ORLANDO, Fla. -- Tiger Woods was a large part of the conversation on the eve of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. And hes not even playing. Woods is missing Bay Hill for only the second time in his career when the tournament starts Thursday on a course that Palmer said is in the best shape ever. Woods has won eight times, including the last two years, but he called the 84-year-old host on Tuesday to say persistent back pain will keep him from playing. "He didnt tell me how bad his back is. I dont think he knows how bad his back is," Palmer said. "I think hes listening to the doctors. And he mentioned that theyre saying that he needs to give it a bit of a rest and see if he can work it out. He was very nice. And I, of course, have great sympathy for the fact that he tried like hell to come here and play. And I appreciate that and the fact that he called. "I think he wanted to play golf this week," Palmer said. "I think that he needs to take (time) -- whether its this week, next week or the following week -- to get ready for Augusta. Certainly, if I were in that position, Id be doing much the same." Most of the chatter was more about the future with Woods. Will he play at the Masters? Stuck on 14 majors for the last five years, can he match or surpass the record 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus? And what will be the larger obstacle -- his age (38), his health (legs and back) or the competition (long list)? "I dont think 38 years is the ultimate stopping point for his quest to do what Jack did," Palmer said. "I think it lessens the possibility of that happening. Its going to be tough. Its going to be tough to keep the concentration and the type of the game that is necessary to win majors." Nicklaus won four of his majors after turning 38. Ben Hogan, with battered legs from a car accident, won five majors after turning 38. Palmer, however, believes more than age is at stake for Woods. "These young guys are tough, and theyre strong," Palmer said. "And if they continue to play as well as theyve been playing, its going to be tough for anybody -- whether it be Nicklaus or Tiger or whomever it would be -- to continue to win major championships. And were talking about guys that are playing good and coming on." Palmer actually had a list of players he was talking about. Some of them were young, such as Chris Kirk and Harris English. Others had either won this season (Ryan Moore) or played well recently (Robert Garrigus). "I dont know how many you want me to name," Palmer said. "But really, the strength and the ability of these people is very pleasing to me." Graeme McDowell, a runner-up to Woods two years at Bay Hill, said he can understand what the No. 1 player is going through with injuries. He also believes that competition might be an even larger obstacle than his health for Woods to break Nicklaus record. "Hes a physical player who creates a lot of speed and a lot of power and his body is starting to struggle a little bit, no doubt about it," McDowell said. "But Im sure hell fix it. ... But we all talk about how good the fields are nowadays. Taking Tigers fitness and physicality out of it, winning major championships is getting harder and harder for everyone -- including the best player maybe thats ever lived in Tiger. "Hes got more than just his body to be fighting. Theres a lot of great players in the world now," McDowell said. "Its going to be harder for him to achieve Jacks record. But if anyone can do it, Im sure he can find a way because we all know how good he is." The field at Bay Hill is not as strong as usual, starting with the absence of Woods, the No. 1 player in the world and an eight-time winner of this event. Match Play champion Jason Day (No. 4 in the world) pulled out with recurring pain in his thumb, and Phil Mickelson (No. 5) is not playing this year. Not that it would change the dynamics of what already has been a peculiar season. With 18 tournaments in the books this season, Zach Johnson is the only player to win a PGA Tour event while ranked among the top 10 in the world. The Masters is three weeks away. Is it time for the stars to come out? "Hopefully, this one does," Masters champion Adam Scott said, pointing to himself with a laugh. "But as far as unexpected winners, it seems to me thats happening more and more in golf. There are more and more guys breaking through, putting in a lot of hard work and getting what they deserve. So I think weve seen a bit of a shift in the game over the last couple of years -- a lot less domination by top players." Jadeveon Clowney Jersey
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. The incident occurred at 6:28 of the first period in Anaheims 6-3 home win over Dallas on Sunday. Garbutt left the penalty box and skated at Penner before leaving his skates to deliver a check.There is some irony in the fact that Jason Spezza was finally traded on Canada Day. After all, there had been weeks of speculation that the star centre wasnt enamoured with the idea of playing in a Canadian market. But a few hours after the trade, Spezza wanted to make it clear that he wasnt leaving Ottawa because he couldnt stand the pressure and scrutiny that came with playing in the nations capital. “I dont think thats accurate," Spezza told TSN.ca. "My biggest motivator for a trade was to win. It will be portrayed however they want it to be portrayed, but the last thing I was worried about was coming out and doing interviews in front of my stall.” During the past month, it was widely reported that Spezza put the other Canadian teams on his no-trade list and that his desire was to go south of the border, where he would face less scrutiny. However, Spezza said the fact that most Canadian teams are struggling right now was the biggest reason why he put them on his no-trade list. He is never one to shy away from microphones and says he would welcome playing in a Canadian market again down the road if the opportunity arose. “It was more circumstance than anything of why those (Canadian) teams were on my list. I have one year left on my deal and I wanted to go someplace where I could win a Cup,” Spezza said. The troubling trend for Senators fans, however, is that Spezza is the latest superstar to have a somewhat messy departure from their city. In the summer of 2009, Dany Heatley demanded a trade and ultimately forced the clubs hand into trading him to San Jose. Last summer, Daniel Alfredsson and the organization had a sudden and bitter divorce, prompting the long-time captain to sign with Detroit as a free agent. Now that Spezza has been shipped to Dallas, it only adds to the growing perception that superstars have a short shelf life in Ottawa. But Spezza says the fans in Ottawa arent to blame for a number of players wanting to leave in a short window of time. “Its a fine market for stars, but just like any hockey market, its tough when youre not winning. All three situations are unique. I didnt make my decision because of Alfie and Alfie didnt make his decision because of Heater,” Spezza explained. “We all had our own reasons. There were some similarities, but in the end, each was a unique case.” In some ways, this does appear to be different than the Alfredsson saga from last summer, when the captain abruptly ended his tenure with the club. Spezza appeared to have a more calculated, long-term approach – far less emotional than the course Alfredsson seemed to take. But there is a striking similarity between Alfredssons comments last summer and the ones made by Spezza today.dddddddddddd In each case, the captain felt like he had a better chance to win a Stanley Cup with a different organization. “All I can say is my goal is to win a Cup. I think Ottawa has a good chance. They have a good core of young players and a good nucleus. But for me right now, I just felt like Dallas was a great fit,” Spezza added. Spezza said he had discussions with Bryan Murray towards the end of the season and alerted the front office that he likely wasnt going to re-sign a contract extension beyond 2015. And rather than make it awkward for everyone during the 2014-15 season – constantly answering questions about his future – he felt it was best for all parties involved to make a preemptive move this summer. “I didnt have any interest in signing an extension and that kind of hinted to them that maybe it was time to move on. I met with Bryan and had some really good and frank discussions. And I was being honest with them when I said it was best for me and best for them if I moved on,” Spezza explained. Spezza was asked if he knew the regular season finale in Pittsburgh on April 13 would be his last game in a Senators jersey. He scored a brilliant goal in the shootout to secure a Senators 3-2 victory and he admitted, “It wasnt lost on me that it could have been my last goal with Ottawa.” Spezza said he stayed quiet for the past few weeks out of respect for the process, but once Murray told reporters at the NHL GM meetings last month that Spezza had indeed requested a trade, he knew the writing was on the wall. “Once Bryan went public, I knew it was probably done for me there,” he said. (Spezza also went out of his way to point out that he still has a terrific relationship with Murray and holds the Senators general manager in the highest regard). Spezza isnt sure how the crowd at Canadian Tire Centre would react to his appearance when he makes his return to Ottawa on January 29, 2015 in a Dallas Stars jersey, but he does want Senators fans to know that he does not hold a grudge against them – even though he was often seen as a lightning rod for criticism by the fan base. “My time in Ottawa was fond and I know a lot of people are upset," Spezza said. "I would have loved to have the storybook career, where you spend your whole life in one city and play for one team, but thats part of the hard decision we had to make. This didnt just happen overnight and I woke up one morning and said ‘I want to leave. There was a lot of thought put into this.” Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys
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