Perry teams with O'Hair to win Shootout

Perry teams with O'Hair to win Shootout

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) Kenny Perry and Sean O'Hair birdied five of the last six holes to win the Franklin Templeton Shootout on Sunday.

The 52-year-old Perry became the oldest player to win the Shootout, and also won for the third time with a different partner. He won with John Huston in 2005 and Scott Hoch in 2008. Perry joins Steve Elkington, Fred Couples, Brad Faxon and Scott McCarron with three Shootout wins; Elkington and Couples also won with three different partners.

``All three have been different,'' Perry said of his Shootout victories. ``John and I were pretty even partners, and then the year Scott and I won, I played fantastic that week. ... This year, my roles have been reversed, and I was complementing Sean.''

``I think that was kind of the best thing about this was just we had a ton of fun, just like being a kid enjoying what you're doing,'' O'Hair said.

Rory Sabbatini and Charles Howell III made a charge on the back nine that included an eagle on a par-4 but finished one stroke back at 30-under 186. They had a 15-under 57 in the scramble format in the final round on the Gold Course at Tiburon Golf Club.

``We played really well and gave ourselves a lot of opportunities,'' Sabbatini said. ``We put a good number up there and that's all we can really do. We had a lot of fun and Charles hit the ball fantastically.''

Jason Dufner and Vijay Singh finished third at 28 under.

Perry and O'Hair became the seventh second-round leaders to go on to win the tournament in the last 12 years. While other teams were making charges at them, and sometimes briefly catching them, they had fewer holes left to play than Perry and O'Hair.

``I knew they were going to probably catch up to us at some point, but I knew we had holes to catch back up to them,'' Perry said. ``You can't really get too far ahead of yourself out there in that field. You just kind of play each hole.''

Stewart Cink and Carl Pettersson, first-round leaders Davis Love III and Brandt Snedeker, and 2009 champions Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker were another shot back in a tie for fourth.

Love and Snedeker could never get going.

``We put the ball in the fairway all day, but never really got close into the greens,'' Love said. ``We were 15 to 30 feet all day today, and we weren't as sharp this weekend as we were Friday.''

Perry and O'Hair led by two shots going into the final round. They will split $750,000 of the $3 million purse.

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Trevor Ariza is a valuable trade asset if the Wizards can't win now


Trevor Ariza is a valuable trade asset if the Wizards can't win now

Trevor Ariza is officially a Washington Wizards again, and it's assumed the D.C. team acquired his expiring $15 million contract so he can provide as a spark on the court and in the locker room, like when he was with the team for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.

But there's a backup plan in case the 33-year-old veteran from the Phoenix Suns can't turn the Wizards in the right direction before the February trade deadline. He could be a valuable trade asset.

As NBC Sports' Tom Haberstroh explained:

"Ariza figures to stay in D.C. for a playoff push, but if it doesn’t work, the Wizards also have the option of trading him again, as long as it’s a one-for-one deal, according to the collective bargaining agreement. If Phoenix owner Robert Sarver truly was hell-bent on not trading Ariza to the Lakers -- like The Athletic’s David Aldridge reported late Friday night -- perhaps the Wizards can extract more value from the Lakers than Phoenix could.

One deal to monitor in that scenario would be flipping Ariza to the Lakers for 25-year-old wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The potential trade works from a CBA perspective and would endlessly tickle every Sarver adversary out there."

Obviously, the hope in Washington is that Ariza push the Wizards in the direction of the 44-win season they had back in 2013-14.

Those two years Ariza spent in Washington were some of his best in his 15-season career, particularly the latter year when he averaged 14.4 points (the second-highest in his career) while shooting 45.6 percent from the field as he helped Washington advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Wizards need Ariza -- for whom they dealt 23-year-old Kelly Oubre and 26-year-old Austin Rivers -- to provide a defensive spark for the 12-18 team. Even though he's averaging just 9.9 points and 5.6 boards, they will benefit from his veteran presence as they try to mount a playoff push.

Perhaps him shooting just 37.9 percent from the field through 26 games in Phoenix -- he's only finished two seasons shooting less than 40 percent -- was a product of his environment, Haberstroh suggests. Or maybe he needs the Wizards as much as they could need him.

Either way, while Plan A is always the goal, the Wizards have a contingency plan when it comes to trading for Ariza.


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Philadelphia fires head coach Dave Hakstol 31 games into season


Philadelphia fires head coach Dave Hakstol 31 games into season

The Philadelphia Flyers have fired coach Dave Hakstol after losing four in a row and 11 of their last 14 games and named Scott Gordon as the interim replacement.

General manager Chuck Fletcher announced the move Monday, less than two weeks since taking over for the fired Ron Hextall.

"After meeting this morning with Dave Hakstol and thoughtful consideration, I have decided to relieve him of his duties as head coach," Fletcher said. "As I continue to assess the team, I feel that this is the best course of action for our group moving forward."

The last-place Flyers have lost five of six and are 12-15-4. Philadelphia went 1-3-1 on the road trip Fletcher said he'd use to evaluate Hakstol, the rest of the coaching staff and the team at-large.

Hired by Hextall from the University of North Dakota in 2015, Hakstol took the Flyers to the playoffs twice in his three full seasons, but they lost in six games in the first round each time. His teams were plagued by inconsistency in the form of long winning and losing streaks, and that ultimately cost him his job in his fourth season.

It was not immediately clear when the Flyers would hire a full-time coach. Three-time Stanley Cup-winning coach Joel Quenneville, who was fired by the Chicago Blackhawks last month, has been linked to Philadelphia because of a connection with Fletcher.

Gordon is an NHL head coach for the second time after parts of three seasons with the New York Islanders. He has spent the past three-plus seasons as coach of the American Hockey League's Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Philadelphia's top affiliate.

"He's got some creative ways of thinking the game," said defenseman Andrew MacDonald, who played for Gordon with the Islanders. "We had a really young team in New York when I was there -- transitioning from an older team to a younger team. It was kind of a tough situation for him. He was trying to bring in new ideas with speed and some of his philosophies. I really liked Scott as a coach. He's a good man, he's got good systems and I think he'll do a good job for us."

Hakstol's final game was a 5-1 loss at Vancouver on Saturday night. The 50-year-old coach from Warburg, Alberta, said he felt his players battled all the way through the blowout loss. He added it's "not good enough, obviously, because the end result is what matters."

The end results for the Flyers weren't enough for a franchise that hasn't won the Stanley Cup since 1975 and was ready to try to contend after several years of retooling.

"It's been four years and you build relationships," captain Claude Giroux said. "I think for one guy to kind of pay the price for what's going on, it's not fair, but it's the business side of it. It's a tough day."

Hextall's inability to speed up the course of those efforts was among the reasons he was unexpectedly dismissed Nov. 26. Hakstol at the time got a reprieve while team president Paul Holmgren searched for a GM who would get to make the call.

Long before Fletcher got the job, the Flyers under Hakstol in 2016-17 became the first team in NHL history to miss the playoffs after having a 10-game winning streak and last season the first to make the playoffs after a 10-game losing streak.

Philadelphia went 134-101-42 under Hakstol, who coached the third-most games in franchise history behind Fred Shero and Mike Keenan.