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HSBC disappointed Woods, McIlroy not playing

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HSBC disappointed Woods, McIlroy not playing

SHENZHEN, China (AP) The HSBC Champions lost some star power when Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods decided to skip the World Golf Championship event - much to the disappointment of the tournament backers.

For the other top golfers in the field, however, the absence of McIlroy, in particular, represents a chance to make up ground in the European Tour money list.

Giles Morgan, global head of sponsorship and events for HSBC, said he was ``disappointed'' that No. 1-ranked McIlroy and Woods, a 14-time major winner, are skipping the HSBC Champions after playing elsewhere in Asia.

``To have a World Golf Championship in Asia is really important for the sport, to balance the sport out, and to grow,'' Morgan said. ``And because it's a World Golf Championship event, it requires the best players to be here.''

McIlroy and Woods chose to play in a lucrative, head-to-head exhibition event in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou on Monday, a day after competing in tournaments in Shanghai and Malaysia.

Instead of coming to Mission Hills this weekend, McIlroy is in Bulgaria to watch his girlfriend, Caroline Wozniacki, play in the WTA's Tournament of Champions, while Woods is making a trip to Singapore for corporate commitments.

McIlroy is next scheduled to play in the Barclays Singapore Open from Nov. 8-11 and will then be aiming to defend his title at the Hong Kong Open the following weekend.

``I think the feeling is - and it seems to be among media and a lot of other people with the stakeholders, not just us as the sponsors - well, if they're in China and there's a World Golf Championship, this would be a good event to be at because it's a WGC, but a WGC in Asia, which helps elevate the game,'' said Morgan, adding that both golfers apologized to him privately for missing the event.

Ernie Els also said lamented that the game's two biggest names weren't there.

``You know, you can't play every week. You can't play everywhere,'' the reigning British Open champion said. ``I don't know why they are skipping because it's a wonderful event. It's unfortunate they are not here.''

But other players sensed a good opportunity.

McIlroy is trying to match Luke Donald's feat from last year by topping the money lists on the PGA Tour and European Tour in the same season.

The Northern Irishman, who captured his second career major at the PGA Championship in August, has already secured the PGA Tour money title with just over $8 million, but his lead on the European money list shrank to just over $1 million after Sweden's Peter Hanson captured the BMW Masters in Shanghai last weekend.

Hanson can pass McIlroy by taking home the $1.2 million first prize at the HSBC Champions. Third-place Justin Rose also has a chance to pass McIlroy.

Hanson said after his win in Shanghai that McIlroy's absence in Shenzhen gives him a chance ``to close the gap even more.''

``Hopefully, I can keep this form going and be up there again Sunday because I will need to keep playing like I did last week to have a chance of catching him, given how well he is playing this year,'' said the Swede, who has won twice on the European Tour this year and jumped to 17th in the rankings after beginning the year at No. 42.

Rose, who won the European money title in 2007, lost ground in Shanghai, finishing tied for sixth spot while McIlroy finished second.

He now trails McIlroy by $1.15 million and, after the WGC, is not planning to play again until the season-ending Dubai World Championship.

``To give myself a chance - that's the goal this week, really is to give myself a chance going into Dubai,'' Rose said. ``But also I'm in Rory's hand to a certain extent and I have to win this week to give myself that chance. So, yeah, from the Road to Dubai perspective, to keep that interesting, it's a very important week this week.''

The field at Mission Hills is strong despite the absence of the two players at the top, with seven of the world's top 10 golfers playing, including Donald, Lee Westwood and Australian Adam Scott.

Two-time champion Phil Mickelson also is in the field, along with U.S. Ryder Cup teammates Keegan Bradley and Bubba Watson.

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How to Watch: Maple Leafs at Capitals: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream

How to Watch: Maple Leafs at Capitals: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream

Sitting firmly at third place in their respective divisions, the Capitals and Maple Leafs are both eager to grab another win for themselves in this classic Atlantic vs Metropolitan division matchup. 

Here is everything you need to know about the Wednesday night game, which takes place at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington.

CAPITALS vs. MAPLE LEAFS HOW TO WATCH

What: Toronto Maple Leafs at Washington Capitals, Game 8 of the 2019-20 NHL Regular Season

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: The Capitals vs Maple Leafs game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Washington Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Capitals vs Maple Leafs on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, 106.7 The Fan FM

CAPITALS VS MAPLE LEAFS TV SCHEDULE

6:00 PM: Caps Faceoff Live

6:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live

7:00 PM: Capitals vs Maple Leafs

9:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live

10:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live

10:30 PM: Caps Overtime Live

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Nationals owner Mark Lerner on Davey Martinez, the turnaround and Anthony Rendon’s future

Nationals owner Mark Lerner on Davey Martinez, the turnaround and Anthony Rendon’s future

WASHINGTON -- Nationals managing principal owner Mark Lerner surveyed batting practice Tuesday in his red Nationals jacket, watching everything he pursued coming to fruition.

His family’s team was one win from its first World Series berth. Often tense when watching even regular-season games, Lerner felt a bit of joy with his team so close to a conclusion which seemed so distant at the start of the season.

“Obviously I wasn’t too happy, nobody was,” Lerner said. “I couldn’t imagine what happened the rest of the season. I would have never believed where we are today. A turnaround like that only happens once in a blue moon, so I can’t say I totally expected it. I didn’t.”

When the crumbling season hit its low point May 23, Lerner had options. He could fire Davey Martinez. He could have demanded several other changes. He, like everyone else, had the choice to panic as a result of his irritation with the team’s beginning. Instead, he kept the manager his family preferred over Dusty Baker, the one who was assigned a clear edict when hired: take us to the World Series. 

“It never crossed my mind to dismiss Davey, no matter all the pressure that was put on us,” Lerner said. “I think he’s become a very, very good manager, and I think in the years to come he will become a great manager. I have total confidence in him and delighted that all these good things are happening. Nobody deserves it more than him.”

Slowly, his team began to pivot. Winning months followed. The rallying perpetuated until the end of the season, culminating with a 3-0 start to the National League Championship series. “I was talking to my sister [Tuesday] it’s just hard to believe, just the whole thing,” Lerner said. “Even if we didn’t have this turnaround season, if it was just a solid season, to get to this point is just such a special thing and we’re in uncharted waters. The Cardinals have been through it, the Dodgers have been through it, this is all new for everybody in this building. So it’s very special.”

Anthony Rendon’s best season as a professional was central to the push. Rendon is set to become a free agent after multiple negotiation attempts to reach a contract extension failed. Lerner lauded Rendon in spring training. He did so again Tuesday.

“We certainly want to keep him,” Lerner said. “That's 110 percent. It's really in Tony's and his family's hands at this point. They have to decide what they want to do. He's earned that right as a free agent. It couldn't happen to a better guy. We love him to death. And I hope that his decision is to stay here and I'll go pick him up and bring him over.”

For now, Lerner will spend his time watching Game 4 and his club, eventually, advancing to the World Series with one more win. No team with a 3-0 lead has lost the NLCS.

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