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Trump tells fans on post-Covid comeback tour: ‘I feel so powerful’

Washington, USA—Deprived of his beloved campaign trail for 10 days by Covid-19, President Donald Trump took center stage again Monday in Florida, vowing that he is in “great shape” with 22 days to go until he faces Joe Biden in the election. “I went through it and now they say I’m immune,” Trump told a […] The post Trump tells fans on post-Covid comeback tour: ‘I feel so powerful’ appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerOct 13th, 2020

Trump tells fans on post-Covid comeback tour: ‘I feel so powerful’

Washington, USA—Deprived of his beloved campaign trail for 10 days by Covid-19, President Donald Trump took center stage again Monday in Florida, vowing that he is in “great shape” with 22 days to go until he faces Joe Biden in the election. “I went through it and now they say I’m immune,” Trump told a […] The post Trump tells fans on post-Covid comeback tour: ‘I feel so powerful’ appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 13th, 2020

Simone Soars: Biles named 2019 AP Female Athlete of the Year

By Will Graves, Associated Press They’re called “Simone Things,” a catchall phrase for the casual ease with which Simone Biles seems to soar through her sport and her life. The irony, of course, is that there’s nothing casual or easy about it. Any of it. The greatest gymnast of all time and 2019 Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year only makes it seem that way. Those jaw-dropping routines that are rewriting her sport's code of points and redefining what can be done on the competition floor? Born from a mix of natural talent, hard work and a splash of ego. The 25 world championship medals, the most by any gymnast ever? The result of a promise the 22-year-old made to herself when she returned to competition in 2017 after taking time off following her golden run at the 2016 Olympics. The stoicism and grace she has shown in becoming an advocate for survivors — herself included — and an agent for change in the wake of the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal that’s shaken USA Gymnastics to its core? The byproduct of a conscious decision to embrace the immense clout she carries. “I realize now with the platform I have it will be powerful if I speak up and speak for what I believe in,” Biles told The Associated Press. “It’s an honor to speak for those that are less fortunate. So if I can be a voice for them in a positive manner, then of course I’m going to do whatever I can.” And it's that mission — combined with her otherworldly skill and boundless charisma — that's enabled Biles to keep gymnastics in the spotlight, a rarity for a sport that typically retreats into the background once the Olympic flame goes out. She is the first gymnast to be named AP Female Athlete of the Year twice and the first to do it in a non-Olympic year. Biles edged U.S. women's soccer star Megan Rapinoe in a vote by AP member sports editors and AP beat writers. Skiing star Mikaela Schiffrin placed third, with WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne fourth. Biles captured the award in 2016 following a showstopping performance at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, where she won five medals in all, four of them gold. She spent most of the following 12 months taking a break before returning to the gym in the fall of 2017, saying she owed it to herself to mine the depth of her talent. Check social media following one of her routines and you’ll find people -- from LeBron James to Michelle Obama to Chrissy Teigen -- struggling to distill what they’ve witnessed into 280 characters or fewer, with whatever they settle on typically followed by multiple exclamation points and a goat emoji, a nod to Biles being considered the Greatest Of All Time. Her triple-twisting double-flip (the “triple double”) at the end of her first tumbling pass on floor exercise is a wondrous blur. Her double-twisting double-flip beam dismount (the “double double”) is so tough the International Gymnastics Federation made the unusual decision to downplay its value in an effort to deter other gymnasts from even trying it. This is both the blessing and the curse of making the nearly impossible look tantalizingly attainable. When Biles learned about the FIG's decision, she vented on Twitter, her palpable frustration highlighting the realness she's maintained even as her first name has become synonymous with her sport's royalty. It can lead to a bit of a balancing act. In some ways, she's still the kid from Texas who just wants to hang out with her boyfriend and her dog and go to the grocery story without being bothered. In other ways, she's trying to be respectful of the world she's built. Take the GOAT thing. It’s a title she embraces — Biles wore a goat-themed leotard during training at the national championships in August — but also takes with a grain of salt, determined to stay grounded even as the hype around her grows. Yes, GOAT happens to be the acronym for her planned post-Olympic “Gold Over America Tour,” but ask her where the inspiration came from and she laughs and gives credit to a friend, Kevin, who came up with it in a group chat. It is both paying tribute to and winking at her status at the same time. Biles has become well aware over the last three years that her every word and action carries far greater weight than she ever imagined. Her most impactful moment of 2019 might not have come during a meet but sitting for an interview on the eve of winning her record sixth national title, when she fought back tears while talking about how USA Gymnastics, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the FBI failed to protect athletes during an investigation into Nassar's abusive behavior. The moment went viral, as most things surrounding her tend to do these days. “I’m starting to realize it’s not just the gymternet anymore,” Biles said, using the term for her sport's dedicated fans. "It’s an overall thing. It’s weird to get that kind of attention, but at the end of the day, I feel gymnastics has been overlooked in non-Olympic years. Yeah, it puts pressure on me. But I’m not trying to think about all the attention from the outside world.” The attention figures to only grow in the run-up to Tokyo, where she will attempt to become the first female gymnast in more than half a century to repeat as Olympic champion. Her smiling face serves as the exclamation point at the end of every television promo for the Summer Games. Let it be known: The smile is real. That might not have always been the case, but is is now. Heading into the final months of a singular career, she is trying to revel in the journey while anxiously awaiting what's next. Add it to the list of Simone Things. “I feel like this is the beginning of my life and I don’t want gymnastics to be my whole entire life,” she said. “I’m definitely going to soak in the moment and enjoy it so 10 years from now I can look back and say ‘I had the time of my life out there’ ... rather than ‘I was good, but I was miserable.’”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 26th, 2019

Lady Gaga, car horns trumpet Biden’s grand campaign finale

PITTSBURGH  (AFP) – Honking horns, huge American flags, and pop superstar Lady Gaga: on the eve of the presidential election, Joe Biden brought an air of spectacle to workers’ stronghold Pittsburgh as he capped a campaign largely curtailed by the Covid-19 pandemic. US singer Lady Gaga performs prior to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaking during a Drive-In Rally at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on November 2, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) “The power’s in your hands, Pennsylvania!” the Democratic White House nominee thundered late Monday to several hundred supporters gathered for a drive-in rally in what has become the pivotal state in Biden’s battle against President Donald Trump. “It’s time to stand up and take back our democracy,” the 77-year-old added, prompting a crescendo of car horns outside the stadium that is home to the Pittsburgh Steelers American football team. In the biting November cold, Biden took up the clarion call of a campaign that he launched 18 months ago: “This is a battle for the soul of America,” he said. “We have to win this.” Lady Gaga, clad in a white sweatshirt with “Joe” printed on the front, listened and applauded from her stage. Minutes earlier she had peeled off her gloves and sat down at a white piano to give a short but inspired musical warmup to the Biden headliner. “Gloves off because it’s a fight — a fight for what you believe in,” she said before launching into her hit “Shallow.” The 34-year-old Grammy winner called on the audience to vote for Biden because “we needed somebody that was going to bring us all together for this moment, for this very important moment.” “No matter who wins tomorrow, we’re going to have to do this together. Tomorrow’s got to be peaceful,” she added somberly, in an allusion to the tensions that have swelled in the United States ahead of the poll. The singer, who once lived in Pennsylvania, has been in this position before. In 2016, she helped close out the campaign of Democrat Hillary Clinton, who lost in a shocker to Trump. ‘End of Trump era?’ Dancing in the parking lot was Jamie Scafuri, a 26-year-old hairdresser, who came with friends invited by someone who works for the campaign. “We’re hoping that it’s the end of the Trump era,” Scafuri told AFP. “We’re hopeful. That’s why we’re here.” These drive-in rallies have become a staple of the Democrat’s mostly low-key campaign, which has scrupulously adhered to social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines to guard against the coronavirus, which has already killed more than 230,000 Americans. But despite efforts to put on a show at least partly resembling concert-infused mega-rallies that have traditionally marked the end of a campaign, the cars parked at distance, sparse spectators and few journalists allowed to enter makes it clear: the pandemic has upset the face of American politics in 2020. “Stay close to your cars!” urged an announcer as fans rushed forward for the arrival of Lady Gaga, in scenes far removed from the massive Trump rallies that often bring thousands of supporters packed together, very often without wearing masks. But here, Biden’s supporters understand the constraints. “I feel safe being here around our car with masks on, but it’s a great opportunity to celebrate life for sure,” Scafuri said. Biden is “a pro-science, pro-healthcare candidate, so it makes sense that he would want to protect his constituents,” added Scafuri’s friend Katie Soulen, 32, who owns the salon where they work. Trump ‘don’t care’ about us Biden is coming full circle with his campaign. The former vice president launched his White House candidacy — his third, following disastrous bids in 1988 and 2008 — in April 2019 in this blue-collar city. Even then, in the cradle of the American steel industry now remaking itself as a tech hub, Biden predicted that a victory against the Republican president would “happen here,” in Pennsylvania. Biden has a slight lead in the pivotal state, which Trump won by less than a percentage point in 2016. But the polls have tightened in recent days, and after the brash billionaire’s shock victory four years ago, some Democrats are nervous. But Bob Wilson, born and raised “right where we stand” in Pittsburgh, is confident that Trump will be defeated. “No, we’re gonna crush him… We’re gonna beat him in every state,” the 68-year-old retired truck driver, now a union official, said as he waited for Biden in the large parking lot at Heinz Field, named after the giant food processing company founded here in the 19th century. Trump is “not qualified” and “don’t care about nobody but himself,” he added......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsNov 3rd, 2020

Trump launches intense campaign push

Targeting the politically powerful seniors' vote in Florida, Trump began with a rally in the famous retirement community The Villages, where he told a large crowd that all Biden talks about is "Covid, Covid, Covid" to try and "scare people." The post Trump launches intense campaign push appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 23rd, 2020

Li at his best and builds early lead at PGA Championship

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Still young, often inconsistent, forever fearless, Li Haotong is capable of just about anything on a big stage in golf. He was at his best Friday in the PGA Championship. Three years after his 63 in the final round of the British Open, Li hit only four fairways at Harding Park and still managed a 5-under 65 that gave him the early lead and set the target for Jason Day, Brooks Koepka and Tiger Woods to chase. The 25-year-old from China capped a bogey-free round with his eighth straight par and was at 8-under 132, two shots ahead of Tommy Fleetwood of England among the early starters. Surprised? Depends on the day. “The last couple days, I've been pretty much all hit in the right spot,” Li said. Getting as much attention was the logo on his hat — WeChat, the Chinese social media company and one of his biggest sponsors. Li was in the spotlight at Harding Park one day after President Donald Trump signed executive orders on a vague ban of WeChat and TikTok in 45 days. Just as unclear was whether Li was aware of the development. “I don't know,” he said. “Who knows?” Li is a two-time winner on the European Tour, most recently in 2018 at the Dubai Desert Classic when he rallied down the stretch to beat Rory McIlroy by one shot. He was sensational at Royal Birkdale in 2017 — only five other players have 63 in the final round of a major. But he had a terrible week in his Presidents Cup debut at Royal Melbourne in December. When he first came to America, he made fast friends on the developmental tours with his constant laughter, engaging personality and aggressive play. “He's got the arsenal to take it low,” said Adam Scott, his teammate at Royal Melbourne. “But we don’t see that kind of consistency out of him, and that probably matches his personality a little bit. He’s young, though, and that’s the kind of golf he plays. He plays pretty much all guns blazing, and when it comes off, it’s really good.” And when it doesn't? He beat Koepka in the Match Play last year and reached the round of 16. But that was his last top 10 in America. And then there was the Presidents Cup. Li brought his trainer to be his caddie, and the caddie got lost on the course during a practice round, gave up and headed for the clubhouse. Instead of finding him, Li played the rest of the round out of another player's bag. International captain Ernie Els wound up benching him for two days, playing Li only when he had to. Li lost both matches he played. “It's been very tough on me, the Presidents Cup, because I didn't play until Saturday,” Li said. “So not quite in the Presidents that way, actually. But anyways, good experience.” Fleetwood had one of those final-round 63s in the majors two years ago at Shinnecock Hills in the U.S. Open. He had a 64 on Friday and was two shots behind at 134. Much like Li — maybe the only thing they have in common — it's been a slow start back. Fleetwood stayed in England during the pandemic, not returning to competition until Minnesota two weeks ago (he missed the cut). He also played a World Golf Championship last week with middling results, but he found his form in San Francisco. “It’s funny really, like when you’ve played poorly, you feel a long way off, and then you have a day like today and you obviously feel a lot better about it,” Fleetwood said. “I feel like I’ve prepared well last week and this week and felt way more in the groove of tournament golf.” Cameron Champ, who grew up in Sacramento, had a 64. He was three shots behind Li, along with Paul Casey (67). Brendon Todd, who shared the 18-hole lead with Day, settled for a 70 and joined them at 135. Li, who primarily plays the European Tour, went back to China in March when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down golf. He returned at the Memorial and missed the cut, and then tied for 75th in a 78-man field last week in Tennessee. “I didn't even (think) I could play like this ... got no confidence,” Li said. “Probably it helped me clear my mind a little bit.” He's wise enough to realize the tournament is not even at the halfway point. If the lead holds, Li would be the first player from China to hold the lead after any round of a major......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 8th, 2020

No vaccine, no boxing

Buboy Fernandez feels it is insensitive to talk about a Manny Pacquiao comeback until the world discovers a vaccine for the coronavirus. As the country reels from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the renowned tactician told the Daily Tribune on Friday that he won’t feel at ease heading back to training camp unless the […] The post No vaccine, no boxing appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsAug 7th, 2020

Taiwan grandparents become Instagram stars modeling abandoned clothes

Taiwan’s trendiest couple these days are neither young celebrities nor teen influencers — they are an octogenarian duo who run a mom-and-pop laundry service and have become an online sensation by modeling abandoned clothes. Chang Wan-ji, 83, and his wife Hsu Sho-er, 84, have racked up nearly 600,000 followers on Instagram over the last month as their attitude-filled fashion portraits went viral (AFP Photo/HSU Tsun-hsu) Chang Wan-ji, 83, and his wife Hsu Sho-er, 84, have racked up nearly 600,000 followers on Instagram over the last month as their attitude-filled fashion portraits went viral. They have even been featured in the Taiwanese edition of Vogue and Marie Claire. The couple have run a laundry for decades in a small town near the central city of Taichung. Over the years, customers have either forgotten or failed to collect reams of clothing that the couple never felt able to throw away. Grandson Reef Chang, 31, hit upon the idea of using the clothes to alleviate the couple’s boredom. “My grandpa and grandma were staring blankly at the streets because business wasn’t good,” he told AFP. “I wanted to find something new they could enjoy doing.” The pair were naturals in front of the camera. “Modelling these clothes makes me feel 30 years younger,” beamed Chang, when AFP paid a visit to the store earlier this week.  “Many people are telling me ‘You are famous now and you look younger’.” Hsu felt so, too. “I am old in age but my heart is not ageing,” she said. “I like to put on pretty clothes and go out to have some fun.” Worldwide fame It was while modelling other people’s garments, Hsu came to remember that she also had many forgotten outfits in her closet which she has since rediscovered. “I even found some clothes I bought 30 years ago and I can still wear them. It’s a happy surprise,” she said. The couple’s Instagram account — @wantshowasyoung — is managed by grandson Reef.  Chang currently only uses the Line messaging app to make free phone calls but Reef says his grandfather is keen to learn how to make the perfect Instagram post. The account first started going viral abroad and around 400,000 new fans have started following in the past week alone after major international media picked up on their success. Reef said he translates and reads out fan mail pouring in from all over the world. “We’re very moved by the messages,” he told AFP, “Many people are saying that ‘Wantshowasyoung’ is the first happy news they’ve seen in this dark year marred by the Covid-19 pandemic and problems in many countries,” he added. The couple’s worldwide fame has also prompted a few forgetful customers to pick up old clothes, while some local fans have started visiting their sleepy town to see the store. The shop is named “Wan Sho” — a combination of the middle character of their Chinese names. Re-use clothes The couple tied the knot in an arranged marriage six decades ago, a practice then common in Taiwan. Chang said he had thought about retiring but decided to stay on as long as he can as the laundry business has become less labour-intensive thanks to machines.  “Elderly people should keep moving and remain active or we will age faster… When I am working and being kept busy, I don’t have time to worry,” he said. Chang says he has lost count of how many garments have gone uncollected in his shop over the decades but he thinks there are at least 400 items at the moment. Many more have been donated to charities and impoverished families over the years. The couple hope to use their new social media clout to promote the concept of “environmental fashion”.  “Instead of following ‘fast fashion’ and keep buying new clothes, we hope people can see that old and second-hand clothes can be fashionable if you arrange and combine them in new ways,” said Reef Chang.  “This would cause less damage to the earth and the environment.” .....»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsAug 1st, 2020

NBA restart likely to provide TV audience new sights, sounds

During a normal NBA season, the sights and sounds of arenas serve as both a showy backdrop and home court advantage for its teams. But with no fans allowed in the stands for the upcoming restart because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the league’s Orlando-area bubble restart will have a decidedly different feel for both […] The post NBA restart likely to provide TV audience new sights, sounds appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJul 28th, 2020

Jovelyn Gonzaga: A soldier s heart

National team star Jovelyn Gonzaga continues to fulfill her duty as a soldier serving the locally stranded individuals (LSI) inside the Philippine Army camp in Taguig. Since the start of the lockdown, Gonzaga as well as other volleyball players and coaches, who are also enlisted military personnel, heeded the call in the war against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in different fronts as frontliners. The opposite hitter of the Army Lady Troopers in the Premier Volleyball League and Cignal in the Philippine Superliga has been on duty in Fort Bonifacio since the start of the community quarantine four months ago. Gonzaga in a lengthy but heartwarming post on her Instagram account shared her experience and realizations while on her tour of duty. “With this pandemic crippling our nation. I once again feel the importance and value of what we do as soldiers serving the country,” she wrote. “We are tasked to take care of the LSIs. And the inspiration I am getting every day on duty from our displaced countrymen despite of all the challenges surrounding their conditions is really remarkable.”         View this post on Instagram                   1/2 PROUD ARMY.. I remember the days when I was just starting my playing career. I was hesitant and full of doubt until I find my niche and understand my deeper why? Why am I doing these things? And where is passion coming from. All my life since I started playing volleyball, I always make it a point that my resiliency is always in check. Though there were some instances that I intend to give up? However, the desire in me to do better withstand all these challenges. That same resiliency and passion is what keeps me going until now. As a professional volleyball player and as a soldier. Serving the country is in my DNA, while playing for the country and as a soldier serving my countryman. With this pandemic crippling our nation. I once again feel the importance and value of what we do as a soldier in serving the country. We are tasked to take care of the LSI’s. And the inspiration I am getting every day on duty from out our displaced countrymen despite of all the challenges surrounding their conditions is really remarkable. And instead of me writing about them? I would rather write something from me and the lessons I’ve learned meeting them first hand. And this is my story. My regular day is training, duty and training. Sometimes go out for other stuff but most often times it’s me being a soldier and an athlete altogether. When we were call to duty in taking care of the LSI’s? Mixed emotions hit me. There’s excitement, pity and I would say fear of the unknown as we took on our new tour of duty within our territory. As we received our first batch of LSI’s. You can see in their eyes the struggles they’ve been through. However, you can also sense the sigh of relief from their actions that things will be better compared to their previous conditions. You can feel in the air the longingness of our LSI’s to go home and be with their families. Regardless of their uncertainties with regards to the acceptance of their home provinces on returning LSI’s. We all know that not all provinces are welcoming their LSI’s due to the danger of spreading Covid-19 in their respective places. @yourphilippinearmy To be continued..... A post shared by Jovelyn Gonzaga (@bionic_ilongga) on Jul 12, 2020 at 6:34pm PDT The Ilongga spiker said that she can also relate to the plight of the LSIs holed up in the camp while waiting for clearance to get back to their homes. “I remember when I was just new here in Manila. I am always looking forward to that opportunity that I can go home and visit my family. I know the struggle of being far from your family. But then again, I think, my condition is far away better than their current situation,” Gonzaga posted. Gonzaga continued by saying that the resiliency and the spark of hope in the eyes of the LSIs serves as her inspiration.            View this post on Instagram                   2/2 PROUD ARMY Longing to go home is somewhat I can personally relate. I remember when I was just new here in Manila. I am always looking forward to that opportunity that I can go home and visit my family. I know the struggle of being far from your family. But then again, I think, my condition is far away better than their current situation. This is where I draw my inspirations. These LSI’s desire to come home notwithstanding all the hassles and challenges are very admirable. This is where you will feel the value of having a family to come home to. The strong family ties we Filipinos have will always be the reason and the foundation of each and every LSI’s I met and will be meeting in the next coming days. The Filipino bayanihan spirit is very evident since no one is too selfish not to share what they have to help others. The resiliency I have and the toughness these LSI’s are showing is what made us Filipinos invincible amidst any circumstances. This experience I am in right now will always be my driving force in serving my country more. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas. Mabuhay tayong mga Filipino. @yourphilippinearmy Collab w/ @iamjlac ♥? A post shared by Jovelyn Gonzaga (@bionic_ilongga) on Jul 12, 2020 at 6:38pm PDT With positive cases still on the rise, LSIs in different holding facilities could be looking at an extended time away from their families. But rest assured that military personnel like Gonzaga will always be there to serve......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 14th, 2020

Morikawa builds big lead at Muirfield Village before storms

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Among the lessons Collin Morikawa took away from missing his first cut as a pro was that his reliable cut shot had left him. He found at it Muirfield Village, and suddenly looks as though he'll be tough to catch at the Workday Charity Open. Morikawa ran off four straight birdies after making the turn Friday, finished with another birdie and shot 6-under 66 to build a four-shot lead over Sam Burns (66) in the storm-delayed tournament. His 13-under 131 was one shot off the course record set by Jason Dufner in 2017 at the Memorial. The Workday Charity Open, which replaces the canceled John Deere Classic for this year only, has been set up a little easier than it will be for the Memorial next year, with slightly slower greens and rough that isn't quite as high or thick. Morikawa is still playing a different brand of golf than anyone else. Through two rounds, he has 15 birdies and an eagle. His four bogeys have come from silly mistakes that are bound to happen. Ian Poulter, back at Muirfield Village for the first time since 2009 because of a reconfigured schedule brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, had a 69 and joined Chase Seiffert (69) at 7-under 137. The second round had a pair of 75-minute delays because of the rumbling thunder and lightning that seems to appear whenever the PGA Tour is at Muirfield Village. “Who knows who's going to take it deep today?” Morikawa said. “Whether I have the lead or not, I've got to go into the weekend feeling like I've got to make the same amount of birdies I have the past two days. I feel like there’s a lot of birdies out there for me especially, the way I’ve been hitting it.” Morikawa, who turned pro just over a year ago after graduating from Cal, is making his debut at the course Jack Nicklaus built, and perhaps it's no coincidence that Nicklaus was famous for hitting a cut. “I had heard from a lot of people before, this course was going to suit a left-to-right shot, anyway,” Morikawa said. “Obviously, Jack hit that, and I think it does. But I’ve been able to leave myself some really good numbers into approach shots. I’ve been keeping myself in the fairway for the most part, and that obviously helps.” Among those playing in the afternoon, Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka first had to worry about making the cut after sluggish starts. Koepka started at 2 over. Rahm was at even par. Phil Mickelson had another exciting day, minus the meltdown at the end of his round. He opened by chipping in for birdie and making a 12-foot eagle putt. With the tee moved forward on the 14th hole, the par 4 guarded by a pond right of the green, he hit driver to 10 feet and had to settle for birdie. And right before the first batch of storms arrived, Mickelson felt the wind shift and get stronger, so he took driver on the par-5 fifth and whaled away over the trees and just inside backyard fences. It settled in the rough, but it left him only 114 yards away and a pitching wedge to the green. The speed of the greens fooled him, and he repeatedly left putts short. Even so, he managed to post a reasonable number. Jordan Spieth wasn't as fortunate. He took double bogey on his 17th hole, the par-3 eighth, and was likely to miss the cut. Morikawa had made 22 cuts in a row to start his pro career, a streak that ended two weeks ago at the Travelers Championship. That was three short of the streak Tiger Woods put together when he turned pro. But the 23-year-old Californian was more interested in low scores than simply getting in four rounds and a pay check. “At the end of the day, you’re out there to win tournaments,” he said. “If you miss the cut, make it by whatever, you just want to learn from each week. And like I said, I learned a lot from those two days missing the cut than I have in a lot of events so far when I’ve been finishing whatever." This one caused him to take a closer look at what was lacking in his game, instead of being reasonably content with a solid finish. “I think sometimes when something really doesn’t go your way, like missing a cut, it just stands out a little more,” he said. Somewhere along the way, he couldn't rely on his cut shot, allowing him to aim some 6 yards left of his target and fade it toward the pin, no matter where it was located. It was after his practice round Wednesday that he figured out what was missing, and he went back to an old drill of sticking his glove under his left arm. It's a rotational drill, and it paid off. He had to wait until the storms to see if anyone could catch him, with the second round not likely to end until Saturday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 11th, 2020

Koepka among those who have to catch up in FedEx Cup

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer The question was perplexing to Brooks Koepka, perhaps because it was missing specific context or because it takes a lot to make him worry. He was asked going into the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head if he felt any sense of urgency. “Urgency for what?” he replied. Koepka missed three months after a knee injury in October when he slipped on wet concrete at the CJ Cup in South Korea and had to withdraw. When he returned, he played five times — his only top-20 finish was a tie for 17th in Saudi Arabia — and then the COVID-19 pandemic shut down golf for three months. Having played only four PGA Tour events, he was No. 213 in the FedEx Cup standings. The only time he didn’t make it to East Lake for the FedEx Cup finale was in 2015, when he missed a month with an ankle injury. He finished 35th. Koepka was unaware that history is working against him this year. In the last 10 years, Jim Furyk is the only player to be outside the top 200 in the FedEx Cup standings with nine events remaining and reach the postseason. “I just go play golf, just keep doing what I’m doing,” Koepka said that day. “I feel like I’m playing good, so eventually it will come.” He closed with a 65 at Harbour Town to finish seventh and moved up 56 spots to No. 148. And then he withdrew the following week from the Travelers Championship out of caution when his caddie, Ricky Elliott, tested positive for the coronavirus. He returns to the Workday Charity Open this week having slipped seven spots to No. 155. Six tournaments are on the schedule between now and the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs. Furyk in 2016 turned it around with a runner-up finish at the U.S. Open. Only one major and one World Golf Championship remain on the schedule. Koepka has company in that regard. British Open champion Shane Lowry spent most of his time on the European Tour late last year and into the first month of 2020, so he has only seven starts on the PGA Tour and is at No. 148. C.T. Pan, who played in the Presidents Cup, has missed seven of nine cuts since January and is No. 182. Sergio Garcia is at No. 122. One week can change everything. Dustin Johnson, who missed the entire fall recovering from knee surgery, was off to a slow start before the pandemic and missed the cut at Colonial upon his return. Two weeks later, he won the Travelers Championship and moved up to No. 22. Koepka still has the World Golf Championship at TPC Southwind, where he won last year, and the PGA Championship, where he tries to become the first player to win three straight times in stroke play. There is time. Plus, he's not one to sweat such matters. BONES ON THE BAG Matt Fitzpatrick came over from England for the restart of the PGA Tour, and caddie Billy Foster stayed behind. The idea was for Fitzpatrick to get used to the protocols, and then Foster would join him for the World Golf Championship in Memphis, Tennessee, and the PGA Championship in San Francisco. Fitzpatrick used Cayce Kerr for three tournaments. And then he got an offer he couldn’t refuse for two weeks at Muirfield Village: Jim “Bones” Mackay, the longtime looper for Phil Mickelson who now does course commentary for NBC Sports. “I was absolutely shocked,” Fitzpatrick said. “Everyone knows his place in the game and how well he’s done. Even just walking around here, people are excited to see him back and on tour. For me, I was very taken aback.” It wasn’t an accident. Fitzpatrick has an endorsement with Workday, whose CEO knows Mackay and suggested he reach out to Fitzpatrick. They will be working together the next two weeks at the Workday Charity Open and the Memorial. LET’S PLAY TWO Muirfield Village is hosting different PGA Tour events in consecutive weeks, which hasn’t happened in 63 years. The last time was in 1957, when Roberto de Vicenzo won the All American Open against an 83-man field at Tam O’Shanter Club in Illinois. Dick Mayer won the World Championship of Golf on the same course a week later. That was the 10th straight season that the All American Open and World Championship of Golf were held at Tam O’Shanter in successive weeks. Lloyd Mangrum was the only player to win both events in the same year (1948). According to the PGA Tour, there was one other tournament held on the same course in back-to-back weeks. That was in 1956, when the Dallas Centennial Open and the Texas International Open were held at Preston Hollow to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of Dallas being founded. Both events were never played again. DRIVE ON Maybe some of the PGA Tour players should borrow the “Drive On” slogan from the LPGA Tour. That’s all they’ve been doing since the restart last month in Texas. Russell Knox drove his RV from the north Florida coast to Colonial, and then back toward the Atlantic coast to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. From there, he and his wife went north to Connecticut to the Travelers Championship. At that point, they hired a driver (they were passengers) for the trip to Detroit, and now they’re in Ohio. But they had company. One of his closest friends on tour, Brian Stuard, also bought an RV. “We’ve been traveling along with him,” Stuard said. “Decided to do it and really enjoy it so far. Not sure if we’re going to continue to do that. Those were some long drives. But it’s worth it once you get it there.” And then there’s Viktor Hovland. The Norwegian played at Oklahoma State and still lives in Stillwater, so he decided to take the four-hour drive to Colonial. “Then I just kept on thinking, ‘Well, what if I just take my car to all these tournaments?’ I looked it up, it’s 16 hours to Hilton Head. It’s 13 hours to Connecticut. ... Yeah, been having a lot of fun so far.” He drove through the night from Fort Worth, Texas, to Hilton Head and didn’t feel great when he arrived. He took in some views from Connecticut to Detroit. “It’s really nice just driving through New York and Pennsylvania,” he said. “It’s really hilly and a lot of cool views on the way.” DIVOTS Matt Fitzpatrick is hopeful fans will return, especially for the Masters — not so much for him, but his parents. “I know my parents really want to come watch that one,” he said. ... The Senior British Open, canceled this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will remain at Sunningdale next year. ... After his victory in Detroit, Bryson DeChambeau was listed as the betting favorite over Rory McIlroy in the three majors this year. STAT OF THE WEEK The last three PGA Tour events were won by players from the top 10 in world — Webb Simpson (9) at Hilton Head, Dustin Johnson (6) at Hartford and Bryson DeChambeau (10) at Detroit. The last time that happened was in the summer of 2018 when Johnson (1) won the Canadian Open, Justin Thomas (3) won the Bridgestone Invitational and Brooks Koepka (4) won the PGA Championship. FINAL WORD “I’ll be devastated if I don’t play well.” — Charles Barkley on playing the American Century Championship for celebrities......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 8th, 2020

Berger a winner at Colonial, and PGA Tour feels like it, too

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The PGA Tour spent two months learning about the COVID-19 pandemic and trying to develop a safe plan to return, followed by another month hoping for the best. Commissioner Jay Monahan said his confidence in the plan came with a dose of uncertainty. “If we ... got into a situation where we were dealing with a number of positive tests, that's something — candidly — that I lost a lot of sleep over in the weeks that preceded coming,” Monahan said. Monahan felt every bit a winner as Daniel Berger at the Charles Schwab Challenge. The tour administered 487 tests for the new coronavirus at Colonial, and the results on all of them came back negative. On the golf course, a dozen of some of golf's best players — from Rory McIlroy to Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele to Jordan Spieth — all had a chance going into the final round. “Listen, there is more work to be done,” Monahan said. “But this is a phenomenal start to our return.” It was a healthy return, except for a somewhat sickly finish. Berger made a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole and heard the deafening silence of a big moment with no spectators allowed at Colonial. He got into a playoff when Collin Morikawa missed a 6-foot birdie putt for the win and Xander Schauffele missed his try from 25 feet. The playoff was held on the 17th hole, another reminder of how this week was different. Playoffs always start on the 18th hole because that's where the gallery is packed into the grandstands. With no fans allowed, and with the 17th tee right next to the clubhouse, off they went. Morikawa hit a deft chip to 3 feet. Berger chipped even closer from behind the green and rapped in his par. They presumably were headed to the 18th tee until Morikawa's 3-footer spun out, and Berger was the winner. Schauffele should have been in the playoff, but his 3-footer for par on the 17th in regulation dipped in the right side of the cup and spun out of the left side. Talk about a horrible horseshoe. “If there are fans and everything with the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs,’ I’d probably be a little more (ticked) off,” Schauffele said. “Maybe that’s a good thing for me right now. But it was definitely weird." Justin Rose had an 18-foot birdie putt on the 18th that looked good all the way until it wasn't. He finished one behind along with Bryson DeChambeau and Jason Kokrak, who also missed birdie chances on the last hole. This isn't the first time Rose or anyone else has missed a big putt. It wasn't the first time Rose let out a gutteral moan from missing. It was just the first time he actually heard it. “If the crowd are there, their groans or cries, whatever it may be, would have drowned me out,” Rose said. “You suddenly realize you actually do make some noise sometimes yourself. And it surprised me a little bit there on 18.” There were reminders all week of no fans, but rarely why golf had been shut down since March 12 because of the rapid spread of COVID-19, a pandemic that canceled one major (British Open) and postponed the others until later in the year. “The only time I thought about it was when I was having to take the tests, and that was really it,” Keith Mitchell said. “Hopefully, nobody comes down with it and we can keep on playing.” Players on the charter to the next stop — Hilton Head on the South Carolina shore — had to swing by the pool area at Colonial after the third round for a saliva test. If negative, they board the plane and don't have to be tested at Hilton Head. Everyone else driving, flying commercial or flying private face another test when they arrive. Tony Finau learned a new skill beyond chipping and putting. He learned to spit for his test. “You just kind of roll your tongue around inside your mouth, and it seems to bring a little bit more, and also if you just lean your face down, it seems to come out a little easier,” he said. So few talking about the virus was an indication of how safe it felt. In this case, the week doesn't end until the next tournament begins. “I was asked, ‘What’s a successful week look like?' It means us getting to the RBC Heritage and having another successful week,” he said. “I feel very good about the setup there, and we're ready to go again." Monahan had said as the tour prepared to return that it was critical not to fall into a trap that all is well. He said he wouldn't feel comfortable until told he could be comfortable, and likely would mean a vaccine. Morikawa said being back to golf and being back to normal were different matters. “Just because we played one week doesn’t mean we can go party and go do everything else like we used to,” Morikawa said. “We still have to follow these guidelines and maintain safety and strict rules with how far we stay from each other because it’s still out there. “We just have to be cognizant of what’s around us and where we put ourselves, because we want the tour to keep playing......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 15th, 2020

Schauffele leads Colonial over host of stars in tour return

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The PGA Tour went three months without playing. It took three days to show fans what they were missing, even if all they could do was watch on TV. Eight players had at least a share of the lead at some point Saturday in the Charles Schwab Challenge. When the third round at Colonial ended, 14 players were separated by three shots. And not just anybody. Xander Schauffele, among the growing roster of young stars in golf, finished off his six-birdie round with a 12-footer on the last hole for a 4-under 66. The six players one shot behind included Jordan Spieth, whose short game helped him navigate some early trouble and nerves. He had the lead until going not making a birdie on the back nine. Still, his 68 gave him his best 54-hole position since Colonial a year ago as he tries to end three years without winning. Also one shot behind was Justin Thomas (66) and U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland, who quickly got into the mix with birdies on his last two holes for a 66. Rory McIlroy (69) and Justin Rose (68) were among those three shots behind. Patrick Reed, who had to birdie three of his last six holes Friday to make the cut with one shot to spare, shot 63 and was three back. All this with hardly any noise. “I don’t have like a huge effect on the crowd I’d say, so not having fans isn’t the craziest thing to me,” Schauffele said. “It just does feel like I’m playing at home with some of my buddies. It’s quiet. You make three birdies in a row, you can kind of give yourself a pat on the back.” This wasn't entirely a TV show. A few houses in the Colonial neighborhood put up their own hospitality tents to see limited golf, the rowdiest behind the 16th tee and another down the 15th fairway. Fans gathered on the balcony of an apartment complex along the 14th, which also brought ou the first, “Get in the hole!” since the PGA Tour returned for the first since since March 12 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the course, there were no bursts of cheers as Spieth rammed in a 40-foot putt on the eighth hole or stuffed his approach to 3 feet on No. 9 to take the lead. A few dozen of the essential personnel — broadcast crews, volunteers for scoring — were around when Schauffele made his birdie for the lead at 13-under 197. But there are leaderboards that show only the score — no need for updates on FedEx Cup leaders or statistical data for each player as he prepares a shot because that's for the fans, and there are none. That will be the only way anyone knows where they stand in what figures to be a wild chase to the finish. “When you have spectators and things, you get on a roll, and most of the time you feed off of that,” said Branden Grace, whose third straight 66 left him one shot behind. “I remember when I won Hilton Head and played well in the majors, the crowd started getting behind you and you start feeling like you can’t do anything wrong. At the moment, it’s just you and your caddie out there.” Colonial is the first of five tournaments in the return to golf that doesn't allow spectators. Players have had three days to adjust to the lack of sound. Sunday is different, everyone trying to generate their own momentum without the energy typically delivered from outside the ropes. “When you get into contention and have a chance to win a golf tournament, that adrenaline starts pumping,” Woodland said. “It’s been a little different. The first two days there wasn’t too much adrenaline. There will be adrenaline going, which you have with fans or without fans. Tomorrow should be fun.” Spieth passed a big test, with another to come as he tries to end nearly three years without a victory. Five times last year, he started a tournament with two rounds in the 60s and was left behind when he couldn't break par on Saturday. There were a few anxious moments for him, such as an iron off the fifth tee that would have finished on the practice range if not for a fence in place for the tournament. He got up-and-down from short of the green to escape with birdie. His next tee shot was right and banged off a cart — one the loudest sounds of the day — leaving him blocked by a tree. He punched it low into a back bunker and saved par. But he didn't make a birdie over the final nine holes, and the 15th cost him when he decided to wait for the players to hit on the 16th tee and started thinking too much about an 81-yard wedge. He hit it fat and made bogey. “ I feel comfortable going into tomorrow that I can shoot a good score,” Spieth said. “If it happens, it happens, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. But I learned a bit about what was going on when I really felt kind of the nerves kick in today, and hopefully compensate for that tomorrow and hit some better shots.” The field was the strongest Colonial has seen, not surprising because so many players stuck at home for the last three months were eager for competition. And this week has made clear that so many of them came to play......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 14th, 2020

Virus-proofing sports facilities presents a big challenge

By DAVE CAMPBELL AP Sports Writer MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The jersey-wearing camaraderie. The scent of sizzling sausages. The buzz before a big game. The distinctive atmosphere of live sports, that feeling in the air, will return in time as pandemic restrictions are eased. But will that very air be safe in a closed arena with other fans in attendance? The billions of dollars spent on state-of-the-art sports facilities over the last quarter-century have made high-efficiency air filtration systems more common, thanks in part to the pursuit of green and healthy building certifications. Upgrades will likely increase in the post-coronavirus era, too. The problem is that even the cleanest of air can’t keep this particular virus from spreading; if someone coughs or sneezes, those droplets are in the air. That means outdoor ballparks have high contaminant potential, too. “Most of the real risk is going to be short-distance transmission, people sitting within two, three or four seats of each other,” said Ryan Demmer, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health. “It’s not really about the virus spreading up, getting into the ventilation system and then getting blown out to the entire stadium because this virus doesn’t seem to transmit that way. It doesn’t aerosolize that well.” The three hours spent in proximity to thousands of others is part of the fan experience. It's also why major sports leagues have been discussing plans to reopen in empty venues, for now. High-touch areas with the potential to spread the virus — called fomite transmission — are plentiful at the ballgame, of course. Door handles. Stair rails. Restroom fixtures. Concession stands. Hand washing by now has become a societal norm, but disinfectant arsenals need to be brought up to speed, too. “I can’t really find good hand sanitizer easily in stores. So think about trying to scale that up, so everybody who comes into U.S. Bank Stadium gets a little bottle of Purel. Things like that can be modestly helpful,” Demmer said. There is much work to be done. Vigilant sanitizing of the frequent-touch surfaces will be a must. Ramped-up rapid testing capability during pre-entry screening could become common for fans. Minimizing concourse and entry bottlenecks, and maintaining space between non-familial attendees, could be mandatory. Mask-wearing requirements? Maybe. Most experts, including those at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, believe the primary mode of transmission for COVID-19 is close person-to-person contact through breathing, coughing or sneezing but there's no consensus on some of the details. “There’s still widespread disagreement between experts on which mode of transmission dominates for influenza. So the likelihood of us figuring this out soon for this virus is low,” said Joe Allen, director of the Healthy Buildings Program and an assistant professor at Harvard’s School of Public Health. “We may never figure it out, but I also think it’s irrelevant because it’s a pandemic and we should be guarding against all of them.” Including, of course, the air. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers designed the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) scale to measure a filtration system's effectiveness (from 1-16) at capturing microscopic airborne particles that can make people sick. Not just viruses, but dust, pollen, mold and bacteria. Most experts recommend a MERV rating of 13 or higher, the minimum standard for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. An emerging technology in this area is called bipolar ionization. Connecticut-based AtmosAir has a bipolar ionization air treatment system in about 40 sports venues. Staples Center in Los Angeles was one of the first major sports customers. TD Garden in Boston and Bridgestone Arena in Nashville are among the others who’ve signed on. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority approved last year a 10-year contract for a little more than $1 million with AtmosAir to install its system in U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Vikings and the first indoor NFL stadium to use it. The building, which measures 1.8 million square feet, has 53 air handling units with AtmosAir tubes installed, including 30 in the seating bowl. The ions act like fresh air, reducing the amount of outside air needed to be introduced for the cleansing process. The protein spikes in the coronavirus particles make them easier to catch and kill, said Philip Tierno, a New York University School of Medicine professor of microbiology and pathology. Said AtmosAir founder and CEO Steve Levine: “We’re never going to create a mountaintop, but we’re going to put in maybe three to four times the ions over the ambient air and then let those ions attack different pollutants in the air. The ions grab onto particles and spores and make them bigger and heavier, so they’re much easier to filter out of the air." The next time fans do pass through the turnstiles, in a few weeks or a few months, in most cases they will probably encounter an unprecedented level of cleanliness. “There will be some controls that are visible, extra cleaning and disinfection, but some of it will be invisible, like for what’s happening in the air handling system,” said Allen, the Harvard professor. “The consumers will decide when they feel comfortable going back, and that’s going to depend on what strategies are put in place in these venues and stadiums and arenas and, most importantly, how well these organizations communicate that to the paying public.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 1st, 2020

Out of the Woods: Tiger emerges for TV match with Lefty, QBs

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer The purpose is to raise $10 million or more for COVID-19 relief efforts, and provide entertainment with four of the biggest stars from the PGA Tour and NFL. Another appeal to the Sunday made-for-TV exhibition, “The Match: Champions for Charity,” is a chance to see Tiger Woods swing a golf club for the first time in 98 days. Live golf is on television for the second straight Sunday, this one with the game's biggest headliner. Woods was last seen on television Feb. 16 at the Genesis Invitational, where he moved cautiously in California's chilly late winter weather and posted weekend rounds of 76-77 to finish last among the 68 players who made the cut at Riviera. He skipped a World Golf Championship in Mexico City, and said his surgically repaired back wasn't quite ready in sitting out the opening three weeks of the Florida swing. And then the pandemic took over, and there has been no place to play. This is a reasonable start. Woods and retired NFL quarterback Peyton Manning will face Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady, who won six Super Bowls with the New England Patriots and signed this year with Tampa Bay. The match will be at Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Florida. It is Woods' home course and about 20 minutes from Seminole, where last week Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff ushered golf's return to live television. What to make of Woods? His only interviews were with GolfTV, the Discovery-owned channel with whom Woods has a financial deal, and a playful Zoom call with the other match participants hosted by Ernie Johnson of Turner Sports, which is televising the match. He described his health in the April 9 interview with GolfTV as “night and day.” “I feel a lot better than I did then,” Woods said. “I've been able to turn a negative into a positive and been able to train a lot and get my body to where I think it should be.” Mickelson has missed the cut in four of his five tournaments this year — the exception was third place at Pebble Beach, where he started the final round one shot behind Nick Taylor and closed with a 75. Just like last week, rust is to be expected for players who haven't competed in two months — three, in the case of Woods. Manning, meanwhile, is retired and is a golf junkie. Brady remains employed, and this week got in some informal work with his new teammates in Tampa Bay. No fans will be allowed, just like last week at Seminole. One difference is the players will be in their own carts, whereas the four PGA Tour players last week carried their bags. But this is as much about entertainment as competition. It's the second edition of a match between Woods and Mickelson, the dominant players of their generation and rivals by name, but not necessarily by record. Woods has 82 career victories to 44 for Mickelson, leads 15-5 in major championships and 11-0 in winning PGA Tour player of the year. Mickelson won their first made-for-TV match over Thanksgiving weekend in 2018, a pay-per-view event that ran into technical problems and was free for all. Lefty won in a playoff under the lights for $9 million in a winner-take-all match. He also has a 5-3-1 advantage over Woods in the nine times they have played in the final round on the PGA Tour, most recently in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2012 when Mickelson shot 64 to a 75 for Woods. He also stopped two streaks. Woods was going for his seventh straight PGA Tour victory when Mickelson beat him at Torrey Pines in 2000. Later that year, Woods had won 19 consecutive times on the PGA Tour when he had at least a share of the 54-hole lead until Mickelson beat him at the Tour Championship. Woods, however, captured the streak that mattered, holding off Mickelson in the final group at the Masters in 2001 to hold all four professional majors at the same time. The banter was lacking in Las Vegas, and perhaps having Manning and Brady will change the dynamics. The broadcast includes Charles Barkley providing commentary and Justin Thomas, whom Woods has embraced, on the course as a reporter in his television debut. After this exhibition, golf has two weeks before the PGA Tour is set to return at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas. Mickelson plans to play. Woods has not said when he will return......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2020

Even at home, the work continues for Sacramento Kings head coach Luke Walton

When the NBA was postponed in mid-March due to a player testing positive for COVID-19, there was immediately an air of uncertainty as to whether the world’s biggest basketball league would resume action later on in the year. Now, over a month later, that uncertainty remains there, even more so now. The playoffs should have started by now, which makes the NBA’s return even more of a question mark, especially in terms of how the league would decide to go about getting the season back on track. For now, there are definitely more questions than answers, but for most of the players and the coaches and the people involved in the league, work continues, even at home. That’s very much the case for Sacramento Kings head coach Luke Walton, who says he continues to find ways to continue to get things done, even under quarantine. When the season came to an abrupt halt, the Kings were 11th in the Western Conference, but were tied with the tenth and the ninth seeds at 3.5 games behind the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies, meaning that they were very much in the running for the last spot in the post-season. With a jump straight into the playoffs being discussed as an option for the league’s return, it would mean that they would once again miss the post-season without having the chance to make one final run in the regular season. Right now however, Walton says that the focus is on the safety of everyone from this dreaded disease. “Normally, I would say that yes, it would feel like [a missed opportunity for a playoff chase]. But again, this is one of those rare circumstances in life where the safety of everyone involved is really what we’re thinking about,” Walton said in an interview with the NBA. “And if that means that were the case then hey, we continue to look forward. We continue to learn from what we did have this year and we take that information and we go full steam ahead into next season.” The Kings were set to take on the tenth-seeded New Orleans Pelicans in an important battle for playoff positioning the day that the league ultimately decided to postpone the games. If the league decides to jump right into the post-season, Walton says that they’d be fully behind the decision if it means finally having the season back. “This is one of those few times where truly the most important thing is that we get past this [pandemic] together. And by together, I mean everybody. Together, we get past this. If that’s what it takes for the NBA to come to a decision, we will be behind it. Normally I would say basketball is more important than most things I’ve gone through in life, but with this the only thing that really matters is that we get through it.” Walton adds that prior to the postponement, there was an excitement within the team because of how they were playing and the position that they were in. “We were excited. Like I said, we were playing high level basketball. As far as a team embracing what it needs to do. What I mean by that is individuals understanding their roles, individuals understand-ing what we need out of them and those individuals making sacrifices for the betterment of the team. I think that’s why we were winning games at a pretty solid rate towards the end.” “As a coach, that is what you’re looking for. As you said, Alex [Len], [Kent Bazemore] coming over to add some tough-ness and physicality that we needed and the defensive level that was being played. A big part of it was having De’Aaron [Fox] get going like that and getting to the free-throw line consistently. In the last few games, I know it’s a small sample size, he was shooting around 90 percent and if you get there eight times a game, that is going to help. Buddy [Hield] was just really dominating his role for us coming off the bench. [Bogdan Bogdanovic] in the starting lineup was making nice basketball plays. We had a lot of good positive things going for us as a team and we were excited. We were looking forward to every matchup that we had, and our guys were giving us everything they had,” he added. On a personal level, Walton says that it doesn’t know if the league will indeed return to finish off the 2019-2020 season. “Honestly, I have no idea. I think everyone wants to play but I think everyone understands top priority is the safety of the fans, the media and everyone that’s involved in this. As much as everyone wants to get back to playing, no one is pressing it and we know what is most important.” For now however, Walton says that he and the players are doing the most that they can during the extended time off. He does admit however, that these past month and a half has been tough. “It’s a challenge. In staying in communication with our guys and what we’ve all come to realize is what is most important and that is the health and safety of everybody; the fans, the players, the families and as much as we want to get out there and play basketball, coach basketball, and compete and be a symbol of strength for our community during this time, we know the most important part of this is the social distancing, staying healthy, and keeping people healthy. To answer your question, there isn’t a lot that the guys can do. We sent out exercise machines, there are workouts online, there [are] option-al Zoom yoga classes. A lot of guys at this point are at home and whether that’s a basketball hoop at home or a treadmill, they are doing what they can under the circumstances.” Walton adds that he has also done some additional coaching at home by homeschooling his children, before doing his work as a coach for the Kings. “We practice social distancing and take it very seriously. My family and I are still up here in the Sacramento area and we have young kids, so the mornings are dedicated to homeschooling and going on walks around the neighborhood.” “When we get done with that, that is when I start checking in with some [players] and some of the coaches and dedicate some time to move our work forward. In the evenings, we’ll either watch some shows or I’ll turn on some of our game film from earlier this year to look at different things and keep trying to grow and learn and understand our team a little more. Then, it’s pretty much like Groundhog Day. We wake up and do the same thing the next day. We are staying busy. We know the top priority, again, is the safety for everyone. I’m trying to use this time to continue to grow and continue to understand our guys more,” he continued. Walton adds that he hopes the players also use this time to get into other things as well and not just spend their free time playing video games. “A big part of what I believe in as a coach, is player development. Especially in today’s NBA, part of that is developing off the court as well. This is a great time for some of those things, whether it is like you said, reading books, listening to podcasts. Meditation is something we encourage our players to do and get into. That’s something that we’re constantly trying to get our players to accept and do. One, because we feel like as coaches, it’s the right thing to do to help people grow. And two, we feel as if you’re helping people grow off the court as people, the quicker they’re going to mature on the court as players. Yeah, this is a time that all those things are available to do. We can’t and we won’t force anyone to do them, but it’s highly encouraged that our players are taking the time to continue to chal-lenge themselves and grow in different areas.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 24th, 2020

Team Lakay stars support ONE Championship s decision to post-pone closed-door events

As the world went into quarantine, sporting events started to either get postponed or cancelled as mass gatherings were prohibited and social distancing was imposed. ONE Championship, the Singapore-based martial arts promotion, has initially planned on continuing to hold events in Singapore behind closed doors starting April, but just days before the first event was supposed to take place, ONE ultimately decided to postpone the events as a result of Singapore going into a partial lockdown. While the events would have provided the fans something to look forward to and would have given athletes a chance to work and provide for their families, health, safety, and combatting the COVID-19 ultimately became the primary priority. Team Lakay stars shared their thoughts and are in full support of ONE Championship’s decision. “I totally agree with the decision, and I'm so proud to be a part of ONE Championship family,” said Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao. “I feel so fortunate to belong to an organization that values life over profit.”   “I believe this is very reasonable as most countries are lockdown and the organization’s cooperation is necessary to make sure this COVID-19 pandemic will be eased,” said former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang.   “I believe that ONE made the right move in postponing their events,” said former ONE Bantamweight World Champion Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon. “It shows that ONE cares about the safety of their crew, athletes and the fans.”   “ONE is the best. They really care for all the fighters and all people that organize the events behind the scenes,” said ONE featherweight contender Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly.   “I believe that it is a good decision,” said ONE Flyweight contender Danny "The King" Kingad. “It shows that they really think about the safety of the athletes and everyone who works with ONE.”   “I support ONE Championship postponing their closed-door events for now because even if it is a closed-door event,” said ONE Strawweight contender Lito “Thunder Kid” Adiwang. They may need fighters based outside of Singapore to participate, and with our situation that we can’t travel yet, I believe ONE did the right thing.”   “For me, I believe that it’s the wisest thing to do to make sure that the athletes are totally safe,” said former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario. “Remember, ‘What you cannot see, you cannot defeat’, the virus is so small that the eye cannot even see it.”   “I’m happy that I can say that ONE Championship is always looking out for the safety of us athletes, of the people in the company, and the fans,” shared ONE Strawweight World Champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio.   “I trust ONE Championship and their decisions,” said former ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio. “They are one of the best companies in the world, they aren’t selfish and they make sure that they promote good things for everybody. I believe that we will overcome this.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 20th, 2020

Woods comeback at Masters named AP Sports Story of the Year

By Eddie Pells, Associated Press A green jacket. A heart-melting embrace. A stirring return to the top of golf by one of the sport’s all-time greats. In choosing Tiger Woods’ victory at the Masters as The Associated Press sports story of the year, voters went with the uplifting escape of a great comeback over options that were as much about sports as the issues that enveloped them in 2019: politics, money and the growing push for equal pay and equal rights for women. The balloters, a mix of AP member sports editors and AP beat writers, elevated Woods’ rousing victory at Augusta National over the runner-up entry: the U.S. women’s soccer team’s victory at the World Cup. That monthlong competition was punctuated by star Megan Rapinoe’s push for pay equality for the women’s team and an ongoing war of words with President Donald Trump. Rapinoe’s efforts to use sports as a platform to discuss bigger issues was hardly a one-off in 2019. Of the top 12 stories in the balloting, only three — titles won by the Toronto Raptors, Washington Nationals and University of Virginia basketball team — stuck mainly to what happened between the lines. All the rest — including the blown call that cost the Saints a chance at the Super Bowl, a California law that threatens to upend the NCAA and Simone Biles’ dominance at gymnastics' world championships, set against the backdrop of the sex-abuse crisis consuming the sport in the U.S. — were long-running sagas that went beyond a single day or event. They painted sports not as an escape from the world’s problems but merely another window into them. It’s no stretch to say that the whole of the Woods saga — namely, the sordid, pain-riddled, decadelong prelude to his victory at Augusta National in April — would fit into that category, as well. His downfall began in the wee hours the day after Thanksgiving in 2009, when he ran over a fire hydrant outside his house in Florida, triggering an avalanche of stories about infidelity that would lead to the breakup of his marriage and play into the near-destruction of his career. Part 2 was the injuries. Woods came close but did not return to his dominant form after his return to golf following his breakup with his wife. And as time went on, his physical condition deteriorated. He didn’t play in 2016 or 2017, and at the end of '17, he conceded his back was so bad that his days of competitive golf might be behind him. There were four risky back surgeries. Woods also required a good deal of inner healing after a mortifying DUI arrest in 2017 that exposed his reliance on painkillers. Through it all, Woods somehow kept nurturing his love for golf. And eventually, he found his game again. He climbed his way back to the top. He had close calls at two majors in 2018 — the British Open and PGA Championship — and then won the season-ending Tour Championship, as good a sign as any that, at 43, he could take on the best and win. But regular tournaments are not the majors, and no major is the Masters. It was on those hallowed grounds at Augusta National where Woods set the marker, starting a decade of dominance that would redefine the game. He blew away the field by 12 strokes in 1997 to win the first of what has become five green jackets and 15 major titles. On that day, Woods came off the 18th green and wrapped himself in a warm embrace with his father, Earl, whose death in 2006 left an undeniable void in the player's life. Though there had been a handful of close calls between his U.S. Open victory in 2008 and the start of 2019, it was clear that if there was a single course where Woods could conjure the old magic and end a major drought, it would be Augusta National. As a four-time champion, Woods built a career on studying every inch of the layout, knowing every fault line and every sneaky twist and turn of the slickest greens on earth. But where, at one time, he might have overpowered the course and intimidated the competition, in 2019, he simply outlasted them both. He avoided mistakes while everyone else was making them. Instead of taking a lead into the last day, then never giving anyone a whiff of hope, this was a comeback. He started the day two shots behind. As AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson wrote in his wrapup of the final day: “Woods never missed a shot that mattered over the final seven holes, taking the lead with a 5-iron to the fat of the green on the par-5 15th for a two-putt birdie, delivering the knockout with an 8-iron that rode down the ridge by the cup and settled 2 feet away for birdie on the par-3 16th.” When it was over, Woods came to the same spot where he’d met Earl 22 years before. He scooped up his son, Charlie, and held him in a long embrace, then did the same with his 11-year-old daughter, Sam, and mother, Tilda. “For them to see what it’s like to have their dad win a major championship, I hope that’s something they will never forget,” Woods said. Very few golf fans will. And in a sports year dominated by weightier topics, Woods at the Masters stood out — a comeback story that left people smiling at the end......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 26th, 2019

UFC s toughest Cowboy set for career fight vs. McGregor

By Dan Gelston, Associated Press Donald Cerrone posted a booze-fueled photo to hype his anticipated fight against Conor McGregor: A bottle of Cerrone's preferred cheap American-style beer vs. the Irish fighter's own whiskey. Cerrone has eschewed McGregor's Proper No. Twelve whiskey, but the winningest fighter in UFC history finally takes his shot at the hard liquor's founder in a January fight at least five years in the making. UFC fans have buzzed for years about the potential brouhaha between McGregor, the biggest star in the sport, and the hard-living fighter better known as "Cowboy." Once the fight was announced last week, the prospect of some four-letter-word trash talking between two of the biggest mouths in the sport was dimmed — at least for now — when McGregor went on social media and wished Cerrone's family a happy holiday. McGregor's friendly acknowledgment came with a steely caveat, " See you in 20/20 with bullseye vision."         View this post on Instagram                   Let this Soak in! This will be my 51st MMA fight and I plan to add new numbers to all these list come January 18. I hold the all-time UFC record for wins with 23. I hold the all-time UFC record for finishes with 16. I hold the all-time UFC record for post-fight bonus awards with 18. I hold the all-time UFC record in knockdowns with 20. I hold the all-time UFC record with seven knockouts via kicks. A post shared by Donald Cerrone (@cowboycerrone) on Nov 29, 2019 at 3:27pm PST "This is the fight that everyone wants to see," Cerrone said. "I don't even know why we have to have a media tour. This fight is going to sell itself. He's done a great job of promoting himself and becoming Conor McGregor." The 170-pound bout is set to headline UFC 246 on Jan. 18 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. McGregor will fight inside the octagon for only the second time in 38 months and the first time since he was choked out by Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018. Cerrone will continue to add to his legacy as MMA's busiest fighter — he fought four times in 2019 (2-2) and holds the UFC career record for wins (23) and most finishes (16) in company history. Cerrone doesn't necessarily believe his grind-it-out schedule holds an advantage over McGregor's elongated rest period. "I don't know if I believe in all that ring rust stuff," Cerrone said. "I don't know if that's an actual thing. He's very talented, won two world titles, went in there with Floyd Mayweather. I don't think a year or a couple of years off is going to matter. Who the (heck) knows? I'm coming in full guns a blazing, man. My camp's excited about this fight." His cowboy hat always on, Cerrone has grown into one of the more popular fighters in UFC with his fight anyone, any time style and who always seems up for a good time. The 36-year-old Cerrone (a +190 underdog) has done it all, except win a UFC championship. His method of cramming as many fights as he can into the shortest window has perhaps at times prevented the patience necessary needed to wait for a major title shot. Cerrone's losses this year were to Tony Ferguson (on a 12-fight winning streak and set to fight Nurmagomedov) and Justin Gaethje (three straight wins and a regular fight of the night winner). "I'm like my own worst enemy, for sure," Cerrone said. "My coaches say all the time, don't take that fight. I definitely could have had better opportunities if I was sitting and waiting. But I love it. I love chasing this crazy feeling." He waited out McGregor for what is expected to be the richest payday of his career. The seeds were planted when Cerrone first called out McGregor when they shared the UFC Fight Night card in January 2015. They shared a dais in 2015 to promote upcoming UFC cards and promptly took aim at each other. Cerrone continued through the years to pressure McGregor to kickstart his comeback and fight him. "This fight was going to happen three or four times," Cerrone said. "Everyone would get their hopes up and then it wouldn't go through. It was like, yeah, right, it's not going to happen. Then the contract came sliding across, and I was like, oh (wow), here it is." Cerrone is ready for a "fun as hell" fight night in a matchup that might have been more enticing two or three years ago. The fight has already seemingly become more about how McGregor will look in his return than what a win would mean for Cerrone’s career. But while McGregor has been caught up in a string of legal woes during his time off, Cerrone has remained in about an endless cycle of training. "My wrestling is far superior," Cerrone said Monday by phone on his way to a swim workout outside his training camp home of Albuquerque, New Mexico. "My pace, my cardio, I plan on really putting on the pressure." Cerrone signed a new mutli-fight deal as part of the McGregor bout and has no plans to slow down, no matter the outcome. He's dabbled in acting and says he wants to put his UFC records far out of reach for the next generation of stars. He trains at the BMF Ranch, part of another nickname that's made him one of the more respected fighters inside the cage. Up next, the fight of a lifetime. "What I want to do is get all of America to back me like Ireland does him," Cerrone said, laughing. "That's what I want. If there's a guy for America to stand behind, it's the blue-collar, beer-drinking Cowboy. I think I'm the man.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 3rd, 2019

Nationals fans rejoice in red as hometown heroes are honored

By Carole Feldman and Lynn Berry, Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — The song "Baby Shark" blared over loudspeakers and a wave of red washed across this politically blue capital Saturday as Nationals fans rejoiced at a parade marking Washington's first World Series victory since 1924. "They say good things come to those who wait. 95 years is a pretty long wait," Nationals owner Ted Lerner told the cheering crowd. "But I'll tell you, this is worth the wait." As buses carrying the players and team officials wended their way along the parade route, pitcher Max Scherzer at one point hoisted the World Series trophy to the cheers of the crowd. At a rally just blocks from the Capitol, Scherzer said his teammates grinded their hearts out to "stay in the fight." And then, after backup outfielder Gerardo Parra joined the team, he said, they started dancing and having fun. And they started hitting. "Never in this town have you seen a team compete with so much heart and so much fight," he said. And then the Nats danced. Team officials, Nationals manager Dave Martinez and several players thanked the fans for their support through the best of times and staying with them even after a dismal 19-31 start to the season. "I created the circle of trust and I trusted these guys," he said. The camaraderie among the players was a theme heard throughout the rally. "It took all 25 of us, every single day we were pulling for each other," said pitcher Stephen Strasburg, the World Series MVP. Nationals veteran slugger Howie Kendrick, 36, said that when he came to the Nationals in 2017, "I was thinking about retiring. This city taught me to love baseball again." Mayor Muriel Bowser declared DC the "District of Champions." The Capitals won Stanley Cup in 2018, the Mystics won the WNBA championship this year, and now the Nationals. The city had been thirsting for a World Series championship for nearly a century. The Nationals gave them that by winning in seven games over the Houston Astros; the clincher came on the road Wednesday night. "I just wish they could have won in DC," said Ronald Saunders of Washington, who came with a Little League team that was marching in the parade. Nick Hashimoto of Dulles, Virginia, was among those who arrived at 5 a.m. to snag a front-row spot. He brought his own baby shark toy in honor of Parra's walk-up song, which began as a parental tribute to the musical taste of his 2-year-old daughter and ended up as a rallying cry that united fans at Nationals Park and his teammates. As "Baby Shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo" played on a crisp morning, early risers joined in with the trademark response — arms extended in a chomping motion. Chants of "Let's go Nats!" resonated from the crowd hours before the rally. Kimberly Ballou of Silver Spring, Maryland, said sports "is a unifier" that transcends race, gender and class and brings people together. The crowd along the route was deeply packed. Cheers went up and fans waved red streamers, hand towels and signs that said "Fight Finished" as the players rode by on the open top of double-decker buses. General Manager Mike Rizzo, a cigar in his mouth, jumped off with the World Series trophy to show the fans lining the barricades and slap high-fives. Manager Martinez also got in on the fun. "We know what this title means to DC, a true baseball town, from the Senators to the Grays and now the Nationals," Bowser said at the rally. "By finishing the fight you have brought a tremendous amount of joy to our town and inspired a new generation of players and Nationals fans." Bowser added: "We are deeply proud of you and I think we should do it again next year. What do you think?" Then she started a chant of "Back to back! Back to back!" Martinez said he liked to hear the mayor pushing for back-to-back championships and said: "I get it. I'm all in. But let me enjoy this one first. I don't know if my heart can take any more of this right now. I need to just step back and enjoy this." Martinez, who had a heart procedure recently, said that during the Series, as things heated up, players and fans shouted at him to watch out for his heart. "All this right here has cured my heart," he said. And as the "Baby Shark" theme played once more, team owner Lerner told the team's veterans, "From now on, you can call me 'Grandpa Shark.'" President Donald Trump has invited the Nationals to the White House on Monday, though relief pitcher Sean Doolittle doesn't plan to attend. "There's a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country," Doolittle told The Washington Post. Doolittle found support from Larry Stokes of Boyds, Maryland, citing Trump's stand on immigrants. "They're playing this game, but he doesn't like immigrants," Stokes said. But to fan Bridget Chapin, who came from Burke, Virginia, with her husband, Mark, "Regardless of how you feel, you go to the Oval Office. I'm really weary of athletes making political statements. I watch sports to get away from all that." The president attended Game 5 in Washington and was greeted with loud boos when he was shown on the giant video screen during a tribute to veterans. The boos more than overwhelmed a scattering of cheers. Delores Smith of Washington, a longtime baseball fan who said she had an uncle who pitched in the Negro Leagues, said the World Series was "a big win" for the city. "This is the first time in a long time that I've seen the whole city come together. There's no fussing about Trump." Even with the threat of stars leaving for free agency — as outfielder Bryce Harper did after 2018 — fans hoped the Nationals' success would continue. "I don't think it's going to be our last time. This team, even when our last superstar left, this team rallied around, they played as a team," Larry Stokes said. Fans urged the Nationals to re-sign third baseman Anthony Rendon, who was greeted with chants of MVP......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 3rd, 2019