Tiger Woods hopes to snap his run of lacklustre performances at the United States Open this week, nearly a year after his last PGA Tour victory.
Woods has yet to finish in the top 10 of any tournament since the sport returned after being suspended due to the novel coronavirus.
His last victory came at the Zozo Championship last October when he equalled Sam Snead’s record of 82 PGA Tour wins.
“This year, I really haven’t putted as well as I wanted to, and the times I did make a few swing mistakes, I missed it in the wrong spots,” said Woods.
“I’ve compounded mistakes here and there that ended up not making me able to make pars or a birdie run, and consequently I haven’t put myself in contention to win events.”
The 44-year-old has enjoyed one of the more enduring careers in golf, in spite of four back surgeries that had once put his future in the sport in doubt.
Woods, who has 15 major titles —- three short of Jack Nicklaus’ all-time record —- said last month that he was looking to clean up his game ahead of the United States Open.
The competition was pushed back from June to September due to the COVID-19 outbreak
He told reporters on Tuesday, however, that he was not trying any radical new approaches to putting.
“I have changed the routine and some of the things that I’ve done over the years. But I still go back to what my dad always taught me, which is obviously putt to the picture,” said Woods.
“Whatever I’m working on at that particular time, once I get out there and I putt, just putt.”
Woods got his first major title after an 11-year drought at the Masters last year, showing he remains a contender on the sport’s biggest stages.
Yet Winged Foot Golf Club will offer little relief should the three-times United States Open champion slip up.
There will be plenty of contenders ready to pounce if he does.
These include world number one and 2016 champion Dustin Johnson, as well as number two Jon Rahm, who is gunning for his first-ever major title.
“The winning scores here have never traditionally been very low. I don’t see that changing this week. The golf course is going to be hard,” said Woods.
“It depends on how difficult they want to set up these pins, give us a chance at it.”
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Edo 2020: NCFront commends security on neutrality, wants more from INEC on logistics
The National Consultative Front (NCFront) on Sunday commended stakeholders for peaceful and credible Edo gubernatorial election, applauding the security for its neutrality and professionalism.
The group disclosed this in its “Major Assessment and Verdict on Edo Governorship Election”, it issued.
It was jointly issued by Comrade Isa Aremu, Dr Tanko Yunusa, Prince Chris Azor, Mr Georgina Dakpokpo, Ayaba Olubunmi and Mr Ejiro Ofoye on behalf of NCFront Elections Monitoring Team.
The nonpartisan group, which commended the security for visible neutrality and professionalism in preventing thuggery and attempted malpractice in some polling units, advised the officers not to rest on their oars.
According to the group, more are still expected from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on logistics and in the conduct of some political parties and their agents.
The group said that party agents were expected to be more adherent to subsisting electoral ethics and rules, which forbade voters’ inducement, vote buying, thuggery and violence during elections, ballot snatching and stuffing.
It said that the political parties should always exercise respect for the Peace Accord their parties and candidates signed before elections.
“NCFront wishes to call on the INEC, as the main elections management body in Nigeria to always ensure that improved elections logistics are henceforth put in place and deployed on time.
“INEC must urgently employ latest technology required to make elections transparent and credible in Nigeria so that elections are not ruined by violence and ultimately decided by the Courts instead of the electorate.
“However, the Police, being the lead security agency, would still need to do more to assure the Nigerian electorate, especially, through improved conduct of its personnel that they can reliably stand on the part of the law in maintaining peace and order during elections.
“This must be done instead of their regular recourse to intimidation of eligible voters, which has always occasioned recline of voters on election day and electoral manipulation in another instance,” it said.
The group, however, commended INEC for being above board in its conduct during the poll.
The NCFront also commended the Edo people for the relative peace witnessed during the poll and credibility of the electoral process, inspite of the violent build up.
The group while congratulating the winner of the election called on Gov. Godwin Obaseki to be magnanimous in victory by extending the hands of fellowship to all his fellow contestants in building a united and stable government and state.
NAN reports that NCFront, a nonpartisan pan-Nigerian conscience group, deployed 600 cadres of observers/monitors, in conjuction with its INEC accredited partners, in the 18 Local Government Areas of Edo for monitoring of the governorship elections.
The group commended INEC for giving priority to Persons Living with Disabilities (PLWDs), and other vulnerable groups especially the elderly during the electioneering process.
It, however, added that some of the polling units were not accessible to some categories of PLWDs.
Edited By: Donald Ugwu
Youths should be drivers of innovation, creativity for a better Nigeria- Ex-VC Bell University
Prof. Isaac Adeyemi, the former Vice Chancellor, Bells University of Technology, Ogun, has charged Nigerian youths to harnessy their knowledge via the internet to be drivers of innovation and creativity for a better Nigeria.
“The youths are the most vulnerable to the post COVID-19 events, including the educational system.
“To position themselves for a successful career, the youths being exposed to technology should take the initiative to see to it that they use the knowledge for innovation and creativity.
‘’That will develop the economy of the country because each country is trying to design means of survival to float,” Adeyemi said.
The former VC said through collaboration with local or international agencies or organisations, some of which are online, youth can leverage and adapt knowledge to suit local situations.
“This can translate into national or state activities that can grow the economy of Nigeria and put it in the global stage.
Also speaking at the event, Prof. Seyi Osunade, Associate Professor, Computer Science department, University of Ibadan, said based on what was happening right now with the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, government and education stakeholders should do more of advocacy.
“That is creating an awareness for the youths on what the pandemic is, that it is real and people still need to take precautions.
“Though the number of infected people are dropping, people still need to take precautions and as schools are preparing to resume, people should work towards maintaining the safety protocols and adhere to COVID-19 guidelines.
“Our curriculum should focus more on practical skills and expressions, that is they should teach things that our students can do here to provide local solutions to our challenges.
“Things they can develop into products, because if we can adapt the knowledge we have into a working solution it will go a long way for us.
“Technical and vocational education should be encouraged more even in our normal school curriculum,” Osunade said.
The Pioneer of SSII, Mrs Omokehinde Deji-Akinpelu said the organisation was focused on community service.
She said that the initiative started formally in 2014 with mentoring of undergraduate students at Lead City University.
Deji-Akinpelu stated that the vision of the organization was to raise purpose driven young men and women who would become world renowned in conduct, character and competence.
“We are set out to impart them with positive values and right attitude to life that will enable them become accountable and responsible adults
“You will agree with me that part of what we are facing today with our political leaders in Nigeria is lack of right mentoring.
“Some of these youths are taking wrong steps and decisions because they lack right and proper mentoring, we need to address this for a better Nigeria.”
Deji-Akinpelu further stated that youths would rather model their lives after celebrities and people they don’t even have direct access to and that had its disadvantages.
Two of the participants who spoke to NAN, Oluwatobi Oduola and Ayomide Olukorede said their passion to influence teenagers and mentor them towards greatness fueled their participation.
They identified lack of sense of direction and career choice as major challenges teenagers are faced with and the need to help as many youths to succeed in life despite all odds.
Edited By: Bayo Sekoni
Schools resumption: Lalong urges parents to teach children COVID-19 safety protocols
Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau has urged parents in the state to teach their children the safety protocols against COVID-19, preparatory to resumption of schools targeted for end of October.
Lalong had in a broadcast to the people of the state said schools would resume October ending, but was not definite on the date.
He made the call on Sunday at a send off Church mass for the outgoing Prior Provincial of the Catholic Church Order of St. Augustine in Nigeria, Rev. Fr. John Abubakar, at the St. Monica’s Parish Rantya, Jos.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that St Augustinians in the Catholic Church were accredited with parish and pastoral work, scientific study, teaching and missions, among others.
The governor said he made the call because children easily emulated what parents did, more than instructions given to them elsewhere.
Besides, he said, children were most vulnerable to the disease and must be protected, first by the parents.
“I appeal to parents to comply with COVID-19 protocols for the children to emulate, they are most vulnerable because they move around more than us.
“It is the toughest decision we will make to allow innocent children to return to school, ” he said.
Lalong explained that Plateau was now an epicenter of COVID-19 pandemic resulting from the large number of people tested daily in its three testing centres.
“In the 36 states, we are the third in terms of testing capacity and recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for doing well.
“We test 500 people to 700 people daily, we want everyone to know their health status for appropriate action,” he said.
He commended the outgoing Prior Provincial for his diligence in service during his tenure for eight years and prayed for God’s blessings on him.
“In addition to establishing a new secondary school here, he told me he was lobbying for the establishment of an Augustinian University in Plateau,” he said.
The governor expressed optimism that the university would be a reality even in his absence, because of the foundation he had laid for the process.
He thanked the Prior Provincial for his contributions to the Catholic Church and Plateau, expressing the desire that his successor would consolidate on his achievements for greater successes.
Delivering the homily titled: ` God’s Unmerited Love’, Abubakar urged the congregation to focus on their gifts and talents and desist from comparing their lives with other people.
“We should seize opportunity to be impactful with our talents and gifts and stop the mistake of comparing yourselves with others. How God chooses to operate is up to him,”he said.
He said people were appreciated when they left an office because of the value they have added to lives.
Abubakar appreciated the Plateau Government and people of the state for the love they showered on him during his stay, saying their cooperation made his work easy while urging them to extend such gesture to his successor.
Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye and Abdullahi Yusuf
COVID-19: Africa needs urgent trade finance boost, says report
Africa needs urgent financing to re-energise its trade in the continent in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a joint report has stated.
This is according to the latest trade finance report, jointly released by the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), on Sunday.
The report, titled: “Trade Finance in Africa: Trends Over the Past Decade and Opportunities Ahead”, built on two previous studies released in 2014 and 2017.
It was also based on a survey of over 600 unique commercial banks in 49 countries across Africa for 2011 to 2019.
The report established a benchmark for trade finances in Africa before the COVID-19 crisis and recommended policy responses to the industry in the wake of the pandemic.
According to the report, only 40 per cent of Africa’s trade is bank-intermediated (goes through the formal banking system), which is a far lower share than the global average of 80 per cent.
The trade finance gap was also stated to have remained unacceptably high at 81 billion dollars in 2019.
The report found that these were some of the structural challenges that hindered banks’ abilities to effectively intermediate Africa’s trade with the world.
It also highlighted the critical role of development finance institutions in supporting the industry.
The study also found that unintended regulatory bottlenecks were one of the key constraints driving these patterns.
“With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the need for financing to re-energise the region’s trade is urgent.
“The good news is that Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) including the African Development Bank, are playing a more active role in supporting the trade finance industry in Africa,” the report said.
According to the report, more than half of banks engaged in trade finance activities between 2015 and 2019 received support from DFIs to expand their transactions.
Yet, DFI support was skewed toward particular sub-regions and financial intermediaries, mainly foreign-owned private banks.
The report made recommendations to boost trade finance supply in Africa.
The recommendations included, raising awareness about the impact of strict regulatory requirements on sector intermediaries and addressing geographical and institutional differences in DFI support to the sector.
Stefan Nalletamby, AfDB’s Director of the Financial Sector Development Department, noted that the report series had become the main reference document for the industry on the continent.
“It reflects the Bank’s increasing thought leadership role on this important subject.
“We hope that the findings of this report will motivate policymakers and industry experts to devise and implement strategies in fragile states and low income countries to make trade finance more accessible to African traders, especially SMEs in fragile states and low income countries,” he said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Felix Ajide