Hanse updates The Country Club before '16 Olympics

Hanse updates The Country Club before '16 Olympics

BROOKLINE, Mass. (AP) When Gil Hanse was hired to renovate the golf course at The Country Club, he knew there were some corners of the historic property that were better left alone.

``Vardon's bunker on 17. That was the one thing that was untouchable,'' he said on Monday while visiting the site of three U.S. Opens, the 1999 Ryder Cup and a half-dozen men's and women's U.S. Amateur championships. ``But it's always been our formula to be respectful of the original architect's vision. That's been the keystone of the success that we've had with these restoration projects.''

The Vardon bunker's signature victim was six-time British Open champion Harry Vardon, who found it during the 1913 U.S. Open playoff. American Francis Ouimet, a former caddy who grew up across the street, birdied the hole to essentially clinch a victory that obliterated the notion that golf was a game for wealthy Europeans.

But the bunker, a large sand trap along the left side of the 17th fairway only about 180 yards from the tee, has long since passed from golf hazard to historic relic.

``Obviously, for the modern game, that bunker's misplaced,'' Hanse said. ``It doesn't come into play for a championship golfer. So our challenge was: How do we add something down the line from that, without taking away from the integrity of that bunker?''

Under Hanse's guidance, The Country Club added about 100 bunkers in spots that will that are more likely to challenge today's big-hitters - even the teens and 20-somethings who will be playing in the U.S. Amateur next August on the 100th anniversary of Ouimet's seminal win. The renovation also led to the removal of hundreds of trees to allow for better grass-growing and cosmetics; a few hundred trees have also been planted.

``We had to look at this great, classic golf course to figure out: How do we update it without taking away the character, the beauty and the tradition of it?'' Hanse said.

Hanse's next stop will pose a different challenge: He is leaving next week for Rio de Janeiro to oversee construction of the course that will be used in the 2016 Olympics. That one is being built from scratch, for an event with little history in a country with even less golf tradition.

To create a course that looked like it fit in - even though there was no template for what a Brazilian golf course would look like - Hanse turned to the sandy Australian courses like Kingston Heath, outside of Melbourne.

``Our goal is to move the amount of earth you need to make something interesting but mask it so that it looks natural. Therefore it feels, in theory, traditional,'' Hanse said. ``We're really not honoring any traditions for that course. But we're hoping that our presentation honors the tradition of building natural golf courses.''

Building new and updating a traditional course both have their advantages, Hanse said.

``When you have the opportunity to build something from scratch, that's your own idea ... we have a lot of fun with that,'' he said. ``But we're quite capable and ready to turn our focus to something like this, where it's more of a preservation and restoration mode. And I think we learn a ton from soaking up what the original architect did.''

The U.S. Open returned to The Country Club on the 50th anniversary of Ouimet's victory, with Julius Boros beating Arnold Palmer and Jacky Cupit in a playoff. On the 75th anniversary, in 1988, Curtis Strange won a playoff against Nick Faldo.

When the Ryder Cup was held at the course in 1999, the Americans came back from a 10-6 deficit on the final day in what has come to be known as the ``Battle of Brookline.'' Justin Leonard helped the United States clinch with a 45-foot putt on the 17th green - the same hole that was pivotal in Ouimet's win.

Hanse kept his hands off that green, too.

``With any course we work on, you just want to get a good champion. You want to have good competition and identify a really good champion,'' Hanse said. ``This club has always hosted great championships, exciting finishes.''

No. 16 UMBC shocks No. 1 Virginia to make NCAA history

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No. 16 UMBC shocks No. 1 Virginia to make NCAA history

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Senior guard Jairus Lyles scored 28 points, and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County pulled off the most shocking upset in NCAA Tournament history, defeating Virginia 75-54 on Friday night to become the first No. 16 seed ever to beat a No. 1 seed.

Virginia entered the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed after going 31-2 this season, including 20-1 in ACC competition.

But the Cavaliers couldn't get anything generated on offense and the nation's top-ranked defense couldn't contain American East Conference champions.

The 74 points were the most Virginia had allowed this year.

Lyles was the catalyst.

He diced up Virginia's defense in the second half, getting the hole easily on six different occasions and making easy layups. He also knocked down a pair of 3-pointers as UMBC built a 16-point lead.

Lyles finished with 23 of his points in the second half and Joe Sherburne finished with 14 points.

The game was tied at halftime, but the Retrievers came out confident and motivated in the second half and built a double-digit lead that Virginia could never erase.

Sherburne scored on an and-one drive and then knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key after a behind-the-back pass from KJ Maura. After Virginia made a foul shot, the shifty 5-foot-8, 140-pound Maura drove the lane for uncontested layup.

A Tony Bennett timeout couldn't stop the bleeding, as Lyles hit two more 3's and Sherburne hit one to extend UMBC's lead to 14 with 14:57 left in the game. Lyles was fouled on a 3-point shot and suddenly the Retrievers led by 16.

A corner 3-pointer and a layups off a fastbreak by Arkel Lamer gave UMBC its biggest lead at 67-48. From there, the party was on as chants of "UMBC" rang through the arena.

It was yet another early exit for the Cavaliers in a season that seemed to hold so much promise.


UMBC: Despite being undersized and unknown, they shocked the world and made history with an epic game.

Virginia: This isn't the first time Virginia has struggled as the No. 1 seed. The Cavaliers trailed by five at halftime in 2014 to Coastal Carolina but went on to win 70-59.


UMBC: Will face No. 9 seed Kansas State on Sunday in the second round.

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Kuznetsov to be evaluated Saturday after leaving Islanders game with "upper body" issue

Kuznetsov to be evaluated Saturday after leaving Islanders game with "upper body" issue

The Capitals may have won the game Friday against the New York Islanders, but now they will wait to see if they also suffered a significant loss.

Kuznetsov left the game in the third period after taking a slash from Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey which sent him sliding head-first into the boards. The team labeled the issue as “upper body” when it was announced he would not return to the game.

Head coach Barry Trotz was tight-lipped afterward on Kuznetsov’s status.

“They're going to re-evaluate him tomorrow and we'll have some clarity hopefully tomorrow,” he said.


You can see the play here:

When Kuznetsov is first slashed he immediately reacts. His feet then catch the stick of goalie Jaroslav Halak which sends him tripping and sliding hard into the boards. He sat on the ice for several minutes afterward and was looked at by the trainer before getting to his feet and slowly making his way to the locker room.

When asked after the game what he felt about the slash, Trotz said only, “Hockey play.”

One of the Capitals’ biggest strengths as a team is their depth down the middle. Any injury to a center, considering it is arguably the most important skating position on the ice, would be significant. An injury to the team’s top-line center would be even more costly.

Kuznetsov leads the team with 28 assists and ranks second in both goals (21) and points (69).