What happened to Payne Stewart?

What happened to Payne Stewart?  The late Payne Stewart, who died in a plane crash near the town of Mina, South Dakota on October 25, 1999, aged 42, was an American golfer who won 11 times on the PGA Tour. Known for his sartorial flamboyance, characterised by his signatue plus-four trousers, polo shirt and traditional flat cap cap, often in garish colours, Stewart won the PGA Championship in 1989 and the U.S. Open twice, in 1991 and 1999.

At the time of his death, Stewart was en route from Orlando, Florida to Dallas, Texas for the Tour Championship, scheduled to start at the Champions Golf Club in Houston later in the week. However, shortly after take-off, air traffic control lost contact with the chartered Learjet in which he was travelling.

Crash investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) subsequently concluded the loss of cabin pressure led to both pilots and all four passengers becoming incapacitated due to lack of oxygen, a.k.a. hypoxia. Indeed, the aircraft was intercepted by several F-16 fighter jets, the pilots of all of which reported that the windows were frozen over, with no sign of life on board. Nevertheless, the Learjet continued to fly, on autopilot, until hours later and thousands of miles off-course, it ran out of fuel and nose-dived into the ground at high speed.

Which Cheltenham Festival race has trainer Nicky Henderson won most often?

Which Cheltenham Festival race has trainer Nicky Henderson won most often?  Born in Lambeth, South London on December 10, 1950, Nicholas ‘Nicky’ Henderson first took out a training licence in his own right in 1978, having previously spent four years as assistant trainer to the legendary Fred Winter at Upland Stables in Upper Lambourn, Hungerford. Henderson saddled his first winner, Dukery, at Uttoxeter in October, 1978 and has since become the second most prolific trainer in the history of the Cheltenham Festival, behind only Willie Mullins.

Indeed, Henderson has won the leading trainer award at the March showpiece on three occasions, in 2000, 2010 and 2012, and his career haul of 73 winners includes the Queen Mother Champion Chase six times and the Arkle Challenge Trophy and the Triumph Hurdle seven times apiece. However, the Cheltenham Festival race that the veteran handler has won most often is the two-mile hurdling championship, the Champion Hurdle.

From his original training base at Windsor House Stables, Henderson sent out the hugely talented, but fragile, See You Then to win the Champion Hurdle three years running in 1985, 1986 and 1987. He later said of the Royal Palace gelding, ‘See You Then was the horse that made things happen really. He changed life. He was a great horse.’

In 1992, Henderson moved his operation to nearby Seven Barrows and, after a 22-year hiatus, won the Champion Hurdle again with Punjabi in 2009. Punjabi had won the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle, but fallen heavily at the second-last flight when favourite for the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, so missed out on the £1,000,000 bonus awarded by World Bet Exchange (WBX) for winning the so-called ‘Triple Crown of Hurdling’. More recently, Henderson has saddled Binocular (2010), Buveur d’Air (2017 and 2018), Epatante (2020) and Constitution Hill (2023) for a total of nine wins in the Champion Hurdle.

Did Brazilian footballer Socrates once play non-league football in Britain?

Did Brazilian footballer Socrates once play non-league football in Britain?  To cut a long story short, yes, he did. In his heyday, Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira, or Sócrates for short, was considered one of the greatest attacking midfielders of all time. Standing 6’4″ tall, he was physically strong, lithe and athletic, technically gifted and able to pick a pass with either foot. Sócrates was also a prolific goalscorer, chalking up 22 goals in 60 appearances for Brazil, whom captained in the 1982 FIFA World Cup, and 172 goals in 297 appearance for Corinthians, of São Paulo, with whom he spent most of his club career.

So, I hear you ask, how did the one-time revered captain of the greatest team, Brazilian or otherwise, to never have won a World Cup end up plying his trade in the lower reaches of the English football pyramid, thousands of miles from his homeland? Well, Sócrates offically retired from ‘futebol-arte’ – the Portuguese term used to distinguish characteristic Brazilian football – in 1989 aged 35 but, bizarrely, was coaxed back again 15 years later.

In October, 2004, at the behest of Simon Clifford, owner and manager of Garford Town who, at that time, played in Division One of the semi-professional Northern Counties East Football League, Sócrates agreed to become unpaid player-coach for a period of one-month. Of course, Clifford was also founder of the Brazilian Soccer Schools franchise, through which he had become friendly with the former midfield maestro.

In any event, the Brazilian made just one, brief appearance, coming on an as substitute after 78 minutes of a home game against Tadcaster Albion at Wheatley Park on November 4, 2004, which ended in a 2-2 draw. Cutting a fuller figure than he had in his prime, Sócrates reportedly prepared for his debut in West Yorkshire by ‘drinking two bottles of Budweiser and smoking three cigarettes’. Old habits die hard, it seems.

Did Tony Jacklin ever win a major?

Did Tony Jacklin ever win a major?  The short answer is yes, he did. In fact, he won two and came agonising close to winning three. In 1969, five days after his twenty-fifth birthday, Jacklin won the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, defeating former champion Bob Charles by two strokes. In so doing, he became the first Briton to do so since Max Faulkner in 1951. The following year, Jacklin shot 71-70-70-70 for a seven-under-par total of 211 and a seven-shot victory over Dave Hill in the 1970 U.S. Open at Hazeltine National. His wire-to-wire victory made him the first Briton to win the third of the four major championships since Willie Macfarlane in 1926.

Two years later, at the 1972 Open Championship at Muirfield, Jacklin was tied for the lead with eventual winner Lee Trevino with two holes left to play in the final round. However, he three-putted from 15 feet for a bogey on the penultimate hole and bogeyed the final hole to finish third behind Trevino and Jack Nicklaus, who shot a course record-equalling 65 in the final round to finish in the runner-up position. Reflecting on the defeat decades later, Jacklin said, ‘I was never the same again after that. I didn’t ever get my head around it.’

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