Nationals

Compton wins the Babe Zaharias Courage Award

Compton wins the Babe Zaharias Courage Award

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) Before he sets out to try to keep his PGA Tour card, Erik Compton received an award Wednesday that was just as meaningful.

Compton, a two-time heart transplant recipient, was selected for the Mildred ``Babe'' Didrikson Zaharias Courage Award by the United States Sports Academy. The award is given to a person who shows courage in overcoming adversity to excel in sport.

Zaharias, among the greatest ever in LPGA Tour history, won her 10th and final major one month after surgery for colon cancer in 1953.

``She did something that I've never dream of doing - winning a major,'' Compton said. ``I guess I have dreamed, but it just hasn't come true yet.''

Compton received his first heart transplant at age 12. He went on to play for Georgia and compete on the Walker Cup team in 2001. He had a major heart attack in 2008, drove himself to the hospital and was fortunate to survive before getting a second heart transplant.

Just six months later, Compton was given an exemption to the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic at Disney and made the cut. He returns to Disney this year as a full PGA Tour member, having earned his card last year. But he is at No. 163 on the money list, and would need a runner-up finish to keep his card.

Along with playing a full schedule of 25 tournaments, Compton has been on a campaign to raise awareness for organ donations through ``Donate Life'' and a program called ``Play Through with Erik Compton.''

``Being able to do the hospital, being able to educate the local communities, even being able to speak to some of the doctors and the patients, it's just been a great year,'' Compton said. ``I feel that my calling off the golf course will continue to grow even after my playing days are done. So you know, it started with the two lives that I have. On and off the golf course it's very comforting and I feel very confident of what I've done and what I'm able to do as a person.''

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PGA CEO: Golfweek magazine reported Wednesday that Pete Bevacqua has been offered the job as chief executive for the PGA of America and could be introduced later this week in Baltimore at the PGA's annual meeting.

Bevacqua, 41, had spent 11 years with the U.S. Golf Association as a lawyer and as the first chief business officer in 2007. He was in the running for LPGA Tour commissioner in 2009 (the job went to Mike Whan), and he resigned from the USGA in 2011. Bevacqua now works for the golf division at CAA Sports.

Joe Steranka announced in April that he would retire as CEO of the PGA of America at the end of this year.

The PGA of America, which has some 27,000 members, is to formally elect Ted Bishop as its next president this week at the annual meeting. It continues to discuss the U.S. captain for the 2014 Ryder Cup, though a decision is not expected this week.

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ALSO AT STAKE: More is at stake this week at Disney than full PGA Tour cards this week.

Chris DiMarco is at No. 151 on the money list by $1,388. While he would need a runner-up finish to get into the top 125 to earn back full status, he would need to get into the top 150 to avoid the second stage of Q-school. Others outside the top 150 include past champions Joe Durant and Stuart Appleby.

Higher up the latter, William McGirt is at No. 70 and needs to stay there to be eligible for invitational events such as Bay Hill and the Memorial. And even higher up is No. 30 on the money list, which is worth an invitation to the Masters.

That mainly affects Jonas Blixt of Sweden, who won the Frys. com Open to move up to No. 35. Winners of the Fall Series event do not get an automatic exemption to the Masters, so this would be the best shot for Blixt. He is about $278,000 out of the 30th spot and likely would need to finish second this week.

Tommy Gainey won at Sea Island last month, but that only moved him up to 56th on the money list. Nothing short of a win at Disney would get him to Augusta National for the first time. Gainey feels any win on the PGA Tour should be worth a spot at the Masters.

``Never complain about a win,'' he said. ``Although I'm disappointed that I didn't get in Augusta ... I'll just have to win another tournament and get in that way.''

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BAD TIMING: Heath Slocum is in danger of losing his card at No. 141 on the money list, which he can chalk up to bad timing.

The PGA Tour is moving toward a system in which cards will be based on the top 125 in FedEx Cup points instead of money (both lists will be used in 2013 during a transition year). That means anyone who qualifies for the FedEx Cup playoffs will earn a card for the following year.

Slocum was the last man into the playoffs at No. 125.

He's not the only one in that spot. Kevin Chappell was No. 104 in the FedEx Cup standings going into The Barclays. He's now on the bubble at No. 123 on the money list. Rod Pampling, at No. 124 on the money list, starting the FedEx Cup playoffs at No. 116. Gary Christian (No. 127) was at No. 111 in the FedEx Cup.

Christian is used to bad timing. He recalls one year in Q-school he lost in a playoff to advance. A year later, the tour eliminated the playoff and took everyone who tied for the last spot.

``I've heard players moaning and whining about the system changing,'' Christian said. ``The fact of the matter is if you play good, it doesn't matter what system you're in. If you play mediocre or poorly, it doesn't matter what system you're in. So that's probably the easiest way to look at it.''

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DIVOTS: Scott Verplank, who has been bothered by injuries most of the year, felt good enough to tee it up at Disney. Verplank was an assistant captain at the Ryder Cup. ... The Children's Miracle Network Hospitals has said it will not renew its title sponsorship of Disney after this year, putting the tournament in doubt for next year. It was scheduled to be part of the fall start to the 2013-14 season, but likely would not be replaced if a title sponsor cannot be found. ... Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium is about $57,000 clear of 125th on the money list, making it likely he will be able to become a PGA Tour member next year.

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Rain knocks out another Phillies-Nationals game

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Rain knocks out another Phillies-Nationals game

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals and Phillies are 2-for-2.

Tuesday night's game was postponed following a two-hour rain delay. Monday's game was postponed after a three-hour rain delay.

Tuesday's game will be made up as part of a split day-night doubleheader Sept. 24 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., bumping a four-game series to a five-game series. The Nationals and Phillies are scheduled to also play a split day-night doubleheader Wednesday.

The day was not without news. Nationals ace Max Scherzer broke his nose in batting practice when a ball bounced off his bat and struck him in the face. Scherzer was attempting to bunt at the time.

Scherzer's injury and the multiple postponements throw the Nationals' pitching plans into disarray. They're not sure if Scherzer will pitch as expected Wednesday. It appears Austin Voth, who was scratched from his Thursday start for Triple-A Fresno, will be available to pitch in one of the Wednesday games -- should they be played. More rain is expected Wednesday.

The Nationals will bump Patrick Corbin, who was slated to pitch again Tuesday, into a Wednesday spot. Wednesday's other starter is TBA. It could be Scherzer if he is ready. It could be Erick Fedde, and Voth could be used in the bullpen as the 26th man. That would provide Scherzer a chance to pitch Thursday and Strasburg on Friday against Atlanta. 

Or, Scherzer could be provided more time off. There's a lot to sort out once again thanks to the rain.

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Source: Wizards will have competition with teams like Lakers, Clippers for restricted free agent Bobby Portis

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USA Today

Source: Wizards will have competition with teams like Lakers, Clippers for restricted free agent Bobby Portis

This summer is shaping up to be lucrative for NBA free agents and big man Bobby Portis is well-positioned to cash in. After spending the final three months of the 2018-19 season with the Wizards, Portis is already seeing a healthy market develop ahead of the June 30 start of the league's negotiating period, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

The Wizards are likely to first extend a qualifying offer on June 30 to make him a restricted free agent. According to Spotrac.com, it will be about $3.6 million and that will give the Wizards the right to match an offer sheet from another franchise.

But teams are already indicating they want Portis, who is just 24 and coming off a season in which he averaged a career-high 14.2 points and 8.1 rebounds in 50 games. That market includes 5-10 teams and could grow once free agency opens.

Portis is expected to draw interest from the Lakers, Clippers, Jazz, Bucks, Magic and Knicks among others, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

Despite restricted free agency, Portis has a few things working for him. For one, there are a lot of teams with cap room. Spending won't reach 2016 levels, when the new CBA spiked the salary cap, but there will a lot of money to go around.

Also, guys in Portis' tier will only be helped if the top free agent options continue to dwindle. Klay Thompson looks more likely than ever to stay in Golden State after tearing his ACL. Winning a title could increase the odds Kawhi Leonard re-signs in Toronto, according to reports. And Kevin Durant's torn Achilles has thrown a wrench into the plans of teams with the most money to spend.

There is also the possibility Kemba Walker stays in Charlotte. And Kyrie Irving signing with Brooklyn, if it happens, would leave others exploring backup plans.

Portis isn't directly competing with any of those players, but could benefit if the top options are off the market. His name will only move up the list if that is the case.

Portis also has a unique selling point going for him. He shot 39.3 percent from three this past season and held a 40.3 percent clip to close the year in his 28 games with the Wizards. Three-point shooting is more valuable than ever and he brings that to the table at 6-foot-10.

Portis, who averaged 3.8 three-point attempts per game this past season, was one of only six players 6-10 or taller to shoot at least 39 percent on 3.5 attempts or more (min. 50 G). 

The question for Portis will be whether he gets the money he wants. He turned down an extension with the Chicago Bulls last fall just hours before the deadline to sign one. According to the Chicago Tribune, the deal was worth about $50 million and he wants to be paid in the range of $16 million annually. His asking price was partly why the Bulls traded him to the Wizards in February.

Even if the Wizards clear money, and they are expected to free up some by declining Jabari Parker's $20 million team option by the June 29 deadline, Portis could price himself out of Washington. It might not even take $16 million per year for that to happen.

The Wizards are set to operate through free agency with interim team president Tommy Sheppard at the helm, as the Washington Post reported on Tuesday. Sheppard making the call increases Portis' odds of staying, but that doesn't mean the price will match for both sides.

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