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A year of change on the PGA Tour

A year of change on the PGA Tour

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Let's see if we get this straight.

In a decision just about everyone saw coming, golf's ruling bodies declared their intentions to outlaw putting strokes that are anchored to the body, which Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Ernie Els used in winning three of the last five major championships.

It would not become a new rule for three years.

A few days earlier, the Royal & Ancient dropped the biggest post-Thanksgiving surprise since that Florida Highway Patrol report on a single-car accident involving Tiger Woods. It proposed alterations to half the holes on the Old Course at St. Andrews, including the front part of the green near the famous Road Hole bunker.

Work began in three days.

No matter your opinion on either subject, there is little disputing that 2012 was filled with significant changes. Perhaps it was only fitting that the PGA of America decided not to let the year end without picking a new Ryder Cup captain. It announced on Tuesday there would be announcement Thursday. On the ``Today'' show.

So what to expect for 2013?

The PGA Tour will end one season in September and start a new season in October.

The Web.com Tour will get more attention than ever with four tournaments in the fall that, in effect, replace Q-school.

The six rounds of Q-school that Erik Compton not-so-affectionately referred to as ``hell week'' will be missing this familiar phrase: ``If he makes this putt, he's on the PGA Tour.'' That's because the new version of the Q-school only awards a ticket to the minor leagues.

Instead of finishing the calendar year outside the Magic Kingdom, players will be going to Mexico. Adios, Disney.

Two of the biggest changes - the wraparound season and Q-school - were only a matter of time.

The demise of Q-school was brought on by the creation in 2007 of the FedEx Cup, and while players might not take time to understand the points, they understand four playoff events worth a total of $67 million in prize money and bonuses. Trouble is, that reduced the tournaments after the FedEx Cup to something called the ``Fall Series,'' with smaller purses, watered-down fields and minimal world ranking points.

The only way to keep those sponsors happy was to treat them like regular PGA Tour events. The only way to treat them like regular events was to give them FedEx Cup points. And they couldn't give FedEx Cup points without making them part of the regular schedule, thus the wraparound season.

Start in October, end in September. Win/lose the Presidents Cup/Ryder Cup. Repeat process.

And with the new season starting so soon, there was no time to award PGA Tour cards at Q-school. That's a big reason the tour went to the four-tournament series known as ``The Finals,'' to be played roughly the same time as the FedEx Cup playoffs.

The greater change will be anchored strokes, and the PGA Tour would do well to take a page from the Old Course and get started immediately.

The rule still has go to through a 90-day comment period before the USGA and R&A approved it, and because the Rules of Golf only change every four years, it would not be effective until the next book comes out in 2016.

There was talk that the PGA Tour could create its own rule and allow the putting stroke. What's more likely to happen is for the PGA Tour to create its own rule that bans the anchored stroke well before 2016 - like the start of the 2014 season, which will be in October of 2013.

It puts players like Bradley in a sticky spot. While it's perfectly legal to anchor the club now, everyone knows the end of the belly putter is near. It was difficult not to look at Bradley and Simpson differently after the proposed ban was announced, where before no one would have noticed and even few would have cared. TV can't ignore it, either, and is that really what the PGA Tour wants to hear from the booth for the next three years?

Bradley says a fan called him a cheater during the third round of the World Challenge at Sherwood, and the USGA rushed out a statement that condemned the comment as ``deplorable.'' It's surprising the USGA has waited this long to take on the fan who screams, ``Get in the hole'' when players tee off on a par 5 by reminding us there is no evidence of anyone reaching the green with a 575-yard tee shot.

Can someone like Bradley expect more of the same? Possibly. Just don't get the idea such comments will cause an unfair advantage.

Bradley thrives on this stuff.

He was asked after the round if the debate could actually help him because he was running out of chips to put on his shoulder.

``Absolutely,'' he said. ``You hear guys like Michael Jordan talk about how he liked to play on the road. The guy called me a cheater on the last hole - that gets me motivated. I'm never running out of stuff to motivate me because I always feel like I need to get better. I never go into a tournament thinking I'm playing so good that I'm going to win. Every single tournament I've won, I had a borderline meltdown on Wednesday. That's what keeps me going. It's just how I am.''

Don't get the idea Bradley lacks confidence. He thinks he can win every week. It just doesn't hurt to find motivation wherever he can, even from the gallery.

``I think it's one of my best qualities,'' he said.

As for St. Andrews? No need to panic just yet. The British Open doesn't return there for three more years.

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Redskins vs. Jets Preseason Week 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

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Redskins vs. Jets Preseason Week 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

After a fight-filled start to joint practices between the Redskins and Jets, the Skins' 2018 NFL preseason schedule continues Thursday night at Fed Ex Field against New York. 

Week 2 of the NFL preseason still doesn't provide a lot of answers to questions about team performance, but it begins to reveal the depth the Redskins could have this season.

One storyline that won't be taking place, is the return of former Redskin Terrelle Pryor, who told reporters after Monday's practice he won't be playing in the game.

The Redskins have bigger things to worry about though, like who will replace rookie Derrius Guice, who's now out for the year with a torn ACL.

The Redskins also have one less name in the fight for receiver depth as well, after Robert Davis suffered a season-ending leg injury as well. 

Ahead of Thursday's preseason matchup, here's everything you need to know to watch.

REDSKINS vs. JETS, PRESEASON WEEK 2

Who: Washington Redskins vs. New York Jets

What: Game 2 of the 2018 NFL Preseason

When: Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, 8:00 p.m. ET

Where: Fed Ex Field, Landover, MD

TV Channel: ESPN

Live Stream: Watch ESPN

Radio: Redskins Radio Network

Point Spread: Washington, -3

Over/Under: 39.5

Weather: 90 degrees, partly cloudy

REDSKINS vs. PATRIOTS TV SCHEDULE:

5:00 PM: Redskins 100
5:30 PM: Redskins Nation
6:00 PM: Best of the Sports Junkies
7:00 PM: Redskins Kickoff Live

REDSKINS 2018 PRESEASON SCHEDULE

Week 1: Thurs., 8/9, vs. New England Patriots, 7:30 p.m. (L, 26-17)

Week 2: Thurs., 8/16, vs. New York Jets, 8:00 p.m. (ESPN)

Week 3: Fri., 8/24, vs. Denver Broncos, 7:30 p.m. 

Week 4: Thurs., 8/30, vs. Baltimore Ravens, 7:30 p.m. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS

 

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Ozuna homers, Cardinals beat Nationals for 8th straight win

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Ozuna homers, Cardinals beat Nationals for 8th straight win

Marcell Ozuna homered and Austin Gomber tossed six shutout innings to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 4-2 win over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night.

St. Louis has won a season-high eight straight. The Cardinals, who are 18-9 since the All-Star break, captured their sixth successive series after taking the first three of the four-game set.

Daniel Murphy homered in the ninth for Washington, which has lost four in a row and seven of nine to fall below .500 and nine games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves in the NL East. The current skid began with a loss to the Cubs on a two-out, walk-off grand slam.

Ozuna homered in the second inning, his 14th of the season and his first since July 30.

Gomber (3-0), in his fourth start of the year, gave up three hits, struck out six and walked four.

Bud Norris pitched the ninth to pick up his 23rd save in 27 opportunities.

Harrison Bader and Yadier Molina added run-scoring hits for St. Louis, which improved to 19-9 since Mike Matheny was fired and replaced by interim manager Mike Shildt.

St. Louis infielder Matt Carpenter extended his on-base streak to 33 games with a walk in the fifth. It's the longest current streak in the majors. Carpenter left the game in the seventh after he was hit on the hand by a pitch from Matt Grace, but X-rays were negative.

Jeremy Hellickson (5-3) left in the fifth inning after colliding with Bader on a play at the plate following a wild pitch. Hellickson gave up three runs, two earned, on three hits in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out two and walked two.

Bader, who had three hits, also made a diving catch of a liner off the bat of Bryce Harper in the fourth.

The Cardinals, who have an NL-best 12-2 mark in August, remain one game behind Philadelphia for the second wild card spot. They are four games behind Chicago in the NL Central.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg threw a simulated game on Wednesday. He threw around 70 pitches and could be ready to return early next week, manager Dave Martinez said.

Cardinals: LHP Brett Cecil was activated from the 10-day disabled list on Wednesday. Cecil, who had been sidelined with inflammation in his right foot, pitched four scoreless innings in four appearances with Triple-A Memphis. LHP Tyler Webb was optioned to Memphis.

UP NEXT

RHP Tanner Roark (7-12, 4.12) will face RHP Luke Weaver (6-10, 4.66) in the finale of the four-game series on Thursday. Roark has won his last four decision, Weaver is 1-4 with a 5.13 ERA in nine career games against NL East foes.