It has been described as “bizarre” by Colin Montgomerie. Tony Jacklin, the most successful British golfer of his generation, admitted he was “intimidated” by it.
The 17th hole at the prestigious Old Course in St Andrews, which is widely acknowledged as the birthplace of the sport, has a reputation as one of the most feared golf holes in the world.
But while its unconventional design and tight fairway, not to mention an obstacle in the form of a major hotel, is enough to give even the most skilful professional a headache, the Road Hole, as it is known, has now become even more treacherous.
Eight feet of scaffolding has been put up on the five-star Old Course Hotel, which players have to shoot over, while it undergoes a major refurbishment.
The added obstruction – in addition to an influx of beginner players who are taking advantage of more opportunities to play on the famous course due to restrictions on overseas travel reducing tourist numbers – has placed the rising number of patrons who prefer to sit outside due to Covid-19 in danger.
The rising risk of errant golf balls straying into the hotel’s Jigger Inn beer garden and causing injuries has prompted hotel managers to instal a 14 metre long and five metre high safety net.
Hotel sources played down reports that Scottish golfers, who it was claimed were more likely to hit the hotel than more competent American tourists, were being blamed for the need to take action.
However, they acknowledged that there had been a “change in the type of golfer” playing the course, who were more likely to hit wayward balls, because of the pandemic.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re Scottish, American, or any other nationality, it’s a notoriously difficult hole whether you’re a pro or an amateur,” the hotel source said.
“But the main change has been the scaffolding for the new roof, which is putting some people off their shots and means the roof is eight feet higher than it was previously. That’s what’s causing the problems.
“So we thought it would be sensible to take additional steps to protect our staff and customers.”
A planning application for the safety netting, which was approved by Fife Council this month, states that the barrier will remain up until at least the end of November.
In the application, Neil Gray, the agent acting on behalf of the hotel, said: “The development is solely required to provide physical distancing in response to Covid 19 – i.e. the customers seated outside are being directly placed in risk of stray golf balls.
“It is proposed to erect a safety netting fence system… to protect visitors and staff from injury by wayward golf balls whilst seated outdoors at the Jigger Inn bar under the Covid-19 social-distancing measures.”
Known as a risk reward hole, players who take on a more dangerous initial shot have the chance to significantly shorten their approach to the green. However, those who take the gamble are at risk of hitting the hotel, which could sound like a “gun going off” inside according to hotel workers. Once the building work is complete the scaffolding will be taken down and the roof will remain at its original height.
Describing the challenges of the Road Hole, Montgomerie, who won a record eight European Tour Order of Merit titles, said: “You start by hitting over some railway sheds, parts of a hotel, then you land on a sixpence because the fairway narrows considerably. It’s bizarre in many ways, yet it’s superb in others.”
Jacklin, who in 1970 became the first British player to win the US Open in more than 70 years, said: “It’s intimidating, in part because you’ve got to fire straight across the hotel.
“Any time you don’t see where your golf ball is intended on landing, you get a little bit uptight. If you go too far you’re on the road itself. It’s one of the great holes in golf.”
NBA and Doc Rivers Reportedly Offer to Help Delonte West After Photo Surfaces Online
The NBA, Doc Rivers, Jameer Nelson, and the NBA Players Association have offered to help out former player Delonte West after a disturbing photo of him surfaced online.
A photo of Delonte West looking particularly rough surfaced earlier this week and went viral, with many showing concern for the 37-year-old. Reportedly taken in Dallas, he could be seen in dirty clothes and allegedly had asked for money on the street. TMZ reports that the league, his former coach Doc Rivers, and his former college teammate Jameer Nelson have already attempted to get in touch with him.
Earlier this year, a video showed him in handcuffs after he was beaten by an unnamed individual on the street. In the clip, an officer could be heard asking him why he had attacked someone else, to which he replied, “Walkin’ down the street and he approached me with a gun.” Later on in the clip, he could be heard saying, “I’m the real fucking president.”
In January, it was reported that the NBPA had been in contact with West and trying to offer him support. They also said that they would be monitoring him throughout the year, and would assist him if he needed the help. Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge also confirmed that he tried to help West in the past.
“Delonte has obviously some troubles and some trials that he’s trying to deal with in his life, and I just hope that he can fix his life and get back on a good path,” Ainge said in January.
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Buddy Hield fuels 76ers trade rumor
A rumor emerged about the Kings trading Buddy Hield to the 76ers. It didn’t seem particularly credible.
But then Hield himself liked this Instagram post promoting a potential trade and apparently made a pro-Philadelphia comment on Instagram:
Hield previously laid the groundwork for an offseason trade request. He seemed unhappy at times in Sacramento this season, losing his starting job and even riding the bench when the Kings needed a 3-pointer.
The 76ers could use more shooting – especially if they hire Mike D’Antoni. Hield would definitely add value. A lineup where Hield and Josh Richardson defend guards and Ben Simmons plays point guard offensively and defends a frontcourt player is intriguing.
Hield is set to earn $24,931,817 next season in the first year of a four-year extension. That’s in the range of Tobias Harris ($34,358,850) and Al Horford ($27,500,000).
However, Horford’s trade value is at rock bottom. Tobias Harris would add only so much value to Sacramento, which already has Harrison Barnes.
Kings fans can hope for Ben Simmons ($28,750,000) or Joel Embiid ($29,542,010). But those stars are FAR more valuable than Hield. Besides, the 76ers said they wouldn’t trade Simmons or Embiid (though it’s unclear who exactly is running the show in Philadelphia).
Regardless of whether the Kings and 76ers could connect on a trade, Hield making these public gestures is an issue in Sacramento. It’s on new Kings general manager Monte McNair to manage this. After years of supporting Daryl Morey with the Rockets, this is a new challenge – being in charge while a player makes waves – for McNair.
Relatedly, McNair must also handle Bogdan Bogdanovic‘s impending restricted free agency. These look like warning shots from Hield as Sacramento determines its priorities at shooting guard.
Buddy Hield fuels 76ers trade rumor originally appeared on NBCSports.com
Jeff Wilson Jr., Joshua Kelley lead
We’re now one-eighth of the way through the 2020 fantasy season. With 14 games left to play for each team comes 14 more weeks of overseeing one’s own virtual team. The most dedicated and passionate managers find zeal in exploring the concepts and happenings occurring under the radar. While there are times your roster may allow for snoozing on sleepers, it’s always beneficial to keep tabs on emerging trends and players. This weekly column is for those who understand the satisfaction of digging deep.
All of the listed players are rostered in under 60 percent of Yahoo leagues (at time of writing) and/or are a significant value in our daily game. They’re not the obvious picks, and they’re not without their risks… but that’s what makes them so intriguing. Last week Tre’Quan Smith produced WR3 FF numbers (5 of 7 for 86) and Jordan Akins continued to work as a safety valve for DeShaun Watson (converting all 7 of his targets), but AP didn’t get the volume and both Jimmy G and Parris Campbell left with injuries.
Let’s see what we uncover in Week 3!
As someone who’s been in a long-standing, on-again, off-again relationship with the Chicago Bears, I’ve developed some quarterback-related trust issues. Mitch has done little to alleviate my anxieties, but the matchup this Sunday is too juicy to ignore. Facing a Falcons defense that’s allowing the highest completion percentage (77.4%) and second-highest YPA (9.2) to opposing signal callers, Mitch is in a spot to produce.
[Week 3 Fantasy Rankings: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | FLEX | DST | Kickers]
For what it’s worth, he’s also not been terrible over the past two weeks, posting two multi-touchdown efforts and committing just two turnovers since the start of the season. He’s additionally padding his stats with rushing yards, as he’s attempted three red zone carries (QB7) and recorded 42 rushing yards (QB11) over his last pair of games. While he’s not Russell Wilson or Dak Prescott, he does have a capable and healthy complement of receiving talent at his disposal as well as the swag necessary to believe he can hang with Matty Ice. Pre-order those lemon pepper wings — I see you, A-Town — because Sunday figures to be a perfect mix of tart and spicy.
Joshua Kelley, RB, Los Angeles Chargers (51% rostered – $18)
A top-25 fantasy producer for two consecutive weeks, the rookie running back has averaged 18.5 touches per contest and even out-toted Austin Ekeler by a margin of 23:16 in Week 2. Well-built and utilizing a compact frame (5’11, 212 lbs), Kelley is a downhill runner with plus balance and power who can push past tacklers.
Since the start of the season, he’s understandably been used in short-yardage situations. While his YPC last week left a lot to be desired (2.8), it’s worth noting that he’s been tackled for a loss on a total of just two occasions. He’s also in possession of impressive long speed (not much initial burst though), which he demonstrated via a 35-yard gain after the catch on Justin Herbert’s first completion vs. Kansas City. The 1B to Ekeler’s 1A, Kelley’s many gifts figure to be on full display in Week 3 when he takes on a Panthers defense that is allowing opposing runners a YPC of 4.8 and has given up the most rushing scores (6) so far this season. Kelley is the Yahoo consensus RB24 heading into Sunday’s action.
Jeff Wilson, RB, San Francisco 49ers (3% rostered – $10)
From start to finish, the 49ers franchise battled with Murphy’s Law last Sunday — they didn’t win. Down several key players on both sides of the ball, San Fran is expected to start Nick Mullens at QB, while Jerick McKinnon leads the backfield in the stead of Raheem Mostert (MCL) and Tevin Coleman (knee). While McKinnon is (or at least was before his own injury woes) an explosive and versatile athlete (100 percentile SPARQ) it’s unlikely that Kyle Shanahan will give him the workhorse treatment. After all, McKinnon has recorded a total of 3 totes since joining the 49ers in 2018. In fact, the last time he carried the ball more than 15 times was Week 6 of the 2017 season when he was still in Minnesota.
All of this is to say that Jeff Wilson could be a short-yardage hero in Week 3. Undrafted out of North Texas (where he scored 30 TDs over his final two campaigns), Wilson is a power back who isn’t afraid of contact and, in his own words, doesn’t “waste time” and likes to “get downhill.” On the active roster since 2018, Wilson is no stranger to stepping in and stepping up. During Weeks 2 and 3 of last year, while Tevin Coleman was dealing with a high ankle sprain, Wilson logged 18 carries for just 52 yards but FOUR touchdowns. That ability at the goal line (4 scores on 27 carries in 2019) is what gives the 24-year-old such sneaky touchdown appeal, especially in a game that figures to be run-heavy. In Week 3 he’ll take on a Giants defense that has yet to give up a rushing score but is allowing a YPC of 4.6.
Allen Lazard, WR, Green Bay Packers (46% rostered — $17)
We have yet to gain full clarity regarding Green Bay’s receiving options behind Davante Adams and Aaron Jones. There’s a good chance that neither Allen Lazard nor Marquez Valdes-Scantling will ever pull ahead, instead remaining matchup-based options for both Aaron Rodgers and fantasy managers. What we do know presently, however, is that Lazard has logged more snaps (85.4% share to MVS’ 58.3%) and run more routes (61 to 50) while Valdes-Scantling has drawn more targets (13 for MVS and 9 for Lazard).
Of Lazard’s 129 offensive snaps, 96 of them have come via the slot. MVS, on the other hand, has only recorded 66 snaps in the slot. That means if Davante Adams (hamstring) can’t go on Sunday night, Valdes-Scantling will likely move outside. This could result in more opportunities for MVS but also suggests he’ll draw top-end coverage from Marshon Lattimore. Meanwhile, Lazard figures to see the best matchup, as he’s likely to be P.J. Williams’ primary assignment. Last year Williams allowed a passer rating of 118.3 (CB62) and was manhandled by Darren Waller in Week 2 after sitting out the opener with a hamstring injury. With Vegas projecting a point total of over 52, good fantasy fortune figures to be bestowed upon at least one of these wideouts. I’ll give the edge to the guy who’s in a favorable matchup, and on the field more.
Drew Sample, TE, Cincinnati Bengals (1% rostered – $10)
Sample’s sample size as a receiver is decidedly small. But his opportunity heading into Week 3 is huge. Selected primarily for his blocking experience (he posted a 46-487-5 stat line over his four-year college career at Washington) in the second round of last year’s draft, Sample flashed unexpected athleticism in relief of C.J. Uzomah (Achilles) last Thursday night.
Second in team targets behind only A.J. Green, the former Huskie converted 7 of 9 balls for 45 yards. With Uzomah done for the year, Sample figures to work as an underneath target for his young QB. This Sunday he’ll face an Eagles defense that has struggled to contain the middle of the field, giving up a score to Logan Thomas in Week 1 and three tubs to Tyler Higbee in Week 3. The stream is real, friends.
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