McIlroy wins PGA Championship

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McIlroy wins PGA Championship

KIAWAH ISLAND, South Carolina (AP) -- Rory McIlroy has won the PGA Championship, routing the field by a record eight strokes Sunday for his second major title.

Right down to his red shirt, McIlroy looked every bit the part of golf's next star in another command performance at the PGA Championship.

McIlroy validated his record-setting U.S. Open win last year by blowing away the field Sunday at Kiawah Island. One last birdie from 25 feet on the 18th hole gave him a 6-under 66 for an eight-shot victory, breaking the PGA Championship record for margin of victory that Jack Nicklaus set in 1980.

The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland returned to No. 1 in the world, and he became the youngest player since Seve Ballesteros to win two majors. Tiger Woods was about four months older than McIlroy when he won his second major.

Just like the U.S. Open, this one was never seriously in doubt.

McIlroy seized control with back-to-back birdies Sunday morning to complete the storm-delayed third round with a 67 and build a three-shot lead. No one got closer than two shots the rest of the way, and McIlroy closed out a remarkable week by playing bogey-free over the final 23 holes of a demanding Ocean Course.

David Lynn, a 38-year-old from England who was playing in America for the first time, won the B-flight. He closed with a 68 and was the runner-up.

Woods, who shared the 36-hole lead for the second time this year in a major, was never a serious factor. He tossed away his chances Saturday before the storm blew in and never could get closer than four shots. He closed with a 72. For the first time in his career failed to break par in a major on the weekend.

If there was a signature shot for McIlroy at Kiawah Island, it might have been on Saturday when his tee shot lodged into a tree on the third hole. He only found it with help from the TV crew, took his penalty shot and fired a wedge into 6 feet to save par. He was on his way, and he never let up.

McIlroy also won the U.S. Open by eight shots, the kind of dominance that Woods has displayed over so many years.

By winning the PGA Championship, he is halfway home to the career Grand Slam.

"It was a great round of golf. I'm speechless," said McIlroy after hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy, the heaviest of the four majors. "It's just been incredible. I had a good feeling about it at the start. I never imagined to do this."

Winning the final major the year ends what had been a tumultuous season for McIlroy. Despite winning the Honda Classic in early March, he went into a tail spin by missing four cuts over five tournaments, as questions swirled that his romance with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki was hurting his game.

Instead, McIlroy put a big hurt on the strongest field of the year.

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This year's Nationals roster is stacked with glorious facial hair

This year's Nationals roster is stacked with glorious facial hair

The following is a list of things the 2017 Washington Nationals appear to have: A talented outfield led by Bryce Harper and Adam Eaton. A rising superstar at shortstop in Trea Turner. A possibly major hole at closer.

The following is a list of things the 2017 Washington Nationals appear to not have: Razors. Shaving cream. A desire to groom their faces.

A fun tradition at each team's spring training is the annual photo day, because photo day forces professional athletes to pose in front of cameras like they're being featured in the poster of an upcoming blockbuster movie. And after poring through the snapshots from the Nationals' photo day, a single trend emerged.

This year's team is a hairy bunch.

Among that bunch are the usual suspects, such as Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth:

But there are some surprises, most notably of which is Stephen Strasburg. The right-hander tends to keep his mug 100-percent clean-shaven, but for now, at least, he's allowed his face to become quite fertile:

Then there's newcomer Adam Lind, who has a goatee that Duke's Blue Devil logo would be forced to respect:

Shawn Kelley, meanwhile, who's pictured below, has a beard that looks like...

...Derek Norris' beard, before Derek Norris' beard hit puberty and grew up to be the strong, mature beard it is today:

There are scraggly ones, such as Daniel Murphy's:

And fuller, more complete ones, like Eaton's (full marks, by the way, for the trade acquisition's ability to seamlessly connect 'stache to beard):

The most wild photo of all, however, was this one of Turner. Is this the Nats stud, or a picture of Leonard DiCaprio from a scene in The Revenant? Hard to tell with all that stubble the infielder's cultivating:

One potential positive of this team-wide movement: If Turner and his teammates keep what they're growing down in Florida going throughout the season, their faces will be plenty warm by the time playoff baseball comes around. 

RELATED: HARPER GOES YARD IN FIRST AT-BAT OF THE SPRING

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Mired in shooting drought, Alex Ovechkin gets simple advice from Barry Trotz

Mired in shooting drought, Alex Ovechkin gets simple advice from Barry Trotz

NEWARK—After Saturday’s loss in Nashville, Caps Coach Barry Trotz acknowledged that Alex Ovechkin was “a little bit off.

On Monday, Trotz said he thinks Ovechkin needs to ramp up his focus and attention to detail—at the practice rink as well as on game days.

“With Ovi, it’s just bearing down,” Trotz said. “It’s bearing down in practice. It’s bearing down in the games. It’s going the distance on every play. If he just does that, it’ll start coming back.”

He added: “I think he got away from that.”

With six goals in the last 20 games and a total of 27 on the season, Ovechkin, the four-time defending Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner, is tied for eighth in the league—seven goals behind league leader Sidney Crosby.

Ovechkin has also fired fewer shots on goal in recent games.  

In 900 career games, he’s had only nine games without a shot on goal. Three of those shot-less efforts have come this month. (He scored against Predators but the goal was overturned because he was offside.)

Over the first 30 games of the season, Ovechkin took 120 shots (4.0 per game, 2nd most). Over the past 31 games, he’s taken 103 shots (3.3 per game, 10th most).

Trotz echoed the sentiments he shared Saturday night when asked about Ovechkin, who is on pace for 36 goals.

“He’ll get very streaky if he gets determined…” Trotz added. “He’s capable of getting 10 goals in the next five games.”

“But,” the veteran coach continued, “you got to start with getting shots.”

RELATED: POSSIBLE NEEDS AND TARGETS FOR THE CAPITALS