Headline Sports podcast with Barbara Mason: Calif Legislature looking into legalizing sports betting;Wallace insists rope was noose (see photo) ; plus more

@bobpockrass photo: NASCAR’s only black driver Bubba Wallace’s crew member found a noose in his garage stall on Sunday night. Wallace had pushed for banning the Confederate flag symbols at NASCAR races. The FBI concluded from video evidence that the noose had been at stall number four since October 2019 long before Wallace was booked for that stall last weekend it was later determined it was not a noose but a door pull. Wallace on Don Lemon Tonight on CNN said he knows what a noose looks like adding, “tied in 2019 or now it was a noose.”

On Headline Sports podcast with Barbara:

#1 California Legislature is considering legalizing sports betting but casinos are putting up a fight as it would cut into their sports book business.

#2 Bubba Wallace NASCAR’s only black driver who two weeks ago pushed for banning the Confederate flag at NASCAR events. A member of Wallace’s crew found a noose in his garage stall late Sunday afternoon. After bringing in 15 FBI agents for an investigation into who left the noose in garage stall four where Wallace was at Talladega. Video evidence showed that the noose had been there since October 2019 and it was determined it was not a noose but a door pull.  No one would have known that Wallace would have been at that stall going forward. The FBI said they will not pursue federal charges. Wallace insisted on CNN’s Don Lemon Tonight on Tuesday night that it was a noose.

#3 Webb Simpson won the RBC Heritage on Sunday after finishing 7 under Par 64 at Harbour Town at Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.

#4 Tiz the Law set a record winning the Belmont Stakes last Saturday in what is one of the few live sports in the Coronavirus era. Tiz the Law with his victory became the first New York bred horse to win at the Belmont in 138 years.

#5 After someone who visited the San Francisco Giants training facility in Scottsdale who was Covid-19 positive the facility was immediately shut down on Friday night. The person was a family member and several other individuals are being tested who had come in contact with this positive tested person. Teams who have closed facilities Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies and the Giants.

Join Barbara for Headline Sports each Tuesday night at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

AT&T PEBBLE BEACH PRO-AM: Mickelson, Day make huge runs but Taylor maintains slim lead

photo from sfgate.com: After making a birdie on the 18th green Nick Taylor holds first place on the leader board at Pebble Beach in the second round on Friday

By Jeremy Harness

PEBBLE BEACH – As Nick Taylor has found out through the first two days of this tournament, in order to get on top and stay there, you have to go low. Very low.

That’s precisely what the Canadian has done, but in doing so, he still doesn’t have much breathing room. He held a two-shot lead after the first round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am with a 63, which is tied for the lowest opening-round score in four years, and after a 66 on Friday, goes into the weekend with the same two-shot advantage.

Taylor, whose lone victory on the PGA Tour came in his rookie season of 2014-15 at the Sanderson Farms Championship, finished his second round at Pebble Beach in grand fashion, making birdies in four of his last five holes, capping off his round by rolling in a 16-footer at the iconic par-5 18th.

Taylor has, in large part, done it with his putter. He is currently second in the field in strokes gained in the putting department, as he made 101 feet of putts on Friday

“I hit some really good shots coming in and made all the putts,” Taylor said. “So obviously, it was all coming together there.

“I really love coming to this stop, so I was happy to come here, and it’s been nice to make some putts. I feel like from here, and next few months, are probably my favorite stretch of golf tournaments.”

There were a number of players who made big charges on Friday and wound up hot on Taylor’s tail, including Phil Mickelson, the left-handed crowd favorite who is known for his exquisite short game and sometimes-erratic play off the tee.

He, in his words, “drove it like a stallion” on Thursday to get himself in the hunt and more than holding his own at Spyglass Hill, and he did the same the next day to inch closer, blistering Monterey Peninsula in the process.

He started out his day with back-to-back birdies and made another birdie three holes later. After dropping a shot at the par-4 15th, he rallied to make eagle at the par-5 16th. He started his second nine with four straight birdies and was eight-under through his first 14 holes.

However, the fog rolled in at that point, and that seemed to affect his scoring. His birdie rampage stalled, as following the four consecutive, he parred the ensuing four holes and even dropped a shot at the par-3 ninth to end his round in third place.

Jason Day finished his round about an hour before Mickelson, so he just missed the fog and played all 18 of his holes in picture-perfect conditions with relatively-light wind and responded with a seven-under round of 64 at Pebble Beach that put him in second place, two shots behind Taylor.

Day did not have to go through foggy weather, but he did have to battle through injuries, particularly with his back – a very common issue in the game of golf – throughout most of last season, and he spoke Friday of the return of his health.

“I’ve been working very (hard), and I’ve been very disciplined about the rehab,” Day said. “I had six, seven weeks of rehab before Torrey Pines (two weeks ago), and I’m trying to stay on top of that right now, and for the most part, I feel pretty good.

He also spoke of a change in focus, not only in his practice routine but also his overall approach to the game. In years past, he would spend at least two hours putting in a day, but due to his back issues, he has cut that time in half and has, in turn, turned up the concentration in those sessions.

In getting ready for this tournament, Day said that he did not play standard practice rounds but rather would play different nine-hole rounds at the different courses with a number of friends.

“Sometimes working hard is not the solution,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, you still have to work hard, but don’t be so involved in it, and don’t make it your whole world.”

DeChambeau, Watney come crashing down while another NorCal soars to the top

photo from sfgate.com: Cameron Champ hits on the sixth fairway in the third round of the Safeway Open at the Silverado Resort on Saturday. Champ’s emotions are in play as his grandfather Mack battles stomach cancer in the Sacramento area.

By Jeremy Harness

Saturday was not a very good day for Bryson DeChambeau or Nick Watney, and as a result, they fell from the top of the leaderboard while some new folks took over the top spots as the final day of the Safeway Open approaches.

DeChambeau’s four-over round of 76 dropped him toward the middle of the pack, while Watney’s round of 72 was a little more modest, and he is now tied for the fifth spot in the field and four shots shy of the lead.

Meanwhile, another native of Northern California grabbed the lead on Saturday with stellar play. Sacramento native Cameron Champ, who considered to be the longest hitter on the PGA Tour, used that distance to get good looks at birdies and ended up shooting a five-under bogey-free round of 67.

Besides averaging 335 yards off the tee this week that ranks him at the top of the field, including a 372-yard bomb on Saturday, Champ also leads the field this week with a 91.67 scrambling percentage. He is also tied for the fewest bogeys this week.

“I’m extremely pleased,” Champ said. “Not to make a bogey on the scorecard, mission is accomplished. I’m hitting it well, I’m giving myself so many chances. I’m just executing everything. I’m hitting my shots, I’m not making the little mistakes I was, then I’m getting it up and down when I need to.

“Today was like a faultless day.”

Champ currently leads the tournament by three shots, while Sebastian Munoz also shot a 67 on Saturday to get into the second spot. Munoz has had some recent winning experience, as he won the Sanderson Farms Championship earlier in the 2019-20 season.

He then followed that up with a tie for seventh place at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier.

“I’m hitting the ball pretty solid, I’m making the putts, so I’m feeling great,” Munoz said.

Joining Munoz in the No. 2 slot are Canadians Adam Hadwin and Nick Taylor. Hadwin first a five-under 67 while Taylor shot 70 to give themselves a chance to win on Sunday.