slowed her and made it more difficult to breathe. Officials initially estimated it could take up to three days to complete the swim, but Nyad benefited from a favorable current, her crew members said.

The treacherous Florida Straits has been conquered only once, by Australian Susie Maroney, who used a protective cage at age 22 during a 1997 swim. The cage glided on ocean currents and enabled Maroney to make the journey in just 25 hours.

Australian endurance swimmer Chloe McCardel abandoned her quest in June to make the crossing after she was severely stung by a jellyfish 11 hours into her attempt.

Nyad’s fifth attempt to make the crossing comes 35 years after she made her first go at it aged 28 in 1978, when she gave up after covering 76 miles in 42 hours, with the aid that time of a shark cage.

Nyad departed on Saturday morning accompanied by five support boats that also provide her with food and water.

Nyad put on a jellyfish-protection suit on Sunday, the but did not immediately use her protective mask, her website said. Instead, the exposed parts of her face were slathered with a special protective cream dubbed “Sting Stopper,” it said.

At one point on Sunday, Nyad floated on her back kicking and led a crew of 35 people keeping her on course through the strong Gulf Stream current in singing “Happy Birthday” to a crew member.

Nyad made the swim stopping every 40 minutes to eat, taking several bites of scrambled eggs and pasta, the blog said.

Her long-distance accomplishments include swimming around the island of Manhattan in 1975 and a swim from the Bahamas to Florida in 1979.

(Writing by David Adams and Kevin Gray; Additional reporting by Marc Frank in Havana; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Cynthia Osterman)

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With her boyfriend, Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy, watching from the stands at Arthur Ashe Stadium, Wozniacki had to dig deep to beat Chinese qualifier Duan Yingying 6-2 7-5 on an action-packed second day at the U.

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S. National Tennis Center.

Kvitova, the 2011 Wimbledon champion, also had to work overtime before winning her clash with Japan’s Misaki Doi 6-2 3-6 6-1 while a grieving Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open winner, cruised to a 6-2 6-0 win over Georgia’s Anna Tatishvili.

Also a former world number one, Ivanovic arrived in New York with a heavy heart after learning about the drowning death of a childhood friend back home in her native Serbia.

Vukasin Ziramov, 25, died last week after jumping off a bridge into a river while on an outing with friends in Senta.

“It’s been very sad news,” Ivanovic told reporters. “It was very hard because it was almost like my relative. We grew up, and I knew him since we were kids. It’s very, very sad.”

Ivanovic was able to control her emotions during her brief appearance on court, cracking 16 winners in her 58-minute romp.

“It’s obviously hard, more so emotionally than anything else,” she said. “(But) I’m very confident with the game and the way I was playing before that.”

Wozniacki appeared to be in cruise control in her match against Duan, racing through the opening set in just 35 minutes before the Danish sixth seed lost her way in the blustery conditions.

The match looked to be heading to a deciding third set when Duan jumped out to a 5-2 lead before Wozniacki regained control, reeling off the next five games to avoid a repeat of her first-round exit from Flushing Meadows a year ago.

“I’m happy to be through. I think everyone that you asked today would just say it was a day of survival and a day to get through,” Wozniacki said.

“It’s not about being pretty. It’s about just getting the job done. I did that, so I’m happy about that.”

The left-handed Kvitova also had problems with the swirling wind, making 29 unforced errors before recovering from a second set lapse to ease into the second round.

“The wind was quite difficult for us but it was the same conditions for both of us,” said the Czech. “It wasn’t easy match for first round. It’s always tricky and difficult, so I’m glad that I’m through.”

Wimbledon semi-finalist Jerzy Janowicz was booed for serving underhand during a petulant display in his loss to Argentina’s Maximo Gonzalez, ranked 247th in the world.

Hampered by a painful back injury, Janowicz crashed to a 6-4 6-4 6-2 loss after arguing with the chair umpire and throwing his water bottle on the court.

“It was like being stabbed in the back by a knife,” Janowicz said. “For three days I haven’t been able to practice, I could barely walk. I was in really good shape before this happened and that’s why I’m fricking disappointed.”

(Reporting by Julian Linden; editing by)

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A point from a forgettable match in Kiev kept England on course for next year’s World Cup finals but the negative tactics and lack of flair were seen as further evidence that Hodgson’s side are falling behind the world’s best.

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Former England striker Gary Lineker and now BBC presenter described the performance as “woeful”.

However, Hodgson seemed baffled by the reaction and took Lineker to task.

“I’m surprised anyone who has played for England, captained England and played in games of this nature can be that critical,” Hodgson was quoted in British newspapers.

“This is the second time. My disappointment would be that I saw Gary Lineker play, I remember him captaining the team and playing some great games for England but I’m also pretty sure he played in some games when it wasn’t easy and I don’t think every game he played for England was a total success.

“I try to placate most people but I’m afraid I’ve just seen a group of players missing seven first-team members beat Moldova 4-0 and come to Ukraine and draw 0-0.

“You can criticise us or praise us or do whatever you want to do but don’t think you’re going to put words into my mouth or get me agreeing with these opinions.”

Hodgson said Lineker was out of step with the public.

“I will be surprised if I’m walking down the street in the next few weeks and people aren’t actually saying ‘You did well in those two games.’ I’d be surprised. But we’ll see.”

England have been hard to beat since Hodgson took over from Fabio Capello, losing just once in his 20 games.

They have rarely looked like a side capable of challenging for major honours though, and were outplayed by Italy in last year’s Euro 2012 quarter-finals before losing on penalties.

So far in the qualifying campaign for the World Cup, their only wins have been against San Marino and Moldova.

Captain Steven Gerrard also defended England’s performance.

“The manager asked us for a clean sheet before the game,” Gerrard said in the Guardian. “He asked us to be difficult to beat and make sure the group was still in our hands.”

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by John O’Brien)

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Prop Coenie Oosthuizen put the visitors in front after six minutes and their advantage was extended with late tries from captain Jean de Villiers, Zane Kirchner and Willie Le Roux.

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The win in front of 43,715 spectators at Lang Park was the Springboks’ first victory at the venue in eight attempts.

“I thought our defence was awesome,” Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer told a news conference.

“I truly believe we won the game firstly in our minds and secondly without the ball because the whole message was we needed to make more than 150 tackles.

“If they get momentum they are a very good side. I was very happy the way we attacked at the end.

“We really believed we could win. We wanted to show if you work together nothing is impossible.”

The win puts South Africa on top of the Rugby Championship with three wins ahead of a meeting with New Zealand, who are also unbeaten, and Meyer cautioned his side to stay grounded ahead of next Saturday’s clash at Eden Park.

“A lot of things worked, but we need to keep our feet on the ground and stay humble because next week is a bigger challenge,” he said.

The talk leading into the game surrounded Australia’s exciting back line but it was the Springboks who ran amok, especially in the last quarter.

Conversely, Australia failed to score a try against South Africa for the first time since 2001 as the Springboks bettered their previous record win in Australia, a 12-point victory in 1971.

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Oosthuizen gave South Africa the perfect start in the sixth minute. After Nick Cummins failed to keep Morne Steyn’s long kick in play, South Africa won their lineout and Oosthuizen, on the field as a blood-bin replacement, brushed aside Scott Fardy and Quade Cooper to score.

Cummins looked like he could make amends for his earlier error when a line-break sent him bearing down on the South African try-line, but he slipped over just inside the 22 with one man to beat.

Three penalty kicks from Steyn and two from Christian Leali’ifano followed as the Springboks extended their lead to 16-6 at halftime, although it could have been worse for the Wallabies had Quade Cooper not produced a fine tackle to stop le Roux in the right corner three minutes before the interval.

On the hour mark, wing Bryan Habana’s fine run and chip forward into the 22 led to an easy chance for de Villiers to run in a try.

Four minutes later, a superb pass inside on the right wing from le Roux set free Kirchner to extend the lead six minutes later.

Then loose play from Quade Cooper gifted the Springboks a turnover in midfield and Duane Vermeulen fed le Roux who raced over for a try of his own 10 minutes from time.

Such handling errors were the chief cause of frustration for Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie who is still searching for his first win after three games.

“It doesn’t matter who you play if you drop the ball in key moments and they counter-attack it’s hard work,” McKenzie said.

“You’ve got to create opportunities and you’ve got to grab them. We didn’t quite get there. That was the frustrating thing. We got up there in front of the goalposts four times and turned the ball over.

“There are bits of the game that are improving slowly but you are judged on the scoreboard and that’s not an acceptable outcome. We made it too easy for them in the second half.”

In a match that threatened to boil over on several occasions each side had a man sin-binned, Willem Alberts for a deliberate knock-on in the first half and Michael Hooper after a dangerous tackle on Habana after the interval.

(Editing by John Mehaffey)

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