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RONNIE O’SULLIVAN will channel his inner Tiger Woods and Roger Federer as he tries to win a sixth world title playing at just 60% of his powers.

For the 28th successive year, the Rocket will obtain his Crucible fix by making the annual trip to Sheffield for a Betfred world championship he has won on five occasions.

4 Ronnie O'Sullivan opens his 2020 campaign today as he searches for a sixth world crownCredit: PA:Press Association

Many consider him the sport’s greatest player and in a comparison with two other sporting giants, he reckons he could still be King of the World even at the age of 44.

O’Sullivan said: “My time in a way has been and gone. But I’m a little bit like Tiger Woods and Roger Federer.

“Because I was so good, even at 60%, I’m still capable of holding my own against most of the players.

“So that’s probably why I’m still hanging around because a lot of these players do more practise in one day than I do in two weeks.

“As long as I am still able to do it on my terms, and I play snooker because I choose to not because I have to, then it’s alright.

“The minute I feel like I have to put a little bit too much effort in, then there’s the exhibition circuit.

4 It is seven years since the Rocket last lifted the crown at the CrucibleCredit: Getty Images - Getty

“I’ve got an active brain and I won’t be satisfied doing nothing. Having put things in place now, I now know that there will be a great life after snooker.”

In the first round today, O’Sullivan faces fellow rapid player Thepchaiya Un-Nooh from Thailand in what could be the quickest match in history.

O’Sullivan has played in the world championships every year since 1993 but it is seven years since he last lifted silverware.

In fact he has only made one final and three quarter-final appearances in that period.

As a man of many contradictions, O’Sullivan admits on one hand he doesn’t like the 17-day format and the best of 19-33 frames.

Yet on the other hand, he claims he feels like an addict when it comes to playing on the big stage.

4 Roger Federer and Tiger Woods are considered by many to be the greatest players in tennis and golf respectivelyCredit: Getty Images - Getty

O’Sullivan said: “For me it’s like an addict who needs to feed his habit.  It is not about tournaments. They are all the same. It’s about feeding that habit whenever I need to.

“To be honest, I don’t really care what happens and that’s the truthful answer.

“I have got a back-up plan if I get beaten and have a soft landing by doing some Eurosport work.

“But I have banned myself from giving that TV option for at least two days.

“I’ve to put a fine on myself to try that bit harder because it has been well-documented it’s not my favourite tournament for obvious reasons.

“I don’t care what anybody thinks, my CV and what I have done over the years speaks for itself. I don’t have anything to prove.

“It is just feeding that habit now and again and I have got everything on my terms and if I did not have it on my terms then I definitely would not be playing.

“Obviously I want to go there and have butterflies, as a sportsman that is what you want to do.

“But there is no pressure on me and I am certainly not playing snooker because I need to, it is because I want to.”


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BARR: Nanny State Now Targets Even Moderate Alcohol Consumption

The Nanny State has survived wars, economic downturns and election upheavals. It has shown itself stronger even than a major, worldwide pandemic. From semi-reasonable mandates such as requiring masks when in large groups, to the absurd, such as wearing a mask while walking alone with your dog, Nanny State regulators at all levels of government have been busy little bees during this coronavirus pandemic.

Not satisfied with limiting its intrusive meddling to measures at least marginally related to the pandemic, however, Big Brother now has focused its attention on social drinking — working to stop responsible adults from having a couple of drinks with dinner or during happy hour on occasion.

The vehicle for this latest nosiness is the drafting of new 2020 Dietary Guidelines by a government advisory committee. These dietary busy bodies are recommending that adults should not consume more than one drink per day. As with many federal “guidelines,” this latest compendium contradicts earlier versions, setting a standard that is 50% lower for men. A closer look at the make-up of the advisory committee hints at why the proposed guidelines are more draconian than its predecessor.

Timothy Naimi, an alcohol researcher on the Advisory Committee, appears to be leading the committee’s crackdown on accountable drinking by adult men and women. He has publicly defended the questionable goal, going so far as to warn the American people against having a couple of drinks after days of no-drinking activity. His comments suggest that every responsible man or woman who may like to unwind with more than one drink every so often is not only putting their own health at risk, but endangering society at large.

Naimi is an advocate of increased alcohol sales restrictions and taxes and a well-known adversary of the alcohol industry. It should come as no surprise therefore that the new government guidelines he helped devise appear based more on the lifestyle choices, opinions, and ideological worldview of one school of thought than they are on scientific facts and evidence. In fact, even a cursory reading of the text of this new report demonstrates that it has few data-driven legs to stand on.

By their own admission, they state that the drinking levels in the previous Dietary Guidelines “constitute reasonably low risk” and that “most studies found lower risk among men consuming within ranges up to 2 drinks per day.” However, they claim that by a mere “preponderance” of evidence they have discovered, men and women should only have one drink a day; hardly convincing. Their conclusion is weakened further considering that the document states that only a single study examined the difference between men consuming one or two drinks per day.

The lack of factual, empirical data for the committee’s recommendations would be quickly discounted if in fact it was subject to rigorous scientific methodology. But for Nanny State adherents like Naimi, what counts most are conclusions that support government power to intervene in private and commercial transactions and decision-making. To call the evidence on which this group has relied “conclusive” would be laughable but for the likelihood that, like numerous other government-funded studies, sooner or later it will fuel regulatory edicts with significant economic ramifications for the industry affected.

Apparently cognizant that their report would draw scrutiny, Naimi and his colleagues devote an entire concluding section to answering the question, “Why is tightening recommendations for men justified?” The authors claim that, although incidents such as motor vehicle crashes, falls and violence typically occur at higher levels of consumption, the “risk increases above zero drinks,” so the American people should therefore impose greater limitations on themselves.

This line of reasoning is akin to arguing that the government should reduce highway speed limit from 55 miles per hour to 54 simply because “the faster the speed, the more harm can potentially come.” The myopic logic fueling this report also ignores the negative consequences that can come from driving too slowly, just as the proposed 2020 Guidelines ignore the benefits that people may receive from moderate drinking, including reduced risk of strokes and heart disease.

The report would have little if any practical value at any time, but especially in these pandemic-stressed times, it makes no sense whatsoever and, if followed, will lead to significant harm to individuals and to an industry already hit hard by pandemic-based restrictions.

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003 and served as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986 to 1990.  He now serves as President of the Law Enforcement Education Foundation based in Atlanta, Georgia.

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