Zynga Poker Unveils Major Redesign

Zynga just recently unveiled a huge update for its social poker product, VentureBeat reported.

The redesign makes the game less cartoonish and more like a casino, with its red and gold colors. Poker action also moves at a brisker pace.

Zynga Poker is one of the firm’s most profitable products.

According to VentureBeat, Zynga’s market share in the social casino games business has been shrinking as of late. “Caesars Interactive has 14.7 percent of the social casino game market while IGT’s Double Down has 12.1 percent. Zynga is now third with 10.1 percent of the market, according to market analyst firm Eilers Research.”

“Poker is a 200-year-old game,” the firm said. “How do you reinvent that experience? We wanted to create an app that was rearchitected for mobile and reimagined.”

“We are going back to our roots in social,and players will find that the new Zynga Poker delivers entirely new layers of social, making it easier for you and your friends to join the same table and instantly connect,” the firm added in a blog post. “We had to think about what matters, about how we want our players to feel. It’s more social, with an emphasis on quality, immersive, and personal, like you have permission to dream, play and win.”

Zynga once had plans for real-money online poker in the United States, but it backed out of those ideas. It has still dabbled in that activity overseas, though.

The poker product makes money from users purchasing the play-money chips.


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Penn State to make ‘major announcement’ Sat.

The James Franklin era will apparently begin on Jan. 11, 2014.

(USATSI)The James Franklin era will apparently begin on Jan. 11, 2014. (USATSI)More Penn State: Franklin the perfect hire.. |.. or the wrong man for the job?
It appears that all the i's have been dotted and all the t's crossed.
Directly from Penn State's athletics Twitter feed:

#PennState President Rodney Erickson and Director of Athletics Dave Joyner will make a major announcement Saturday at 4: 15 p. m. #WeAre— Penn State Athletics (@GoPSUsports1) January 10, 2014


Barring a monumental last-minute shock, Vanderbilt's James Franklin will be named Penn State's new coach at that announcement. Penn State on Friday called at least one college football official that knows James Franklin well to get quotes for the press conference, a source told CBSSports. com's Jeremy Fowler. Vanderbilt football has a team meeting on Saturday morning, where it's expected Franklin will deliver the Penn State news.

Top 10 coaching hires

Fowler: Huskies get an A

Franklin went 24-15 in three seasons at Vanderbilt and will become the first coach to leave the Commodores with a winning record since Steve Sloan went 12-9-2 in a two-year stint in 1973-74 before heading to Texas Tech.

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McIlroy heeds some major putting advice from mentor Stockton

LAS VEGAS – Rory McIlroy and his putting mentor, Dave Stockton, were together for six hours right here on Friday, participating in a Nike Golf promotional event at TPC Summerlin.

After cold, wet weather forced them indoors, the 2 major champions talked candidly about placing.

Straight from the 72-yr-outdated Stockton, who twice gained the PGA Championship, here’s a condensed four-part putting lesson. These are the same tips he gave to the 24-12 months-outdated McIlroy, who to date has received the U.S. Open and PGA Championship.

Half 1: All the time learn the green from the bottom facet of the break. Sure, this means your most respected learn will come from the aspect, not behind the ball.

Part 2: Concentrate on the target. Overlook about attempting to make a perfect stroke. Absolutely no follow strokes allowed. Visualize the ball on its supposed path. See and really feel the line.

Part three: Don’t turn into frozen at deal with. Putt shortly as soon as you’re over the ball. One look and go.

Half four: Proper-handers should enable the back of the left hand to guide the putter towards the goal. For left-handers, it’s the again of the fitting hand.

A number of months before the 2011 U.S. Open, McIlroy known as Stockton. That they had never worked together, but McIlroy needed assist. His end result? An eight-shot U.S. Open victory at Congressional.

The next year, 2012, Mcilroy added one other eight-shot major triumph within the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course.

McIlroy talked about feeling at ease with Stockton: “I’ve always believed in stroking the ball with the again of the left hand, so there wasn’t any adjustment there. I’ve always been a really feel putter, too, and that’s what Dave teaches. We’re a great match, and I really feel my putting has grow to be more consistent.”

Stockton is all about results. His emphasis has all the time been on feel, not mechanics. “You don’t wish to be a robot,” he stated. “You don’t need to get caught over the ball. You want putting to be a clean, flowing course of.”

Two further Stockton principles are harder for some to grasp.

One, he believes in continual arm and hand movement during the placing routine. At handle, he places his putter head in entrance of the ball and then behind the ball. One quick take a look at the goal, and the stroke is underway. He by no means seems to be locked or frozen.

Two, he endorses a forward press to initiate the stroke. Because the ahead press delofts the face, he uses a putter with four levels of loft (son Dave Jr. makes use of 5 levels). Not so coincidentally, Nike putter designer David Franklin revealed that the usual loft for Nike Technique putters will probably be elevated from two to three degrees in 2014.

Stockton was a superb putter throughout his taking part in career. Now he has emerged as a superb placing teacher (together with Dave Jr. and Ron, his two sons). Excessive-profile disciples of Stockton embrace McIlroy and Phil Mickelson.

“Do you pay him?” McIlroy was requested.

“Sure, I pay him,” affirmed McIlroy, smiling, declining to call the amount.

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Red Sox promote 20-year-old Xander Bogaerts to major league squad

(Large League Stew)

Honk if you’re enthusiastic about Xander Bogaerts coming to play ball in the major leagues.

Bogaerts, a 20-yr-previous infielder and the top prospect within the Boston Pink Sox group, will be a part of the membership in San Francisco, several shops reported Monday. He is the youngest place participant for the Purple Sox since Dwight Evans debuted in 1972, and he is no less proficient. Amongst present major leaguers, only Bryce Harper of the Nationals and Jurickson Profar of the Rangers are youthful.

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Bogaerts, whose glove is nice sufficient for shortstop but also has logged time at third base, will begin as a utility player for the Red Sox, studies Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Nonetheless, it would not be surprising to see him starting down the stretch if Will Middlebrooks falters at third base or if shortstop Stephen Drew gets hurt once more.

Baseball America listed Bogaerts as the No. eight prospect overall coming into the season. Regardless, he immediately steps into the majors with top-of-the-line names in the league. In fact, the Purple Sox did not promote him as a result of his name sounds cool throughout lineup introductions (although there most likely have been worse reasons some have been called as much as the majors).

Bogaerts batted297/.388/.477 with 15 home runs and forty four whole additional-base hits in 515 plate appearances at Class AA and AA. At 6-foot-3 and 185 kilos, he’s nonetheless filling out his body. He’s a great interview, too, which is a plus for a 20-yr-previous:

A native of Aruba, he performed for the Dutch nationwide team on the World Baseball Classic that finished fourth. Baseball is nicknamed “honkbal” within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which makes me consider geese.

Xander. Bogaerts (plural). Honkbal. And he can play.


PGA Championship, Round 4: Jason Dufner wins his first major championship

Jason Dufner — Getty Images

• There were plenty of guys with an opportunity to snag this PGA Championship on Sunday, however it was Jason Dufner that took care of enterprise on Sunday at Oak Hill. His Sunday 68 was even better than the rating contemplating he made bogeys on his last two holes, but an excellent player over the last two seasons was deserving of the Wanamaker Trophy.

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• Of all the fellows that had an opportunity on Sunday, it was a fairly lackluster push from everyone besides Dufner. Jim Furyk shot 71, Henrik Stenson, Jonas Blixt and Adam Scott shot 70 and names like Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson could not get a giant push going.

• The PGA Championship began with hope that Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson might be meeting at the excellent time, but neither may get something going at Oak Hill. Mickelson shot seventy eight-seventy two on the weekend to finish T-72 whereas Woods continued his main struggles with a T-41 finish on the PGA.

Scott Piercy wasn’t in the equation heading into the final round on the PGA Championship, but his Sunday was actually, really good. Piercy shot a round of 5-beneath sixty five regardless of bogeys on Nos. 15 and 18, making eight birdies to complete T-5, his best end ever in a significant.

Tim Clark won’t have had the best week at Oak Hill, but he had the shot of the week on the PGA Championship with this hole-in-one on No. eleven.

Rickie Fowler’s final round 69 was a very good end for the young American, and this photo was the best we found all day at Oak Hill.

“I wasn’t going to play scared or mushy.” — Jason Dufner

While the major season is over, it’s the FedEx Cup playoffs that kick off subsequent week at the Wyndham Championship. With four nice weeks of playoff golf, we’re in luck with the Presidents Cup kicking off on October 6, so while the majors are completed, golf isn’t.


Tiger Woods continues his major championship struggles at the PGA

Tiger Woods — Getty Images On Sunday at the PGA Championship, everybody knew that Tiger Woods wouldn’t be winning his 15th major championship. Coming in off certainly one of his best performances since he was snagging majors 5 years ago, Woods was the new story and the apparent choose, however his four days at Oak Hill were a reminder that despite how he dominates the common PGA Tour occasions all season, it’s the majors that proceed to flummox the No. 1 participant on the earth.

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Woods shot a spherical of even-par 70 on Sunday, never giving up despite a bogey-double bogey finish to his entrance 9 and the truth that when that driver comes out of the bag, our guess is pretty much as good as his to where it can find yourself.

Tiger shot a again 9 32, never giving up and grinding as onerous as he may, particularly over the past two holes when he could not be extra out of position. Woods grabbed his again after a tee shot on the par-5 thirteenth, but continued to go after tee photographs and attempt to dig irons out of the rough, a testomony to only how much this man cares about all the time taking pictures one shot higher if potential.

But the actual story right here is not his play at Oak Hill, however his play in any respect the majors. Last month I wrote a piece defending Tiger’s play, stating that a T-6 at a serious is a fairly incredible accomplishment considering he had has B sport at Muirfield. This week isn’t as defensible. Woods simply ought to have played better on the PGA, coming in off a giant win at Firestone by which it seemed all elements of his game had been clicking.

This is not a swing drawback or a membership problem, it is all mental. The area between Tiger’s ears that used to be so invincible seems to get rattled when it is main championship week, and no matter if the course is dry and quick or delicate and moist or tree lined or wind-swept, it is the identical story for the man with 14 majors.

Now comes a long offseason of refocusing on these four weeks each year that really matter to Tiger’s legacy. He could win each PGA Tour occasion subsequent season, an accomplishment that solely Woods is capable of doing, and it would not matter to most critics. It’s the majors and the majors alone for Tiger, and for some cause his recreation and his thoughts aren’t sharp enough to compete all 4 days at these occasions.

Tiger said before the week that even with no win at Oak Hill he would contemplate 2013 a profitable season. I tend to agree with the man that has five PGA Tour wins this season, but seven months is a very long time to attend and take into consideration what exactly happens when he is not just enjoying the field, but enjoying history.


Tiger Woods posts another disappointing round at a major championship

There was outdated main championship Tiger Woods and present major championship Tiger Woods, and while lots thought the outdated guy would show up after that performance final week at Firestone, it has been the present Tiger that’s struggled at Oak Hill.

Woods shot a spherical of even-par 70, not dangerous if Oak Hill had played the way in which most anticipated this week but not good contemplating how everyone else is attacking this PGA Championship.

While Jason Dufner, Webb Simpson and Okay.J. Choi weren’t only chasing the course report but major championship historical past on Friday, Woods was combating the green speeds and the distances together with his irons, dropping a number of golf equipment after impact in disgust.

He sits 10 photographs again of Dufner with 36 holes to go, an element by name only.

The putter that Tiger Woods had final week at Firestone, and for a lot of the non-major season, went missing, and it actually showed on the again 9 on Friday. Woods drove the par-4 14th but three-putted for a disappointing par. After picking up a birdie on the next gap it was back to the balky putter, as Tiger three-putted the 16th for a bogey to give the shot he simply picked up right back.

On a day when it seemed everyone was going low, Woods could not get a single bit of momentum on his facet. After his bogey on 16, Woods buried a fantastic birdie putt on the seventeenth to get again to even par for the event, however again it was a foul swing on the 18th tee that compelled Woods to simply pitch out and after a weak wedge shot could not convert the prolonged par putt, settling for a closing bogey.

Now comes the hard part for Tiger. In some way the No. 1 player on this planet needs to figure out a method to block out the truth that he is enjoying in a serious championship and strategy Saturday like it’s Bay Hill, or Sawgrass, or Torrey Pines or Firestone. During his five wins this 12 months on the PGA Tour the man with 14 major wins carried himself like a person that already knew what the longer term held, walking with his chin up and a strut that said this tournament was his.

At the majors it has been a distinct Tiger, enjoying conservatively to a fault and being befuddled on the greens.

Tiger has two more rounds left in 2013 that actually, truly matter to his career. Hopefully he can block out all the pieces that clouds his mind at the major championships and keep in mind that he is still the most effective on the earth, and coming from behind to win a significant championship is one thing he’s very a lot able to doing.

If he does not, it is going to be a protracted offseason for a man with five PGA Tour wins answering questions about the place he leaves his golf recreation throughout the four most vital weeks of the PGA Tour season.

Aug 9, 2013; Rochester, NY, USA; Adam Scott stands under an umbrella held by his caddie Steve Williams through the second spherical of the ninety fifth PGA Championship at Oak Hill Nation Membership. (Winslow..Aug 9, 2013; Rochester, NY, USA; Adam Scott stands beneath an umbrella held by his caddie Steve Williams in the course of the second round of the 95th PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club. (Winslow Townson-USA AT THIS TIME Sports activities)


Muirfield moments and a British Open to remember

GULLANE, Scotland (AP) — On the day after a British Open that will be talked about for years, it was time for Muirfield to return to normal. Workers dismantled the green seats in all the grandstands. Trucks carried out supplies from the tented village. The blue name plates of players were removed from the lockers.

Still towering over the 18th green was that enormous, glorious, yellow scoreboard with all the letters and numbers in place.

”Well done, Phil. See you at Royal Liverpool.”

On the left side of the board were the names, numbers and memories of Muirfield. Phil Mickelson with a red ”3” next to his name, the only player under par. Henrik Stenson. Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Adam Scott. Zach Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama and – at the bottom – Tiger Woods.

Four players had a share of the lead Sunday. Twice as many looked as though they might walk away with the claret jug. It might have been one of the best, deepest leaderboards in the final round of a major in 20 years. Last one: Inverness in the PGA Championship, when Paul Azinger beat Greg Norman in a playoff, and the contenders included Nick Faldo, Vijay Singh, Tom Watson, John Cook, Lanny Wadkins, and even a young Californian named Mickelson.

Muirfield has the greatest collection of winners of any major championship – only two of its 16 champions aren’t in the Hall of Fame (one is Ted Ray, who should be). Every great course is due to have a dud for a major champion. Oakmont had Sam Parks Jr. Medinah had Lou Graham.

There was no way that was going to happen at Muirfield.

Of the nine players who had at least an outside chance on the back nine, it was a toss-up between Stenson and Hunter Mahan of those who had the least credentials. Stenson has won The Players Championship and a World Golf Championship. Mahan has two WGC titles and was playing in the final group at his second straight major.

That set the stage for Mickelson to play what he believes to be the best round of his career. By numbers alone, it was his lowest final round of a major. On a course that didn’t yield a single bogey-free round all week, Mickelson only dropped a shot at the 10th hole. The scoring average for Sunday was just under 73.5. Mickelson shot 66, matching the lowest score of the tournament. It was the lowest final round ever at Muirfield, and the lowest by an Open champion since Justin Leonard shot 65 at Royal Troon in 1997.

The greatest final round in a major?

Not quite.

Just about anything will be tough to beat Jack Nicklaus with a 65 at the 1986 Masters when he won his sixth green jacket and 18th professional major at 46. Johnny Miller will tell you – he probably already has – that his 63 at Oakmont in 1973 was pretty good. He is the only major champion with a 63 on Sunday. For pure theater, there was Tom Watson’s 65 at Turnberry when he beat Nicklaus by one shot in the ”Duel in the Sun.”

What made this so compelling was Mickelson.

A four-time major champion, he had only contended twice in the British Open. Muirfield has a short history of players winning the claret jug with help from other’s misfortunes. That’s often true in majors to some degree, but not this one. Mickelson seized it with four birdies on the last six holes, and a momentum-saving par on the 16th when he used his 60-degree wedge for a shot so many others would have putted – a thin lie, up a steep slope to a green with a false front to 8 feet to set up a tough putt.

”I don’t want anybody to hand it to me,” Mickelson said. ”I want to go out and get it. And today, I did.”

Muirfield also provided another chance to handicap Woods and his pursuit of the record 18 majors by Nicklaus.

Woods is back to winning more than everyone else, but all he can say about the majors is that he’s back to contending in them. He has left a mark in five of the last six majors – either a share of the 36-hole lead or close enough on Sunday to pay attention to that red shirt – but he has yet to be a serious contender. He says he has been in ”probably about half the majors on the back nine on Sunday with a chance” since his last major in 2008.

That’s a stretch. Contention is best defined as having a chance in the final hour. That hasn’t been the case since his downfall. It would be foolish to dismiss his chances of at least catching Nicklaus, but this won’t be easy. At this stage, the bigger threat to him is not how good he is, but how much better everyone else is.

Westwood doesn’t feel as though he played badly, and while he closed with a 75, that was not a disgrace. Mahan also had 75 in the last group. Woods was in the group ahead and shot 74. This wasn’t a meltdown like Scott’s last year at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, or Nick Watney and his 81 at Whistling Straits in the 2010 PGA Championship, or Dustin Johnson’s 82 at Pebble Beach in the U.S. Open.

This was more like a slow bleed. The bandage started to come undone on the seventh tee. There was the sound of a camera clicking on Westwood’s 9-iron, perhaps from the gallery. Westwood only turned to glare after his ball came up short and headed into a pot bunker. It didn’t seem to be that big of a deal, but his reaction was the first sign of frayed nerves. He was tentative on some birdie chances on the back nine.

Westwood made 12 birdies and an eagle going into the final round. He made one birdie on Sunday.

Of the top five players on the leaderboard, he was the only one without a birdie on the back nine. This would have to fall under the category of ”missed opportunity” more than ”blown opportunity.” But at 40, those opportunities might not come along as often.

For Mickelson, who captured the third leg of the career Grand Slam, the U.S. Open can’t get here soon enough.


Another major, another miss for Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods. (Getty Images) Rooting for Tiger Woods in majors these days is like rooting against the sunset. You can hope and wish all you like that the sun will stay up for an extra hour or two, but every time — every single freaking time — it goes down exactly as it always has.

Tiger Woods is no longer a force in majors, and only those blinded by Nike’s Sunday red possibly think differently. Yes, he plays well enough to post multiple top-10 finishes. But he’s beyond “good job, good effort” accolades. When you’re chasing history, it’s win or nothing.

Woods remains, deservedly, the best player in the world. He’s won four times on Tour this year, effectively and decisively. But in majors? He’s a puppy, relatively speaking. You know the drill: he hasn’t won since the U.S. Open in 2008. He’s got injuries to his knee and leg and elbow and heart and soul and who knows what else and after awhile, it’s all just excuses. The guy’s good enough to win tournaments on Tour. The guy’s good enough to put himself within strokes of the lead at majors. But closing the deal? That, apparently, is beyond him now.

Here’s the really bad news: Woods’ propensity for spiraling in the weekend is getting worse. ESPN’s stats report that from 2005 to 2011, Woods was a combined 60 under in rounds three and four of majors. In the seven majors of 2012 and 2013, he’s +23. That’s an 83-shot swing. Consider, also, his last seven closing rounds in majors: 74, 73, 73, 72, 70, 74, 74. There’s absolutely no way to defend that, especially in light of the fact that Woods was, for a time, the greatest closer in golf history.

Woods remains stubbornly defiant. “I’m very pleased with the way I’m playing,” he said after the tournament, making the total number of people pleased with him total up to 1. “I’m right there. I hit a ton of good shots this week.” There’s something to admire about the go-down-guns-blazing approach, detached as it is from reality.

The sad thing is, there doesn’t appear to be anything truly wrong with Woods’ game. His iron play was almost flawless through the first three days of this week. He putted as well as anyone this week, and he’s putted better than most in the past. He’s learning to work his driver, or work around it, as he did this week. He still knows how to win.

That leads to an inescapable conclusion: come major weekends, the world’s greatest golfer is faltering between the ears. It’s the only variable, the only element that changes once the spotlight cranks up. And how exactly does one reframe one’s mindset, particularly if one happens to be famous for world-class mental toughness? That’s the challenge ahead of Woods.

There’s time, there’s time.. Woods has at least another 30 or so majors ahead of him while he’s in his competitive prime. But for a guy who’s spent most of his life defeating everyone around him, it’d be sadly appropriate if he turned out to be his own worst enemy.


After two disappointing seasons, Justin Tuck is hoping for a major comeback

Justin Tuck is ready for a rebound year. (Getty Images) New York Giants defensive lineman Justin Tuck has already had the kind of career that many NFL players would love as a full-stop proposition. He’s got rings from Super Bowls XLII and XLVI, and it could easily be argued that he could have been the MVP of each game. The third-round pick out of the Notre Dame in the 2005 NFL draft has enjoyed three seasons with 10 or more quarterback sacks, which is specifically impressive because he does most of his work as a defensive tackle. He signed a five-year, $30 million contract extension in 2008, and if he has a good-to-great season in 2013, the then-31-year-old could see another big payday — with the Giants, or possibly elsewhere.

That said, it’s not his prior achievements that have burdened Tuck’s mind this offseason — he’s far more concerned with his ability to bounce back from two straight down years in which he missed a total of seven games, and amassed just nine sacks combined. He’s at the age where some pass-rushers start to decline, but Tuck isn’t convinced that Father Time is the problem. He’s done everything this offseason from consulting with motivational speaker and performance coach Tony Robbins, to cutting down on his media and endorsement obligations.

There’s a lot of emphasis on rebounding from a disappointing 2012, which is interesting in that the Giants went 9-7 in each of the last two years. One season ended with a Lombardi Trophy, and the next campaign concluded with a frustrating time at home for the playoffs. That’s how fine the line between greatness and anonymity can be in the NFL, and Tuck is hyper-aware of that fact.

“I don’t think I’ve played as consistently as I’ve wanted to,” Tuck told Shutdown Corner this week, during a short media blitz for Gillette at the concept shop STORY in New York City. “A lot of times, numbers are the first things people look at, which really doesn’t tell the story, but I’m my biggest critic. I know the quality of football player I am, and what I can do to help the team out., The Super Bowl year and deep into other years, I was battling injuries on and off, but I’d say that I can be my own worst critic. I haven’t played anywhere near where I wanted to play, and I hope this year changes all that.”

Though Tuck’s sack numbers stayed pretty much the same from 2011 to 2012 (from 5.0 to 4.0) his hurries declined from 15.5 in 2011 to 10.5 in 2012, per Football Outsiders’ game charting. There have been some shakeups along that formerly awesome defensive line beyond Tuck’s struggles — Osi Umenyiora signed with the Atlanta Falcons, Jason Pierre-Paul is still recovering from back surgery, and the Giants have moved Mathias Kiwanuka from linebacker back to end, where he played from 2006 through 2010. In addition, the draft selections of Texas A&M end Damontre Moore and Ohio State defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins speak to the need to get younger along that front. Tuck told me that while he likes how the new kids look, there are always adjustments when you hit the NFL.

“The biggest thing is that you’re playing against All-Americans every game,” Tuck said. “There are comparable talents in the SEC, and Ohio State with what they’re doing with their football program, but in the NFL, every play and every down, you’re going up against somebody who really knows what they’re doing. So, your technique has to be almost flawless. These guards and tackles are so good, and they’re going to do everything in their power to mess up your technique. You don’t win just on power in the NFL — you can’t just be a natural. All the guys are naturals, and you have to do it from the neck up.”

So, he’s happy about the Giants’ future, even though there have been some serious changes. “It’s going pretty good,” Tuck said of his team’s offseason. “We lost a key to our previous success when Osi went to Atlanta, but we have some talent at new places, like Kiwanuka, and it’s a good opportunity for a lot of the new guys to step up. We still feel very confident in what we can do on that defensive line.”

A newly-shaven Justin Tuck on July 1. (Getty Images)

Even for the Giants’ defensive players, that confidence in the overall team has to start with quarterback Eli Manning, who has become a relative bastion of consistency at the game’s most important position after some iffy early seasons. I asked Tuck about the difference between the younger Manning now, and the kid who just used to be Peyton’s little brother.

“He’s not the little brother anymore — he’s Eli Manning, and that’s a good reason,” Tuck said about Manning’s current inner calm. “His confidence level is sky-high, and playing in New York, that’s one of the biggest things he has is that he doesn’t care what people say — he just goes out there and does it — plays the game at a very high level. That’s one of the things that winning Super Bowls did for him — he’s not concerned with what other people think of him; he’s just trying to make the plays that will make us a winning football team.”

And what about that meeting with Robbins, where Tuck walked fire and ostensibly learned a bit more about himself? For the nine-year veteran, the key to success has to come from within, and Robbins reminded him of that.

“We have a mutual friend, and that mutual friend basically gave me no choice but to go,” Tuck recalled. “The thing I learned from him is that you have to be yourself. Don’t get caught up in what other people’s expectations are. As long as you’re fulfilling your own expectations, and doing the things you want to do, that’s the best way.”

That’s a good start. In a contract year, and with a team that must do better in 2013 to avoid some major shakeups, Justin Tuck can only hope for e better finish.


Park wins US Women’s Open for 3rd straight major

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) — Inbee Park understood the meaning of winning the U.S. Women’s Open much better the second time around.

She appreciated, too, the magnitude of this particular accomplishment.

On Sunday, Park became the first player in the modern era to win the first three majors of the year.

Babe Zaharias did it in 1950 when there were only three to enter. Now there are five.

”I didn’t expect myself being in this kind of position, breaking some kind of record that hasn’t been broken for 50 years,” Park said. ”I never dreamed of myself doing that.”

The world’s top-ranked player finished at 8 under to win by four strokes. Her 2-over 74 in the final round was more than enough, with Sebonack’s trying conditions keeping any rivals from making a run. Only three players were under par for the tournament.

Fellow South Korean I.K. Kim also shot 74 for her second runner-up finish at a major.

Ahead by four strokes at the start of the round, Park birdied the ninth and 10th holes to extend her lead. She has won six times already this year, including three straight tournaments. Park added to another historic U.S. Women’s Open victory in 2008, when she became the event’s youngest champion at age 19.

”I didn’t know what was going on at that time,” Park said. ”I played very good golf then, but I didn’t know what I was playing for, and that was just my first win. It was a great championship then, but now I think I really appreciate more and I really know what this means.”

So Yeon Ryu shot 72 to finish third at 1 under. South Korean players took the top three spots and have won the last five majors.

Ryu and Na Yeon Choi, the last two U.S. Women’s Open champs, sprayed Park with champagne after she made her final putt on the 18th green.

With lashing wind and devilish greens, Sebonack was a classically troublesome U.S. Women’s Open course. And once Park built a lead, nobody could mount a charge.

She certainly wasn’t going to make enough mistakes to come back to the field. Park had just 10 bogeys and no double bogeys in four rounds.

She predicted Saturday that shooting even par in the final round would be enough, and she sure was right.

All of four players were under par Sunday – though that was still more than the third round, when only Park achieved it.

Kim birdied No. 2 to pull within three strokes; she couldn’t claw closer. And when she bogeyed the fourth hole, the deficit was back to four shots.

Park bogeyed the sixth and seventh, but so did Kim.

Kim had what would have qualified as a sensational week if not for Park, finishing at least three strokes better than everyone but the player currently dominating the sport.

”You can obviously feel for someone like I.K. Kim who would be winning any other U.S. Open on this golf course if it weren’t for Inbee,” said seven-time major champion Karrie Webb.

This was Kim’s fourth top-four finish at a U.S. Women’s Open, but she’s still seeking her first major title. She was a foot away last year at the Kraft Nabisco, then missed a short putt on No. 18 that would have clinched the championship and went on to lose in a playoff.

Asked if she feels she’s on the verge of a major breakthrough, Kim paused for a moment then said: ”Yeah, to be honest, yeah, it’s time to win it.

”But I think things have to come naturally,” she added, ”and it’s great to play with Inbee, and she’s doing so well. Seeing her doing it, it just makes me want it more.”

Americans Paula Creamer (72) and Angela Stanford (74) and England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff (76) tied for fourth at 1 over. Shadoff was alone in third at 3 under after the third round but opened Sunday with three straight bogeys.

Soon-to-be Oklahoma State player Casie Cathrea shot 70 on Sunday to match Shanshan Feng for the best round of the day and finish as the low amateur at 9 over. Lydia Ko, the 16-year-old New Zealander who won the Canadian Open last August to become the youngest LPGA Tour winner, was next at 11 over.

Park also became the second player to win the U.S. Women’s Open after victories in her previous two tournaments. Mickey Wright did it in 1964.

The 24-year-old Park won the Kraft Nabisco and LPGA Championship for her first two major titles of the year. Up next is the Women’s British Open at St. Andrews on Aug. 1-4.

The Evian Championship is Sept. 12-15. Park won the French event last year before it became a major championship.

Park contemplated the current definition of a Grand Slam.

”So I think the British Open is one I have to win,” she said. ”So it would be great if I could win five, but I still think four means a Grand Slam.”

Laughing, she added: ”I think four out of five is very big.”