SI.com's Brian Straus reported MLS "could be close to finalizing a tweak to its playoff format" that will give the higher-seeded team in the two-game conference semifinals and finals the "option of hosting either the first or second leg." MLS' competition committee and BOG "would have to sign off on the rule change" before it takes effect. Since MLS dropped the best-of-three playoff format following the '02 season, the higher seed "has traveled for the opening leg of each home-and-home series" (SI.com, 1/20).
YOUTH MOVEMENT: GOLFCHANNEL.com's Ryan Lavner wrote the PGA Tour being in the "midst of a youth movement is no new revelation, yet this season it is one of the earliest and most intriguing story lines." So far, five of the eight PGA Tour event winners "have been in their 20s." In 46 events in '09, there "was only six wins by players in their 20s." Players in their 20s "occupy eight spots in the world’s top 30, but there are dozens more uber-talented prospects in the pipeline" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 1/21).
BETTER SAFE...: The AP's Ronald Blum reported MLB has told all teams they "must implement security screening for fans" by the start of the '15 season, "either with hand-held metal detection or walk-through magnetometers." The Mariners yesterday announced that fans entering Safeco Field "will have to walk through metal detectors starting with this year's opener." The Red Sox, Mets, A's, Pirates and Giants "were among the teams that experimented with screening at times last year" (AP, 1/21). NBC's Willie Geist said of going to a game now, "They already look inside your bag." But NBC's Tamron Hall said she wants to "be safe if I'm going somewhere" ("Today," NBC, 1/22).
SERVING IT UP: In Australia, Swanton & McDonald reported the Int'l Premier Tennis League, "inspired by the runaway success of Twenty20 cricket," will be staged Nov. 28-Dec. 20 in Asia. Franchises "will be based in Singapore, Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and a city in the Middle East to be announced." Organizers want 10 teams by '20, "including a push into China." Total prize money "will be settled when television rights are finalised" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 1/21). For more on this story, see today's issue of SBD Global.