Preps Talk

Who defended Steve Williams' racial slur?

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Who defended Steve Williams' racial slur?

From Comcast SportsNet
SYDNEY (AP) -- Greg Norman defended caddie Steve Williams over his racial slur about Tiger Woods, and does not believe Williams is racist. "We've all made stupid comments at stupid times, unfortunately his stupid comment became global news," Norman said Monday. "I know he probably regrets saying it, but I guarantee you in that room on that night there was probably some heavier things said." Williams' disparaging comment came during a caddies' awards party Friday in Shanghai. Norman added that Williams' current employer, Adam Scott, should ignore calls to release him. Scott has said he will stand by Williams. Norman had Williams on his bag for several years in the 1980s. He replied "no, not at all," when asked if Williams was racist. Norman spoke from The Lakes, where he'll begin play in the Australian Open on Thursday. Scott said in a statement Monday he believes "there is absolutely no room for racial discrimination in any walk of life, including the game of golf." "I have discussed this matter directly with Steve and he understands and supports my view on this subject. I also accept Steve's apology, knowing that he meant no racial slur with his comments. I now consider the matter closed. I will not be making any further comment." Woods and Scott are also playing in the Australian Open, which has attracted a strong field because of the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne next week. Norman disagreed with possible, but extremely unlikely, moves to pair Woods and Scott this week in Sydney for the first two rounds of the Australian Open. It was also suggested to Norman, the captain of the International side for the Presidents Cup, that he might send Scott out against Woods in the team event in Melbourne. "Of course, everybody wants to see it," Norman said. "I don't think it's the right thing to do from a promotional aspect, No. 1, because it should just be an automatic draw. I don't think there is any issue between Tiger and Adam at all." Norman said any feud between Woods and Williams needs to be sorted out. "Because of the temperature that was going on between the two of them, anything that is said or not said is going to exacerbate whatever that feeling is," Norman said. "I hope it gets resolved. Golf doesn't need it. Golf needs Tiger back playing great golf like he used to. Golf needs the cohesiveness that's always existed. "There's always been underlying currents, not everybody loves everybody and the people who dislike each other; we just have a tendency of parting our ways and not seeing each other. But to have it play out like it's played out has been a bit sad for the game." Asked if racism is a problem in golf, Norman said he's "never seen it at all." On Monday, Woods was in Melbourne, where he last won a tournament -- the Australian Masters in November 2009. Weeks later, news of his infidelities surfaced, followed by a divorce, injuries and swing changes. Woods spoke to a Melbourne radio station whose interviewers were told not to ask questions about Williams. Woods flew back to Sydney later Monday. He'll have a news conference at The Lakes on Tuesday when he's expected to respond to Williams' remarks. Woods told the Melbourne station he's seeing a gradual improvement in his game. "I've had a ruptured ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), I've had a broken leg, a torn Achilles and strained ligaments over the last five years," he said. "I've been rehabbing for so long I haven't been able to train. I'm hitting faster, more explosive, my speed's come back. I'm hitting the ball distances I know I can hit the golf ball again. It's getting fun." Woods played at the private Capital Golf Club with cricket great Shane Warne, Warne's fiancee and English actress Liz Hurley and billionaire businessman James Packer.

Rolling Meadows' Max Christie on the verge of national breakout

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USA TODAY

Rolling Meadows' Max Christie on the verge of national breakout

EMERSON, Ga. -- Rolling Meadows rising sophomore guard Max Christie is having a strong spring and summer on the grassroots circuit as he's emerged as one of the area's newest breakout stars.
 
At 6-foot-5 with an ability to play both on and off the ball, Christie is a versatile perimeter player who can be either a big point guard or a smooth wing. Even though he's only finished one year of high school, Christie already has earned some major college scholarship offers as Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Loyola, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin have all been involved. Playing up an age group with the Illinois Wolves U16 team, Christie is starting to generate a lot of buzz among college coaches and national scouts.
 
"I think I've played well. I've been growing. I have a huge target on my back. So I'm just confident and humble and playing my game," Christie said. "College coaches are coming in everywhere, but I'm just playing my game and not worrying about them. I'm just having fun."
 
Christie is coming off of a positive freshman season at Rolling Meadows in which he had some big games as a freshman while playing on varsity. Although Christie is still very skinny and trying to add strength, he has started to adjust to opponents trying to play physical against him. As he starts to get older, Christie is adjusting to how certain opponents will handle him.
 
"On the court, it's physical. So I have to get used to that. I have encouraging teammates so that's good for me. But everybody is double-teaming me and face-guarding me, so I just have to use screens and everything," Christie said.
 
"I've been in the weight room working. The strength is there. I'm always using it against other teams. I just have to get used to it. I feel like [the physicality] is not as much of a factor as I get stronger."
 
Christie will be one of the marked men in the area this season as he'll draw a lot of attention at Rolling Meadows. He has the potential to be an all-area player. With multiple high-major scholarship offers and national recruiting profiles, Christie is just trying to maintain his focus on staying a versatile player. Playing both on and off the ball, Christie is trying to improve the consistency on his perimeter jumper while also trying to grow his basketball IQ.
 
"Both of them are fine. Off the ball, I like to set screens and get teammates open. I like to get open. On the ball, I like to create, passes, all that stuff," Christie said. "So I'm just trying to make plays, get my teammates open, set better screens."
 
"Leadership is something I need to work on, so it's something I need to accept for this season. So, since I've built this reputation, I'm trying to be more of a leader and encourage. Just being a better teammate."
 
Christie averaged 18 points, eight rebounds and 2.9 assists per game as a freshman at Rolling Meadows, as he has the ability to put up monster numbers as a sophomore. Underclass players don't typically compete for awards in the Chicagoland area, but Christie is a potentially special talent at the high school level as he attempts to ascend into a national-level recruit. 

Cubs Talk Podcast: Covering the MLB All-Star Game from the media’s perspective

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Covering the MLB All-Star Game from the media’s perspective

NBC Sports Chicago’s own Kelly Crull and videographer Scott Changnon recalled what All-Star week in the nations capitol was like from their point of view.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: