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McIlroy, Donald, Warren tied for lead in Dubai

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McIlroy, Donald, Warren tied for lead in Dubai

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Rory McIlroy shot a 5-under 67 Friday and was tied for the lead with Luke Donald and Marc Warren after two rounds of the season-ending Dubai World Championship.

McIlroy, the top-ranked golfer, has already won the money titles on the European and PGA tours. He was one stroke in front at 11-under 133 with Donald (68) and 189th-ranked Warren (67).

Sergio Garcia, playing for the first time since laser eye surgery, matched the course record with a 64 to leave him four shots behind.

McIlroy's round could have been even better, but he missed several makeable putts on the front nine and an eagle putt roll past the hole at No. 14.

``I continued driving the ball well today and gave myself plenty of opportunities,'' McIlroy said. ``Missed a couple of short ones on the front nine for birdies. But apart from that, it was a very solid round of golf.''

Garcia started with four birdies on his first five holes and then had a string of birdies at the turn before holing a long putt for eagle on No. 14. But he shot into the water on No. 16 for a triple-bogey before recovering to finish with a birdie and eagle.

``Coming back from a long break, so trying to get some good vibrations going and I managed to finish better than that,'' Garcia said.

Donald joined McIlroy and Warren at 11 under with a short birdie putt on the 18th. Warren had a chance take the outright lead, but was short on his 12-foot putt on the 18th.

``Obviously, haven't dropped a shot in 36 holes, so feel good about that,'' said Donald, who finished with four birdies in a bogey-free round. ``I had some opportunities, 10-foot, 15-footers on a few holes that I just misread. But that was a solid round of golf.''

Donald said he wasn't getting his approach shots as close to the pin as the first day, but made up for it with the putter, including a difficult birdie on No. 9 and nice par save on No. 12.

``When I have myself a little bit of trouble out on the course, I was able to recover with the putter,'' Donald said.

Warren, who has not won a tournament since 2007, matched the second-ranked Donald's opening birdie and had five more, including a 12-footer on the 16th to move him into a tie with McIlroy.

``It was nice to be the Scot in the pack with the Englishman and the Northern Irishman,'' Warren said. ``It's great to be in contention with guys like that. Looking down the leaderboard, it's a high-quality leaderboard and doesn't get any better anywhere in the world really.''

Two South Africans were a stroke behind at 134 - Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, shot a 67 and four-time tour winner Branden Grace had a 65.

Charl Schwartzel (67) and Richie Ramsay (68) were two shots off the pace, followed by another 10 players three strokes behind.

Several big names faltered, including fourth-ranked Lee Westwood (74). Two shots off the lead after the first round, Westwood bogeyed the 12th and 16th and then double-bogeyed the par-3 17th to fall eight shots off the lead.

Padraig Harrington, also two shots back after the first round, was five behind after a 71.

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Clarifying the confusion about the Redskins' Week 16 game at the Titans

Clarifying the confusion about the Redskins' Week 16 game at the Titans

There was some confusion about the Redskins’ Week 16 game in Tennessee when the NFL schedule dropped. The schedule pushed out by the Redskins said that the game date and time are to be determined. Other versions that went out, including the one on NFL.com, says the game will be on Sunday, December 23 at 1 p.m.

So what’s the story? Well, if you’re thinking of making reservations to go to Nashville to watch the game you just might want to hold off for a while. Like, until early November. 

In an under the radar move, the NFL has established flex scheduling for its late-season Saturday games. Here are the details from the schedule press release from Redskins PR:

“Flexibility for Saturday games in Weeks 15 and 16 is also part of the 2018 schedule. In Week 15, there will be two games played on Saturday on NFL Network, with the game times of 4:30 p.m. and 8:20 p.m. to be determined. In Week 16, two of four possible matchups will be scheduled for Saturday. Start times and Saturday games for Week 15 and 16 will be announced no later than following Week 8, with the non-Saturday games to be played on Sunday.”

The way it sets up, if the Redskins and Titans are playing well in midseason there is a good chance the game will be played on Saturday, December 22 at either 4:30 or 8:20. If one or both teams are struggling, the league and networks could choose to flex two of the other four matchups to Saturday. 

This is taking flex scheduling to a different level. It’s one thing shifting a Sunday kickoff seven and a half hours from 1 p.m. to 8:30. It’s another to shift a whole day. The visiting teams can’t make travel arrangements, not knowing if they need to come into town on Friday for a Saturday game or on Saturday for Sunday. Fans who want to travel to the game are in the same boat. 

Of course, if you can afford it, you can just add a day to your Nashville excursion. There are worse things in the world than spending an extra day or two in Music City. 

If you have to wait to make your plans, as the Redskins do, you will find out no later than October 29, which is when Week 8 ends. 

Do you believe in trends? Then you should hope that the game does get flexed to Saturday. The Redskins have won three straight Saturday games, beating the Eagles in both 2014 and 2015 (the latter game clinching the division title for Washington) and the Bears in 2016. 

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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John Tortorella has no answers, walks out of postgame press conference after Game 4

John Tortorella has no answers, walks out of postgame press conference after Game 4

In each of the first three games of the series, the Columbus Blue Jackets always had an answer for the Washington Capitals.

The Caps built a two-goal lead in each game and Columbus was able to battle back and tie it each time.

In Game 4 on Thursday, however. the Blue Jackets had no answer in a 4-1 loss to Washington and that includes head coach John Tortorella.

"We weren't good," Tortorella said to the media after the game. "There's no sense asking me things about the game. I'm telling you, we laid an egg. I'm not going to break it down for you. We sucked. We sucked."

Tortorella is known for having some fiery interactions with the media. By his standard, Thursday's postgame presser was fairly tame.

The Capitals may have won Game 3, but Columbus certainly looked like the better team for most of the night. That was not the case in Game 4 as Washington dominated from start to finish. That led to the contentious postgame presser.

"We laid an egg," Tortorella said. "That's all I have to say, guys. I'm sorry, I'm not going to break it down for you. Nothing went well for us. It's on us, we have to figure it out and we will."

Reporters continued to press the head coach until he finally walked out.

Before you laugh too hard at this, it is important to consider that this may be a calculated move by Tortorella.

Sure, there have been times in which he has lost his temper in the past, but these outbursts may be more premeditated than we think.

Consider this. After their worst game of the series, a game in which the Blue Jackets only scored once and saw a 2-0 series lead evaporate in two games at home, we're talking about the head coach. We're not talking about the loss or the performance of the players. Instead, we are talking about Tortorella walking out on reporters.

Even if Tortorella was not willing to give any answers on Thursday, he will need to find some soon. The series now shifts back to Washington for Game 5 on Saturday with all the momentum on the Caps' side.

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