R&A plays down Portrush reports

first_img Rumours of the Open returning to Royal Portrush have been circulating for some time, with reports on Sunday claiming a deal had been done for 2019, 68 years after Max Faulkner won the only Open staged outside England and Scotland. However, the R&A’s response on Twitter labelled such reports as “Portrush rumours” and a statement released to Press Association Sport read: “As part of our commitment to examine the feasibility of staging an Open Championship at Portrush, the R&A continues to discuss this at a conceptual level with Royal Portrush Golf Club and the Northern Ireland Executive. The R&A insist it remains “some distance” from being able to stage the Open Championship in Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951. “It’s very bizarre and an amazing statement. I couldn’t believe it and read it three times. I had heard the US PGA was looking at going global, which is a very positive step forward, but I was expecting Asia, not the north coast of Ireland. “Even if it never comes to fruition it’s a great boost to be mentioned in that breath. My brother Gary is on the greenkeeping staff there and he will have a spring in his step.” Despite the R&A’s stance, it is understood negotiations with Portrush are very well advanced and tourism minister Arlene Foster told Press Association Sport: “Obviously if the R&A does make a decision to put Royal Portrush on the rota it will be a tremendous thing for Northern Ireland and a very positive sign we are moving confidently on and I think we want to send that message out.” Asked if the potential for disorder in mid-July – the height of marching season – could be an issue, Foster noted the success of staging the Giro d’Italia cycling race in Northern Ireland over the last three days. “If they are looking on this week and they are seeing the way the entire community has taken to the Giro d’Italia I think sport transcends a lot of what may be seen as our difficulties,” she added. Police Service of Northern Ireland chief constable Matt Baggott added: “I think these events actually help to focus people on what’s good, rather than some of the things that are negative. “Let’s not forget that in July the vast, vast majority of parades pass off perfectly peacefully. It’s only one or two that we still have problems with, so we have got to get things in perspective.” “Discussions have been positive but we are still some distance from being in a position to take the Open to Northern Ireland.” The R&A denied reports last summer that the Open was set to be held at Portrush in 2018. R&A chief executive Peter Dawson admitted that it is “a fantastic golf course,” but concerns remain over the infrastructure required to stage a major and Dawson feels the current nine-course Open rota is “about right”. Portrush has not hosted a major championship since the 1951 Open, but the Irish Open drew massive crowds there in 2012 and the likes of major champions Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell have been lobbying on Portrush’s behalf. It has also been suggested that the R&A would hasten its decision after Portrush emerged as a surprise contender to stage the US PGA Championship. The PGA of America is studying the impact of holding the event outside the United States, with the earliest possible date in 2020. It had been thought that Asia would be the most likely venue, but PGA of America president Ted Bishop said in November last year that he was interested in Portrush. “Royal Portrush would be a great first international major,” Bishop said. “I think given the powerful effect that Irish golfers have on the professional game today, that might be a good place to start.” Portrush native McDowell, whose brother works at the club, said at the time: “It’s always been a dream of mine to play the Open there but the US PGA would do nicely. Press Associationlast_img read more

Dino Babers defends decision to go deep 3 times in Wake Forest loss

first_imgUPDATED: Nov. 13, 2017 at 8:57 p.m.After Dino Babers called for three consecutive throws to the end zone at the beginning of the fourth quarter, all of which were unsuccessful, the TV cameras showed Syracuse’s head coach opting to send out the field goal team without much hesitation. Then, for a fleeting moment, Babers rested his head on the palm of his right hand while a disappointed gaze shot from his eyes.Senior kicker Cole Murphy missed. First-and-10 on Wake Forest’s 33-yard line did not result in points for Syracuse. The Demon Deacons took over possession and went on to score 24 unanswered to win in decisive fashion.So, in hindsight, was going deep three times in a row the right choice?“Absolutely,” Babers said Monday.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIn his weekly press conference, Babers showed no regret for what could be described as a turning point in the third consecutive loss for Syracuse (4-6, 2-4 Atlantic Coast) since upsetting then-No. 2 Clemson in the Carrier Dome in mid-October. He instead stressed heavily that his team must now focus solely on the week’s task of traveling to Kentucky and beating a Louisville (6-4, 3-4 ACC) team led by the reigning Heisman winner, Lamar Jackson. Babers was blunt about the decision to throw to the endzone.“Their DBs were playing short,” Babers said of Wake Forest. “We threw the first one to Devin Butler and he had his guy beat. Then we threw the second one, if I’m not mistaken, to (senior wide receiver Steve Ishmael), and he had his guy beat. And we threw the third one, I believe, to Ish in the middle of the field and I believe he had his guy beat.”Babers’ assessment of what could have been is not far off. On the first-down toss to Butler, the sophomore wide receiver jostled with Wake Forest cornerback Ja’Sir Taylor all the way down the left sideline. When the ball fell in front of a diving Butler, Taylor’s forearm appeared to touch Butler, who wanted a flag. He did not get one.On the next play, SU quarterback Zack Mahoney, who started in place of the injured Eric Dungey, faked a handoff and immediately threw for the right edge of the end zone. Ishmael fell backwards out of bounds without the ball.One snap later, Ishmael ran straight down the middle of the field, only to have this pass land in the end zone several yards in front of him. Of the three plays, this was the the one with the best chance. Mahoney misfired.After the game, Mahoney said SU “liked the opportunities that presented themselves and we liked the matchups.”“I think the biggest thing about being good on offense,” Babers said Monday, “is being unpredictable.”More SU football notes:Junior quarterback Eric Dungey warmed up but did not play against Wake Forest after Babers said last week that Dungey would be “ready to go.” On Monday, Babers said Dungey made “drastic improvement” over the course of last week. As for this week, “If he’s capable,” Babers said, “I expect him to go.”Syracuse’s regular season finale against Boston College on Nov. 25 will kickoff in the Carrier Dome at 12:20 p.m., the ACC announced Monday. The ACC Network will televise the game.Steve Ishmael on Monday was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award given to the nation’s best wide receiver. No other ACC receivers made the list. Ishmael has 92 catches for 1,131 yards in 2017, both career highs. With six touchdowns, he is one shy of matching his total of seven from his sophomore season.CORRECTION: In a previous version of this post, Syracuse quarterback Zack Mahoney was misnamed. The Daily Orange regrets this error. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 13, 2017 at 4:10 pm Contact: jtbloss@syr.edu | @jtblosslast_img read more

Atlanta Braves starter Kris Medlen to play against Dodgers, not with them

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error ATLANTA — Kris Medlen dreamed of a playoff scenario with the Dodgers, all right.Just not exactly like the one in which he’ll have a starring role.Medlen, who grew up in Cerritos, figured he’d be an infielder for the Dodgers. He envisioned the wrong team and wrong position, but Medlen sure is in great position for the Braves as their Game 1 starter against the Dodgers in the National League Division Series on Thursday.“It’s a pretty cool feeling being able to play against them during the regular season,” Medlen said. “I think (there’s) the fact that I’ve had a couple years in the big leagues to kind of get over that love for the Dodgers. “We’ve missed him twice this year, the both times we played this series, but I think our team, with the confidence we have, he missed us,” Medlen said.Medlen will miss Matt Kemp — out for the postseason with a left ankle injury — but will need to keep Hanley Ramirez, Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez and company in check if he’s to hand things over to the back of a stingy Braves bullpen.Medlen was the unlikeliest of Game 1 starters four months ago, but he is the Braves’ best chance to go toe-to-toe with Kershaw.“Medlen, he’s earned it,” Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He’s a guy that pitched a big game for us last year. He pitched that St. Louis Cardinals play-in game, so he’s got that going for him.”Medlen started for the Braves last year in its 6-3 loss to St. Louis in the NL wild-card playoff game. Medlen gave up just two earned runs in 6 1/3 innings, but Atlanta had three errors. He was 10-1 in 12 starts in 2012 before that game.“I think the buildup and anxiety of playing in a Game 7-type of situation last year didn’t get to me,” Medlen said. “I just thought it was more than a regular-season game than it typically is.“I think we’re in a different situation this year. We have a chance to win a series instead of one game, although every game matters.”He’s caught the attention of Kershaw too.“Medlen has a good changeup,” Kershaw said. “He’s been pitching awesome too, the last month or so, and obviously he’s had some success.”So have the Braves, who won 96 games, but some players were vocal with their frustration that the Dodgers and their big-name superstars were garnering more attention than the young, lesser-known Braves.“All the attention, I mean, we’re not running for prom king,” Medlen said.He looks young enough to run for prom king with a boyish face and skater-like way he wears his hat. But he’s got good stuff, and that’s what matters in October.“He has location with all his pitches and (good) movement on his fastball,” Atlanta catcher Brian McCann said. “For me, he has the best changeup in baseball. His curveball is very good. He can throw any pitch in any count. He’s a confident guy.”Confident enough to envision a day when he would play major league baseball.Just against the Dodgers, not with them.center_img “It’s cool to face them, but they’re just another team.”Medlen, who turns 28 on Monday, looks every part the California kid on the mound with that signature flat-brim baseball cap.He looked none of the part of a Game 1 playoff starter early in the season. Medlen was 1-6 in May — rivaling the Dodgers’ dismal start — but he credited simplifying things for his turnaround.He was 4-0 in September with a 1.00 ERA and was named the National League’s pitcher of the month.Pitching like that gives you the swagger necessary to take part in a pitching duel with Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, the favorite to win his second Cy Young Award this season. Medlen was 15-12 with a 3.11 ERA in the regular season and won one fewer game than Kershaw.last_img read more