LOS ANGELES – Fred Couples doesn’t talk in circles, but that’s generally the path of his conversation. He can talk about Justin Bieber and Blake Griffin one minute, switch over to the redo of the fifth green at Riviera the next minute, and then wonder why the Champions Tour gets to play Pebble Beach during the prime part of the season. The 54-year-old Couples went silent when talking about his 32nd appearance at the Northern Trust Open, where he will play the opening two rounds with Webb Simpson and Jordan Spieth, his two captain’s picks for the Presidents Cup. Did he realize that Spieth was born a year after Couples won the Masters? ”No,” he finally replied. ”Wow.” Couples was equally amazed to learn that Spieth, who won’t turn 21 until the end of July, was born two month before Tom Watson was Ryder Cup captain the first time around, in 1993 at The Belfry, where the Americans last won on European soil. The clinching putt came from Davis Love III, a Ryder Cup rookie, who turns 50 in April. Northern Trust Open: Articles, videos and photos Back to Spieth. ”He’s 20. I’m 54. This is going to be a blast,” Couples said. ”He’s one of my favorites. He walked into that Presidents Cup and he owned the place. He loves Steve Stricker. He played great. There were very few missed shots in that slop.” And then Couples is off on another tangent. He received a sponsor’s exemption to the Northern Trust Open, which he first played in 1982, so long ago that Watson beat Johnny Miller in a playoff. Tom Weiskopf finished third. Couples tied for 13th with a group that included Gene Littler. This is one of the few appearances on the PGA Tour that Couples will make, because it’s one of the few courses he still feels like he can play reasonably well. The other is Augusta National, and Couples had a chance to win both of them since turning 50. Why does he love Riviera? Results help. Couples won twice in the early 1990s. He has 14 finishes in the top 10. He said the greens are small, much like the courses he played as a kid in Seattle. But the course reminds him of Royal Melbourne. It’s hard to make the connection from Seattle to Royal Melbourne, but he quickly adds, ”Basically, it’s just fun to be here.” There is a charm about Couples that makes him so popular, and he is regarded by players half his age as the coolest guy in golf. ”I hope I’m that cool when I’m 52,” Rory McIlroy said a few years ago at the Masters. Couples was on the practice range an hour before his pro-am time, and he probably hit no more than a dozen or so balls before he teed off. He was too busy talking – pick a subject –and kibitzing with players that most guys from the 50-and-older circuit wouldn’t even know. He showed defending champion John Merrick a photo on his phone of a table named in honor of Merrick, who played at UCLA. ”You’re the first Los Angelone to win, Angelonian, Angelean, whatever,” Couples said. Then it was time to go, but not before walking over to Kevin Stadler to congratulate him on the Phoenix Open win. First, he had to say something to Keegan Bradley. Couples knows everybody. Everybody knows Couples. And if they don’t, they want to. Nicolas Colsaerts was walking out of the equipment truck when he walked out of his way to greet Couples. They talked like old friends. ”A funny thing,” Couples said. ”The most disappointed I’ve ever been was when I played with the Belgium – what is it, Belgium Basher? Bomber? – OK, the Belgium Bomber, two years ago in Dubai. He had to quit after nine. He wasn’t feeling all that good. But I got nine holes out of him. These greens are firm.” The subject changes that quickly. He really is loving life. He already has won nine times on the Champions Tour, including a U.S. Senior Open. He has been Presidents Cup captain the last three times, all of them U.S. victories, and he still holds out hope a Ryder Cup captaincy is not out of the questions. Players love playing for him. And he’s still a big fan. That’s why he pays so much attention to players who weren’t even born when he was No. 1 in the world. ”I begin the second half of my life and I’m actually in tune, and I really like a lot of golfers I see,” he said. ”When I played, I didn’t dislike anyone, but I didn’t pay attention. When you’re out there on Saturday and you’re with Nick Price and Greg Norman and John Cook and Nick Faldo, you know who they are. But now I have a lot of interest to see how good these guys are.”
The governments of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador and NSP Maritime Link Inc., a subsidiary of Emera, today participated in a ground-breaking ceremony at the Bottom Brook construction site in Newfoundland and Labrador to recognize the start of construction of the Maritime Link Project.Nova Scotia Energy Minister, Andrew Younger, Newfoundland and Labrador’s Minister of Natural Resources, Derrick Dalley, and President and CEO of Emera, Chris Huskilson, attended the ground-breaking ceremony, and also signed an Industrial and Employment Benefits agreement for the Maritime Link Project. This agreement is based on the terms outlined by the interprovincial Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was signed by the provinces in late 2011.“This project creates an important link in our region, bringing clean, renewable energy to Nova Scotia, as well as local economic opportunities,” said Minister Younger. “We’re already seeing a number of Nova Scotia companies actively working on this significant infrastructure project with even more opportunities coming as the project ramps up next year.”With a total estimated cost of $1.577 billion, the Maritime Link Project is expected to create an average of 300 jobs per year between both provinces during the construction period. Employment is expected to peak at 600 in 2016. Approximately 200 people are currently working on the project between provinces and local companies in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador are working on a number of aspects of the project.“Today represents another important milestone for the Lower Churchill Project,” said Minister Dalley. “This agreement ensures significant benefits for the people and businesses of our province and the region. With this agreement now finalized, benefits during the construction phase of the Maritime Link Project are secured for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.”The agreement includes commitments to the following:– Equal opportunities for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador businesses and residents;– A fair, open and transparent procurement and contracting process for suppliers and contractors in both provinces;– Funding for training and development positions that align with the specialized nature of the Maritime Link Project;– Educational sponsorships to be allocated between universities in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador to support Maritime Link related technologies;– Tracking and reporting updates of data related to economic and employment benefits for both provinces.“Today’s agreement ensures that businesses and residents in both provinces are treated equally and fairly when it comes to economic opportunities resulting from the Maritime Link Project,” said Chris Huskilson, President and CEO of Emera. “To date more than $100 million has been awarded to local companies in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador and we are just getting started.”The Maritime Link involves the construction and operation of a new 500 megawatt (MW) (+/- 200 kilovolt) HVdc (high-voltage direct current) line, as well as a 230 kV HVac (high-voltage alternating current) transmission line and associated infrastructure, between Granite Canal, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Woodbine, Nova Scotia. The Project will also include two 170 kilometre (km) subsea cables across the Cabot Strait, close to 50 km of overland transmission in Nova Scotia and nearly 300 km of overland transmission on the island of Newfoundland.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5 GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES World No. 18 Petrova steamrolled Radwanska in the opening set before Radwanska rallied to take the next, but the Russian took control near the end of the last set in a 6-0, 1-6, 6-3 victory on a spectacular day on center court at Ariake Tennis Forest Park.“To be honest with you, I don’t know where I found the strength and willpower to fight to three sets. This is the biggest title I’ve ever won. This is a great accomplishment,” said Petrova, who won her 12th career WTA title.“I was really low on energy in that third, but my coach was really giving me a lot of mental support,” she said.Radwanska, the 2012 Wimbledon finalist, had held a 3-1 career record against Petrova, but the 23-year-old was a shell of herself early on before bouncing back to make things interesting.The 30-year-old Petrova, the 17th seed in her sixth appearance here, went better than her 2008 semifinal loss to win her second title of the season following her victory at ‘s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands.The pair played evenly in the third set with neither conceding a break point, until things took an awkward turn for Radwanska in the eighth game.Radwanska doubled faulted for the first deuce of the set, and she doubled faulted again to give Petrova advantage before the Russian broke the Pole with a passing shot just out of reach.“She was just a little better than I was today. I was hoping for the title again this year, but just couldn’t quite get there,” said Radwanska, who choked up in her post-match interview. “Her serves and returns were really working for her today.”Petrova rolled in the ninth game to triple match point before Radwanska pushed within 40-15. But the Russian served out the match, ending it with a forehand smash after 1 hour, 41 minutes.“The first set was perfect tennis; I put a lot of energy into it. But I hit an energy low in the second set. After I had a change of clothes following the second set, I got back in the game.”Petrova had 11 aces to just six for Radwanska. “I was very happy with my service game in the first and third set but hit a slump in the second. I thought she started to have trouble with some of my high kick serves.”In the doubles final, Raquel Kop-Jones and partner Abigail Spears of the United States defeated Germany’s Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Czech Kveta Peschke 6-1, 6-4.The tournament turned out to be something of a dud after world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka pulled out before her quarterfinal match with dizzy spells, and world No. 2 Maria Sharapova bounced out of the final eight after a loss to Australian Samantha Stosur on Thursday.Nishikori into semisAFP-JjijiKUALA LUMPURRussia’s Nikolay Davydenko retired from his Malaysian Open quarterfinal against Kei Nishikori on Friday after suffering a muscle injury in his left leg.The former world No. 3 and winner of the inaugural Malaysian Open in 2009 had lost the first set against the third seeded Nishikori 6-4 before calling it quits.Davydenko, who has dropped to No. 44 in the world, first pulled up injured in the eighth game of the first set. He called for a medical timeout and only played another two games before losing that set. He then decided to quit the tournament, handing Nishikori a semifinal berth.In the semis, the 22-year-old, who at No. 17 is the highest ranked Asian in the world, will meet second seed Juan Monaco of Argentina.“Now that I have qualified for the semifinals, my thoughts are on my opponent and close friend Monaco,” Nishikori said.“I have been practicing with him since we arrived in Malaysia. I expect a difficult match as we know each other’s game very well . . . He likes to play from the baseline so I will have to adjust my game plan accordingly.”World No. 11 Monaco easily defeated Canadian Vasek Pospisil 6-3, 6-4 in an earlier match.Seventh seed Julien Benneteau of France also smashed Alejandro Falla of Colombia 6-2, 6-2.Friday’s last quarterfinal saw world No. 5 and top seed David Ferrer of Spain put away Dutchman Igor Sijsling 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Russian Nadia Petrova played spoiler Saturday, denying world No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in her bid for a successful title defense at the Pan Pacific Open.Radwanska, the third seed, failed to become the first player to win back-to-back titles since Lindsay Davenport achieved the feat in 2003-04. Petrova claimed prize money of $385,000. RELATED PHOTOS Breakthrough: Russia’s Nadia Petrova holds up her prize after beating Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska 6-0, 1-6, 6-3 in the final of the Pan Pacific Open on Saturday at Ariake Colosseum. | AFP-JIJI
His license application to compete as an amateur boxer was denied by the Aichi Prefecture Boxing Federation last June, however, with subsequent petitions to the Japan Amateur Boxing Federation and the Japanese Olympic Committee also unsuccessful.Takayama has applied for the Japan Sports Arbitration Agency to intervene in the matter.“I want this situation to be resolved as quickly as possible,” Takayama said at a news conference in Osaka.Nicknamed “The Lightning Kid,” Takayama has a 31-8 professional record with 12 knockouts.The International Boxing Association voted to allow professional boxers to compete at the Olympics starting in Rio in 2016, but the JABF does not allow boxers with professional experience to compete among amateurs.According to an attorney for Takayama, they will also demand that the selection criteria for boxers at the Olympics be clearly defined and publicized.Takayama said the Aichi association had denied his application under the instructions of JABF president Akira Yamane, who is currently facing multiple allegations of impropriety, including match rigging.Yamane earlier said there was “no way” the ruling on Takayama’s license would be overturned. Boxer Katsunari Takayama speaks at a news conference in Osaka on Monday. | KYODO Katsunari Takayama, 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Akira Yamane GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5 OSAKA – Five-time minimumweight world champion Katsunari Takayama filed an application Monday with a sports arbitration body to overturn a decision by Japanese amateur boxing authorities preventing him from competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.The first Japanese fighter to have been crowned champion in four major international organizations, the 35-year-old Takayama retired from the professional ranks in April last year with the aim of ending his career as an Olympic gold medalist. RELATED PHOTOS KEYWORDS