January 23, 2014

LAWT Wire Services

 

SAN DIEGO — Tiger Woods was posing for pictures with a trophy Wednesday at Torrey Pines, and the tournament had not even started.

He has made winning look routine, particularly on this public course along Pacific Bluffs where he already has won eight times as a pro, including a U.S. Open.

The trophy Woods received on the eve of his title defense at the Farmers Insurance Open was for being voted PGA Tour player of the year for the 11th time.

Woods doesn’t take winning for granted, even if others don’t appreciate how difficult it is.

That includes his daughter.

Woods told a story of 6-year-old Sam being curious about the Torrey pine on the trophy, which reminded his daughter of the Bonsai tree she had seen in “Karate Kid.”

“She thought that’s what it was,” Woods said. “I said, ‘No, they’re a little bit bigger than that.’ I had to go online and show her the pictures and everything. I had all these trophies lined up and she said, ‘You need to get one of those.’”

Woods tried to explain that it wasn’t that simple, that he had to play better golf than 155 other guys to earn it.

“She said, ‘OK, go do it,’” he said.

And so he did. Woods had an eight-shot lead on the back nine before the final round in a fog-delayed tournament was so backed up that it took forever to finish and Woods lost patience.

He won by four shots, and then surprised tournament officials when he wanted to take the trophy home on the plane instead of the tradition of shipping. He did not want to walk in the door as the winner at Torrey Pines without that trophy.

“They put it literally in the middle of the living room,” Woods said. “Everybody was dancing around the trophy.”

The music cranks back up on Thursday — another dance, his 19th year as a pro.

The tune hasn’t changed.

Woods conceded there are things he can’t do at 38 that he could when he was 24, such as produce the same speed when he rotates through the ball. But he’s also stronger and a lot smarter in dissecting a golf course.

“You’re still able to be successful, but you do it a different way,” Woods said. “You evolve as you age, and I think I’ve done that so far.”

The talk about Woods hasn’t changed, either.

Even though the Masters just under three months away, any mention of Woods starts with the majors.

The playoff win at Torrey Pines in the 2008 U.S. Open was the last major he won. He has been stuck on 14 for the past five years, squandering good chances at the U.S. Open in 2012 and the British Open last year.

This would seem to shape up as an important year because three of the majors are on courses where he has won — Augusta National, Royal Liverpool and Valhalla. The U.S. Open is at Pinehurst No. 2, where Woods has finished third and second.

“I view it as every year is a big year,” Woods said. “Every year that I get a chance to compete and play in tournaments and major championships for as long as I decide to do it ... every year counts. Looking back from the beginning of my career to now, I know that I don’t have 20 years in my prime. I don’t see being 58 and being in my prime. Most guys don’t dunk from the foul line at age 58, so it’s a little different. But the outlook is still the same.

“I still prepare the same,” he said. “I still work my tail off to be ready to compete at this level and beat everyone that I’m playing against.”

Woods and Phil Mickelson are the star attractions, as usual, at Torrey Pines. This was the first PGA Tour event that both watched when they were boys — Mickelson is from San Diego, Woods from about 90 minutes north in Orange County.

Mickelson started his year last week in Abu Dhabi where he was runner-up despite a double-hit out of the bushes that led to triple bogey. Mickelson is excited about everything this year — his new driver, his putting, off-course activities and a chance at the career Grand Slam at the U.S. Open.

The South Course? That doesn’t excite him as much. Mickelson is a three-time winner of this event, but not since Rees Jones began redesigning the South for the U.S. Open.

Mickelson can relate with Woods when it comes to advancing age. He turns 44 in June.

“The difficult for me is that as I get older, it’s a lot more work to be physically able to perform the way I would like,” he said.

“I’ve got to watch what I eat, I’ve got to work out, manage arthritis and I’ve been fortunate that the treatment on that’s been phenomenal. I haven’t had anything holding me back from working on my game or what have you, but I’ve got to spend a lot more time in the gym making sure that ligaments and tendons and muscles and joints and everything are strong and healthy.

“It's just more effort to be able to play golf at the highest level.”

There was one other reminder for Woods. He received his trophy at the same time 20-year-old Jordan Spieth received a crystal as rookie of the year.

Spieth had a tremendous year, and he looked over at the bronze Jack Nicklaus Award to be given to Woods.

“Now it’s time to chase this other award,” he said.

Woods smiled. He didn’t look as if he was willing to let it go that easily.

Parent Category: News
Category: Sports

January 23, 2014

LAWT Wire Service

 

RENTON, Wash. — After two days of overwhelming reaction to his postgame comments, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said he’s surprised his interview after the NFC championship game became the focus.

Sherman spoke Wednesday for the first time since the Seahawks clinched a Super Bowl berth by beating San Francisco 23-17. Sherman again apologized for his shouting, emotional postgame interview that took attention away from the performances of his teammates.

Sherman was the subject of criticism and support following his postgame rant that came just a few minutes after he deflected a pass intended for San Francisco's Michael Crabtree and that was intercepted by teammate Malcolm Smith in the end zone to clinch the win.

Sherman said, “we’re talking about football here and a lot of people took it a little bit further than football.”

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January 16, 2014

LAWT Wire Services

 

Javaris Crittenton, a former first-round NBA draft pick perhaps best known for his gun-in-the-locker-room confrontation with former Washington Wizards teammate Gilbert Arenas, was indicted Wednesday on drug charges in Atlanta, where he’s already awaiting trial for his alleged role in the shooting death of a mother of four.

Crittenton and 13 other people were named in the indictment that was initially the result of an investigation conducted by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, according to a source close to the investigation. According to that source, Crittenton conspired to deal cocaine and marijuana in the months before he was indicted last year for his alleged role in an August 2011 Atlanta shooting death.

Shortly after 6 a.m. ET Wednesday, DEA agents, federal marshals and local police descended on Crittenton’s home on a cul de sac in Fayetteville, a suburb just south of Atlanta. Crittenton was led away in handcuffs and was booked into the Fulton County Jail. A call to Crittenton’s Atlanta-based attorney, Brian Steel, went unreturned.

In April 2013, a Fulton County grand jury indicted Crittenton and his cousin, Douglas Gamble, for murder in the death of Julian Jones, 22, a mother of four children. That 12-count indictment also accused Crittenton and Gamble of participating in a criminal street gang and linked both to a second shooting in Atlanta that occurred five days before Jones’ death.

According to court documents, both of the August 2011 shootings were in retaliation for a robbery committed against Crittenton and his cousin. On April 13, 2011, Crittenton and his cousin were held up at gunpoint by two men outside a southwest Atlanta barbershop and robbed of more than $55,000 worth of personal items and jewelry, according to a police report of the incident.

According to the district attorney’s office, “Crittenton and the other suspects are accused of selling multi-kilo quantities of cocaine and several hundred pounds of marijuana” during a seven-month investigation dating to June 2012. He will have an initial court appearance Thursday morning on those charges; he had been on limited house arrest as he awaited trial for murder.

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January 23, 2014

LAWT Wire Services

 

INDIAN WELLS, Calif —Serena Williams’ name is on the entry list for the Indian Wells tournament for the first time since she vowed in 2001 to never return.

The Williams sisters were scheduled to meet in the semifinals that year, but 20 minutes before the match, Venus withdrew and fans booed them. Serena went on to win her second title there, but she and Venus said they would not return, and they have skipped the last 12 events. Their father later said he heard racial slurs from the crowd during the final.

Tournament director Steve Simon said Wednesday that while it's too soon to know whether Serena Williams will play or not, officials are pleased to see her name on the entry list.

During the Australian Open, Williams said she considered a return to Indian Wells after watching a movie about the late South African President Nelson Mandela, inspired by his message of reconciliation.

Venus Williams’ name was not on the list of entries released for the BNP Paribas Open from March 3-10.

Also entered on the women's side were No. 2 Victoria Azarenka; No. 3 Maria Sharapova; No. 8 Jelena Jankovic; No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki; Ana Ivanovic, who beat Serena Williams in the Australian Open this week; and Daniela Hantuchova.

Leading the men’s entries were defending champion Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Roger Federer and the rest of the top 10 players.

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January 16, 2014

LAWT Wire Services

 

OAKLAND—The Golden State Warriors have been searching for a suitable backup to point guard Stephen Curry since veteran Jarrett Jack signed with Cleveland as a free agent last summer.

The Warriors had hoped Toney Douglas could help fill the void — he couldn't.

Now they’re counting on Jordan Crawford for more production.

The Warriors acquired Crawford and reserve shooting guard MarShon Brooks from the Boston Celtics on Wednesday as part of a three-team trade.

Golden State sent Douglas to the Miami Heat, who traded seldom-used center Joel Anthony, two draft picks and cash considerations to the Celtics in a move that creates financial flexibility for the two-time defending NBA champions.

Miami gave Boston its 2015 protected first-round pick — originally acquired from Philadelphia — and 2016 second-round pick. If the 76ers don’t make the playoffs the next two seasons, the 2015 first-round pick will be a second-round selection.

The deal gives Golden State more scoring punch behind Curry after the defensive-minded Douglas had struggled to provide much support.

Crawford is averaging 13.7 points and 5.6 assists this season, but he became expendable with Boston expecting All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo to return soon from a knee injury that has kept him out since last January. Crawford also is shooting 41.4 percent from the field and 31.8 percent from 3-point range.

Brooks had two up-and-down years with the Nets before splitting time with Boston and the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Develop­ment League this season. He’s averaging 3.1 points in 10 games with the Celtics.

Crawford and Brooks were not expected to be in uniform for Golden State’s home game against Denver on Wednesday night.

The Warriors had hoped Douglas could serve as the primary ball-handler behind Curry, but he missed 14 games because of a stress reaction in his left tibia and he hasn’t been able to find a rhythm since he returned. Douglas averaged 3.7 points, 0.8 assists and 11 minutes in 24 games this season.

For the Heat, the gains are largely financial, both short- and long-term.

Anthony was making $3.8 million this season — more than double what Douglas is earning — and is on the books for another $3.8 million next season. The deal should save the Heat more than $10 million in salary and luxury tax payments over the next two seasons, and that may help when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh can all decide to become free agents this summer.

“It’s always difficult trading a player like Joel who was a big part of the past two championship teams and will always be a part of the Miami Heat family,” Heat President Pat Riley said in a statement. “This trade gives us great flexibility moving forward in our journey to win an NBA Championship. Joel was a true professional who worked hard every day and we wish him the best in the future.”

And because point guard Mario Chalmers is currently dealing with an Achilles problem, Douglas also could provide some insurance there as well. Another option is that the Heat choose to simply absorb whatever's left on Douglas’ $1.6 million contract this season to open a roster spot, one that they could possibly target free agent center Andrew Bynum with.

Anthony played in 12 games for Miami this season, logging more than three minutes just four times. He scored a total of six points and has been largely an afterthought in the Heat rotation since the team signed forward Chris Andersen to be their top big-man reserve last year.

The Heat also are awaiting the return of center Greg Oden, who has not played in a regular-season game in more than four years but has been steadily progressing in a rehab program since signing with Miami in the offseason.

AP Sports Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this story.

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