Beachley Ready To Hang Up Her Board 2009: Layne Beachley

Beachley ready to hang up her board

LAYNE BEACHLEY says the urge to compete is finally out of her system after the seven-time world surfing champion was beaten in the third
round of the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach last week. Some people probably think there is one more comeback in the 37-year-old, but Beachley told The Big Wrap: “I was still disappointed to lose at Bells, but it didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. I played tennis later that day and I was more competitive in that than I was in the heat. That told me something. I realised my desire to be with my family and friends was stronger than my desire to compete, and after sacrificing 20 years of my life on tour it was a refreshing place in which to find myself.” Phil Mickelson has lost weight – again. It was clear from television coverage of the US Masters golf tournament that Mickelson has shed a considerable amount, which he had done a few times previously only to put the weight back on. There was only the slightest hint of those infamous man boobs. It looked like it had done him the world of good when he made that final-round charge from a long way back to put himself in a position to win, but exactly the sort of mistakes you thought might have been eradicated from having a sharper mind – the result of a fitter body – were instead repeated. One tee shot into the water and two misses with very makeable putts and Mickelson’s chance was gone. It’s clear it doesn’t matter how fit Mickelson gets – it’s locked in his nature to make spectacular misses to go along with spectacular hits. He’ll continue to win some – but he’ll continue to butcher some through mental lapses. A Bob each way Actor Roy Billing, who plays Robert Trimbole in the Underbelly series screening on Channel Nine, was on fire in the Emirates marquee at Randwick on Saturday. Billing told The Big Wrap before the Doncaster Mile that Vision And Power would win the big race and he was right. When Roy showed us his ticket for a $20 win bet and we suggested the character he plays would have invested a bit more than that, Billing leaned across and said: “Don’t worry, I had a bit more on him in my TAB account over the internet this morning.” Billing wasn’t the only Underbelly connection in the marquee. Gyton Grantley, who played Carl Williams in the original Underbelly series, was also enjoying the day – and looking a lot slimmer than when he beefed up for the part. Others engaging in the battle of trying to find a winner – and enjoying the hospitality – included veteran crooner Kamahl, television’s Kerri-Anne Kennerley, public relations queen Judy Romano, former athlete Jane Flemming and surfing great Layne Beachley and her fiance, Kirk Pengilly, of INXS fame. Beachley and Pengilly had to leave early, before the Doncaster. “My daughter, April, is having her 21st birthday party tonight,” Pengilly explained. “Layne and I have backed All Silent in the Doncaster, so we’ll listen on the way home.” All Silent unfortunately lived up to its name and didn’t make any noise, running 10th. A low blow Boxer Paul Briggs was one of the many sports stars to be ripped off by conman Tim Johnston, of Firepower infamy. Details of how Briggs became a victim are revealed in Gerard Ryle’s book, Firepower , to be released next month. Briggs was introduced to Johnston at a function in Sydney. Johnston loved the story of the boxer’s dramatic background and persuaded him to fight under the Paul “Firepower” Briggs moniker in return for $200,000 in cash and shares, to be paid over two years. Johnston flew Briggs and his entourage to the US and put them up in top-class hotels, but then – as with others who fell under the Johnston spell – the dream turned into a nightmare. Briggs lost his first fight under the deal and the payments stopped after a few months. The shares Well, you can guess what they’re worth. “I was chasing to get blood out of a stone,” Briggs said at the time. Plenty of members of that club. Small boy, big chance How about this for a blinder of an opportunity for a 10-year-old boy Joe Caletti, who plays for Castle Hill United, has been chosen to attend the academy of one of the world’s biggest football clubs – Barcelona – next month. Barcelona’s representatives, including Gerry Gomez, a former Sydney City player in the old NSL, sifted through 80 talented youngsters until they were left with the boy they believed was the best. The Big Wrap has seen Caletti play and it isn’t hard to figure out why he was the chosen one. As well as receiving a week of specialised coaching, Caletti will attend a Barcelona game and hopefully meet the team’s stars – including Lionel Messi. “He’s small, like me,” Joe told The Big Wrap. “I watch him and I know you can be small and still make it as a professional. I want to play for the Socceroos when I grow up.” Farewell to a legend Some of you won’t have even heard of him, but those of you who are NFL fans will be well aware of John Madden’s standing in American sport and I can’t let his sudden retirement from television commentary go without a mention. Imagine the day Richie Benaud finishes as a cricket commentator – it will be the same here. Madden had great insight and enormous enthusiasm as a commentator who mixed analysis with colour, but the best thing about his style was that he didn’t consider himself above explaining the finer details of something that had just happened for newcomers to the sport. NBC Sports boss Dick Ebersol called Madden “the absolute best sports broadcaster who ever lived”. We know how Americans think the world doesn’t extend beyond them, but I have to agree with Ebersol. Sniff and the fears Canines were certainly in the driver’s seat over the weekend. On Saturday, top dog at the IPL match between the Chennai Super Kings and the Mumbai Indians in Cape Town was a mean looking stray that stopped play until someone was game enough to approach it. In Sydney, sniffer dogs greeted racegoers at Randwick on Doncaster day, getting away with behaviour that would have seen human security guards arrested. And, of course, the Bulldogs took the bone on Sunday against the Eels in the NRL. WEEKEND WARRIOR: JIM CASSIDY
You’ve ridden a group 1 winner the past three Saturdays. The Pumper is back, isn’t he Back and firing on all cylinders. I never really went away – I was just put on the shelf for a while until I found another good horse. My riding ability was always there.

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