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Woods on expectations for another major win: Absolutely

By Jimmy Golen, Associated Press SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) — Hoist the anchor, and set sail the great ship Privacy on a course for Carnoustie Bay, Pebble Beach or some other future site of a golf major. Tiger Woods isn't going to win the U.S. Open this year. He still thinks he can win another major before he's done. "Absolutely," Woods said after shooting a 2-over 72 at Shinnecock Hills on Friday for a 36-hole total of 10 over that saw him miss the cut. "They're not easy," he said. "I mean, I've won a few of them over the course of my career, and they're the hardest fields and usually the hardest setups. So they're meant to be testers, and you don't win major championships by kind of slapping all around the place and missing putts. "You have to be on," he said. "You just can't fake it at a major championship." Woods couldn't even fake it for the first 34 holes in Southampton, and despite birdies on the last two holes, he needed a lot of help to avoid the cut for the fifth time in his last eight majors. That means he won't need to bunk for the weekend at the Sag Harbor Yacht Club on the 155-foot boat he jokingly calls "the dinghy." Woods also missed the cut when he brought Privacy to the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot in New York City's northern suburbs. He has not played the weekend at a U.S. Open since 2013, or won one since 2008 — his last major victory. He remains stuck at 14 in his career, four short of Jack Nicklaus' record. "Our whole careers are pretty much measured as if you can win four times a year," Woods said. Woods' chances were effectively eliminated after two holes. He shot a triple bogey on Thursday on No. 1 — a 399-yard par 4 that is the fourth-easiest hole on the course — needing three tries to manage a short rise to the elevated green and then two-putting. He entered the second round nine strokes behind the leaders and thought if he could shoot in the 60s on Friday he would have a chance to get back into it. Now he won't even have a chance to play. "I couldn't chase down the leaders right away. It's going to take me probably 2½ to 3 rounds to do it," he said. "Unfortunately, I went the other way." Starting the second round on No. 10, Woods made the turn at even par and came back around to No. 1. His drive was fine, but he yanked his approach shot to the right of the green into deep rough, and then rolled his third shot over it. After pitching to about 14 feet, he missed a bogey putt. He then bogeyed No. 2 for the second straight day. "I didn't play the first and second hole very well," said Woods, who started on No. 10 for the second round. "I was kind of hanging in there until, unfortunately, first and second hole kind of derailed it." Woods said he would take the week off before playing the National and then heading to Carnoustie, Scotland, for the British Open......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJun 16th, 2018

At the US Open, a battle among the best with only 1 major

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) — Jordan Spieth considers himself lucky. As hard as he made it look, winning the U.S. Open three years ago felt easy. He was two months removed from his victory at Augusta National. No matter what happened at Chambers Bay, he was the Masters champion for the rest of the year, and a major champion for life. "House money," he described that week. And then he won another major with a birdie-double bogey-birdie finish, helped by Dustin Johnson three-putting from 12 feet to lose by one. Spieth was 22 when he became the first player in 74 years — Craig Wood in 1941 — to win his first major and then add a second major in his next try. It didn't come that quickly for Tiger Woods, even after a 12-shot victory at the 1997 Masters in his first major as a pro. Woods played 10 more majors, half of them while overhauling his swing, before he won his next one. Winning one major is great. Winning multiple majors commands a new level of respect. "You could make an argument that it could be harder to get the second one than it is the first," PGA champion Justin Thomas said Tuesday. "You could make an argument that every major is the hardest. But I just think that to be known as a multiple major champion as opposed to, 'He won the PGA,' it has a little better ring to it. So I hope to have that to my name, sooner rather than later." Identifying the best player without a major has been a topic for the better part of 30 years. Given the depth of talent, it might be time for a different question. The best with only one major. It's a long list, from as young as Thomas (24) to Henrik Stenson (42). All it takes is one week, one more major — perhaps this week at Shinnecock Hills — for such a player to enter a different conversation. Dustin Johnson might lead that list. He finally broke through for his first major at Oakmont in the 2016 U.S. Open, and given his 18 victories on the PGA Tour, he probably should have more. If not for getting in his own way, he might have more by now. There was the 82 at Pebble Beach when he had a three-shot lead in the 2010 U.S. Open. He hit an errant drive into a patch of sand that he didn't know was a bunker at Whistling Straits that same year in the PGA Championship. The bogey dropped him into a three-man playoff. Grounding his club in the sand for a two-shot penalty dropped him out of it. And then at Chambers Bay, he was 12 feet away for eagle and the U.S. Open until it took three putts and a par for a runner-up finish. He is No. 1 in the world, and wants to get major No. 2. "It's hard to get No. 2 right now, but it was hard to get No. 1," Johnson said with a smile. "I think it's hard to get any of them. It's just a tough task. There's only four majors, and to win a major you have to have everything working very well. You've got to play really good all four rounds. ... I'd love to get that second one. But it's one of those things where, like I said, everything has got to work well for four days." Jason Day has 12 victories on the PGA Tour, and only the 2015 PGA Championship among majors. He spent 47 consecutive weeks at No. 1 the year after winning his major, and had only one good chance. Justin Rose won the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion for his first major. Rose has won at least somewhere in the world every year since 2010, and he has won on prestigious courses — Muirfield Village, Congressional, Aronimink, Doral — and he was one putt away from adding Augusta National to that list. But he's still stuck on one. So is Adam Scott and Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka and Webb Simpson. Add to that list Louis Oosthuizen, who has been runner-up in all four majors since his 2010 victory in the British Open at St. Andrews. "I mean absolutely zero, no disrespect to guys that have won one — obviously, myself included," Thomas said. "But it's a lot easier to get hot one week than it is to do it again and win another major. Because when you're a major champion, you have more asked of you. You have more expectations on yourself, more expectations from other people to where if you do get in the hunt, then you're asked, 'How is it going to feel to get your second major?' You're constantly reminded of that." The top players when Woods was in his prime years were Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh. Woods rarely fails to mention Retief Goosen on that list, mainly because when Woods was at his best, Goosen was the only other player with multiple majors. He won his second U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills in 2004. Seventeen players at Shinnecock Hills this week have only one major and would love to add another. If they don't? It's still better than being on that other list occupied by the likes of Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama and Jon Rahm. They're young. But they would settle for one......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 13th, 2018

DA s 2018 NBA Offseason Rankings: The Top 10

By David Aldridge, TNT Analyst Wonder what the rental market is like in San Luis Obispo, Calif. San Luis Obispo is, give or take a few miles, one of the closest cities that is near the midway point between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Given the events of the NBA’s offseason, it’s not hare to imagine national reporters are going to be spending a lot of time in California next season, bouncing back and forth between the Bay and L.A. Catch LeBron James and the Lakers on Wednesday and then, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and the Warriors on Thursday. The Western Conference only got stronger and deeper with James leaving Cleveland for a second time, this time to go to the Lakers. Add four of the top five Draft picks -- including No. 1 overall selection Deandre Ayton (Phoenix Suns), No. 2 pick Marvin Bagley III (Sacramento Kings) and international phenom Luka Doncic (No. 3 pick, acquired by Dallas Mavericks) -- going to Western Conference teams, and the talent disparity between conferences only seems greater. But did Eastern Conference teams take advantage of Cleveland deflating to make their teams better? And how effective were West teams in making their teams better prepared to at least compete with the Warriors? That’s where this year’s Offseason Rankings come in -- big, bold, definitive. You love them, if the amount of hate tweets and e-mails I get after they’re published are any indication. Every year, we rank how all 30 teams have done since the end of their respective seasons. We look at everything -- how they drafted, what trades they made, what players they signed in free agency, and for how much -- or if they didn’t participate in free agency much at all. We look at if they’ve changed coaches, executives, owners, or if they’re moving into a new building that can generate big revenues. And you have to decide which ones you liked the most. Here's what these rankings ARE NOT: A predicted order of finish for next season. It's an opinion that seeks to answer a question: is the team better now than at the end of last season? The ranking reflects the belief on whether, and how much, that is so. (I liked certain guys who were in the Draft more than others, so if your team took them, I probably weighed it more positively. Doesn't mean I'm right.) I do not expect the Suns, for example, to have a better record than the Celtics, just because they had a better summer. It is not a ranking of the teams in order from 1 through 30 right now; I do not believe the Mavericks are now a better team than Rockets. This is just one person’s opinion about offseason moves -- offseason moves only. Is your team better now than it was before? - If your team is ranked in the top 10, it doesn't mean I love your team.       - If your team is ranked in the bottom 10, it doesn't mean I hate your team. It's an opinion that seeks to answer a question: is the team better now than at the end of last season? The ranking reflects the belief on whether, and how much, that is so. (I liked certain guys who were in the Draft more than others, so if your team took them, I probably weighed it more positively. Doesn't mean I'm right.) What plays into the rankings: - This isn’t science. It’s an educated guess, weighing the impact both of the Draft and free agency, but also assessing whether teams got value in their free-agent signings. Overpaying the right player is as much a sin as signing the wrong player. A good new coach can coax some more wins out of a roster. But if a team’s players don’t believe in the system their team uses, the best Xs and Os on earth don’t matter.       - Teams that are rebuilding obviously have different priorities than teams making a championship push. That's factored in. So Chicago, for example, gets credit for adding young, affordable players as it stockpiles its talent -- but that talent has to fit together, as Wendell Carter Jr. does with Lauri Markannen. And a team like the Warriors that shows it’s willing to go deep into the luxury tax -- which most teams try to avoid -- in order to keep winning has to be commended, and its rankings reflect that commendation.       - Continuity matters here as well. The most successful teams usually not only identify a core group of players, they keep them together for a while, finding that sweet spot: everyone doesn’t get a max contract, but most get paid well enough to keep the train moving down the tracks. That reflects both good roster construction and good financial management -- and, again, is rewarded. The explosion in the cap means everyone has to spend; keeping your powder dry for another day doesn’t have as much cache as it used to. But you still have to manage your money wisely. Salary numbers, with a couple of exceptions, come from Basketball Insiders, whose Eric Pincus does the best job of anyone in the game of keeping track of all the moving financial parts, quickly and accurately -- which is why we use him at NBA TV during the Draft and free agency to tell us what the hell this all means. The Top 10 * * * 1. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER 2017-18 RECORD: 48-34; lost in first round ADDED: G/F Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot (acquired from Sixers); G Hamidou Diallo (No. 45 pick, 2018 Draft); G Devon Hall (No. 53 pick, 2018 Draft); F Kevin Hervey (No. 57 pick, 2018 Draft); F Abdel Nader (acquired from Celtics); C Nerlens Noel (two years, $3.7 million); G Dennis Schröder (acquired from Hawks) LOST: F Carmelo Anthony (traded to Hawks); F Nick Collison (retired); C Dakari Johnson (traded to Magic); G Rodney Purvis (traded to Celtics) RETAINED: G Raymond Felton (one year, $2.3 million); F Paul George (four years, $136.9 million); F Jerami Grant (three years, $27.3 million) THE KEY MAN: G Andre Roberson. This is real simple: with Roberson on the court last year, OKC’s opponent offensive rating was 99.2; when he was off, it was 110.7. The Thunder was a near-elite defensive unit when Roberson played and was awful when he didn’t. His Real Defensive Plus-Minus, per ESPN.com, was 4.34, second only to Utah’s Rudy Gobert (5.06). So when Roberson ruptured his patellar tendon in late January, the Thunder’s ability to use George as a weakside defender who could freelance and use his length to create deflections and turnovers (because Roberson had the strong side absolutely locked down) went away. Any chance the Thunder has next season to compete at the highest levels in the West will depend on the 26-year-old Roberson’s recovery and return to the lineup. THE SKINNY: None of us -- none -- thought George was going to stay in OKC. And we all thought Sam Presti and the Thunder were crazy for trading for him last year, because it was just going to be a one-year rental and he was going to be off to the Lakers in 12 months, and OKC would have nothing to show for its deal. But George’s presence helped convince Russell Westbrook -- also long rumored to eventually head back to Cali -- to sign a long-term deal with the Thunder. And OKC’s acquisition of Carmelo Anthony helped convince George that the Thunder was all in on competing. And even though OKC went out in the first round of the playoffs to Utah, its year-long courtship of George and his family paid off when PG-13 spurned L.A. once and for all to stay in the 405. Anthony ultimately wasn’t a good fit, but he brought back Schroder, who will give Billy Donovan a dynamic scorer off the bench that can give Westbrook a blow and keep OKC’s offense from immolating when Westbrook is on the bench, a common malady the last two years. The Thunder has been relevant in an incredibly small market now for almost a decade. With George and Westbrook and Steven Adams and, now, Schroder, all signed up through 2021, that remarkable run will continue for some time. 2. LOS ANGELES LAKERS 2017-18 RECORD: 35-47; missed playoffs ADDED: F Michael Beasley (one year, $3.5 million); F Joel Berry II; F Issac Bonga (No. 39 pick, 2018 Draft); G Jeffrey Carroll; F LeBron James (four years, $153 million); C JaVale McGee (one year, $1.4 million); G Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (No. 47 pick, 2018 Draft); G Rajon Rondo (one year, $9 million); G Lance Stephenson; F Mo Wagner (No. 25 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: C Thomas Bryant (waived); G Tyler Ennis (waived); F/C Channing Frye (signed with Cavs); C Brook Lopez (signed with Bucks); F Julius Randle (signed with Pelicans); G Isaiah Thomas (signed with Nuggets) RETAINED: G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (one year, $12 million); G Travis Wear THE KEY MAN: F Brandon Ingram. The third-year man should be the major beneficiary of James’ presence going forward. Driving lanes previously clogged with defenders should now be runway clear. Opponents who previously could close out strong on Ingram will now have their attention elsewhere. Ingram need only look at James’ last stop: per NBA.com/Stats, among players leaguewide who appeared in at least 60 games last season, three Cavaliers -- Kyle Korver, J.R. Smith and Cedi Osman -- were among the top 20 in the league in lowest frequency of having their closest defenders within two feet of them, meaning James created many wide open looks for teammates all season. Ingram vastly improved his range last season over his rookie one, shooting 39 percent on 3-pointers. But he only attempted 1.8 threes per game last season. That number will surely skyrocket in 2018. Ingram must ready to take advantage. That will make him that much more deadly as a driver. THE SKINNY: Team president Magic Johnson was tasked with landing a whale in free agency, and he and GM Rob Pelinka bagged Moby Dick in James. Their subsequent free agent moves once Paul George opted to stay in Oklahoma City were all short-term plays with an eye toward the promising 2019 free agent class, which include the likes of All-Stars Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker and DeMarcus Cousins. But that doesn’t mean Lake Show ’18 isn’t going to be the rip-roaringest circus this side of your standard Ozzy Ozbourne tour. What’s the over-under on the first time Rondo cusses out coach Luke Walton, or when we hear of a “spirited practice” that is code for “Lance ‘bowed ‘Bron in the neck and Walton sent everyone home”? The Lakers could be in The Finals or out in the first round, but what they decidedly will not be is boring. 3. DENVER NUGGETS 2017-18 RECORD: 46-36; missed playoffs ADDED: F Michael Porter Jr. (No. 14 pick, 2018 Draft); G Isaiah Thomas (one year, $2 million); F Jarred Vanderbilt (No. 41 pick, 2018 Draft); C Thomas Welsh (No. 58 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: F Darrell Arthur (traded to Nets); F Wilson Chandler (traded to 76ers); F Kenneth Faried (traded to Nets); G Isaiah Whitehead (waived) RETAINED: G Will Barton (four years, $53 million); G/F Torrey Craig (two years, $4 million); C Nikola Jokic (five-year, $147.7 million contract extension) THE KEY MAN: G Jamal Murray. Denver ended all pretense that the full-time point guard job wasn’t his last season and his second-year numbers were very encouraging. Among regularly playing (60+ games) floor generals, per NBA.com/Stats, Murray’s .577 True Shooting Percentage ranked only behind D.J. Augustin, Kyrie Irving, Darren Collison and Kyle Lowry. No one doubts the still-just-21-year-old Murray can fill it up, and that the Nuggets don’t need a classic ball distributor to light up the Pepsi Center scoreboard. But they do need to get more credible defensively. So does he. THE SKINNY: A great offseason for the Nuggets, who did what they said they would -- keep Jokic off the market next summer -- while clearing roster spots and minutes with two trades, and simultaneously reducing their luxury tax bill for 2019. (The Chandler trade to the Sixers also created an enormous $12.8 million trade exception for Denver through August of 2019.) Jokic should anchor one of the most athletic starting quintets in the game -- along with Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, the re-signed Barton (penciled in for now as the starting three) and Paul Millsap. the Nuggets didn’t add much at the defensive end, which was their Achilles’ heel the last couple of seasons and the main reason they didn’t make the playoffs in 2017-18. Denver opted to strengthen a strength by bringing in Thomas, who’ll be in prove-it mode next season on a short deal with a coach that he knows from their Sacramento days in Mike Malone. Look for Malone to unleash Thomas on second units throughout the West. Porter Jr. was worth a flier at 14; he was the consensus likely first pick in the Draft a year ago, before his back injury took him out of all but a couple of games in his one season at Missouri. Denver can give him the entire year to rehab from two surgeries, the latest last week, and reset his clock for 2019-20. 4. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS 2017-18 RECORD: 58-24; won NBA Finals ADDED: C DeMarcus Cousins (one year, $5.3 million); F Jacob Evans (No. 28 pick, 2018 Draft); F Jonas Jerebko (one year, $2.1 million); G Damion Lee LOST: C JaVale McGee (signed with Lakers); C Zaza Pachulia (signed with Pistons); Head of Physical Performance and Sports Medicine Chelsea Lane (went to Hawks) RETAINED: F Kevin Durant (two years, $61.5 million); F Kevon Looney THE KEY MAN: Brett Yamaguchi, Director of Game Operations/Entertainment, Oracle Arena. One doesn’t envy Yamaguchi, whose tasks will be twofold next season: create lifetime memories for the loudest and most loyal fanbase in the league, as the Warriors play their final season at Oracle Arena (aka Roaracle) -- they’re moving into the Chase Center, their tony new digs across the Bay in downtown San Francisco, come 2019-20. And, provide atmosphere and sizzle that will help coach Steve Kerr keep his veteran core from being bored out of its collective mind during the regular season while it waits for the playoffs and a chance at a three-peat. THE SKINNY: So, sure, the best team in the league adds one of the top two or three big men in the game in Cousins. But that’s the ancillary benefit of having such a dominant organization; everyone wants to figure out a way to get to the Bay. Cousins took less money to do so; now he can take his time rehabbing his torn Achilles tendon. If that means he’s not all the way back until All-Star, who cares? The Warriors will roll Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell and Jonas Jerebko out at the five in non-Death lineups until Cousins is ready. Meanwhile, Kerr has to keep his vets, but especially Andre Iguodala and Shawn Livingston, off their feet as much as possible during the regular season so they’ll be good to go from April through June. Losing Iguodala for the bulk of the 2018 Western finals was almost the Warriors’ downfall. 5. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES 2017-18 RECORD: 22-60; missed playoffs ADDED: F Kyle Anderson (four years, $37 million); G Jevon Carter (No. 32 pick, 2018 Draft); F Omri Casspi (one year, $2.3 million); F Jaren Jackson Jr. (No. 4 pick, 2018 Draft); C Dakari Johnson (acquired from Magic); G Garrett Temple (acquired from Kings) LOST: C/F Deyonta Davis (traded to Kings); G Tyreke Evans (signed with Pacers); F Jarell Martin (traded to Magic); G Ben McLemore (traded to Kings) RETAINED: Coach J.B. Bickerstaff THE KEY MAN: G Mike Conley. It’s no secret how vital Conley is to the franchise, so a return to form is vital for the veteran point, who’ll be 31 on opening night and who missed 70 games last season with a heel injury. Next season will be the third of Conley’s five-year, $150 million deal signed in 2016; remember when so many people thought the world would end when a small market like Memphis invested so much in him? Well, Conley has already dropped to fifth in the league in salary among point guards, behind Stephen Curry Curry, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Kyle Lowry. He’ll fall even further down the list next season, when John Wall’s massive extension kicks in, and Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker each get new contracts that could leap his. THE SKINNY: Memphis couldn’t have had a worse 2017-18 if it tried, and the Grizzlies compounded their on-court implosion by not trading Evans when everyone in the league -- seemingly, except for them -- knew he was going to walk in the summer if they didn’t. But, the Grizzlies’ front office recovered in a big way, selling the 18-year-old Jackson that he would fit right in despite not working out for the Grizz before the Draft, then doubling up on “Grit And Grind 2.0” by taking Carter, college basketball’s fiercest on-ball defender, in the second. Ownership was willing to let the front office use the full mid-level exception on Anderson, who isn’t the sexiest pickup to many fans but whose defensive numbers in San Antonio were outstanding. Temple is the ultimate good vet and locker room guy who will get a chance to play for Bickerstaff after the Kings opted to go with their young guys and he was likely out of the rotation. GM Chris Wallace was adamant that the Grizzlies could rebuild again around the aging Conley and Marc Gasol and that they wouldn’t trade Gasol after the latter’s difficult relationship with former coach David Fizdale. They did, and they didn’t. 6. PHOENIX SUNS 2017-18 RECORD: 21-61; missed playoffs ADDED: Coach Igor Kokoskov; F Trevor Ariza (one year, $15 million); F Darrell Arthur (acquired from Nets); C Deandre Ayton (No. 1 pick, 2018 Draft); F Mikal Bridges (No. 10 pick, 2018 Draft); F Richaun Holmes (acquired from 76ers); G George King (No. 59 pick, 2018 Draft); G Elie Okobo (No. 31 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: Former interim coach Jay Triano; F Jared Dudley (traded to Nets); C Alex Len (signed with Hawks); G Elfrid Payton (signed with Pelicans); G Tyler Ulis (waived); F/C Alan Williams (waived) RETAINED: G Devin Booker (contract extension) THE KEY MAN: Ayton. Let’s not bury the lead here: he was the first pick overall for a reason, because he has franchise-turning capability. The Suns don’t need singles or the occasional double any more; they need someone to put them back on the map with big, sweaty, nasty four-baggers, night after night. (cc: mixed metaphor police.) It’s been a minute since Amar’e Stoudemire was at his destructive best, and the list of impactful bigs in franchise history is thin: Connie Hawkins, Alvan Adams, Tom Chambers, Charles Barkley, Stoudemire. Ayton has a chance to be as good as any of them, and better, and he’s a potential stash of Kryptonite down the pike to the Warriors dynasty. THE SKINNY: There’s the makings of a Jazz-like reimaging of the franchise in short order. Kokoskov not only comes from Utah’s staff, but has significant coaching chops outside of Salt Lake City. He’s been coaching since he was 24, and that was 22 years ago. He’s coached both around the world and around the NBA as an assistant and development maven, and he’ll be great at bolstering the confidence of the Suns’ young guys -- including Bridges, a mature and solid rook with collegiate titles from Villianova who’ll be able to grow quietly outside the huge media shadow cast on Ayton. Kokoskov will also make things a lot easier for Devin Booker offensively. But GM Ryan McDonough was also smart enough to surround the kids with some solid vets, starting with Ariza, who will help the Suns again become acquainted with a long-honored NBA concept called “defense.” 7. DALLAS MAVERICKS 2017-18 RECORD: 24-58; missed playoffs ADDED: F Kostas Antetokounmpo (No. 60 pick, 2018 Draft); G Jalen Brunson (No. 33 pick, 2018 Draft); G Luka Doncic (No. 3 pick, 2018 Draft); C DeAndre Jordan (one year, $22 million); C Chinanu Onuaku (acquired from Rockets); F Ray Spalding (No. 56 pick, 2018 Draft); F Ding Yanyuhang; LOST: G Kyle Collinsworth (waived); G Seth Curry (signed with Blazers); G Yogi Ferrell (signed with Kings); F Doug McDermott (signed with Pacers); F Jonathan Motley (traded to Clippers); C Nerlens Noel (signed with Thunder) RETAINED: G/F Wesley Matthews (picked up player option); F Dirk Nowitzki (one year, $5 million) THE KEY MAN: CEO Cynthia Marshall. The former AT&T executive was put in charge after Sports Illustrated’s explosive story last February detailing a toxic workplace for female employees on the team’s business side, with sexual harassment rampant and no relief forthcoming from the supervisors who should have provided it. Marshall has been fast at work changing the business side culture, as separate investigations of who was responsible for allowing the previous environment to fester wind down. After their results are made public, it will be Marshall who will have to both enact their recommendations and sell the public that owner Mark Cuban’s organization has been fumigated for good. THE SKINNY: Dallas is banking that the 19-year-old Doncic is not only the real deal, but that he can come out of the gate in the NBA after starring in Europe and immediately give the Mavs a boost. There’s a large body of work suggesting Doncic will do just that, and accelerate the Mavs’ rebuild. Second-year guard Dennis Smith Jr.’s improvements should also speed up, and Jordan’s presence should start to close the sieve that has plagued Dallas’s defense the last couple of years. Losing both Curry and Ferrell will hurt the Mavs’ guard depth, though, and Brunson won’t be able to work in slowly. 8. INDIANA PACERS 2017-18 RECORD: 48-34; lost in first round ADDED: G/F Tyreke Evans (one year, $12 million); G Aaron Holiday (No. 23 pick, 2018 Draft); F Alize Johnson (No. 50 pick, 2018 Draft); F Doug McDermott; C/F Kyle O'Quinn LOST: C Al Jefferson (waived); G/F Glenn Robinson III (signed with Pistons); G Lance Stephenson (signed with Lakers) RETAINED: G Cory Joseph (picked up player option); F Thaddeus Young (picked up player option) THE KEY MAN: Kevin Pritchard, president of basketball operations. He’s been instrumental in putting this team together -- first as Larry Bird’s assistant, but on his own the last year-plus since Bird left. Now Pritchard will have to deal with not just the expectations last season’s surprising turnaround season will create with fans, but with the incessant calls and texts one receives when one has a team in which six players among the team’s core are on one-year deals and free agents next summer. It is extremely difficult for a team so constituted to stay unified and keep pulling on the rope together. Human nature is human nature, and players (and their families, and their agents) need reassurances they’re part of the organization’s future, just like any drone from Sector 7G would. It’s hard to think about sacrificing minutes and shots when almost players are judged by are their numbers. Nate McMillan, meanwhile, is only concerned, as any coach is, with the game in front of him, tonight. Pritchard’s phone will rarely have an hour off next season. THE SKINNY: What does a team that surprised so many last season need? More depth, because there aren’t going to be a lot of nights off going forward. The Pacers filled in nicely with a bunch of under-the-radar players, getting Evans after a bounce-back season in Memphis and O’Quinn after good years in New York. McBuckets is running out of stops to show he can be a key contributor in the NBA, but everything is tailor made for him to succeed here: he’ll have all the space in the world playing alongside Victor Oladipo, Bogdanovic and/or Myles Turner, depending on the lineup. Holiday was very good value at 23 in the first round. And Oladipo is on his grind. The Pacers are as big a threat as anyone to Boston’s assumed ascension in the post-LeBron East. 9. NEW YORK KNICKS 2017-18 RECORD: 29-53; missed playoffs ADDED: Coach David Fizdale; G Mario Hezonja (one year, $6.5 million); G Kevin Knox (No. 9 pick, 2018 Draft); C Mitchell Robinson (No. 36 pick, 2018 Draft); F Noah Vonleh (one year) LOST: Former coach Jeff Hornacek; F Michael Beasley (signed with Lakers); C/F Kyle O'Quinn (signed with Pacers); F Troy Williams (waived) RETAINED: G Ron Baker (picked up player option); F/C Luke Kornet; C Enes Kanter (picked up player option); THE KEY MAN: F Kristaps Porzingis. It’s unlikely Porzingis will play much, if at all, next season, as he rehabs his torn ACL suffered in February. New York will be extremely cautious with a timeline, and in Porzingis’ absence, if more losing brings more figurative ping pong balls the Knicks’ way … well, they won’t complain about that, either. None if it matters if “The Unicorn” doesn’t regain his form, though. So much of the Knicks’ 2018-19 improvement, or regression, will take place off camera. THE SKINNY: Fizdale won’t have a mandate to try and win with a veteran team in his first season in New York, as was the case in his year-plus in Memphis. So he can implement his position-less/fitness regimen with the young Knicks without looking over his shoulder. New York’s planning for 2019, when it hopes to strike in a big way in free agency, but that doesn’t mean next season won’t be important. Knox will have a lot of light on him, especially after playing well during NBA Summer League, but the Knicks truly believe Robinson will make some contributions this season with his significant physical gifts. Both must continue changing the narrative in Gotham that the team’s new braintrust is rebuilding the brand the right way -- slowly, and correctly. Hezonja was a good low-cost flier for New York who’ll give Fizdale some small ball options. Hezonja came on strong the second half of last season for the Magic, who hadn’t picked up his third-year option and were hamstrung in what they could offer him as a result. 10. SAN ANTONIO SPURS 2017-18 RECORD: 47-35; lost in first round ADDED: G Marco Belinelli (two years, $12 million); F Dante Cunningham (one year, $2.5 million); G DeMar DeRozan (acquired from Raptors); C Jakob Poeltl (acquired from Raptors); G Lonnie Walker IV (No. 18 pick, 2018 Draft); F Chimezie Metu (No. 49 pick, 2018 Draft) LOST: F Kyle Anderson (signed with Grizzlies); G Danny Green (traded to Raptors); F Kawhi Leonard (traded to Raptors); F Joffrey Lauvergne (signed with Fenerbahce); G Tony Parker (signed with Hornets); G Brandon Paul (waived) RETAINED: C/F Davis Bertans (two years, $14.5 million); G Bryn Forbes (two years, $6 million); F Rudy Gay (one year, $10 million) THE KEY MAN: Coach Gregg Popovich. There is no way to tell, nor is it really anyone’s business, how Pop will cope with the loss of his wife Erin, who died in April during the Spurs’ first-round series with Golden State. But the NBA grind is an unforgiving one, and Popovich is adding Olympic team coach duties to an already taxing schedule. He knows best how he’s doing and you can only hope he listens to himself when or if he needs time away. THE SKINNY: Backed up against it with Leonard’s still-murky insistence for a divorce, the Spurs did as well as could be expected in getting a four-time All-Star who’ll play with a huge chip on his shoulder next season. DeRozan will certainly help San Antonio extinguish the offensive droughts that came when teams loaded up on LaMarcus Aldridge defensively. LA was sensational for long stretches last season, making second team All-NBA for the second time in his career. Belinelli, rookie Walker and Poeltl should lengthen San Antonio’s bench significantly and reduce the Spurs’ dependence on nightly brilliance from 40-year-old Manu Ginobili, if he comes back for a 17th season. Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 8th, 2018

Federer, Nadal happy to play doubles, Borg to decide

em>By Karel Janicek, Associated Press /em> PRAGUE (AP) — With Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the Laver Cup team tennis tournament, expectations are running high about the chance of seeing the two as doubles partners. The three-day competition at the O2 Arena in Prague starts Friday, pitting a team of the best six European players against the top six from the rest of the world. No ATP rankings points will be awarded. Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic, Dominic Thiem and Tomas Berdych are also on the European team to face Sam Querrey, John Isner, Nick Kyrgios, Jack Sock, Denis Shapovalov and Frances Tiafoe. The tournament is to honor Rod Laver, an 11-time major champion who won two calendar-year Grand Slams. It will include three singles and one doubles match every day. Bjorn Bjorg captains Europe while John McEnroe does the same for the opponents. Federer and Nadal were clear about their choice of a possible partner. 'I've played a lot against Rafa on so many occasions, in big matches,' Federer said at Prague's picturesque Old Town Square. 'I think in nine Grand Slam finals. Finally, to have him on my side it's a joy. We talked about playing doubles a long, long time ago. It never happened. Of course, I would love to share the side of the net this time around. We have to see how practice goes and then at the end Bjorn will take the ultimate decision.' Nadal concurred. 'Of course, I would love (to play with Federer),' Nadal said. 'It will be amazing if that happens. We've talked about that years ago to play in some tournament together. It didn't happen yet. We're looking forward to playing here, hopefully. Let's see if the captain allows us to play.' Borg has yet to decide how to form pairs for doubles, but suggested 'there's a very good chance' for Federer and Nadal. 'He's the captain, he's the boss here now,' Nadal said. 'I am just here to try my best, every time the captain wants me on court, I am just here to try to help the team to win the Laver Cup.' Federer warned a victory was not a given even though the two are currently ranked No. 1 (Nadal) and No. 2 (Federer). 'There's a lot of expectations and everybody thinks we're going to win and play together then we bomb out,' Federer said. 'So, we better make sure we focus on just playing good doubles and if it works together at the same time, that'd be great. 'I'm sure that the crowd would go absolutely crazy.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 21st, 2017

Indonesia announces surprise bid for 2032 Olympics

By STEPHEN WRIGHT,  Associated Press JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia will bid to host the 2032 Olympics following the success of the Asian Games held there over the past two weeks, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said in a surprise announcement Saturday that highlights the rising ambition of the giant but long underperforming Southeast Asian nation. Jokowi, who is campaigning for a second term, made the announcement at a meeting in Bogor with the presidents of the International Olympic Committee and the Asian Olympic Committee. "With the experience we have in organizing the 18th Asian Games, we are sure Indonesia can also host a bigger event," Jokowi said in a statement after the meeting. IOC President Thomas Bach welcomed the candidacy of Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous nation, saying that the Asian Games provided a "strong foundation" for the country's 2032 bid. He said Indonesia has shown that it has all the ingredients to hold the Olympics successfully. "You see that Indonesia is on the move. And you see the enthusiasm of the people," Bach told The Associated Press. "It's a very young country. This of course also makes it very interesting for the IOC." About 12,000 athletes from 45 nations and territories as well as several thousand officials and journalists took part in the Asian Games, which end Saturday. As host, Indonesia provided a spectacular opening ceremony and also exceeded its own expectations in winning 30 golds, placing fourth on the medal table. Indonesia, projected to be among the world's 10 biggest economies by 2030, used the games to shift perceptions that it's in the "too hard" basket, paving the way for a tilt at even bigger sports hosting baubles. The country's hosting of the Asian Games without major organizational hitches has been a boost for Jokowi as he heads to elections in April. With the 2032 bid announcement, he gets to extend the shelf life of the Asian Games afterglow. Bach said the formal selection process for 2032 hasn't begun but Germany and India have also expressed interest. "And we have heard from other continents and other cities," he said. "Given that the decision will most likely be taken in 2025, you can understand that we are already very happy at this stage to have such an interest." Tokyo is hosting the 2020 Olympics. Paris and Los Angeles have already been selected to host the following two games, in 2024 and 2028, respectively. Massive problems with the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, a developing country with endemic corruption, may count against Indonesia's chances. It cost Brazil about $20 billion to host the Olympics, a bill that is likely to raise objections in Indonesia, where poverty remains widespread. ___ AP Sports Writer Stephen Wade contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 1st, 2018

Woods now at peace

LAST week’s broadcast ratings are out, and, as expected, the final round of the PGA Championship got a major — pun wholly intended — boost when Tiger Woods played himself into contention and became the prime focus of CBS’ Sunday coverage of the final Grand Slam event of the year. Even as the rock-star atmosphere he engendered at Bellerive highlighted his pull among the sport’s avid followers, the myriad eyeballs he attracted on the small screen served as proof of his unparalleled crossover appeal. The post Woods now at peace appeared first on BusinessWorld......»»

Category: newsSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsAug 15th, 2018

Gilas 3.0 gives hope to a strong 'Gilastopainters' run in Asian Games

The Philippines is no stranger to sending a ragtag team to major international competitions. The last time we did it was three years ago and that team almost won a gold medal. That fact gives the "Gilastopainters" hope for the upcoming Asian Games in Indonesia later this week. While Gilas 3.0 was amazing in its own right, the truth of the matter is that the Philippines could have certainly done better. But still, the Tab Baldwin-coached national team came one win short of the 2016 Olympics after it won silver in the 2015 FIBA-Asia Championships, eventually losing to host China in the Final. Center Asia Taulava, who was part of the 2015 squad and is again part of the 2018 Asian Games team, points to their run three years ago as something that this current group can replicate in Indonesia for the Asiad. "I know people don’t expect much from us cause the team’s been formed eight days before the tournament, but we’re gonna go out and compete," Taulava said. "We’ve been in this situation in 2015, when nobody expected us to get a silver medal with coach Tab. And you know, having Gabe, having some of the veterans mixed in with the young guys, it’s gonna be great. We just gotta go out there and work," he added. The general consensus when it comes to the goals and expectations for the 2018 Asian Games team is rather simple: finish better than 7th place. A loaded Gilas Pilipinas crashed and burned four years ago in South Korea and placed 7th. In 2018, anything better than that seems like a win but for the Gilastopainters, they're not just fighting to win 6th place or better. Obiously, they want something more. "Everybody’s saying 7th place. We’re not even thinking about that, we want a medal. Only reason why we all say yes to playing for the national team, it’s not just trying to be better 7th place. Nobody wants that. You know, our ultimate goal is always gold medal, we’re not settling for 7th place," Asi said. "We gotta remember we’re representing the country. We’re not just going there to represent ourselves. We’re asking our fans to please support us throughout this journey that we’re gonna be on. It’s gonna be tough, but it’s very doable," Taulava added. Gilas will make its debut in the Asian Games on Thursday, August 16, against Kazakhstan.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 13th, 2018

Koepka holds off Woods to win 100th PGA Championship

ST. LOUIS, USA – Brooks Koepka, holding his nerve to fight off dramatic challenges from Tiger Woods and Adam Scott, won a thrilling back-nine battle Sunday, August 12, to capture the 100th PGA Championship. The 28-year-old two-time US Open champion sealed his third major title by firing a 4-under-par 66 ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsAug 13th, 2018

Woodland sets PGA record but leads by only a stroke at PGA

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press ST. LOUIS (AP) — Sirens blared across Bellerive, putting the second round of the PGA Championship on hold and ending a day of scoring rarely seen in a major. Gary Woodland set the 36-hole record — for now, anyway — after a round where his driver wasn't as reliable, he didn't see many putts drop and he didn't hit the ball quite as well as the day before. "I can live with that," he said Friday after a 4-under 66. That put him at 10-under 130, breaking by one the PGA Championship record and tying the 36-hole score for all majors. And it was only good for a one-shot lead over Kevin Kisner. There were two rounds of 63, one 64 and six 65s. And that was only half of the 156-man field. Still to be determined was whether Woodland's score even holds up as the lead. Storms arrived forcing a two-hour suspension, and the PGA of America declared the rest of the day a wash when rain pounded the course. Rickie Fowler had just birdied the 10th hole and was at 7 under. Tiger Woods had three birdies through seven holes as he tried to get in range. "I felt I was headed in the right direction," said Woods, who was at 3 under. "Tomorrow is going to be a long day for a lot of us." The second round was to resume at 7 a.m. local time. The greens would be slightly smoother, the course slightly longer, the approach unchanged — see flag, aim at flag. Perhaps it was easy for Woodland not to be overly impressed. He was playing with Kisner, who shot 29 on the back nine and was in the middle of the ninth fairway — his final hole — needing a birdie to become the first player to shoot 62 in the PGA Championship. He came up short of the green, chipped too strong and made bogey for a 64, leaving him one shot out of the lead Friday. Right in front of them was U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka, who had a 20-foot birdie putt he wanted to make for no other reason than he likes to make birdies. This one missed, and only later did Koepka realize it was for 62. Instead, he was the 15th player to shoot 63 in the PGA Championship. "My caddie said something walking off," Koepka said. "I didn't even think of it. I've been so in the zone, you don't know where you are." And then Charl Schwartzel made it 16 players with his eight-birdie round of 63. No one from the afternoon draw completed more than 12 holes. The plan was to finish the second round, make the cut and then immediately start the third round in threesomes off both tees. "I feel like we're in a good spot," Fowler said. "But the nice thing about the delay and going back out tomorrow morning, we'll get fresh greens." Bellerive really had no defense. Woodland and Kisner played in the same group, and they offered a great example that Bellerive is accommodating to just about any game. Woodland is among the most powerful players in golf. Kisner is not. He relies more on a clean hit with his irons and a great short game. The course is so soft — not so much from Tuesday's rain, but the extreme heat that requires more water on the turf — that every flag is accessible provided players find the ample fairways. "Greens are receptive, so my 4-iron stops as quick as his 7-iron," Kisner said. "If they were firm, I don't think I would have a chance with the way the greens are situated and the places they're putting the flags. But being receptive, that's my only hope." Woodland's 36-hole score broke the PGA record by one shot, most recently set by Jimmy Walker and Robert Streb at Baltusrol. It also tied the 36-hole record for all majors, matching Jordan Spieth at the 2015 Masters, Martin Kaymer at the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 and Brandt Snedeker (Royal Lytham & St. Annes in 2012) and Nick Faldo (Muirfield in 1992) at the British Open. Koepka was at 8-under 132, two shots behind. Dustin Johnson, the world's No. 1 player, had a 66 and joined Schwartzel and Thomas Pieters (66) at 133. Spieth still has hope in his second try at a career Grand Slam. Spieth didn't get under par for the tournament until his seventh hole Friday — the par-3 16th hole — and he managed to do enough right for a 66 to get within seven shots of the lead. Spieth has battled with his game all year, and his confidence isn't at its peak. It's the nature of the course that makes him feel he has a farther climb than the seven shots that separate him from Woodland. "A little frustrated at this place in general," Spieth said. "This course would be phenomenal — and probably is phenomenal — if it's not playing soft. You get away with more. You don't have to be as precise. ... Personally, I would prefer more difficult and firmer, faster conditions on the greens. Having said that, I would have shot a much higher score yesterday." Defending champion Justin Thomas was at 2 under through seven holes, while Rory McIlroy was frustrated with all pars in his seven holes. On a day like this, that meant losing ground. "It's been 16 pars in a row from yesterday to today, so hopefully I can break that run in the morning," McIlroy said. Midway through the afternoon round, the cut was projected to be even par. Woodland, even with the lowest 36-hole score in 60 years of stroke play at the PGA Championship, still had a long way to go. In conditions like Bellerive, no lead was safe. "I feel safe because I feel safe where my game is," Woodland said. "I'm not too worried with what anyone else is doing out there.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 11th, 2018

Fowler grabs early lead

ST. LOUIS, United States — Rickie Fowler, a top-five finisher twice in every major without a win to show for it, fired a five-under par 65 Thursday to grab a two-stroke clubhouse lead at the 100th PGA Championship. While Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy each grinded to level-par 70s at Bellerive Country Club, ninth-ranked Fowler […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsAug 10th, 2018

Baguio has new fresh-produce —and ‘pasalubong’ fare—market

  A new market has just opened in the City of Pines. But not to worry if you are a fan of the iconic Baguio City public market. The Marketplace at Leonard Woods Terraces is not meant to compete but complement and supplement the popular market, a major tourist draw in the City of Pines. For the gourmet, gourmand and restaurateur, Rustan's Marketplace is probably the one-stop food and beverage store one has waited for in the summer capital. Different countries are represented in its extensive selection of meats, dairy products and beverages, including a wide selection of wines, well-stocked delicatessen with ready-to-eat items. The fresh produce section has farm-...Keep on reading: Baguio has new fresh-produce —and ‘pasalubong’ fare—market.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsAug 9th, 2018

Tiger Woods takes ice bath, prepares for final major of year

Tiger Woods waits to hit from the fifth fairway during a practice round for the PGA Championship golf tournament at Bellerive Country Club, Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Rober.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsAug 8th, 2018

PBA: ROS on Asian Games: 'With Yeng, miracles can happen'

To say that Rain or Shine will be rushed in its preparation for the 2018 Asian Games would be a major understatement. As it stands, the only sure thing going on right now is that the Philippine team's core will be made up of the Elasto Painters and Yeng Guiao will handle the team. The rest of the lineup however, will depend on a lot of things. "There's seven ROS members, and then yun nga yung tatlong cadets. We're throwing as many names as we can including some big men from NLEX," SBP President Al Panlilio said on the Asian Games lineup. "I spoke to coach Yeng, he's thinking of including Asi [Taulava] just to help out in guarding the some big guys from the other teams. We also gave feedback to coach Yeng, he's finalizing as of the moment, we're rushing him to really come up with a lineup already," he added. With an incomplete lineup and limited preparation, expectations are naturally limited for Rain or Shine. "We were very candid, baka kulelat tayo diyan," ROS Governor Atty. Mert Mondragon said. However, the Elasto Painters will fight. And stranger things have happened in basketball. With a ROS reunion in place, there's still confidence that the team will deliver in Indonesia. "But with Yeng, miracles can happen," Atty. Mondragon said. "Coach Yeng and ROS proved naman na they can be very competitive. Obviously this is the international stage. We're hoping for the best, for sure they will play hard," Panlilio added.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 26th, 2018

Molinari rises to 6th in world ranking

PARIS, France — Newly-crowned British Open champion Francesco Molinari climbed to a career-high world ranking of sixth while 14-time major winner Tiger Woods edged back into the top 50. Molinari became the first Italian in history to win one of golf’s four majors on Sunday with a flawless final-round 69 at Carnoustie, and has jumped […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsJul 24th, 2018

Molinari wins maiden major at British Open Open

ITALIAN STALLION CARNOUSTIE, United Kingdom — Italy’s Francesco Molinari emerged from the pack in a thrilling finale at Carnoustie to win the British Open on Sunday, seeing off the challenges of reigning champion Jordan Spieth and a revived Tiger Woods to win the first major of his career. At the age of 35, he becomes […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsJul 23rd, 2018

Molinari survives wild day to win British Open

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland --- Francesco Molinari didn't get the loudest cheers for the best golf at British Open. He was overlooked for so much of Sunday playing alongside Tiger Woods, who caused pure pandemonium at Carnoustie by taking the lead in the final round of a major for the first time in nine years. Molinari settled for the best cheer of them all. The last one. Amid so much chaos --- seven players atop the leaderboard, six of them still tied on the back nine --- Molinari played a steady hand by going the entire weekend without a bogey and finishing with a5-foot birdieputt that secured his place in history as Italy's first major champion. "Clearly, in my group, the attention wa...Keep on reading: Molinari survives wild day to win British Open.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJul 23rd, 2018

Woods creates buzz at Carnoustie

For 20 minutes on a warm Saturday afternoon at the British Open, Tiger Woods’ name was back atop a leaderboard at a major championship and Carnoustie was buzzing. Woods creates buzz at Carnoustie CARNOUSTIE, Scotland — For 20 minutes on a warm Saturday afternoon at the British Open, Tiger Woods’ name was back atop a… link: Woods creates buzz at Carnoustie.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsJul 22nd, 2018

McIlroy loses ground with tough finish at British Open

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press CARNOUSTIE, Scotland (AP) — Rory McIlroy pledged to "go down swinging" in his bid to win a major for the first time in four years. He might have to swing for the fences after the way he finished Saturday at the British Open. On a day of low scoring, McIlroy bogeyed two of his last three holes for a 1-under 70. Instead of being two shots behind, he was four back, certainly not out of it. And he wasn't about to change his strategy of being aggressive. "Go out and hit a lot of drivers," McIlroy said. "I felt like today the course was perfectly set up to take advantage of it and attack it. Tried to do that for the most part. Maybe my wedge play wasn't quite as good as it should have been, but I gave myself plenty of chances." McIlroy said he felt like he left some shots out on the course, and was disappointed at the way he finished. Still, he's won the Open before and believes he has a reasonable shot to do it again. "I've got a bit of experience at this," he said. "Maybe more so than some of the other guys on the leaderboard. But the leaderboard is packed with a lot of very, very good players." McIlroy and other players on the leaderboard are keeping an eye on the notoriously fickle Scottish weather going into the final round. The wind is expected to pick up some and if it shifts direction the scores could go a different direction than they did on Saturday. The best thing, McIlroy said, is there are only five players in front of the group bunched four shots off the lead. "Just need to get off to a fast start tomorrow," he said. "I'm obviously disappointed after the way I finished, but I'm still in the tournament. I'm only a few shots behind. The wind is supposed to pick up a little bit. So it will make things interesting." ___ WINDWARD FINALE Kevin Kisner has been hearing all week that the strongest wind would be on Sunday, which is fine by him. "I think it's going to be a true test, and we'll get to see really who's hitting it the best and playing the best tomorrow," Kisner said. He only had one wish. "As long as 18 is downwind, I don't really care," he said. "I played with Zach (Johnson) today and he said the last time they were here, they hit 3-woods all four days on 16 and 4-iron on 18. So I can't imagine that direction and how difficult that finish would be." ___ REDEMPTION Zander Lombard dropped two shots on the 17th hole when he pulled it into a ditch, took a drop, hit into a bunker and missed the cut. He made up for it in a big way. "I said to my caddie walking down the fairway, 'Let's have a finish for the crowds at least,'" Lombard said. After a strong drive on the 18th, the South African hit a gap wedge from 132 yards that landed in front and to the left of the hole, checked and turned to the right and then dropped in for an eagle. "It was just awesome soaking up the energy and taking it in," Lombard said. "I feel really positive for tomorrow, and I'm going to fight for it." ___ ONE BAD SWING Rickie Fowler opened with two birdies in four holes and was one shot out of the lead with a par 5 coming up at No. 6. That turned out to be his undoing. Fowler pulled his tee shot so far left that it went out-of-bounds. He sent his next shot from the tee some 40 yards to the right, and he wound up making a triple-bogey 8. That wasn't his only mistake. He made three more bogeys, including on the 18th, and that offset the eagle he made on the par-5 14th. But it added to a 73 — only Pat Perez with a 74 had a higher score among the last 14 players to tee off Saturday. "Obviously wanted to head in the right direction today, but didn't do that," Fowler said. "Back to the drawing board. We'll come out hot tomorrow and see what we can do. Made some good swings coming in, but like I said, just didn't execute through the middle of the front nine and (it) cost me." Fowler was eight shots behind and plays Sunday with Patrick Reed. ___ ROSE RALLY Justin Rose was about 18 feet away from going home Friday when he made the birdie putt on the 18th to make the cut on the number. One day later, he was five shots out of the lead. No one took advantage of the calm conditions like Rose, who played bogey-free from the third group out and shot 64. It was his lowest score at the British Open by two shots, and at the end of the day, Rose was in a tie for 13th. "There's a difference between being 3 over on Friday and way off the lead and 3 over and way off the lead on Saturday morning," Rose said. "You kind of feel a bit more grateful to be here rather than Friday night, you feel frustrated to be there. So I think the birdie on 18 last night freed me up, and I'm just very happy to be out on this golf course and not down the road somewhere else this morning. "Obviously, I had nothing to lose." He won't be losing much sleep. Rose had the entire afternoon off to rest, and he gets to sleep more on Sunday. ___ AP Sports Columnist Tim Dahlberg contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 22nd, 2018

Johnson and Kisner, housemates and British Open leaders

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press CARNOUSTIE, Scotland (AP) — A light rain in the morning that gave way to soft sunlight in the afternoon took some of the sting out of Carnoustie. Just not all of it. Kevin Kisner found that out with one swing that erased his two-shot lead Friday in the British Open and left him tied with housemate Zach Johnson. He hit an 8-iron that only needed to go 150 yards to clear the Barry Burn in front of the 18th green. Instead, it floated out of the yellow grass to the right, bounced off the base of the rock wall that frames the winding stream and led to a double bogey. Disappointed but not down, Kisner removed his cap behind the green and scratched his head as if he wondered what hit him. "They call it 'Car-nasty' for a reason," he said after signing for his 1-under 70. "Even when you think you've got it, it will jump up and bite you." It took a chunk out of Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas, the Nos. 1 and 2 players in the world who won't be around for the weekend. Johnson finished with a double bogey to miss the cut by one. Thomas made three straight double bogeys on the front nine and missed by one. And it left a wide-open weekend on a course with a history of crazy finishes. Zach Johnson, whose name already is on the claret jug from his playoff victory at St. Andrews three years ago, played in the morning under an umbrella and finished with a 30-foot birdie putt for a 67. Johnson and Kisner are staying in a house of seven players — five of them major champions — and share the lead at 6-under 136. They played on different ends of a day that started gray and ended with shadows. Scotland's unusually dry summer finally got a reprieve. There wasn't enough rain to turn brown fairways green, though it at least kept shots from rolling endlessly. They head into a weekend with endless possibilities. One shot behind were Tommy Fleetwood (65), Pat Perez (68) and Xander Schauffele (66). Perez was tied for the lead until he hit into a bunker on the 18th hole and took bogey. Rory McIlroy, pledging to "go down swinging" to rid himself of a bad Masters memory this year, had another 69 and was part of a large group two shots behind. Jordan Spieth also is in the mix in his bid to take the claret jug back home to Texas. Spieth hit 8-iron through a gap in the trees for a birdie-birdie start to the back nine, and he dropped only one shot — not four like he did on Thursday — over the four closing holes at Carnoustie for a 67. He goes into the weekend just three shots back. "Very happy to be back in the tournament," Spieth said. Tiger Woods still has work to do after a rugged start, good recovery and then a mix of birdies and bogeys that left him stuck in neutral on a better day for scoring. Woods had another 71 and was six shots behind, with 28 players between him and the lead. "We've been fortunate with the conditions. It hasn't blown yet," Kisner said. "I think it will blow this weekend and make it even more difficult. Who knows what's going to happen? We're going to just keep trying to get after it." Carnoustie was a far different test from the opening round, when sunshine baked the fairways crisp and it was difficult to figure out how far the ball was going when it hit the ground. The steady, light rain made them a little slower and a lot more predictable. The greens held shots a little better. Strategies changed. Slightly softer conditions meant power players who were driving beyond the trouble hit more irons off the tee, and shorter players hit more drivers and fairway metals. Kisner hit 5-iron off the first tee Thursday. He hit 3-wood Friday. "Hit the same club as the approach," Kisner said. "That's a pretty dramatic difference in distance." Kisner is a newcomer to what amounts to an American fraternity house at golf's oldest championship the last three years. Four of them are among the top 11 on the leaderboard going into the weekend with Spieth and Rickie Fowler, who shot 69 and was at 3-under 139. As for talking shop after work? Nothing is off limits. "Everybody will tell their horror stories and good stories, and we'll laugh and eat a big old meal and sit around and watching something stupid," Kisner said. Thomas will have one of the horror stories. The PGA champion took three to get out of a pot bunker from the fairway on the par-5 sixth hole, making the first of three straight double bogeys. Johnson became the first No. 1 player to miss the cut since Luke Donald in 2011, and it was the second straight that the top two players in the world ranking missed the cut in a major. The way golf has been going, it would be reasonable to see the name "Johnson" atop the leaderboard and assume it belonged to the top-ranked player. But not necessarily at the British Open. "I've been called Dustin many times," Zach Johnson said. "I doubt he's been called Zach that many times." Johnson overcame a bogey on the opening hole with birdies on the third and fourth holes, and he never put himself under too much pressure the rest of the way. Already a two-time major champion with titles at St. Andrews and Augusta National, the 42-year-old from Iowa now has made the cut 12 straight times in the British Open, a streak that began at Carnoustie in 2007. His low ball flight, grinding nature and good putting give him the right ingredients. Kisner is no stranger to pressure at a major. He had at least a share of the lead after each of three rounds at the PGA Championship last summer until a bogey on the 70th hole ruined his chances. "Hopefully, I'll have another chance to prove that I can do it here," Kisner said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 21st, 2018

Young and united, England looks good as a title contender

By Graham Dunbar, Associated Press MOSCOW (AP) — A famous song lyric neatly describes the upbeat feeling around England's rejuvenated national soccer team. It's not "football's coming home." Instead, try the old punk rock line: "If the kids are united, they will never be defeated." The positive emotions of England's young players are evident toward coach Gareth Southgate despite the 2-1 loss to Croatia in extra time in the World Cup semifinals. "You've brought belief and the love of football back. Thank you boss from the whole nation," 20-year-old forward Marcus Rashford wrote on his Twitter account Thursday. You’ve brought belief and the love of football back. Thank you boss from the whole nation ❤️⚽️ pic.twitter.com/2meUAFlIN5 — Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) July 12, 2018 Over-achieving in a first major international test for Southgate and many of the squad has banished the anxiety that harmed too many England teams in recent years. Rashford, a sharp and fast second-half substitute in Moscow on Wednesday, is not even the youngest of Southgate's players in Russia. At 19, Trent Alexander-Arnold impressed in the Champions League final for Liverpool in May, and weeks later started his first World Cup game, against Belgium. "It has been an honor to be a part of this special team. We will be back stronger," Alexander-Arnold wrote on Twitter early Thursday. Absolutely devastated that our journey is over! We enjoyed every moment as a nation, I’d like to thank all the staff and fans for being behind us. It has been an honour to be a part of this special team. We will be back stronger 💔🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 pic.twitter.com/LErwj4QqZm — Trent Arnold (@trentaa98) July 11, 2018 Alexander-Arnold, a quick, right-sided defender, will need to force his way into the team past Kieran Trippier, perhaps the standout success of England's tournament. Trippier delivered world-class corners, crosses and free kicks, including the fifth-minute goal against Croatia that raised hope of a first World Cup final berth since 1966. The Tottenham player gave an emotional endorsement of Southgate, who seems likely to guide England's team to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. "It all comes from the manager, unbelievable manager for me personally, the way he handles the team," Trippier said at the Luzhniki Stadium. "He sets the tone, he brought this team together." A relatively late bloomer at 27, Trippier is a rare England player who will turn 30 before kickoff in Qatar on Nov. 21, 2022. The four attackers who started Wednesday, including 24-year-old captain Harry Kane, are between 22 and 25. The heart of the defense — John Stones, Harry Maguire, plus goalkeeper Jordan Pickford — are in the same age bracket. It's a talent pool setting up England as a serious title contender in the coming years. There is still room for envy if England can bear watching the World Cup final on Sunday. In the midfield duels, France fields the elegance and power of Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante against Croatia's precise pair of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic. There isn't likely to be a Modric-type player in England's team ahead of the 2020 European Championship to help retain the ball, pace the play, and manage the toughest games. Those are the kinds of qualities England needed after halftime against Croatia. "If we're in the position again, we'll be better off because of the experience of what we've just had," said 28-year-old Jordan Henderson, who was Liverpool's captain in that Champions League final loss to Modric and Real Madrid. The incentives are huge. Euro 2020 is being hosted across 12 countries, but England could qualify and be placed in a group based at Wembley Stadium, travel for two knockout rounds, then come home for the semifinals and final at Wembley. "The aim if we're at the Euros in two years' time is to go again," said Kane, who should be Southgate's chosen captain for years to come. Before qualifying starts next March, England is in a fascinating group for the inaugural UEFA Nations League, which starts in September. Spain, under new coach Luis Enrique, visits Wembley on Sept. 8. England then travels to face Croatia on Oct. 12. The return games will be completed by November......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 13th, 2018

The British Open returns to the nasty links of Carnoustie

By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press Carnoustie is known as much for the calamity it causes as the British Open champions it crowns. Any mention of Carnoustie immediately brings back that image of Jean Van de Velde, equal parts tragedy and comedy, standing in Barry Burn on the 18th hole with water up his shins and rising. He made triple bogey to lose a three-shot lead, and then completed as great a collapse as can be found in a major championship by losing in a three-man playoff in 1999. Just don't get the idea Van de Velde owns all the rights to bad endings at Carnoustie. Jose Jurado was the first victim. He had a three-shot lead going into the final round in 1931 and was still two shots clear late in the round until coming undone in the brutal closing stretch, topping one shot on the 17th hole into the burn. He lost out to Tommy Armour. More recently was Padraig Harrington , only it worked out well for him in 2007. Playing the 18th with a one-shot lead, the Irishman hit his tee shot into the Barry Burn. He took a penalty drop and then hit his next shot into the winding stream. Harrington managed the best double bogey of his life. It got him into a playoff when Sergio Garcia made bogey from the bunker, and Harrington went on to win his first major. Of the six previous Opens on these menacing links, Ben Hogan is the only winner to hold a 54-hole lead. For most everyone else, Carnoustie always seem to dish out its share of carnage. Rod Pampling once opened with a 71 and had the lead. He followed with an 86 and missed the cut. Phil Mickelson still hasn't seen a weekend at Carnoustie. Garcia made his major debut as a professional at Carnoustie. He shot 89. "That's a brutal course," Bernhard Langer said. He speaks from experience in 1999, when Langer had his third-highest score of the 23 Opens he completed. He shot 297, and he tied for 18th that week. The first time Tiger Woods went an entire round without a birdie in a major was in 1999 at Carnoustie. "I think I made one birdie on the weekend and I finished three or four back of the playoff," Woods said. "That was ridiculous how hard it was." One month after Shinnecock Hills was punishing as ever in the U.S. Open, golf's oldest championship doesn't figure to be much of a reprieve. Scotland has been going through a warm, dry patch of weather, which figures to make it firm and bouncy. Mickelson, who played Carnoustie a week before the Open, said it was unlikely he would even carry a driver. "I'm either going to carry a driver or that hot 3-wood, but there's only two or three holes — there's actually only two holes I plan on using it, both par 5s. I have a low 1-iron that I've been putting in the bag and ... it's very low. Gets on the ground quick. I'll hit that on probably the last ten holes, almost every hole." Carnoustie in any conditions is regarded as a beast, with a reputation as the toughest links in the world. Sir Michael Bonallack, the former R&A secretary, might have sized it up the best when he said, "When the wind is blowing, it is the toughest course in Britain. And when it's not blowing, it's probably still the toughest." In recent Opens, it has picked up a nickname: Car-nasty. For so much of the field, it will be a new experience. Only two players from the top 10 in the world have played a British Open at Carnoustie — Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy , who was an 18-year-old amateur in 2007 and immediately showed his potential when he opened with a 68. He tied for 42nd that week. Only 33 players in the 156-man field have played an Open at Carnoustie, and only 12 have played it twice. Defending champion Jordan Spieth only knows it from television. He was 13, just starting to blossom as a junior, and he watched the Open from home as Garcia and Harrington tried to survive the finish. "I remember ... how good of a score par was on that hole and will continue to be for Opens going forward," Spieth said. "It's one of probably the toughest closing holes in the Open Championship anywhere, and that creates some drama when it comes down to Sunday, as we've seen. And I don't think it will be any different this year." Carnoustie gets its mean streak from the way the course was set up in 1999, with narrow fairways and high grass. But its strength comes from the wind, like most links courses, and this course near the North Sea is particularly exposed. It measures 7,402 yards, which is 19 yards shorter — yes, shorter — than it was in 2007, the last time the Open was at Carnoustie. Spieth will try to become the first player in 10 years to repeat as British Open champion, and right now he'd simply settle for a chance. Since his closing 64 at the Masters to finish third, Spieth has finished at least 12 shots out of the lead in four of his seven tournaments. He missed the cut in the other three. Like most majors these days, the Open figures to be wide-open. Dustin Johnson, who lost a four-shot lead over the final two rounds at Shinnecock, is back to No. 1 in the world and eager to pick up another major. He has not played since the U.S. Open. The next three players behind him in the world ranking — PGA champion Justin Thomas, Rose and U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka — all have a chance to replace him at No. 1. Recent history would suggest a young American — the last five majors have been won by Americans in their 20s. "It's definitely been pretty one-sided, and the Americans are dominating," Rose said. "So it would be lovely to turn that around next week." Woods is happy to get another crack at it. Carnoustie was his first experience with links golf in 1995, when he was still at Stanford and came over for the Scottish Open at Carnoustie ahead of the British Open at St. Andrews. He opened with a 69, closed with a 78 finished 48th. "Carnoustie is an unbelievable driving golf course," Woods said. "You have to drive the ball well there, but also it's not your traditional in (and) out golf course. It's a lot of different angles, so a lot of different crosswinds. I have to be able to maneuver the golf ball both ways there efficiently. You just have to hit the golf ball well." There is no faking. Nothing comes easily. No one really conquers Carnoustie. It's more about survival. The highest compliment might have come from Tom Watson, who won his first major at Carnoustie in 1975 in a playoff over Jack Newton. "Carnoustie is like an ugly, old hag who speaks the truth no matter how painful," Watson once said. "But it's only when you add up your score, you hear exactly what she thinks of you.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 13th, 2018