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Women’s British Open a sideshow to the Trump circus

July 30 2015

Helicopters circled noisily, Donald Trump mingled in a red cap that looked like it had been bought on the beach at Ayr and a man played “Flower of Scotland” on the tuba on the hotel steps. Somewhere, the Ricoh Women’s British Open finally broke out amid the circus yesterday. The host turned up at Turnberry with the expected fanfare, causing the championship to stop in its tracks. Lydia Ko, the World No 2, was standing on the 16th tee at six-under but paused to watch as Trump’s helicopter did two circuits above the course before landing in prominent position in front of the hotel. The 18-year-old young star finished with a 66, tucked in behind first round leader Hyo Joo Kim of Korea who equalled the women’s course record of 65. The experienced American Cristie Kerr also shot 66 on an ideal day for scoring but the day was really all about off course activities, which must have had the LGU and the LPGA squirming. After a press conference that was mostly a presidential campaign rally, Trump later ventured out on to the course with his “Make American Great Again” cap, a posse of photographers and TV cameramen in pursuit to “support the championship”. He later lifted off to his Aberdeen course and thereafter back to his Presidential campaign, and even if his support to women’s golf and the British Open is fully acknowledged, his departure is definitely for the best as this major championship felt like a complete sideshow rather than the main event it’s supposed to be. It’s not just Donald Trump that the championship has to please. Japanese TV requirements mean that the first groups were packed with leading players a situation that would never be tolerated in the men’s game. Thus Lydia Ko’s phone alarm went at 3.30 am, and she pressed “snooze” several times before realising she needed to “get going and get out of here”. However the young New Zealander has such a sweet disposition she barely complained, and indeed once on the course at her 6.40 am tee time blitzed the opening nine in 32, rattling in a massive 20 yard putt on the tenth for good measure. In the end, with the wind at her back on the final few holes, a 66 with four straight pars to finish was maybe a little bit of an anti-climax. Astonishing as it is for someone just 18, Lydia has to be considered the best player in the women’s game yet to win a major, but she doesn’t go with that hype. “My goal is to hopefully have one major win in my career,” she said. “Sometimes you read stuff and you don’t know what to think. I don’t look at records, I guess you guys will let me know if I get close to any.” What was she thinking when the Trump helicopter flew overhead? “I was like, man, that’s a really nice helicopter,” she laughed. “I would love one.” Kim, the 20-year-old Korean who was a surprise winner of the new fifth major on the women’s tour, the Evian Championship last year, struck out by herself with a bogey-free round in ideal weather conditions, sunny with just a slight cooling breeze. Kim speaks no English, but seemed genuinely stunned she was out in front, this being her first competitive experience in the British Open. “I just found out now,” she said through an interpreter after returning her card and finding out she was leading. “I’m kind of surprised, I’ve never played here before. “Thankfully it’s not windy, and no rain today,” she added. Kerr from past experience far outweighing both the players with her on the leaderboard knows that yesterday was a benign day to take advantage of. “They say that weather is going to move in again, so you need to keep your head on straight and your wits about you,” said the 38-year-old, after a whirlwind round of an eagle, seven birdies and a trio of bogeys, just missing a chance of the 18th to join Kim in front. “It was spectacular today but you need to take it day by day. “There’s no way I’ll get ahead of myself. I was proud of my mental game today, not focusing on my mistakes and I need to keep that going.” Kerr, “a pretty good friend” of Trump, didn’t feel he had been a distraction. “I know there was a lot of media speculation around comments that were made but everyone makes mistakes, right?” she said. “The Tour loves Donald, he’s done a lot of women’s golf and I know the players certainly love him.” Florentyna Parker, in the early morning wave, was the best Briton with a four-under 68 while Catriona Matthew just dipped under par with a 71 but admitted that was the day to go low. “There’s obviously some good scores out there, even if there’s still a breeze and it’s still difficult,” said the 2009 champion. “From the forecast, though, this may be the easiest day we get. “I was a little annoyed by bogeying the (par five) 17th, but pretty pleased with how I played. I hit into two bunkers off the tee and that’s two strokes gone straight away on this course.” Carly Booth battled for a par round of 72 to be the best of the other Scots.

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...

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.

Angus & The Mearns

Angus councillor inspired by great-granny’s essay on the suffragists

February 9 2018

An Angus councillor has unearthed a fascinating insight into men’s views on the suffragists as the nation commemorated the centenary of some women winning the right to vote. Brenda Durno, SNP member for Arbroath and East Lunan, has been so inspired by an essay written by her great-grandmother in 1904, she is hoping to donate it to a museum in the north east. The amusing reflection was written in the Doric language by Isabella Moir, a 12-year-old pupil at Belhelvie School in Aberdeenshire. She was the eldest of 10 children and had two sisters and seven brothers. Councillor Durno said: “The celebration for the 100 years since women won the right to vote made me think of the essay. “My great grandmother was born in September 1892 and died in May 1992. “She latterly lived in Potterton with my aunt and uncle who ran the shop there and I found the essay when she died.” Mrs Durno chose to enter local politics in the footstep of her father, the SNP councillor Alex Shand, but admitted her great-grandmother was a Liberal supporter. “She was right into politics and was a great friend of Lord Tweedsmuir - the SNP wasn’t around then.” The essay relates to a conversation between a brother and sister as he reads a newspaper article on ‘The Suffragists’. As he works his way through the article, his views become apparent. He berates the efforts of the “limmers of suffragists” claiming “weemans place is at hame” It reads: “They canna mak an men their men’s sarks, keep a clean fireside an have a vote. “Gie then an inch an they wid tak an ill (mile).” The essay goes on to say there a was a time when women were happy “tae tak the chance o’ the first man that socht them, an thankful tae leave the voting an the rulin o the nation tae him”. It was on February 6, 1918 that women aged over 30, those who owned property or had a university education were granted the right to vote through the Representation of the People Act. Mrs Durno is hoping to donate the essay to a museum which specialises in the Doric and would welcome suggestions as to who to contact.

Other sports

Australian Open: British women crash out of singles

January 13 2014

It took less than three hours of play at the Australian Open for Andy Murray to be Britain's sole singles representative after Laura Robson and Heather Watson both suffered first-round defeats. British number one Robson suffered the ignominy of being the first player knocked out of the tournament with a crushing 6-3 6-0 loss to 18th seed Kirsten Flipkens. Watson fared considerably better, putting in an impressive performance against 31st seed Daniela Hantuchova before going down 7-5 3-6 6-3. The 21-year-old had to fight her way through qualifying in Melbourne after a 2013 season ruined by glandular fever then sent her plummeting outside the top 100. oth players are hoping to play next at the WTA Tour event in Paris, although Watson's ranking means she may not get in, before teaming up to represent Britain at the Fed Cup. Robson is hoping another two weeks of training will help her get closer to her best form. She said: "Definitely it motivates you to do better and be as fit as possible, and that's what I'll do in the next couple of weeks. Whether that's going to be in Florida or London, I'm not sure yet. "It's a tough one today, but everyone has those kind of days, and you have to just come back from them stronger." Watson will have to play some tournaments on the second-tier ITF circuit because of her ranking, but she said: "Sometimes it's a good thing playing a bit lower down, winning matches and gaining confidence, and I think that's what I need. "This was the main thing I had to defend so I've pretty much got nothing now."

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


Host of Open at Kingsbarns accused of bunkering planning conditions

April 24 2017

Organisers of the first major to be staged at a new golf course in Scotland for 40 years have been accused of attempting to breach planning conditions. Villagers are furious at proposals to bring hundreds of cars down a narrow, residential street for the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Kingsbarns Golf Links in August. They are also fighting a bid to divert a scenic section of the Fife Coastal Path from the course during play. Kingsbarns Community Council said it won a hard fight to prevent Back Stile being used as access and to ensure the coastal path was not obstructed when planning permission was granted for the course 20 years ago. The Open is expected to attract up to 50,000 spectators but organiser IMG insisted it had no intention of breaching planning conditions and continued to work with the community to resolve issues. Kate Holy, convener of the community council planning sub-committee, said: “We don’t object to the Open being there, as long as they play by fair rules. “There was agreement with the local community in the late 1990s that they would not use Back Stile. “A lot of people worked very hard to reach this agreement that would allow the golf course to be built without harming the village. “Twenty years later we are fighting the same battle." The single track road, which is the only access to popular Kingsbarns Beach, could see 300 car trips daily to and from a temporary car park for tournament traffic. Ms Holy said: "People won’t be able to get their cars in and out of their drives and if there’s an emergency they won’t be able to get help.” Kingsbarns Community Council previously voiced anger at a proposal to have Back Stile residents show identification to gain entry to their own street. Although the Open will be played over only four days from August 3 to 6, restrictions will be in force for eight days. An application has been made to Scottish ministers for approval of the coastal path diversion, which IMG claims is necessary to protect the public from wayward balls and for security purposes. Ross Hallett, IMG tournament director, said: “We continue to discuss plans for the championship with members of Kingsbarns Community Council and we have already proposed a number of amendments to our original plans based on the wishes of the council and comments received at the last meeting — including reducing vehicle numbers and removing security measures which had only been proposed to benefit local residents. “We have no intention of breaching any planning conditions and will be discussing the matter at the community meeting on May 8, when we hope to find a solution that works for all parties. “We plan to implement a diversion of the coastal footpath that will have minimal impact on anyone using the footpath during this period and I would reiterate that this is a short diversion only and not a closure. “We are grateful to the Kingsbarns community for the support they have given us to date and we wish to find a solution so that everyone can enjoy this fantastic championship that brings so much benefit to Scotland, Fife and the local community.” Turnberry was the first new Scottish course to stage a major when it made its debut hosting the Open in 1977. Kingsbarns Golf Links is one of three courses which hosts the annual Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, which is played by both professionals and celebrity amateurs.


VIDEO: Women’s Open expected to bring tourism boost to Fife

August 3 2017

Teeing off on Thursday, the RICOH Women’s British Open is expected to bring a massive boost to Fife. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mf6TYc3sVK8   The championship, celebrating its 41st year, will make its debut at Kingsbarns Golf Links. This will bring a large number of international and local visitors to the area across the next four days, and a boost to tourism in Fife which already supports around 11,000 and is worth £349 million. The line up will see some of the world’s top ranked players from more than 30 different nations competing in the tournament. Reigning champion Ariya Jutanugarn from Thailand will defend her title. Meanwhile British hopefuls Charley Hull and Catriona Matthew will be competing along with Carly Booth from Perthshire. The event is one of two Major golf championships played outside the States, and hosts the most international field of the year. Fife Golf Partnership chairman Stephen Owen said:  “Fife has been host to some of the most memorable major championships over the years, and is one of the most renowned and well respected golf destinations in the world. “Kingsbarns now joins the Old Course at St Andrews as host to this prestigious tournament, and I’m excited for the players and visitors to experience another of Fife’s wonderful golf courses.” Fife Tourism Partnership’s tourism manager Ann Camus said she was thrilled to be welcoming visitors from all over the world for the Women’s British Open. “Tourism across the kingdom is booming, and provides local businesses with a real opportunity to capitalise on increased custom, which continues to boost Fife’s economy and profile as a top tourist destination in Scotland.” The summer also marks the launch of a series of five videos from golf professional and famous trick shot performer Kevin Carpenter of the KC Golf Show at courses across Fife to continue raising its profile as a must visit golf destination. Carpenter takes to his unicycle to travel and perform his trickshots on some of the most iconic holes at Kingsbarns Golf Links, the Castle Course in St Andrews, Crail, Burntisland and Aberdour. The two minute films were launched on social media in July and August, and have already proven popular with the public.

Supreme Court to announce decision in black cab rapist case

February 15 2018

The UK’s highest court is to give its decision on a challenge to a ruling which led to two women who were sexually assaulted by London cabbie John Worboys winning compensation.The Supreme Court has been told by lawyers for the Metropolitan Police that imposing a duty of care on officers in relation to their investigations would have an adverse impact on operational effectiveness.Between 2002 and 2008, Worboys, who was jailed for life in 2009, carried out more than 100 rapes and sexual assaults using alcohol and drugs to stupefy his victims.In 2014, after the High Court found that the Met were liable to the women for failures in its investigation, it said that DSD and NBV – who brought their claims under Article 3 of the Human Rights Act which relates to inhuman or degrading treatment – should receive £22,250 and £19,000 respectively.The Met, with the Home Office intervening in support, went to the Supreme Court – which will give its judgment on Wednesday February 21 – after the Court of Appeal backed the decision.It says the case is being pursued to establish legal principles for the future and the women who, it says, showed “considerable bravery”, will keep their damages whatever happens.Lord Pannick QC has told a panel of five justices that the imposition of an investigative duty raised policy concerns as the Supreme Court had repeatedly recognised.He asked them to allow the appeal so that a “dialogue” could take place with the European Court of Human Rights in StrasbourgLord Pannick said there was a concern that any such duty “will reduce the efficacy of police investigations of crime”.Article 3 did not give rise to an entitlement to damages for failings of a police investigation into criminal offending by a member of the public, he argued.Insofar as it did impose an obligation, that was confined to a requirement to put in place the necessary legal structures, but did not extend to the operational content of an individual inquiry into a particular alleged crime.Phillippa Kaufmann QC, for DSD and NBV, said the appeal should be dismissed because there was a duty under Article 3 to conduct an effective criminal investigation when an individual was subjected to serious violence – whether the perpetrator was a private individual or a state official.As identified by the Court of Appeal and the High Court this was a facet of the rule of law and the security and protection of the people.It was “a bare minimum safeguard in any civilised state”.This duty was repeatedly acknowledged by the Strasbourg Court and was not inconsistent with domestic law or incompatible with the common law, she added.Earlier this month, DSD and NBV welcomed a ruling which gave them and London Mayor Sadiq Khan the go-ahead to challenge what they describe as the  Parole Board’s “irrational” decision to release Worboys.Worboys, 60,  will remain in prison pending a full High Court hearing on March 13.


Wild Scottish weather no problem for Inbee and the Koreans

August 1 2017

Inbee Park knows only too well why she and her fellow Koreans do well in Scottish conditions – golf boot camp back home was even worse. The former World No 1, who completed the career Grand Slam of women’s majors when the RICOH Women’s British Open was last in Scotland at Turnberry in 2015, spent two months as a young player in training camp on Jeju Island, which lies between the Korean peninsula and the southern tip of Japan. And it was a long way from a jolly for talented young Korean golfers, she said as she arrived for this year’s WBO at Kingsbarns Links. “When I was on the national team, we trained about a couple months in Jeju Island in the wintertime, and it was like minus ten degrees Celsius,  really cold and very windy conditions,” she recalled. “We spent a couple months all the time when we were young. So I guess that kind of trains us pretty well for playing here. “We would have three or four layers on, and there was 40 boys and girls training and you can’t back out and say it’s too cold. We weren’t given a choice. “Mi Hyang (Lee, the Scottish Open champion), MJ Hur, So Yeon Rhu were all there at that time too.” Yesterday’s practice round at Kingsbarns was typically varied – torrential rain showers punctuated by bright sunshine – although not as cold as Jeju Island, and not with enough wind for Inbee’s liking. “I love playing links golf but sometimes it still fools me,” she admitted. “Sometimes I have got caught up in the end and didn’t totally get it. “There are times you hit good shots that end up in worse spots. You’ve just got to get through those moments. On this course the wind makes such a difference and different strategies are needed, the greens are huge and you have to be in the right spots there, but just getting to the green becomes a challenge when the wind blows hard.” And for perfect preparation Inbee and entire family not only played at Dundonald but went down to Turnberry to reminisce about two years ago and see the recent changes to the Ailsa Course. “I was able to look at the changes and go back for the memories,” she said. “It was great to see it with my dad and mum, my sister and my husband, and play on the course again. It was a special memory and a special moment for me.” The family are staying in Crail this week – “a little house by the beach, it’s beautiful” – and Inbee has good memories even of her last trip to North East Fife, in 2013. Then, going for a calendar year Grand Slam at St Andrews, she seemed slightly overwhelmed by the attention. “I experienced so many things that year,” she said. “I won three majors in a row and then came to the British Open, playing at St. Andrews. “I was able to test myself under the pressure. I was able to learn how to handle the pressure. I was able to learn. “Over the years, you learn one thing at a time. Sometimes you make your mistakes and you've got to take your medicine, but it's kind of made me who I am today.”