China's Communist rulers have turned against the exclusive sport of golf with the government saying nearly 70 "illegal" courses have been closed, seemingly enforcing a decade-old ban for the first time. The announcement by the ministry of land and resources comes amid a high-profile anti-graft campaign spearheaded by President Xi Jinping, which has seen crackdowns on banquets, lavish gift-giving and other official excesses. The ruling Communist Party has long had an ambivalent relationship with golf, which is a lucrative opportunity for local authorities and a favoured pastime of some officials, but is also closely associated with wealth and Western elites. "Presently, local governments have shut down a number of illegally-built golf courses, and preliminary results have been achieved in clean-up and rectification work," read the announcement on the ministry's website late Monday.
DeMar DeRozan scored a career-high 42 points and matched a career best with 11 rebounds as Toronto beat Houston 99-96 in a battle of NBA division leaders. DeRozan, who netted 12 points in the fourth quarter on Monday, was 14-of-27 from the court and 12-of-17 from the free throw line to power the Raptors to their eighth home win in a row over the Rockets. Atlantic division leader Toronto improved to 44-30, one game behind Chicago for the third-best record in the Eastern Conference.
DeMarre Carroll scored a game-high 23 points and the Atlanta Hawks, already assured of the best record in the NBA Eastern Conference, ripped the Milwaukee Bucks 101-88. Al Horford scored 18 points on Monday while Paul Millsap contributed 15 points and nine rebounds and Carroll added eight rebounds as the Hawks improved to 56-18, 4 1/2 games behind Golden State for the top record in the league. Atlanta's Kyle Korver scored all 11 of his points in a 65-second span of the third quarter, boosting the Hawks' lead from five points to 16 on the way to their third victory in four games.
World number one Rory McIlroy as well as the next two in the rankings, Sweden's Henrik Stenson and two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson, will play at the World Golf Championships Match Play, organizers said Monday. The Northern Ireland star, whose major wins include the 2011 US Open plus the 2012 and 2014 PGA Championship and 2014 British Open, was runner-up in the WGC Match Play three years ago to American Hunter Mahan but has never won the event. Watson has three top-10 finishes in four appearances at the WGC Match Play, including fourth-place in 2011.
By Daniel Lovering FALL RIVER, Mass. (Reuters) - Ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez asked his fiancée to dispose of a heavy cardboard box that smelled of marijuana a day after prosecutors say he fatally shot an associate, the fiancée told jurors at his murder trial on Monday. Shayanna Jenkins, 25, testified that she put the box in a trash bag and concealed it with baby clothes before carrying it from the basement of their home in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, to her sister's car in the driveway. ... At that point I was nervous." Hernandez, 25, is being tried on murder and firearms charges in the slaying of Odin Lloyd, a semiprofessional football player who was dating Jenkins' sister, Shaneah. Prosecutors say he and two friends, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, picked up Lloyd at his Boston home early on June 17, 2013, and drove him to an industrial park near Hernandez's house, where his bullet-riddled body was found later that day.
Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley will miss the remainder of the NBA season after undergoing surgery on his injured left wrist, the team announced Monday. Beverley will have an operation on Tuesday to repair a torn wrist ligament that he suffered in last Monday's 110-100 victory over Indiana. The Rockets lost Beverley just two days before they welcomed back center Dwight Howard following a two-month absence due to a right knee injury. Beverley, 26, was averaging 10.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists over 56 games this season, but was as important to the Rockets for his defensive skills.
The Atlanta Falcons were fined $350,000 and stripped of a fifth-round pick in the 2016 National Football League draft on Monday for using artificial crowd noise for the past two seasons. A review by league officials concluded with the NFL imposing the punishments because a former Falcons executive, event marketing director Roddy White, pumped extra crowd noise into the Georgia Dome for home games in the 2013 and 2014 season until the situations was revealed last November. "What took place was wrong and nowhere near the standards by which we run our business," Falcons owner Arthur Blank said. "Any time there are actions that compromise the integrity of the NFL or threaten the culture of our franchise, as this issue did, they will be dealt with swiftly and strongly.