June 07, 2012

By DOUG FERGUSON | Associated Press

 

DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Tiger Woods needed only two words to explain where the Memorial fits in on his road back from wherever he was to wherever he is going.

“I won,” he said.

When trying to chart his progress, golf becomes a lot like watching tennis.

He wins at Sherwood, and then can't shake Robert Rock in Abu Dhabi. Phil Mickelson blows him away at Pebble Beach, and then Woods shoots a career-best final round of 62 to put a scare into Rory McIlroy. He withdraws from Doral with a sore Achilles tendon, and then wins by five at Bay Hill. He has the worst three-tournament stretch of his career, and then goes through a week at Muirfield Village where he hardly misses a shot.

He’s back. He’s finished. He’s back. And on it goes.

“I’m sure by Tuesday I’ll be retired and done,” Woods said Sunday. “And then by the time I tee it up at the U.S. Open, it might be something different.”

He was smiling at his own exaggeration, though there was a weariness to his tone that became even more pronounced when he concluded, “But I’ll let you guys figure it out.”

His remarkable rally at the Memorial makes the temptation greater than ever to proclaim that he has turned the corner and is picking up speed.

Woods said he hit just about every shot exactly how he wanted to, with the exception of his second shot on the 10th that he pulled slightly while trying to play a fade. It found a bunker and led to bogey. He missed only one fairway, and that was only by a few inches into the first cut of rough.

“I had it all today,” Woods said. “Whatever club I wanted to hit, I could hit. That was fun to have it when I needed it.”

Equally impressive was his score, which ultimately is what matters.

Not only did Woods overcome a four-shot deficit going into the final round, he was two shots behind with four holes to play as he posed in the fairway urging — begging — his 3-iron into the par-5 15th hole to carry beyond the false front of the green. It did, and he two-putted for birdie.

Woods figured if he could make one more birdie over the closing stretch, it might be enough for him to get into a playoff. Minutes later, he was praying for par when his 8-iron bounced over the green at the par-3 16th into a horrible spot. The ball was nestled in the rough, and the path 50 feet to the hole looked impossible. Too short, and it would turn down a slope and leave a difficult two-putt bogey. Too strong, and it would race past the cup and into the water.

With a full swing and a flop shot, the ball rode the crown of a ridge with just the right speed and dropped in for birdie not even he saw coming.

“It was one of the hardest ones I’ve pulled off,” Woods said when asked to rank it among his best shots, which is a long list. “That was a pretty sweet shot.”

He made one last birdie for good measure, a 9-iron into the 18th green that was played by a guy who looked as though he had won here before. It caught the ridge at the back of the green and rolled down to just inside 10 feet, giving him a 5-under 67 and a two-shot win.

It was his fifth win at Muirfield Village, the fifth golf course on which he has won at least five times. And it was the 73rd win of his PGA Tour career, tying him with Jack Nicklaus, the tournament host who was there, as always, to greet Woods when he came off the 18th green.

“He had to rub it in my face here, didn't he?” Nicklaus later said with a laugh.

Nicklaus was gushing over the flop shot that Woods holed on the 16th, and it truly was magic.

“I don’t think under the circumstances I’ve ever seen a better shot,” Nicklaus said.

The last time Woods won the Memorial was in 2009, when he also rallied from a four-shot deficit on the final day with a 65. It was his second win of the year, and the U.S. Open was two weeks away at Bethpage Black, where Woods had won wire-to-wire seven years earlier. Woods had 14 majors, as he does now.

“I suspect No. 15 will come for Tiger Woods in about two weeks,” Nicklaus said at the trophy presentation. “If he drives the ball this way, and plays this way, I’m sure it will. And if not, it will surprise me greatly.”

That year was full of so many surprises.

Woods won every tournament he played before the majors and failed to win any of them. By the end of the year, his problems were off the golf course and he hasn’t seriously challenged in the final hour of another major since then.

He won at Bay Hill, and then had his worst performance ever at the Masters as a pro when he tied for 40th.

Woods never broke par the last time the U.S. Open was played at The Olympic Club in 1998, though he was in the middle of changing his swing. He played the golf course last Tuesday and found it to be difficult, which it is. It is short by U.S. Open standards, though it plays long.

If nothing else, Olympic served as the perfect tuneup for Muirfield Village.

“Last week I did some good things, good work at home, and really got comfortable with the things that Sean (Foley) and I have been working on the last few tournaments and months,” Woods said. “As soon as they felt comfortable, I was good to go. And when I went out and played Olympic, I hit the ball well there. I said, ‘Hey, that's as good a prep as any for this event if I can hit the ball well there.’

“I just basically carried that into this event and hit it great all week.”

Does this make him a failure if he doesn’t win the U.S. Open? Is he done?

Woods talked about his game being good in spurts at other tournaments, though it was clear — at least by how he hit the ball — that he had his fastball all week. The process is to put good rounds together. Maybe the next step is putting good tournaments together.

In tennis terms, this would be a good time for a changeover. It’s best to wait until the end of the year — or at least until August, the end of the majors — to figure out where Woods stands.

 

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June 07, 2012

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Vikings fullback Jerome Felton has been arrested on suspicion of driving while impaired and refusing to submit to a chemical test.

Eden Prairie police say Felton was arrested Friday just before midnight. A message left with police Saturday seeking additional details wasn’t immediately returned.

Online court records show Felton was released from jail Saturday after posting $12,000 bond. A court appearance is set for July 18.

The Vikings say they’re aware of the situation and working to gather more information.

Felton was drafted in 2008 by the Detroit Lions. The 25-year-old signed with Minnesota as a free agent in March.

In a five-year career that also included seasons with Carolina and Indianapolis, Felton has 42 carries for 136 yards. He also has 34 career receptions for 280 yards.

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June 07, 2012

By The Associated Press

 

 

 

Boxer “Sugar” Shane Mosley is retiring, ending a career in which he won titles in three different weight classes, beat Oscar De La Hoya twice and never was knocked out.

 

The 40-year-old announced on Twitter that he was hanging up his gloves, saying he “loved every moment of it. Win, lose or draw.”

 

Mosley lost three of his last four fights, including a dreary bout against Manny Pacquiao in May 2011 in which he mostly seemed to be avoiding the Filipino superstar in the ring.

 

His last fight was May 5 on the undercard of the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto. Mosley lost a lopsided decision to rising Mexican star Canelo Alvarez.

 

The loss dropped his record to 46-8-1.

 

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June 07, 2012

By BARRY WILNER | Associated Press

 

NEW YORK (AP) — An arbitrator ruled Monday that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has the authority to discipline New Orleans Saints players for their role in a bounty system.

The NFL Players Association challenged Goodell's power to impose penalties for what the league says was a three-year bounty program that targeted specific players. Stephen Burbank, a University of Pennsylvania law professor, took only five days to determine that Goodell has the power to punish the players under the collective bargaining agreement reached last August to end the lockout.

Goodell suspended Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the entire 2012 season and teammate Will Smith for four games. Former Saints defensive end Anthony Hargrove, now with Green Bay, was suspended for eight games, while linebacker Scott Fujita, now with Cleveland, was docked three games.

Those players have appealed the suspensions. And the players' union later Monday said it will appeal Burbank's decision because it believes salary cap violations are involved in the payment. That would give Burbank the authority to rule on penalizing any players involved.

Burbank did, however, retain temporary jurisdiction on Hargrove's role and asked Goodell for more information on Hargrove's "alleged participation."

Burbank "invited the commissioner to clarify the precise basis for his discipline of Mr. Hargrove who, among other things, was found to have lied to the league's investigators and obstructed their investigation," the NFL said in a statement.

The union said in a statement it "believes that the players are entitled to neutral arbitration of these issues under the CBA and will continue to fight for that principle and to protect the fair due process rights of all players." The NFLPA noted Burbank wrote that "nothing in this opinion is intended to convey a view about the underlying facts or the appropriateness of the discipline imposed."

The union filed another grievance with a different arbitrator, Shyam Das, contending the new CBA prohibits Goodell from punishing players for any conduct before the CBA was signed. The league's investigation showed the bounty program ran from 2009-11.

Das has yet to rule on that grievance, which also seeks to have player appeals heard by Art Shell and Ted Cottrell, who are jointly appointed by the league and union to review discipline handed out for on-field conduct.

The league and union have spent plenty of time before arbitrators and judges this offseason, with two other major cases pending.

Vilma has sued Goodell for defamation in a U.S. District Court in New Orleans, and Goodell has been given until July 5 to respond to the action.

The players also have sued the league in U.S. District Court in Minnesota, saying the owners colluded in the uncapped 2010 season to have a secret salary cap. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has said such collusion could have cost players $1 billion in wages.

That lawsuit stems, in part, from the NFL stripping the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys of salary cap room in 2012 and '13. The Redskins had their cap reduced $36 million over the two years and the Cowboys lost $10 million in cap space.

Both teams filed a grievance and lost.

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June 07, 2012

By Kenneth Miller

LA Watts Times Correspondent

 

I have been covering the sport of boxing for more than two decades. It’s probably my favorite sport — for a number of reasons. The number of African American fighters, the raw unscripted rags-to-riches stories of Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather and the Peterson brothers make it a natural fit for minority media coverage.

Last week I attended the show at the Home Depot Center in Carson that was headlined by Antonio Tarver and Winky Wright.

The venue was a perfect mesh with the combatants who fought from sun up till sun down. A crowd of roughly 2500 attended and half the crowd was Hispanic and the other half Black.

However, the promoters — Golden Boy, Gary Shaw and Tarver — did nothing at all to reach out to African Americans beyond the usual email press blast from the bevy of publicists working the event on behalf of them, cable networks and Showtime.

There are few businesses that are thriving during this troubling economy. This very newspaper and its legendary brother publication, the Sentinel, are among the enormous family of African American or minority publications that are hurting.

For decades, when there wasn’t pay-per-view or tailor-made advertising partnerships, minority newspapers such as these were the foundation of media support and marketing outreach for the sport of boxing.

It was during these times that it was the one sport that granted us the same open access as our White contemporaries.

Legendary boxing promoter Don King was a pioneer in this effort; he recognized the power and influence of Blacks and their economic spending might by sharing the advertising revenue among the Black-owned newspapers as owner of which now Mr. King is one of us as owner of Cleveland’s Call and Post Newspaper.

For far too long in recent years, traditional team sports and leagues, such as the NBA, NFL and MLB, have ignored the Black press altogether.

While boxing is not regulated and promoters have their own individual agendas to pad their pockets and expand their relationships, they too have fallen short of sharing their revenues with the Black press.

Because our advertising revenue is not what the daily majors are, and because our circulation numbers are not what the daily majors are, is not an excuse. It costs a publication such as this one and others to send out a reporter and have that individual expense his own parking. Let it be a Mayweather mega fight in Las Vegas, and the expenses are 100 times that.

The recent event at the Home Depot Center made money, most of it coming from the Showtime network and some from paid sponsors, but none of that calculated profit was spent to enhance the event with Blacks that would have increased their profit sharing.

There’s plenty of blame to go around for this short sightedness. It starts with promoters such as Bob Arum, Golden Boy, Goosen Tutor and, yes Mayweather, and, in last week’s fight, Tarver.

Then there’s also an underlying responsibility of the Black press: If these sports are not helping us, then why should we help them — even if some of our own are involved?

This week is another huge example in which unheralded Timothy Bradley is fighting Manny Pacquaio in Las Vegas on pay-per-view.

Bradley is an undefeated Black fighter. There is a major advertising budget spinning its marketing wheels during the NBA finals on ESPN and TNT. For a fraction of that cost, they could have included a buy with the Black press.

If these folks don’t think we are important and the dollars of Blacks are insignificant, then let’s show them. Encourage Blacks top not buy their fights on pay-per-view.

It’s time to pull off the damn gloves on the sport of boxing and fight back.

 

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