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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

UK & World

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km


Jim Furyk names Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker as Ryder Cup vice-captains

February 20 2018

United States Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk believes a “humble” Tiger Woods will again prove his worth off the course after naming the 14-time major winner and Steve Stricker as vice-captains for this year’s contest in Paris.Woods has not featured as a player since collecting just half a point from four matches in 2012, when Europe came back from 10-6 down on the final day in the ‘Miracle at Medinah’.However, the former world number one enjoyed a successful debut as an assistant at Hazeltine in 2016 and will fill the same role at Le Golf National from September 28-30.Woods also said last week he would relish a dual role as player and vice-captain and, speaking via a video message on Tuesday, the 42-year-old added: “The Ryder Cup is incredibly special to me. I am thankful to once again serve as a Ryder Cup vice-captain and I thank Jim for his confidence, friendship and support.“My goal is to make the team but whatever happens over the course of this season I will continue to do whatever I can to help us keep the cup. I’m excited about the challenge ahead.”Furyk believes Woods will be a valuable asset in Paris, particularly if a number of younger players who grew up idolising the 14-time major winner again make the team.He said: “When you look at that team room (at Hazeltine), a lot of them became professional golfers because they wanted to emulate Tiger Woods, so to have him in that team room, being that humble guy who is ready to serve means a lot.”Asked if Woods would be better as a player or vice-captain – if he failed to qualify but had played well during his latest comeback from injury – Furyk added: “I’d like to do what’s best for Tiger.“I want to do what’s best for the team and that would be a bridge that we would cross when we got there. If he can be valuable as a player I’m sure we’d want him playing on this team, but there’s so much time to go. I’m anxious to see how he plays and we’ll do what’s best for him and the team.”Woods has only featured in one winning Ryder Cup side as a player and was often accused of not caring enough about a team competition compared to his individual achievements.“I’m assuming that was a perception,” Furyk added. “I saw the fire, how excited he was to play alongside him as a team-mate, as a partner in foursomes and fourball matches.”Woods and Stricker, who join Davis Love in Furyk’s backroom staff, lost all three of their matches together at Hazeltine, with Stricker’s defeat to Martin Kaymer in the singles then ensuring Europe would retain the trophy.


US PGA: Jason Dufner keeps his cool to claim first major

August 12 2013

American Jason Dufner admitted appearances had been deceptive after he claimed his first major title in the 95th US PGA Championship at Oak Hill. Dufner, who equalled the lowest score in major history with a second-round 63, carded a closing 68 on Sunday to finish 10 under par, two shots ahead of overnight leader Jim Furyk. The 36-year-old is famous for displaying no emotion on the course but conceded his nerves were jangling as he protected a two-shot lead over the closing stretch. "I come across as a pretty cool customer I guess but there are definitely some nerves out there when you are trying to win a major championship," Dufner said. "It probably has not sunk in. I can't believe this is happening to me. To come back from a couple of years ago when I lost in a play-off feels really really good. "I decided that I was going to be confident and put my best foot forward and play aggressive to try to win this thing. The last two holes were a little unfortunate but I am happy to get the job done and it's a big step in my career. "My name will always be on that trophy and no-one can take that from me. It's a great accomplishment for me." Beginning the day one shot behind Furyk, Dufner took command with some brilliant iron play, holing from four feet for birdie on the fourth and a matter of inches on the fifth, eighth and 16th to help erase the memories of his late collapse in the same event two years ago. Dufner led by five shots in Atlanta after nearest challenger Keegan Bradley triple-bogeyed the 15th, only to find water on the same hole minutes later. After doing well to escape with a bogey there, he failed to get up and down from sand on the next and then three-putted the 17th. Both men parred the 18th to go into a three-hole play-off which Bradley won by a shot, but the two have gone on to become close friends and enjoyed what Dufner described as a "bro-hug" beside the 18th green. Furyk was aiming to follow Phil Mickelson as the second consecutive 43-year-old major winner and make amends for a nightmare 2012 in which he held or shared the lead after 54 holes in four tournaments and failed to win any, as well as bogeying the final two holes to lose his vital singles match to Sergio Garcia at the Ryder Cup. He crucially birdied the 16th, with Dufner already inches away, to stay two behind with two to play, but fluffed a pitch on the 17th to bogey and also dropped a shot at the last. "I wish I could have put a little heat on him and made him work those last two holes a little bit harder," Furyk said. "Wish I had made a couple pars, at least, and put some heat on him, but I wasn't able to do it. "I feel good about my chances in the future. I'm disappointed it's been a while since I've won and I've had some chances to close the door and haven't done it, but I guess it's days like this that will make the next one sweeter."

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk


Tee to Green: Awkward for the Task Force

August 23 2016

Aw, come on, where’s the intrigue? Don’t we get a heroic final charge like Stevie Gallacher’s in Italy two years ago, or Eduardo Molinari’s eagle at Gleneagles in 2010? Sadly on our side it’s all a bit mundane. Matthew Fitzpatrick’s fifth placed finish in Prague meant that all Darren Clarke’s nine automatic qualifiers for the European Ryder Cup team have been confirmed a week before the final event in the race, this week’s Made In Denmark tournament. The only remaining deliberations in Himmerland and the FedEx Cup opener, the Barclays this week for Clarke are his wildcards selections. We’ll deal with that in next week’s T2G, on the morning of the skipper’s grand revelation at Wentworth. There will be five rookies - six if Russell Knox, as expected, secures a wildcard. Colin Montgomerie had five automatic rookies and picked a sixth in Molinari in 2010, so we shouldn’t be so fraught about that. The intrigue this year comes on the American side. Their eight automatic qualifiers will be determined after the Barclays, with Davis Love drip feeding his four wildcards over the following weeks, another bright idea from the US team’s infamous Task Force. Basically, the idea is that if someone goes on a nutty strain of form in the FedEx, they don’t get left out as Billy Horschel was two years ago. Which is fair enough Only one seriously doubts Horschel’s presence would have made a difference at Gleneagles, and when they did have a wildcard open for the FedEx champion four years ago the $10 million winner Brandt Snedeker managed to contribute just half a point to the cause at Medinah. Still, the Task Force are leaving nothing to chance. But four wildcards is surely overcooking it. The big changes at the Wyndham for the US were Snedeker moving up to sixth and Patrick Reed taking the eighth and final slot. That probably makes the likeable Snedeker safe and leaves JB Holmes, Bubba Watson, Matt Kuchar and Rockie Fowler “on the bubble” as they say in the US. But American eyes are already looking far beyond that quartet. After his 58 at the Travelers last week even Jim Furyk, bless him, is getting a mention again. “Get used to the idea of Furyk getting a wildcard” declared one US journo last week. To which you must ask, why? Jim’s a top guy and was one of only three people I thought came out of the Americans’ infamous valedictory press conference at Gleneagles with his reputation fully intact (the others were Reed and Jordan Spieth). But the fact remains he’s one of the very worst Ryder Cup players in history, with just ten points won out of a possible 27 in seven appearances. Last time Jim was a wildcard was Medinah, where he won half a point (playing with Snedeker) and worst of all lost a crucial singles to a hopelessly out of form Sergio Garcia after being one up with two to play. If there is a living symbol of the US futility in recent Ryder Cups, it’s probably poor old Jim. Furyk, of course, is on the Task Force, as is Rickie Fowler, whose case for a pick diminishes by the week. A US Ryder Cup team without Rickie seems unthinkable until you realise he’s yet to win a full point in two appearances. Task Force members shouldn’t automatically get selected, of course, but you’re not telling me Phil Mickelson wouldn’t have got a pick had Troon not happened and he needed one. It’s an awkward situation to be sure. But four picks makes for just unnecessary (but welcome for journalists) intrigue and the chance of a gut choice from Davis - never a good thing, as he proved when three of his four wildcards at Medinah returned him one solitary point. I’ve heard even Kevin Na quoted, at 20th on the standings. He’d certainly annoy the Europeans but probably also his team mates (Snedeker, a very quick player, has been highly critical of Na’s pace of play) and we might not get the fourballs finished in daylight. No doubt beyond Tokyo, surely The women had always embraced the Olympic ideal better than the men and they didn’t disappoint in Rio. But for some pace of play issues on the first day, it was a first class event. When the Games re-admitted golf, we thought there might be a runaway winner but most thought it would be Tiger, or maybe Rory. Instead it was Inbee Park, now a national heroine in Korea. Peter Dawson of the IGF seems pretty confident now that golf will be in beyond Tokyo in 2020, the second of golf’s trial runs at the Games. TV figures for the event worldwide confirmed the Olympics has a far greater reach than golf can ever get alone. The sport can embrace that, or keep being snottily self-important. The Olympics doesn’t have to be the premier event in golf (it isn’t in a whole host of sports in the Games). But it can be something different, unique and still valuable. Get the scheduling sorted, and I bet everyone shows up in Tokyo.

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.


BMW Championship: Zach Johnson denies 59-shot star Jim Furyk

September 17 2013

Zach Johnson came from behind to deny Jim Furyk victory in the rain-delayed BMW Championship with a brilliant bogey-free final round of 65. Johnson recorded a two-shot victory over Nick Watney for a 16 under par total in Monday’s fourth round at Lake Forest, Illinois. Furyk, who carded a historic 59 on day two at Conway Farms Golf Club, followed that with a two-under 69 on Saturday to take a one-shot lead into the final round but the 43-year-old finished with a final-round 71 to drop three strokes behind Johnson and leave him still waiting for his first title win since 2010. Watney hit the lowest score of the day with 64 to move into contention midway through day four but Johnson shot a six-under round and held on to claim the title. Jason Day and Luke Donald both finished three strokes further back with a final score of 66 to sit alongside Hunter Mahan and Steve Stricker on 11 under par. Keegan Bradley recorded his lowest score of the tournament with a fourth-round 66. The American finished on seven under, two shots behind Tiger Woods, who did not register his best round, finishing with a 71 score to leave him on nine under for the tournament. On Sunday, just six players managed to complete their final round, with Rory McIlroy putting the finishing touches to his when the siren sounded. The Northern Irishman carded a three-under 68, meaning he finished seven over for the week.


Ian Poulter plays down his chances in Hawaii

January 3 2013

Ian Poulter is the first of Europe’s Ryder Cup golf heroes into action in 2013, but this week’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii is his only appearance until late February. Part of a PGA Tour winners-only 30-strong field at Kapalua, the 36-year-old has been playing down his chances in the build-up to the £3.5million event £686,000 of it to whoever comes first. “I wouldn’t be picking me in any fantasy pick or bet this week even with my own money,” the Englishman said on Twitter. “It’s been a good Christmas.” Poulter, who qualified with his second World Golf Championships victory in Shanghai in November, had a hectic end to last season and after this trip will not be playing competitively again until the first round of the Accenture Match Play in Arizona on February 20. And in what he calls a “nice easy schedule”, he plans only two more tournaments before the US Masters in April. Nine of the beaten American Ryder Cup side at Medinah last September all but Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk are also in the opening event of the new season. Furyk was not eligible, while Mickelson and Woods turned down their places just like Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia. Steve Stricker, whose loss to Martin Kaymer ensured Europe kept the trophy, defends the title he won by three shots from Scot Martin Laird last January. The only three Europeans playing are Poulter and Swedes Carl Pettersson and Jonas Blixt. Woods and McIlroy both kick off their years at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in two weeks’ time.