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AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Who’s worth your wager



AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: Who's worth your wager

Last weekend, Brooks Koepka, priced as high as 50/1, fired a final-round 65 (including two Sunday eagles) to win the Waste Management Phoenix Open by one shot over Kyoung-Hoon Lee and Xander Schauffele. Schauffele fell to an 0-for-4 mark in converting 54-hole leads for his PGA Tour career and now has 10 runner-up finishes since 2017, the most of any PGA Tour player. Meanwhile, Dustin Johnson was winning the Saudi Invitational for the second time in three years as he held on for victory by two strokes over perennial bridesmaid Tony Finau, now with nine runner-up finishes worldwide since 2017, and Justin Rose.

DJ was scheduled to return stateside and headline the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am where he emerged victorious twice (2009 and 2010) and also finished twice as runner-up (2014 and 2018). However, the World No. 1 was a withdrawal late Monday night. Here’s a look at some players worth a wager:

Francesco Molinari (26/1)

The former Open champion has started 2021 refreshed with two top 10s. In those events, he ranked 15th and sixth respectively for Greens In Regulation. Molinari was ninth for SG: Approach (17th overall on the PGA Tour) and third for SG: Tee-To-Green (sixth overall on the PGA Tour) in San Diego two weeks ago. Keep in mind, those numbers were on a 7,700-yard Torrey Pines Golf Course. They have the potential to be even better on a 7,000-yard Pebble Beach course.

Though he is a debutant here, Molinari did finish 16th at Pebble Beach during the 2019 U.S. Open. Winds are expected to pick up this week and he has thrived on these setups in these conditions over the years as evident by his winning the Claret Jug at Carnoustie in 2018.

Kevin Streelman (35/1)

Streelman has three straight top-seven finishes, including a tie for second last year, and five straight top-20 finishes here at Pebble Beach. He also comes into this event with some progressively good form having finished tied for 37th at Torrey Pines (eighth for SG: Tee-To-Green) and finishing tied for 22nd last week in Phoenix (seventh for SG: Approach).

Henrik Norlander (52/1)

Norlander finished tied for second (second for SG: Tee-To-Green) among several players two weeks ago at Torrey Pines and has good recent history on coastal courses. He ranks in the top 20 on the PGA Tour for Greens In Regulation.

Brendan Steele (80/1)

Steele began his 2021 season much like he did his 2020 season contending for a victory at the Sony Open in Hawaii only to come up just short.

However, he has not let that close defeat prohibit him from playing solid golf in the two events since. Steele finished 21st at the American Express and 30th last week in Phoenix. Last weekend, he ranked third for SG: Tee-To-Green just behind event winner Koepka and runner-up K.H. Lee. He lost five strokes on the greens and perhaps a move to a different surface will prove beneficial for a player that’s obviously hitting the ball very well right now.

Chris Kirk (85/1)

Kirk missed the cut last week in Phoenix, but his game has come around lately. A second-place finish at the Sony Open earned him enough points to earn his full PGA Tour playing privileges from his Major Medical Extension.

He ranked sixth at the Sony for SG: Tee-To-Green and was 10th SG: Total at the American Express. Recent form here has not been great, but he does have a runner-up here back in 2013 and has always gone well on coastal courses.

Bo Hoag (125/1)

Despite missing the cut here last year in his first appearance, Hoag has made three straight cuts, including back-to-back top-20s at The American Express and the Farmers Insurance Open.

Two weeks ago at Torrey Pines, Hoag rated fifth in the field for SG: Putting and returns to the same Poa Annua putting surface that he fared so well on in San Diego.

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Luka Doncic doubles down on heroics in stunning win over Celtics




Luka Doncic doubles down on heroics in stunning win over Celtics

DALLAS — Luka Doncic slammed the scorer’s table in joy this time, rather than anger.

The Dallas sensation hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 0.1 seconds remaining — his second go-ahead 3 in the final minute — and the Mavericks avoided a fourth-quarter collapse in a 110-107 victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night.

The Celtics trailed by 11 points with three minutes to go before Jaylen Brown put them in front in the final minute with a short jumper. Doncic answered with a difficult 3 over 6-foot-8 Daniel Theis before Brown pulled Boston even at 107-all with another bucket.

Doncic did it again — this time with Kemba Walker running at him on a step-back shot from the left wing — and turned to the scorer’s table in the same way he had after a last-second loss to Phoenix. Devin Booker hit the go-ahead shot in the final seconds of that game before Doncic’s desperation attempt missed. That 109-108 loss capped a six-game losing streak.

After the latest dramatic shot similar to one Doncic drained to beat the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 4 of a first-round series in the playoff bubble, Boston’s desperate inbound toss toward the basket hit the rim, sealing the Dallas win.

“It’s just something that I’ve been doing, I tried to do,” said Doncic, who missed a wide-open 3 that would have tied Portland late in a 121-118 loss on Feb. 14 before an eight-day break forced by two weather-related postponements.

“But sometimes you’re going to miss it, like the last game against Portland. Sometimes you’re going to make it.”

Doncic scored 31 points on 6-of-8 shooting from 3, while Brown had 29 and Jayson Tatum added 28 in an All-Star matchup for the trio after Brown and Tatum were named Eastern Conference reserves earlier in the day. Doncic is a West starter for the second straight season.

Playing without Kristaps Porzingis for a second straight night on a back-to-back because of a tight lower back for his European sidekick, Doncic was steady to help Dallas build a fourth-quarter lead before another spectacular finish five days before his 22nd birthday. He had 10 rebounds and eight assists.

“He’s just a very unique player, a very unique person,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “The wiring of people like Luka Doncic, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant, guys that have this laser-like focus in these situations. It’s difficult to explain how their minds and their brains work.”

The Mavericks won for the seventh time in nine games to get back to .500 for the first time in almost a month while dropping Boston below the break-even mark for the first time since the third game of the season. The Celtics were coming off an overtime loss at New Orleans when they blew a 24-point lead in the second half.

“It took two tremendous shots by a great player to beat us,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said. “Obviously that’s another heartbreaking loss. But that feels a little bit different than it did Sunday.”

Brown was 12 of 20 from the field on the same day he made his first All-Star team, while Tatum earned his second straight selection. Walker scored 14 of his 21 points in the fourth to help the Boston rally, but the Celtics ended up under .500 this late in the season for the first time since 2014-15.

“I don’t feel very much like an All-Star because we’re below .500,” Brown said. “I think this is the most I’ve lost since I’ve been here. I’m hopeful that we’ll string some games together and make a run. It’s very much in our grasp to do so.”

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Knicks, Nets fans welcomed back inside MSG, Barclays Center




Knicks, Nets fans welcomed back inside MSG, Barclays Center

Fans of both the Knicks and Nets returned to their teams’ arenas on Tuesday night to watch the action on the court in-person for the first time in nearly a year. 

“The evening was completely electric,” Knicks fan Ben Soffer said outside Madison Square Garden following the team’s 114-106 loss to the Golden State Warriors.

“Only real Knick fans were there — completely die hard. The Knicks almost won, but it wouldn’t have been a Knicks game if they didn’t lose,” said Soffer, an Upper East Side resident who attended the game with two friends.

Roughly 2,000 fans were allowed into MSG for the first time in 352 days.

Soffer and other fans said that the games signaled somewhat of a return to a sense of normalcy — albeit a socially-distanced one with many guidelines in place.

“Unbelievable amount of hand sanitizer,” said Soffer. “They made ads with the players talking about standing six feet apart.”

Inside the arena, whole rows of seats were blocked off to promote a safe distance.

“Felt nice to get out of the house,” another Knicks fan, Kastriot Rukir, said after the game “One of the best nights in a long time.”

In Brooklyn, 300 Nets fans were permitted into the Barclays Center on Tuesday — emboldened by their team’s victory over the Sacramento Kings.

“The capacity is different, the guidelines are different but it was a lively crowd,” said Brooklyn resident Tyki Irving.

“There were people who were sitting next to me in a suite who were like, you know, crying out to the players,” she said.

Ample COVID-19 protocols were also in place at the Barclays Center.

“They took a lot of precautions. We had to be tested twice, once on Sunday – again once before we came in,” said fan Michelle Gall. “The energy was exciting, I think people were just happy to be out.”

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Only hope is Tiger Woods can walk again after car accident





Whether Tiger Woods ever plays another golf tournament is irrelevant now.

The Masters in April?

Who cares?

His pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 major championships?

So what?

What matters most in the wake of his horrific car accident on Tuesday in the Los Angeles area is not Tiger Woods the golfer, but Tiger Woods the human being.

You’ve probably seen the chilling images of the wreckage on TV and the internet. Woods’ Genesis courtesy car mangled and lying in the woods on its driver’s side. His Nike luggage strewn on the dirt outside the vehicle. The front grill of the SUV, license plate still attached, along with the “Welcome to Rolling Hills Estates’’ sign, sheared in half, both lying in the street.

Rescuers had to extricate Woods from the vehicle out of the windshield, which had to be shattered and removed.

A Los Angeles County sheriffs department officer carries a broken “Welcome to Rolling Hills Estates” sign destroyed from the vehicle driven by Tiger Woods.

AFP via Getty Images


A vehicle rest on its side after a rollover accident involving golfer Tiger Woods along a road in the Rancho Palos Verdes section of Los Angeles. He was removed through the windshield.


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There are more than a handful of unresolved questions relating…

These images in your mind, the first thing you wondered — hoped — was that Woods would survive such a crash.

This accident couldn’t help but give you flashes of the day Kobe Bryant perished in that helicopter crash in the L.A. area just more than a year ago. When news of the crash involving Bryant first broke, the first and only thing you hoped was that he survived, not anything else he was going to do with his basketball career.

Two days before the crash, on Sunday, Woods sat in the CBS booth speaking to Jim Nantz as the final round of the Genesis Invitational was unfolding at Riviera Country Club. Woods, the tournament host, was not playing because he’s been recovering from his fifth back surgery, on Dec. 23.

Tiger Woods had to be pulled out from his car’s busted windshield after his crash in LA on Tuesday.

Nantz did his best to press Woods on the state of his latest recovery, asking whether he’d be able to play in the Masters in seven weeks.

“God, I hope so,’’ Woods said. “I’ve got to get there first.’’

Woods, as he always does, kept a shroud of mystery around himself, not revealing much of anything in terms of any timetable for his return.

As much as Woods’ remarkable career has been defined for his unprecedented collection of trophies — the record-tying 82 wins, including 15 major championships — the latter half of it has been defined by a constant barrage of questions about his health and when he was going to return from whatever latest surgery he underwent.

The reaction from Woods’ fellow players and friends on Tuesday, was shock first.

“I’m sick to my stomach,’’ a visibly shaken Justin Thomas said Tuesday at the WGC-Workday tournament in Florida. “[I’m] just worried about his kids. I’m sure they’re struggling.’’

Tiger Woods in December.
Tiger Woods in December.
Getty Images

A theme to the player reactions about the incident, which left Woods in surgery for most of Tuesday to repair multiple injuries to both of his legs, was centered around the physical and mental toughness that has allowed him to keep coming back from multiple surgeries to his knees, Achilles and, most recently, his back.

Woods’ career surgeries, like his major championships, are in double digits.

“You just hope Tiger’s all right,’’ Tony Finau said from the WGC event. “We all know he’s strong physically and mentally. If anyone is going to come back from this, he will.’’

Woods famously won the 2008 U.S. Open playing with ACL damage in his left knee and stress fractures in his left leg. He went 11 years, spanning the disintegration of his marriage in scandal and those five back surgeries, before winning his next — and likely his last — major, the 2019 Masters.

This is a totally different deal. This is about Woods being able to walk again, play with his two children and live a normal life. It’s not about when he’ll play in his next Masters or next golf tournament.

“I just hope he can get out of the hospital walking and play with his kids and have a normal life,’’ Jon Rahm said from the WGC event.

There, of course, has been little “normal’’ about Woods’ very public life, which has consisted of a series of dramatic chapters. Some of those chapters have been great (the 15 major championships). Others have been forgettable (the marital scandal, surgeries and embarrassing DUI incident in Florida when he was addicted to pain killers for his back).

NY Post Page 1

Ben Hogan, one of golf’s most iconic players, famously was involved in a head-on collision with a Greyhound bus in February 1949. The left side of his body was crushed, with pelvis, shoulder, ribs, knee, ankle and internal injuries sustained.

Hogan came back from that and won 11 more tournaments, including six of his nine career major championships. Hogan was 36 years old at the time of his car crash. Woods is 45 with a body that has endured so much already.

How much more can he endure?

The only hope, at his point, is that he’s able to walk again.

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