Phil Mickelson sends a text from the fairway

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Phil Mickelson sends a text from the fairway

From Comcast SportsNet
DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) -- The biggest distraction Jack Nicklaus ever faced on the golf course was from a helicopter. It's an old story, but Nicklaus chuckled while recalling the time he lost his concentration when a chopper flew over Cherry Hills in the 1960 U.S. Open and he three-putted for bogey. Two years later, Nicklaus had gone three rounds without a three-putt in the 1962 U.S. Open at Oakmont when a helicopter approached as he played the first hole of the final round. "I reverted and thought right back about it," Nicklaus said over the weekend. "It was the only three-putt I had in the whole tournament." The issue at Memorial was cellphones, which contributed to Phil Mickelson withdrawing after an opening round of 79. Mickelson, Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler mentioned the vast number of fans taking pictures with their phones, to the point players had to back off their shots. Mickelson is not afraid to send a message to the tour -- in this case, literally. According to four people with direct knowledge, Mickelson sent a text message to PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem from the sixth fairway at Muirfield Village suggesting that a lack of policing fans with cellphones was getting out of hand. Mickelson withdrawing for what he called "mental fatigue" is not a tour violation. Players can withdraw for any reason after completing a round. Using a phone to send the commissioner a text is another matter, though the tour doesn't disclose any disciplinary actions. If nothing else, one official said it got the tour's attention. Mickelson doesn't mind taking criticism, even for pulling out of Nicklaus' tournament. He skipped the Tour Championship during a debate over the length of the PGA Tour season and decided not to play a FedEx Cup playoff event in the inaugural year to protest the inequity of the pro-am policy. Those close to the tournament host said Nicklaus wasn't bothered by Mickelson's decision to leave and never brought it up. Last year, the tour began allowing fans to bring phones to the tournament so long as photos weren't taken during competition. There are designated areas to make calls. That's not going to stop fans from taking pictures, and most annoying are the people who don't switch the phones to silent. Banning the policy isn't an option. The tour is moving forward in the digital age with programs to enhance the gallery's experience. Plus, the increase in attendance has been tangible this year. Nowadays, if fans can't bring their phones, they're more likely not to come at all. The solution is to add security or volunteers to the two or three marquee pairings, and to take away phones from fans caught taking pictures (giving them a claim check to retrieve the phone at the end of the day). That's what happened on Friday, and there were no big incidents the rest of the way.

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Ravens' Breshad Perriman eager to play Thursday, though decision up to coaches

Ravens' Breshad Perriman eager to play Thursday, though decision up to coaches

OWINGS MILLS – Wide receiver Breshad Perriman is eager to make his Ravens debut Thursday night against the Saints, saying he is fine physically, and not thinking about his knees during practice.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh has been coy about his plans for preseason playing time, but Harbaugh said Monday that he hoped Perriman would play.

After more than a year of dealing with knee injuries, Perriman is understandably pumped to see action.

“Very exciting,” said Perriman, after doing extra work after practice Tuesday. “I’ve been waiting for a long time. It’s finally coming.

“It’s up the coaches. I’m ready to go.”

Perriman was the Ravens first-round pick in 2015 (25th overall), but missed his entire rookie season with a partially-torn PCL in his right knee. Then Perriman suffered a partially torn ACL in his left knee in May, which kept him out of action until Aug. 18, when he was activated off the PUP list.

Perriman’s combination of size (6-foot-2, 218 pounds) and sprinter’s speed could make the Ravens a different-looking offensive team if he can stay healthy. In his final college season at Central Florida, Perriman averaged 20.9 yards per catch, had 1,044 yards receiving, and had nine touchdown catches.

The immediate plan is for Perriman to finally take the field Thursday, shed some rust, take a few hits, and gain more confidence heading into Week 1. Returning to practice has already given Perriman a better feel for working with starting quarterback Joe Flacco.

“Me and Joe getting the chemistry back,” Perriman said. “It’s real good.”

Perriman hopes his serious injuries are a thing of the past. And why he hasn’t been able to play, Perriman setbacks have made him a stronger person.

“When you go through all the stuff that I’ve been through, this year, and last year, it definitely makes you stronger mentally,” said Perriman. “You just can’t let things break you.”

MORE RAVENS: Ravens trim roster to 75, send RB to reserve PUP

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Lorenzo Taliaferro goes to reserve PUP as Ravens trim roster to 75

Lorenzo Taliaferro goes to reserve PUP as Ravens trim roster to 75

OWINGS MILLS – Third-year running back Lorenzo Taliaferro was placed on the reserve PUP list, backup kicker Wil Lutz was waived, and offensive lineman Stephane Nembot and rookie defensive end Bronson Kaufusi were both placed on the injured list, the Ravens announced Tuesday.

Those four moves brought the Ravens down the 75-player active player limit by Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline.

Taliaferro has not practiced during training camp, still recovering from a knee injury. Moving Taliaferro to the regular season PUP list means he will not be eligible to play until at least Week 7.

The Ravens have four other running backs on the 53-man roster – Justin Forsett, Buck Allen, Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon, although Dixon will be out four to six weeks with a knee injury.

Putting Taliaferro on PUP gives him more time to recover, and more time for the Ravens to decide if he will have a future role with them.

Kaufusi broke his ankle during training camp, while Nembot’s injury has not been disclosed.

Lutz looked good as a kicker, but the Ravens have one of the league’s best in Justin Tucker, and Tucker recently signed a new contract. Perhaps Lutz will get an opportunity elsewhere.

MORE RAVENS: Fifth-round pick looks poised to help Ravens pass rush

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NL East: Cespedes' heroics keeping Mets alive in wild card race

NL East: Cespedes' heroics keeping Mets alive in wild card race

Don't count out the New York Mets just yet. 

The Nationals may be up nine games in the National League East, but their rivals from the Big Apple have slowly crawled their way back into the wild card picture.

The biggest reason why? The return of a healthy Yoenis Cespedes, who missed most of August with a quad injury. In the nine games since he’s been back, the 30-year-old outfielder has slashed .389/.450/.861 with five home runs, including Monday night’s extra-inning walk-off shot against fellow-wild card hopeful Miami Marlins.

"He's that kind of player," manager Terry Collins said via NJ.com. "You expect big things each and every time he goes up. He's one of those guys people pay to see him play. They see him come up to bat, and they know he can do something dangerous each and every time up."

After it seemed like the Mets were down and out, the Cespedes’ bat has resuscitated their playoff push. New York is 7-2 with Cespedes in the lineup since August 19, and its offense has averaged nearly six runs a game during that span. So just like 2015 postseason run, it's on Cespedes to lead the way. 

“Every time I see Cespedes at home plate, I feel like he's going to hit a homer," third baseman Jose Reyes said. "That's the way I feel in the dugout. I'm sure the other guys feel the same way. They had the opportunity to see him get hot last year, and for me, seeing him this year, it's unbelievable what he can do on the baseball field. Basically he can do whatever he wants to.”

New York's mini-surge has happened at the right time, with the club just 2 1/2 games out of a wild card spot and nearly a month left in the season. 

“We're going into September," Reyes said. "That's the way we want to play right now. That's a huge win against a Miami team that was in front of us....now we're in a better position."