“I played great for four days. I couldn’t be happier”

Rory McIlroy made himself an early contender for the SJA Sportsman of the Year by winning the US Open, as IAN COLE’s sports and journalism quotes of the week demonstrate. Plus Twittering off the track, fights at Royal Ascot, Andy Murray’s quest to win Wimbledon, and bad weather at Test cricket

Rory McIlroy striding towards his first Major title

“I played great for four days, and I couldn’t be happier” Rory McIlroy, 22 and Northern Ireland’s second US Open golf champion in two years.

“I think this kid is going to have a great career, I don’t think there’s any question about it. He’s got all the components, he’s got all the people rooting for him, he’s got a pleasant personality, he’s humble when he needs to be humble and confident when he needs to be confident” Jack Nicklaus, 18 times a Major winner, after seeing McIlroy win with 16-under for the four rounds – four better than the previous US Open record set by Tiger Woods.

“Tiger will be watching this worried, there’s no question” Colin Montgomerie in commentary for Sky Sports.

“Right now he’s playing at a different level than the rest. He is an inspiration. I admire him a lot” Rafa Nadal, tennis’s world No1, a 7 handicap golfer and friend of McIlroy, takes heart as he bids to retain his Wimbledon singles title.

“If the Woods era has ended the McIlroy era has officially begun. Those who did not take advantage of Woods’ fall from grace to grab some glory of their own may live to regret it” Martin Samuel, the SJA Sports Writer of the Year, writing in the Daily Mail.

“Twitter is for attention seekers and clowns” Charles van Commenee, UK Athletics head coach, on the announcement via the social media messaging service by Phillips Idowu that he would not be competing for his country at the European Team Championship in Stockholm. Van Commenee is the SJA’s sporting lunch guest on July 14.

“Please don’t take me for an idiot” Idowu, via Twitter, denying that he had not informed team management before he went public to his followers about his absence.

“It has been quite a week for Phillips Idowu. Last weekend the world triple jump champion was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list. Yesterday he was given the order of the Great British twit, accused of letting down his country via Twitter” Simon Turnbull, the Independent‘s athletics correspondent.

“Just in case you’ve stolen something” Wimbledon security guard to SJA member Ian Stafford when asking to search his bag on the way out of the tennis ground.

Alex McLeish: relegated with Birmingham, staying up at Villa

“At the end of the day what will count is whether he can do the job for Villa. It doesn’t matter whether there are 50, 500 or five people against him, because the experience and the ability he has will prove he can do the job” Sir Alex Ferguson backs manager Alex McLeish to win over the Aston Villa fans after his controversial switch from Birmingham City.

“I like a challenge. Sometimes it is gutsy and risky and that’s why sometimes I fall flat on my face because I take that risk. I have had failure and I don’t fear it” Steve McClaren, dubbed “the Wally with the Brolly” during his unsuccessful spell as England manager, is back in English football as manager of Nottingham Forest.

“Edurne will keep singing ballads and I’ll keep stopping balls. Everyone else can say or do what they like” David de Gea, Atletico Madrid goalkeeper on his way to Manchester United in a £17.5 million move, in response to questions about he and his singer girlfriend coping in the Manchester spotlight.

“How curious that Wembley is to stage the Champions’ League final in 2013, just a couple of years after the last one. Is the 150th anniversary of the Football Association the real reason, or is it that Uefa believe Wembley is now the biggest cash cow in football?” Alan Hubbard, a former SJA Sports Diarist of the Year, in the Independent on Sunday.

Frankel, ridden by Tom Quelly, hangs on to win at Royal Ascot

“It’s one thing to buy a horse at sales and see it win, it’s a different thing entirely to win with a horse bred from an 11-year-old mare who is pretty much a family pet. The kids pat her every morning. To win with her son, in my colours, at Royal Ascot…it’s amazing” Michael Owen after Brown Panther wins the King George V Stakes.

“He has never had a race in his life. Nothing has ever given him anything to think about” Tom Queally, the jockey, after Frankel retains his unbeaten record with victory in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

“It’s disrespectful. Not just to the Queen, but to the horses” Sir Peter O’Sullevan, doyen of racing journalists, on an outbreak of drunken fighting close to the Royal enclosure at Ascot.

“This filly goes along with her nostrils twitching. Only the very best do that” Aidan O’Brien, leading trainer at Royal Ascot, enlightens mug punters after Maybe wins the Chesham Stakes.

“Now you know why, in 25 years of freelancing on and off for the BBC, I have never had a whiff of the royal gig” Martin Kelner rounds off his Guardian sport on  TV column in which it becomes apparent that he might not be a fan of the corporation’s forelock-tugging coverage of Royal Ascot.

“When you’re on the court, it’s not the thought of money that makes you nervous. I’m playing for history, to win Queen’s, or other tournaments. That’s what gets you fired up. I’d pay back all my prize money to win Wimbledon” Andy Murray, fourth seed for the Championships.

“I respect his consistency. He’s consistently boring, but he’s also been winning. One mistake could be fatal. If I bob when I should weave it could be catastrophic” David Haye talking sense ahead of his world heavyweight title fight against Wladimir Klitschko.

“After yet another rain interruption it was announced that tea would be taken immediately. Whereupon the sun came out , the covers came off … and both teams remained in the pavilion to the chinking of china and the sampling of scones” Patrick Collins, Mail on Sunday columnist, on cricket’s continuing contempt for the paying public during the inaugural Test match played at the Rose Bowl.


  • Nominate an SJA member to carry the torch on 2012 Olympic Torch Relay. Click here for details. Deadline June 27
  • Thu July 14: SJA Sporting lunch with Charles van Commenee, head coach of UK Athletics, one year ahead of the London Olympics. For booking details click here.
  • Mon Sep 12: SJA Autumn Golf Day, Muswell Hill GC. Click here for more details and to book yourself in for the day.
  • Wed Dec 7: SJA 2011 British Sports Awards – Booking now open. For more details, click here.

All details subject to alteration. Keep checking for updates