Sports Outside the Beltway

Will the Palm Beach Post’s Carlos Frias please pick up the Blue courtesy phone

Craig Dolch left the Palm Beach Post last August and as you could have been expected golf writing there has gone down the toilet-

Since Woods announced Thursday that he would test his reconstructed left knee at the CA Championship, ticket sales at the Doral Golf Resort & Spa have been “though the roof,” said the tournament’s executive director, Eddie Carbone.

Tiger entered the CA Championship last Friday, not Thursday. Apprarently Mr. Frias or his editors don’t read their own newspaper.

I’m not done with this article either.

Tiger can tame the Blue Monster. Padraig Harrington knows that. That’s why the 2008 PGA Player of the Year, who won the British Open and the PGA Championship after Woods won the U.S. Open in July on a bad left knee before deciding to have surgery, would rather not engage in too much Tiger talk.

Tiger won the US Open last June, not July.

But wait, Mr. Frias isn’t done yet.

He played his first event since the June surgery two weeks ago at the Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona, where he won his first-round match, but lost in the second round to South Africa’s Tim Clark.

He won the US Open in July but had surgery in June! Tiger truly is Superman!

The error prone inconsistent golf writing by Mr. Frias has me reaching for some dramamine. I’m getting a case of motion sickness because he is all over the road in the same golf article.


The return of Maria Sharapova

During her layoff, Sharapova has dropped from 1st to 23rd in the World rankings. From AP-

Maria Sharapova is returning to the WTA Tour this week, ending her injury absence of more than seven months by playing doubles at an event in Indian Wells, Calif.

Sharapova, who missed the last two Grand Slam tournaments with a right shoulder injury, will compete in doubles for the first time in nearly four years, teaming with Elena Vesnina.

What the three-time major champion isn’t yet ready to do is play singles, according to her Web site.

“I am excited to be playing competitive tennis again,” Sharapova said in a posting on her site. “The healing process takes time, and requires things to move more slowly than I would like, but I am taking things one step at a time.”

Sharapova has not played competitively since pulling out of a tournament in Montreal in late July after winning a nearly three-hour match in which she double-faulted 17 times. The right-hander was examined by a trainer midway through the three-set victory, and she withdrew from the tournament before her next match.

Medical tests later found a torn rotator cuff tendon in the Russian’s shoulder.

In addition to missing last year’s U.S. Open and this year’s Australian Open, Sharapova also pulled out of an indoor event in Paris and a hard-court tournament in Dubai last month.

The joint ATP-WTA tournament in Indian Wells begins Wednesday.

The Sun-Sentinel reports Sharapova will play in the upcoming Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne Florida. It’s good to see her back, and I’m sure alot of male tennis fans wills second what I say.(I hardly follow tennis myself)


Jacksonville Jaguar Matt Jones arrested after violating plea deal

He admitted in court to using alcohol. From the Jacksonville Times-Union

The career of Jaguars receiver Matt Jones took another damaging turn Monday when he was booked into the Washington County Detention Center in Fayetteville, Ark., for violating terms of the plea deal that placed him in a drug intervention program.

A participant in the Washington County Drug Court because of his felony cocaine arrest last July, Jones was booked at 6:21 p.m. Monday for possession of a controlled substance and held on a $150,000 bond, according to Washington County records.

But Jones’ arrest Monday actually stemmed from a positive result on a random test for alcohol taken on Feb. 27, at approximately 6:30 p.m.

“We’re aware of the situation and are still gathering information,” said Jaguars general manager Gene Smith, who declined to comment further.

Terms of Jones’ drug treatment program call for participants to abstain from drugs and alcohol, and individuals are tested randomly for the substances. Positive results from Jones’ alcohol test came in late last week, and he appeared in court Monday to face Judge Mary Ann Gunn, who presides over the drug court, about the positive result.

According to Lisa Dennis, deputy prosecuting attorney for the drug court, the program’s random tests can detect alcohol consumption from as far out as 72 hours prior to the sample being taken. Jones’ sample was sent by the court to a laboratory in Memphis, Tenn., where the positive result was confirmed.

Jones may be in need of taking time off from the game so he can get his life in order. He's still young enough to bounce back, on the field and off.


Torrey Pines to host 2009 LPGA tournament

The course hosted last year’s US Open won by Tiger Woods. From AP-

Torrey Pines Golf Course will host an LPGA Tour event for the first time in 27 years under an agreement to hold the Samsung World Championship on the South Course in September.

The Samsung World Championship, to be held Sept. 17-20, features a 20-player field that includes the four major champions and top players from the money list. Paula Creamer won last year at Half Moon Bay in San Francisco.

It will be the second pro tournament this year at Torrey Pines, which has hosted the Buick Invitational since 1968. The public golf course along the Pacific bluffs gained more notoriety last year when Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open in a playoff.

The course will be nearly 1,000 yards shorter for the Samsung World Championship, which will be just over 6,700 yards.

The LPGA Tour last went to Torrey Pines for the 1983 Inamori Classic.

The Samsung World Championship ought to make Torrey Pines its permanent home. Over the last 15 years, ten courses have hosted the tournament. Bottom line- This is great news for the LPGA.

Tod Leonard of the San Diego Union-Tribune wrote an excellent article detailing the LPGA’s history in San Diego. It is well worth reading.


Tampa Bay Buccaneer Linebacker stabbed by girlfriend

Hayes was a 6th round pick in the 2008 NFL draft out of Florida State. From ESPN-

Authorities say the girlfriend of Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Geno Hayes stabbed him in the head and in the neck.

A Hillsborough County Sheriff’s spokeswoman says Hayes was taken to a hospital by a friend Saturday. The 21-year-old former Florida State player was treated and later released.

Deputies arrested 19-year-old Shevelle Bagley on Saturday afternoon. The sheriff’s spokeswoman says Hayes and Bagley got into an argument, which led to Bagley grabbing a pair of scissors and stabbing Hayes in the head. He managed to get the scissors away from her, but authorities say she then grabbed a knife and stabbed him in the neck.

Lets pray Hayes recovers and Ms. Bagley gets the justice she deserves.


FL Panther Nathan Horton to miss 2-4 weeks

This injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for a team trying to make the playoffs for the first time in 9 years.

With just 16 games left in the regular season, including a two-game road trip starting today against teams also vying for playoffs spots, the last thing the Panthers needed was a flurry of injuries.

However, that’s what the Panthers face entering tonight’s game at Pittsburgh. Forward Nathan Horton is expected to miss the next two to four weeks with a severed tendon in his left ring finger and defenseman Bryan McCabe is out for a week with a fractured orbital bone in his right eye and a broken nose.

“That’s a huge loss,” David Booth said. “[Horton's] probably one of the most gifted players in the NHL.”

Late in the third period of the Panthers’ 5-3 victory over St. Louis on Saturday, a skate blade sliced into Horton’s glove and cut his finger. He had surgery and did not travel with the team. McCabe took a puck to the face in the first period against the Blues. He also had surgery and did not make the trip.

Florida plans to fill Horton’s hole with the useless Bret McLean. 4 goals and 13 points for the entire 2008-09 season. Jacques Martin should bring up Shawn Matthias from the AHL but GM Jacques Martin is making the dumb move so often seen in professional sports. Rather than admit a high priced player is a mistake, they keep giving them more opportunities to fail even if it will prove detrimental to the team the GM is supposed to be running.


Stampeding fans lead to scoring error

Some Ivy Leaguers have basketball fever. From AP-

A jubilant throng of Cornell fans surging onto the court led to a scoring mistake when the Big Red clinched the Ivy League title by beating Penn on Friday night.

Cornell won the game 83-58 — or so everyone thought.

A Cornell spokesman said Saturday there were several changes from the final minute that weren’t noted until hours later because the courtside scorekeepers’ computer was demolished by several thousand stampeding fans.

The final score should have been 83-59.

No harm done at least.


The mighty have fallen- U of Kentucky will accept NIT Bid if offered

The last time the school played in that tournament was 30 years ago. From ESPN-

The three letters Kentucky fans would rather spit than say may soon be coming to fruition. And if the Wildcats’ postseason disintegrates to the NIT — a seemingly likely scenario after UK’s 60-53 loss to Florida on Saturday — Kentucky has told the NIT it would accept the invitation.

“We’re still planning on making the NCAA tournament but if we don’t, we told them on Friday we would play,” athletic director Mitch Barnhart said.

Barnhart admitted he and the coaching staff thought hard about the decision. Kentucky has made the NCAA Tournament every year since 1992 and its 17 straight NCAA appearances is the third-longest active streak, behind only Arizona (24) and Kansas (19).

UK hasn’t played in the NIT since 1979. At this point, with a four-game losing streak and an RPI in the 70s, it appears that is where the Wildcats are headed unless they can win the SEC tournament title in Tampa.

Kentucky won’t win the SEC so its the NIT or bust. The school made the right choice.


Divison II School’s Pitchers throw back to back no-hitters

There have been back to back no-hitters in pro baseball on at least two occasions, but never by the same team in both games. From AP-

Two games, two pitchers and no hits allowed for St. Augustine’s College.

Brandon Stewart and Ryan Wood each threw seven-inning no-hitters for Saint Augustine’s as the Falcons swept Lincoln (Pa.) University 10-1 and 25-2 in a doubleheader Sunday.

Stewart, a sophomore from Atlanta who also threw a no-hitter against Voorhees last season, struck out six and allowed one run in the opening-game victory for the Division II Falcons (4-8).

Wood, also a sophomore from Chester, Va., had seven strikeouts in the second game against the Lions (0-9) at the USA Baseball Complex.

Joseph Pierce was 1-for-2 with three RBIs in the first game for St. Augustine’s, while Ryan Shwedo was 3-for-5 with five RBIs and Chris Vette drove in four runs in the second. Rashad Ingram had nine of the Falcons’ 20 stolen bases on the day.

Lincoln is in serious need of some batting practice.


Montreal Canadiens fire Coach Guy Carbonneau

General Manager and former coach Bob Gainey will be standing behind the bench beginning tomorrow. From ESPN-

Guy Carbonneau was fired as coach of the struggling Montreal Canadiens, hockey’s most historic franchise that is in danger of missing the playoffs in its 100th season.

The timing of Monday’s move was a bit surprising because the Canadiens are currently in a playoff position and there are only 16 games left in the regular season.

General manager Bob Gainey, who handed the coaching duties over to Carbonneau three years ago, will return behind the bench when Montreal hosts Edmonton on Tuesday.

The Canadiens started Monday in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, but they were only two points above the postseason cutoff. What was supposed to be a season of celebration has turned into one of difficulty.

Montreal (35-24-7) went into a free fall in late January and February, losing 10 of 13. The Canadiens, 5-4-1 in their previous 10 games, won 3-1 at Dallas on Sunday in their last game with Carbonneau as coach.

Carbonneau officially became an NHL head coach for the first time on May 5, 2006, after serving as an associate to Gainey for the final 41 games of the 2005-06 season.


In 230 games with the Canadiens over three seasons, Carbonneau was 124-83-23. He is the seventh NHL coach fired this season, and the fourth in five weeks.

Carbonneau had a good record in Montreal. He was a victim of the usual high expectations hockey fans have up there, and events out of his control. Like two players who have a relationship with a criminal and this is being probed by the NHL.

Montreal may have been slightly underperforming, but what proof is there that Gainey will change this?


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