AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The Masters is underway with three shots right down the middle of the fairway. Just not terribly far. Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus hit the ceremonial tee shots Thursday morning with fans already lining both sides of the first fairway. Still competitive even after all these years, Nicklaus went last and hit a drive that went about a yard past Players shot. The "Big Three" combined to win 13 green jackets, including seven in a row at the start of the 1960s. This Masters is far less predictable. Without Tiger Woods or a dominant figure, its seen as the most wide-open Masters in years. A bunch of brash Augusta rookies are eager to fill Woods shoes. And the last two dozen majors have been divvied up among 21 winners. Early Thursday, Stewart Cink, Ian Woosnam and Jonas Blixt were all 1-under-par, leading among the early starters. Ryan Moore, who won the Par 3 contest Wednesday, thinks it might be time to break the curse of that winner never winning the tournament. "You never know," he said. "Someone has got to break that (Par 3) curse at some point in time, so hopefully its me. Who knows? I might go shoot 8 under or something, make a couple of hole-in-ones." As unlikely as that sounds, pretty much everything else is up for grabs at this Masters. Recovering from back surgery, Woods is sitting out the opening major of the year for the first time since turning pro. Even as his dominance waned in recent years, he was always the clear-cut favourite coming into Augusta, where he has won four times. Now, as Moore said, who knows? Jason Day, Sergio Garcia and former Masters champion Zach Johnson are the only players from the top 10 who have won anywhere in the world this year. Only one of the past seven winners on the PGA Tour was ranked in the top 75. "I think if youre outside the top 50 in the world this week, youve got a great chance," U.S. Open champion Justin Rose said with a laugh. Woods is out of golf until the summer, but the show goes on at a tournament that rarely fails to deliver plenty of drama. "We miss Tiger, as does the entire golf world," Masters chairman Billy Payne said. "Nevertheless, this is the Masters. This is what we hope is the best tournament in the world, one of the greatest sporting events. And I think we will have a very impressive audience and have another great champion to crown this year." That could be Phil Mickelson, who last year won the British Open at age 42 and now has a chance to join Woods and Arnold Palmer with a fourth green jacket. It could be Adam Scott, trying to take over as the worlds No. 1 player and join Woods, Nick Faldo and Jack Nicklaus as the only back-to-back winners. While Woods last won a green jacket in 2005, he had finished out of the top six only once since then. Thats what made him such a compelling figure at Augusta. He always seemed to be there. "Its a huge loss," Scott said. "But, as every year here, this event produces something special no matter what. It just has a way of doing it. Its not going to involve Tiger this year, but it will involve someone else and it will be a memorable event anyway." Rose falls on the side of experience -- knowing where to miss, knowing where you cant afford to miss, where the hole locations tend to be on the contoured greens and using the slope to get the ball close. "Always you can have the unknowns," he said. "But I would say 15 guys are pretty strong favourites." Fuzzy Zoeller was the last Augusta rookie to claim the green jacket in 1979, and the only other ones to do it were the first two: Horton Smith and Gene Sarazen. Then again, there are 24 first-timers in the 98-player field, a record (except for the first tournament), and none of them will concede an insurmountable learning curve. Besides, no one is dominating golf at the moment. Jimmy Walker has the most PGA Tour wins (three) this season, but this is his first Masters. Scott had a chance to go to No. 1 three weeks ago at Bay Hill, but he lost a three-shot lead in the final round to Matt Every, who had never won in his career. "Doesnt matter if youve played here once or if youve played here 50 times," said Patrick Reed, who has won three times in the past eight months. "When it comes down to it, its just going to be that whoever is playing the best is going to walk away with the trophy." Who knows? Maybe it will be Moore. Hes certainly not fretting over a supposed curse. "Im not afraid of it," he said. Logan Couture Jersey
.com) - Semyon Varlamov more than earned his third shutout of the season as he made a career-high 54 saves to lift the Colorado Avalanche to a 2-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. Timo Meier Sharks Jersey
.K. Subban and Matt Duchene will be the two skaters sitting out the teams opening game. http://www.officialsharksnhlshop.com/evander-kane-jersey/
. Its the second of three meetings between these teams this season. Vancouver was a 2-1 winner on home ice December 22nd. Marc-Edouard Vlasic Jersey
. The alleged sexual assault is believed to have happened over the weekend of Feb. 1, when the hockey team was in Thunder Bay for two games against Lakehead University. The criminal investigation branch of the Thunder Bay Police Service is leading the investigation with help from Ottawa police. Antti Suomela Jersey
. -- Caris LeVert had 14 points and a career-high 11 rebounds for his first career double-double, and No. ARLINGTON, Texas -- Nelson Cruz took a slow trot around the bases after hitting a towering three-run homer in his return to Texas. The Baltimore Orioles slugger wasnt really savoring the moment. He was cramping so bad that he almost didnt even take that final at-bat in the eighth inning. Cruz hit the first pitch thrown by Shawn Tolleson, the fourth Rangers reliever, an estimated 404 feet deep into the left field seats to cap a tiebreaking six-run outburst as the Orioles won 8-3 on Tuesday night. "We were debating, he and I were," manager Buck Showalter said. "He go about halfway down the first, and that was a cramp trot." Likening his first game against the Rangers to one of his first days in the big leagues, when everything went so fast, Cruz said he just tried to stay in the moment and stay focused. "Kind of weird. Going from the other side of the plate is totally different than coming around like I used to," Cruz said. "It was overall a good day." Cruz was the 2011 AL championship series MVP on the way to the Rangers second consecutive World Series. When introduced before drawing a walk in the first, Texas fans responded with an extended ovation. While there were some boos, those seemed to be outnumbered by fans who called "Cruuuuuzz!" like they used to do when the left fielder was on their side the previous eight seasons. Heading into free agency last year, Cruz missed the final 50 regular-season games for the Rangers for violating baseballs drug agreement. Cruz turned down a $14.1 million qualifying offer in November from the Rangers, who likely would have used him primarily as a designated hitter if he had accepted. He went through the entire off-season before signing an $8 million, one-year deal with the Orioles early in spring training. "I havent seen him in a while and I got to see him and talk to him, playing around a little bit. It was a great feeling. I didnt like anytime he poopped one," Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus said.dddddddddddd "Ive seen too many when he was on this side, but hes a talented guy. Whenever hes on, he can carry a team." Through 55 games with the Orioles, Cruz is hitting .313 and leads the majors with 21 homers and 55 RBIs. Adam Jones matched a career high with four hits, including a homer off the right-field pole leading off the Baltimore fourth. Rookie catcher Caleb Johnson had a tiebreaking RBI double in the eighth. Brian Matusz (2-1) went 1 2-3 innings in relief of Ubaldo Jimenez, who held Texas to one run and four hits while striking out five over 5 2-3 innings. Alexi Ogando (2-3), the second Texas reliever, got a popup to start the eighth before allowing three straight Orioles to reach. He was gone after the double by Joseph, whose two hits matched his total in his first 11 games. The Rangers, coming off a 7-4 record in their longest road trip this season, got two inning-starting homers: Adrian Beltre in the fourth, and Robinson Chrinos in the seventh. Joe Saunders, the winning pitcher for Baltimore in the 2012 AL wild card game at Texas, allowed two runs and 10 hits over six-plus innings in his first home start for the Rangers. The left-hander was signed during spring training and he made the season-opening rotation before missing more than seven weeks with a stress fracture in his left ankle after being struck by a liner in his first start. Notes: Three-time AL All-Star first baseman Jim Gentile, who played in the majors from 1957-66, attended the game on his 80th birthday. With Baltimore in 1961, he finished third in the AL MVP voting behind Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. ... Orioles closer Tommy Hunter, on the DL since May 22 with a left groin strain, was encouraged with how he felt after a bullpen session before the game. He will do some fielding drills Wednesday, and could go out on a rehab assignment as early as Thursday. ' ' '