Inconsistent Tiger Woods Still Favorite At British Open

Tiger Woods has not won a major in four years, has been schizophrenic this season and still is an 8-1 Las Vegas favorite to win the British Open that begins Thursday at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.For Woods, the expectations are not what matters. It’s about how he plays, and this course is a not easy. There are 205 bunkers , making position off the tee critical. It also has the Open’s most exclusive list of winners — all nine are either in the Hall of Fame or were ranked No.1 in the world at some time.“This is one of the more difficult ones that we play,” Woods said of the nine courses used in the Open Championship rotation. “It’s more confined, but I think that as far as shot making, it tests us. It tests us a lot, because we have to shape the golf ball both ways.“It’s not like playing Troon (in Scotland) where you have right-to-left (shots) going out and left-to-right coming home. Here you have a lot of different angles. And it tests your ability to hit shots and hit them the proper distances, more so than most links courses.”Woods said he would not be able to employ that same strategy that helped him to his last Open victory, at Royal Liverpool in 2006. There, Woods hit just one driver off the tee, keeping his ball in play on the fast-running course, positioning himself away from the numerous pot bunkers.At the rate his going, with a four-year drought of majors, Woods will try any tactics to get back on top. After winning three times this year but also looking scattered in others, Woods, who has 14 majors, said he has no anxiety about not winning another major.“No, no. I just try and put myself there,” Woods said Tuesday morning after his third practice round at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. “I think that if I continue putting myself there enough times, then I’ll win major championships.”Even tour pros are not sure what Woods will show up this week.“If Tiger’s instincts are his new swing now and he has ownership of his new swing, then his instincts are going to be an advantage,” ESPN’s Paul Azinger said. “If his instincts are to revert back, he’ll be all over the place.”Said Curtis Strange, ESPN analyst: “If he’s playing well, he’s better than everybody else in the field,” said ESPN analyst Curtis Strange, twice a U.S. Open champion. “If he’s not, he’s average. It just depends on which Tiger shows up. And we of late have seen two different Tigers.” read more

Change of Heart Cavs Rehire Mike Brown as Head

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown talks with sports journalist Chris Mannix about how excited he is to coach the Cavs next season. Brown also talks about Kyrie Irving’s potential and where he ranks with the top point-guards in the league.Mannix questioned Brown about Anthony Bennet as the first round draft pick.Brown replied, “We look at his talent level. Not only his talent level, but the upside, and his character and the versatility and athleticism. When you combine all that he brings to the table he has a very high ceiling.”The Cavs fired Brown three years ago, shocking the league as he had coached the Cavs to the first conference finals in the team’s history. read more

New York Knicks Chandler Likely to Miss 6 Weeks

New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler may miss four to six weeks after breaking a bone in his right leg during his team’s 102-97 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday.An organization official announced the player’s injury Wednesday, adding that X-rays showed no ligament or nerve damage and surgery is not necessary at this time.  Chandler went down after colliding with Charlotte Bobcats guard Kemba Walker in the first quarter. He has a small fracture in the fibula in his lower leg.The Knicks (1-) are off to slow start after taking the Atlantic Division title last season – the team’s first time winning that title since 1994.The 7-foot Chandler will be missed on the Knicks defense and rebounding at the rim.“He’s a big piece to what we do,” coach Mike Woodson said after the game. read more

Derek Jeter Says Hell Learn on the Job as

Miami Marlins owner Derek Jeter talks to reporters during a news conference, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, in Miami. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)MIAMI (AP) — Back in the ballgame, Derek Jeter says he’ll be a hands-on owner for the Miami Marlins who will learn on the job and rely heavily this offseason on the president of baseball operations Michael Hill.Jeter and new controlling owner Bruce Sherman spoke publicly for the first time Tuesday about their group’s $1.2 billion purchase of the Marlins. The news conference came two days after the Marlins concluded their eighth consecutive losing season, the longest streak in the majors.“We are a rebuilding franchise,” said Jeter, who played on five World Series champions with the New York Yankees. “We are putting the right people in place.”While Jeter acknowledged he’s a novice at running the team, he already has learned not to tip his hand. He declined to shed any light on whether slugger Giancarlo Stanton, manager Don Mattingly or others have a future with the Marlins, or what sort of direction he envisions for the team.“You’re trying to get me to tell you what I’m going to do?” Jeter said. “Some things you keep private. But yeah, we do have to rebuild.”Jeter and Sherman wouldn’t even discuss plans for the garish Marlins Park home run sculpture — loved by some, hated by many.“I read I was getting rid of it,” said Jeter, who added that’s not necessarily true.“Every one of our partners has an opinion,” Sherman said with a smile.There are at least eight other investors. Sherman has the highest equity stake at about 46 percent. Jeter has about a 4 percent stake, and he’ll lead baseball and business operations.“I’m not coming in here thinking I know everything about team ownership. I do not,” the former Yankees captain said. “One thing I’m good at is knowing what I do not know. I surround myself with people who are much smarter than I am.“We have some wonderful people who are working in this organization now. We are going to add some quality people as well to help us turn this organization around.”Among those staying — for now, at least — will be Hill, who has been with the Marlins for their entire 14-year playoff drought.Jeter said he hasn’t met with any players, and declined to discuss the future of Stanton, the major league home run and RBI champion, whose salary will nearly double next year to $25 million. That could make him unaffordable for the revenue-challenged franchise, and Jeter alluded to speculation that a payroll purge looms.“I don’t like the word teardown,” Jeter said. “Moving forward, there are going to at times be unpopular decisions we make. We have a plan, but at the same time we have to have patience.”Writing on the Players’ Tribune website earlier Tuesday, Jeter recalled his first trip to Florida, when he was 17 and being recruited by the Miami Hurricanes.“To this day I still remember how it felt,” he wrote. “The music, the weather, the diversity — I remember how alive Miami was.”Jeter said the new ownership group will celebrate the culture and diversity of South Florida.He described the purchase of the team as a long process that was “draining at times.” But he said Miami has always made him feel welcome, and it’s time to return the favor.“Doing things the right way, over and over, leads to sustained success,” he wrote. “That journey starts today. It will not happen overnight. But our ownership group is focused on building a team that this community can be proud of.” read more

You Asked We Answer A Holiday Mail Bag From The Lab

Welcome to The Lab, FiveThirtyEight’s basketball podcast. On this week’s show (Dec. 27, 2017), Neil, Chris and Kyle are opening the mail bag to answer their favorite questions from listeners. Which team or player has been the biggest surprise so far? Which team stands to improve most in the second half of the season based on the stats? Who will regress to the mean? We get into all those and more.Here are links to what was discussed this week:Keep an eye on our 2017-18 NBA predictions, updated after every game.Kyle on why LeBron is still getting better.Chris on how the last-place Bulls became the hottest team in the Eastern Conference. Embed Code More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed By Neil Paine, Chris Herring and Kyle Wagner read more

Want To Bet Now On The Heisman Trophy Winner Maybe Dont

On paper, the Heisman winner seems like a reasonable thing to handicap as the winners tend to fit a longstanding mold. Almost all are quarterbacks or running backs, and most will be competing in the national title picture late in the fall. If the teams favored to compete for the title this season hold up, that would seem to whittle the Heisman field to a pair of easy choices: Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. Neither is mired in a quarterback competition this summer,2Jalen Hurts transferred from Alabama to Oklahoma, and Kelly Bryant left Clemson for Missouri. and both were brilliant for much of last season. They’re co-favorites at 11-4 odds, according to the Westgate Superbook. In the past 10 years, only Tim Tebow (9-4) in 2009 was a bigger preseason favorite.But change comes quickly in college football. One year ago, neither Tagovailoa nor Lawrence was even certain to start his team’s season opener. Tagovailoa spent much of the fall as the Heisman front-runner until he went down with an ankle injury and Kyler Murray surpassed him for the Heisman. Lawrence ended the season as the spectacle of the national championship game. But now Tagovailoa is healthy again and coming off a season in which he had better overall numbers than Lawrence. Would you bet money on one of the two weathering another long season to prevail as the country’s most outstanding player? And even if you would, which one?Of the top five Heisman contenders according to Westgate, three — Lawrence, Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts and Ohio State’s Justin Fields — are in their first full year as the starting quarterback on their current team. Two of the five are transfers, and only Tagovailoa has been a finalist before.3The fifth favorite is Adrian Martinez of Nebraska. Then contend with the fact that five of the past 10 winners started with odds of 100-1 or longer, which opens the door to the likes of Arizona’s Khalil Tate, Washington State’s Gage Gubrud and Florida’s Feleipe Franks. If they seem obscure, just remember Manziel in the summer of 2012.That 2012 race was perhaps the wildest in recent memory, complete with the awarding of a “September Heisman.” Through five weeks, West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith was unstoppable, it seemed — a 1-1 favorite. In his first five games, Smith completed 81.4 percent of his passes with 399.2 yards per game, 24 touchdowns and zero interceptions. But in his last eight games, he completed just 64.6 percent of his passes with 18 touchdowns and six interceptions. Manziel, meanwhile, went from off the board to 7-4 in five weeks. If that sounds quick, this is Lawrence’s 2018 in comparison: He was a 40-1 contender entering Week 1 despite the fact that he wasn’t the starter until Week 5. Then Lawrence threw more touchdowns and fewer interceptions in his last five games than Manziel did in the last five of his redshirt freshman season.The odds are not a science,4Heisman odds are mathematically a bad bet. In May 2015, SBNation’s Bud Elliott wrote that the summer betting line was designed for a 37.4 percent profit by sports books. July’s odds from Westgate generate a 29 percent house edge. for many reasons. They also favor big names. The “leaderboard” trends toward returning winners (like Tebow in 2009 or Ingram in 2010), even though only Ohio State’s Archie Griffin has won the Heisman twice, in 1974 and 1975. Who might make a rise from relative obscurity this year to win the trophy?It should be clear by now that guessing is a fool’s errand. But the winner has typically been someone with a combination of a firm hold on the starting job, a place on a team that will contend and a role in an offense conducive to big numbers. Outside the top five preseason contenders, Washington’s Jacob Eason and Notre Dame’s Ian Book fit that profile. The winner could be someone better-known. It could also be someone you’ve never heard of. The college football season starts in less than a month, and bold predictions are rolling out. Just don’t believe everything you hear, especially when it comes to the Heisman Trophy. Making picks about the sport’s preeminent award is as difficult as ever.The Heisman is always a standard futures bet before the season kicks off. But in the past decade, according to Sports Odds History, only one of the 10 players favored to win the award entering Week 1 has hoisted the trophy in December: Oregon’s Marcus Mariota in 2014, who was a slim favorite after leapfrogging returning winner Jameis Winston of Florida State in the offseason. If we add up their implied probabilities, the past 10 favorites should have produced 2.14 winners. But a $10 bet on each of the 10 would have cost $100 and paid out just $42.50, on Mariota.In fact, of the past 10 winners, four started the season off the board — Alabama’s Mark Ingram in 2009, Auburn’s Cam Newton in 2010, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel in 2012 and Winston in 2013 — as did 15 of 40 finalists. That’s because college football is filled with unexpected breakout stars. Especially as the top performers have been younger recently,1Only one of the past 12 Heisman winners was a senior. predicting which candidates will live up to the hype is a tough task. read more

The Netherlands Is In A World Of Trouble And Argentina Might Be

For soccer fans around the world, Tuesday may be an emotional day. This could be the last time that Robben, who is 33 years old, appears in an orange shirt on the field. And for Messi, arguably one of the greatest players ever, the 2018 World Cup is his last great opportunity to fill the one glaring hole on his stellar résumé as he will be in his mid-30s the next time the tournament comes around. It would be a shame if that chance ended before it even started. 5Peru177462625+125 The top four teams automatically qualify for the 2018 World Cup; the fifth-ranked team must win a playoff against a team from another region to make the tournament.Source: FIFA 201018231.3–✓ 1974492.3–✓ YEARGAMES PLAYEDGOALS SCOREDGOALS SCORED/GAMEQUALIFIED 199816231.4–✓ TEAMGPWONTIEDLOSTGOALS FORGOALS AGAINSTGOAL DIFF.POINTS 10Venezuela1716101835-179 7Paraguay177371924-524 In 2014, Argentina and the Netherlands — two of the world’s most established soccer powerhouses — met in the semifinals of the World Cup. After 120 scoreless minutes, Argentina prevailed in an agonizing penalty shootout. It’s very unlikely, though, that the Dutch will be able to exact revenge on Argentina during next year’s World Cup in Russia. That’s because the Netherlands most likely won’t be there — and Argentina may not be either.The Netherlands is on the brink of soccer disaster: To make the 2018 tournament, the Dutch must beat Sweden by 7 goals in their final qualifying game, at home on Tuesday. If they don’t, it will be the fourth time that the Netherlands has failed to qualify for the World Cup since 1982, or the last 10 tournaments.More than 6,000 miles away in South America, an even bigger crisis is brewing for Argentina, which has won the World Cup twice and made it to the final in 2014. If Argentina were to fail to qualify for 2018, it would be the first time that the team has missed the tournament in 48 years. But the Argentines have more ways to get in than the Dutch do (although they’re still in deep trouble). Depending on what happens elsewhere, a loss to Ecuador on Tuesday could mean elimination — but, likewise, a win doesn’t guarantee that Lionel Messi’s men will earn a berth in Russia either.Things are so bad that the Argentine Ministry of Health has issued instructions on how to avoid a heart attack during Tuesday’s game. 8Ecuador176292526-120 1966492.3–✓ 19584102.5–✓ *Argentina has one game left to play in its 2018 qualifying campaign.Source: FIFA 3Chile178272624+226 19866122.0–✓ 6Argentina176741615+125 2018*17160.9– 201416352.2–✓ 1Brazil1711513811+2738 200618291.6–✓ 200218422.3–✓ In defense of both the Dutch and the Argentines, each has had a brutally tough path to Russia, unlike some other countries (cough, America). According to the Soccer Power Index rankings of all teams on Sept. 4, 2016 — the day that the first round of European qualifiers were played — the Netherlands’ Group A was the third-toughest of the nine European qualifying groups, with an average SPI ranking of 57. And Argentina — ranked No. 1 in the world in SPI on Oct. 8, 2015, the day of the first round of South American qualifying games — faced an even gloomier schedule. The sole South American group had an average SPI ranking of 19, including five teams rated in the top 10 in the world.Why both teams have been this bad is baffling. OK, the Netherlands hasn’t had the star-studded lineup that made the World Cup final in 2010, but the Dutch have still had stalwarts Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder, among others, at their regular disposal. For Argentina, a lack of talent is also not an excuse. In its 0-0 tie with Peru on Thursday, Argentina’s squad included 10 players who are on teams playing in the Champions League this year — and this doesn’t even include Manchester City star striker Sergio Aguero, who missed the game because of injury. No, for the Argentines, they simply haven’t scored enough — which is unusual for a country where you seemingly can’t throw a rock without hitting a world-class striker. Through 17 qualifying games, Argentina has scored just 16 goals, and in seven of those matches, the team didn’t score at all. That’s the lowest goals per game in their qualifying history since, well, ever.1For years not listed in the table below, qualifying was not yet needed, Argentina withdrew or did not enter, or Argentina qualified automatically through either hosting the World Cup that year or winning the previous World Cup. Deep breaths, ArgentinaSouth American standings in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers 9Bolivia1742111434-2014 2Uruguay178452818+1028 1970441.0– Argentina’s attacking firepower has dried upThe number of goals scored per game in each of Argentina’s World Cup qualifying campaigns 19622115.5–✓ 4Colombia177552018+226 1994671.2–✓ For countries with as rich a soccer history as the Netherlands and Argentina, not qualifying is unthinkable. For the Dutch, however, they’re used to struggling to make the World Cup on the heels of a good showing. They failed to make the 1982 tournament after finishing as the runner-up in 1978, and in 2002, they didn’t qualify after making the semifinals in 1998.The Oranje have been in turmoil since Louis van Gaal left for Manchester United after leading the team to third place in 2014. They failed to qualify for the 2016 European Championship in France with Guus Hiddink and then Danny Blind in charge — the first time they failed to make Europe’s national team tournament in 32 years — and are on their third manager in as many years, with Dick Advocaat at the helm. In context, the KNVB’s current crisis may be the worst in its illustrious history. In August, the Dutch dropped to 36th in the world, their lowest spot in the rankings since FIFA started them in 1992. The team’s 3-1 win over Bulgaria in September nudged it back up to 29th. Among Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain — the seven teams that have made a World Cup final since 1994 — none has been ranked as low as 29th since 1994. Although FIFA’s world rankings are flawed, this is just one measure of how far the Netherlands have fallen relative to the other top nations in the world. read more

Mens soccer moves up in conference standings with victory over Penn State

It was a game the Ohio State men’s soccer team had to have to keep their hopes of a conference championship alive, and it was a game they got by defeating No. 24 Penn State, 2-1, on Sunday. “We’ve kept our hopes alive,” coach John Bluem said. “There are a whole bunch of teams in the running now for it but we’re real happy for the guys. That was a great win for us.”Under sunny skies at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, the Buckeyes came out playing very aggressive and with a sense of urgency. They looked for early scoring opportunities, which finally paid off in the 14th minute of play.The Buckeyes struck when Austin McAnena put one into the left corner of the goal. It was set up by a great outlet pass from Konrad Warzycha, who crossed the ball into the middle of the field and McAnena finished it off by giving the Buckeyes the 1-0 advantage.For McAnena, it was his fourth goal of the year and the freshman seems to be developing into a solid player for the Buckeyes. There have been multiple times this season when McAnena has been on the receiving end of a pass into the middle of the field and several times it has ended with a Buckeyes goal.Early in the second half, the Buckeyes added another goal. This time it was Konrad Warzycha who got his first goal of the season to give the Bucks a 2-0 lead. Sam Scales and McAnena each had an assist on the score. “That was a great goal by Austin to get us off to the good start and then an electric goal by Konrad in the second half really made the difference,” Bluem said.For the Buckeyes, it was McAnena, Warzycha, and Scales who provided the offense for OSU. All three were involved on both goals. Penn State was not done, though, as the Nittany Lions tried to mount a comeback. In the 59th minute of play, Frank Costigliola kicked one from deep that somehow went into the net and cut the Buckeye lead to 2-1. Penn State turned up the heat once they scored and had several good chances to tie the game but OSU found a way to hold them off and get the conference win. The Buckeyes (8-3-3, 2-1 Big Ten) continue to keep pace with the top teams in the conference. OSU will return to action on Wednesday for its last home game of the regular season. It will also be the Bucks’ last non-conference game of the season, as they face West Virginia at 5:30 p.m. read more

Explosions as fire rips through Selsey school

first_imgSmoke pours from the school near Chichester, West SussexCredit:Eddie Mitchell He described the response of the local community as “fantastic” as donations of tea, coffee and food poured in to keep fire crews fuelled.”There was great community spirit,” he said.”Clearly, there is a lot of damage to the school but every effort will be given to help get it back up and running.” 100 firefighters battled the blazeCredit:EDDIE MITCHELL Crews were sent from neighbouring Hampshire to help contain the fire’s spread, while firefighters in Surrey and East Sussex provided cover for their West Sussex colleagues.Up to five appliances remained at the scene by 3pm.The fire spokesman said: “They are damping down and turning over, and they will likely be there for the rest of the day and keep a watching brief overnight.” Smoke pours from the school near Chichester, West Sussex Thick, acrid smoke pours from The Academy in Selsey, near Chichester The cause of the fire at Selsey Academy has not yet been established 100 firefighters battled the blaze The fire broke out in Selsey, West Sussex The Academy is a mixed school for pupils aged 11 to 16. It was opened by the Duke of Norfolk in September 1963 as Manhood Secondary Modern School.Chairman of governors Bill Emerson said there were contingency plans in place for students to pick up their GCSE results.”There is a possibility we might be able to save a small section of the school and the emergency services are doing their best to do that,” he told the BBC.”But it is amazing how quickly the fire has spread. It’s shocking. The structures are effectively a skeleton now compared to what they were and we have still got fire raging in sections.” A West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “We rule nothing out but at this stage there is nothing to suggest it was arson.”Some parts of the school escaped unscathed but a massive effort will now be made as schoolchildren were due to return to classes on September 6.The school said it would be making arrangements for students due to collect their GCSE results on Thursday.No injuries were reported among members of the public and firefighters but a police officer directing traffic at the scene was reportedly hit at low speed by a car.center_img Thick smoke billows from the school site Up to 100 firefighters tackled a major blaze which partly destroyed an academy school in a seaside town a fortnight before the end of the summer holidays.Stacks of dense, acrid smoke were seen from miles around as 14 fire engines were sent to The Academy in Selsey, near Chichester, West Sussex. In an effort to protect neighbouring homes, including some thatched properties, a small number were evacuated.Other locals were told by emergency teams to keep their windows shut and stay indoors as black smoke poured from the building.An investigation has been launched into the cause of the blaze. The cause of the fire at Selsey Academy has not yet been establishedCredit:Eddie Mitchell Thick smoke billows from the school siteCredit:Justine Mackinnon/Solent  Thick, acrid smoke pours from The Academy in Selsey, near ChichesterCredit: Eddie Mitchell The fire is believed to have started in the roof space just before 8am on Sunday before quickly spreading through large parts of the school amid winds of around 25mph.More than 60 calls were received to West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

British passports being sold on dark web for £750

first_imgResearchers at King’s College London found that the Tor Browser, designed to mask the identity of people online, was being used for illicit purposes.They found that 57 per cent of sites designed for the browser were being used to facilitate criminal activity, including drugs, illicit finance, and extreme pornography.  British passports are being bought on the “dark web” by terrorists for as little as £750, Europol has warned.Rob Wainwright, who heads the EU police agency, said the hidden part of the internet was being exploited by terrorists, Mail Online reported.Mr Wainwright said it had become a “huge underground criminal environment” which was difficult for the security services to monitor.He was particularly concerned about the trade in stolen passports.“There is a criminal trading platform … that is substantial,” he said. “It means criminals and terrorists acquire criminal goods in a more secure way, making it harder … to see what is going on and who is doing it.”According to research by the Liberal Democrats, HM Passport Office’s delivery firm DX has lost 1,291 passports since 2011.“This shows how criminal gangs and potentially even terrorists are trying to cash in and use other people’s passports,” said Tim Farron, the party leader. “This is a massive national security risk.”The trade in stolen passports is just the latest manifestation of how the dark web is being exploited.In October last year, an investigation by BBC South East found that fake train tickets were being sold on the dark web by a self-styled Robin Hood group claiming to be acting on behalf of passengers angered by high rail prices.center_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more