From Comcast SportsNetATLANTA (AP) -- Brandt Snedeker doesn't claim to be the best player in the world, the best player on the PGA Tour or even the best overall player in the FedEx Cup playoffs. All he needed was the best round of his career at East Lake to become FedEx Cup champion, giving him the biggest paycheck in golf.And he's not about to apologize for that."Life is all about timing," Snedeker said with a sneaky grin.He proved to be the right man in the right place Sunday in the Tour Championship. On a tough day on a tree-lined course, Snedeker overcame an early double bogey in the water with four big birdies and closed with a 2-under 68, making him the only player in the final five groups to break par.That gave him a three-shot win over Justin Rose and two trophies in one day -- the Tour Championship and its 1.44 million prize, and the FedEx Cup with its 10 million. That's more money than Snedeker had made in his career going into the 2012 season."You go out there and play that round of golf, with that kind of pressure on that tough of a golf course, and to go through the adversity I had to go through, hitting the ball in the water and making a double bogey early and fighting my way back ... that's what you work your whole life for," he said. "This is about as close as I get to speechless."Snedeker was tied with Rose going into the last round, though he could not ignore the presence of Rory McIlroy, who was three shots behind, and Tiger Woods, who was four back. McIlroy (1), Woods (2) and Snedeker (5) were among the top five seeds in the FedEx Cup going into the final event, meaning any of them only had to win the Tour Championship to capture the FedEx Cup.Never mind that McIlroy had won four times this year against the strongest fields, including a record eight-shot win in the PGA Championship and back-to-back wins in playoff events at Bethpage Black and the TPC Boston that make him the clear-cut No. 1 player in the world.The FedEx Cup was designed to put everything up for grabs in the Tour Championship, with the better odds given to the higher seeds.McIlroy, who had 11 consecutive rounds in the 60s going into Sunday at East Lake, knew that as well as anyone. This is one time the Boy Wonder couldn't deliver. He lost four shots in a four-hole stretch on the front nine -- including a tee shot in the water on the par-3 sixth for a double bogey -- and never recovered.He closed with a 74 and tied for 10th."I'm a little disappointed, but at the same time, Brandt really deserves to win," McIlroy said. "He played the best golf out of anyone. He knew what he needed to do. He needed to come in here and win. He controlled his own destiny, just like I did. And he was able to come and do that. So because of that, he really deserves it."Woods also faded early, missing the fairway with a 3-wood on the opening hole and making bogey. He also found the water on the sixth hole for double bogey, and Woods didn't make a birdie until the par-5 ninth. He ended with a birdie from tap-in range on the 18th for a 72 to tie for eighth."I just didn't have it this weekend," said Woods, trying to win the FedEx Cup for the third time in its six-year history.Snedeker turned his fortunes around with a 40-foot birdie putt on the eighth hole, which was bound to roll some 6 feet by the hole until it crashed into the cup. As Rose kept close, Snedeker poured in an 18-foot birdie putt on the 13th. When Ryan Moore made two straight birdies to tie for the lead at the par-5 15th, Snedeker knocked his approach onto the green for a two-putt birdie.The clincher came on the 17th, when Snedeker chipped in from the front of the green to take a four-shot lead into the final hole. He never looked at a leaderboard all day. He was unaware that Moore finished with three straight bogeys, and only figured he had a comfortable margin against Rose.In his worst swing of the day, Snedeker hammered a hybrid into the grandstands on the 18th, leading to a meaningless bogey.There were times when golf could have felt meaningless. Snedeker had to miss five tournaments this summer, including the U.S. Open, with a rib injury that might have cost him a chance at making the Ryder Cup team. U.S. captain Davis Love III picked him anyway because he wanted good putters.If there were any questions about that pick, Snedeker answered them."He's looking pretty good, yeah," Woods said.More than his own small injury, Snedeker endured a year in which his father had a liver transplant. More recently, the son of his swing coach suffered critical injuries in a car crash. Tucker Anderson, in a responsive coma, was transferred to an Atlanta hospital, and Snedeker went by to see him Sunday morning.The teen couldn't speak, but the message came through."I asked him if he thought I was going to beat Rory McIlroy, and he gave me a wink," Snedeker said.Equally impressive as his win was how Snedeker handled the notion of an 11.44 million payday (1 million of the FedEx Cup bonus goes into his retirement fund). He called a sum that size "like winning the lottery," before explaining a little bit more about who he is and how he was raised.His father always taught him not to buy anything he couldn't pay for, and Snedeker has followed the instruction. He has a house in Nashville, Tenn., that he said was "not grandiose." He still drives the SUV he bought after he made it to the PGA Tour six years ago."I'm not by any means a flashy guy," he said. "Of anybody that I know, I do not need 11 million. So there are going to be things we can do to really help people. So that's the way I look at it. This is unbelievable to be financially stable for the rest of my career. As long as I'm not an idiot, I should be fine, really. I really think we can make a difference and help a lot of people out in Nashville and Tennessee and the surrounding areas."Next up is a tournament that doesn't pay a dime. Snedeker was headed to Chicago on Monday for his first Ryder Cup. A performance like this can only help."I'm not under any illusion of being calm next week," he said. "I know it's going to be a very pressure-packed week. But I am going to use today as a huge thing to fall back on next week. I played against the best in the world this week for 72 holes and I beat them."At just the right time.
The Boston Celtics have what some might call an embarrassment of riches between a deep roster that made the Eastern Conference Finals, many draft picks - including this year's No. 1 - and money to spend in free agency. According to multiple reports, they plan to go big this offseason as they aim to reach the next level.
CSNNE's A. Sherrod Blakely reported on Friday that Boston wants to acquire another star in free agency or by trade. Here is what he wrote:
Multiple league sources have told CSNNE.com in recent weeks that the Celtics are focused on landing an All-Star caliber talent in the frontcourt.
That should add legs to the rumors they will pursue Gordon Hayward this summer. An All-Star small forward, Hayward will be one of the top free agents available and happened to play in college under Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
Also set to hit the open market will be other frontcourt stars like Blake Griffin and Paul Millsap. But they could acquire one via trade with guys like Paul George, Jimmy Butler and Carmelo Anthony already having been linked to them in rumors over the past few months.
All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas, for one, seems to want his Celtics to go the free agency route and he is ready to make a recruiting pitch. This is what he told ESPN:
"We need the best possible player that's gonna help us win, and I'm with that," Thomas said. "Anything Danny [Ainge] and this organization need me to do to help bring even more talent to this city, I'm all for that. I want to win a championship and being so close to getting to the Finals, that makes you want it that much more."
The Celtics are in an enviable spot with many ways to get better this offseason. And running the show is one of the best GMs in the business in Ainge.
Acquiring stars is easier said than done, but the Celtics look like the team to watch this summer as they appear ready to get very aggressive in trying to improve. The Wizards will certainly be paying attention as they do their own work to get better.
The Stanley Cup Finals begin on Monday. Instead of gearing up for Game 1, however, the Washington Capitals are gearing up for the offseason. While fans in Washington will be watching in the hopes of seeing the Pittsburgh Penguins lose, Cap scouts will be watching to see if there is anyone they can add to their ranks next season to bolster the roster.
The Penguins are a team loaded with talent as evidenced by the fact that they are playing in the finals for the second straight year looking to be the first team to repeat as Cup champions since 1997-98. Like the Caps, they also have a handful of expiring contracts.
Is there anyone wearing the black and gold who could help the Caps next season? Josh Archibald, Brian Dumoulin, Conor Sheary, Justin Schultz and Oskar Sundqvist are all restricted free agents meaning most if not all will be off limits to Washington, but there are still plenty of unrestricted free agents they could perhaps target this summer.
Age at the start of the 2017-18 season: 29
Last contract: 3 years for $5.7 million, $1.9 million cap hit
Season stats: 18 goals, 19 assists in 80 games
It was Pittsburgh’s HBK line (Carl Hagelin, Bonino, Phil Kessel) that really exposed Washington’s lack of bottom-six scoring depth. As Bonino was the guy centering that line and given the fact that scoring depth is still an issue for the Caps, you would think he would be an enticing piece for Washington to potentially add. If there is one position in which Washington appears set, however, it is center. Unless something unexpected happens with Evgeny Kuznetsov’s restricted free agency or someone is plucked in the expansion draft, the Caps will return Nicklas Backstrom, Kuznetsov, Lars Eller and Jay Beagle next season, all four of their centers from 2016-17. If they lose one, Bonino could be a potential target for a depth center, but otherwise he is not a great fit.
Age at the start of the 2017-18 season: 40
Last contract: 1 year for $1 million, $1 million cap hit
Season stats: 13 goals, 18 assists in 72 games
Cullen has been an incredibly productive fourth line player for Pittsburgh given his age, but the Caps need to get younger and faster. I have a hard time believing Cullen will not hang up the skates after this season, but even if he doesn’t he is not someone Washington should pursue.
Age at the start of the 2017-18 season: 33
Last contract: 6 years for $19.8 million, $3.3 million cap hit
Season stats: 5 goals, 14 assists in 56 games
The Capitals have four defensemen they will need to protect in the expansion draft in John Carlson, Matt Niskanen, Dmitry Orlov and Nate Schmidt, but if they take the option to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie – which they are expected to do given their offensive depth – they risk losing a significant blue liner and someone the team had penciled in for a top-four role next season. Bringing in a player like Daley in free agency could soften the blow. Daley has proven to be a key piece of the championship puzzle for the Penguins, but let’s not forget how much he struggled in Chicago ultimately prompting the trade to Pittsburgh. He is someone who needs the right fit to be productive. Given the success he has had in Pittsburgh, I have to imagine he will try to remain a Penguin. If he does become available, the question becomes how much will he cost? Washington may be in need of a top four defensemen, but they may not have much money to spend and, at 33 years old, it is fair to wonder just how long Daley can continue playing well enough to justify that big of a role. Age, price and fit are too many question marks for my taste.
Age at the start of the 2017-18 season: 36
Last contract: 3 years for $8.5 million, $2.83 million cap hit
Season stats:4 goals, 13 assists in 72 games
In addition to Washington’s top two defensive pairs, the third pairing is also a question mark for next season. Are Madison Bowey or Christian Djoos ready to step into a full-time role? Will the Caps consider buying out the remainder of Brooks Orpik’s contract? Depending on the answers to these questions, Washington will need to find one, maybe two defensemen for their third pair. If the Caps want to plug a prospect onto the bottom pair, they would do well to pair him with a veteran presence to help show him the ropes and make up for inevitable rookie mistakes. Could Hainsey be that guy? The only way this move would make sense is if the team bought out Orpik and signed Hainsey as a cheaper alternative. The more likely scenario is that they keep Orpik and use him in that third-pair mentor role.
Age at the start of the 2017-18 season: 38
Last contract: 3 years for $11.55 million, $3.85 million cap hit
Season stats: 9 goals, 20 assists in 71 games
Kunitz was the hero of the Eastern Conference Final as he scored twice in Game 7 including the overtime winner. Do you know the last time Kunitz scored before Thursday’s game? February. Sure, you could argue he has veteran leadership, but so does Justin Williams. Kunitz is older than Williams, far less productive and even had a bigger cap hit this season. If you like what Kunitz could potentially bring to Washington, then re-sign Williams.
Age at the start of the 2017-18 season: 27
Last contract: 1 year for $575,000, $575,000 cap hit
Season stats: 2 goals, 8 assists in 34 games
With Taylor Chorney still under contract for next season, the Caps have no need for another No. 7.
Age at the start of the 2017-18 season: 39
Last contract: 4 years for $21 million, $5.25 million cap hit
Season stats: 6 goals, 21 assists in 68 games
If the Caps are in need of a veteran defenseman to anchor their third pairing, Hainsey would be the better option from Pittsburgh over the 39-year-old Streit.
MORE CAPITALS: 20 questions: Should the Caps re-sign Williams?