Sony PlayStation 5 Release Date: PS5 Tipped For 2020

Paul Briden

09/05/2018 – 2:46pm

Sony's next-gen PS5 console could arrive by 2020

Whispers in the gaming community are now turning their attention towards a new Sony PlayStation successor, predictably dubbed the PlayStation 5, or PS5.
However, precisely when it will arrive is the subject of much conflicting discussion, with suggestions from multiple analysts and industry insiders claiming a range of release windows.
Some of the boldest claims imply that, with PS4 sales slowing down, Sony may launch a new PlayStation inside 2018.
SemiAccurate, one source for this rumour, says that PS5 DevKits are already being used by developers.
Even if that is the case, in our view a 2018 arrival seems quite unlikely, although it must be said Sony will surely have been working on a successor model for some time now.
Moving into more moderate territory, analyst Michael Pachter, along with many others, thinks that both Sony and Microsoft will launch new-gen consoles in 2020.
Speaking to Gamingbolt, producer of Defiance 2050 Matt Pettit said he hopes the current-gen of consoles “last longer in order to take full advantage of the processing power available,” he added that during this time he wants OEMs like Sony to innovate with the next-gen of consoles. Although he didn’t mention specifics, we can only assume this would mean a bolder move into Virtual and/or Augmented Reality.
“To create a gap between what is currently available with the Xbox One X, technology in the gaming space would have to innovate in order to offer anything that isn’t just a small technical increase,” he said. Pettit’s hope would likely mean a new-gen of consoles wouldn’t arrive until late 2020 or some time in 2021 at the earliest.

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Panasonic Lumix FT7 Review – First Impressions

First Impressions
We’ve spent the last couple of days testing out the new Panasonic Lumix FT7 tough compact camera in the beautiful surroundings of Lulworth Cove, Dorset, in the UK. Here are our detailed first impressions of using Panasonic’s first new tough camera in the last 5 years…

Panasonic’s latest compact camera, the Lumix FT7, is a new “rugged” camera. That is, it has a number of tough credentials, which make it ideal for shooting in a wide variety of different conditions.
It is waterproof down to 31 metres (making it the class leading product), shockproof from a height of 2 metres, freeze proof down to -10 degrees and crush proof up to 100kg. It also has a 20.4 megapixel Live MOS sensor, plus a 4.6x optical zoom lens, with an equivalent focal length range of 28-128mm.
Panasonic has added an electronic viewfinder to the FT7, in a difference from its predecessor, the FT5. This 0.2-inch, 1170k-dot device is there for such times when shooting in bright sunlight might prevent you from using the 3.0-inch, 1,040k-dot screen.
Other features of the Panasonic FT7 include wi-fi connectivity, 4K Video and 4K Photo modes, digital filters, geo-tagging (via your smart device), plus a raft of useful “adventure” type features such as a compass, altimeter and a torchlight function.
We have been using a pre-production model of the Panasonic Lumix FT7, so some aspects of how the camera works may not be representative of the final finished model.
Ease of Use

The Panasonic FT7’s tough features make it feel robust and solid in use. It is light, but is reassuringly weighty enough to feel like the small camera is a solid piece of kit – and certainly strong enough to withstand a few knocks and scrapes.
We’ve been using it underwater conditions – the buttons which you use to make all the changes to settings are set apart from the body of the camera, which make it reasonably easy to find them when you’re using them in tricky situations. There’s no touch-sensitive screen here – not really a shock considering the FT7 is designed for underwater use where touch sensitivity isn’t really an option. It might arguably have been nice to have touch control when using the camera out of the water, but the buttons do a good job none-the-less.
On the top of the camera is a very large shutter release button. This might be unusual on a standard type camera, but when you need to find the shutter release when your hands are very cold, or you’re taking a photo underwater, it makes a lot more sense.
The majority of the buttons on the back of the Panasonic Lumix FT7 are grouped to the right hand side, which again makes it easier to operate the camera in slightly tricky conditions – or if you’re using it one-handed. The buttons are a little on the stiff side, but this might be something which gets a little looser with prolonged usage – but it’s a good indication of how well sealed the camera is.
Buttons here include a mode button for choosing the different exposure modes on offer (there’s not a huge plethora of options here – but there are some scene modes, intelligent auto, program mode, manual mode, creative control and so on). There’s also a button for directly accessing Panasonic’s 4K Photo option, and another for changing the display option, or for playing back your images. The delete button doubles up as a quick menu button, which gives you access to the most commonly used settings you’re likely to want to change on a regular basis.

To zoom the lens, you’ll need to use the rocker switch on the back of the camera, which is marked with a W (wide), and a T (tele). The tele button can be a little too easy to press when you’re tightly gripping the camera and placing your thumb on the thumb rest. It’s not much of an issue when using the camera in ordinary settings – but if you’re doing something a little more “out there”, such as kayaking or open-water swimming, accidental zooming can occur on occasion.
Another point about using the Panasonic Lumix FT7 when in typical “tough” conditions is that there’s no way to turn on an electronic level. Trying to frame your shot while you’re potentially doing something unsteady is tricky, so a feature like this would be very handy – and a shame not to see it when it’s found in other Lumix cameras.
Charging the camera takes place via the port which is hidden behind a study door. To open the door you need to slide a lock switch first, and then slip open a door latch, which makes sure you don’t accidentally open it while in precarious conditions such as underwater or in the middle of a sandstorm and let foreign objects into the camera. Usefully, you can charge the camera via USB – this is great for camping and such like where you might not have a proper plug socket, but instead you can charge it using a battery pack.
On occasion, the Panasonic FT7 struggled to focus quickly or accurately, even with a well-defined subject. It’s hard to say at this point whether that’s an issue with the camera being a pre-production sample, a result of tricky shooting conditions, or something that will also be present on the final version – we’ll let you know when the full samples become available.
A new feature of the FT7 is the addition of an electronic viewfinder. It’s handy to have if the screen really is reflecting bright light and it’s hard to compose, but it’s not a finder you’ll likely want to use for all your shots – it’s a little on the small side, and you need to press a button to activate it.
Image Quality

The Panasonic Lumix FT7 we’ve been using is a pre-production model, and therefore image quality may not be fully representative of the final version of the camera.
Early impressions of the FT7’s image quality are good – colours are nice and vibrant, while detail on the whole is good. In low light, it’s not quite as impressive, but this is not really a camera designed for low light shooting – it’s more important to be tough for your “rugged” adventures.
We’ll be keen to test the Lumix FT7 in a range of conditions when the full samples become available to see if there are any differences
Early Impressions

For the most part, your smartphone is more than adequate for taking shots in a variety of different conditions. However, there’s still a place for the compact camera when shooting in extreme conditions – such as deep underwater, in very cold conditions, or if you just happen to be a bit clumsy and feel you might drop your device.
That’s where cameras like the Panasonic Lumix FT7 come in. On paper, the FT7 is probably the best model you can buy just about now – it has the best underwater credentials, a good range of other tough features and some other appealing specifications such as 4K Photo, inbuilt Wi-Fi and USB charging.
If you’re someone who likes to regularly escape on adventure-type breaks it could be the ideal purchase – and it may also be useful as the family camera for beach, camping and other trips where your phone might not cut it.
Initial impressions are good, hopefully we’ll discover that the on-paper specs translate into a good performer when we have more time with a full production sample.
We’ll bring you a full review of the Panasonic Lumix FT7 in due course – stay tuned!

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Fortnite Datamine Reveals Season 4 Week 3 Challenges – Game Rant

Last weekend, Fortnite’s season 4 week 2 challenges leaked online, and it seems this weekend offers fans of the battle royale and survival game yet another look into the coming weeks’ various challenges. Today, a datamine of the game reveals the season 4 week 3 challenges, with an interesting introduction of rubber duckies. Per usual, this week’s challenge offers players rewards in exchange for completing a variety of tasks.

The challenges that will launch Tuesday, May 15, on Fortnite are earned by watching a match replay (0/1), dealing damage with pistols (0/500), searching chests in Lonely Lodge (0/7), searching rubber duckies (0/10), following the treasure map of Salty Springs (HARD) (0/1), eliminating opponents with a Sniper Rifle (HARD) (0/2), and eliminating opponents in Titled Towers. Check out the Battle Star rewards below:

Of these challenges, the rubber duckies stand out, as the remaining challenges each follow the formulaic approach of searching, dealing damage, and eliminations as previous weeks. The game does not currently have any rubber duckies on it, so they will most likely be added when the game updates Tuesday, which makes it seem like these will be similar to the gnome challenge of last season.

Whatever the rubber duckies are, players will have the remainder of the season to shore up any remaining challenges. For those who have yet to finish up week 2, here is a map containing the challenge locations for those challenges. It also appears that season 4 will end on July 9, 2018, so players have plenty of time to finish these challenges and any others that present a greater issue for the gamer.

Notably, this season of Fortnite has introduced a lot for its players, such as the Infinity Gauntlet Limited-Time Mode and reintroduction of the 50v50 Limited-Time mode. With these challenges showcasing next week’s grind, players may continue to expect this season to continue being fun-filled and packed with all kinds of goodies – like rubber duckies.
Fortnite is available now in early access for Mobile, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Source: Fortnite Tracker

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Dell XPS 13 (2016) review: Refined perfection

News update: New Dell XPS 13 launched
Stop what you’re doing! The review below is no longer the most up-to-date XPS 13. Oh no, there’s a 2018 model now doing the rounds, and it offers the biggest shakeup in the range for quite some time. 
Queue the XPS 13 2018, a drastic departure from the XPS formula we’ve grown accustomed to in recent years. This updated model not only has the newest Intel Core processor – that’s certainly no surprise – but is the slimmest and lightest it’s ever been, and has seen a bit of a design change. 
Don’t worry, the excellent InfinityEdge display is still there – although it’s now slightly-less reflective – and well, the webcam is still as awkwardly placed as ever.
You can read my initial thoughts about the 2018 XPS 13 here, and stay tuned for my full review in the near future.
Dell XPS 13 (2016) review 
There are plenty of reasons why I’ve been so protective of my 2015 XPS 13 over the past year. As the only member of Expert Reviews to not be using a MacBook Pro, the XPS 13 is still my definition of the nigh-on–perfect Windows laptop. The thought of swapping it for something else genuinely never crossed my mind. Well, not until now.

These are the best laptops in 2018

I didn’t expect Dell to improve on it with its latest refresh, but I was wrong. Put the two models side by side, and there’s barely a jot of difference between them. But for the fact that the new, improved XPS 13 is varnished in a warm rose gold, rather than the gunmetal-grey finish of my own, I’d have been left playing an almost-impossible game of spot the difference.
Despite looking outwardly identical to its predecessor, the XPS 13 is still a beautiful laptop in 2017. The lid tapers towards the front edge when it’s closed, measuring just 15mm at its thinnest edge, and as it weighs in at 1.29kg, it’s still plenty light enough to carry around every day.
Dell genuinely hasn’t changed a thing. That solitary Thunderbolt-powered USB Type-C port can still be spotted on the left edge and is accompanied by two regular USB 3 ports, an SD card slot and 3.5mm headset jack.
Dell XPS 13 (2016): Performance and battery life
By far the biggest improvement is hidden inside. The new XPS 13 now comes equipped with a seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7500U processor clocked at 2.7GHz. This quad-core Kaby Lake chip is quite the performer, too, scoring a total of 50 in our demanding 4K benchmarking tests – a result that makes it 9% faster than last year’s model.
That’s only a modest performance improvement – indeed, it may have fared a little better if Dell has given us the maximum 16GB of RAM – but it’s no slouch. My last-gen XPS has started buckling under the pressure once I open too many Chrome tabs at once, but I’ve had no such issues with Dell’s latest.
Don’t expect to do much gaming, though. While there’s enough power to keep Minecraft ticking along, Intel’s integrated HD Graphics 620 chip only has a limited amount of horsepower at its disposal. It is very marginally quicker than the previous generation, but you’ll need to drop the resolution and detail settings right down if you want to get more recent games in your Steam library to run at a decent frame rate.
Battery life, on the other hand, is far from an improvement. This is the third Kaby Lake-powered laptop I’ve tested so far, and already I’m beginning to spot a worrying trend. Lasting just 7hrs 46mins away from the wall socket is verging on unacceptable, especially when 2015’s XPS 13 reached 11hrs 30mins. There’s a clear power-efficiency issue here and I suspect that power-hogging QHD+ screen could be the culprit.
Dell XPS 13 (2016) review: Display
It might not do wonders for battery life, but the QHD+ display is a sight to behold. The super-skinny “Infinity Edge” bezel looks great, and image quality is gorgeous. The 13.3in, 3,200 x 1,800 display covers 92% of the sRGB colour gamut, which makes for gloriously intense colours, and the contrast ratio of 1,109:1 provides oodles of detail from the darkest to the brightest corners of the screen. The only downside is that the display’s peak brightness of 290cd/m2 isn’t quite bright enough for use outside on brighter days.
An optional touchscreen is also part of the package, but while it can come in handy in some instances – such as juggling between multiple Chrome tabs – it’s more of a luxury than a necessity. It also adds 90g to the non-touch XPS 13’s 1.2kg starting weight.
Dell XPS 13 (2016) review: Keyboard and touchpad
Thankfully, there haven’t been any significant changes to the keyboard. The keys are nicely spaced, and there’s just the right amount of movement and feedback to be had with each keystroke. Backlighting still comes as standard, too.
The touchpad is well-sized, at least as far as the XPS 13’s slender chassis permits. Windows 10 multi-touch gestures were performed without any slip-ups, and it’s easy to jump between multiple applications with relative ease. I wasn’t even tempted to plug in a USB mouse while working in Photoshop – it’s that good. It does seem to pick up greasy fingerprints a little too easily, though.
One thing that Dell really should have fixed is the XPS 13’s awkwardly placed webcam. It’s still located at the bottom left of the display, which means that getting a suitable angle for video chats is still tricky – flattering it is not.
Dell XPS 13 (2016) review: Verdict
Dell’s latest XPS 13 cements its position as the best Windows ultraportable there is. Battery life remains a sticking point, but with this near-perfect mixture of price, performance and portability, there’s nothing else to match it. Or at the very least, nothing that hasn’t got an Apple logo on it.
If you’ve already got last year’s model, then there aren’t enough improvements here to justify an upgrade. But if you’re searching for the most refined Windows laptop on the market, then Dell’s new XPS 13 is the one to buy.

Core specs

Quad-core 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U


Memory slots (free)
2 (1)

Max memory

15 x 304 x 200mm


Realtek HD Audio (3.5mm headset port)

Pointing device


Screen size

Screen resolution
3,200 x 1,800


Graphics adaptor
Intel HD Graphics 620

Graphics outputs
1 x USB-C

Graphics memory


Total storage

Optical drive type

Ports and expansion

USB ports
2x USB3, 1x USB-C


802.11ac wireless

Memory card reader

Other ports


Operating system
Windows 10 Home

Operating system restore option
Restore partition

Buying information

Parts and labour warranty

Price inc VAT

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Poll: Which upcoming Google Assistant feature is the best?

Google I/O 2018 was full of huge news, and apart from the Android P Beta release, the most exciting innovations for me were all the upcoming changes to Google Assistant. It’s getting a ton of new features, some of which are so innovative they’re hard to believe. We want to know which upcoming Google Assistant feature you will appreciate the most.

I don’t know what ransomware is.
Is this also the case for you?

We put together a list of the six top features coming to Google Assistant that were announced at I/O 2018, and we want to know which you think will improve your experience the most. The most wild and incredible feature teased by the team at the Big G is, without a doubt, Google Assistant’s ability to make calls on your behalf. When it becomes available, the AI-powered feature called Duplex will be able to call and book appointments or reserve tables at your favorite restaurant for you. But, even if it’s the coolest new feature, it might not make you use Google Assistant more often or make the experience better than some of the other new features on their way.
There are several other fun and practical innovations coming for Google Assistant, too. It will soon have six voices, one of which will be John Legend, and likely even more to come. To make conversations more natural, you won’t have to say “OK Google” every time you address the assistant. Instead, you’ll only need to say it to initiate a conversation, then it’ll respond and you can give further commands without having to say it again. Google Assistant will also learn to multitask. That means you can give it more than one command at once, instead of issuing a command and waiting for it to finish before giving another.
Other new features include a new way to interact with Assistant, and a new context in which it can help you out. Assistant will be getting its own screen on smart display devices, allowing you to tap the device to interact with it, in addition to just giving voice commands. And, finally, Assistant will let you talk to it while you drive, allowing you to ask it to play music, send messages or give you information without leaving Google Maps.
Let us know what you think of these new features in the comments!

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First launch of SpaceX’s revamped Falcon 9 carries Bangladesh’s space ambitions – TechCrunch

Today brings historic firsts for both SpaceX and Bangladesh: the former is sending up the final, highly updated revision of its Falcon 9 rocket for the first time, and the latter is launching its first satellite. It’s a preview of the democratized space economy to come this century.
Update: Success! The Falcon 9 first stage, after delivering the second stage to the border of space, has successfully landed on the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You, and Bangabandhu has been delivered to its target orbit.
You can watch the launch below:

Although Bangabandhu-1 is definitely important, especially to the nation launching it, it is not necessarily in itself a highly notable satellite. It’s to be a geostationary communications hub that serves the whole country and region with standard C-band and Ku-band connectivity for all kinds of purposes.
Currently the country spends some $14 million per year renting satellite time from other countries, something they determined to stop doing as a matter of national pride and independence.
“A sovereign country, in a pursuit of sustainable development, needs its own satellite in order to reduce its dependency on other nations,” reads the project description at the country’s Telecommunications Regulation Commission, which has been pursuing the idea for nearly a decade.
It contracted with Thales Alenia Space to produce and test the satellite, which cost about $250 million and is expected to last at least 15 years. In addition to letting the country avoid paying satellite rent, it could generate revenue by selling its services to private companies and nearby nations.

Bangabandhu-1 in a Thales test chamber.

“This satellite, which carries the symbolic name of the father of the nation, Bangabandhu, is a major step forward for telecommunications in Bangladesh, and a fantastic driver of economic development and heightened recognition across Asia,” said the company’s CEO, Jean-Loïc Galle, in a recent blog post about the project.
Bangabandhu-1 will be launching atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, but this one is different from all the others that have flown in the past. Designed with crewed missions in mind, it could be thought of as the production version of the rocket, endowed with all the refinements of years of real-world tests.
Most often referred to as Block 5, this is (supposedly) the final revision of the Falcon 9 hardware, safer and more reusable than previous versions. The goal is for a Block 5 first stage to launch a hundred times before being retired, far more than the handful of times existing Falcon 9s have been reused.
There are lots of improvements over the previous rockets, though many are small or highly technical in nature. The most important, however, are easy to enumerate.
The engines themselves have been improved and strengthened to allow not only greater thrust (reportedly about a 7-8 percent improvement) but improved control and efficiency, especially during landing. They also have a new dedicated heat shield for descent. They’re rated to fly 10 times without being substantially refurbished, but are also bolted on rather than welded, further reducing turnaround time.
The legs on which the rocket lands are also fully retractable, meaning they don’t have to be removed before transport. If you want to launch the same rocket within days, every minute counts.
Instead of white paint, the first stage will have a thermal coating (also white) that helps keep it relatively cool during descent.
To further reduce heat damage, the rocket’s “grid fins,” the waffle-iron-like flaps that pop out to control its descent, are now made of a single piece of titanium. They won’t catch fire or melt during reentry like the previous aluminum ones sometimes did, and as such are now permanently attached features of the rocket.
(SpaceX founder Elon Musk is particularly proud of these fins, which flew on the Falcon Heavy side boosters; in the briefing afterwards, he said: “I’m actually glad we got the side boosters back, because they had the titanium fins. If I had to pick something to get back, it’d be those.”)
Lastly (for our purposes anyway) the fuel tank has been reinforced out of concerns some had about the loading of supercooled fuel while the payload — soon to be humans, if all goes well — is attached to the rocket. This system failed before, causing a catastrophic explosion in 2016, but the fault has been addressed and the reinforcement should help further mitigate risk. (The emergency abort rockets should also keep astronauts safe should something go wrong during launch.)
The changes, though they contribute directly to reuse and cost reductions, are also aimed at satisfying the requirements of NASA’s commercial crew missions. SpaceX is in competition to provide both launch and crew capsule services for missions to the ISS, scheduled for as early as late 2018. The company needs to launch the Block 5 version of Falcon 9 (not necessarily the same exact rocket) at least 7 times before any astronauts can climb aboard.

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Tiger Woods is on fire and charging up the The Players leaderboard

The putter is one and the two-time Players champ is rocketing up the leaderboard at TPC Sawgrass.
A spate of bogeys from Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, and a couple others late Friday night suddenly shifted the cut line at the Players Championship and gave Tiger Woods new life. For much of the afternoon, it looked like Tiger would miss the cut by a shot at TPC Sawgrass. Then came that late adjustment just before 7 p.m. ET and the top 70 (and ties) now included all those at 1-under. Tiger got another shot at 36 more holes.
It was a gift not just to him but it turns out for all of us, too, as he’s now torching TPC Sawgrass to the ground early on Saturday morning. Woods poured in five birdies in his first seven holes of the third round, making a dramatic leap up the board. He started the day in a tie for 69th and walked off the 7th hole, just 90 minutes into his round, in a tie for 17th.
The charge has come largely on the back of his putter, the club that was hot garbage last week in Charlotte. Woods has just eight putts through his first seven holes. It started right on the first hole with when he put this 15-footer right in the center.

Birdie on 1.
Will make a charge on Moving Day?

By the fifth hole, he knew he had something cooking with that club. It was there that he converted an unlikely birdie chance by draining this 17-footer that elicited our only big fist pump of the day so far.

6 putts thru 5 holes.
Tiger came to play today.

There’s been no great dramatic shot so far in this round. Tiger is just nuking it off the tee, keeping it in the fairway, and then setting up these moderate-length birdie chances. There’s been no hole-out or outrageous approach shot — just steady tee-to-green work and a hot run with the putter.
Tiger started the day at 1-under and is not 6-under and while that tie for 17th would mean he’s right back in the thick of it with a round and half to go, he has a Webb Simpson problem.
The 36-hole leader has also torched Sawgrass and should have set a new course record on Friday night. Simpson started the day a good five shots clear of anyone else and a massive 14-shots ahead of Tiger. The largest 36-hole deficit that turned into a win was seven strokes and came from the diminutive Tim Clark back in 2010.
Woods would need a real miracle and a lot of help from the group ahead of him to somehow be in contention come Sunday night. But as I wrote last night, let’s just enjoy the shots in a vacuum right now. This time last year Tiger has just had his spine fused and could barely walk and it seemed likely he would never play on Tour again. Now he’s giving us a Saturday morning show at the game’s “fifth major.”


No. 9: Tiger made easy work of the par-5 9th hole, a spot that’s a must-make birdie if you really want to turn in a special score. This was the spot where Tiger made eagle on Thursday afternoon. That had really been his only highlight through the first two days and it came he launched a mid-iron up and over the trees to the back of the green. He made a similar shot on Saturday, and the ball ran out to the back of the green where he two-putted from 40-feet for his sixth birdie of the front nine. He’s out in 30, giddyup!

11 putts for 9 holes is good if you miss every green in reg. Ridiculous when you hit 8 of 9.
— Grant Boone (@grantboone)

No. 11: Tiger gets his 7th birdie of the day, and his first on the back nine, at the par-5 11th hole. Woods landed safely on the green in two again, much like at No. 9, as the ball ran some 50 feet past the hole. But a steady two-putt from there added the red number without much stress and he’s now tied for eighth at 8-under.

No. 12: The 12th hole is a driveable par-4 but there’s plenty of trouble and fast ways to make a mess of it. Tiger pulled a driving iron and pushed it out to the right. We got that traditional Tiger cursing as soon as the ball sailed right, as he called himself a “jackass” and “f**king idiot” on the tee. But an incredible approach shot put him to just seven feet, and he rolled it in without much drama. Tiger stalked it into the cup, waking after it before it had even dropped.

8th birdie of the day.
— Skratch (@Skratch)

He’s now tied for fifth! This is outrageous and the course record of 63 is within sight.

No. 14 was the scene of our first bogey of the day. It’s a hole that has tormented Tiger in recent years. He can never seem to find the fairway and after putting it some mounds to the right the first two days this week, he did it again on Saturday. He also caught an awful lie and had no chance to get home in two. An underwhelming chip shot resulted in the two-putt bogey but it all started with that wildness off the tee, which is what’s hindered Tiger throughout this comeback season. He’s back to a tie for 8th and a shot at the course record is probably gone.

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Middlesbrough v Aston Villa: Championship play-off semi-final – live! | Football

1.03pm EDT13:03

HALF TIME: Middlesbrough 0-1 Aston Villa

And that’s that for the second half. Villa have the advantage thanks to Jedinak’s header; they’d be in total control had Randolph not made that wonder save from Snodgrass. Boro need something in the second half, or they’ll have a hell of a task turning this round at Villa Park.

1.02pm EDT13:02

45 min +1: Friend is booked for an out-of-control run and leap into Jedinak. That seemed a bit of an unnecessary and pointless challenge.

at 1.02pm EDT

1.01pm EDT13:01

45 min: Traore dribbles in from the left and looks for the top-right corner of the Villa net. Not quite.

1.01pm EDT13:01

44 min: And then Snodgrass drops a shoulder to cut in from the right, curling towards the top left. It’s a wonderful shot, but Randolph stretches out and fingertips it onto the left-hand post. The ball rebounds away to safety. What a shot … and an even better save! Happy birthday to the Boro keeper, then, 31 years old today.

12.59pm EDT12:59

43 min: Hourihane tries to release Adomah down the left. Ayala should tidy up, but he hesitates after intercepting and that allows Adomah to pick the ball up and consider a shot. He doesn’t have a go, but Villa stay on the attack, pressing Boro back.

12.57pm EDT12:57

41 min: Traore sees a shot from distance deflected out for a corner. Ayala flashes a header on target from the set piece, but Johnstone gathers. Good luck predicting who’ll score next, because both teams are doing their damndest.

12.55pm EDT12:55

39 min: Grealish embarks on another Gazza-style run, this time down the middle of the park from the halfway line. It’s a gravity-defying dribble, as he rides a couple of barges, and it showcases plenty of ball-glued-to-toe skill … but the minute he enters the area, he’s blocked by Ayala before he can get a shot away. What a stunning run, though.

12.54pm EDT12:54

37 min: A cross curled into the Villa box from the left by Friend. Assombalonga stoops at the near post and tries to guide a header into the bottom left, but Johnstone drops to smother. Assombalonga has had three decent chances in the last six minutes. He should have done better with all of them.

12.53pm EDT12:53

36 min: Besic tees up Adam Clayton, 25 yards out. The ball sails off into the blood-red sky.

12.51pm EDT12:51

35 min: The first slight lull of the match. It’s been otherwise thoroughly entertaining, despite the high stakes, so let’s give the lads a break, they deserve it.

12.49pm EDT12:49

33 min: These teams are beginning to give up chances now. Howson dances through the middle of the park before sliding another fine pass down the inside-left channel for Assombalonga. This time the striker takes a touch before rippling the side netting from a tight-ish angle.

12.48pm EDT12:48

32 min: Adomah drops a shoulder to earn some space on the left, then whips high into the Boro box. Snodgrass rises over Friend, and should be planting his header on target, but over it goes from close range.

12.47pm EDT12:47

31 min: Howson, quarterbacking from deep, finds Assombalonga down the inside-left channel. The striker has a yard on Chester, but thrashes a wild shot high and left of the target when he really should have worked Johnstone.

12.45pm EDT12:45

29 min: As Terry continues to limp around, Traore wins a corner down the Boro right. The first corner leads to another, and then Hutton very nearly eyebrows one into the top left of his own goal. A third corner to come, this time from the left. And this time Hutton batters a clearing header off his own line, the corner having been swung in at pace by Traore.

12.43pm EDT12:43

27 min: Besic attempts to inject some life into Boro’s play, bursting down the inside-right channel but failing to find the nearby Assombalonga with a lay-off. Terry, chasing Besic, might have taken a knock or pulled something there. He’s hopping around a bit, anyway.

12.41pm EDT12:41

25 min: A stat on Sky which may give Boro pause: Villa are unbeaten this season after scoring the first goal.

12.40pm EDT12:40

23 min: Villa hit the right-hand corner deep. Terry rises at the far post, Randolph having been taken out of play, but can only bundle the ball wide left. Boro were living dangerously there, though, and Villa are very much on top now.

12.39pm EDT12:39

22 min: Traore slides in on Grealish. He catches the Villa man on the back of his leg. Accidental, but oof, ow, ooyah, etc. From the free kick, Jedinak’s backwards header threatens to loop into the top right. Randolph claims, but clatters into the post and drops the ball, out for a corner.

12.36pm EDT12:36

20 min: Grealish dribbles in from the left, Gazza style, but his shot from just inside the box isn’t up to the quality of the run. Randolph gathers the pea-roller.

12.36pm EDT12:36

19 min: Snodgrass falls over while dribbling down the right. He grabs the ball, wanting a free kick. But there was nothing wrong with the attention of Friend, and so that’s a free kick to Boro instead. There’s quite an edgy feel to this match; don’t be surprised if it boils over into a brouhaha at some point.

12.34pm EDT12:34

17 min: The Riverside took a while to process that goal, so absurdly simple it seemed. Boro try to respond immediately. A throw’s won deep in Villa territory down the left. Friend spends an age towelling off the ball to get extra purchase … then flings it straight out of play for a goal kick.

12.32pm EDT12:32

GOAL! Middlesbrough 0-1 Aston Villa (Jedinak 15)

Well this was simple! Adomah wins a corner for Villa down the left. Then Jedinak rises to meet Grealish’s corner at the left-hand corner of the six-yard box, guiding it into the bottom right. There’s nobody on the post, so in it flies!

Aston Villa’s Mile Jedinak heads the visitors into the lead. Photograph: Jon Hobley/ProSports/Rex/Shutterstock

at 12.37pm EDT

12.30pm EDT12:30

13 min: Hourihane, who was pushing his luck in the first 30 seconds of this match, goes in the book. It’s for hanging an arm into the startled grid of Besic, as the pair contest a high ball. Terry critiques the referee’s work: he’s told in no uncertain terms to stop his yap.

12.29pm EDT12:29

12 min: Besic looks in the mood for this. Twice he runs at the Villa defence within the space of 20 seconds or so. On both occasions, the visitors look to be in a state of panic and only just manage to stop Besic in full flow from breaking through.

12.27pm EDT12:27

11 min: Shotton sends a Delap-style throw into the Villa box from the right. It’s half cleared, to Besic, who caresses a dipping screamer inches wide of the top-left corner. Le Tissier-esque. A pleasing 90s vibe to minute 11: one for the mums and dads.

12.25pm EDT12:25

9 min: But Boro respond to that period of pressure well, Besic dribbing at great speed down the inside-right channel. He’s crowded out of it before he can shoot. But they come again, Friend and Downing combining well to earn another corner, this time on the left.

12.23pm EDT12:23

7 min: Villa are beginning to dominate these early stages. Grealish is buzzing around with purpose. His prompting pushes Boro back. There’s a little space for Snodgrass on the edge of the box, but instead of shooting he tries to slide the ball forward for Grabban. Wrong decision. Boro intercept and clear their lines.

12.21pm EDT12:21

5 min: It’s high-octane stuff. And a little bit scrappy. Passing moves at a premium. A lot of tackles flying in. Howson crashes into Grealish, leaving the Villa man on the floor. No free kick. All very old-fashioned, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

12.19pm EDT12:19

3 min: … Traore loops an obvious ball in from the right and it’s easily snaffled by Johnstone.

12.18pm EDT12:18

2 min: An ear-bothering noise at the Riverside. Howson bursts down the right and wins the first corner of the match. From which …

12.17pm EDT12:17

And we’re off! Villa get the party started. Hourihane clatters into Clayton, and gets a good talking-to from the ref for sliding in studs showing, forcefully, not totally within reason. Had there been more than 15 seconds on the clock, that might have been a booking.

12.15pm EDT12:15

The teams are out! Boro are in their red shirts with famous white stripe, while Villa play in second-choice black. There’s a thundering atmosphere at the Riverside, ahead of this crucial match. And it’s been a tear-jerking one too: the popular Leo Percovich took to the centre circle to emotionally thank fans for their support in the wake of the recent tragic car accident that took the lives of the 50-year-old Uruguayan’s young daughters Antonella and Valentina. We’ll be off in a minute.

12.11pm EDT12:11

Tony Pulis speaks – and is asked about Boro’s record of only winning one game all season against teams who finished in the top six. “The game is the game, no two games are the same. We have to approach it in the right manner, make sure we do our best, and give everything. If we get the breaks, and things go our way, then fine. But if we don’t, we still have the second game to come. But the teams we have played recently – the Derbys, the Bristol Citys, the Millwalls – they’ve all been up there. We’ve won those games.”

12.08pm EDT12:08

Steve Bruce speaks! “People hit form and people drop out of form a little bit. Rotating in recent weeks has enabled me to make sure everybody is ready if needed. That’s been vitally important. We’ve cemented our place in the play-offs for a long time, so it’s enabled me to do that. But the team I have picked today are the ones that have predominantly got us into this position. I think it’s only fair that they’re the ones to try and take us a little bit further. No doubt Tony has sprinkled a little bit of his magic, and they’re the in-form team of the division. We’re two really good teams who have been competing against each other so it should be the makings of a classic game!”

11.55am EDT11:55

The winners of this tie will face either Derby County or Fulham in the Wembley final in a fortnight’s time. The Cottagers have been everybody’s favourites to get through the other semi, though the odds on the Rams springing a surprise at the expense of the current hipsters’ choice have shortened considerably in the wake of their hard-fought victory in the first leg at Pride Park last night. Nick Miller was there to report on proceedings.

11.45am EDT11:45

Pre-match reading: Our very own Louise Taylor previews the big game, on a day when Leo Percovich, Boro’s former goalkeeping coach, returns to the Riverside in poignant circumstances.

11.30am EDT11:30

Tony Pulis always said he would name the same XI that started Boro’s last game, the 2-2 draw at Ipswich. And he’s done exactly that. It means Patrick Bamford, whose last-minute equaliser in that match was his 13th goal of the season, stays on the bench.
Steve Bruce rings the changes, having named an experimental Villa side for the 1-0 defeat at Millwall. Mark Bunn, Josh Onomah, Scott Hogan and Jonathan Kodjia drop to the bench, while James Bree and Henri Lansbury miss out altogether. In come Sam Johnstone, Ahmed Elmohamady, John Terry, Robert Snodgrass, Jack Grealish and Lewis Grabban.

11.27am EDT11:27

The teams

Middlesbrough: Randolph, Shotton, Ayala, Gibson, Friend, Howson, Clayton, Besic, Traore, Assombalonga, Downing.Subs: Konstantopoulos, Da Silva, Leadbitter, Bamford, Cranie, Fry, Harrison.
Aston Villa: Johnstone, Elmohamady, Chester, Terry, Hutton, Jedinak, Snodgrass, Hourihane, Grealish, Adomah, Grabban.Subs: Samba, Whelan, Hogan, Onomah, Bjarnason, Kodjia, Bunn.
Referee: Robert Madley (West Yorkshire).

6.49am EDT06:49


In January 1950, legendary inside-forward Wilf Mannion inspired Middlesbrough to a 3-0 FA Cup victory over Aston Villa. The tie had gone to a second replay, at neutral Elland Road, which meant the teams would play each other on five occasions that season. For the record, Villa had the better of it in the League, winning 4-0 at Villa Park just five days later.

Wilf forever doing his thing outside the Riverside. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

The clubs will meet again and again and again and again this season, as well. By the time this new-fangled play-off semi-final has been decided, these famous old clubs will have racked up five meetings in a season for the first time in 68 years. Once again Villa have had the better of it in the League – Robert Snodgrass scoring the only goal in the two games, at the Riverside just before the turn of the year – while Boro have prevailed in the cup competitions, Patrick Bamford’s brace doing for Villa in the League Cup. So this is in the balance.
Middlesbrough are hoping to bounce back to the Premier League at the first time of asking. This is their fourth play-off campaign. In the past, they’ve lost a final to Norwich City in 2015, and a semi against Neil Warnock’s promotion-bound Notts County in 1991. They also famously leapfrogged Chelsea in the two-legged 1988 final, winning promotion while sending the Blues down.
By contrast, grand old Villa – the seven-time English and one-time European champions, slumming it in the lower divisions for a second year – are contesting the play-offs for the very first time. But they’re not entering the lion’s den without whip or chair: their boss Steve Bruce has successfully navigated the play-offs twice before, with Birmingham City in 2002 and Hull in 2016.
This promises to be a cracker, then, between two of English football’s bigger names. And we’re not just talking about Brucie and Tony Pulis. It’s Boro! It’s Villa! It’s the semi-final of the Championship play-offs, so close to the promised land of the Premier League! It’s on!
Kick off: 5.15pm.

at 8.59am EDT

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FSU draft pick tells Florida assistant to back off after hilarious claim

A former FSU defensive ends coach is taking draft credit for one player who wasn’t in his position group, another who was and then changed to offense, and another whom he coached for about three weeks before leaving for an NFL job.
Sal Sunseri is currently the defensive line coach at Florida. On Friday, he tweeted a graphic in which he takes some credit for three players at rival Florida State getting drafted in 2018.
Sunseri spent 2013 and 2014 as the Seminoles’ defensive ends coach. He shared a football building for at least a little bit with nose tackle Derrick Nnadi, defensive end Josh Sweat, and offensive lineman Rick Leonard. Those names are important here:

If that looks odd to you, it looked even odder to Nnadi:

College teams and coaches do things like this all the time. There are all manner of dubious ways for teams to claim players as their own. A common one is to assign draft picks to members of their coaching staffs who crossed paths with a draftee in some capacity at some earlier stop. That can lead to silly looks, like Michigan claiming Ohio State players …

When TTUN is sooooo desperate to tout the NFL to recruits, they list players on their recruiting posters…..sad day for and
— Matt Finkes (@MattFinkes)

… or, in this case, Florida making a graphic that credits a current Gators assistant with developing a trio of Florida State draft picks. But this set of claims is extra weird.
Sunseri has since deleted the tweet with the graphic and added:

Blessed to have had the opportunity in the recruitment of great players to every program I have coached. So happy for their success after moving on. Always love the players that’s what it’s all about!
— Sal Sunseri (@coachsunseri)

Florida and Sunseri were trying too hard to take credit for these FSU players.
The graphic says UF’s coaching staff “had a total of 15 players taken” in the 2018 draft. That’s broad phrasing, and the word “had” is doing a lot of work. It implies direct involvement, as if Sunseri had something big to do with them getting picked.
Nnadi, a Chiefs third-round pick, played nose tackle at FSU from 2014-17. Sunseri was the defensive ends coach from 2013-14. Nnadi’s point that Sunseri didn’t even coach him thus makes sense. Of course he didn’t, because Nnadi played one position and Sunseri coached another. They probably saw each other a lot, but that’s not being someone’s coach.
Sweat, an Eagles fourth-round pick, played for the ‘Noles from 2015-17. He was an early enrollee in 2015, apparently arriving on campus in early January. Sunseri was his defensive ends coach for about three weeks before news broke he was taking an NFL job. And even then, he wasn’t really coaching him much, because:

And Sweat was hurt (gruesome knee injury) when he enrolled so he was never coached by him, he was rehabbing.
— Tomahawk Nation (@Tomahawknation)

Leonard, a Saints fourth-rounder, played at FSU from 2014-17. He played defensive end under Sunseri in 2014. He later moved to right tackle and got drafted as a tackle. This is by far the least absurd of these draft claims by Florida and Sunseri.
All in all, this is a first-ballot entry to the Dubious College Draft Claims Hall of Fame.

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