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Woods says getting back to No. 1 will take time

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Woods says getting back to No. 1 will take time

SINGAPORE (AP) On the two-year anniversary of losing his No. 1 ranking, Tiger Woods said Thursday that winning was the best way for him to get back to the top.

And that could take some time.

Four players have been No. 1 over the last two years. The current top ranking belongs to Rory McIlroy, who has widened his lead by winning the U.S. PGA Championship and consecutive tournaments during the FedEx Cup playoffs. McIlroy was runner-up last week against a strong field in Shanghai.

``Rory is playing a lot of events, and so am I, toward the beginning of the year,'' Woods said in Singapore, where he staged a youth clinic on putting. ``It's about winning golf tournaments. That's how I got to No. 1, that's how Rory got to No. 1. You've got to win golf tournaments, and when you don't, you've got to be consistent and finish high. I'm looking forward to that.''

Woods won three times this year on the U.S. tour, though it took time for his trademark consistency to develop. He did not have back-to-back finishes in the top 10 until the British Open (tie for third) and the Bridgestone Invitational (tie for eighth). He hasn't finished out of the top 10 since The Barclays in August, a streak of four tournaments. Woods ends his 2012 season at his World Challenge in California in the last week of November.

``Things are progressing nicely,'' Woods said. ``Last year I was 127th on the money list, this year I was second. So I think that's a pretty good improvement in a year. And given that I'm healthy, I'm really looking forward to next year.''

He decided not to play the HSBC Champions this week in China, saying he was too tired to prepare properly. Woods will have played 24 tournaments this year, his most since 2005, which includes an unofficial event in Turkey and the Ryder Cup.

Woods confirmed he will not play in January at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, where he last competed in 2005. That will give him six full weeks off after his World Challenge.

``Doing these things are easy,'' Woods said of the clinic at Marina Bay Sands. ``Competing and getting ready for another golf tournament ... I just didn't want to do that. I've got four more rounds, which is my tournament in LA, and I'm done until Abu Dhabi next year, so I'm looking forward to having this extended break. This is like my offseason now, and I'm really looking forward to just getting away from it.

``Competing and playing golf tournaments - the playoffs, the Ryder Cup and a lot of other tournaments - it's been a lot.''

McIlroy also is skipping the World Golf Championship this week, though he will finish his season in Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai as he tries to match Luke Donald's feat of winning money titles on the U.S. PGA Tour and European Tour in the same season.

Of all the legitimate rivals for Woods over the years, McIlroy is the first player who is younger - by more than 13 years. Woods said it would take time to determine whether the 23-year-old from Northern Ireland is the best he has ever faced.

McIlroy beat Woods in an 18-hole exhibition in China on Monday, though Woods beat him in Turkey during an 18-hole match based on stroke play.

``Trust me, I've played against a lot of guys over the years that have been really good,'' he said, mentioning Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Padraig Harrington. ``All these guys have won two to four major championships during the time that I've been on tour. And Rory has, too, but he's still young. He's only 23 years old. Let him grow, let him develop over the next decade. He's still learning how to play the game. He's only going to get better with age.''

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In talking 2018 NFL draft, Doug Williams actually explained Redskins' free agency

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USA TODAY Sports

In talking 2018 NFL draft, Doug Williams actually explained Redskins' free agency

The Redskins spent modestly in 2018 free agency, and plenty of fans thought the team should have shelled out much bigger bucks. Talking with sources around the Ashburn facility, a prevaling notion became clear that the Washington brass believed they had a strong team in 2017, but they lost their chance to compete because of injuries. 

Well, the secret is out. Doug Williams said as much on Tuesday. 

"Coming out of Richmond last year, I liked this football team. I think we’ve got a tough football team, a smart football team. Some things you can’t control," Williams said Tuesday in a pre-draft media session. "We were very competitive up to a certain point, and when you have the injuries that we have, at a certain point, that competitive edge, you lose it because your best players are not playing."

Williams' words were true, and telling. 

First the true part:

  • In Washington's first five games of 2017, the team went 3-2. The Redskins only lost to eventual the Super Bowl champs Philadelphia and AFC West champs Kansas City. Washington only gave up more than 100 yards rushing once in those first five games, before rookie Jonathan Allen got hurt and the defense began to look much different. After Week 5, the Redskins only held one team under 100 yards rushing and finished the year dead last in rush defense.

Now the telling part:

  • The Redskins signed free agent WR Paul Richardson, and kept free agent LB Zach Brown. Beyond that, the team added inexpensive veterans in OLB Pernell McPhee and CB Orlando Scandrick. No splash moves, and recurring speculation that Washington was not offering top dollar to free agents. Bruce Allen acknowledged as much during NFL League Meetings when he explained that his team identified exactly how much they would offer free agents, their own and otherwise, and wouldn't go beyond that dollar figure. 

That means the focus of the offseason, at this point, is about this weekend's NFL Draft.

That also means the focus of the offseason, at this point, is not about Johnathan Hankins or any other free agent. 

"We’re going to deal with the draft now, and the second wave of free agents, if it’s somebody out there we feel like can help the Redskins,that’s what we’re going to do," Williams said. 

Throughout the offseason, Redskins fans wanted more action from their front office. It didn't happen, and Williams' basically explained why on Tuesday. The brass likes their team, and by default, expects better health and luck in 2018. 

When Williams talks about drafting the best player available, it's not just the typical NFL front office tripe. Right or wrong, the Redskins believe they have a team ready to compete in 2018, and any rookies that come in will only supplement that position.

"At the end of the day, I like this football team we’ve got. Like, last year when I walked out of camp, I thought we had a pretty good football team and I still feel the same way today," Williams said.

"At the end of the day, you get the best football player, and if that best football player is the guy that you want to plug and play, that’s all right. But if that’s the best football player that’s going to help your team overall, I think that’s the route you have to go."

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How the Caps won their first round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets

How the Caps won their first round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets

Things did not look good for the Capitals after two games.

Facing a 0-2 series hole after losing both games in Washington, it looked like it could be an early summer. The Caps were going to be the first team to ever lose a series in the playoffs to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

HOW DID THE CAPS WIN THEIR SERIES AGAINST COLUMBUS? FIND OUT HERE

But the Caps rallied.

Washington won the next four games and turned what looked like it would be another postseason disaster into a postseason triumph.

Only once in franchise history had the Caps rallied from a 0-2 deficit and only once had the Caps won four straight games to win a series. They managed both against the Blue Jackets.

Here's how the Caps were able to rally to a first-round victory over Columbus.