Thursday’s Sports in Brief
NEW YORK (AP) NBA owners passed rules Thursday designed to prevent healthy players from sitting out games, and teams from losing games on purpose to improve their draft position.
Under the new draft lottery rules, the teams with the three worst records will all have 14 percent odds to land the No. 1 pick when the changes are implemented with the 2019 draft.
The team with the worst record previously had 25 percent odds to win the lottery and could fall to the No. 4 spot in the draft. Now that team call tumble all the way to fifth.
The lottery changes were to discourage tanking, the practice of losing games on purpose in an effort to improve draft odds. The Philadelphia 76ers relied on the tactic heavily in recent years and the league felt it needed to step in and urge teams to always be competitive.
Also Thursday, the Board of Governors voted to allow Commissioner Adam Silver to fine teams who violate the league’s new guidelines about resting players. Teams can’t sit healthy players for high-profile, nationally televised games, and fines for violating that can be for at least $100,000.
The rules also say that unless there are unusual circumstances, teams should not rest multiple healthy players for the same game or rest healthy players when playing on the road.
ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer’s grandson, shot a 12-under 59 on Thursday in the first round of the Web.com Tour Championship.
Saunders closed with six straight birdies at Atlantic Beach Country Club for the seventh sub-60 round in Web.com Tour history. Stephan Jaeger set the tour record of 58 last year in the Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae in Hayward, California.
Saunders had 13 birdies and a bogey. Opening on the 10th hole, he birdied the first three holes, added a birdie on 14, bogeyed the par-3 15th and birdied 15 and 18 to make the turn in 5 under. He birdied No. 2 and Nos. 4-9 for a 7-under 28 on his final nine.
The 30-year-old Saunders is trying to regain his PGA Tour card in the four-event Web.com Tour Finals after finishing 129th in the FedEx Cup standings. He entered the week 24th in the race for 25 PGA Tour cards with $27,900 in the first three events. He tied for 11th in the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, tied for 40th in the Albertsons Boise Open and missed the cut in the DAP Championship.
SAN DIEGO (AP) – The America’s Cup is ditching fast, foiling catamarans in favor of 75-foot monohulls with crews of 10 to 12 governed by a stricter nationality rule than in recent regattas.
America’s Cup champion Emirates Team New Zealand and the Challenger of Record, Italys’ Luna Rossa Challenge, announced the protocol for the 36th America’s Cup on Friday morning in Auckland, with more specifics to come during the next several months.
Among them are the design of the new class and whether the boats will foil. So far, the AC75 is promised only to be a ”high performance” boat. AC75 Class concepts are due to be released Nov. 30 and the class rule is set to be published on March 31.
Regardless of what the boat looks like and how it sails, the Kiwis are returning to tradition in the 166-year-old competition.
Team New Zealand Grant Dalton CEO said the main reason for the switch back to monohulls was ”to attract more quality challengers to the event. … We think the greater sailing community relates more to a monohull.”
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Bob Melvin is set to manage at least two more years for the Oakland Athletics, with his latest extension announced Thursday set to take him through the 2019 season.
He had been signed through 2018 in a deal he reached in September 2015. In late July, the 55-year-old former catcher earned his 1,000th managerial win.
The A’s have repeatedly expressed their commitment to having the Bay Area native as their on-field leader, and he has handled the challenge of an ever-changing young team and a rash of injuries during his tenure.
Melvin previously managed the Mariners and Diamondbacks, then took over guiding the A’s during the 2011 season following the firing of Bob Geren. Oakland could finish last in the AL West for a third straight season following three consecutive playoff years.
A Manager of the Year in both leagues, Melvin’s 535 wins trail only Tony La Russa (798) and Art Howe (600) in Oakland history. Melvin had a 1,028-1,040 record in 14 years managing as the A’s entered a season-ending series at Texas beginning Thursday.
In 2012, Oakland became the first team in major league history to win a division or pennant after trailing by five games with fewer than 10 to play, sweeping three games against Texas to win the division over the Rangers.