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New Orleans Saints training camp at the Geenbrier
WVNS Sports via Twitter
The New Orleans Saints' training camp at the Greenbrier will include a 55,000-square-foot building and three practice fields.

With the PGA Tour returning next week, it's no surprise that things are hopping at the gorgeous Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. But the Greenbrier Classic isn't the only big event on the schedule this summer.

The New Orleans Saints will hold their preseason training camp at the Greenbrier, and the resort is busily building a full set of facilities – including a 55,000-square-foot building that'll host meeting rooms, weight rooms, locker rooms, kitchen and dining facilities, and training and physical therapy spaces. Also under construction are two natural grass practice fields and a third outfitted with artificial turf.

The Saints are scheduled to arrive in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains on July 24, and remain through Aug. 13. They're scheduled to stage 20 practices along with an Aug. 2 scrimmage on-site, and all those events are open to the public.

The team will return to New Orleans on Aug. 14, and finish its preseason schedule at their permanent practice facility in Metairie, La.

WHICH SPORTS STAR HAS THE BEST SWING: Take a look at the results of our poll

This year will be the first of at least three straight years in which the Saints will train at the Greenbrier as part of a deal with local and state officials. Greenbrier owner Jim Justice is spending approximately $20 million to build the practice facilities, according to New Orleans news site, but is receiving some relief from investment and sales taxes.

The Saints began looking at the Greenbrier as long as three years ago, and the deal was finalized earlier this year at a signing ceremony attended by Saints coach Sean Payton – who, you might remember, also caddied for Ryan Palmer at last year's Greenbrier Classic.

You can see the Saints' complete preseason schedule and all the details for attending practice at the Greenbrier by clicking here. And below is a tweet from a guy who I'm pretty sure isn't doing any of the actual work.


Nike Golf women's Lunar Adapt shoe
Courtesy Nike Golf
The new women's Lunar Adapt shoes feature a low-profile design improves ground feel.

Nike Golf is billing its new women's Lunar Adapt shoe as its most versatile option yet for both on and off the course.

"We wanted to create a shoe that women want to wear when they're playing golf just as much as they want to wear when they're hanging out with their friends," said Nike Golf Innovation Design Lead Carl Madore. "The Lunar Adapt has all the performance technology golfers need, like Integrated Traction and Lunarlon cushioning, within a versatile design that makes it great for everyday wear."

GOLF BUZZ: Nike Golf releases Matte Black version of VR_S Covert 2.0 drivers

These new models feature a full-grain waterproof leather upper and full-length Lunar drop-in sockliner for lightweight, responsive cushioning. Their crafted, low-profile design improves ground feel while rubber cupsole construction and a modernized waffle tread enhance stability and traction control.

They come in a variety of color options, including Pure Platinum/Hyper Pink-Cool Grey, Light Ash/Hyper Grape-Ivory, and Fuchsia Force/Light Ash-Medium Ash. They'll be available at retail on July 1, and carry a street price of $100 per pair.


June 26, 2014 - 8:00am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Tiger Woods
USA Today Sports Images
Tiger Woods is currently No. 67 in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings.

There will be plenty of questions as Tiger Woods returns to golf for the first time since the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump Doral.

We'll add to that list.

Now that he's back, the plot thickens in terms of the possibility of Woods being a member of the U.S. Ryder Cup team in September. So what does Tiger have to do to qualify for the U.S. Ryder Cup Team?

RELATED: A complete list of all of Tiger Woods' injuries | How to avoid back pain

Let's break it down.

Woods will either need to finish inside the top 9 of the U.S. points standings at the conclusion of the PGA Championship, or he'll have to rely on one of Captain Tom Watson's three picks.

WHERE HE STANDS NOW: Woods is currently No. 67 in the latest U.S. Ryder Cup team standings with 763.542 points. That's a whopping 2,368.49 points behind Patrick Reed, who currently occupies the ninth and final automatic spot.

THE MAGIC NUMBER: 4,637 points. At least that's the magic number according to PGA President Ted Bishop, who Captain Tom Watson is calling his "stats guru." 

In a Captain's blog earlier this year, Watson wrote: "Ted Bishop, the President of the PGA, is our statistician and he's calculated it's going to take 4,637 points to be in the top 9 to get on the team. Who knows what the points are going to be but nobody's really gotten up to that level. I trust that Ted's pretty accurate as far as what that point level's going to be to make the team."

Note: Four players have already eclipsed this total. Bubba Watson, Jimmy Walker, Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar.

RYDER CUP: Latest U.S. standings | Watson's Captain's Blog archive | History

WHERE WILL TIGER PLAY?: Even in his return, it's only likely that Woods -- provided there are no setbacks -- will play in just four events between now and when points close.

However, points are worth double at the majors, in which we anticipate Woods will play in two.

Here is the projected, educated guess (based on history and results) at Tiger's likely schedule through the PGA Championship.

- Quicken Loans National, June 25-29, Congressional CC
Though we shouldn't expect a whole lot from Woods in his first competitive rounds since returning, don't be shocked if he plays well either. Woods won at the course in 2009 and again in 2012. Aside from being the host of the tournament, a return here makes sense for Woods because of his comfort level with the course. POINTS: A 25th-place finish here would earn Tiger roughly 65 points, give or take, depending on ties. A win would earn him 1,170 points.

- Open Championship, July 17-20, Royal Liverpool
Many thought this is where Woods would make his return -- even though returning at a major seems a bit crazy. Woods put on a clinic at this venue in 2006. He finished at 18-under par, two clear of runner-up Chris DiMarco, and captured his 11th major title overall. The win was his second consecutive Open Championship title and third overall. It was also Woods' first major tournament win since the death of his father, Earl Woods, that May. Woods lives for the majors. He's four away from matching the record of 18 held by Jack Nicklaus and you can bet it stings Woods to have already missed the first two this year. He practically hit irons all week at Royal Liverpool in 2006, and we can probably expect much of the same this time around. POINTS: A 25th-place finish here would earn Tiger roughly 120 points depending on ties. A win would earn him just shy of 2,900 points.

- World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, July 31-August 3, Firestone CC
Woods will have had a healthy two-week break after the Open Championship before this event. And, again, he's got to love the venue. He's won at Firestone eight times in his career. This year, he's again the defending champion. POINTS: A 25th-place finish here would earn Tiger roughly 75 points depending on ties. A win would earn him 1,530.

- PGA Championship, August 7-10, Valhalla GC
The season's final major -- and final opportunity to accumulate Ryder Cup points -- comes at a place where Woods has been victorious in the past. He won a playoff over Bob May in the 2000 PGA Championship at Valhalla -- his third consecutive major win at the time and the third leg of the "Tiger Slam," which consisted of the 2000 U.S. Open, Open Championship, PGA Championship and 2001 Masters. POINTS: A 25th-place finish here would earn Tiger roughly 120 points depending on ties. A win would earn him just shy of 2,900 points.

CAN WOODS MAKE IT ON POINTS?: Who's going to tell Tiger Woods he can't do something? Of course he could make it on points, but it isn't likely. A win at one of the remaining majors will be worth just shy of 2,900 points. That coupled with a top 10 in the other major and a second-place finish at Quicken Loans or WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and he's well on his way to Bishop's estimated total. Even if he doesn't win one of those majors, a strong finish will go a long way in the standings. For instance, if Woods were to finish 25th this week, 10th in the two majors and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, he'd accumulate approximately 920 points to move to approximately 1,683 points which would be 31st on the current list. To make the team on points, however, Woods is going to need to win at least one major and have a very high finish in the other.

IF HE DOESN'T MAKE IT ON POINTS, WILL HE BE A CAPTAIN'S PICK?: The only time in his career that Tiger Woods has been a Captain's pick came in 2010. Then Captain Corey Pavin took Woods, who didn't make his first start of the 2010 season until the Masters after recovering from knee surgery at the end of 2009.

If Woods doesn't make the team on points, but is inside the top 20 of the standings, it's hard to imagine Watson not giving him a good, hard look. After all, he's Tiger Woods.

However, if he's outside of the top 20 come August 10, I believe Woods will have to show Watson he wants to be on the team. What does that mean? Well, a couple of things. If Woods has played well enough to make the FedExCup Playoffs, then get a high finish in the Barclays or the Deutsche Bank Championship (the last tournament before Watson makes his picks in September).

If Woods is projected to be out of the playoffs before the start of the PGA Championship, he might want to think about committing to the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C., the following week. That's certainly not likely, but if Woods were to make that commitment, it would clearly say, "I'm playing because I want to be on the U.S. Ryder Cup team."

CONCLUSION: Woods has a steep hill to climb if he's going to make the team on points. If at the end of the PGA Championship he's inside the top 20 in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings though, I can't envision a scenario -- unless he's hurt -- where Captain Watson doesn't add him to the team.

Making it on points? It's not impossible, but it's also not likely. My guess is Woods will need to prove to Watson he's worthy of a pick. 

June 25, 2014 - 5:43pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Michael Block
PGA of America
Michael Block became the ninth player in PGA Professional National Championship history to win the tournament in his first attempt.

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- The only time Michael Block ever had a share of the lead in the 47th PGA Professional National Championship was when he walked off the 72nd hole.

After watching Jamie Broce make bogey on Wednesday, Block had a beautiful par save from the sand to tie for the lead at 2-under 286.

Two holes later, in a sudden-death playoff, he knocked in a 4-footer for birdie at the par-4 10th hole to become the 2014 Champion in his very first trip to the National Championship.

RELATED: PNC leaderboard | PNC complete coverage | Photos | Video

"Jamie had the pressure on him," said Block, the 38-year-old PGA head professional at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, Calif. "I started the day three shots behind. So, if I came back great, but I didn't have any pressure to win it. It's amazing to me, because I wasn't leading that tournament for one second until that final putt dropped on No. 18."

As it turns out, Block's lone sub-par round for the week came in Round 2 when he shot a 3-under 69 at Grande Dunes. His scores at the Dunes Golf & Beach Club looked like this: 73-72-72.

Block became just the ninth player to win the National Championship in his first attempt and the first since Matt Dobyns did so in 2012.

A crucial point on Wednesday came when Block bounced back with a birdie at No. 16 after making bogey at 15. That helped him stay just one shot behind Broce with two holes to play.

Then it came down to a short game contest. Both players found the front left greenside bunker on the 18th hole. Block got up and down. Broce didn't.

"I feel bad for Jamie," Block said. "He had it. That putt for par on the last regulation hole on 18 was perfect. Some grain got it, it hit the lip and lipped out up the hill. It was halfway down the hole. Then all of the sudden, it opened up, here we are tied going into a playoff and honestly it was a win-win for me at that point -- I was going to the PGA Championship, I had a nice check and everything was hunky dory at that point."

Block said he felt no pressure whatsoever in the playoff and it showed when he hit a 56-degree sand wedge from 120 yards out to within a few feet of the hole to set up the winning birdie.

"I was more calm in that playoff than I am playing at home in a Skins match with my boys," he said.

When Block heads to Valhalla in August for the PGA Championship, it will mark his second start in a major. He also qualified for the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont.

"It hasn't set in at all yet that I'm the National Champion and I'm going to be representing the 27,000 PGA Professionals at the PGA Championship," Block said. "I've been doing a really good job in the Southern California Section in the last two years. Let's just say I've won a lot of events. It's given me a lot of confidence. When I know that I can win a lot in Southern California, which is pretty big, I know I can compete nationally. My goal this week was to put my name on the national stage and not just in Southern California."

Mission accomplished. 



June 25, 2014 - 5:14pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Stuart Deane
PGA of America
Stuart Deane has missed out on the PGA Championship by a single shot on three occasions. On Wednesday, he finally got in.

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- Close, but no cigar. That's basically been the story of Stuart Deane's life when it comes to the PGA Professional National Championship and a coveted top-20 spot, which is rewarded with a berth in the PGA Championship.

On three occasions, Deane has missed the PGA Championship by a single shot, including 2012 when he missed out on a spot in a playoff.

But on Wednesday in the final round of the 47th PGA Professional National Championship, Deane would not be denied.

RELATED: PNC leaderboard | PNC complete coverage | Photos | Video

With a 1-under 71 in the final round at the Dunes Golf & Beach Club -- highlighted by an incredible eagle at the par-4 17th hole (see the video below) -- Deane registered a four-round total of 1-under 287 and finished alone in third. He was one of just three players to end his week with an under par score.

"To walk off that last green and find out I'm in the PGA Championship was special," said the 42-year-old PGA teaching professional at Golf Center of Arlington in Texas by way of Brisbane, Australia. "I've missed by a shot I think three times. I've missed in a playoff to get to the PGA. This year I came over early. I had never done that before. I came here three weeks ago and the guys here at the Dunes Club were just awesome and really took care of me with tee times and helping us get out. It really made a big difference. I played great all week, so it's just an awesome deal."

The icing on the cake was that shot on No. 17 -- a pitching wedge from 134 yards out that was noting but cup.

"I really hit that shot great," Deane said. "I actually hit it great all week and didn't seem to get much out of it. Today it was the same thing. I played great all day, but wasn't getting much out of it. Then finally, I hit that wedge on 17 and as soon as it left the club I said to my caddie, Wes, 'This is really good.' There was a bunker in front of me. I thought I saw it land, but Wes yelled, 'It's in the hole!' Sure enough, it was."

To say Deane is looking forward to Valhalla would be an understatement.

"I've played at every level -- Tour events,, Section stuff -- but I've never played in the ultimate, a major championship," he said. "It's really cool. It kind of caps off everything you could ever want or dream of as a golfer." 

June 25, 2014 - 4:31pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rod Perry
PGA of America
Rod Perry's goal was to successfully defend his National Championship title this week. While he didn't win, it was still a solid effort.

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- Rod Perry had a lofty goal this week at the PGA Professional National Championship: defend the title he won a year ago in Sunriver.

Perry, the 40-year-old PGA head professional at Crane Lakes Golf and Country Club in Port Orange, Fla., fell short, but not by much. The reigning PGA Professional Player of the Year shot a 1-under 71 in Wednesday's final round. With a 72-hole total of 1-over 289, he ended in a tie for fifth place and will make his third consecutive PGA Championship appearance in August.

RELATED: PNC leaderboard | PNC complete coverage | Photos | Video

"I had a lot of fun," he said. "The golf course set up really well for me with the Bermuda grass, knowing it was going to be hot -- this is my style of golf. You've got to hit it in the middle of the fairway to have any chance. If you're out of position you're probably going to pay a price. I was really looking forward to this week. I played OK. I didn't play great, but I played OK."

And, in this case, "OK" for Perry was more than enough for a trip to Valhalla.

"Going back to another PGA Championship means I can get another week off of work," joked Perry. "I'm just kidding. It brings great excitement. Any time you get to play with the best in the world it's an honor. I'm really looking forward to it.

"I know what to expect having played in the last two," he added. "I feel like I have experience on my side now. I'm not a rookie at this anymore and hopefully I can turn that into a solid performance."