Golf greats head to Jeddah’s Aramco Team Series finale

Golf greats head to Jeddah’s Aramco Team Series finale
Charley Hull will take part in the Aramco Team Series Jeddah in November. (LET)
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Updated 26 October 2022

Golf greats head to Jeddah’s Aramco Team Series finale

Golf greats head to Jeddah’s Aramco Team Series finale
  • Charley Hull and Georgia Hall will be at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club for final leg of global series
  • Jeddah is the 32nd stop on Ladies European Tour's ‘Race to Costa del Sol’ and the event takes place on Nov. 10 to 12

JEDDAH: Golf’s Aramco Team Series returns to Jeddah next month with two of the world’s best female players confirmed for the event at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club.

Charley Hull and Georgia Hall will be appearing at the final leg of golf’s global series, for which tickets are free.

Hull, ranked 18 in the world, heads into the final Aramco Team Series event in scintillating form after winning her latest LPGA title at the Ascendant in Texas. 

Hall returns to a venue where she claimed a stunning five-stroke victory at the Aramco Saudi Ladies International in March, and as she sits at number 29 in the world rankings.

She said she was thrilled to be returning after her success earlier this year. “I have always loved my previous appearances in Jeddah and it was extra special to win here in March this year,” she said.

“The Aramco Team Series is always such a fun tournament to be a part of and I am excited to be playing the event again for the first time since the London edition. I got close to winning the individual title at Centurion Club until Bronte (Law) made that incredible putt on 18, so I am hoping I can go one better this time.

“I can’t wait to tee it up again in Jeddah in a couple of weeks and hope I can replicate the success I had in March.”

Hall will renew that rivalry with Law in November, as the Aramco Team Series London individual winner will also feature. Also competing will be Olivia Cowan, Anne Van Dam, Annabel Dimmock and Marianne Skarpnord, among others.

The Jeddah event will be the 32nd stop on the Ladies European Tour's “Race to Costa del Sol” and the fifth and final event of the Aramco Team Series for 2022.

Hull, born in Kettering, is equally excited to be playing in the tournament. “I have been fortunate to play every Aramco Team Series event this year, apart from the one in Spain in August, and have loved being a part of them,” she said.

“It is always a refreshing change to play these events as it has the combination of team and individual play which is unique and different to the normal tournaments we play. 

“I try to have as much fun as possible when playing the Aramco Team Series events and it will be no different in Jeddah in a couple of weeks.”


Newcastle sink Saints to end 47-year wait to reach League Cup final

Newcastle sink Saints to end 47-year wait to reach League Cup final
Updated 16 sec ago

Newcastle sink Saints to end 47-year wait to reach League Cup final

Newcastle sink Saints to end 47-year wait to reach League Cup final
  • Newcastle had all the momentum, sweeping forward in a black and white wave that left Southampton powerless to stem the tide

NEWCASTLE, United Kingdom: Newcastle reached the League Cup final for the first time in 47 years as Sean Longstaff’s double inspired a 2-1 win against Southampton in Tuesday’s semifinal second leg at jubilant St. James’ Park.
Longstaff’s first-half strikes ensured Eddie Howe’s side finished the job after winning 1-0 in the first leg last week.
Che Adams reduced the deficit before the interval and Magpies midfielder Bruno Guimaraes was sent off in the closing stages.
But Newcastle held on to clinch a 3-1 aggregate victory that booked a final date with Manchester United or Nottingham Forest at Wembley on February 26.
United hold a 3-0 lead against Forest heading into Wednesday’s second leg at Old Trafford.
The Magpies’ most recent domestic final ended in defeat against United in the 1999 FA Cup.
Newcastle, who have never won the League Cup, are aiming to lift a major domestic trophy for the first time since the 1955 FA Cup.
Their last major silverware in any competition came in the 1969 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.
On a cathartic night for Newcastle after decades of suffering, it was fitting that Longstaff, a boyhood Magpies fan, should be the one to send them to Wembley.
With Newcastle legends Alan Shearer and David Ginola joining the celebrations in the stands, raucous Magpies fans were ready to keep the party going all night long in the football-crazy city’s Bigg Market and Quayside bars.
Revitalized by Howe’s astute leadership and the financial muscle of a largely Saudi-backed ownership group, a club once regarded as the laughing stock of the Premier League can finally hold their heads high.
They sit third in the Premier League and look set for a sustained period as contenders for the English game’s top honors.
Reaching their first domestic cup final this century is another significant landmark in Newcastle’s rebirth.
Ramping up an already vociferous atmosphere, Newcastle’s Anthony Gordon was paraded on the pitch before kick-off after completing his £45 million ($51 million) move from Everton.
Howe had labelled the second leg a “season defining” moment for Newcastle and it took his fired-up side just five minutes to raise the decibel levels even further.
Longstaff found Kieran Trippier on the right flank and sprinted onto the defender’s return pass before guiding a low finish past Gavin Bazunu from 12 yards.
Longstaff’s first goal at St. James’ Park in four years was nearly followed by a second moments later when he flashed just wide from Guimaraes’ reverse pass.
Newcastle had all the momentum, sweeping forward in a black and white wave that left Southampton powerless to stem the tide.
Once again it was Longstaff who provided the finishing touch to a breathtaking raid in the 21st minute.
Exposing Southampton’s fragile wing-back system, Joe Willock sprinted into space behind James Bree and found Miguel Almiron, whose cutback was drilled home by Longstaff.
Newcastle keeper Nick Pope had kept 10 successive clean-sheets, but his unbeaten streak ended in the 29th minute.
Completely against the run of play, Willock gifted possession to Adams and the striker smashed a superb shot into the far corner from outside the penalty area.
In a symbolic passing of the torch, Jonjo Shelvey — a veteran of Newcastle’s darker days — waved farewell to fans on the pitch at half-time ahead of his move to Nottingham Forest.
Shelvey has been left behind by Howe’s revolution, an overhaul that has given Newcastle a much stronger spine.
In the past, Newcastle would have wilted when Southampton pushed hard in a tense second half, but they are made of sterner stuff now.
Pope’s brilliant save from Adam Armstrong ensured Newcastle’s long-awaited return to Wembley wasn’t derailed despite Guimaraes’ 82nd minute red card for stamping on Samuel Edozie.


Jorginho joins Arsenal from Chelsea on deadline day

Jorginho joins Arsenal from Chelsea on deadline day
Updated 31 January 2023

Jorginho joins Arsenal from Chelsea on deadline day

Jorginho joins Arsenal from Chelsea on deadline day
  • "It's an important shirt. It's an amazing club, a big one, and I'm really excited and happy to be here," Jorginho told Arsenal.com

LONDON: Jorginho joined Premier League leaders Arsenal from Chelsea on transfer deadline day on Tuesday for a reported fee of £12 million ($15 million).
“Welcome to The Arsenal, Jorginho,” the club said in a post on their official Twitter account.
Gunners manager Mikel Arteta said the 31-year-old Italy international would bring “intelligence, deep leadership skills and a huge amount of Premier League and international experience.”
The midfielder, who is understood to have signed an 18-month deal at the Emirates Stadium, told Arsenal.com: “I’m very excited for this new challenge and I just can’t wait to be on the pitch to be honest.
“Everything has happened so fast. I was a bit surprised, but I took the opportunity of this amazing challenge.
“It’s an important shirt. It’s an amazing club, a big one, and I’m really excited and happy to be here.”
The former Napoli player has made 143 Premier League appearances for Chelsea, with whom he won the Champions League in 2021.
He was also part of the Italy team that won the European Championship the same year.


Russian Olympic chief says athletes must compete without restrictions

Russian Olympic chief says athletes must compete without restrictions
Updated 31 January 2023

Russian Olympic chief says athletes must compete without restrictions

Russian Olympic chief says athletes must compete without restrictions
  • "Russians must participate exactly on the same conditions as all other athletes," Stanislav Pozdnyakov said
  • IOC said last week it was examining a "pathway" for Russians to take part in the summer Games next year

MOSCOW: The head of Russia's Olympic Committee said Tuesday that athletes representing Russia must not be subjected to different conditions from those of other countries, amid a growing row over their participation in the 2024 Paris Games.
"Russians must participate exactly on the same conditions as all other athletes. Any additional conditions or criteria are unwelcome, especially any that have political overtones, which are completely unacceptable for the Olympic movement," Stanislav Pozdnyakov said, according to Russian news agencies.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said last week it was examining a "pathway" for Russians to take part in the summer Games next year, probably as neutral athletes rather than under their national flag.
Russia and its ally Belarus, which allowed its territory to be a stage ground for the offensive, have been sidelined from most Olympic sports since Russian forces invaded Ukraine last February.
That announcement sparked an immediate backlash from Kyiv, with a Ukrainian presidential aide accusing the IOC of being a "promoter of war".
Ukraine has threatened to boycott the Paris Games if Russians are allowed to take part.
Pozdnyakov said his organisation welcomed efforts by the IOC to allow Russian athletes to compete.
"But as for additional conditions, we strongly disagree. The Olympic Charter states that all athletes must participate on an equal footing," he added.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia's participation in the Paris Olympics would amount to showing that "terror can allegedly be something acceptable".
Zelensky also last week said he had invited IOC president Thomas Bach to visit the frontline Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, "so that he can see for himself that neutrality does not exist".
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Monday that of the 71 medals that Russian competitors won at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, 45 were won by athletes who were members of the Central Sports Club of the Russian Army, or CSKA.
"The army that commits atrocities, kills, rapes, and loots," Kuleba said. "This is whom the ignorant IOC wants to put under (the) white flag allowing (them) to compete."
The Olympic Council of Asia, however, last week offered Russian and Belarusian athletes the chance to compete in this year's Asian Games, arguing that "all athletes, regardless of their nationality or the passport they hold, should be able to compete in sports competitions".
That was a significant move because it would allow athletes from those two countries to achieve qualifying standards they would need to compete in the Paris Olympics.
The IOC reiterated last week that the international federations for each Olympic sport were "the sole authority for its international competitions".


Faisal Salhab, Saud Al-Sharif make history as second and third Saudi golfers to turn professional

Faisal Salhab, Saud Al-Sharif make history as second and third Saudi golfers to turn professional
Updated 31 January 2023

Faisal Salhab, Saud Al-Sharif make history as second and third Saudi golfers to turn professional

Faisal Salhab, Saud Al-Sharif make history as second and third Saudi golfers to turn professional
  • National team stars looking to lead new generation of players into professional arena

JEDDAH: The PIF Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers will provide the stage for the first steps into the professional game for Saudi golfers Faisal Salhab, 26, and Saud Al-Sharif, 23, after the pair announced their decision to turn professional ahead of the Asian Tour’s flagship event.

The duo become the second and third Saudi Arabian golfers to join the paid ranks, following in the footsteps of national teammate and friend, 36-year-old Othman Almulla.

All three will continue to be supported by Golf Saudi and the Saudi Golf Federation given the important role they play in demonstrating the benefits of the sport to the Saudi public, who now have more opportunities to try golf thanks to a number of mass participation programs and new access points.

Having had successful amateur careers, turning professional was the natural next step on the career pathway of Salhab and Al-Sharif, and should allow both players a platform to test their games against, and learn from, some of the world’s best players.

Salhab said: “This is another exciting step on our journey and where better to turn professional than in our home country at the PIF Saudi International?

“It has been a long journey to get to this point but the continued support of Golf Saudi, the Saudi Golf Federation, my coaching team, and friends and family has made all the difference.

“I want to thank them for everything and hope that I can continue my amateur success in the professional game, starting this week,” he added.

Al-Sharif echoed Salhab’s sentiments, adding: “Turning professional has been my goal since I first caught the golf bug as young kid, and I am so happy to have the opportunity to fully pursue golf as a career.

“There are so many people to thank but Golf Saudi and the Saudi Golf Federation have been integral to growing the game within the Kingdom and allowing both of us the opportunity to play golf and reach this point,” he said.

“I can’t wait to be on the road with Othman and Faisal testing ourselves against the best players and on the best courses, and hope that our story can help others to see and believe they can do the same and follow in our footsteps,” Al-Sharif added. “As well as winning on the international stage, we each share the dream of inspiring the next generation, and professional golf gives us the platform to do that.”

Both enter the professional game in impressive form, following December’s Saudi Open at Riyadh Golf Club, where Salhab clinched the overall title, with Al-Sharif, Saudi Arabia’s leading amateur, finishing second.

Following their first professional event at Royal Greens, both players will enjoy a full schedule of events on the Asian Tour, traveling from Saudi Arabia onto the International Series Oman and International Series Qatar, before venturing further east to the International Series in Thailand.

Almulla, who became the first-ever Saudi professional in 2019, praised his compatriots in taking the next steps in their careers, and hopes to be able to share advice as the two forge new paths.

“Turning professional is the biggest decision I’ve ever made and I couldn’t have done it without the amazing support I have received from everyone at Golf Saudi, the Saudi Golf Federation and my sponsors.

“Life on tour is a pretty demanding one, so I’m hoping that I can help the guys avoid some of my mistakes and do whatever I can to help them overcome some of the early challenges of turning professional,” he said.

“More than anything, I’m looking forward to competing on the world stage alongside my countrymen and, hopefully, seeing one of them lift a trophy in the very near future,” Almulla added.


Big-spending Chelsea set for busy end to transfer window

Big-spending Chelsea set for busy end to transfer window
Updated 31 January 2023

Big-spending Chelsea set for busy end to transfer window

Big-spending Chelsea set for busy end to transfer window
  • The final day of the window could be another busy one for Chelsea and their new American ownership
  • Seven players have arrived at Stamford Bridge this month, including Ukraine winger Mykhailo Mudryk

DUBAI: Chelsea have already spent more in the January transfer window — around $225 million — than every club in the top leagues in Spain, Italy, Germany and France combined.
The London team might not be finished.
The final day of the window could be another busy one for Chelsea and their new American ownership, with the club linked with a move for Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez and potentially looking to balance the books by offloading Jorginho and Hakim Ziyech.
Seven players have arrived at Stamford Bridge this month, including Ukraine winger Mykhailo Mudryk in a deal worth around $108 million and France center back Benoît Badiashile for $40 million.
This comes after Chelsea spent almost $300 million in Europe’s summer transfer window, the first under the new ownership fronted by Todd Boehly following the purchase of the club for $2.5 billion in May.
Chelsea have handed new players long contracts — as much as 8 1/2 years for Mudryk, for example — to allow the club to spread the cost of the signings over the length of the deal and comply with financial fair-play regulations.
British media reported Monday that Chelsea were willing to pay a British record fee of 105 million pounds ($130 million) to bring in the 22-year-old Fernandez, a World Cup winner with Argentina in December.
Jorginho has been linked with a move to Premier League leader Arsenal and Ziyech is reportedly close to joining Paris Saint-Germain on loan.
Chelsea will hope their latest spending spree helps the team climb the Premier League standings — they are currently in 10th place, 10 points off the top four — in a late attempt to qualify for the Champions League.
Other clubs that could be active are Tottenham, which appear set to sign Spain wing back Pedro Porro from Sporting in Portugal, and Nottingham Forest, with Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey and Atletico Madrid center back Felipe both pictured at the club’s training ground ahead of sealing moves.
CANCELO LEAVES CITY
Manchester City sent Joao Cancelo on loan to Bayern Munich for the rest of the season, with the Portugal fullback having fallen out of favor with manager Pep Guardiola since the World Cup.
The German champions have the option to make the transfer permanent for a fee of 70 million euros ($76 million).
Cancelo was one of City’s key players last season but Guardiola feels the team can do without the attacking, versatile defender after a recent tactical switch and the emergence of 18-year-old right back Rico Lewis.
MARQUINHOS TO NORWICH
Arsenal loaned out 19-year-old Brazilian Marquinhos midway through his first season at the league leaders. He has joined second-tier Norwich to get more first-team action.