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'I'm so far from that,' Tiger Woods, his leg and back hurting, says of PGA Tour return – CBC.ca

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Tiger Woods had nothing to say about the February car crash that shattered his right leg and he had even less of an idea what his future in golf holds except that he’s a long way from deciding whether he can compete against the best.

“I can show up here and I can host an event, I can play a par-3 course, I can hit a few shots, I can chip and putt,” he said Tuesday. “But we’re talking about going out there and playing against the world’s best on the most difficult golf courses under the most difficult conditions.

“I’m so far from that.”

Woods, who was close to having his leg amputated after he lost control of his car in Los Angeles, won two of his 15 career major titles at the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland and has not ruled out being in the field.

“I would love to play at St. Andrews, there’s no doubt it. It’s my favourite golf course in the world,” Woods said at Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas where he is host of this week’s Hero World Challenge.

“Physically, hopefully I can. I’ve got to get there first. Tournament’s not going to go anywhere, but I need to get there.”

Woods addressed the media for the first time since his Feb. 23 crash on a winding road in the Los Angeles coastal suburbs. He walked into the news conference without crutches but admitted both his leg and back hurt just sitting there.

Police said he was driving at least 84 miles per hour when he crossed a median and his SUV tumbled down a hill.

WATCH | Tiger Woods injured in car crash:

Tiger Woods hospitalized after car crash

9 months ago

Golf superstar Tiger Woods needed surgery after a car crash in Los Angeles on Tuesday that left him with multiple leg injuries. Officials say he was conscious when pulled from the wrecked SUV and the injuries are not life threatening. 2:02

Doctors said he shattered tibia and fibula bones in his right leg in multiple locations. Those were stabilized by a rod in the tibia. A combination of screws and pins were used to stabilize additional injuries in the ankle and foot.

Asked his recollection of the accident, Woods said curtly, “All those answers have been answered in the investigation, so you can read about all that there in the police report.” When asked if he had any flashbacks to the trauma, he replied: “I don’t, no. Very lucky in that way.”

3 months immobilized

Woods said he felt fortunate to be alive and to still have his right leg and to be able to walk into the press center at Albany Golf Club without a noticeable limp. From the waist up, with biceps bulging through a black-and-gray shirt, he looked like he did a year ago.

Woods is the host of the Hero World Challenge, which starts Thursday for 20 elite players.

He said he spent three months immobilized — a makeshift hospital bed was set up in his Florida home — before he could start moving around on crutches and eventually walk on his own. Two weeks ago, he posted a video of his smooth swing with a short iron.

That raised hopes that he was on his way back. On Tuesday, Woods hit the brakes on any notion that a comeback was near. Still to be determined is whether he even wants to go through the work required to compete at a high level.

“I have a long way to go to get to that point,” he said. “Now, I haven’t decided whether or not I want to get to that point. I’ve got to get my leg to a point where that decision can be made, and we’ll see what happens when I get to that point.”

What was clear was that any golf in his future would be limited, and it already was headed in that direction before the car crash. He played only nine times during the pandemic-shortened 2020, ending the year with a fifth surgery on his lower back.

Even so, he could see a scenario of picking and choosing where to play, presumably around the majors, much like Ben Hogan did after his near-fatal car accident in 1949. Woods won the Masters in 2019 after back fusion surgery, and just two years after he could barely walk and feared his career was over.

“I got that last major, and I ticked off two more events along the way,” he said.

The other two were the Tour Championship in 2018, when he outplayed Rory McIlroy in the final round at East Lake, and the Zozo Championship in Japan in fall 2019 for his 82nd career PGA Tour victory to tie Sam Snead’s record.

Can he win again?

“I’ve got to be good enough to do it, OK? So, I’ve got to prove to myself in practice that I’m good enough,” he said.

WATCH | Vehicle interior prevented fatal crash, sheriff says:

Interior of Tiger Woods’ car may have saved him from fatal crash

9 months ago

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alejandro Villanueva says the interior of Tiger Woods’ car acted as a cushion to survive “what otherwise would have been a fatal crash.” 1:07

5 surgeries on left knee

His right leg will never be what it once was. Ditto for his left knee, which has gone through five surgeries, one of them a week after he won the 2008 U.S. Open despite having shredded ligaments and a double stress fracture. He said his back won’t be the same either.

Woods turns 46 on Dec. 30.

“All that combined means that a full schedule and a full practice schedule and the recovery that it would take to do that, no, I don’t have any desire to do that,” he said. “But to ramp up for a few events a year … there’s no reason that I can’t do that and feel ready.

“I’ve come off long layoffs and I’ve won or come close to winning before,” he said. “So, I know the recipe for it. I’ve just got to get to a point where I feel comfortable enough where I can do that again.”

Since the accident, Woods gave an interview to Golf Digest (with which he has a financial deal) in May and a video interview with the Discovery-owned outlet that was published Monday. He also was in touch with U.S. players at the Ryder Cup and says the players with whom he’s close have kept in touch. But he hasn’t lost his intense desire for privacy, including what exactly happened when he was speeding along that suburban LA road.

He said friends kept him from what was being said and written about him, and he refused to watch anything on TV except for sports.

“I didn’t want to go down that road. I wasn’t mentally ready for that road yet,” he said. “A lot of things in my body hurt at that time, and whether I was on medication or not, it still hurt. … I didn’t want to have my mind go there yet. It wasn’t ready.”

Meanwhile, the Masters is four months away, and to hear Woods speak about the long road ahead, anything but the Masters Club dinner for champions seemed unlikely. Woods said everything was a short-term goal.

“This year’s been a year I would like to turn the page on,” he said.

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Sabres' Dell suspended three games for hit on Batherson – TSN

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Buffalo Sabres goaltender Aaron Dell has been suspended three games for interference on Ottawa Senators forward Drake Batherson, NHL Player Safety announced Wednesday.

Batherson is expected to miss significant time after a collision with Dell as he attempted to skate around the net in Tuesday’s 5-0 Senators win. Dell appeared to shove Batherson with his right shoulder, who went feet-first into the boards and needed help to leave the game.

The hit from Dell drew the ire of the Senators, who sounded off on the goaltender post-game.

“I thought that play on Batherson was pretty dirty,” winger Tyler Ennis said, “the goalie looked like he threw his shoulder into Batherson”

“The frustrating part is he’s done it before and he continues to do it.,” head coach DJ Smith said. “It’s interference, (Batherson) wasn’t in the path of the goalie and at the last second he steps in and hits him.”

Senators goaltender Matt Murray also took his counterpart to task for his role in Batherson’s injury.

“I don’t like calling out other goalies. But they’re (players) not expecting to get hit by a goalie,” said Murray.  “That’s a dangerous play that turns out to be an unfortunate result – one of our best players goes down.”

Batherson, who scored his 13th goal of the season, played 5:38 in Tuesday’s game before exiting. The 23-year-old has already tied a career-high with 34 points this season in 31 games.

More to come.

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Soccer-Premier League says minimum four COVID-19 cases needed for fixture postponement

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Premier League sides can apply for a fixture postponement only if they have a minimum of four positive COVID-19 cases in their squads, the league said on Wednesday following a meeting of representatives of all 20 clubs.

A total of 22 games have been called off this season due to COVID-19 outbreaks and the subsequent unavailability of players, with the league being criticised by some clubs for their handling of the crisis.

Earlier, a match could be postponed if one of the teams did not have 13 available outfield players — and one goalkeeper — “either from its squad list or its appropriately experienced Under-21 players”.

“Following a club meeting today, the Premier League’s COVID-19 match postponement guidance has been updated to include a COVID-19 impact threshold,” the league said in a statement.

“From now on, if a club applies to postpone a match on the grounds of insufficient players due to COVID-19, they must have a minimum of four positive cases within their squad.”

The new guidelines will kick in ahead of the game between Burnley and Watford on Feb. 5.

The previous rule came under heavy scrutiny, with some clubs being accused of “manipulating the system” in order to get games postponed during the busy festive period.

Tottenham Hotspsur were most vocal in their criticism following the postponement of the north London derby earlier this month, saying they were “extremely surprised” that the request from Arsenal, who had one COVID-19 case, was accepted.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel and his Arsenal counterpart Mikel Arteta had also called for more clarity around postponements related to COVID-19.

The league added: “Club applications will continue to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. The Premier League Board examines a number of factors, including the ability of a club to field a team; the status, severity and potential impact of COVID-19.”

On Monday, the league said it had reported 16 new infections of COVID-19 in the previous week, continuing a downward trend in the number of positive cases for a fourth week.

 

(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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Better late than never: Oilers elevate game in third to beat Canucks – Sportsnet.ca

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There it was, on a silver platter.

A chance for a losing team to build on its first win in eight games, Saturday’s heartening 5-3 victory over Calgary still coursing through the veins. An opportunity to build some momentum against a Vancouver team in the throes of a COVID-19 shortage, ripe for a home loss against what was supposed to be a confident Oilers club.

This should be easy, right?

What? The Canucks are starting Spencer Martin in goal?

Piece of cake, right?

Yeah, right.

Down 2-0 with less than 15 minutes to play on Tuesday, Ryan McLeod slipped a shot between Martin and the near post. It was Martin’s only mistake on a 50-shot night, but by the time they were done the Oilers had fought back for a 3-2 overtime victory.

In recent losing streaks of six and seven games, it was usually Edmonton’s netminder who would surrender that queasy goal at an important moment. But now, after winning two straight games, if ever you wanted evidence that perhaps Edmonton’s luck has turned, look no further than the smelly goal that opened the floodgates in Vancouver.

“It’s 16 games. It’s tough to blame it all on bounces,” Connor McDavid admitted of their woes of late. “We weren’t playing our best hockey, but bounces do go a long way, and ‘Clouder found a way to sneak one through.”

“(Martin) was playing unbelievable, shutting the door all game,” said McLeod, who has five goals in 27 games this season. “It’s just the little squeaker ones that go in first and open the door for the rest of the guys. Early in the shift, I had a chance to shoot and I made a pass. They’ve been telling me to shoot a little more. I decided to shoot.”

From there the Oilers dominated a Canucks team that has been gutted by COVID cases, showing up to play Tuesday with no Bo Horvat, no Tanner Pearson, no Conor Garland and neither of the goaltending tandem of Thatcher Demko nor Jaro Halak.

Cue Martin, the third-stringer who faced an even 50 shots and held Edmonton to two regulation goals. He had preceded McLeod with the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL, and played against Connor McDavid back in their minor hockey days around the GTA. So the Oilers knew of him, if not how to beat him through the opening 45 minutes.

But once McLeod broke the seal, you could see Edmonton gain life. The Oilers outshot Vancouver 15-9 in the third period and 9-1 in overtime. Leon Draisaitl’s 29th tied the game halfway through the third off a lovely pass by the returning Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and McDavid scored his first since Dec. 31 to capture the second point in overtime.

The Oilers captain has been slumping for a few weeks. The jump has been there, just not the usual production.

“I’ve been a bit snake bit,” he said. “I feel like I’m getting my chances, but haven’t been able to put one away. It was nice to be able to contribute and find a way to score a goal.”

Nice to win two straight, something the Oilers last did in the two games between six- and seven-game losing streaks. They are still right in thick of the Pacific Division race with half a season to go, but only if they can win a goodly share of their games in hand.

“It’s important — we want to get on a little roll here. That’s the main focus,” said McDavid, whose team faces Nashville on Thursday before hitting the road for Montreal, Ottawa and Washington. “It was a big win on Saturday, it’s a big win tonight. We’ve got to keep marching forward.”

It was the second straight game that Edmonton fell behind 2-0 and then battled back to win. “Not exactly a recipe for success,” said McDavid.

They still never score first — this was the 10th straight game and 25th of 28 games they’ve gone down 1-0 — but give the Oilers credit. They dominated this hockey game, outshooting Vancouver 50-27 while garnering 62.5 percent of scoring chances and 81.25 percent of the high danger scoring chances, according to Natural Stat Trick.

Meanwhile, Mikko Koskinen was his usual self in goal. And by that we mean you wondered about one goal, an Elias Pettersson snapper from the outside edge of the circle, but he stopped Tyler Motte on a crucial short-handed breakaway that immediately preceded Draisaitl’s game-tying goal.

In the end Koskinen allowed two, and in a 3-2 league his team won by that exact score. Consider it a game well goaltended.

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