GOLF

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP)Tiger Woods is planning to play in the Masters and he thinks he can win.

It will be 508 days since Woods last walked and competed when he tees it up Thursday. And it will be nearly 14 months since he badly damaged his right leg is a car crash in suburban Los Angeles.

Woods says he doesn’t play if doesn’t think he can win. That hasn’t changed. His biggest concern is how his body will hold up over four straight days of playing 18 holes. When asked if thinks he can win, Woods replied, ”I do.”

The 46-year-old Woods would be the oldest Masters champion by three weeks over Jack Nicklaus.

The biggest question is how he holds up over 18 holes for four straight days. Woods walked 18 holes last week – his first big test – during a scouting trip with 13-year-old son Charlie (including a stop at the Par 3 course). He played the back nine on Sunday, the front nine on Monday.

Woods plans nine more for Wednesday and then it’s ”game time.” He is to tee off at 10:34 a.m. Thursday with Louis Oosthuizen and Joaquin Niemann.

PRO BASKETBALL

PHOENIX (AP) – LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated from playoff contention with a 121-110 loss to the Phoenix Suns, who won their franchise-record 63rd game.

The Lakers have potentially five future Hall of Famers on their roster – James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard – and still couldn’t find a way to make the playoffs.

Davis and James missed significant chunks of the season with injuries and Westbrook never seemed to mesh well with his new team.

Los Angeles – playing without James for a second straight game because of a sprained ankle – has lost seven straight. Westbrook scored 28 points while Davis added 21 points and 13 rebounds.

Devin Booker scored 32 points and Deandre Ayton had 22 for Phoenix (63-16), which avoided its first three-game losing streak of the season.

PRO FOOTBALL

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson must say whether he had sex with 18 massage therapists who supported him last year following criminal complaints, a judge in Texas ruled.

USA Today reported that Watson has 30 days to comply. He previously would not address his past with the therapists. Watson also has to provide other information about his massage history since 2019, including any language in his contract with the Texans about massages.

One of the NFL’s top quarterbacks, Watson was traded last month from Houston to Cleveland.

He has been accused by 22 women of sexual misconduct during therapy sessions, many of which he arranged by contacting the therapists on social media in 2020 and 2021.

To this point, two grand juries have declined to indict Watson on 10 criminal complaints filed to Houston police. He still faces the civil suits and has been giving depositions on those for several weeks.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Bob Bowlsby will step away from his role as Big 12 commissioner later this year after a decade in the Power Five conference that’s facing a transition in membership and negotiations over a new media rights deal – like it was when he first took the job. .

He will remain as the Big 12’s leader until a new commissioner is appointed. The expectation is that Bowlsby, whose contract goes into 2025, will then transition into an interim role with the league.

When Bowlsby arrived in 2012, the Big 12 was coming off a two-year period when it lost four schools to three other conferences and at times appeared to be on the brink of collapse before settling as a 10-team league with the additions of TCU and West Virginia. Only months after that, the Big 12 had a new multibillion dollar TV deal with ESPN and Fox Sports that goes through the 2024-25 academic year.

Within weeks after Oklahoma and Texas accepted formal invitations to join the SEC last August, the Big 12 expanded by adding BYU, UCF, Cincinnati and Houston.

BASEBALL

In a move that ends a tradition dating more than 150 years, Major League Baseball approved the use of an electronic device for catchers to signal pitches in an effort to eliminate sign stealing and speed games.

Since the beginning of baseball in the 19th century, catchers had used their fingers to signal the type of pitch and its intended location.

As video at balllparks increased in the 21st century, so did sign stealing – and worries about how teams were trying to swipe signals. The Houston Astros were penalized for using a camera and banging a trash can to alert their batters to pitch types during their run to the 2017 World Series title.

Some teams tried the system in spring training, with manager Tony La Russa of the Chicago White Sox and Aaron Boone of the New York Yankees among those saying they liked what they saw.

MLB is providing each team with three transmitters, 10 receivers and a charging case for the PitchCom Pitcher Catcher Communication Device. It is available in English and Spanish.