Tag Archives: state

Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson will be pulling out all the stops to beat Europe

I'll stop the rot, vows America's Ryder Cup captain Watson… and Tiger will be my No 1

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UPDATED:

00:06 GMT, 14 December 2012

It all ended in tears the last time an iconic figure made it as far as the 80th floor of the Empire State Building and roared out a warning.

Nearly 80 years on from the movie King Kong, Tom Watson will hope his message to Europe’s Ryder Cup team from the same New York landmark doesn’t end with him shot down in flames.

‘I hope that by appointing me as America’s Ryder Cup captain we’re telling the Europeans we are pulling out all the stops to beat you guys,’ he said. ‘We’re saying that winning is the most important thing and we want to do it in style. I always say that early in my career I learned to win by hating to lose — and it is about time we stopped losing.’

Bullish: New USA Ryder Cup captain was in bullish mood in his inaugural press conference saying his team would 'pull out all the stops to beat you guys'

Bullish: New USA Ryder Cup captain was in bullish mood in his inaugural press conference saying his team would 'pull out all the stops to beat you guys'

Skipper: Watson posed for photographers on the observation deck of the Empire State Building...

Skipper: Watson posed for photographers on the observation deck of the Empire State Building…

...but still had time to act the tourist and take a picture of his own

…but still had time to act the tourist and take a picture of his own

And with that proclamation ringing in the ears it was time to light the most famous building in Manhattan in the obligatory red, white and blue. As befits the grace of the man himself, there was nothing garish about Watson’s appearance, save for the slightly unnerving lack of grey hairs on the 63-year-old’s head.

Speaking of icons, the news of Watson’s appointment had hardly been made official than Tiger Woods was sending his congratulations and saying what an honour it would be to play for him at Gleneagles in 2014. Two years ago, he and Watson had a major falling-out after the latter had gone public with some scathing criticism of Tiger’s behaviour. Now Watson is keen to emphasise it is ‘all water under the bridge’. He added: ‘I hope he is on my team and if for some unforeseen reason he isn’t, he’s going to be my number one pick. He’s perhaps the best player in the history of the game and brings a stature to the team.’

Struggle: Tom Watson stated that Tiger Woods (above) will be the first name on his team, but the former World Number 1 has an appalling record in the tournament

Struggle: Tom Watson stated that Tiger Woods (above) will be the first name on his team, but the former World Number 1 has an appalling record in the tournament

Given Tiger’s appalling Ryder Cup record, for a moment I thought he said statue.

In keeping with the startling nature of this extraordinary appointment, Watson revealed he was first approached 13 months ago. ‘It was a phone call that I had waited a really long time to receive,’ said the five-time Open champion, who was a winning captain at The Belfry in 1993.

‘I really wanted the challenge again. Here we are, just off Broadway and that’s appropriate because I look upon being captain as like a stage manager, getting everything ready so the actors, or in this case, the players, can go out and perform.’

Jose Maria Olazabal, Europe’s retiring Ryder Cup captain, said Watson was just the man to deal with some of the huge egos in the American team. As the fall-out from Medinah continues, others have pointed the finger at Olazabal’s counterpart, Davis Love. Trust Watson to cut through the bluster. What he will bring to the job is an enormous presence, and that shouldn’t be underestimated.

But let’s not forget that Love lost at Medinah by the narrowest of margins. Watson was quick to seize on the hope that he gets that elusive quality that deserted his predecessor. ‘What I need is a little bit of luck,’ he said.
It was fascinating listening to his brilliant analysis of that miracle in Chicago. How Ian Poulter’s five successive birdies on Saturday night brought a ‘cloud on to the horizon’; how Europe’s wonderful start on Sunday saw the cloud turn into a storm. ‘ US Ryder Cup player): ‘I
think he would be amazing. Such a remarkable player and person and he
demands respect just by the kind of player he has been. He’s like a
quiet lion. It would be an honour to play for him.’

BRANDT SNEDEKER (2012 US Ryder Cup player):
‘I am surprised but excited. Tom is a good friend of mine, one of the
best players to ever play the game who is instantly going to gain a lot
of respect and sway the homefield advantage for us in Scotland because
of his success over there.’

PAUL AZINGER (2008 US Ryder Cup captain): ‘Truthfully,
I am really surprised but I think it’s OK. There’s a philosophy of
picking contemporary players under the age of 50 that hasn’t really
worked. That would have been a great philosophy had we been winning, but
we haven’t, which makes Watson a good choice at this time.’

LANNY WADKINS (played under Watson in 1993):
‘Tom is just one of those guys who always believes. He doesn’t go out
there to have fun. He goes out there to kick butt and get the job done.
That’s really what the PGA of America, in my opinion, are thinking what
needs to happen.'

American Grand Prix preview

F1 is back on the menu as stars head to Austin, but will America bite

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 15 November 2012

An entrepreneurial bond trader, Formula One’s leading circuit designer, the favoured lieutenant of an octogenarian Texan billionaire, and a few locals lunch together in a boots-and-cowboy joint called Wild Bubba’s.

Today’s special: road kill chili, comprising antelope and wild boar.

The restaurant is situated amid scrubland in Elroy on the unfashionable south-eastern fringe of Austin, close to the airport. When the owner, Bubba no less, heard that the American Grand Prix was coming to the area he immediately took himself downtown to see the bond trader, aka Bobby Epstein, chairman of the whole enterprise, and introduced himself as the mayor of Elroy.

Big weekend: Wyman Gilliam, owner of Wild Bubba's in downtown Elroy, Texas

Big weekend: Wyman Gilliam, owner of Wild Bubba's in downtown Elroy, Texas

‘Really You’re the mayor of Elroy’ exclaimed Epstein.

Bubba’s deadpan response: ‘Self-proclaimed, sir.’ Bubba, a laconic 55-year-old wearing a red cap bearing the Circuit of the Americas insignia, saw the potential in a 250million project that brings Formula One back to the United States for the first time since 2007. He is now counting profits that are 80 per cent up in the past year.

‘I’m not buying a new boat,’ he said, ‘but I am paying the electricity bill.’

Perhaps exaggerating a touch, he added: ‘Maybe 99 per cent of people have totally embraced what’s taking place. There is some opposition from people who want to keep a quiet situation. But we could have got a new city dump out here or a new state prison. I am happy to say we have got Formula One.’

Bubba has even renamed his beer garden the Tilke Biergarten in honour of Hermann Tilke, the circuit designer from Germany who has used the natural undulations of the land to confect one of his more promising tracks.

Promising much: The track in Austin has been praised ahead of the race on Sunday

Promising much: The track in Austin has been praised ahead of the race on Sunday

Promising much: The track in Austin has been praised ahead of the race on Sunday

The short sprint up to the first left-hand corner and down again is instantly impressive even when you are riding in a truck driven by the affable Rad Weaver, the aforementioned lieutenant to the 85-year-old car-dealing, sports team-owning, oil-drilling, real estate-developing mogul Red McCombs, who along with Epstein and the acrimoniously discarded former racer Tavo Hellmund, is a founding father of Austin’s Formula One gambit.

There is an infectious pride among Bubba’s lunch crowd. They love the circuit. They take you to see the enviable number of turns visible from certain vantage points. Their welcome is warm.

Yet the local newspaper, the Austin American-Statesman, reports unrest among the 800,000 Austinites. ‘Keep Austin weird’ is a self-styled slogan in this defiantly hip, liberal, green, unglitzy, student city known for the University of Texas and officially declaring itself ‘The Live Music Capital of the World’.

Epstein counters that Formula One leads the way in developing green technologies. He also believes the circuit, which is due to host other series including Moto GP, could annually generate 500m for the city.

Looking at the hotel prices, they may do that in one weekend. Seriously, it is 700 a night at the Hilton, where the McLaren team are staying. That larceny is mirrored across downtown.

Race is on: Sebastian Vettel (right) and Fernando Alonso will resume their title fight again

Race is on: Sebastian Vettel (right) and Fernando Alonso will resume their title fight again

All 120,000 tickets are sold, at between 100 and 300. Another 200,000 visitors are expected in town for the party. Streets have been cordoned off for 70 live acts, including Aerosmith and Enrique Iglesias.

Talk to taxi drivers and they fear congestion. We Londoners remember that refrain from 99 out of 100 cabbies before the Olympics. But speak to most folk here and they are either positively excited or faintly open-minded about the extravaganza. In truth, they are not totally sure what they have got themselves into.

Take Epstein. He wanted to know what Bernie Ecclestone, who has agreed a 10-year deal with Austin, would have his eyes on when he arrived for Thursday’s inspection. I told him neatness, straight lines, no litter. Not easy because the grass was still being laid this week and some of the apparently temporary hospitality units needed further work.

Take America’s relationship with Formula One. The country has traditionally preferred the belching, muscular saloons of Nascar. That championship’s final round falls on Sunday and is sure to attract more domestic TV viewers than the Grand Prix, that unloved, occasional caller from Europe.

Two wheels better than four Jenson Button takes a look at the track

Two wheels better than four Jenson Button takes a look at the track

Incidentally, nobody in Austin has yet been well-versed enough in the sport to have talked to me about the title fight between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso, a year-long struggle that could be resolved here.

On Formula One’s last venture into this vast land, the Indianapolis Star asked locals what they knew about life over the pond. ‘Who is the British prime minister’ they inquired.

‘Albert Einstein,’ came the response.

‘That’s not bad,’ said Epstein on hearing the story. ‘We are such an egotistical people that 50 per cent of us would not know who the vice-president is. Formula One is opening Austin up in so many ways.’

Some teams arrived here to find the garages smaller than usual. That quibble makes little difference to Formula One’s chances of survival in a market crucial to manufacturers of cars and, in Red Bull’s case, drinks. But what will be more damaging is if punters get soaked. There is a 20 per cent chance of rain on Sunday, and that makes front-page news in a desert like this.

Another fear concerns how the public roads suddenly go down to one lane on the approach to the circuit. Old Silverstone-style traffic jams would be just the road kill that Bobby, Red and Rad do not want or deserve.

Bernie Ecclestone"s facing 300million court action over alleged bribery

Bernie's bit of bother at the bank: F1 supremo facing 300m bill

By
Jonathan McEvoy

PUBLISHED:

00:29 GMT, 26 October 2012

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UPDATED:

00:29 GMT, 26 October 2012

Bernie Ecclestone finished his game of backgammon before rejecting a request to hand over 300million.

That demand is the latest – and most lurid – twist in the saga that places serious doubt over Ecclestone's position as Formula One's overlord.

The request comes from German state-owned bank BayernLB for the amount they believe they lost when Ecclestone allegedly bribed one of their former employees, Gerhard Gribkowsky, into selling their stake to CVC, the company Ecclestone works for, at an artifically low price in 2005.

Time's up: Eccelstone's spell at the helm of F1 could be coming to an end

Time's up: Eccelstone's spell at the helm of F1 could be coming to an end

One F1 powerbroker told Sportsmail it would ‘not be easy’ for Ecclestone to remain in post.

But the man in question was playing his favourite board game with his Austrian chef as news from Germany broke here ahead of Sunday's Indian Grand Prix, a race that coincides with Ecclestone's 82nd birthday.

He said BayernLB were blackmailing him and typically refused to budge, insisting they would have to go to court to get their money.

He said: 'They asked our lawyers in Germany for the money. They said, “Could we have 400m back”

'I didn't respond. There’s no point, is there They will sue in England. If they win, they get paid. If they lose, it will just cost them. That's all.'

It is a tangled story that has already seen Gribkowsky jailed for eight-and-a-half years in June for admitting he accepted 27m from Ecclestone to sell the shares for a deflated price of 470m. Ecclestone, whose role is being investigated in Germany, denies the accusation.

Connected: There have been claims over Ecclestone's deal to buy CVC

Connected: There have been claims over Ecclestone's deal to buy CVC

The bank have seen the prosecution files
on Ecclestone, prompting them to ask for the money they seemingly
missed out on. The Wall Street Journal quotes industry insiders valuing
the business at more than 1.2billion. The question is whether
Ecclestone can ride out the storm.

He has always been a rule unto himself, but the patience of F1's owners, the private equity firm CVC, is being tested to the limit. Ecclestone, who retains shares in F1, is chief executive of CVCs grand prix business. They are known to be thinking of life beyond his highly personalised control, and that process would accelerate if events in Germany turn damagingly against him.

'There's nothing to worry about,' said Ecclstone. 'I'm aggravated with the nonsense I'm being put through for all this. I sold the bloody shares for the bank. It was something they couldn’t sell. They had six people look at them and wouldn't buy. I got them out of trouble and now I’m in trouble. Life is like that sometimes.'

Back to business: Bernie is in India for Sunday's GP

Back to business: Bernie is in India for Sunday's GP

While he was dismissing the idea of jail in Germany, the affairs of another rich man, the Indian businessman Vijay Mallya, solved the crisis that was the talk of the Delhi paddock.

Mallya is a flamboyant character who owns Kingfisher airlines and is team principal of Force India. But as of yesterday morning he owed 35m to the national airport authority. His 16-strong fleet was grounded.

By mid-afternoon, he had bought peace. His staff, who had threatened to protest outside the track after receiving bouncing cheques for seven months, went back to work. The government’s indication that his own plane would be impounded if he landed in India had receded.

Is the financial turbulence a worry for Paul di Resta, the British driver who is expected to sign on to stay at Force India next season

'I'm still getting paid,' he said, an astonishing statement given that the team's co-owners Sahara have been ordered by India's supreme court to pay back nearly 3bn to investors. 'Everything here is fine.'

Ecclestone, you will be unsurprised to learn, won the backgammon. A game with bigger stakes goes on.

Newport County are on their way back and have the Football League in their sights

Out with the old, in with the Newport: Welsh club on the rise and set for Football League return

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UPDATED:

21:13 GMT, 14 October 2012

April Fool’s Day 1989. An auctioneer in Cardiff announces the next lot with a sense of gallows humour. ‘Very fitting for this occasion actually,’ he says. ‘A large quantity of black armbands.’

They belonged to Newport County FC. So did the first-team kit, lawn mower, multi-gym and a miniature Viking ship presented to the South Wales club by Norwegian team SK Haugar. It all had to go.

The set of black armbands fetched 1. The goalkeeper’s jersey went for 19 and the No 10, usually worn by star striker Tommy Tynan, for 50. In total, Newport’s assets raised 12,000.

Top of the table: Jefferson Louis battles with Ryan Jackson

Top of the table: Jefferson Louis battles with Ryan Jackson

‘Hardly enough to pay the auctioneer, never mind the administrator,’ recalls David Hando. ‘That auction convinced people with any vestige of hope that we weren’t going to be saved. But we didn’t accept it was the end.’

Hando is a 75-year-old retired deputy headmaster and Newport’s president. For 10 years he also served as chairman of the club that rose from the ashes of Newport County’s demise.

One of the first things Newport AFC did that summer was to buy back the County name from the administrators for 8,000.

It would be another decade before they were safe to use it again, such was the weight of debt hanging over the old club. But they were desperate to stop former chairman Jerry Sherman from re-launching Newport elsewhere.

Man in charge: Newport manager and former Spurs defender Justin Edinburgh gives orders from the touchline

Man in charge: Newport manager and former Spurs defender Justin Edinburgh gives orders from the touchline

The American’s vision for the club had already done enough damage. His last known address is Oregon State Penitentiary, where he was sentenced to serve seven years in 2007 for fraud. If Sherman was somewhat less than open about his business interests, there is no secret as to how much Newport’s current chairman is worth.

Les Scadding, who joined the board at the start of this season, landed 45.5million on the EuroMillions lottery three years ago when he was an unemployed lorry driver.

The club are at pains to point out that Scadding, a lifelong fan, is not their Jack Walker but it’s fair to say Newport are essentially debt free and in a far better place than they were 23 years ago — top of the Blue Square Bet Premier, in fact.

Less than a decade after Tynan and a strike partner by the name of John Aldridge had fired Newport to Welsh Cup glory and the quarter-finals of the 1981 European Cup-Winners’ Cup, the club’s 68-year stay in the Football League was over in 1988.

Good times: Newport County chairman Les Scadding celebrates during the match against Macclesfield

Good times: Newport County chairman Les Scadding celebrates during the match against Macclesfield

They went out of business the following February, evicted from their Somerton Park home.

There followed a prolonged battle with the FA of Wales and local council that saw Newport playing in exile 85 miles away in the English town of Moreton- in-Marsh — ‘our magical mystery tour of the Cotswolds’, as Hando puts it — and going to the High Court on three occasions before getting back on an even keel.

Their rise back up through the non-League ranks has been slow but the Football League is in sight again with Justin Edinburgh’s team four points clear at the top of the Blue Square Bet Premier after 15 games.

Club stalwart: Newport County's president David Hando

Club stalwart: Newport County's president David Hando

During his first 12 months in charge, the 42-year-old former Tottenham defender has not only saved Newport from relegation but also taken them to Wembley for the first time in the FA Trophy final.

He has overhauled the playing staff as well as the playing style this season, helped by a move from modest Spytty Park to the better facilities at Rodney Parade, where the football club share with Newport Gwent Dragons and Newport RUFC.

Edinburgh’s side are unbeaten there so far. He says: ‘Taking Newport to Wembley was a proud day but if we get this club back in the Football League, it would be the pinnacle of my career so far as a player or manager.’

That’s a feeling shared by Lenny Pidgeley, the former Chelsea goalkeeper who picked up Premier League and Carling Cup medals at Stamford Bridge as third-choice to Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini.

Pidgeley, 28, was looking for a club after leaving Exeter City when Newport came calling at the start of the season.

‘I was living in a bit of a fantasy world at Chelsea,’ says Pidgeley. ‘It seems more amazing to me now than it did at the time. But if we go up I’d put it up there with those achievements.’

Going ahead: Newport's Tony James scores the opening goal

Going ahead: Newport's Tony James scores the opening goal

Pidgeley was on form at Macclesfield Town on Saturday but could not prevent Matthew Barnes-Homer cancelling out a first-half effort from Tony James as Newport drew 1-1.

Edinburgh and his players had the benefit of an overnight stay, once again given access to Stoke’s training ground on Friday. Newport-born Tony Pulis has not forgotten his roots.

Later this month, 600 people will gather at Celtic Manor to celebrate the club’s centenary and toast a bright future.

It’s not just the old schoolmaster in Hando that insists on people referring to it correctly as Newport County AFC.

'If there hadn’t been an AFC there wouldn’t be a County,’ he says. ‘It’s important to realise we did start again.'

Patrick Vieira: Young players don"t love England

Vieira: Young players don't love England… they are not proud and put their clubs first

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UPDATED:

21:49 GMT, 10 October 2012

Patrick Vieira believes young English players no longer dream of representing their country and are ‘not as proud’ to play for England.

The World Cup-winning France and Arsenal midfielder said the FA do not have the power to force youngsters to stop putting their clubs first and suggested there is a ‘lack of love for the national team’.

Words of warning: Patrick Vieira (fourth left) says younger players prefer their clubs over the national side

Words of warning: Patrick Vieira (fourth left) says younger players prefer their clubs over the national side

Vieira, football development executive at Manchester City, said: ‘In England, I really don’t understand how so many young players from the age of 16 to 21 pull out of the national team through injury. It’s maybe the lack of FA power. Maybe this is a lack of love for the national team as well.

‘When I grew up, I wanted to play for the French national team. That was my target, my dream, and I don’t think this is the same for the Under 16s and Under 18s in England. I don’t think the young players are dreaming of playing for the national team any more. I believe they are not as proud as they used to be.

Passionate: Vieira (second left) celebrates Manu Petit's goal in the 1998 World Cup final

Passionate: Vieira (second left) celebrates Manu Petit's goal in the 1998 World Cup final

‘We are talking about the national team.
That is bigger than anything. That did not mean that I loved Arsenal
less, but you are looking at representing your country and that was
something I was very proud about.’

The Frenchman praised the newly opened St George’s Park, but warned that the FA’s new national football centre will only succeed if it has the full backing of Premier League clubs.

State-of-the-art: England players relax as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge official open St George's Park

State-of-the-art: England players relax as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge official open St George's Park

Vieira, 36, compared it to Clairefontaine, the French national academy which has produced players of the calibre of Thierry Henry, but stressed the FA must improve their relationship with England’s top sides.

Speaking in his role as an ambassador for Western Union’s new PASS initiative, Vieira said: ‘Finally they did something because, if you look at the big nations, they all have their own “house”.

Blueprint: France players train at Clairefontaine

Blueprint: France players train at Clairefontaine

‘It’s taken them a long time for them to realise they need a place. But it’s better late than never.

‘The FA have to build a relationship with the football clubs. At Clairefontaine the players were there all week and then went to play for their clubs at the weekend.

Bright future Vieira has doubted the commitment of England's younger players to the national side

Bright future Vieira has doubted the commitment of England's younger players to the national side

‘Are the Premier League clubs ready to do that I don’t think so. At City when you are building your own facilities like we have, it’s really difficult to let them go out somewhere else.

‘There is a balance (to be struck). But it’s never too late. The FA, the Premier League and the clubs can all work together to produce players for the national team.’

Michel Platini plans for winter World Cup 2022 in Qatar

UEFA chief Platini pushes ahead with plans for winter World Cup in Qatar in 2022

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UPDATED:

12:27 GMT, 25 September 2012

UEFA president Michel Platini is determined to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar during the winter and force the Barclays Premier League to take a break during November and December to accommodate it.

FIFA's decision to award football's greatest showpiece to the tiny Arab state has attracted derision due to the difficulties it will place on supporters and teams alike if held in the searing heat of the summer months, when the tournament is traditionally staged.

Platini's solution is to break with tradition and stage the tournament during the winter, which will clash with the regular club season across Europe.

Feeling hot, hot, hot: The World Cup 2022 will be held in Arab state Qatar

Feeling hot, hot, hot: The World Cup 2022 will be held in Arab state Qatar

Grand plans: How one of the stadiums will look in the capital Doha in 2022

Grand plans: How one of the stadiums will look in the capital Doha in 2022

But the Frenchman is adamant that forcing clubs in England and across the continent would not be a problem as the leagues could simply finish a month later than usual.

He also suggests that the tournament could not go ahead in January 2022 because of a potential clash with the Winter Olympics.

Platini said in the Standard: 'I hope it (the 2022 World Cup) will be held in winter. We have to go to Qatar when it is good for everybody to participate. What is better for the fans

'Did you see in South Africa It was freezing and nobody could go anywhere to a fan club or anything. You had to stay in the hotel.

'In 10 years we can manage to decide how we can postpone the season for one month.

'January is difficult for the World Cup because you have the Winter Olympic Games.

'If we stop [the European season] from November 2 to December 20, it means, instead of finishing in May, we stop in June.

'It is not a big problem. It is for the good of the World Cup, the most important competition in the world.'

On screen: UEFA president Michel Platini, at a conference for European national team coaches in Warsaw on Monday, wants a break with tradition

On screen: UEFA president Michel Platini, at a conference for European national team coaches in Warsaw on Monday, wants a break with tradition

FIFA's executive committee made the shock decision to hand Qatar the staging rights in a vote in December 2010 that also saw Russia awarded the 2018 tournament, ahead of England and other bidders.

World football's governing body later became embroiled in a far-reaching corruption scandal that saw several high-profile executives removed from office in disgrace.

But Platini defended the outcome of the vote, saying it was the right outcome and that he would vote for the country again if he had the chance.

The former France and Juventus star also played down suggestions there could be a re-run of the election in the wake of the FIFA scandal.

'To revoke World Cup decisions will be difficult. And, if there is another vote, I will vote the same way: for Russia and Qatar,' he said.

'I voted for Qatar because it was time to go to a country in that part of the world. They bid five times.'

Platini also refutes the suggestion that he voted under instructions of the then French president, Nicolas Sarkozy: 'No, no, no. I tell you one thing immediately. One day I was invited to dinner by Sarkozy where there was the Prime Minister of Qatar.

'Mr Sarkozy never asked me during the dinner to vote for Qatar. They invited me to the dinner but they know I will be independent, that I will vote for who I want.'

Jim Furyk says Rory McIlroy is a marked man

Move over Tiger, now Rory is the man to beat, says Furyk

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UPDATED:

23:39 GMT, 18 September 2012

Webb Simpson thought it would be nice to rent a property for his family in the local vicinity after qualifying for the Tour Championship for the first time last year.

The US Open champion was wholly unprepared for the response. ‘I wouldn’t advise it unless you own a gun,’ came the reply.

It’s not just the shots played inside the ropes that make the headlines, therefore, at this event at East Lake.

Power shift: World No 1 Rory McIlroy is the man to beat now rather than Tiger Woods

Power shift: World No 1 Rory McIlroy is the man to beat now rather than Tiger Woods

At the conclusion of last year’s tournament, commentators working for Sky walked out of their trailer and into a crime scene.

Two youths had driven through a roadblock, prompting a state trooper to shoot one of them in the shoulder.

It should be said that great strides have been made to turn the neighbourhood into a peaceful community.

Members recall a time when they wouldn’t play a hole that fringes the outskirts for fear of being mugged.

It might not be completely safe now but it’s safe enough to assume Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods will avoid such a fate this week.

Taking aim: Jim Furyk says McIlroy has a target on his back

Taking aim: Jim Furyk says McIlroy has a target on his back

When Jim Furyk came into the interview room and talked about McIlroy being a marked man, then, he meant it metaphorically. ‘No matter what happens this week, he’s the present day Tiger, garnering all the attention as well he should after the season he’s had,’ Furyk said.

‘He’s a marked man, the No 1 player in the world and, the way he’s playing, it’s hard to imagine he won’t be in contention.’

The overriding feature so far leading into this FedEx Cup finale for the race to the $10million bonus has been the blossoming friendship of McIlroy and Woods.

This will be the third time in four events they have played together in the opening round, with the Northern Irishman a clear winner so far.

Indeed, no less a figure than Greg Norman this week made the astonishing claim that he believes Tiger is feeling intimidated by McIlroy.

Manchester United use Shinji Kagawa link for Japan promotion

Manchester United use Kagawa link to set up Japan promotion

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UPDATED:

23:42 GMT, 14 September 2012

Manchester United have announced a new three-year partnership with leading Japanese engineering firm Yanmar.

The agreement will allow United to
utilise Yanmar's expertise in their key markets worldwide and enhance
their profile in Japan.

Link man: Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa (left)

Link man: Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa (left)

Yanmar are one of the world's largest engine manufacturing companies and also have a strong record in supporting young sporting talent in Asia.

In 1957 the company founded the football club now known as Cerezo Osaka, which is where current United player Shinji Kagawa began his professional career.

United commercial director Richard Arnold said: 'Like Manchester United, Yanmar is steeped in history, this year celebrating a centenary of creating ground-breaking state-of-the-art technology in its field.

'With 659million followers United has a huge global audience and through our alliance we hope to introduce Yanmar and its expertise to some of our key markets.

'In return Yanmar will help us in our desire to engage with our nearly 4million Japanese followers.'

Kagawa, who joined United from Borussia Dortmund in the summer, was present at the announcement of the partnership at Old Trafford with team-mates Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez.

Manchester United academy captain Luke McCullough arrested over "sex in public"

United's academy captain arrested after allegedly having sex in public

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UPDATED:

12:53 GMT, 7 September 2012

A rising Manchester United star has been arrested for ‘lewd behaviour’ after allegedly having sex with a teenage girl in a doorway.

Luke McCullough, 18, who was last season's Academy captain, was seen on CCTV with the woman at 5am on Monday after a night out.

The Northern Irish defender – said by Old Trafford bosses to be the new Jonny Evans – allegedly got ‘overly amorous’ with the blonde.

Arrest: Luke McCullough (right) in action for Manchester United's youth team

Arrest: Luke McCullough (right) in action for Manchester United's youth team

The incident in Concert Square, a popular bar and restaurant district of Liverpool, will infuriate manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

He expects high standards of his young players and just last week banned all of his under-23s from driving flashy sports cars from new club sponsors Chevrolet.

During the incident, the smooching pair allegedly initially moved into a doorway semi-clothed, only for police to send a car to the scene.

The couple were spoken to, did up their clothes and walked away – but just a few yards away went into another doorway and carried on, police said.

Old Trafford: Manchester United bosses have described the Irish defender as the 'new Jonny Evans' and he is cited as a hot prospect

Old Trafford: Manchester United bosses have described the Irish defender as the 'new Jonny Evans' and he is cited as a hot prospect

Officers went back the scene and arrested both for public order offences. The woman received a police caution after admitting the incident.

The Northern Ireland youth captain and centre-back was held in police cells for several hours before being issued with a caution and sent home.

'They were all over each other and they
just couldn’t help themselves. Officers told them to move on and they
agreed but they didn’t get very far before they were at it again. We had no choice (but) to arrest them'

Police source

A police source said: ‘The pair of them were spotted on CCTV in a virtual state of undress but it was only when they move to a doorway we had to send a patrol out.

‘They were all over each other and they just couldn’t help themselves. Officers told them to move on and they agreed but they didn’t get very far before they were at it again.

‘We had no choice (but) to arrest them because all and sundry would have seen what they were up to. Why they didn’t just get a room is beyond us.’

A Merseyside Police spokesman confirmed an 18-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman were arrested in Liverpool early on Monday morning.

Unlikely to impress: The incident will infuriate the club's senior manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, who expects high standards of his young players

Unlikely to impress: The incident will infuriate the club's senior manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, who expects high standards of his young players

He said: ‘Both were taken into custody and spoken to by officers before receiving a formal police caution for a public order offence.’

LUKE MCCULLOUGH
Born: 15/2/1994, Portadown, N. IrePosition: Centre-back
International: N. Ire U17Joined United: 1/7/2010Last season: MUFC Academy captain, 25 appearancesPrevious teams: Dungannon Swifts, County Armagh, Portadown Colleg

Manchester United call McCullough an ‘accomplished defender who is building his reputation as a powerful, commanding presence. ‘

The Portadown teenager joins a collection of Northern Irish players now at the club's Carrington training ground after arriving from Dungannon Swifts.

He was compared with Belfast-born United first-team player Jonny Evans after he became captain of the Academy side in the 2011/2012 season.

He was shortlisted for the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award, in memory of the ex-United assistant manager from the Busby Babes era.

London Paralympics 2012: Victoria Arlen appeal upheld with reclassification set to go ahead

Swim queen Arlen's appeal upheld with eligibility reclassification set to go ahead

|

UPDATED:

12:59 GMT, 30 August 2012

The fate of double world record holder Victoria Arlen was still unclear on Thursday morning after an appeal against her exclusion from the Paralympics on the grounds of being ineligible for competition was upheld.

The 17-year-old was found to be 'non-eligible' by the International Paralympic Committee after they had received evidence compelling them on Tuesday to assess Arlen, who holds world records in the S6 100 metres and 400m freestyle.

The United States Paralympic Committee's appeal was upheld and it was announced she would be reclassified in the afternoon.

Appeal: Victoria Arlen

Appeal: Victoria Arlen

It will be a two-stage process with assessment today and also
observation of Arlen in competition meaning she will for the moment
remain as an S6 swimmer.

This will see the 17-year-old compete on Saturday against Ellie
Simmonds in the heats of the 400m freestyle with the Briton starting the
defence of one of the two titles she claimed in Beijing four years ago.

Ultimately, though, it could mean that should the IPC find against Arlen, she could compete and then find herself excluded.

Arlen, a former junior state champion, returned to swimming last year
after a neurological virus called Transverse Myelitis affected her
spinal cord in 2006 and left her in a vegetative state for two years,
and set the world records at the US trials in June.

Craig Spence, the IPC's director of media and communications, said 'a
variety of evidence' had been presented to support the re-classification
of all three US swimmers.

But he confirmed Arlenwould be allowed to compete as an S6 swimmer,
which will see her challenge Simmonds in Saturday's 400m freestyle
heats.

Spence said: 'It's likely the classifiers will also want to see Victoria
compete in competition. She was classified on Monday. She was deemed
ineligible. That's when the USPC protested and our board of appeal
upheld that protest.

'She is able to compete as an S6 swimmer until we finalise this process.'
Spence said the arrival of Paralympians into London for the start of the
Games had been the first opportunity to internationally classify some
athletes.

He said 245 athletes had been classified at London 2012 so far, compared with 700 athletes in Beijing four years ago.

Of these, 142 athletes have had their classification confirmed, with 40 class changes.

However this figure may rise as some sports such as wheelchair rugby had yet to be assessed, he added.