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Woods on Masters: 'My body was ready' – TSN

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Tiger Woods felt strong and fit enough to compete for another green jacket. He could sense the adrenaline starting to flow, along with a strange sensation.

He was grumpy.

Instead of flying to Augusta National for the Masters this week, he was home in Florida, where the only competition for a green jacket was a putting contest with his 11-year-old son, Charlie.

“I felt energetic, I felt really alive and wired and kind of irritable, and I didn’t know what was going on,” Woods said in an interview with GolfTV made available Thursday. “And I realized it was Sunday morning. … And my body, subconsciously, I knew I was supposed to be getting ready to leave and start playing the Masters.

“My body was ready, and I didn’t know why I was acting that way,” he said. “It’s crazy.”

The interview recorded Wednesday with Henni Zuel of GolfTV — Woods has an endorsement deal with the Discovery-owned channel — was his first since the final round of the Genesis Invitational in February. Woods chose not to play the next four tournaments because his back was not ready. And then golf was shut down along with other sports by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He has been at home with his two children and girlfriend, riding bikes for exercise, occasionally playing golf at The Medalist Club and having putting contests with Charlie, with the green jacket going to the winner.

That’s another reminder of these times. This will be the longest a Masters champion has been able to keep golf’s most famous piece of clothing at home. Woods is not required to leave it in his locker at Augusta National until he returns to defend. And that won’t be until November at the earliest.

“This is not the way that I would’ve wanted to keep the jacket for a longer period of time,” Woods said. “I wanted to get out there and compete for it and earn it again, like I did in ’02. But it’s not a normal circumstance, it’s not a normal world. It’s a very fluid environment and it’s very different for all of us. Fortunately, we potentially could have a Masters in November and play it then. I guess I’ll be defending then and hopefully that all comes about.”

In the meantime, he started playing for the jacket with Charlie at the start of the year, wanting to take advantage while the jacket was at home.

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to defend, I don’t know if I’ll be able to win again, but let’s just take a moment to have a little fun with it,” Woods said. “Occasionally, it’s gone into his closet. Primarily, it’s stayed in mine. But the fact he’s been able to earn it off me — because there are no wins that are given in this family — it’s been fun to see him tease me about beating me and being able to wear the jacket and have it in his closet where he says it belongs.”

Woods would rather let 95 other players try to take it over 72 holes at Augusta National.

That will have to wait.

The time off has been helpful in one regard. Woods, who won the ZoZo Championship in Japan late last year for his record-tying 82nd victory on the PGA Tour, was off to a slow start this year. He didn’t seriously contend at Torrey Pines and finished last at Riviera. And then he shut it down, his back not feeling quite right as he resumes his career following four surgeries, the last one to fuse his lower spine.

“Night and day,” he said about the difference in how he feels from the last time he played on Feb. 16 in Los Angeles. “I feel a lot better than I did then. I’ve been able to turn a negative into a positive and been able to train a lot and get my body to where I think it should be at.”

He still struggles to think about what he should be doing this week: a flight to Augusta on Sunday to practice and help hand out trophies in the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals; the noise and bustle of practice rounds on Monday and Tuesday, the Masters Club dinner on Tuesday night for only champions, the Par 3 Tournament with his kids as caddies on Wednesday, and then quiet of the eve of the Masters as he tries to build toward the final round of his favourite tournament.

He stuck to one tradition — the Champions Dinner.

Woods tweeted a photo of him having his dinner Tuesday night, wearing the green jacket, with his girlfriend and children and food that he wants on the menu — steak and chicken fajitas, sushi and sashimi, milkshakes. Also on the table were cupcakes.

Whenever he gets around to hosting the real dinner at Augusta National, it probably won’t end the same way.

There was a food fight at home.

“It got a little bit interesting at the end, a little ugly, where icing was flowing across people’s hair and face, and so we had a little bit of fun at the end,” Woods said. “I did take the jacket off. This jacket cannot get any cupcake on it.”

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NBA owners approve 22-team season restart plan – CityNews Toronto

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The NBA’s Board of Governors has approved a 22-team format for restarting the league season in late July at the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida, another major step toward getting teams back onto the court and playing games again.

The format calls for each team playing eight games to determine playoff seeding plus the possible utilization of a play-in tournament for the final spot in the Eastern Conference and Western Conference post-season fields. The National Basketball Players Association has a call on Friday to approve the plan as well.

Thursday’s vote was the most significant step yet in the process of trying to resume a season that was suspended nearly three months ago because of the coronavirus pandemic. There are numerous other details for the league to continue working through – including finalizing specifics of what the testing plan will be once teams arrive next month at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports complex and the calculating the financial ramifications of playing a shortened regular season.

“The Board’s approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “While the COVID-19 pandemic presents formidable challenges, we are hopeful of finishing the season in a safe and responsible manner based on strict protocols now being finalized with public health officials and medical experts.”

Meanwhile, a person speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the details of the ongoing talks have not been publicly released, said the NBPA and the NBA are continuing to work on a “lengthy” medical protocols document. The details of that document will be shared with teams once those discussions are completed, said the person, who added that teams should receive them in plenty of time for them to prepare for their arrivals at the Disney-ESPN complex.

The NBA also said it is planning to have the draft lottery Aug. 25, the draft on Oct. 15 and start next season on Dec. 1.

If all 22 teams that are going to Disney next month play their allotted eight games before the post-season begins, the NBA would play 1,059 games in this regular season. That means 171 regular season games would be cancelled, which could cost players around $600 million in salary.

Those 22 clubs would play somewhere between 71 and 75 regular season games if the Disney portion of the schedule is completed, down from the customary 82-game slate. The teams who didn’t qualify for the restart will see their seasons end after having played somewhere between 64 and 67 games.

But one of the biggest hurdles is now cleared, and if things go according to plan an NBA champion for a season unlike any other will be crowned in October. The season could go into that month if the league goes ahead with its plan for the same playoff rules as usual, that being every round utilizing a best-of-seven format.

Teams will likely arrive at the Disney complex around July 7. Once there, camps will continue and teams will likely have the chance to have some scrimmages or “preseason” games against other clubs before the regular season resumes.

Thursday’s move by the board of governors – one that came, coincidentally, on the same day this season’s NBA Finals would have started if these were normal times – was largely a formality. The NBA considered countless restart options after suspending the season on March 11, whittled that list down to four possibilities last week and from there the 22-team plan quickly began gaining momentum.

The 22-team plan includes all teams that were holding playoff spots when the season was stopped, plus all other clubs within six games of a post-season berth.

Milwaukee, the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston and reigning NBA champion Toronto had already clinched playoff berths. Now with only eight games remaining for each team, it means that eight other clubs – Miami, Indiana, Philadelphia, the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver, Utah, Oklahoma City and Houston – have post-season spots secured, and Dallas virtually has one as well.

That leaves nine teams vying for three remaining playoff berths. In the East, Brooklyn, Orlando and Washington are in the race for two spots. In the West, Memphis, Portland, New Orleans, Sacramento, San Antonio and Phoenix will jostle for one spot.

If the gap between eighth place and ninth place in either conference is four games or less when the shortened regular season ends, those teams will go head-to-head for the No. 8 seed. The team in ninth place would have to go 2-0 in a two-game series to win the berth; otherwise, the No. 8 seed would advance to the post-season.

Thursday’s decision also means that the seasons for Atlanta, Cleveland, New York, Golden State, Minnesota, Detroit, Chicago and Charlotte are over. The Knicks will miss the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season, the third-longest current drought in the league behind Sacramento and Phoenix – who still have chances of getting into the playoffs this season.

And with the Hawks not moving on, it also means Vince Carter has almost certainly played the final game of his 22-year NBA career – the longest in league history.

Carter, the first player in NBA history to appear in four different decades, is retiring. He appeared in 1,541 NBA games, behind only Robert Parish (1,611) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,560) on the league’s all-time list.

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LeBron James explains why he can’t ‘stick to sports’ in Instagram video – Sportsnet.ca

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More than two years ago, Fox News television host Laura Ingraham asked LeBron James to “shut up and dribble” when the superstar was publicly critical of U.S. President Donald Trump.

On Thursday, in the wake of widespread protests about racial injustices following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, James posted a powerful video on Instagram to explain why he won’t fulfill Ingraham’s request.

The video is a series of sentences that cleverly transition in sync with the sound of a basketball’s bounce.

First, they are sports themed: “Shut up and dribble”; “Shut up and tackle.”

Then, they become more general: “Shut up and get paid”; “Shut up and just do your job.”

Next, they start telling the story of an encounter with police: “Shut up and do you live around here?”; “Shut up and you fit the description.”

That leads to sentences that loosely depict the injustice Floyd faced when Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin put all his weight on a prone Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes: “Shut up and get on the ground”; “Shut up and lay still.”

Finally, James closes with a statement and a question: “This is why we can’t just stick to sports. Do you understand now?”

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NHL to allow teams to reopen training facilities on June 8 – Sportsnet.ca

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The NHL will allow teams to reopen their training facilities on June 8 as it transitions to Phase 2 of its return-to-play plan, the league announced Thursday night.

When facilities are reopened, players will be allowed to participate in individualized training activities — both on and off the ice — with no more than six players taking part at one time (plus a limited number of team staff).

Players who participate will be doing so on a voluntary basis.

The return-to-play plan consists of four phases (Phase 3 is opening training camps, Phase 4 is playing). Last week, players were informed that Phase 3 will not begin until at least July 10.

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