Ezekiel Elliott pleads his case at appeal hearing
Ezekiel Elliott set to plead his case at appeal hearing
The 2017 season may still be in high gear, but front offices around baseball are already planning for the 2017-18 offseason. As MLB.com’s Jim Duquette writes, the upcoming free-agent class will contain more than a handful of attractive players.
NOTE: For the first three events of the FedExCup Playoffs, Rob will focus only on golfers outside the bubble to advance. In this second installment, all five below enter the Dell Technologies Championship outside the top 70 in points. Harold Varner III â€¦ Two weeks ago at this time, he was headed to the Web.com Tour Finals after what couldn’t be ruled out as a sophomore slump. He then celebrated his 27th birthday on Aug. 15 with a T10 at the Wyndham Championship five days later. That secured both his third consecutive season with a TOUR card and a spot in the Playoffs for which he opened 123rd in points. A T20 at THE NORTHERN TRUST bumped him to 91st and into the field at TPC Boston where he placed T33 in last year’s debut. Since the FedExCup points structure was revised in 2015, all top 20s at the Dell Technologies Championship have yielded survival. He’s simmered before, so there’s precedent for another climb. During a 9-for-9 stretch as a rookie from April into July of 2016, he recorded five top 25s, including three in a row at one point. Graham DeLaet â€¦ No stranger to back injuries, it knocked him out during his third round of the Barracuda Championship to start the month, and then again during his second round at Glen Oaks last week. However, in between, he mustered a T7 at the PGA Championship where he led the field in greens hit and strokes gained: approach-the-green. Now 74th in the FedExCup standings, the 35-year-old Canuck will be keen to tap into the form that fueled a career-low-tying 62 in the third round of the 2013 edition of the Dell Technologies Championship. But he won’t need as strong as a top-five to advance. In last year’s Playoffs, Chris Kirk arrived at TPC Boston slotted 75th in points. He finished T33 in the tournament and rose to 66th. With this modest goal facing DeLaet, his health might be the greater challenge. Jason Kokrak â€¦ He serves as a terrific example of how even consistently strong play during the Playoffs sometimes isn’t enough, so he’s seeking redemption. After entering last year’s series at 65th in points, he opened T7-T8, the latter at TPC Boston, to rise to 34th. A T17 at the BMW Championship left him 33rd, just outside the bubble for a berth in the TOUR Championship. Nonetheless, it’s a career-best result he’s targeting right now. On the shoulders of consecutive top 25s, he arrives at the Dell Technologies Championship at 79th in points. Finished T16 in the tournament in 2014. Chad Campbell â€¦ Still owns the badge as the last golfer to capture his first PGA TOUR title at the TOUR Championship. That was in 2003 under the old qualifying system and contested in Houston, the last time before it moved permanently to East Lake. Now 43 years of age, he’s reached the Playoffs finale only once, way back in 2008. Currently 76th in points, if he performs like he has since May, we’ll see him at the BMW Championship in two weeks. He’s survived nine of 10 cuts, five going for a top 25. Ranks 13th in greens in regulation, fourth in scrambling and 50th in adjusted scoring. Finished T21 at TPC Boston last year. Rafa Cabrera Bello â€¦ Fits the classic narrative that class is permanent, which it going to be put to the test this week. It’s the minimalist’s approach toward his expectations as the 19th-ranked golfer in the world sitting 80th in the FedExCup standings. The Spaniard is making his debut in the series at 33 years of age. It was just eight weeks ago that he prevailed at the Scottish Open. A T4 at Royal Birkdale followed, but he hasn’t readapted to parkland-style golf in three U.S.-based starts since. With everything to gain and as one of the best putters on the planet, he’s at or near the top of the list of guys in a slump who present among the most dangerous to threaten at TPC Boston.
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This week we head to Norton, Massachusetts, and TPC Boston, for the second FedExCup Playoffs event and the inaugural year of Dell Technologiesâ€™ title sponsorship. Itâ€™s only the second title sponsor (after Deutsche Bank) for this New England tournament that dates back to 2003. Take note: Thrilling comebacks are the norm here, typified most recently by Rory McIlroy, last yearâ€™s winner, shooting a final-round 65 to overtake Paul Casey. Arnold Palmer was the original designer for TPC Boston, but Gil Hanse and consultant Brad Faxon re-designed it in 2007. They added â€œchocolate-dropâ€� mounds and grass bunkers to the 7,342-yard, par-71 layout. The green complex at the par-5 18th hole was redesigned and unveiled in 2012. The importance of the Dell Technologies cannot be overstated. The top 100 players in the FedExCup Playoffs will be cut to the low 70 for the BMW Championship, which, after a one-week break will be held Sept. 14-17. Three winners of the Dell Technologies have gone on to win the FedExCup since the Playoffs began in 2007: Vijay Singh in 2008, Henrik Stenson in 2013, and Rory McIlroy last year. But thereâ€™s even more at stake: Boston represents the last chance for players to earn automatic berths on the U.S. and International Presidents Cup teams. Two days after Mondayâ€™s final round, the U.S. and International team captains Steve Stricker and Nick Price will make their two captainâ€™s selections. Â Â PGA TOUR LIVE is scheduled to air from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with Featured Groups coverage. The Featured Groups will consist of the top three in the FedExCup standings on Friday, and the fourth-, fifth- and sixth-ranked players Saturday. Similar to last year at this event, the second Featured Group each day will be decided by a Twitter vote. After Featured Groups, coverage will switch to Featured Holes at 3 p.m., the 161-yard, par-3 16th, and the 530-yard, par-5 18th, where many players will attempt to clear the hazard in front of the green with their second shots, then navigate what is arguably the most challenging green on the course. Â PGA TOUR LIVE can also be viewed on Twitter from approximately 8:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Friday and Saturday. (Note: All times Eastern; FedExCup ranking in parentheses.) FRIDAY Dustin Johnson (1), Jordan Spieth (2), Justin Thomas (3): With his win over Spieth at THE NORTHERN TRUST at Glen Oaks, Johnson moved his record in sudden-death playoffs to 1-1 and matched Thomas with his fourth victory this season. No. 1 in the FedExCup and Official World Golf Ranking, Johnson has three top-10 finishes at TPC Boston and leads the TOUR in strokes gained: tee-to-green. Spieth, whose playoff record fell to 4-3, leads the TOUR in adjusted scoring and said he was unperturbed by what happened last week, Johnson having won it rather than Spieth losing it. Thomas is coming off a T6 finish at Glen Oaks, where he shot four sub-70 scores. He leads the TOUR in birdie-or-better percentage.Â Â Â Â Â Tee time: 9:15 a.m. off 10 tee Â Twitter vote groups: 9:03 a.m. off 10: Brooks Koepka/Daniel Berger/Charley Hoffman 8:51 a.m. off 10: Brian Harman/Pat Perez/Matt Kuchar 9:15 a.m. off 1: Kyle Stanley/Marc Leishman/Jason Dufner 9:03 a.m. off 1: Louis Oosthuizen/Xander Schauffele/Charles Howell III SATURDAY Hideki Matsuyama (4), Jon Rahm (5), Rickie Fowler (6): Matsuyama was on a roll when he shot a final-round 61 to win the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational just a little over three weeks ago. Now, though, he comes to Boston on the heels of a missed cut at THE NORTHERN TRUST. Rahm is trending upward: His T3 at Glen Oaks broke a mini-slump that saw him miss the cut at the U.S. Open, and finish a lackluster T44 at The Open and T28 at the WGC-Bridgestone. Meanwhile, Fowler continues to cruise with five top-10 finishes and two top-25s in his last seven starts worldwide. Â Â Â Tee time: 9:15 a.m. off 10 tee Twitter vote groups: 9:03 a.m. off 10: Jhonattan Vegas/Kevin Kisner/Paul Casey 8:51 a.m. off 10: Webb Simpson/Kevin Chappell/Adam Hadwin 9:15 a.m. off 1: Russell Henley/Justin Rose/Brendan Steele 9:03 a.m. off 1: Jason Day/Sergio Garcia/Billy Horschel PGA TOUR LIVE is scheduled to air at 8:30 a.m. again Sunday and Monday, giving way to Featured Holes coverage of the fourth hole, a driveable par-4 where players will aim for the front-right corner of the green, plus 16 and 18.
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