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Experience Golf’s Ultimate Thrill at the Masters

Every April, the top golfers in the world convene at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, to play in the world’s most famous golf tournament and compete for the chance to walk away with a coveted green jacket. This year, the prestigious event will be held from April 11 through April 14, with practice rounds starting on April 8.

Since the event is always held at the same course, the history and tradition that surround the beautiful course can be mesmerizing for fans. This year could provide particularly special moments, as Tiger Woods heads to Augusta as the favorite after winning three events in the early part of the PGA season.

Woods is back to the top spot in the Official World Golf Rankings and eyes his first major championship since the 2008 U.S. Open when he beat Rocco Mediate in an 18-hole playoff with an extra hole of sudden death at Torrey Pines.

Since, Woods has been through quite the roller coaster ride including knee surgery, his highly publicized sex scandal and subsequent divorce and a slow, frustrating climb back to the top of the golf world.

Woods has won 14 majors so far in his career and hopes to top Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18, which has led to a lot of speculation over whether that feat was possible due to his struggles. A win at Augusta could put Woods back on track and also move him out of a tie with Arnold Palmer for the second-most Masters Tournament championships with five, one back of Nicklaus’s six.

Woods’ old rival Phil Mickelson could be in the mix as well, as his game tends to be well suited for the tricky greens of Augusta. Mickelson won the Waste Management Phoenix Open earlier this year with an impressive performance that reminded the world he can still be a top performer.

While Rory McIlroy as struggled lately, he’s not to be ruled out. Last year’s winner, Bubba Watson, has to garner some consideration as well and there are often surprises.

The memories last a lifetime  when you attend the Masters and tickets go quickly so don’t miss out. Get yours today!

Who’s going to the NBA Playoffs?

Some teams have already emerged as clear frontrunners to win it all during the NBA Finals, while others are still struggling just to find their playoff spot. So, who’s going to the NBA playoffs so far?

In the East

It’s pretty clear that the Miami Heat will be in the playoffs; and that they’ll go in with the number one spot that they’re currently enjoying, unless they do something to completely mess things up. Behind them are Brooklyn and Indiana battling it for that second spot, and Brooklyn sits in the fourth spot with leads over both Chicago and Atlanta. On the other hand, both Chicago and Atlanta have clinched playoff spots — whether they’ll be going in as fifth or sixth seeds still has yet to be determined.

What might be most surprising in the East is that Boston is desperately still trying to obtain a playoff berth; and it will be the first year in five seasons that the Celtics haven’t won the Atlantic Division. Behind them is Milwaukee, also struggling to clinch their playoff berth.

In the West

The Spurs are clearly the frontrunners in the West. With seven more wins they’ll enter the playoffs with the top seed; with only three, they’ll still clinch second seed. The only team that could take the number one spot from the Spurs it will be Oklahoma, who is currently in the second spot.

The middle of the pack is where it gets tricky in the Western conference. Denver, Memphis, and L.A. are all fighting over the third, fourth, and fifth seeds. Both Denver and Memphis can place no worse than the fifth seed, but all these teams will be moving on to the playoffs.

The Golden State Warriors are still looking for a playoff berth, as are Houston and Utah. All of these teams currently sit in the sixth, seventh, and eighth seeds respectively and, if the playoffs started today, they’d all be moving on as well.

The NBA playoffs begin on April 20, just over two weeks away. Anything could happen within that time, and it will be interesting to watch what does.

Steve Austin will Not Appear at WrestleMania 29 in NJ

Ever since the beginning of the year WrestleMania fans have been eagerly speculating about who the biggest names will be at this year’s WrestleMania 29. Of those names, it was widely believed that Stone Cold Steve Austin would face CM Punk in the ring, for a match that would be the final showdown between these two notorious enemies. Now though, Stone Cold has publicly denied these rumors, or any others linking him to WWE’s biggest event of the year. For 2013 at least.

When it was announced a couple of weeks ago that it would be the Undertaker taking on Punk, fans were disappointed that they wouldn’t see the Punk/Stone Cold rivalry come to a head once and for all. Still though, they clung to the hope that Steve Austin would still be making an appearance in New Jersey this year, until this past weekend when he squashed any chance of that happening either.

“I’ve had many questions concerning WrestleMania 29. The decision has been made that I will not be WM29 and that the bottom line,” he wrote on his Twitter account on March 21.

The decision was most likely due to practical reasons than anything else. It was just this past summer that Austin had surgery on his knee, and he’s just gotten over the rehab for that surgery as well.

That being said, Austin’s knee is likely to be completely rehabilitated next year, and by that time it’s also likely that Austin will be itching to get back into the ring. And that always renews hope for a Punk/Stone Cold matchup for WrestleMania 30 next year!

Yankees and Red Sox Renew Rivalry on Opening Day

There’s something special about opening day in Major League Baseball. It’s a day that is full of hope for every team, and with a little luck, provides fans with a taste of spring and a good excuse to duck out of the office for a half day.

For the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, though, this year will be particularly special, as they’ll renew one of the best rivalries in sports at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York. The first pitch is slated for 1:05 p.m. EST on Monday, April 1st.

Unfortunately for the Bronx Bombers, a few of their star players are expected to start the season on the disabled list. Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira are all unlikely to be able to start on opening day.

Jeter is dealing with a sore ankle after surgery in October, Rodriguez is coming off hip surgery, Teixeira has a partially torn tendon sheath in his wrist and Granderson has a broken forearm.

Yankees ace C.C. Sabathia should be good to go, though, as he looks to continue his success from last season when he went 15-6 with a 3.38 earned runs average.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox are not without their injury struggles as well, as designated hitter Wilson Betemit was diagnosed with a torn posterior cruciate ligament and other injuries in his knee after being injured in a spring training game.

On opening day, the Red Sox are likely to give the ball to Jon Lester, though they haven’t made it official. The 29-year-old went 9-14 last year with a 4.82 earned runs average, but was impressive in 2011 with a 15-9 record and 3.47 ERA.

While the injuries are of concern to both perennial contenders, they may also underscore the urgency of not falling into a deep hole early in the season. Regardless, there’s always electricity in the ballpark when the Sox and Yanks meet, whether it’s in April or September. Don’t miss your chance to start the 2013 Major League Baseball season in style. Get your tickets today!

Weird Happenings at the Honda Classic

Spectators of golf aren’t typically treated to any particular weird or strange happenings while watching a tournament. One of the greats missing a relatively easy putt, perhaps. A sideline freak-out by one of the competitors in a game that’s supposed to be gentlemanly? Maybe. But what was seen at the Honda Classic on Sunday is something no fan — or PGA officials — are likely to forget any time soon. It began with Tiger Woods donning hip-huggers to get a ball out of gator-infested waters; and perhaps that may have been all. If that was, Rory McIlroy had been able to keep his head — or his body — in the game.

Unfortunately, he was not. By the seventh hole the great McIlroy, who was poised to see Tiger Woods like success, was eight over par. Then he put his ball in the water too. Not wanting to follow Woods’ footsteps from earlier in the tournament, McIlroy simply put his clubs away, and started off the course, clearly done. After the reporters got over their shock, they followed McIlroy out to his car. There he mumbled that he was “not in a good place mentally.”

That much was clear, but the devastating effects that can have on a golfer may not be to everybody. In fact, most of the game of golf is played mentally, which is why Tiger Woods’ game fell apart when his life was shaken by scandal. But the question is, even though Tiger’s been able to come back and save face, will McIlroy be able to do the same thing?

For the Irish golfer though, things may be different. People are already questioning the PR-laden “sore wisdom tooth” excuse he offered when a statement was later released about his early departure from the tournament. And some are wondering, not whether the $20 million US Nike gave him for a sponsorship is going to his head, but whether the new clubs he’s been forced to play with as part of that deal are.

Clearly, being No.1 isn’t easy, no matter how much Tiger seemed to prove the contrary. McIlroy will need to figure things out quickly, and not just to save whatever face he has left, but if he wants to remain at the top.

Dwight Howard Returns to Lakers’ Lineup

It hasn’t been easy for the Lakers this year. After one of the most exciting off-seasons, signing Steve Nash and trading for Dwight Howard, the two have struggled with injuries ever since joining the team. Nash was injured on the first night and forced to sit out until last month; while Howard’s looked hurt ever since he put on the Lakers’ jersey. On Sunday night though, he was back. Earlier than expected, and in fine form, too.

It was the performance everyone had been waiting for. It was the Dwight Howard that had not yet been seen in L.A. Before his return, the Lakers had been on a six-game losing streak, and had just about everyone asking what was going wrong. But when D-12 stepped onto the court this weekend, he was ready. And he made it happen.

Continuing a streak he had been on before his injury forced him to sit out, Howard finished the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers with 22 points and 14 rebounds on 9 of 11 shots. That gives him an average of 17 points, 16.6 rebounds, and 3 blocks over his past five games.

Seeing him come back into the lineup on Sunday night proved one thing to the Lakers – they need Dwight Howard, and they need him to play at the elite level he was displaying before he ever made his way to the West coast. Now that his injuries seem to be fully behind him, it seems that the Lakers may have finally gotten what they signed up for.

Alabama Crushes Notre Dame to Win Second Consecutive National Title

It wasn’t supposed to be just another matchup between the two top-ranked teams in the country. It was a game against a team that went undefeated all season, and the powerful Crimson Tide. It was more anticipated than perhaps any national title game in the last five years. It wasn’t supposed to be just another title game. But it ended the same way as three in the last four years have. With Alabama crushing their opponent with a final score of 42-14.

Even fans who had had the date marked on their calendar all year long were searching for the remote when in the second quarter, the Crimson Tide were already leading 35-0. Fans didn’t need to break out into the “SEC! SEC!” chant to let everyone know the game was over; but they did anyway. Notre Dame had an outstanding year, but they just can’t compete with the very powerful schools just yet; and being the clear underdog didn’t seem to help them any.

The Fighting Irish actually didn’t put in a bad showing, with quarterback Everett Golson finishing his first season as starter going 21 of 36 for 270 yards, and scoring a touchdown. The problem Notre Dame had was largely on the ground, with their running game being held to just 32 yards. But even with their lagging play, Notre Dame did not lose this game because they’re a bad team. Alabama’s just that good.

It was the Tide’s second consecutive national title, after defeating LSU in the big bowl game last year. It was their third in the last four years. Eddie Lacy took the game’s offensive MVP award after the game, and for good reason. He was the reason for two of the Tide’s touchdowns in the first half, and he managed to slither and slide his way out of any situation involving any member of the Irish. He finished with 140 yards on 20 carries, and his best performance of the year when his team needed it the most. His 181 rushing yards were also a career high for him.

But as much as people are talking today about how good Alabama is, they’re also talking about how good head coach Nick Saban is. It’s clear that after winning his last three out of four titles, and four of his eight years as a college coach, Saban is building himself a dynasty in Alabama. And it’s one that’s likely going to reign for some time.

Nuggets Usurp Kings in Own Throne Room 122-97

The fans who were watching held their breath on Sunday night for the entire game between their Denver Nuggets and the Sacramento Kings. By the fourth quarter, the Nuggets were already up 97-67, and were clearly outplaying the home team. But this hasn’t been an easy season for Denver. As soon as they’re up, there’s another team to knock them down it seems. And the wins they have enjoyed have been sloppy, clumsy, and poorly executed. Was there reason to think this one would be any different?

There was. The Nuggets were on point all night and dominated the Kings‘ court. It started in the first quarter when they broke a tie by scoring 16 consecutive points, and they never stopped.

Andre Iquodala scored 11 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists; while reserve Jordan Hamilton put in 15 points, and Kosta Koufos had 12 of his own. Ty Lawson also had 11 points and 7 assists in the win. But it may not have been the players on the court, or even the score, that was the main story. It’s the fact that the Nuggets have had an incredibly long streak of away games to start their season; a total of 18 of their first 25.

“It’s the worst stretch of travel I’ve been associated with,” said Nuggets coach George Karl. “All we do is travel, play a game, and get in at three in the morning. Then we do it all over again.”

But if the Nuggets can continue playing like this, they may not want to complain too loudly about the road stretch. It seems to be working for them.

Redskins Beat Browns 38-21

At the start of the game on Sunday, it looked as though the Washington Redskins were going to feel the painful loss of RG3. About halfway through though, they proved that this Redskins team has the mettle it takes to dig deep and pull out a fantastic win. Even if the odds weren’t necessarily in their favor.

Robert Griffin III was on the team’s inactive list before Sunday’s game, as he’s still suffering from a sprained lateral collateral ligament in his right knee. Kirk Cousins, who’s stepped in twice before for RG3, took his spot; and while he may have had a slow start, ultimately he got the job done.

At the start of the game Cousins looked as though he may have a poor showing after throwing an interception that was returned by the Browns for a touchdown. But it was his first start, and he quickly came back, throwing two touchdown passes to wide receiver Leonard Hankerson. He finished the day completing 26 of 37 passes for 329 yards.

But it wasn’t just Cousins out there on the field. Tailback Alfred Morris was instrumental in the win, scoring his own pair of touchdowns and 21 consecutive points. It was this that really gave the Redskins the boost they needed, putting them up 31-14 in the game after a 14-10 deficit.

On the other side of the ball, rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden threw for 244 yards and a touchdown; but didn’t have near the performance seen by Cousins. The loss ends the small three-game winning streak the Browns had been enjoying.

Cautious Optimism Leads to Complete Breakdown of NHL Talks

After standing shoulder to shoulder earlier last week, the NHL and the NHLPA both made it seem as though a deal was pretty much done; it was just a matter of tweaking at this point. Then two days later, after the NHLPA rejected the latest proposal from the NHL, all hockey heck broke lose. When Gary Bettman then used a press conference as an opportunity to completely tear the players’ association, (and the morals of everyone within it) apart, things just got ugly.

So where are the two sides now? Where they have been since the beginning. Worlds apart.

After Wednesday’s proposal, the NHLPA came back with a proposal of their own — with some minor changes. Don Fehr was saying that they were “close” after their last proposal had been presented.

But it wasn’t nearly close enough for the National Hockey League. They rejected it and then took to the microphone at a press conference to address why they rejected the offer. And seemingly, to speak of why they hated everyone in the players’ association.

During that press conference Bettman told reporters that there was to be no negotiation with the offer presented by the NHL. That it was to stand “as is,” and that all present members of the association were made aware of that. He couldn’t understand why there was a counteroffer. He repeatedly said he couldn’t understand much of what the union was doing, or why they were doing it. Talking about “hills they will die on” and the union being “terribly unfair to our fans, it was clearly emotional for both Bettman and Bill Daly. Bettman in particular, was angrier than anyone in the hockey world had ever seen him.

It’s been debated whether it was real anger or drama but, real or not, the NHL owners have taken all previous offers off the table — which means we’re back to square one. But don’t be fooled into thinking that means the two are even speaking at this point. These are the last words from both sides:

Donald Fehr: “It’s up to them. They’re the ones who called a halt to the process.”

Bill Daly: “I have no reason, nor intention, of reaching out to the union right now. I have no new ideas. Maybe they do. We are happy to listen.”

The thing is though, Bill, you weren’t.

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