Spieth confirms his Singapore Open date at Sentosa’s Serapong

World No. 2 to tee off at Sentosa's Serapong as national Open 
makes return after three years

I know the SMBC Singapore Open is one of Asia’s leading events and I couldn’t be more excited to add it to my 2016 playing schedule. - Jordan Spieth (above)

It's confirmed.

Jordan Spieth, the 2015 US PGA Tour Player of the Year, will headline the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) Singapore Open in January, when the national Open returns after a three-year absence.

The New Paper had reported on Sept 26 that the world No. 2 golfer was set to tee off at Sentosa Golf Club's Serapong Course as a marquee player for the US$1 million ($1.4m) tournament from Jan 28 to 31.

And it was confirmed by organisers yesterday as the 22-year-old American, who counts the US Masters and US Open among five wins during a breakout 2015, said in a statement that he was "really looking forward" to playing in Singapore.

"Playing in the SMBC Singapore Open is something I'm really looking forward to. I'm very fortunate to play golf around the world and can't wait to visit Singapore for the first time," Spieth, a member of the US team that won the Presidents Cup in South Korea earlier this month, said in a statement.

With a minimum prize purse of US$1m, the SMBC Singapore Open will be jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO).

The four-day tournament will feature the top 60 players from the Asian Tour, top 60 from the JGTO, leading Singapore professionals and amateurs and invites including players from the top 50 in the world.

Huge galleries are expected when Spieth parades his elegant swing at Sentosa's Serapong Course.

His inclusion in the field, along with the backing of new title sponsor Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, is a shot in the arm for the tournament, which returns with a bang after a three-year absence.

Formerly one of Asia's richest with a US$6m purse when it was last held in November 2012, the tournament was cancelled in 2013 after British bank Barclays chose not to renew its sponsorship.

Spieth will be trying to add his name to a list of illustrious champions, including three-time winner Adam Scott of Australia, England's Ian Poulter, Angel Cabrera of Argentina and Matteo Manassero of Italy, who triumphed in 2012.

"I know the SMBC Singapore Open is one of Asia's leading events and I couldn't be more excited to add it to my 2016 playing schedule," added Spieth.

Spieth, who also won the Valspar Championship in March and the John Deere Classic in July, recently triumphed in the Tour Championship to clinch the 2015 FedEx Cup and was named the US PGA Tour's Player of the Year.

But it was his performances in the Majors that made him the standout golfer this year.

Spieth's four-stroke victory in the Masters and a one-shot win at the US Open set up the possibility of the Texan becoming the first player in the modern era to complete the Grand Slam in a single season.

He also came within a few inches of making the play-off at the British Open in July.

Although his birdie putt from the Valley of Sin at St Andrews stopped short, Spieth's Major ambitions were not over for the year.


He played some of his best golf at Whistling Straits in the US PGA Championship. before finishing second behind Australia's Jason Day.

The runner-up finish was good enough to take Spieth to top spot in the world rankings, fulfilling a lifelong dream for the American.

But Day replaced Spieth as world No. 1 in the latest golf rankings released on Monday.

The 27-year-old Day, who won his first Major title at the PGA Championship in August, took the top spot for the second time in his career.

He previously moved ahead of Spieth on Sept 21, but lasted just a week as the American won the Tour Championship to regain top spot.

Neither player was in action last week, which ensured that Day would edge ahead based on the rankings formula with 12.42 points average to 12.40 for Spieth.

"It is more than an honour to welcome Jordan Spieth, the winner of two Majors this year, to the first SMBC Singapore Open in 2016," said Mr Takeshi Kunibe, President and CEO, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC).

"We believe the participation of the most exciting golfer in the world today will open a new page in the great history of this event, which will be reborn as the SMBC Singapore Open."- Wire Services.


If a picture paints a thousand words, then what do some movie posters tell us?

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The M Interview: Jack Black's demon? Cheeseburgers

US actor Jack Black, who plays author R.L. Stine in new movie Goosebumps, reveals what happens when he gets grumpy

SCARY STUFF: Jack Black at the world premiere of Goosebumps in Westwood, California (above), and as author R.L. Stine in Goosebumps.

Jack Black is always "on".

Give him an audience and he is ready to perform, which makes him one of the most fun actors to interview.

M spoke to the 46-year-old US actor in June for his HBO TV series The Brink, and we met again in Cancun at The Ritz-Carlton hotel for new adventure comedy Goosebumps.

The movie is based on the scary-funny children's book franchise of the same name, 400 million of which have been sold worldwide.

The film's producers couldn't decide which of US author R.L. Stine's nearly 200 books to include, so they put all his monster creations into a story with Stine (Black) as the central character.

Opening here on Oct 29, it revolves around a teenager (Dylan Minnette) who teams up with Stine's daughter (Odeya Rush) after the cranky best-selling writer's imaginary demons are set free on the town of Madison, Delaware.

Many of the monsters are created with special effects. What was it like filming with imaginary scene partners?

There's tons of CGI, and you are acting to... a tennis ball being held on a stick and there's nothing really scary about that. And that's where the acting comes in. That's where my professionalism kicks in.

I have spent most of my life pretending that there are monsters chasing me when there was nothing there.

While Stine approved the script and had some measure of creative input, he wasn't present on the set. But you met him to prepare for the role. Are you anything like the R.L. Stine character?

I do feel like a loner sometimes, not to get too maudlin, not to feel sorry for myself. I am not super social. I guess (we) have a lot in common... in that I keep to myself.

But I don't have big personal demons that I feel I need to exorcise. I guess I have a bad temper sometimes... If I am driving, sometimes there will be little blasts of road rage.

I am a little bit of a control freak. I have a little bit of OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and I like everything in its place and if someone is not doing it in the right order, I get a little grumpy.

So how do you handle your grumpiness?

I hit the gym and I hit it hard! I do like to ride my bike but it doesn't do anything, it just makes me hungrier. That's my personal demon - cheeseburgers.

And there's no way to stop the cheeseburger demon.

In real life, Stine had a rivalry with horror novelist Stephen King and there's a running joke about their competitiveness in the film.

It was a very funny thing that culminates in the big finish, that he has to write another amazing book in a very short amount of time in order to save the day. And he has to do it in this high school theatre where they have set up the theatrical production of King's The Shining.

So it's his own personal hell and it's the worst place he can be in the world to have to write a great story but it's really just for comedic effect. I was happy they did that little homage to The Shining though because (the Stanley Kubrick-directed film is) my favourite.

A-ha! Didn't you tell us at The Brink press conference that your favourite movie is Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove?

What? You are outing me! (laughs) Come on, can we just say that my favourite film-maker is Stanley Kubrick? Do I have to stay consistent on which Stanley Kubrick film? (When I spoke to you last) that was for a different show! Busted!

Yes, busted!

I think my favourite political comedy was Dr. Strangelove. My favourite scary goosebumps film is The Shining. Let's just leave it at that. Next question, please!

We heard you've got yourself a stylist.

It's a new thing for me. I need to step up my game and I need to dress to impress. Enough of this loafing around with my animal T-shirts. It's time to show that I care about my craft and about my profession.

"Come on, can we just say that my favourite film-maker is Stanley Kubrick? Do I have to stay consistent on which Stanley Kubrick film?"

- Jack Black, when outed on what his favourite movie is

Giveaway: win a buffet for four

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Movie Date: The Last Witch Hunter (PG13)

STARRING: Vin Diesel, Rose Leslie, Elijah Wood, Michael Caine, Julie Engelbrecht

DIRECTOR: Breck Eisner

THE SKINNY: Kaulder (Diesel) has been walking on earth for 700 years as a witch hunter after being cursed with immortality by the evil Witch Queen (Engelbrecht). His job is to maintain order in the witches’ community. But when her minions attempt to resurrect her and end all humanity, Kaulder finds himself having to break his rules and work with witch Chloe (Leslie) in order to kill the Queen once and for all.


This flick is a pleasant surprise.

I expected a simple-minded story, non-stop action and half-assed CGI.

I expected Diesel to be a dunderhead. Basically, I expected an average supernatural thriller.

What we get instead is a movie with a dash of panache.

I enjoy the fact that Diesel isn't going around just slaughtering every witch in sight. He is actually portrayed as a bit of a softie, sensitive to the plight of modern-day sorceresses.

He is as much a confidant and mentor as a hunter. In particular, his relationship with Leslie (Ygritte from Game Of Thrones) is nicely handled.

She is a witch, obviously, but she is able to see the good in him as he is able to see the good in her.

With their contrasting but complementary looks, the pair also look great together.

Come to think of it, the movie as a whole looks pretty amazing. The production design isn't too goth. It is just the right amount of goth.

There are some big cinematic jaw-droppers, like the mountain-size witch tree. There are some fun little fantasy flourishes, like Diesel's fire sword.

Perhaps what I liked best of all was the deliberate pacing, which reminded me of The Matrix.

Neat little twists, judicious sprinklings of humour, a worthy villain and a fun backstory. Some thought and care definitely went into this thing.

Rating: 4/5


Diesel clearly wants to start a new franchise.

He attempted it with Riddick, which didn't take off. There is also his xXx series on the horizon.

But whether he can do it flying solo without his Fast And Furious clout is debatable.

I doubt he'll have much success with The Last Witch Hunter, a bloated attempt at making Diesel a cool ladies' man, one whose name brings much fear and awe among the witches, a man whose reputation precedes him.

Sure, he looks cool in black and fights well with his fists, guns and even a flaming sword.

But this imagery isn't any­thing new.

The issues surrounding Kaulder's loneliness and immortality are explored and are deftly handled by Diesel, with the aid of the venerable Caine.

The chemistry between Diesel and sidekick Leslie is also promising. Indeed, they make an attractive brawny-and-willowy pair.

However, instead of capitalising on all this, director Eisner goes for the easy kill - big, loud special effects.

The production is undeniably impressive and the premise of a good-versus-evil magical showdown is always appealing.

If there is ever going to be a sequel, one can only hope that Diesel, who also serves as producer, will make better use of his strengths - and I am not talking about his physical prowess.

Rating: 2/5

THE CONSENSUS: The Last Witch Hunter will cast its spell on the guys. Not so much the girls.


Watch the trailer:

Home have momentum

UNIFORMED DERBY: Warriors' Syaqir Sulaiman (right) trying to block Home United's Azhar Sairudin from getting to the ball during their RHB Singapore Cup quarter-final, second-leg clash in August. Home won 2-0 on that day and they can get another win over their uniformed rivals tonight.
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Young Lions keeper Syazwan returns stronger after poor SEA Games

Young Lions goalkeeper Syazwan bounces back in style after SEA Games blooper

Four months ago, Courts Young Lions goalkeeper Syazwan Buhari was thrust into the role of pantomime villain.

In goal for the national Under-23 team at the South-east Asia (SEA) Games in June, he was blamed for allowing a soft effort to creep past him for Myanmar's winning goal in a 2-1 defeat.

Singapore were eventually dumped out at the group stages of the SEA Games, in what was the Republic's first time hosting the biennial Games for 22 years.

Far from allowing the incident to break him, Syazwan has bounced back in style.

The 23-year-old has been in fine fettle for the Young Lions in the Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League in recent matches.

So much so his coach, Juergen Raab, has labelled him the "best" in the league.

"For me, he's the best at the moment," said the German, who took the reins of the Young Lions team after Aide Iskandar stepped down from the role following the SEA Games exit.

"He is not the biggest, but he has a strong mentality and personality, and he has all the qualities you need in a good goalkeeper.

"Hopefully, he can take the next step up in his football career, because he deserves it."


Syazwan has kept two clean sheets in his last six games for the Young Lions, during which the team have won twice and drawn once.

And while he has conceded nine goals along the way, that figure would have been much higher were it not for his eye-catching saves in each game.

The 1.70m-tall custodian admitted that it wasn't easy to overcome his SEA Games ordeal.

"It was tough," said Syazwan. "As much as possible, I try not to think too much about mistakes I made in the past.

"It helps that the team, my coaches like coach (Lee) Bee Seng, Budgie (John Burridge) and coach Juergen - everyone - have been there for me.

"As for my recent form, it's down to hard work, not just recently but also before the SEA Games, and I guess it's paying off now."

The Young Lions are hoping that Syazwan will be on top of his game again in their next match against Harimau Muda at the Jalan Besar Stadium next Tuesday.

While there is national pride on the line, the game is also a chance for them to catch up with their Causeway rivals in the table, with just four matches to play this season.

Raab's charges are eighth in the 
10-team S.League, three points behind Harimau Muda, who have played a game less.

Said the former East German international midfielder: "I know about the rivalry between Singapore and Malaysia.

"Harimau Muda have taken four points from their last two matches, so we know it will be tough for us.

"But we beat them on their own pitch in Malacca (3-2 on Aug 3), so to beat them over here is a normal target.

"We want to catch up with them on points, and our goal right now is to overtake them on the table."

Added Syazwan: "Whenever Singapore and Malaysia play each other, it's a game both teams "die die" want to win, be it a friendly, in a league or in a tournament.

"So, next Tuesday, we will definitely go all out for the three points, and also because we want to finish the season above them in the table."