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Rejuvenated Mike Weir enters Masters feeling the best he's felt 'in a long time' –



In early November, Corey Conners mentioned he was on a text thread started by 2003 Masters winner Mike Weir, where the elder statesman of Canadian golf was trying to confirm details about a Tuesday practice round at this year’s Masters.

When Conners was 11 it was Weir who captured the Green Jacket and the hearts of millions of young Canadians. Conners realized that someone from small-town Canada could go on top golf’s grandest stage and in the process Weir inspired Conners to want to be a professional golfer, too.

And now, that same champion was asking him if Tuesday morning or afternoon was better for a warm-up game at Augusta?

“Oh, it’s unbelievable,” Conners said when asked if he realized what he was saying, considering what Weir’s 2003 victory meant to him. That’s the kind of impressive impact Weir has on the current generation of male Canadian PGA Tour stars.

But for the first time in more than a decade, Weir said, he feels very good about his own game heading into Masters week.

“There’s not anything that feels a little weaker than any other,” Weir told Sportsnet in an exclusive pre-tournament interview. “I’m driving it well, putting has been very good at times… I just need to be more consistent with that. But I love Augusta greens. I’ve always putted them well.”

Weir’s confidence has been buoyed by an impressive start to his PGA Tour Champions career. He turned 50 in May and made his debut on the 50-and-over circuit in the same year as Jim Furyk and Phil Mickelson.

The native of Brights Grove, Ont. has held his own on the Champions Tour through the summer schedule, with three top-10 finishes in nine tournaments. That run includes a runner-up result to Mickelson at the Dominion Energy Charity Classic in mid-October.

He said the competition on the Champions Tour has been a good motivator to keep his game tight.

“We had so many guys turn 50 in the last year – I would say three of the four best players of our generation in Phil (Mickelson), Ernie (Els), and Jim Furyk,” said Weir. “Outside of Tiger (Woods) they’re probably the best players in the last 20 years, so there is a lot of excitement around the Champions Tour and the quality of play.”

Despite Weir’s lengthy struggles, he found some rejuvenating energy once he got to 48 years old. The PGA Tour has a special category for longtime Tour members to earn starts on the Korn Ferry Tour at age 48 and 49 as they prepare for the Champions Tour and their 50th birthdays.

Weir began to find his footing competing against golf’s next generation of stars, making more cuts in the last two years on the Korn Ferry Tour than the last five on the PGA Tour.

Just over a decade ago Weir, who is an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour and to date Canada’s only male major champion, began his battle with injuries. It was a myriad of problems with his elbow and shoulder, plus his back. He went through a divorce at the same time, compounding his off-course issues.

Now, however, Weir is blossoming again as a consistent presence on Champions Tour leaderboards. It’s been a big change.

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Another change for Weir has been his embrace of leading Canada’s next generation of Tour stars. Weir has always been open and has always encouraged the guys to send him a note to ask any questions they had. But this time around it was Weir who took the reigns.

Weir said he’s admired Gary Player and other South Africans who all tee off together — Trevor Immelman, Charl Schwartzel, Ernie Els, and Louis Oosthuizen (major champions, all) would get together for a game.

“They got a chance to play with Gary and he saw the young guys up close and I always thought it was really cool,” said Weir. “So for me to be able to show the guys around the course a little bit and play with them, see their games, and have a chat about things will be very exciting. I’m really looking forward to that.”

The players, though, like Conners (Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor are the others in the field) are likely looking even more forward to their rip around Augusta National with a past winner.

It’s one thing to fade into the background as a mentor-type and pass the jacket to Canada’s next batch of PGA Tour winners and major-champion contenders, but what does Weir think about his chances this week? His playing partners Tuesday will become his competitors on Thursday.

Weir admitted it depends on the course conditions, and he’s already going into the week knowing if his competitors are driving it past 350 yards and are holding a wedge in their hands when he has a 5-iron, it’s “not a fair fight.” But the usual pilgrimage to Augusta National takes place in April when Weir isn’t sure what his game will give him. Now, in November, he’s had a body of work on the Champions Tour — a body of work that gives him more confidence going into the Masters than he’s had in 10 years.

“I think the golf has changed so much so I don’t know where that puts me with my game, but, I’m feeling good. Could I contend or just have a great week or finish somewhere in the top-20, I’m not sure,” said Weir. “I just feel very good about my game. The best it’s felt in a long time.”

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Heavy blows, heavier breathing: Tyson, Jones Jr. exhibition ends in 8-round draw –



Mike Tyson showed glimpses of his destructive prime Saturday night during the 54-year-old boxing icon’s return to the ring for a lively exhibition bout with 51-year-old Roy Jones Jr.

Both fighters had impressive moments during a fight that was unofficially ruled a draw by the WBC judges at ringside. Tyson and Jones fought eight two-minute rounds, and both emerged smiling and apparently healthy from a highly unusual event at Staples Center.

“This is better than fighting for championships,” Tyson said of the heavyweight exhibition, which raised money for various charities. “We’re humanitarians now. We can do something good for the world. We’ve got to do this again.”

The former heavyweight champion of the world’s return to the ring after a 15-year absence attracted international attention, and Iron Mike did his best to show the form that made him a legend to a generation of boxing fans. Tyson tagged Jones with body shots and a handful of head punches during a bout that was required to be a fairly safe glorious sparring session by the California State Athletic Commission.

“The body shots definitely took a toll,” said Jones, the former four-division world champion widely considered the most skilled boxer of his generation. “It’s something to take the punches that Mike throws. I’m cool with a draw. Maybe we can do it again.”

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Jones walked to the ring with gloves and trunks honouring Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, while Tyson wore his signature all-black trunks. After the traditional pre-fight pomp and an introduction by Michael Buffer, the 50-something champions both came out throwing punches that evoked echoes of their glorious primes.

They also tied up frequently on the inside, and their occasionally laboured breathing could be heard on the microphones in the empty arena.

Hip hop performances also featured in empty arena

Hip hop star Snoop Dogg’s witty television commentary was among the loudest noises inside Staples, and he had a handful of zingers. “This is like two of my uncles fighting at the barbecue,” he exclaimed.

Tyson and Jones were the headliners in the most improbable pay-per-view boxing event in years, engineered by social networking app Triller and featuring fights interspersed with hip hop performances in an empty arena.

The event was derided as an anti-sporting spectacle by some critics, yet both Tyson and Jones appeared to handle themselves capably and safely. Fans were clearly enamoured, with the show getting enormous traction on social media.

“I hit you with some good shots, and you took it,” Tyson said. “I respect that.”

In the co-main event, YouTube star Jake Paul knocked out former NBA player Nate Robinson, stopped in the second round of Robinson’s pro boxing debut. Paul, in his second pro fight, recorded three knockdowns against Robinson, the three-time NBA Slam Dunk contest champion, before an overhand right put Robinson flat on his face and apparently unconscious.

Tyson who posted a 50-6 career record with two no-contests, won his first heavyweight championship belt in 1986, and he was the undisputed world champion from 1987-90. He spent three years in prison after he was convicted of rape in 1992; upon his release, he regained pieces of the heavyweight crown in 1996.

Tyson retired from boxing in 2005, saying he longer had “the fighting guts or the heart” after he quit in a dismal loss to journeyman Peter McBride. Finally free of his sport’s relentless pressure, Tyson gradually straightened out his life, kicking a self-described drug addiction and eventually succeeding in acting, stage performance, charity work and even marijuana cultivation while settling into comfortable family life in Las Vegas with his third wife and their children.

The idea of a boxing comeback seemed preposterous, but Tyson started toward this unlikely fight when he started doing 15 daily minutes on a treadmill a few years ago at his wife’s urging in a bid to lose 100 pounds. The workouts soon became multi-hour affairs encompassing biking, running and finally punching as he regained a measure of his athletic prime through discipline and a vegan diet.

Tyson posted a video of himself hitting pads on social media early in the coronavirus pandemic, and the overwhelming public response led to several lucrative offers for a ring comeback. With the chance to make money for himself and for charity, Tyson eventually agreed — but he had to find an opponent.

Jones first entered the spotlight when he won a silver medal as a light middleweight in the 1988 Sumnmer Olympics in Seoul. He went on to hold the world middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight championships during a career that saw him start 49-1 before he ended up at 66-9.

Jones fought steadily into his late 40s, but thought he was done with the sport after winning his last bout in 2018. He couldn’t resist the chance to take on Tyson after the greats never met during their first professional careers because Tyson was a heavyweight and Jones mostly was a light heavyweight (178 pounds).

Tyson and Jones negotiated with the California commission over the limitations of their bout, eventually arriving at eight two-minute rounds of hard sparring with only ceremonial judging and no official winner. The WBC still stepped in to award a ceremonial “Frontline Battle Belt” to both fighters.

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Reaction Recap: Mike Tyson–Roy Jones Jr. bout finishes as a draw –



In what was ultimately a sporting event as bizarre as the year it capped off, boxing legends Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. returned to the ring in a battle of 50-year-old former champions Saturday night.

After eight two-minute rounds at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, and some impressive displays from both veteran fighters, the bout was ruled a draw by the WBC’s unofficial judges, Christy Martin, Vinny Pazienza and Chad Dawson.

“This is better than fighting for championships,” Tyson said after the heavyweight tilt, the goal of which was to raise money for charity. “We’re humanitarians now. We can do something good for the world. We’ve got to do this again.”

While Jones’ return to the ring was his first since 2018, it was Tyson’s first time back in 15 years. But the man who established himself as one of the most dominant heavyweights in the game back in his prime showed glimpses of the form that made him an undisputed champion decades ago.

“The body shots definitely took a toll,” said Jones post-fight about Tyson’s attack. “It’s something to take the punches that Mike throws. I’m cool with a draw. Maybe we can do it again.”

While the event divided boxing fans between those who saw it as little more than a spectacle and others who were more than willing to indulge for a chance to see two of the sport’s best make their return, chatter about the card on social media — from YouTuber Jake Paul’s knockout win over former NBA guard Nate Robinson to Tyson and Jones’ main-event meeting — made clear the undeniable interest in the event regardless.

The spectacle certainly didn’t disappoint, either, with California legend Snoop Dogg emerging as one of the true winners on the night, his commentary throughout — not short on witty one-liners — drawing rave reviews from the social media crowd.

By the night’s end, the meeting of the two former champs under the lights finished amicably.

“I hit you with some good shots, and you took it,” Tyson told Jones post-fight. “I respect that.”

Re-live all the action below via the Twitterverse’s round-by-round reaction to the fight, from the opening bell to the last:


First Half (Rounds 1-4)

Second Half (Rounds 4-8)

— With files from The Associated Press

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ACC CFB Picks: Clemson vs Pittsburgh 11/28/20 College Football Picks, Odds, Predictions – Sports Chat Place



Pittsburgh Panthers (5-4) at Clemson Tigers (7-1)

College Football: Saturday, November 28, 2020 at 3:30 pm (Memorial Stadium)

The Line: Clemson Tigers -26 — Over/Under: 55
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The Clemson Tigers host the Pittsburgh Pantherswhen they meet Saturday in college football action from Clemson Memorial Stadium aka “Death Valley”. 

Pittsburgh comes into this one at 5-4 overall. The Panthers have won their last two consecutive games, taking out Florida State and Virginia Tech in that time. As for Clemson, they’re 7-1. The Tigers are coming off their first and only loss of the year so far, falling in overtime to Notre Dame on November 7. Check back all season long for free college football picks at Sports Chat Place. 

Pittsburgh got off to a nice 3-0 start with wins over Austin Peay, Syracuse and Louisville. The Panthers then went on a four-game losing streak, falling in close games to NC State and Boston College prior to double-digit losses to Miami and Notre Dame. 

Wonder who the Top Experts Picked? Click Here To Find Out

The game against the Fighting Irish was never close after the first quarter, and end up a 45-3 Pittsburgh loss. Panthers quarterback Joey Yellen posted 101 yards and three interceptions on 10-of-27 passing. Vincent Davis managed eight carries for 28 yards to pace the rush, and Jordan Addison had three catches for 40 yards. 

Over on the Clemson side, they marched out of the gate with six straight double-digit victories, taking out Wake Forest, the Citadel, Virginia, Miami, Georgia Tech and Syracuse with relative ease. The Tigers escaped Boston College 34-28 on Halloween, then suffered their first loss of the year November 7 against Notre Dame, 47-40 in double overtime. 

Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei managed 439 yards with two touchdowns in that game, and Travis Etienne added 28 yards and a TD on 18 carries. Cornell Powell had six catches for 161 yards and a score to lead the Clemson receivers there. 

The Panthers are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games in November and 3-8-1 ATS in their last 12 overall. Pitt is 2-7-1 ATS in their last 10 conference games and 1-4 ATS in their last five road games. 

Meanwhile, the Tigers are 2-5 ATS in their last seven conference games and 2-7 ATS in their last nine overall. Clemson is 1-4 ATS versus a team with a winning record and 1-4 ATS in their last five home games. 

PICK: I’m going with Pittsburgh. It’s been tough picking Clemson games with any confidence over the last couple of weeks, what with all the postponements, virus inactive lists, etch. That said, if Clemson is going to cover it’s going to be up to the defensive side of the ball in this one. The Tigers have given up at least 21 points in each of the last three outings, and a combined 75 in the last two games. The Panthers offense (though not against elite competition) has shined over the last two games, with a combined 89 points in that time. I think Pittsburgh has the offensive gas to get in there. 

See Who The Experts Picked To Win This One

Andrew’s Pick
Pittsburgh Panthers +26

The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a Sports Chat Place site consensus.

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