– South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel finished a final round of 6-under-par 66 and won the Masters by two strokes over Adam Scott and Jason Day. Schwartzel started with a chip-in birdie at the par-4 1, and then a hole-out eagle at the par-4 3. He then shared the lead with Rory McIlroy, but bogeyed the next hole to fall a stroke off the pace. He made the turn still a stroke off the lead, but was in a five-way tie for the lead after McIlroy opened his back nine with a triple-bogey. Adam Scott started pulling away, but Scwartzel sunk four consecutive birdies in his his final four holes to pass Scott. The victory is the first PGA TOUR title for Schwartzel plus it gains him entry into THE PLAYERS, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship.
– Devils’ coach Jacques Lemaire has announced that he will not return as the head coach of the club next season. The 65-year-old Hall-of-Famer took over just prior to Christmas for John MacLean after the rookie bench boss led the club to a 9-22-2 record, finishing the season 29-17-3.
“I’m going back to where I was before. I want to enjoy my family. I still do think that I made the right decision last year, but I am really happy I took the job for the rest of the season. I had fun.”
– The Panthers have fired head coach Peter DeBoer after three seasons with the team. The Panthers, missing the playoffs for the 10th consecutive season, finished with an Eastern Conference-worst 72 points. GM Dale Tallon said,
“We need to go in a new direction with a fresh approach and philosophy as it relates to our head coaching position. The entire Panthers organization would like to thank Peter for his hard work and service to this franchise and wish him all the best in the future…these decisions are always tough to make, but we felt strongly that it was the right time to make a change.”
– The Red Sox have signed RHP Clay Buchholz to a 4-year/$29.945M extension. He will make $3.5M in 2012, $5.5M in 2013, $7.7M in 2014 and $12M in the last year of the deal. The contract also includes two club options, worth $13M (with a buyout of $245K) in 2016 and $13.5M (with a $500K buyout) in 2017. The 2017 option increases to $14Mn if Buchholz finishes first or second in Cy Young voting at any point during the contract. Essentially, Boston has the option to buy out his first three years of free agency. Buchholz, 26, finished 17-7 with a 2.33 ERA and 1.20 WHIP over 28 starts last season.
– A’s’ RHP Trevor Cahill’s extension is expected to be worth more guaranteed money than teammate Brett Anderson’s 4-year/$12.5M deal. The deal could be similar to Ricky Romero’s 5-year/$30M deal, as they have the same service time and almost exact number of games started. The deal will likely buy out Cahill’s arbitration seasons and possibly a year or two of free agency.
– The Angels have placed SS Erick Aybar (strained left oblique) on the 15-day DL retroactive to April 4. Aybar appears to be doing better, but he’s already missed four games and wasn’t expected to be ready before next weekend. He’ll be eligible to return on April 19 and should be ready for activation then.
– Orioles’ SS J.J. Hardy (oblique) is expected to miss up to 6 weeks. Hardy is supposed to have an MRI on Monday, so a clearer timetable should be ready by then.
– Judge Susan Nelson reportedly told the owners and the players that she will impose “forced mediation” early this week. The NFL wants mediation of a CBA under George Cohen, while the NFLPA wants mediation of their antitrust lawsuit under Nelson’s supervision. Nelson has hinted that she will side with the players, though there is a chance that she will defer to Cohen’s several-week head start on negotiations. Sources on both sides tell CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman that this round of mediation “might lead to a deal.” Stay tuned.
– The Bills’ team doctor reportedly cleared Clemson’ DE Da’Quan Bowers (knee) last week. This report quiets reports that the knee is in much worse condition than the Bowers camp has let on. Bowers reportedly had a “great meeting” with the Bills, and sources tell Yahoo’s Doug Farrar that the Broncos and Bills are still interested. Farrar cautioned to take his report with a grain of salt, though he does noted the Titans made it clear to Bowers that they would grab him at No. 8 if he’s still on the board. The results of Bowers’ medical recheck Friday in Indianapolis have not yet been released.
– Vikings’ GM Rick Spielman downplayed concerns that WR Sidney Rice (hip) will be affected by the injury forward. “I’m sure if we felt any concerns medically that we wouldn’t be discussing extensions with him,” said Spielman.
– Regarding rumours of WWE talent cuts already being made, the PWI reports that while no one has been officially let go yet, they are definitely on the horizon. Reports earlier this week noted that cuts are being done to free up roster space as there are numerous young wrestlers waiting in the wings to be called up to the main roster. Between NXT, Tough Enough and the developmental talent at FCW, WWE has over 70 men and women vying for limited spots on the main roster. WWE has added only three people to the roster this year – Sin Cara, Brodus Clay and referee Scott Armstrong.
The annual “turnover rate” of main roster talent is approximately 30 people. It is said that company officials have largely made up their minds on which wrestlers to cut ties with. A lot of talent is expected to be cut later this month, when WWE wraps up the upcoming European tour, which concludes Sunday, April 24.
– Former WWE creative team member John Piermarini stated in a blog post earlier this year that Vince McMahon believes John Morrison “can’t kick anyone’s ass in a real fight” and therefore won’t achieve the success many have pegged him for. But that’s not the only criticism being levied towards “The Prince of Parkour” as the Pro Wrestling Torch reports that many people within WWE feel he comes off as if he’s performing in his matches, as opposed to fighting. This holds him back, as does his relationship with Melina and the belief that his promo ability is subpar.
Character aside, it’s been said that McMahon doesn’t respect Morrison as a man. Years ago, he allowed Melina to engage in a sexual relationship with former WWE star Batista while the two were dating. Morrison opted to be professional instead of confrontational and therefore lost brownie points with the WWE CEO.
Trish Stratus appeared on Sirius XM Radio’s Busted Open on Friday and politely buried Morrison by indicating that he wasn’t too smart in his decision making for their match at WrestleMania. She confirmed online reports that he wasn’t interested in listening to her suggestions for their bout, and that when she went to hug him during the post-match celebration, he cold-shouldered her. The feeling is that his unprofessional behavior will set himself back politically since Stratus is highly regarded amongst company personnel.
– WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross has updated his blog, which you can read in its entirety at JRsBarBQ.com. Here are some highlights of what JR said about:
The Rock vs. John Cena at WM28: “No…I do not think that @TheRock vs. @JohnCena should happen before Wrestlemania 28. Let’s put that matter to bed. It isn’t going to happen before WM28 in Miami. As comedian Ron White would say, “Let it go.”
“Love how many crystal ball possessing, wrestling creative valedictorians already know that the long range plan for Rock-Cena isn’t a good idea. For you that have this all figured out, can you also provide me some lead pipe cinch, stock tips or the National Champion of College Football winner for the upcoming season?”
Paul Heyman: “I guess one should never say never, but I never see @HeymanHustle returning to the pro wrestling world on a full time or regular basis. Never. I get asked this question weekly it seems.”
Wrestling Territories – A Thing Of The Past: “No…wrestling territories are dead and will likely stay that way. The key to a territories success is getting local, strong TV clearances with a slick produced TV show that airs weekly. That isn’t going to happen. It’s not affordable nor does the majority of fans want to see largely unknown wrestlers. Most investors, who haven’t lost their sanity, would never invest in obtaining TV clearances and upgrading TV production values notwithstanding funding a wrestler payroll. Weekly territories are a thing of the past and will never be seen again to the level that they once were or even close.”
“On the flip side, having viable, successful territories did more to develop main event level talents than any thing ever and nothing that can be created in today’s marketplace will ever supplant that concept. New talents can and will be developed but it will have to be in a much different way than back in the territory days where a different audience could be utilized to watch a gambit of wrestlers evolve and learn their craft. Being able to relocate to a variety of territories with differing creative philosophies and audiences/fans helped many wrestlers become stars. “
– WWE originally planned for Triple H to ride a Clydesdale horse to the ring for his match against The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXVII. During a test run, the horse fell through the trap door on the WrestleMania stage, with Hunter riding it. The horse was spooked and went wild. Plans for the ring entrance were immediately scrapped.
– A representative of Scott Hall told TMZ that he is upset that Top Rope Promotions is using footage of his in-ring incident from Friday night to promote their online PPV event taking place tonight. “We find the footage to be very distasteful and not suitable for a pay-per-view audience and it’s sad that the promoter has decided to air the uncut footage from the pay-per-view,” representative Geena Jinev Anac said. A video was posted online of Hall struggling to get into the ring, followed by a promo to purchase the online event. Hall was hospitalized following an appearance at an independent wrestling show in River Fall, Massachusetts on Friday. He is being treated for cardiac issues and possible complications from the 10 different prescriptions he’s taking.
A few others in the industry also had this to say about Hall’s status:
Jim Ross: “Didn’t mention scott hall’s recent incident over wk’end. Don’t know any details. Feel bad 4 scott & pray 4 his good health. Really talented.”
Eric Bischoff: “Just watched the video of Scott Hall’s appearance in New England. Wish I knew how to help him. I know that others (including Vince McMahon) have tried recently. He was such an amazing talent, and deep down inside, a great person. His demons are killing him.”
Kevin Nash: “Talked to Scott today, told him how many of you are upset. He is resting in a hospital, and had me laughing. Thought he was in the UK last nite.”
“Scott is in the hospital up north,I’ll be at the airport when he lands and taking him to my home when he lands. Please don’t judge Scott on what you just saw.He would give any of you a kidney. to the motherf—– that made a joke who would want his kidney lol send me your address and lets see how funny it is. he’s my brother we will get through this. To Scotts fans thank you 4 your love you’re as special as he is”
– Wolves’ F Kevin Love (groin) and F Darko Milicic (ankle) are both likely to be shut down for the remainder of the season. Love ends the season averaging 20.2 points, 15.2 rebounds and 1.2 treys per game.
– Rockets’ G Kyle Lowry (foot) is expected to be shut down for the remainder of the season. Lowry has been playing through this bone bruise in his foot for a while, but seeing as the team is eliminated from the playoffs, there’s no sense in forcing him out there.
– Nets’ F Anthony Morrow (knee) has been scheduled to get an MRI on his troubled knee and is done for the season.
– Bobcats’ F Stephen Jackson, F Tyrus Thomas and G Shaun Livingston are expected to be shut down.