- Title: VARIOUS: Sports Review Of The Year 2008 / YEARENDER Part 2
- Date: 18th December 2008
- Summary: HORSE RACING ELMONT, NEW YORK, USA (JUNE 02, 2008) (REUTERS) BIG BROWN TRAINING ON TRACK
- Reuters ID: LVA8ZYAMGEHXH1B6LI360P04JRBU
- Duration: 00:00:12
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- Topics: Sports
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None
- Story Text: Sports yearender part two.
Tiger Woods finished 2008 as he had started it - as the world's number one golfer. But his season had ended after the US Open in June.
Woods won the tournament, his 14th major, with a playoff victory over Rocco Mediate. He then ruled himself out for the rest of the season as he had reconstructive surgery on his left knee.
Ireland's Padraig Harrington won two majors. He defended his British Open title at Royal Birkdale and three weeks later won the US PGA at Oakland Hills.
South Africa's Trevor Immelman led on all four days to win the US Masters by three strokes from Woods in April.
Champagne flowed and American flags were waved by the victorious U.S.
team after they claimed their first Ryder Cup win in nine years with a 16-Â½ to 11-Â½ defeat of Europe.
An upbeat Seve Ballesteros said he had a lengthy recuperation ahead after being discharged from hospital at the beginning of December following several operations on a brain tumour.
The five-time major champion was taken to Madrid's La Paz hospital at the start of October after suffering from dizziness and briefly losing consciousness.
He retired from golf last year after winning 87 titles including three British Opens and two U.S. Masters.
Former world number one Annika Sorenstam has announced she will sign off from the women's golf tour following the Dubai Ladies Masters which starts on December 18.
The 38-year-old Swede, who has won 72 LPGA tournaments including 10 majors, will retire after the Masters to get married, start a family and pursue her business interests.
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton roared into the record books in 2008 as Formula One's youngest champion when he snatched the title in last lap drama at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
In one of the most thrilling finales the sport has seen, the 23-year-old Briton was seconds from failure for the second year in a row.
Needing to finish fifth to become champion, Hamilton began the final lap in sixth place and with Ferrari title rival Felipe Massa cruising to victory.
Forced to pit for wet tyres while in fourth place after a rainstorm in the closing stages, Hamilton had dropped to fifth and was then passed by Sebstian Vettel on the 69th of 70 laps.
With the title disappearing as fast as Massa's Ferrari was taking him to the chequered flag, Hamilton's salvation came in the shape of Toyota's Timo Glock, with the German struggling for grip after staying out on dry tyres.
Hamilton powered past Glock as the final corner approached. Some 18 seconds later, the title was won.
Massa, Hamilton's sole title rival, won his home race for the second time in three years to chalk up a record 16th constructors' title for the Italian team and their eighth in 10 seasons.
Both drivers had made mistakes throughout the season. But perhaps the most significant error was made by Massa in the first ever Formula One night race in Singapore as he attempted to leave the pits with the fuel line still connected to his Ferrari. The Brazilian finished the race out of the points as Hamilton, already leading the championship, finished third.
At the end of the season Honda delivered a major blow to Formula One by withdrawing from the sport, citing the uncertainty created by the global downturn.
Amid slumping car sales triggered by the worldwide slide, Japan's number two carmaker said it was no longer willing to bankroll the Formula One team and its estimated annual budget of 500 million U.S. dollars.
It leaves Britain's Jenson Button without a drive for 2009, although some teams have yet to confirm their lineups.
Brazilian Bruno Senna, the 25-year-old nephew of the late triple world champion Ayrton, had also been tipped to take the place of compatriot Rubens Barrichello at Honda next season.
With Formula One's power-brokers desperately seeking cost-cutting measures to ensure its own survival, Honda's departure will have serious implications for the glamour sport.
International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Max Mosley won a court case but almost lost his job. In July, the British courts ruled that Mosley's privacy had been violated after The News of the World published a story about his part in a sex session with five prostitutes.
The paper said the orgy involved Nazi-style role play, something Mosley denied and which the newspaper failed to back up in court.
Phil Hill, who in 1961 became the first American driver to win the Formula One world title, died in August. He was 81.
He was crowned in tragic circumstances after the death of German team mate and championship rival Wolfgang von Trips at the 1961 Italian Grand Prix along with 13 spectators.
Hill's victory in that penultimate race of the season allowed him to win the title by a single point, with Ferrari pulling out of the final U.S.
round at Watkins Glen.
Remarkably for the era in which he drove, marked as it was by regular fatalities, Hill never suffered a serious injury on the racetrack. He retired from Formula One in 1964.
In motorcycling, Valentino Rossi took a fifth MotoGP title after missing out in 2006 and 2007.
Another Italian, Marco Simoncelli won the 250cc title. Frenchman Mike di Meglio of France became 125cc champion.
Troy Bayliss ended his Superbike career on a high by taking his third world title. The 39-year-old Australian retired at the end of the season.
Sebastien Loeb continued to dominate rallying as he won fifth world title in a row. The Frenchman and co-driver Daniel Elena won a record 11 rounds for Citroen in the 2008 season.
There was a huge upset in the Super Bowl when the New England Patriots lost 14-17 to the New York Giants. The Patriots were attempting to be first team in 35 years to win NFL championship undefeated.
In baseball success-starved Philadelphia celebrated its first professional sports championship in a quarter of a century when the Phillies beat Tampa Bay Rays.
The Boston Celtics captured a record 17th NBA championship by trouncing the Los Angeles Lakers 131-92 to seal the best-of-seven title series 4-2.
In ice hockey the Detroit Red Wings lifted their fourth Stanley Cup in 11 years when the beat the Pittsburgh Penguins to claim the best-of-seven series 4-2.
In January, disgraced U.S. sprinter Marion Jones was sentenced to six months in prison for lying to federal prosecutors about her steroid use, a stunning downfall for the five-time Olympic medallist.
In cricket, Indian batsman SachinTendulkar overtook Brian Lara to become the highest test run-scorer.
Spaniard Carlos Sastre of the CSC team won the 95th Tour de France.
Alberto Contador, the 2007 winner, achieved a 2008 Giro d'Italia-Tour of Spain double. But the Spaniard missed this year's Tour de France. His Astana team were not invited because of their past doping record.
Seven-times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong announced in September he was coming out of a three-year retirement and he has now a team-mate of Contador at Astana.
While the 37-year-old Armstrong is to start his season next month at the Tour Down Under and will also ride the demanding Giro, Contador is to focus on the Tour de France.
In boxing, the Ukraine's Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko become the first brothers to share the heavyweight throne when Vitali took the WBC title from Nigerian Samuel Peter in October.
Unification is unlikely as the brothers, who hold four of the five belts, say they won't fight each.
Nikolay Valuev currently holds the WBA title.The Russian is due to defend his title on December 20 against 46-year old, former world heavyweight champion, Evander Holyfield.
In a meeting of two of boxings great champions at Madison Square Garden, Britain's Joe Calzaghe recovered from a first round knock down to beat Roy Jones Jr. on points in a light heavyweight title fight.
Calzaghe, 36, has now won all 46 of his professional fights and has said the fight may be his last. Jones, 39, has won world titles at four different weights.
In January Francis Joyon reclaimed the solo round-the-world sailing record by a massive 14 days.
The Frenchman, who beat the record set by Briton Ellen MacArthur in 2005, reached the finish line near Brest in the northwestern tip of France in his red trimaran IDEC in 57 days, 13 hours, 34 minutes and six seconds.
Big Brown's Triple Crown dreams wilted in searing heat when 38-1 longshot Da' Tara easily won the Belmont Stakes.
After triumphing in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, Big Brown was bidding to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978, but had nothing left at the top of the stretch and finished last in the nine-horse field.
Jockey Kent Desormeaux, pulled up the previously undefeated Big Brown in mid-stretch.
The Kentucky-bred horse had won all five of his previous races and had beaten Da' Tara by 23 lengths at the Florida Derby.
Austrian pilot Hannes Arch won the spectacular Red Bull Air Race World Series. He clinched the title in the last round in Perth, Australia.
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