Van Pelt wilts in the clutch

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Van Pelt wilts in the clutch

There were moments late Sunday afternoon when Bo Van Pelt appeared poised to outduel Tiger Woods in the clutch at Woods own tournament, nonetheless.
But, as it turned out, there would be no dramatic upset.
Woods scored his PGA Tour - leading third victory at the AT&T National, while Van Pelt left Congressional Country Club dejected, knowing he had allowed a rare opportunity slip from his grasp.
Its disappointing, said Van Pelt, whose only Tour victory came three years ago in Milwaukee. I felt when Woods hit it over the green on 16 that I had my opportunity to take advantage.
I felt like on the back nine that if I could just keep putting pressure on him that maybe hed give me an opening, and he did on 16, the 37-year-old Indiana-native added.
But it was Van Pelt who wilted under the pressure on another sweltering afternoon in Bethesda.
He smashed a perfect tee-shot on No. 16, a par-5, driving the ball 345 yards down the middle of the fairway. Woods drive, meantime, found the rough.
Van Pelt, however, couldnt cash in. Swinging a 6-iron on his second shot, his ball landed in the rough along a left side bunker, forcing him to take a precarious stance in the sand and grip his wedge on the shaft.
The next shot was no better; it traveled merely a matter of yards.
I didnt hit a bad shot with that 6-iron, he explained. I just ended up in a really tough spot and didnt get the ball on the green. Obviously, if I get the ball on the green there and make 5, who knows.
Both Van Pelt and Woods scored bogeys on what had been the tournaments easiest hole, adding to the tension as they headed to the final two holes, still knotted at 8-under par.
Then Van Pelt then gave it away.
His second shot on the par-4 No. 17 flew over the green and landed down a steep slope. His third shot sailed past the green, too, settling in the first cut.
Two putts later, Van Pelt was at 7-under and found himself trailing Woods for the first time since No. 11.
After challenging the worlds No. 4-ranked golfer hole-for-hole for much of the afternoon, Van Pelt finished the round with three consecutive bogeys and eager for a week away from the links. Ill be disappointed for a while, probably on my flight home tonight and about two hours tomorrow driving up to my boat, he said, asked how long he would be haunted by the blown opportunity. Then, once I get on that boat for the rest of the week, I probably wont think about it much.

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Need to Know: Is there a surprise coming for the Redskins defensive coordinator job?

Need to Know: Is there a surprise coming for the Redskins defensive coordinator job?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, January 22, 95 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 38
NFL free agency starts 46
First Sunday of 2017 season 231

Sunday morning quick hitters

Talk that Greg Manusky is the favorite to get the promotion to Redskins defensive coordinator seems to be based more on deductive reasoning than from any reports from Ashburn. I think he is likely to be the guy but I’m not sure that there won’t be a surprise selection for the job.

The four-year, $42 million contract extension the Rams gave WR Tavon Austin will set the market for DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon. Both of their expiring contracts averaged about $8 million per year so they could be in line for healthy raises the year after turning 30. As in other sports, the market is often set by what your dumbest competitior is willing to pay. 

I didn’t give a second thought to leaving DeAngelo Hall off my projection of the defensive roster for the coming season. He said that he would be willing to redo his contract, which calls for him to make $4.25 million this year. That’s fine but I think that the organization will look at the 32 games he missed in the last three seasons combined and decide that they can’t keep a player that they can’t rely on at any price.

How hot is Jay Gruden’s seat in 2017? Assuming he keeps his quarterback, I think that he will be fine with a 10-win season and he will be toast with double-digit losses. The tough call will be if they finish 8-8 or even 9-7 with a playoff miss.

There was a lot of talk about how the Redskins’ salary cap spending on defense last year ($36 million) was dwarfed by what was spent on offense ($78 million). As of right now, the Redskins’ spending is about even, with $57.3 million going to offense and $59.2 million to defense. We’ll see how even the expenditures wind up being when the season starts in September.

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Morning tip: Wizards' Brooks confident in Beal despite shooting slump

Morning tip: Wizards' Brooks confident in Beal despite shooting slump

Right in the middle of the best season of his career so far, Wizards guard Bradley Beal is mired in his worst shooting slump as an NBA player.

In their loss to the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night, Beal shot just 4-for-15 from the field and 0-for-7 from three-point range. In his last three games, Beal is just 12-of-42 (.286) from the field and 1-of-21 from three.

Beal, in fact, has now missed 19 straight three-point attempts. That's the longest three-point slump of his career. 

Beal hasn't hit a three now in two straight games, each time going 0-for-7. That follows a career-best streak of 30 straight games in which he had at least one three. And this current three-game slump comes after he went 14-of-22 (63.6%) in four outings.

Going without a three for two straight games matches the second-longest draught of Beal's career. His longest was five games, back in December of 2012, his rookie season.

It's just not often you see Beal go this cold and, as a result, he is currently shooting a career-low 38.4 percent from three this season.

Those numbers are ugly, but head coach Scott Brooks believes Beal will snap out of it soon.

"Every player in this league is going to go through some shooting slumps. Hopefully he can get out of it in the next game," Brooks said.

That next game will be Monday in Charlotte, as the Wizards close a three-game road trip against Eastern Conference teams. In order to break out of his recent slide, Beal just needs to keep shooting, Brooks says:

"He’s getting good looks. They aren’t falling for him right now. But I’ve been around Brad for four, five or six months now. He’s diligent in his work. He gets his shots in. He doesn’t change his routine. I think that’s the best way to get out of some missed shots. But he’s getting good looks."

Beal's Saturday night also included two scary moments, both in the fourth quarter. With just over five minutes left, Beal crashed hard to the floor and hit his head on the hardwood.

Later in the quarter, Beal fell in a heap under the basket and grabbed his left knee. It has been a tough few days for Beal, but Brooks is not at all concerned.

"He just needs to keep believing in it becuase I do and his teammates do," he said.

[RELATED: VIDEO: Pistons beat Wizards on last second tip-in]