Rejuvenated Spieth switches focus back to PGA Tour

Refreshed after a globe-trotting run of tournaments that took him from Hawaii to Abu Dhabi and then Singapore, Jordan Spieth returns to the PGA Tour with high hopes for this week's Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in California.The American world number one has finished no worse than joint seventh in his last seven starts worldwide while winning twice, and relishes competing in the pro-am celebrity event on the picturesque Monterey Peninsula."My game feels good," Masters and U.S. Open champion Spieth, 22, told Golf Channel on Wednesday while preparing for Thursday's opening round."I played 18 holes the last couple of days, once on Pebble and once on Cypress, so if you're not refreshed after doing that, I don't know what's going to refresh you."I had a good week of rest coming back from Singapore, a couple of close finishes overseas and I am trying to look to rebound and maybe feel a bit more comfortable on the PGA Tour and hopefully get out there and capitalize with a win."Spieth tied for fifth at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and finished second at the Singapore Open in his last two starts, and is looking forward to this week when his amateur partner will be American country music singer Jake Owen. "A great pairing, being with Jake as my partner and then with Dustin (Johnson) and the Great One (former ice hockey great Wayne Gretzky)," said the Texan."We had it (the same pairing) last year, so we kind of already know each other's games and we are rooting for each other. I'm really just going to focus on the fun aspects this week."When you do that, it kind of frees you up and you are a little more aggressive," said Spieth, whose last two victories came at the season-ending Tour Championship in September and the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii last month. Spieth heads a strong field this week that features five other players ranked in the world's top 10, including Australian Jason Day (third), American Bubba Watson (sixth) and England's Justin Rose (seventh).Also competing is defending champion Brandt Snedeker, who was beaten in a playoff for the Sony Open in Hawaii before winning the weather-delayed Farmers Insurance Open in two of his last three starts on the PGA Tour. "I'm excited about being back, I'm excited about trying to defend and more importantly my game is in good shape so I'm excited about what that holds for the rest of the week," said the 35-year-old American."When you get on these hot runs, you feel like this is the way the game of golf should be played ... you need to make sure you make the most out of it."The $7 million PGA Tour event will be played on three courses: the hosting Pebble Beach Golf Links and its sister venues Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula Shore. (Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Andrew Both)

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'To Kill a Mockingbird' headed for Broadway debut

NEW YORK Harper Lee's classic novel "To Kill a Mockingbird" is coming to Broadway for the first time in a new stage version written by "West Wing" writer Aaron Sorkin, producers said on Wednesday.The Pulitzer Prize-winning 1960 novel about racism and injustice in the American south will make its Broadway debut in the 2017-2018 season, producer Scott Rudin said.Although the book was made into an Oscar-winning movie in 1962, starring Gregory Peck as noble lawyer Atticus Finch, and has been produced for the stage in various U.S. cities and in London, this will be the first time "Mockingbird" will be seen on Broadway.Lee's novel has sold more than 50 million copies and was thought to be the author's only book until an unpublished manuscript featuring some of the same characters was found and published last year called "Go Set A Watchman." "Watchman," described as a first draft of "Mockingbird," astounded readers and critics by portraying the heroic Finch as a racist who supported segregation. Sorkin is best known as the creator of the Emmy-winning White House television series "West Wing" and an Oscar-winner for the screenplay of "The Social Network." (Reporting By Jill Serjeant; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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Apple wins dismissal of lawsuit over MacBook logic boards

Apple Inc won the dismissal on Thursday of a lawsuit accusing it of defrauding consumers by selling MacBook laptop computers that contained "logic boards" it knew were defective, and which routinely failed within two years.U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco said the plaintiffs, Uriel Marcus and Benedict Verceles, failed to show that Apple made "affirmative misrepresentations," despite citing online complaints and Apple marketing statements calling the laptops "state of the art" or the "most advanced" on the market."Plaintiffs have failed to allege that Apple's logic boards were unfit for their ordinary purposes or lacked a minimal level of quality," Alsup wrote. "Both plaintiffs were able to adequately use their computers for approximately 18 months and two years, respectively."Alsup gave the plaintiffs until Jan. 22 to amend their lawsuit, which sought class-action status, against the Cupertino, California-based company. Omar Rosales, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Apple did not immediately respond to a similar request.The plaintiffs claimed that Apple's sale of MacBooks since May 20, 2010, violated consumer protection laws in California and Texas, where the lawsuit began last May before being moved.They also contended that Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook was told about the defective logic boards in 2011, but did nothing. Logic boards contain computer circuitry and are sometimes known as motherboards.A separate and still pending lawsuit in California accuses Apple of defrauding consumers by selling MacBook Pro laptops in 2011 that contained defective graphic cards, causing screen distortions and system failures. MacBooks are part of Apple's Mac line of desktop and laptop computers. The company reported unit sales in that business of 18.91 million in its latest fiscal year.The case is Marcus et al v. Apple Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 14-03824. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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Hardcore, bandwaggoners turn out for Super Bowl in Hayne's hometown

CAMPBELLTOWN, Australia The numbers were modest and the hour a lot less sociable than in California but Australian NFL fans had themselves a proper Super Bowl party in the hometown of San Francisco 49ers punt returner Jarryd Hayne on Monday.Australia has traditionally had one of the highest viewing figures pro rata for the Super Bowl outside the United States with some 200,000 out of a population of 23 million tuning in for the 2014 showpiece.The NFL received huge exposure Down Under last year when Hayne made the audacious decision to cut short his career as one of the biggest stars in the country's National Rugby League (NRL) and head stateside to play for the 49ers.And if the anecdotal evidence of Monday at the Western Suburbs Leagues Club in Leumeah is anything to go by, it has also had an impact on the NFL's reach even when he is not playing. "I've been a fan for about two years but I have noticed a big increase in interest mostly because of Jarryd Hayne," said Izac Talanoa who, like Hayne, has his roots in the large local Pacific Islander community. "It's been a massive influence because he only started out here and now he's over in the big leagues."Some were already waiting outside for the club to open at 9.30 a.m. so they could grab a seat in front of the big screen and some 200 had assembled by kickoff an hour later, a four-fold increase on last year's turnout according to staff.Pizza, foot-long hot dogs, corndogs, peanuts and buckets of American beers at knockdown prices all helped bridge the 7,000 miles between a sunny Monday morning in southwest Sydney and Super Bowl Sunday in Santa Clara. STATESIDE ADVENTUREThe smattering of NFL shirts showed a variety of allegiances but they were worn largely by the cognoscenti and there were far more showing their support for Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton than those in Hayne's number 38 shirt for the 49ers.Swathed in an outsize black Newton shirt, Tom Matahau said he had been a 49ers fans since the 1980s but his enthusiasm for the early starts required of the dedicated NFL fan Down Under had been rekindled by Hayne's stateside adventure."I got up to watch him play, for sure," he said. "There's definitely a lot of pride around here, even if it's still pretty much an NRL town."Matt Parker would also count himself among that hardcore and told of once having shelled out $300 to watch his beloved Eagles in Phildelphia.The 25-year-old "tradie", the local term for a blue collar worker, had been somewhat skeptical about Hayne's bid to play in the NFL and pleasantly surprised by the outcome."Most Aussies that have made it before have been punters or come through the college system," said Parker, who backs the Eagles because a picture of one of their players was on the box of the console game that first got him into the sport."I was a little surprised he made it, I knew he'd give it a red-hot go but he was competing against guys who have been playing gridiron all their lives." Parker, whose enthusiasm for American football extends down to college level, was looking forward to the opportunity to take in some live action in August when the Cal Bears take on the University of Hawaii in Sydney.A good turnout for the NCAA opener at the 80,000 capacity Olympic Stadium will only encourage those in the NFL hierarchy, such as executive vice president of international Mark Waller, who view Australia as a potential host country for the Pro Bowl. Happily for the NFL internationalists, Hayne said on Monday his adventure was not yet over and he would be back in the U.S. in March stronger and more versatile, looking to add to his eight appearances in a 49ers shirt. That can only be good news for the league in what has always been a sports-mad nation, even if some of Hayne's fans have not yet embraced the sport as whole. "There's a lot of people saying 'why are you going to watch the Super Bowl when Jarryd Hayne's not in it?'," said Jamie Hay, who was taking in the game before working the night shift at a poultry processing factory. "Bloody bandwaggoners," he grinned, turning his attention back to his beer and the action on the big screen. (Editing by Ian Ransom)

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In February, Chicago goes crazy for 'paczki' as donuts go gourmet

CHICAGO Chicagoans this month are less obsessed with badmouthing Mayor Rahm Emanuel or worries about their sports teams, and more focused on finding the perfect “paczki,” a rich, Polish, donut-type dessert that's taking the high-end dessert market by storm.Long a staple treat preceding the Catholic fasting period of Lent, the pastries, a no-hole, denser and richer version of the donut, have exploded in popularity in recent years far beyond Chicago's large Polish community to a growing number of high-end, specialty donut shops, bakers and food experts say.These gourmet bakeries, with names like "Glazed and Infused," are experimenting with new paczki varieties - using key lime pie, jelly made with blood oranges, or white chocolate in place of more traditional plum and rose jelly fillings."It's really big this year," said Rebecca Skoch, a food and beverage consultant who organizes the annual "Donut Fest." "Chicago has a great mix of bakers that do classic donuts and newer, avant garde places that aren't afraid to experiment."Skoch said Chicago is a leader in the gourmet donut trend nationwide, ahead of New York and Portland, so it makes sense that new shops want to take on a local favorite.Paczki (pronounced "ponchkey" for several and "ponchek" for one), also popular in other Midwest cities like Detroit and Cleveland, differ from North American bismarcks in having an especially rich dough, with eggs, butter, alcohol and sometimes milk.The dense deep-fried pastries, which do not flatten as they are eaten, date back to the Middle Ages, when people tried to use up ingredients that are avoided during Lent. PRE-LENT INDULGENCEWith Lent starting on Wednesday, Feb. 10, this year, pastry shops are expecting big business leading up to it. "People cut back on Wednesday, so Tuesday's a fun day," said Mark Tormey, co-owner of Do-Rite Donuts, which is offering Nutella-filled and key lime pie paczki with a sugary graham cracker topping.Firecakes Donuts, in the wealthy Lincoln Park and River North neighborhoods, expanded its paczki line this February with chocolate custard and Meyer lemon, along with raspberry and blood orange jelly."We try to keep the integrity but make it memorable, interesting," said Firecakes owner Jonathan Fox.Though the newer specialty donut shops have been expanding their production and varieties, the big Chicago paczki sellers continue to be European-style bakeries, like Delightful Pastries, which has made them year-round for 18 years. Delightful's owner Dobra Bielinski expects to sell 50,000 for the season, and demand has soared with greater awareness of "Paczki Day" celebrated on the Thursday or Tuesday before Lent.Delightful's varieties include "drunken paczki," like vodka with custard and whiskey with chocolate cream.In a back room at Delightful's northwest side shop last Wednesday, six workers were busy mixing, kneading and rolling the creamy dough into balls."It's nothing but paczki back there," said counter worker Maggie Giza. "It's insane." (Editing by Ben Klayman and Bernadette Baum)

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