Jennings set for Roosters return

The Sydney Roosters are set to welcome back NSW centre Michael Jennings from a back injury for Saturday’s crucial round 21 NRL match against St George Illawarra in a massive boost to their flagging premiership hopes.

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With Sonny Bill Williams sidelined for a month with a thumb injury, Blues winger Daniel Tupou not due back for at least three weeks due to a back injury and Mitch Aubusson out for two weeks with an ankle complaint, Jennings’ return comes at a welcome time for the premiers.

The Roosters have lost two of their last three games to bottom four sides with Jennings out.

The Dragons clash at Allianz Stadium will be his first match since Origin II.

Jennings returned to contact training last week and trained strongly on Monday and Roosters captain Anthony Minichiello indicated he would take the field against the Dragons.

“He is very close. He could be a chance this week,” Minichiello said.

“We will just see how he gets through the week and hopefully he will be back on deck.

“We do have some quality players on the sidelines and hopefully we can get those back over the next couple of weeks.”

The Roosters have only enjoyed a win over the struggling Penrith over the last month and Minichiello said the Tricolours quickly need to find some consistent form six weeks out from the finals.

“It’s not time to panic at all. Obviously the (last) result wasn’t ideal for us. Newcastle played well in the second half and got the two points and our focus is now on St George.

“It’s not long now, six weeks to go, you want to try and build momentum heading into the finals and give yourself the best shot at it.

“Time is running out but we are confident in our ability and confident in our structure that we can put some wins together and build that confidence and momentum.”

The Roosters sit in fifth spot on the NRL ladder, six points behind Manly, who lead the competition by two wins.

Minichiello said the side they defeated to win the 2013 title were now the clear favourites for this season’s premiership.

“Manly are definitely the team to beat, no doubt about it; they have been the most consistent team all year,” he said.

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I hope your steak gores you

On July 9, American author and bull-runner Bill Hillmann was gored by a bull.

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It was not Hillmann’s fault: a first-time runner, freaking out, pushed him to the ground while he was attempting to do what the very best runners do and lead a suelto, or loose bull, which had been separated from the herd and had its dominant herding instinct replaced by the offensive one that makes bullfighting possible, into the ring.

Hillmann, who in the interest of full disclosure is a friend of mine, showed what Hemingway once called grace under pressure and is already on his feet again and planning his next run. He has no desire to track down the first-timer and give him a piece of his mind. He has rather seized upon his goring as an opportunity to issue a spirited defence of Pamplona’s encierro, or bull run, and the role that it plays in his and others’ lives.

The US media has been surprisingly receptive to this. The Washington Post even ran a piece that Hillmann dictated on the front page of its weekend ‘Outlook’ section. But many others treated his goring as a joke or a comeuppance, primarily because Hillmann recently contributed to an e-book entitled Fiesta: How to Survive the Bulls of Pamplona. That he did survive them hasn’t really occurred to the journalists who thought they smelled a delicious irony, but given the matter at hand, and the knee-jerk responses it so often elicits, this is hardly surprising.

What we’re talking about here is a politics that not only privileges the suffering of animals over the suffering of people, but actively encourages and desires the latter. At best, this is profoundly hypocritical.

With the e-book getting mentioned so often in the press—to the unfortunate detriment of Hillmann’s well-received debut novel, The Old Neighbourhood, which he hopes to publicise in Australia later this year—it was inevitable that its sales would, if not soar, then at least spike. This is a good thing, as it’s a good collection, with some of the best Spanish, Basque and foreign runners offering precisely the sort of advice that first-timers like the one who pushed Hillmann to the ground should be given before they run, but rarely are.

But the book’s Amazon page, along with the countless articles about Hillmann’s experience, have also become targets for the sort of uninformed comments that goring’s like this one—or the seven others that occurred in Pamplona this year—always seem to occasion. “May many more follow the co-authors experience!” one so-called reviewer commented before giving the book the obligatory one star. “Go bulls!” quipped a fierce wit on the New York Daily News’ piece about the incident.

I am no stranger to this sort of thing. When I explained my own reasons for running with the bulls in a Sydney Morning Herald piece late last month, the suggestion that the bulls are terrified animals on the defence because of people like me was a common refrain. “I hope you get gored” was another one.

Such comments represent a significant, and often deliberate, misrepresentation of these animals and their nature. (Alexander Fiske-Harrison, the e-book’s editor and a co-contributor, has addressed this head-on in numerous articles and speeches, most notably his talk at the 2013 Edinburgh International Book Festival.) This is not uncommon outside of el mundo del toros, either, but rather exists everywhere in the discussion about our relationship with animals. Call it the Disneyfication of that relationship: a sentimental tendency, particularly in Western societies where we like to kill our animals behind closed doors, to ascribe to animals an innocence—an inherent cuddliness—in no way borne out by behavioural science or even anecdote. Call it a wilful denial of certain animals’ natures in the rush to condemn our own.

As Fiske-Harrison argues, the life of a fighting bull is longer and more natural than that of the far greater number of animals raised for beef—78.2 per cent in the US are raised on factory farms, for instance—and the bullring is in many ways a far better place to die than on the assembly line.

This last part is particularly important. Comments like those aimed at Hillmann and others represent an increasingly commonplace anti-humanism that is as troubling as it is infuriating. It starts with well-meaning concern for animals—which I share—quickly abandons logic and any need for in-depth research (it is remarkable how many falsehoods still circulate about what happens to the bull before it enters the ring) and winds up calling for human heads, sometimes very literally. (Fiske-Harrison, who fought and killed a three-year-old bull for his book about the bulls, Into the Arena: The World of the Spanish Bullfight, received death threats for doing so.) There is something doctrinaire and even evangelical about this: it assumes an Original Sin, our being human, and urges self-flagellation as repentance. (Failing that, the idea’s proponents are more than willing to spearhead an Inquisition…) Overland’s Jeff Sparrow has previously noted that “I think that you can make a legitimate case […] for a politics that privileges the suffering of people over the suffering of animals.” What we’re talking about here is a politics that not only privileges the suffering of animals over the suffering of people, but actively encourages and desires the latter. At best, this is profoundly hypocritical.

Sparrow—who I don’t think would especially like being enlisted to bolster an argument in favour of bullfighting—was writing about his experience researching slaughterhouses for his book Killing: Misadventures in Violence. It is interesting how closely his piece resembles Fiske-Harrison’s discussion of the ethics of bullfighting compared to those of factory farming practices. As Fiske-Harrison argues, the life of a fighting bull is longer and more natural than that of the far greater number of animals raised for beef—78.2 per cent in the US are raised on factory farms, for instance—and the bullring is in many ways a far better place to die than on the assembly line. (It is interesting, by the way, how no Westerners ever seem to speak out on behalf of the the millions of Spanish pigs that get slaughtered every year in the production of jamón ibérico, primarily because no one ever sees it happening.)

“Let’s say what we mean,” Fiske-Harrison writes.

[A]nimals are bled, skinned and dismembered while conscious. It happens all the time, and the industry and the government know it. Several plants cited for bleeding or skinning or dismembering live animals have defended their actions as common in the industry and asked, perhaps rightly, why they were being singled out. […] Anger may not be a pleasant emotional state [for the fighting bull], but one would be hard put to call it suffering. Raging against the dying of the light is an infinitely preferable alternative than going gently, or dangling upside down with your face peeled off.

Bill Hillmann did not deserve to get gored any more than an abbatoir worker deserves to get strung up, improperly stunned into half-consciousness and flayed alive, though some would doubtless say that both deserve whatever they get. But these are also the sort of people who would tell you that a Spanish fighting bull is really a docile, even gentle creature that, like Disney’s Ferdinand, wants only to smell the flowers and attacks only because he’s scared. They are the sort of people who would deny the animal’s true nature the better to condemn those who choose to exploit it, whether by running with the animals in the streets each morning or passing them with a cape in the plaza each afternoon.

People like Bill Hillmann ultimately have far more respect for these animals than those who would condemn him.

Matthew Clayfield is a freelance foreign correspondent.

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Skelton key to opening championship door for Waratahs

Instead, it proved deadly accurate as the 22-year-old lock’s majestic line-break against the ACT Brumbies set up his team’s winning try and gives them a chance to seal a maiden Super Rugby title against the Canterbury Crusaders on Saturday.

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Auckland-born Skelton grew up watching the Crusaders humble a procession of would-be contenders in the southern hemisphere competition but is likely to be a focus of their attention ahead of the blockbuster final at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium.

Video footage of the lock shrugging off three Brumbies tacklers on a thundering run through midfield would be unnerving enough for Crusaders staff. His sublime offload to eventual try-scorer Bernard Foley would give them more cause for concern.

“We were under a lot of pressure,” Skelton told reporters in Sydney of the play, which sent a crowd of 38,000 into delirium. “That try sealed the match. Boys working hard off the ball.

“I was surprised. You don’t usually make breaks. The forwards try to work hard and just get through contact. I’ll have a look at the highlights and see how it really went.”

For all of his presence, Skelton slipped through New Zealand’s fingers and quickly became a cult hero “across the ditch”, where his power, soft hands and deft timing have already been earned him a Wallabies debut against France.

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The son of Samoa-born parents, Skelton is likely to reacquaint himself with a number of Crusaders players when Australia open the four-nation Rugby Championship against world champions New Zealand.

Though backed to battle former Australia skipper James Horwill and Brumbies lock Sam Carter for a starting role in the Wallabies, Skelton has been used as an impact player off the bench for the Waratahs with departing international Kane Douglas and South African enforcer Jacques Potgieter setting the tone.

At 137kg and 6-ft-8in (2.03 metres), Skelton might seem an unlikely pinch hitter from the pine, but the player’s heft and rugby smarts may be vital against the Crusaders, famous for finding another gear in the later stages of games.

“You bring a guy like Will on and he can pull something like that (line-break) out of his bag of tricks,” Cheika told reporters.

“It symbolised the fact that we are not worried about the consequences. ‘I’ll take responsibility. I’ll make that pass and I believe it will work out.'”

In a side not lacking in firepower, with players of the calibre of fullback Israel Folau and inside centre Kurtley Beale, Skelton offers an additional defensive headache for Todd Blackadder’s Crusaders as they bid to seal an eighth title and end a six-year drought since their last.

A cousin of former All Blacks lock Brad Mika, Skelton turned down an approach from his hometown Auckland Blues before committing to the Waratahs.

But while New Zealand rugby have missed out on one Skelton, they have swooped for another.

Cameron, who stands two centimetres taller than his older brother and weighs 145kg, represented Samoa at the junior World Cup last month.

He will join the Waikato Chiefs’ development programme as part of “efforts aimed at enticing players back to New Zealand”, the two-time Super Rugby champions said in a statement on Monday.

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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Work for dole for all jobseekers

Almost all jobseekers will be required to work for the dole under tough new federal government rules expanding the scheme.

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The government is making it mandatory for jobseekers aged 18 to 49 to work for their welfare payments from July 1, 2015.

Those aged 18 to 30 will be required to work 25 hours per week while people aged 31 to 49 will have to work 15 hours.

Those over 50 will have the option of participating in the program.

The new rules will ensure jobseekers are actively looking for work, Assistant Employment Minister Luke Hartsuyker says.

“It also allows jobseekers to give something back to the taxpayers and community that supports them,” he told AAP in a statement on Sunday.

Work for the dole currently applies to jobseekers aged up to 30, who have been out of work for a year, in 18 locations of high unemployment around the country.

They have to work 15 hours per week for six months to receive welfare payments.

The expanded scheme is part of a new employment services model to be announced by Mr Hartsuyker and Employment Minister Eric Abetz on Monday.

While some aspects will come under legislation, it’s understood the new work for the dole rules could still be implemented if the Senate rejects them.

The Australian Greens said there was nothing to prove work for the dole was effective.

It failed to address barriers to employment such as lack of available jobs and training or discrimination.

“This announcement is all about punishing people,” Greens family and community spokeswoman Rachel Siewert said in a statement on Sunday.

“If jobs aren’t available, it is nonsense to say people have to apply for at least a job a day.”

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Strip Russia of 2018 World Cup: UK dep PM

Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister wants Russia stripped of the right to host the 2018 World Cup to punish President Vladimir Putin for “belligerent behaviour” in the Ukraine crisis.

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While calling for tougher sanctions against Russia, Nick Clegg told The Sunday Times newspaper that it was “unthinkable” for Putin to have the opportunity to exploit football’s biggest sporting event to enhance his own status.

Clegg’s intervention comes after some lawmakers in Germany called for the World Cup to be moved because of Russia’s alleged involvement in shooting down a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

“After this terrible, terrible downing of that jet, it is essential that the European Union gets tough on Vladimir Putin,” Clegg was quoted as saying.

“We’ve got to take tougher sanctions, but also we’ve got to make it quite clear that he cannot expect to get the privileges of being at the top table of world affairs if he’s not prepared to play by the basic rules of world affairs.

“If he carries on with this belligerent behaviour … it’s unthinkable that he should have the privilege of hosting the World Cup in 2018.

“You can’t have the beautiful game marred by the ugly aggression of Russia on the Russian-Ukrainian border.”

Clegg, who leads Britain’s Liberal Democrats in the coalition government, said the Russian president had already “milked” the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February, and that hosting the World Cup would be “an enormous advantage to Putin personally”.

“There’s no question he sees it for himself and for his prestige as a huge gain,” Clegg said.

“The idea that the world should accord Russia that prestige is beyond belief.

“I don’t know how many people have got to be shot out of the skies before people say enough is enough.”

Moscow has continually denied involvement in the downing of the plane.

FIFA is standing by Russia as the next World Cup host, saying on Friday that keeping the tournament “can achieve positive change” in the country.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter had already rejected calls to strip Russia of the tournament after it annexed the Crimea earlier this year.

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Reed on verge of fourth PGA Tour win in 10 months

The American posted a six-under 207 total, while Australian Marc Leishman (73), Swede Freddie Jacobson (71) and South Korean Noh Seung-Yul (66) were equal second on four-under.

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Six others, including last year’s U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, were three strokes behind.

Australian Oliver Goss, who shared the halfway lead in his second tournament as a pro, got a reality check to fall five shots behind with a 76 that included a double bogey at the par-four 12th, where he missed a putt from barely 18 inches.

Reed has enjoyed a meteoric rise since his maiden PGA Tour victory in a playoff against Jordan Spieth in Greensboro, North Carolina, last August.

He made headlines after his third win, at the WGC Cadillac Championship in Miami in March, when he said he was one of “the top five players in the world”.

But the 23-year-old has not backed up his words since, missing five cuts in eight starts before this week, perhaps due partly to the distraction of the recent birth of his first child.

He currently is ranked 29th in the world and is a noted front runner, having converted all three of his 54-hole leads into victories.

“I’m in great position,” Reed told CBS television, adding that he needed to ‘tighten up’ a few aspects of his game before the final round.

Jacobson made his move with four front nine birdies, only to drop four shots in four holes on the tough stretch starting at the 10th.

“I played awesome on the front nine,” he said.

So did Noh, a winner in New Orleans in April, who charged into contention for his second tour title with the best round of the day on a course where punishing rough and firm greens made birdies a prized commodity.

Congressional has hosted three U.S. Opens, most recently in 2011 when Rory McIlroy won, but it is playing tougher this week due to the dry conditions.

(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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Langer three ahead at Senior Players Championship

Langer, who had been two strokes in front overnight, reeled off four birdies in five holes from the 12th to regain control of the tournament before ending the day with a 15-under total of 195.

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American Perry, who won last year’s Senior Players Championship by two shots at Fox Chapel, was alone in second at 12 under after carding a sizzling 65 that included an eagle at the par-five second and six birdies.

Perry, who clinched his third consecutive major on the Champions Tour with victory at the Regions Tradition in May, had been one ahead with four holes to play but slipped back with a bogey at the 16th before the fast-finishing Langer took charge.

Left-hander Russ Cochran (63) and fellow Americans Joe Durant (67) and Bill Glasson (68) were tied for third at 11 under in the third of the year’s five senior major championships.

Langer, whose previous major wins on the Champions Tour came at the 2010 Senior Open Championship and the 2010 U.S. Senior Open, is taking nothing for granted with several quality players in close pursuit and 18 holes to be played on Sunday.

“There are about 10 other guys within striking distance,” the German, a twice former Masters champion, told reporters after moving back to the top of the leaderboard with birdies at the 12th, 14th, 15th and 16th. “It’s not over by any means.

“Kenny played very well here on this golf course last year.

“I played with him the first two days, he played very well. He drives the ball very far and pretty straight, which sets himself up pretty good.

“I’ve still got to shoot under par. Somebody shot seven-under today I think, right?” Langer asked in reference to Cochran’s 63.

“So anybody that is 10-under, 11-under, shoots that kind of score, I’ve got to go under-par. Still 18 holes to play, it’s a lot of golf.”

Langer has won two Champions Tour events this year, the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai and the Insperity Invitational, and will be seeking his 21st career title in Sunday’s final round.

Perry, who trailed Fred Couples by two shots heading into the final round at Fox Chapel last year before charging to victory with a closing 64, embraced the feeling of deja vu.

“It’s kind of running just like last year,” the 53-year-old smiled. “I just hope the results are the same.

“Bernhard is a different character. He’s tough. He’s gritty. He’s got a lot of heart. He’s a good friend and I enjoy competing against him.

“I am looking forward to the challenge tomorrow … I need to shoot seven-under probably.”

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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World Cup 2014 exposes soccer haters for what they really are

Professional jingoist Ann Coulter went one step further in a Thursday column by writing, “Any growing interest in soccer can only be a sign of the nation’s moral decay.

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Then she turned the xenophobic dial to 11: “If more ‘Americans’ are watching soccer today, it’s only because of the demographic switch effected by Teddy Kennedy’s 1965 immigration law. I promise you: No American whose great-grandfather was born here is watching soccer. One can only hope that, in addition to learning English, these new Americans will drop their soccer fetish with time.”

And replace it with what, hate-mongering?

It takes a special kind of logic to argue that rooting for the United States against international competition is, in actuality, being exceptionally un-American.

Coulter’s warped world view aside, the real, though diminishing, opposition to futbol in this country is that it isn’t football, but has the audacity to sound like it. For Chinstrap Nation, it’s not enough to exhibit uncommon stamina, or even to bite as viciously as Conrad Dobler. No, to be a truly admirable sport, you have to risk spinal injury every time you take the field, like the players in Roger Goodell’s league.

Rising popularity

Luckily, these bang-up television ratings leading to the World Cup knockout stage have changed hearts and minds. Whether it has a bit to do with the U.S. team advancing, a favorable time zone for broadcasting or superior network pageantry is immaterial. We are now contemporary and worldly enough as a nation to realize that soccer is only going to grow in popularity here — as long as the urban hipster in the cubicle next to you has spent this week’s salary on an Arsenal or Real Madrid jersey.

Less and less we are going ugly-‘Merican on soccer. Oh, John Feinstein contends no one will watch when the U.S. team is knocked out. But next to stick-and-ball Annie, that’s tame. I like to think we are now deeper, more internationally sophisticated, that even if we start watching because of the cool samba-thumping cartoon opening to each match — easily the best cross-promotion between ESPN and Disney animators — we do care.

While we wonder how patriotic other nations truly are if they don’t forcefully interject an “O!” during the Ecuadoran or Algerian national anthem, we can appreciate that the players actually know the words.

Mostly, we like the sound of English announcers when they perfectly intone, “The equalizah!” or “lovely ball” or “a golden chance.” Heck, Ian Darke and Martin Tyler are delighting American soccer fans by just saying “brilliant” six times a match.

The outdated ugly Americans will be rendered voiceless by a nation who thinks that actually learning about something the rest of the world does better is the obvious gradual step toward one day becoming the best at it.

This is called consumer profiling, and at the World Cup it has meant importing the game announcers, in-studio analysts and even our coach (a common World Cup practice) — for a viewing audience that desperately wants to know more than we actually do about the beautiful game. If you are not an Englishman, Scot or Welshman, you are basically the guy calling games in the Spanish league trying to take Marv Albert’s job.

Which is why I am worried for my friend Gus Johnson, who Fox Sports has taken the courageous step of making its No. 1 play-by-play guy for the 2018 World Cup. I don’t know if “HA-HAAA” or “RISE AND FIRE, YOUNG MAN!” is going to fly, not to mention yelling throatily, “Boubacar Barry!” like some random college player now suiting up for Al’s Automotive.

Every time I see Mike Tirico beside fresh Brazilian fruit now, he’s talking to some guy who got lost on his way to the Das Erste television studio.

I’m sure the real-‘Merican crowd will use this to further illustrate how far have we really come as a futbol-loving country if we have to rely on non-Americans to continue teaching and explaining the game to us at the highest levels.

With tighter immigration laws, stick-and-ball Annie will argue, we will have just Clint Dempsey and a few minivans full of kids with cleats and shinguards left.

And, as usual, the outdated ugly Americans will be rendered voiceless by a nation who thinks that actually learning about something the rest of the world does better is the obvious gradual step toward one day becoming the best at it.

If it doesn’t happen soon enough, we can always deport the non-believers, the folks a few fries short of a Happy Meal who will always be wedded to baseball, Apple pie and insufferable xenophobes such as Ann Coulter. Get off my pitch, lady.

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Australia’s Green shoots 62 in Germany

Australia’s Richard Green has shot 62 for the lowest round of the BMW International Open so far, while former champion Pablo Larrazabal is on course for victory after being handed a three-shot lead on day three of the tournament near Cologne.

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Larrazabal, who won the event three years ago in Munich, birdied four of his closing five holes in a bogey-free 67 to move to a three-shot lead on 17-under par at the Gut Larcenhof course.

However, the 31-year old Barcelona golfer was just one shot ahead with a hole to play when playing partner, Emiliano Grillo of Argentina found water with his approach shot into the last, walking off with a double bogey and dropped to an eight-way share of second place on 14-under par.

Those also 14-under par include Green, as well as former BMW International winners Robert Karlsson of Sweden (68) and Thomas Bjorn of Denmark (66), Italy’s Francesco Molinari (65), Swedish world number two Henrik Stenson (66), and the Spanish pair of Rafa Cabrera-Bello (70) and Carlos Del Moral (70).

Green’s effort was the lowest round of the week and also the Melbourne-born golfer’s lowest-ever European Tour round.

It included an eagle and eight birdies and with the triple Tour winner completing the back nine in just 28 strokes.

And Green was still relishing having joined fellow competitors Jamie Donaldson of Wales and countryman Wade Ormsby, spending Wednesday afternoon racing rented VW Golf GTIs around the 20.8 kilometre famed Nurburgring race circuit located some 70 kilometres south of Cologne.

“The fantastic experience of racing around the Nurburgring certainly put a bit of racing fuel into the veins this week,” said Green.

“Also is seems that every time I involve a little bit of motor racing with my golf, I play well and that’s been the case this week.”

Larrazabal went into the third round in a four-way share of the lead on 12-under par but then was just one under through 12 holes of his third round before birdieing the 13th, 14th, 15th and 17th holes.

“I know I can play better golf but not to have a bogey in three days is good so while it was tough at the beginning of my round, it ended well for me.”

Larrazabal, who first joined the European Tour in 2008, is not only looking to celebrate a 200th event but he is also chasing a second Tour success this year after denying both Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson victory in January’s Abu Dhabi Championship.

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The eternal sunshine of the procrastinating mind

In theory.

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I would have finished it earlier, but I wandered off to eat a sandwich and do some laundry that had been piling up for weeks, and then YouTube suddenly became very interesting, and then it was 3 a.m. and I had accomplished nothing.

But the struggle is what counts.

In my defense, I procrastinate only on really important things. I live by the John Perry-Robert Benchley theory of structured procrastination, which states that the most effective way of appearing to get a lot of things done is to always be procrastinating on one big project. “Anyone can do any amount of work,” said Benchley, “provided it is not the work that he is supposed to be doing at that moment.”

This has always worked for me. The trouble is that sometimes I need to finish an actually big project, and the only way of doing that is to commit myself to something even bigger. I am, for instance, working on a book. It has, comfortably, been the largest thing I have had to do for the whole year, and in consequence I have been able to write all kinds of other things. Plays. Screenplays. Graffiti. Unnecessarily thorough Yelp reviews. As the deadline crawls closer, I have been possessed by the creeping terror that in order to finish everything on time, I will have to agree to an even more gigantic commitment, by, say, adopting a small child. There is no other way.

Superheroes, you reflect, are always saving the day at the last minute. You never see the Avengers come to a building six hours before it gets set on fire to evacuate everyone in an orderly manner.

One of the most effective ways of procrastinating is convincing yourself that what you are doing is not procrastinating but working. “In order to be in a good mood to write,” I tell myself, “I have to have an iced coffee, and then I need to familiarize myself with Internet Culture, for work reasons and . . . reason reasons.”

Before the Internet, you had to put real work into procrastinating. Benchley had to subscribe to illustrated magazines so that he could look at pictures of Animals Doing Cute Things. But he still did it, because we procrastinators have our professional pride.

Being a procrastinator, like being late, is a sign of optimism. It is because you have confidence in your powers. “Most people would have to have started this project weeks ago to do it well,” you tell yourself. “But not me, because I am Captain America.” Superheroes, you reflect, are always saving the day at the last minute. You never see the Avengers come to a building six hours before it gets set on fire to evacuate everyone in an orderly manner. No, they always show up just when it’s almost too late. That’s what makes it impressive.

I know Sheryl Sandberg claims that “done is better than perfect.” But “perfect” sounds way better to me. And until something is done, you don’t know for sure that it won’t be perfect. It could be!

The later it becomes, the more optimistic you become. “Well, I have to write 2,000 words tonight,” you tell yourself. “But I used to do that often during college. It will be easy as pie.” (The one time you made a pie, it looked like a raspberry sinkhole and everyone shied away from it, but it seems like the sort of thing that would be easy to do.) “First,” you think, “to inspire myself, I will watch a few choice clips on YouTube of Things That Movies Did Not Do Correctly.”

Six hours pass.

I have been trying not to procrastinate by hunting, online, for lists of Ways to Stop Procrastinating. Most of these suggestions boiled down to: “So, you want to quit procrastinating? Here’s a suggestion! Try not putting things off until the last minute!” which is roughly the same as saying, “You want to not be late? Try showing up to things on time!”

There are websites for people like us. (Admittedly, a website that discourages you from procrastinating is like a T-shirt promoting nudism.) There is one called WriteOrDie that literally eats your words if you do not type fast enough. I prefer to eat my words in a more relaxed setting, like after someone on the Internet has yelled at me.

There are apps, too. “iWillNotProcrastinate,” but that’s for students. There’s End Procrastination Hypnosis, which boasts “Hypnosis is proven to be the most effective method to eliminate procrastination and get more done.”

“Do you avoid important tasks until the last possible minute? Are you a master of finding unimportant activities to do so you can delay doing the important ones? . . . By changing your subconscious thoughts, the End Procrastination Hypnosis app helps you easily get things done. After listening for just one to three weeks, you’ll begin to notice how liberating it is to complete important tasks quickly and easily.” One to three weeks? I don’t have that kind of time! I’m on a deadline!

Just to see what I was missing, I checked the reviews.

“Havnt listened to it yet” wrote MHx74. “I’ll get to it later.”

I hear you, my brother.

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