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lw789 Jun 16
ORLANDO, Fla. Chris Wideman Jersey . -- Tiger Woods was a large part of the conversation on the eve of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. And hes not even playing. Woods is missing Bay Hill for only the second time in his career when the tournament starts Thursday on a course that Palmer said is in the best shape ever. Woods has won eight times, including the last two years, but he called the 84-year-old host on Tuesday to say persistent back pain will keep him from playing. "He didnt tell me how bad his back is. I dont think he knows how bad his back is," Palmer said. "I think hes listening to the doctors. And he mentioned that theyre saying that he needs to give it a bit of a rest and see if he can work it out. He was very nice. And I, of course, have great sympathy for the fact that he tried like hell to come here and play. And I appreciate that and the fact that he called. "I think he wanted to play golf this week," Palmer said. "I think that he needs to take (time) -- whether its this week, next week or the following week -- to get ready for Augusta. Certainly, if I were in that position, Id be doing much the same." Most of the chatter was more about the future with Woods. Will he play at the Masters? Stuck on 14 majors for the last five years, can he match or surpass the record 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus? And what will be the larger obstacle -- his age (38), his health (legs and back) or the competition (long list)? "I dont think 38 years is the ultimate stopping point for his quest to do what Jack did," Palmer said. "I think it lessens the possibility of that happening. Its going to be tough. Its going to be tough to keep the concentration and the type of the game that is necessary to win majors." Nicklaus won four of his majors after turning 38. Ben Hogan, with battered legs from a car accident, won five majors after turning 38. Palmer, however, believes more than age is at stake for Woods. "These young guys are tough, and theyre strong," Palmer said. "And if they continue to play as well as theyve been playing, its going to be tough for anybody -- whether it be Nicklaus or Tiger or whomever it would be -- to continue to win major championships. And were talking about guys that are playing good and coming on." Palmer actually had a list of players he was talking about. Some of them were young, such as Chris Kirk and Harris English. Others had either won this season (Ryan Moore) or played well recently (Robert Garrigus). "I dont know how many you want me to name," Palmer said. "But really, the strength and the ability of these people is very pleasing to me." Graeme McDowell, a runner-up to Woods two years at Bay Hill, said he can understand what the No. 1 player is going through with injuries. He also believes that competition might be an even larger obstacle than his health for Woods to break Nicklaus record. "Hes a physical player who creates a lot of speed and a lot of power and his body is starting to struggle a little bit, no doubt about it," McDowell said. "But Im sure hell fix it. ... But we all talk about how good the fields are nowadays. Taking Tigers fitness and physicality out of it, winning major championships is getting harder and harder for everyone -- including the best player maybe thats ever lived in Tiger. "Hes got more than just his body to be fighting. Theres a lot of great players in the world now," McDowell said. "Its going to be harder for him to achieve Jacks record. But if anyone can do it, Im sure he can find a way because we all know how good he is." The field at Bay Hill is not as strong as usual, starting with the absence of Woods, the No. 1 player in the world and an eight-time winner of this event. Match Play champion Jason Day (No. 4 in the world) pulled out with recurring pain in his thumb, and Phil Mickelson (No. 5) is not playing this year. Not that it would change the dynamics of what already has been a peculiar season. With 18 tournaments in the books this season, Zach Johnson is the only player to win a PGA Tour event while ranked among the top 10 in the world. The Masters is three weeks away. Is it time for the stars to come out? "Hopefully, this one does," Masters champion Adam Scott said, pointing to himself with a laugh. "But as far as unexpected winners, it seems to me thats happening more and more in golf. There are more and more guys breaking through, putting in a lot of hard work and getting what they deserve. So I think weve seen a bit of a shift in the game over the last couple of years -- a lot less domination by top players." Andrew Hammond Senators Jersey .Y. - The Buffalo Sabres reassigned forward Sam Reinhart to the WHLs Kootenay Ice on Friday. Mark Stone Senators Jersey . Sam, who joined the Cowboys in early September, has spent the entire season on the practice roster.Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - In less than a week, Grand Slam tennis will be on the menu once again for the first time in four months. Stan Wawrinka will return as the defending mens champion, but he certainly wont be the favorite heading into the Australian Open. Novak Djokovic failed in his bid to capture a fourth straight and fifth overall title in Oz a year ago, but many expect him to return to the winners circle this time around. Djokovics 2015 season got off to a rough start with a loss at the hands of 6-foot-10 Croat Ivo Karlovic in a quarterfinal in Doha last week, but rest assured, hell be ready to go for another run at his best Grand Slam event. The top-ranked Serb has won four of the last seven championships in Oz and is 4-0 when reaching the final round at Melbourne Park. Last years Wimbledon champ and French Open runner-up probably figures his stiffest competition will come from last weeks season-opening Brisbane champion, Roger Federer, who claimed his 1,000th career match win with the victory in Brisbane, joining Jimmy Connors (1,253) and Ivan Lendl (1,071) on that exclusive short list. The 17-time Grand Slam king is a four-time Aussie champ and former runner-up who hasnt run the Down Under table since 2010. The former world No. 1 Federer was last years Wimbledon runner-up to Djokovic and hasnt captured a major title since the 2012 Wimbledon Championships. Note: If Djokovic or Federer capture this years Aussie, that future Hall of Famer would set the Open Era record with five such championships. Then theres the great Rafael Nadal. The Spanish bull has been sidelined since October before returning to action in Doha just last week only to suffer a first-round setback against German fellow left-hander Michael Berrer. Rafa was rusty and it showed. Can he shake off the rust in time to make a big run in Melbourne? The former No. 1 star captured his lone Aussie title six years ago and is a two-time runner-up Down Under, including last year when he was shocked by Wawrinka in four sets in the final. Rafa was slowed mightily by a back injury in the title match and that back problem plagued him for much of the 2014 campaign, as did a wrist injury and a bout with appendicitis, which led to a season-ending appendectomy. Sure, Rafa captured yet another French Open title last year, but 2014 was basically a lost season for the 14-time Grand Slam champ, as he battled that bevy of physical ailments. Having said all that, I would still expect Rafa to be in the mix in Melbourne. The current world No. 4 Wawrinka broke through for his first-ever major title at the 14 Aussie, but he certainly benefited from that Nadal back injury, as the Spanish great was running at less than half speed in that particular final. Dont get me wrong, Stan played great at last years Aussie, but Im not expectiing a repeat performance. Thomas Chabot Senators Jersey. He also had that tremendous gutsy victory over Djokovic in the quarterfinals, as Wawrinka prevailed in arguably the match of the year by outlasting the then-reigning champ in five sets, including a dramatic 9-7 fifth set. The Swiss slugger opened his latest campaign with a title in India last week. Note: Djokovic, Federer and Nadal had combined to win the previous eight Aussie Opens before Stan the Man broke through last year; and Federer, Nadal and Murray have combined to produce the last six runners-up at the physically demanding major. Kei Nishikori will look to become the first-ever Asian mens champion in Melbourne ... or at any major for that matter. The world No. 5 was last years surprise U.S. Open runner-up and just might have enough game to challenge the big boys this month. He reached the fourth round in Melbourne in each of the last two years and was a quarterfinalist there back in 2012. How bout Andy Murray? Is he all the way back from that back injury? Murray hasnt reached a major final since winning it all at Wimbledon in 2013. The athletic Brit is a three-time Aussie Open runner-up and has reached at least the quarterfinals there every year since 2010. He crashed out in the quarters a year ago while still on the mend from back surgery, but I think hes primed for another big run in the Bourne. Murray is a two-time Grand Slam champion and an Olympic gold medalist who hasnt missed a major quarterfinal (when competing) since the 2010 U.S. Open. The mens Top 10 is rounded out by last weeks Doha runner-up and former Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych, rising Canadian Milos Raonic, U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic, and last weeks Doha champ David Ferrer. Cilic has already announced he will skip the 2015 Aussie due to a right shoulder injury, which will make world No. 11 Grigor Dimitrov a Top 10 seed in Oz. My favorites out of this lot of players to make a run are Raonic and Dimitrov. Raonic, who was last weeks Brisbane runner-up to the great Federer, possesses perhaps the best service game on the planet right now and is in the best shape of his young career, while Maria Sharapovas beau, Dimitrov, is a Grand Slam ace in the making, with his all-around game and fluid style that has forced the comparisons to Federer, thus prompting the nickname Baby Fed. Dimitrov reached the Aussie quarters a year ago. On the comeback front, former U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro returned to action this week in Sydney, this after being out of commission since last February with a wrist injury. I dont expect too much from Delpo right now. FYI: The last American man to capture the Aussie was Andre Agassi back in 2003. An American will not win it again this time around. The easy pick here would be Djokovic ... and thats exactly who Im goin with. Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' ' 
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