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Webb hype falls flat at Ladies Masters

2019年4月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

After the build-up came the reality, and for Karrie Webb it wasn’t such a good feeling walking off Royal Pines on Thursday as it must have been standing at the first tee.

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The 39-year-old was all the rage in the build-up to the Australian Ladies Masters on the Gold Coast. Her attempt at an unprecedented ninth title was the main talking point.

Sure, she hadn’t swung a club in competitive anger for weeks and had spent most of her preparation holidaying with family in north Queensland, but when it comes to Royal Pines, Webb could play a blinder there with her eyes closed, couldn’t she?

Going into the round, Webb was an amazing 262 under par from 20 previous Ladies Masters at the venue, which was an average of 69 a round on a course that has fluctuated between a par 73 and par 72 during her career.

On Thursday, however, the former world No.1 could manage only one birdie in her one-over 74, and posted bogeys on the 16th and seventh to ensure she finished well back in the field after the first round.

“I feel like it was very tricky, and the greens were a little more tricky today to read than normal,” Webb said.

“Mainly, I think I struggled with my concentration a little bit and just being focused and ready to hit my shot. I expected that, but it’s still frustrating at the same time when you’re not able to maintain it when you need to.”

Not that Webb was panicking, taking a steady-as-she-goes approach in her attempt to get back into contention over the remaining rounds.

“Obviously, I’d love to shoot a low one to get back in the tournament,” she said.

“But I’d just like to build on today, try and continue to shake off the rust and think about playing golf shots, making some putts. If that adds up to a low one, great.”

Beckham launches plan to build football franchise in Miami

2019年4月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

The international football star said he looked forward to building a world-class team, as yet unnamed, during a Miami press conference alongside MLS Commissioner Don Garber and the mayor of Miami-Dade County.

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“I have worked for some of the biggest clubs in the world, and some of the greatest players in the world, and this is a dream,” said Beckham, dressed in a dark suit and tie to address a large media audience at a gleaming new bayfront art museum in the south Florida city.

“This is an exciting time … for myself, exciting time for my family and friends and partners, and something we are really looking forward to bringing to Miami,” Beckham added, to chants of “We’re going to MLS,” from a group of fans calling themselves the “Southern Legion.”

Beckham signed a shareholder agreement on Tuesday evening with his two partners, the British TV producer and creator of American Idol Simon Fuller, and Bolivian-born billionaire Marcelo Claure, founder of Miami-based Brightstar Corp, the world’s largest wireless distributor and the provider of global services to Apple Inc

“We have a deal. We are three partners, David, myself and Simon, as of last night,” Claure said.

Garber called the franchise decision a “historic day … for football in America,” noting that Beckham, 38, was the first former player anywhere in the world to become the owner of a top league football team in modern times.

Beckham’s commitment to MLS, dating back to 2007 when he joined the Los Angeles Galaxy, has had “an incredibly powerful impact on our sport and our league in this country,” said Garber.

His influence had set the stage to “tell the world that United States and Major League Soccer can compete with the rest of the world,” Garber added.

He went on to praise Beckham for his work ethic, as well as his charity work as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF and for the group Malaria No More.

He noted Beckham was headed to the Philippines next week for UNICEF to help with the relief effort after November’s Typhoon Haiyan.

Beckham arrived in Miami fresh from having attended Sunday’s Superbowl in New Jersey, TV coverage of which featured an agile and scantily clad Beckham in an underwear commercial.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star retired as a player last May and holds a $25 million option in his MLS contract to start a new franchise.

The option was officially exercised shortly before it expired on December 31, Garber confirmed to Reuters.

A final deal to grant the franchise to Beckham’s investment group could be several months away though, sources close to the negotiations said, with a stadium location and financing still requiring approval from the MLS board for his team to become the 22nd club of the top U.S. professional football league.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said negotiations for the stadium started last week. “We know we have to get rolling on it,” he said.

Beckham is already in discussions with Miami-Dade County to possibly lease county-owned land for a 25,000-seat stadium.

Beckham’s investment group has narrowed its stadium search to five possible sites in and around downtown Miami, officials say, including a 25-acre (10-hectare) waterfront lot next to the port of Miami’s cruise ship terminals, potentially putting the new team at the forefront of Miami’s tourism landscape.

MLS has stressed the importance of having a final stadium deal, along with a business plan, before it will approve a new team.

Beckham’s group is not looking for public financing, but may need to negotiate site plans with the county, such as leasing the port location, to help build a privately financed stadium.

“We want to create a football team, a football club, that is the people’s club, as simple as that,” Beckham said.

The famously tattooed football star later had to abandon a planned photo opportunity at a youth football facility when the field was rushed by hundreds of fans, media and paparazzi. He was due to kick the ball around with the children, but had to be escorted from the field due to security concerns.

Beckham has toured Miami twice in recent months with Fuller and Claure, and says he feels at home in the heavily Hispanic city.

He picked up some Spanish while playing in Madrid for four seasons and on Wednesday fielded questions in Spanish from some media.

“The fact that I have played for teams like Real Madrid, AC Milan, PSG (Paris-Saint Germain FC), has given me that different kind of culture. I understand the people here in Miami and this part of America. They are very passionate about their teams,” he told Reuters.

He is mulling over possible names for the team, and also plans on creating a youth academy to nurture local talent.

A list of possible players had been drawn up, he said, though he released no names.

Beckham is now looking for a pad in Miami, although the London home he shares with his wife of 14 years, former pop star-turned-fashion designer Victoria Beckham, and their four young children, will remain the main family home.

“Our children’s education is the most important thing to us and they are educated in London and our home is in London. But I will personally be spending a lot of time here in Miami,” he said.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum, Stephen Powell, Andrew Hay and Lisa Shumaker)

Beckham faces ‘big challenge’

2019年4月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

David Beckham has been told he faces “the biggest challenge in sports” in trying to resurrect a football team in Miami – from the manager of the club that folded.

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Ray Hudson was in charge of the Miami Fusion, which went under more than a decade ago after failing to capture the imagination of a Miami public that already has the best NBA team in the land.

Beckham launches plan to build football franchise in Miami

“It’s the biggest challenge in sports I can imagine,” said Hudson, a former Newcastle United player, who was manager of the Fusion from 2000 to 2001. The club was dissolved the same year.

“With the history of sports in this area, it’s sufficient to put anyone off. The bling of Beckham is not going to be enough. It’s not going to be,” he told reporters after Beckham confirmed Wednesday that he was to build a Major League Soccer team in the city.

“He fully recognises that … He’s going to have to build a great chain of people. All the right people with the right credentials. The best of the best.”

Hudson, who is now a football commentator in the United States, told the MLS official website: “The allure of Miami is like the call of the sirens.

“He’s got to be like Jason and the Argonauts in his search for the golden fleece. This is what Beckham is going to have to be. It just has to be flawless, basically.”

Beckham’s ambitious franchise, which is not expected to take to the field until 2016 at the earliest, is the third attempt at making a football team work in south Florida.

Before the Fusion, there was the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, which is no longer in the top US league.

“This area has been wounded in the past and they don’t forget,” Hudson said. “But this is another generation from the Strikers and the Fusion. Those fans are virtually grandparents now.

“These kids today are dying to see Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi and who knows who Beckham will bring in. It’ll be someone from that clout. It’s not going to be enough.

“It’s got to be more. The rest of the links of the chain have to be strong and they have a chance.”

Retail trade on the rise

2019年4月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

Australia has posted its eighth consecutive rise in retail spending, and economists expect the sector to keep strengthening to pre-global financial crisis levels.

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Retail trade rose 0.5 per cent in December, seasonally adjusted, and was up 0.9 per cent in the December quarter, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show.

AMP chief economist Shane Oliver expects consumer spending to start making a much larger contribution to economic growth than it has over the past few years.

“Retail sales growth looks to be breaking out of the malaise that it’s been in over the last four years that saw annual growth average just 2.7 per cent,” he said.

“This likely reflects a combination of improved household finances on the back of low interest rates, rising wealth levels and improved consumer confidence. This is great news for retailers after a really tough period.

“We expect these factors to support continued strength in retail sales this year, but probably averaging around 4.5 per cent per annum as a return to pre-GFC strength is unlikely as the labour market remains soft.”

Groceries had the strongest rise in the month up 2.5 per cent, followed by at 0.5 per cent gain in spending in cafe and restaurants and department store sales had a 0.3 per cent rise.

Australian National Retailers Association chief executive Margy Osmond said 2013 was the best year for retailers in five years.

“It really was a Christmas to eat, drink and be merry with food retailing rising,” she said.

“Retailers are encouraged by today’s result and it has put the sector in good stead to record a similar result (or better) in the year ahead.

“Most states are now tracking at around six to seven per cent year-on-year growth in turnover which is a positive sign for the sectors ongoing success in 2014.”

St George economist Janu Chan said rising household wealth from higher share markets and house prices are also giving consumers more confidence.

“The data gives us greater confidence that the Australian economy will pick up later this year and leaves us comfortable with our view that the RBA will leave rates on hold for an extended period,” she said.

“We, however, expect a moderate contribution to growth from consumer spending in the December quarter after a soft result in the September quarter.

“Prices rose by a solid 1.1 per cent in the December quarter, which was in line with the strong CPI (consumer price index) data for the December quarter.”

Record spend as low rates bite

2019年4月17日 | 苏州美甲 | Permalink

Canberra consumers appear to have gone on a last hurrah during the Christmas shopping season, ahead of what is likely to be a tough year for the nation’s capital and the home of many public servants.

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The ACT reported the strongest spending growth behind Tasmania during December, in what was a record spend-up across the country – approaching $23 billion – in another sign that low interest rates are having an impact.

Nationwide, retail spending posted its eighth straight month of growth, rising 0.5 per cent in December, and led by a 2.5 per cent jump in food retailing.

“Aussie consumers are more confident and choosing to spend more freely,” Commonwealth Securities economist Savanth Sebastian said.

Spending in the ACT grew by 1.3 per cent in the month to a record $418.5 million.

Such buoyancy comes when government spending and the public service is under the microscope of the federal government’s commission of audit.

A similar audit in 1996 resulted in the territory reeling into recession.

The commission is due to release its interim report next week.

Treasurer Joe Hockey again warned that the structural position of the budget was unsustainable and projected growth in spending could not be met from the existing tax base.

“This means that, in the absence of significant fiscal adjustment, public debt will continue to grow and the government’s flexibility to respond to future economic shocks will continue to erode,” he said in a speech to the Lowy Institute in Sydney.

Mr Hockey said his first budget in May would focus on changes to meet a commitment of achieving surpluses that build to at least one per cent of gross domestic product by 2023/24.

Retail turnover grew 0.9 per cent in the final three months of 2013, the strongest growth since the start of last year.

Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman said anecdotal evidence among retailers suggested the shopping spree extended into January.

Another report showed monthly international trade posted a second consecutive surplus, the first surpluses in two years.

The trade balance of goods and services was a $468 million surplus in December after an upwardly revised $83 million surplus in November.

Westpac senior Andrew Hanlan said Australia’s trade position improved materially in the final three months of 2013 with a surplus of $134 million, a turnaround from a $2.9 billion deficit in the September quarter.

“This points to net exports making a healthy contribution to GDP growth,” he said.