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Update August 2017


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Update August 10, 2017

Nadal, Federer win opening matches at Rogers Cup

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates his victory over Borna Coric of Croatia during the Rogers Cup men’s tennis tournament, Wednesday, Aug. 9, in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)

Montreal (AP) — Top-seeded Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Roger Federer cruised to easy victories Wednesday in their opening matches at the Rogers Cup.

Nadal breezed past Borna Coric of Croatia 6-1, 6-2 to advance to the third round, while Federer routed Canadian Peter Polansky, 6-2, 6-1 in 53 minutes.

Nadal, a three-time Rogers Cup winner who is back in the hunt for the No. 1 ranking after winning his 10th French Open title this year, will play Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov, who downed 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin De Potro 6-3, 7-6 (4) in a second-round match on a gusty Wednesday afternoon.

The 18-year-old Shapovalov became the youngest player to reach the round of 16 of a Master Series tournament since Nadal in 2004 at Miami.

Federer, a two-time Rogers Cup champion ranked third in the world, has had a surprise resurgence this season by posting his 18th and 19th career Grand Slam wins at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. He played his first match of the hardcourt season that leads to the U.S. Open.

"I think this tournament I'm trying to play with confidence that I gained through the grass-court season," Federer said. "I have to adjust my game a little bit just because the bounce of the ball is so much higher here than at Wimbledon, and there's wind, which in Wimbledon we didn't have much of.

"It's just really to see how it goes this week, and then learn from this week, how I need to then play in Cincinnati (next week) and the U.S. Open."

The Swiss star, who turned 36 on Tuesday, next faces Spain's David Ferrer, a 7-6 (7), 3-6, 6-1 winner over 15th-seeded American Jack Sock.

Polansky, ranked No. 116 in the world after some strong results in challenger events, upset No. 75 Vasek Pospisil of Canada in the first round on Monday.

It was his second meeting with Federer. At the 2014 Rogers Cup, he lost 6-2, 6-0.

"Even though I lost, this is one of the most memorable experiences of my life along with the match I played against him in Toronto," Polansky said. "His transition from the baseline to the net, it's a joke.

"You blink and he's at the net. You hit balls pretty hard at him and he's handling them like it's no problem. Guys I'm used to playing, if I hit really hard, they'll kind of block it but he's constantly moving forward like a freight train."

Sixth seed Milos Raonic, another Canadian, faced France's Adrian Mannarino later Wednesday.

In other results, third-seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria was upset 6-4, 6-7 (7), 7-5 by Argentina's Diego Schwartzman, and fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan, a finalist last year, was ousted 6-7 (4), 7-6 (7), 7-5 by Gael Monfils. It was the Frenchman's first win in four meetings with Nishikori.

Seventh-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov topped German Mischa Zverev 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. No. 12 Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain downed American Ryan Harrison 7-5, 6-2, and Robin Haase of the Netherlands defeated lucky loser Ernesto Escobedo 6-4, 6-1.


Welcome back: Makwala stops, drops and sprints at worlds

Botswana's Isaac Makwala does press-ups on the track after finishing a Men's 200m individual time trial during the World Athletics Championships in London Wednesday, Aug. 9. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Eddie Pells

London (AP) — Turns out, Isaac Makwala is healthy. Really healthy, in fact.

So healthy, that after getting called back to the stadium for a surprise command performance at the world championships Wednesday, he ran two 200-meter sprints — the first all alone on the track — qualified for the final and even dropped to the ground and pumped out five pushups near the finish line.

Any more questions?

"I'm running with anger," Makwala said. "I have no point to prove because I know myself. I'm fit. I know I'm a great athlete. I believe in myself."

The Botswanan sprinter's plight became the cause celebre of the championships when he threw up before the start of the 200-meter preliminaries Monday, was determined to be among the handful of athletes afflicted with the stomach flu and was barred from the stadium for 48 hours to lower the risk of infecting other runners.

All along, Makwala insisted he was not sick. One of his managers, Sander Ogink, told The Associated Press it was simply a case of nerves.

"As you probably know, athletes throw up when they're nervous," Ogink said.

But the IAAF held firm, and Makwala was scratched from both his 200-meter heat and the 400-meter final, where he could've been the main challenger Tuesday to the eventual gold medalist, Wayde van Niekerk.

After further review, and another visit from the doctor, the IAAF determined that while it couldn't do anything about the 400 — Makwala showed up to the stadium for it Tuesday but was turned away — it could try to right one wrong. He was asked back for Wednesday's action.

He opened the proceedings on a dreary, rain-drenched night by lining up in Lane 7 with nobody else on the track. His goal was to beat the slowest non-automatic qualifying time from the day before — 20.53 seconds — and after he crossed in 20.20, he dropped and gave 'em five, snapped off a salute to the crowd, then hustled off to get ready for the semifinals.

Back out in the rain two hours later for that race, Makwala finished second to earn his berth in Thursday's final.

His best race is the 400. His only chance now, though, will come in the 200.

"I'm still running with my heart broken," he said. "I was ready to run. I don't know who made the decision. Four-hundred meters is my reason for training."

For the past several months, America's top name in the women's game, Allyson Felix, could say the same. She dropped all the other distances with an eye on the 400 and a chance to right a wrong from last year's Olympics. There, she was neck-and-neck with Shaunae Miller at the finish, when Miller dove over the finish line and grabbed the gold out of Felix's grasp.

This year, the finish was strange in a different way.

Miller (now Miller-Uibo after she got married in February) was far in front as she made the final turn, but she pulled up lame with 30 meters left, and was practically dragging her left foot to the finish line. Felix was in second but struggling, and through the gap in Lane 6 burst another American, Phyllis Francis, whose personal best time of 49.92 seconds was good for gold.

Felix ended up with bronze to move into a tie with Usain Bolt and Merlene Ottey with 14 overall world medals. Miller-Uibo limped home to fourth.

"At the finish line I was surprised. I thought I was second or third," Francis said, "but then they told me 'You are first.' That is crazy."

Karsten Warholm was also taken aback.

The Norwegian hurdler crossed the line first, ahead of two-time champion Kerron Clement, in the 400-meter hurdle finals. Warholm's eyes went agape and he stuck his fingers in his mouth in a look of pure amazement when realized he had won. Later, he paraded around the track wearing a horned Viking helmet — appropriate given the cold, slick conditions in the stadium where the Olympics were held five years ago.

"For me, this is just a good Norwegian summer, actually," Warholm said.

The evening's other gold went to Gong Lijiao of China in the women's shot put.

But gold medals were hardly the only cause for celebration on an evening full of surprises in track and field.

Makwala took his second chance and ran with it.

"I'm so happy," he said. "Let's not talk about what happened. Let's talk about what is now."


New No. 1 Pliskova opens with second-round win in Toronto

Karolina Pliskova, of the Czech Republic, hits a return to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, of Russia, during the Rogers Cup women's tennis tournament in Toronto, Wednesday, Aug. 9. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

Toronto (AP) — Karolina Pliskova began her run as world No. 1 on a positive note, beating Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3, 6-3 on Wednesday to reach the third round of the Rogers Cup.

The 25-year-old Czech, who had a first-round bye, extended her winning streak over the 19th-ranked player to five matches. She earned the No. 1 ranking when Johanna Konta beat Romania's Simona Halep in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon.

Halep, now ranked second and the defending Rogers Cup champion, played the late match against Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova.

In other second-round play, ninth seed Venus Williams earned her second career win in Toronto, a 7-5, 7-5 victory over Katerina Siniakova. Williams, the runner-up at the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year, hadn't won in the Canadian city until she beat Irina-Camelia Begu in the first round on Monday.


Jason Day 'hungry,' eager to return to top of golf world

Jason Day of Australia, talks during a news conference at the PGA Championship golf tournament at the Quail Hollow Club Wednesday, Aug. 9, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Steve Reed

Charlotte, N.C. (AP) — Jason Day's swagger — and his motivation — have returned.

"I'm hungry again — and I'm looking forward to trying to beat these guys," Day said Wednesday on the eve of the 99th PGA Championship.

Day is in the midst of what he called a "very poor season" with only two top 10 finishes and no wins in 15 starts. But the world's former No. 1 player feels like he's about to turn the corner after finishing tied for 24th last week at Bridgestone.

He's also drawing confidence from his past success at the PGA Championship, winning at Whistling Straits in 2015 and finishing second last year to Jimmy Walker at Baltusrol. His renewed confidence may not be good news for the rest of the field this week. Jordan Spieth is aiming for a career grand slam.

"I'm motivated now," said Day, who withdrew from a tournament in March to be with his cancer-stricken mother.

His best finish this year is second at the AT&T Byron Nelson, where he lost a playoff to Billy Horschel.

Day entered the season as the top-ranked player but has since dropped to No. 7 — something that he says "annoys and motivates me at the same time."

He made it clear his goal is to get back on top — and anticipates that will start with a strong performance this week at Quail Hollow.

The 29-year-old Australian said his passion waned late last season after getting "burned out." Looking back, Day felt like he spread himself too thin trying to fulfill obligations and spending less time practicing and relaxing.

"I was trying to do too many things," he said.

By the time the end of last year rolled around, Day said he was exhausted after spending nearly a full year as the top-ranked player.

That pressure, along with his mother's lung cancer surgery in March, led to a rough start to the 2017 season. He tearfully pulled out of the Match Play Championship six holes in, too distraught to play, to join her ahead of the surgery.

"It was difficult for me to be on the golf course and even think about actually playing at the time," Day said.

On the course, his driving deteriorated and his normally reliable short game eluded him. In short, he felt like his game plateaued.

"You're not panicking or anything, you're just wondering why," Day said. "You're up at night thinking about, 'OK, what do I need to do to get back to that winning room?'"

If Day does get back to No. 1, he's vowed to handle things differently. In some ways, he's already done that.

He didn't arrive in Charlotte until Tuesday night and checked in to the tournament on Wednesday morning so he could spend more time at home in Ohio away from distractions.

Day refuses to call this a lost season.

Sure, he's finished out of contention at the Masters (tied for 22nd), the U.S. Open (cut) and the British Open (tied for 27th), but he believes his putting and driving are coming back.

And he harkens back to 2014 when he finished the year strong, which served as a springboard for two incredible seasons.

"I want to win again," Day said. "So I'm excited about that."


Sanchez to miss start of season for Arsenal

Arsenal’s Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

London (AP) — Alexis Sanchez will miss at least the first two games of the Premier League season for Arsenal, with coach Arsene Wenger saying the absence is due to injury rather than doubts surrounding the forward's future at the club.

Wenger said Wednesday that Sanchez sustained an abdominal strain on Sunday — hours before Arsenal's win over Chelsea in the Community Shield at Wembley Stadium — and will be out for "two weeks or one more week."

Arsenal play Leicester at home on Friday in the opening game of the league season.

With Arsenal failing to qualify for this season's Champions League, Sanchez has been heavily linked with a move away from The Emirates Stadium although Wenger has repeatedly said this offseason that the Chile international is not for sale. Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly interested in the player, who has just one year left on his contract at Arsenal.

Wenger wouldn't say if any bids had come in for Sanchez.

"I can't tell you that at the moment," he said. "I just think we are not open — what I said to you many times — to any offers, anyway."

Sanchez's last game was the Confederations Cup final for Chile on July 2 and he was given an extended summer break. His initial return to training was delayed by three days, with Arsenal citing an illness, and now he is injured.

Wenger said Sanchez would not have started against Leicester even if he wasn't injured.

"We have all the other players prepared in pre-season and they are all ready," said Wenger.


Lamb's slam gives D-backs 6-3 win over Dodgers

Arizona Diamondbacks Jake Lamb follows through on a grand slam during the seventh inning of a baseball game as Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal looks on, Tuesday, Aug. 8, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Phoenix (AP) — Jake Lamb hit his second career grand slam in the seventh inning and the Arizona Diamondbacks rallied to beat Los Angeles 6-3 on Tuesday night, handing the major league-leading Dodgers their eighth loss in the last 52 games.

Lamb, who also connected for a solo homer in the sixth, was hitting .143 against left-handers this season when he drove Tony Watson's 1-2 pitch off the right-field foul pole to put Arizona up 6-3.

Justin Turner homered twice for the Dodgers, who led 3-2 entering the bottom of the seventh. Watson (5-4) was charged with the loss.

David Hernandez (2-0) got one out for the win and Fernando Rodney worked the ninth for his 26th save in 31 tries.

RED SOX 2, RAYS 0

St. Petersburg, Florida — Chris Sale struck out 13 in eight innings, and the Red Sox earned their seventh straight victory.

Sale (14-4) reached double digits in strikeouts for the 15th time this season. He allowed two hits, and Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth for his 28th save.

The win pushed Boston's AL East lead over the New York Yankees to four games.

Dustin Pedroia, who returned to the lineup as the designated hitter after a stint on the disabled list with left knee inflammation, scored Boston's first run on a fielder's choice in the fourth. A bad throw by Austin Pruitt (6-3) prevented a possible inning-ending double play on Rafael Devers' chopper to the mound.

It was the only run allowed by Pruitt in his fourth major league start. He pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings in a win at Houston last Wednesday.

INDIANS 4, ROCKIES 1

Cleveland — Yan Gomes hit a three-run homer off Greg Holland with two outs in the ninth inning, lifting Corey Kluber and Cleveland to the victory.

After Austin Jackson tied it with a two-out bloop RBI single, Gomes connected on the first pitch from Holland (2-3), driving it into the seats in center field to touch off a wild celebration in Progressive Field.

Gomes flung his helmet and skipped around the bases as the Indians players danced out of their dugout at the improbable walk-off win.

Kluber (10-3) struck out 11 in his second straight complete game. He allowed three hits and walked none.

Charlie Blackmon homered for the Rockies.

BLUE JAYS 4, YANKEES 2

Toronto — Josh Donaldson hit two two-run homers for the Blue Jays, and J.A. Happ won his sixth straight decision against the Yankees.

Donaldson connected twice against CC Sabathia (9-5), who came in with an AL-best 2.29 ERA in 10 road starts. The 2015 AL MVP hit a drive to right-center in the first, and hooked one down the left field line in the third.

It was Donaldson's 12th multihomer game and his second this season, both coming against the Yankees.

Happ (5-8) allowed one run and four hits in 5 2/3 innings, improving to 6-0 in 10 starts against the Yankees since 2014.

Roberto Osuna got three outs for his 29th save in 36 chances.

MARLINS 7, NATIONALS 3

Washington — Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton hit his career-high and major league-leading 38th homer of the season and drove in three runs.

Stanton crushed a first-pitch fastball from A.J. Cole (1-2) deep into the center-field stands in the fifth for a 4-1 lead following singles by Miguel Rojas and Dee Gordon.

Derek Dietrich also homered and drove in three runs for the Marlins. Gordon's RBI double and Dietrich's two-run single put Miami up 7-1 in the seventh.

Vance Worley (2-2) beat the Nationals for the second time in nine days. He allowed one run in six innings after holding Washington to two hits while pitching seven innings in Miami's 7-0 win on July 31.

CARDINALS 10, ROYALS 3

Kansas City, Missouri — Yadier Molina, Jedd Gyorko and Randal Grichuk homered, leading St. Louis to its fourth straight win.

Michael Wacha (9-4) allowed a three-run double to Cheslor Cuthbert but otherwise kept the Royals in check, surrendering six hits over six innings to win for the sixth time in seven decisions.

Molina connected against Jason Vargas (13-6) in the fourth and Grichuk and Gyorko connected to highlight the six-run fifth, when the crown-shaped videoboard at Kauffman Stadium suddenly went dark.

About half of it came back online in the seventh, when the Cardinals were tacking on runs.

WHITE SOX 8, ASTROS 5

Chicago — Rookie Kevan Smith homered and drove in four runs, and the last-place White Sox stopped a six-game losing streak.

Left-hander Derek Holland (6-11) earned his first win since June 13, despite issuing seven walks in 5 2/3 innings. He had been 0-5 in eight starts and one relief appearance since beating Baltimore.

Dallas Keuchel (9-2) allowed a season-high eight runs and 10 hits in four innings for AL-leading Houston. He had a 1.67 ERA when he went on the disabled list for the second time with a neck injury, on June 8. The All-Star left-hander has a 10.50 ERA in three starts since his return.

Tyler Clippard pitched the ninth for his second save.

METS 5, RANGERS 4

New York — Rookie Chris Flexen got his first big league win and hit, and the Mets stopped a four-game losing streak.

Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes and Travis d'Arnaud homered for New York, which led 4-0 after two innings. Cespedes went deep at Citi Field for just the third time this season, his first since June 17. D'Arnaud hit his first at home this year after nine on the road.

Joey Gallo, Adrian Beltre and Robinson Chirinos homered for Texas.

Flexen (1-1) allowed three runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings in his third big league start. A.J. Ramos gave up Chirinos' two-out homer in the ninth, then retired Drew Robinson on a groundout for his 21st save.

Texas' A.J. Griffin (5-3) allowed four runs and four hits in five innings.

PADRES 7, REDS 3

Cincinnati — Jose Pirela had four hits and Yangervis Solarte had a homer among his three hits, powering the Padres to the victory.

San Diego's Luis Perdomo (6-6) escaped threats by inducing three ground-ball double plays — his specialty — while pitching into the seventh.

Cincinnati catcher Tucker Barnhart hit a three-run homer off Jose Torres.

The Padres improved to 4-1 against the Reds, who haven't won a season series from them since 2012. The Reds have gone 7-18 since the All-Star break.

San Diego piled up nine hits and five runs off Sal Romano (2-4), who was in trouble in each of his six innings. Austin Hedges homered for a 5-0 lead in the sixth. Solarte connected for a two-run shot an inning later.

TWINS 11, BREWERS 4

Minneapolis — Brian Dozier hit his first career grand slam and Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario each homered twice, powering Minnesota to a two-game sweep of Milwaukee.

Matt Garza (5-6) turned in his shortest and worst start of the season with eight hits and eight runs allowed in 3 1/3 innings for the Brewers, who fell to 4-11 in their last 15 road games.

Twins starter Adalberto Mejia was pulled with one out in the fourth inning with pain in his upper left arm, after allowing seven hits and three runs. Tyler Duffey (1-3) relieved with two innings for his first victory of the season, and Dillon Gee struck out five over four scoreless innings for his first career save.

PIRATES 6, TIGERS 3

Pittsburgh — Andrew McCutchen hit his 23rd homer, leading Pittsburgh to its fifth win in six games.

Pirates right-hander Chad Kuhl (5-7) allowed three runs and five hits in six innings in his second straight win. He also picked up the first two RBIs of his big league career on a two-run single in the fourth off Matthew Boyd (5-6).

McCutchen took Boyd to the seats in center field leading off the fourth for his franchise-record 13th interleague home run. David Freese added two hits for the Pirates, and Felipe Rivero worked a perfect ninth for his 10th save.

Detroit has dropped four in a row.

PHILLIES 5, BRAVES 2

Atlanta — Odubel Herrera hit a two-run homer, Zach Eflin pitched seven strong innings following his recall from the minors, and the Phillies continued their season-long mastery of the Braves.

After Maikel Franco drove in Freddie Galvis with a line-drive single to right field in the fifth inning, Herrera reached down to pull a low pitch from Julio Teheran (7-10) into the restaurant behind the right-field wall.

Freddie Freeman hit a first-inning homer off Eflin, who was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley before the game and earned his first win of the season. Eflin (1-3) allowed two runs and seven hits.

The Phillies have won 10 of 12 against Atlanta this season.

Hector Neris pitched a perfect ninth for his 12th save in 15 chances.

ANGELS 3, ORIOLES 2

Anaheim, California — Parker Bridwell, a right-hander the Angels picked up simply for cash in mid-April from the Orioles, came back to haunt his former team in a victory for Los Angeles over Baltimore.

Bridwell (6-1) went seven strong innings, holding the Orioles to one run and six hits. He struck out four and did not walk a batter. The Angels are 10-1 this season in games started by Bridwell.

Jeremy Hellickson (7-6) was matching Bridwell until running into trouble in the seventh. He had retired 10 straight in the 1-1 game when the Angels chased him with four consecutive hits.

MARINERS 7, ATHLETICS 6

Oakland, California — Leonys Martin homered in the top of the 10th inning as the Mariners rallied from a four-run deficit to defeat the Athletics.

Martin hit a high arcing shot to right off a 2-1 94 mph fastball from Josh Smith (2-0) with two outs.

His second home run of the season pushed the Mariners' record on their nine-game road trip to 5-3.

Tony Zynch pitched out of a jam in the bottom of the 10th for his second save.

Marc Rzepczynski (2-0) pitched a scoreless inning in the bottom of the ninth.

The A's had runners at first and second with one out but Zynch struck out Chad Pinder swinging and got Matt Chapman to fly out to right.

GIANTS 6, CUBS 3

San Francisco — Buster Posey hit a three-run homer in the first that was upheld after review and later stole a base, Ty Blach won his second straight start and the Giants beat the Cubs.

Replay showed Posey's drive to left-center had just enough to clear the wall and left fielder Jon Jay's outstretched glove before being caught by a fan.

Blach (8-7) hit an RBI single to help his cause and the Giants snapped a four-game losing streak to the Cubs with just their third win in the last 10 against Chicago, which rallied to win Game 4 of the NL Division Series and eliminate the Giants last October on the way to a World Series title.

Blach also beat the Cubs again after a May 22 win at Wrigley Field, allowing two runs on seven hits in seven innings Tuesday with three strikeouts and a walk.


Update August 9, 2017

Real Madrid beat Manchester United 2-1 to win Super Cup

Manchester United's Victor Lindelof, right challenges for the ball with Real Madrid's Gareth Bale during the UEFA Super Cup final at Philip II Arena in Skopje, Macedonia, Tuesday, Aug. 8. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

Derek Gatopoulos

Skopje, Macedonia (AP) — Real Madrid eased to a 2-1 victory over Manchester United to win the Super Cup on Tuesday, with goals in each half from Casemiro and Isco.

Cristiano Ronaldo watched most of the end-to-end action from the bench, while his teammates outclassed United Cup on a hot night.

Casemiro hit the bar with a header and fired a shot over the top before scoring in the 24th minute. The Brazilian slid in for a left-foot finish, served up by Dani Carvajal.

Isco extended the lead for Zinedine Zidane's European champions with a shot in the 52nd, after Gareth Bale helped him run through United's defence.

Making amends for an earlier miss, United's new striker Romelu Lukaku made it 2-1 in the 62nd, beating Keylor Navas after the goalkeeper had blocked a powerful shot from Nemanja Matic.

"Key to winning this game were two things we do well," Zidane said. "We hold and control well, and we finish our chances at the right moment.

"The second half was not great, but the first half was spectacular. We have talented players who want to win every challenge. That’s how they want to grow as players."

The players needed two cooling breaks to cope with temperatures of 32C (90 F) that led to three spectators being taken to hospital.

The Super Cup pitches the previous season's Champions League winners against the Europa League holders.

It was Zidane's second consecutive Super Cup title. For United coach Jose Mourinho, it was a third failed attempt to add the trophy to his collection.

United matched Madrid for pace but lacked the finish to turn the match around. Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who regularly burst forward, and substitute Marcus Rashford provided much of United's threat.

Both Rashford and Paul Pogba missed glaring second-half chances, failing to score with Navas at their mercy.

The game was watched by former United coaching great Alex Ferguson. Ronaldo went on after the 80th minute and had little chance to make an impact as Madrid closed down their opponents.

Moments before the final whistle, a shirtless fan ran onto the pitch and was wrestled to the ground by stewards.

More than 2,500 police officers were on duty for the game in the tiny Balkan country. Four people were arrested, accused of selling unauthorized tickets. Authorities reported no major public disturbances after the match ended.

Following the award ceremony, Mourinho handed his medal to a young fan and later joked that he saw no point in holding onto it.

"Sometimes when I win I don't keep the medal, so imagine when I lose," he said. "For me, the medal would go to some place in my house and for that kid, it's the moon."


With challenger not admitted, Van Niekerk cruises to victory

South Africa's Wayde Van Niekerk celebrates after winning the gold medal in the men's 400-meter final during the World Athletics Championships in London Tuesday, Aug. 8. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Eddie Pells

London (AP) — If it seemed as though there were miles between Wayde van Niekerk and his closest competition on Tuesday — well, that wasn't so far from the truth.

On a chilly evening in which the South African sprinter eased up before the finish line and still won his second straight 400-meter world title by 0.43 seconds, the man who was expected to give him the toughest test wasn't even allowed in the stadium.

The stomach virus that hit a number of athletes at the world championships earlier in the week morphed into a full-fledged mess a few hours before the 400 final, when video surfaced of Isaac Makwala of Botswana — who has pushed Van Niekerk in races all season — being escorted away from the athletes' entrance to the stadium.

Makwala insisted he felt fine. But he vomited Monday before the heats of his other race, the 200 meters, and the IAAF said doctors checked him, determined he had norovirus and, per the recommendation of health regulators in Britain, told him he had to stay off the premises for 48 hours.

"I came here for a medal," a healthy looking Makwala said in an interview with BBC Sports. "Some people force you to withdraw. I'm OK to run, but someone's saying you can't run. It's a bad thing."

The IAAF put out its own statement defending the decision, saying it "is very sorry that the hard work and talent of Isaac Makwala won't be on display tonight but we have to think of the welfare of all athletes."

But that was hardly the end of the debate.

Social media erupted with second-guessing and hypotheticals, including: What would the IAAF have done if this had been Usain Bolt? And, What's the use of telling someone you're sick when they're just going to bar you from the stadium?

The innocent bystander was Van Niekerk, who, truth be told, would've been favored to win this race had Makwala been there anyway. He is the world-record holder and Olympic champion and is being touted as the planet's greatest sprinter in a post-Bolt world.

Van Niekerk won the race in a pedestrian-for-him 43.98 seconds, which was still two full paces ahead of silver and bronze medalists Steven Gardiner and Abdalelah Haroun.

"It was just definitely a heartbreaking moment," Van Niekerk said. "I saw him just before the 200-meter heat and the only thing I could think of was wrapping my arms around him and telling him to get well soon. As much as you want to leave with gold medals, you want to go out there with the best guys also out there."

Makwala wasn't the only top runner missing.

Minutes before her heat in the 200 meters was to start, Tori Bowie withdrew. The American was in the stadium and went through warm-ups, but the scrapes and bruises on her hip from the dive over the line in her 100-meter victory two nights before hadn't healed enough for her to race again. Her status for the relays Friday and Saturday was to be determined.

Also missing was David Rudisha of Kenya, the world-record holder at 800 meters who pulled out last week with a leg injury — a move that turned the event into a free-for-all. Pierre-Ambroise Bosse of France wound up with the gold.

Other winners were no surprise: Conseslus Kipruto of Kenya in the steeplechase and Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic in the javelin — a victory that came a decade after her last world title.

America's brightest moment came from Sam Kendricks, who was the only pole vaulter to clear 5.95 meters and captured his country's third gold medal of the meet.

Third-place finisher Renaud Lavillenie of France — booed mercilessly at last year's Olympics when he set the bar at a height that would've won him gold over a Brazilian favorite — also used his final attempt this year to go for the win at 6.01 instead of trying for second at 5.95.

"Silver or bronze, it's almost the same," Lavillenie explained. "You have one champion and two other medalists."

Pole vault may have been the best pure competition, but the evening will also be remembered for the showdown that never transpired: Makwala vs. Van Niekerk.

"As an athlete, as a brother, I would've liked to see my brother given a chance and do whatever he could do best," said Nijel Amos, an 800-meter finalist from Botswana.

Hard to argue with that — and Van Niekerk certainly did not.

"I have sympathy for him," he said. "I wish I could give him my medal."

He might have one to spare. With Bolt not racing in the 200, and Makwala — who would've contended at that distance, too — unable to get to the starting line, the odds of Van Niekerk completing the 200-400 double just keep getting better.


McIlroy feeling right at home at Quail Hollow for the PGA

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, signs autographs after a practice round at the PGA Championship golf tournament at the Quail Hollow Club Tuesday, Aug. 8, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Doug Ferguson

Charlotte, N.C. (AP) — Jordan Spieth is going for a career Grand Slam at the PGA Championship and doesn't appear to have a care in the world.

Rory McIlroy hasn't won a major in three years and expectations are higher than ever.

Blame that on Quail Hollow.

This is where McIlroy won his first PGA Tour event in 2010 when he fearlessly fired a 4-iron into the breeze and over the water to 6 feet for an eagle that allowed him to make the cut on the number, and then he followed with a 66-62 weekend. Quail Hollow is where he shot 61 in the third round to run away from a strong field for a seven-shot victory. He has played here seven times and has finished out of the top 10 just once.

It's not Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines.

But there's a reason McIlroy has been looking forward to this PGA Championship. And it's a big reason why he is the betting favorite by a slight margin over Spieth, who is just three weeks removed from winning the British Open.

The odds on McIlroy winning at Royal Birkdale were 20-1, some of the highest ever associated with him. He joked then that it was a good time to back him.

Now he's listed at 7-1, and he doesn't feel much differently.

"I told you those odds wouldn't last long," he said Tuesday. "I think it's partly to do with the upturn in form that I've had over the last few weeks. And then my history on this golf course — a couple of wins, beaten in a playoff, a few other top 10s.

"Things are a bit different than they were a couple of weeks ago."

McIlroy has posted seven straight rounds in the 60s going into the final major of the year, though he has not been in serious contention in either the British Open or the Bridgestone Invitational. A bad start held him back at Royal Birkdale — 5 over through the opening six holes — and he was slowed by not hitting his wedges close enough or making enough putts at Firestone.

His long game has been solid as ever, and that figures to be an advantage on a course already softened by rain on Tuesday and with storms in the forecast for the rest of the week.

McIlroy, like Spieth, also has three legs of the career Grand Slam. He is lacking only the Masters, and he hasn't come particularly close in the three years he has gone to Augusta National with a chance to complete it. But there are differences.

McIlroy won the British Open at Hoylake in 2014 and then had to wait nearly nine month for the Masters. That was plenty of time to think about it, to answer to it.

"It plays on your mind a little bit," he said. "I think that's where Jordan doesn't have to deal with that coming into this week. It's great to be able to ride on the crest of a wave and just sort of keep it going."

Spieth said that if every player was polled, all would agree that McIlroy will win a green jacket. He considered McIlroy's age (28) and how many more opportunities he had in front of him. However, Spieth also spoke last month about how important it was to capture his first major at the Masters in 2015 when he was 21. He got it out of the way without allowing pressure to build as it did for Phil Mickelson, who won his first major at 34, or Sergio Garcia, who won the Masters this year at 37.

So why is this different?

After all, Tom Watson was 32 and Arnold Palmer was 31 when they first went to the PGA Championship with a chance to get the career slam.

"Yeah, but it's totally different," Spieth said. "Because winning a major versus winning a career Grand Slam ... if you don't win a major versus you don't win a career Grand Slam, it's two different things in my mind."

McIlroy, meanwhile, isn't the only player trying to make sure the year doesn't end without him winning a major. Dustin Johnson looked good enough to win them all until he slipped down the stairs and wrenched his back on the eve of the Masters.

Johnson believes his game is close to where it was before the injury. What separates him from McIlroy is Quail Hollow. Johnson, who will stay at No. 1 regardless of what happens this week, has played Quail Hollow only three times, and not since 2011. He missed the cut twice and tied for 29th.

McIlroy almost feels like he can roll out of bed and play well at Quail Hollow.

He can only hope to join a short list of players who have won a major on the same course where they won a PGA Tour event — Woods (Pebble Beach and Torrey Pines, both times in the same year), Jack Nicklaus (Firestone), Ben Hogan (Riviera in the same year) and Walter Hagen (Olympia Fields).

"There's certain golf courses that you can see yourself shoot a score on," McIlroy said. "You don't really have to have your best game and you still feel like you have a chance to win. And that's sort of how it feels here."


Sale strikes out 13 Rays, Red Sox win seventh straight, 2-0

Boston Red Sox starter Chris Sale pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the sixth inning of their baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 8, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

Dick Scanlon

St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP) — Chris Sale allowed two hits in eight innings and struck out 13, and the Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-0 on Tuesday for their seventh straight victory.

Sale (14-4) reached double digits in strikeouts for the 15th time this season, the first time that's been done since Randy Johnson in 2002.

The win pushed Boston's AL East lead over the New York Yankees to four games.

Dustin Pedroia, back in the Boston lineup as a DH after a stint on the disabled list with left knee inflammation, scored the first run on a fielder's choice in the fourth. A bad throw by Austin Pruitt (6-3) prevented a possible inning-ending double play on Rafael Devers' chopper to the mound.

It was the only run allowed by Pruitt in his fourth major league start. He pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings in a win at Houston last Wednesday.

Sale (14-4) gave up singles to Wilson Ramos in the fifth and Peter Bourjos in the sixth. The Rays did not get a runner to second base until the seventh, when Sale followed a walk to Logan Morrison with a wild pitch. It was his only walk.

Sale, who leads the majors with 229 strikeouts in 23 starts, has struck out at least 12 in four straight starts against the Rays.

Jackie Bradley Jr. drove in Boston's other run with the third single off reliever Ryne Stanek in the ninth.

Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth for his 28th save.

Eduardo Nunez and Xander Bogaerts each had three of Boston's 12 hits.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: LHP David Price, on the 10-day disabled list with elbow inflammation, threw nearly 30 fastballs on Tuesday and will be re-evaluated Wednesday. ... 1B-DH Hanley Ramirez, sidelined since Friday with a sore oblique muscle, might be in the lineup Wednesday night, manager John Farrell said.

Rays: RHP Alex Cobb was placed on the 10-day disabled list with turf toe. LHP Blake Snell replaced Cobb on the roster and will pitch Thursday night against Cleveland. ... RHP Matt Andriese, on the 60-day DL with a right hip stress reaction, threw batting practice Tuesday and might make a rehab start this weekend.

UP NEXT

RHP Rick Porcello will pitch Wednesday night against Tampa Bay's Jake Odorizzi (6-4), who missed two rotation turns due to a lower back strain. Porcello (5-14) pitched a complete game at Tropicana Field on July 8, but lost 1-0.


Bouchard loses in 1st round of Rogers Cup

Eugenie Bouchard, of Canada, sits in her chair between games against Donna Vekic, of Croatia, during their first-round match at the Rogers Cup WTA women's tennis tournament in Toronto, Tuesday, Aug. 8. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP)

Toronto (AP) - Eugenie Bouchard was eliminated in the first round of the Rogers Cup on Tuesday, losing to Donna Vekic in straight sets.

The 23-year-old Bouchard, who made a name for herself when she reached the Wimbledon final in 2014 after two straight Grand Slam semifinal appearances, has failed to make it past the second round in six straight tournaments. The Canadian was a wild-card entry this week.

Making her main draw debut at the Rogers Cup, Vekic broke the 70th-ranked Bouchard six times in her 6-3, 6-4 victory. The 21-year-old Vekic, ranked 51st in the world, will face No. 3 seed Angelique Kerber in the second round.

"I think I just made too many unforced errors, you know. I'm obviously a bit low in confidence right now," Bouchard said. "It's tough to get through tough matches when you're in a moment like that."

Bouchard broke Vekic for a 2-1 lead in the second set, but lost her next serve and bounced her racket off the ground in frustration. Each player held serve over the next five games before Bouchard hit the net down 40-30 to give Vekic the match.

Bianca Andreescu, coming off a quarterfinal run at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., last week, lost 6-4, 6-1 to 55th-ranked Timea Babos of Hungary in her Rogers Cup main-draw debut.

The 17-year-old Andreescu, ranked 144th in the world, was the last remaining Canadian in the women's singles draw.

Also Tuesday, 18-year-old American Catherine Bellis rallied from down a set to defeat Julia Goerges 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. She will face eighth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova in the second round.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Agnieska Radwanska, Ekaterina Makarova, Elena Vesnina, Ashleigh Barty, Caroline Garcia and Magdalena Rybarikova also advanced. In second-round play Tuesday, fifth-seed Elina Svitolina beat Daria Kasatkina.


Update August 8, 2017

Jamaica overcomes the hurdles, finally gets its gold

Jamaica's Omar Mcleod celebrates after winning the gold medal in the men's 110-meter hurdles final during the World Athletics Championships in London Monday, Aug. 7. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Eddie Pells

London (AP) — The tune blaring across the stadium sound system was unmistakable: "Jamming" by Bob Marley. The flag the winner paraded around the track was familiar, too: The black, green and gold cross of Jamaica.

That 110-meter hurdler Omar McLeod was at the center of this celebration Monday wasn't all that big a surprise. That McLeod was the first from the island to do the honors at this year's world championships still feels like something of a shock.

The 23-year-old from Kingston did what Usain Bolt and Elaine Thompson could not the previous nights in the 100 meters — namely, powered toward the finish line and left the field behind to bring a gold medal home to a country that has come to expect nothing less.

"I took it upon myself to reroute that and bring that spark back," said McLeod, who adds this gold medal to his Olympic title from last year. "I'm happy I did that."

McLeod won in 13.04 seconds, while the world-record holder, American Aries Merritt, finished fifth. It marked the first disappointment of the meet for the U.S. on a straightaway where Justin Gatlin and Tori Bowie won the 100 and Christian Coleman finished second to Gatlin and one spot ahead of Bolt.

The U.S. got shut out of the medals in the 110 hurdles for the first time since the world championships were first contested in 1983. That, plus the unlikely notion of McLeod, not Bolt, breaking the ice at the top of the podium for Jamaica were Exhibits 1 and 1a of why they run the races.

"Everyone in the hurdling game is hurdling well," said Merritt, who was competing in his first major competition since a kidney transplant after the 2015 worlds. "The event is much deeper than it has been in a long time."

Sergey Shubenkov of Russia finished 0.1 seconds behind McLeod for the silver medal, though that prize will go in nobody's column.

Shubenkov came in as the defending world champion, but was not able to compete at the Olympics last year because of the doping scandal that has engulfed his country. He is one of 19 Russians cleared to compete in London this year — his anti-doping regimen judged to be robust enough to return to competition.

But with Russia's track federation still suspended, all 19 of the Russians are competing as neutral athletes. They are wearing aqua, red and pink uniforms with no hint of the Russian flag or any other Russian symbol.

"Not a big deal," Shubenkov said. "There are a lot of people in my hometown, it's 4 or 5 a.m., and they're not sleeping. It means a lot for my family. It means a lot for every person in my country that was watching it, supporting me. The color of the vest doesn't matter."

Asked whether doping is still a problem in his home country, Shubenkov insisted "not only in Russia but worldwide."

"I'm not into the subject, really," he said. "Since my clearance, I got into my training and I'm not as much into the news as I was last year."

Other gold medalists Monday were Venezuela's Yulimar Rojas in the triple jump and Poland's Anita Wlodarczyk in the hammer throw.

Kenya's Faith Kipyegon won the 1,500 meters, while Caster Semenya moved from fifth to third over the last 50 meters to capture the bronze — along with a position behind a microphone for the medalists' news conference.

The IAAF is looking to reinstate an overturned ban on Semenya, claiming her higher-than-normal testosterone levels give her an unfair advantage over the other women. It's an issue playing out in hearing rooms, and it could be resolved by early next year. Pressed, as she often is in these circumstances, about a case that has been in the headlines for nearly a decade, she said she was unconcerned.

"It's their business, not mine," she said. "As a human, you get to a point where you just focus on you. ... Such situations are a waste of time for me. I can't really put my mind on them."

Semenya was wrapping up her race at about the same time news started circulating about a stomach virus that hit several athletes competing in London. Among those afflicted was Isaac Makwala of Botswana, who pulled out of the 200-meter heats earlier in the day and could be compromised for the 400-meter final Tuesday, where he was expected to challenge defending champion Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa.

Asked about the illness, the hurdlers knew nothing of it.

"This is my first time hearing about it," McLeod said.

But how's this for breaking news: McLeod, who has previously cracked the 10-second barrier in the 100 meters, said he would be available later this week to run on the Jamaican 4x100 relay team, where Bolt will return to make his final bid for gold.

They may take him up on that. Then again, he's done a lot already.

"I wanted to dedicate this win to Usain Bolt's retirement," McLeod said. "He set the legacy for Jamaican track and field. It was only right I do it for him."


Root's England end home drought against South Africa

South Africa's Duanne Olivier, right, is caught by England's Ben Stokes, 2nd left, as England win the fourth and final test match of the series at Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Monday Aug. 7. (Anthony Devlin/PA via AP)

Manchester, England (AP) — Moeen Ali finished South Africa off — with bat and with the ball — as Joe Root led England to a long-awaited home series win over the Proteas in his first assignment as captain.

Offspinner Ali took 5-69 to settle the fourth and final test on Monday, giving England a 177-run victory at Old Trafford, a 3-1 series win, and ending a 19-year drought at home against South Africa.

It was England's second successive series win over South Africa after winning in South Africa 18 months ago, but South Africa had been defiant in England since 1998 and had ended the reign of three previous England skippers.

Root began his reign by conquering South Africa.

Ali played two pivotal parts in the series-clinching victory, first hitting a flamboyant 75 not out in England's second innings to ensure the lead was out of South Africa's reach.

He then broke a 123-run stand between Hashim Amla (83) and Faf du Plessis (61), seeing off South Africa's last bit of fight with the first of his five quick wickets on Day 4. Having made the breakthrough, Ali sent England surging to victory with plenty of time to spare as the last seven South Africa wickets fell for 39 runs in just over 12 overs.

England set South Africa 380 to win, and bowled the tourists out for 202 in their second innings soon after tea.

In their first series under Root, England were ultimately convincing in three of the four tests, with their only wobble coming in a heavy defeat in the second match at Trent Bridge.

Having won by 211 runs in the opener at Lord's, England responded to the defeat in Nottingham — and questions over Root's young leadership — with dominant victories at The Oval and Old Trafford.

"We've had to overcome different challenges but the way we've played as a unit, especially in these last two games, we've been brilliant," Root said. "Lots of hard work to do in the future, but, yeah, great series."

The end, and Ali's five-for, came quickly as South Africa's last hopes went when the stand was broken with the departure of Amla, lbw on review to England's offspinning allrounder.

Ali removed Quinton de Kock and Theunis de Bruyn in the space of three balls in his next over, and sealed victory by claiming the final two wickets of the test in successive balls.

Twice Ali changed the momentum of the game, breaking the Amla-Du Plessis resistance and, a day earlier, responding to England's second-innings struggles with his boundary-filled 75 off just 66 balls. Before Ali's entrance, England were in some trouble at 129-5 and then 153-7.

"I just felt like we needed that when I went in to bat," said Ali, who top-scored for England at No. 8. "I didn't really back my defence as much so I went out and played some shots."

Ali was part of partnerships that added 109 runs to England's lead in that second innings, and then changed the course of the last day as South Africa went from 163-3 to 173-6 in the space of 17 balls.

With that, the Proteas were all but done.

"I thought at times we showed some real good fight but, consistently, England were coming up with the answers," South Africa captain Du Plessis said. "The quality of the English bowling attack was superb. They were relentless and as a batting unit we felt we could never really get on top of them."

England weren't perfect in their first four tests under Root. Root and former captain Alastair Cook aside, the top order consistently misfired. But from No. 5 down, England have a steady stream of match-winning allrounders. Ali, Ben Stokes and wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow all made match-changing contributions during the series.

"It's a real luxury to have," Root said.


Mourinho: We'd chase Bale if Real Madrid lose interest

Manchester United's manager Jose Mourinho, right, looks on during a training session at Philip II Arena in Skopje, Macedonia, Monday, Aug. 7, a day ahead of the UEFA Super Cup final match with Real Madrid. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

Derek Gatopoulos

Skopje, Macedonia (AP) — Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho issued a challenge to his former club, saying he'd be happy to pursue Real Madrid striker Gareth Bale if the Spanish giants no longer considered him a key player.

Mourinho made the remarks on the eve of their match for the Super Cup in the Macedonian capital Skopje. The annual event is between the winners of the Champions League and Europa League.

Whether Bale starts on Tuesday at Philip II Arena would a clear sign of the club's intentions, Mourhino said.

"If he plays tomorrow, that's confirmation that he's in the club's plans," he said. "But if he is not in those plans I'd wait on the other side, and I'd fight with other coaches who would also try to get him."

Former United player Cristiano Ronaldo was in Madrid's squad, following a break to prepare for a court inquiry into his taxes.

United midfielder Juan Mata conceded there was a quality gap between the teams.

"We are talking about the actual Champions League winners ... they are the ones that everyone wants to beat. They've got a great team. They won the league in Spain as well," Mata said.

"The (quality gap) is not very big. But we are talking about the best teams in the world: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich. But I also consider Manchester United to be there."

As fans of both clubs arrived in the Balkan country, local authorities said more than 2,000 police officers would be on duty for the match with instructions to carry out extensive security checks as well as inspections for tickets sold on the black market.

Supporters also had to contend with a spike in hotel and private room rates, with some homeowners asking up to $1,750 for a one-night stay.

The temperature on match day is set to reach 38 degrees (100 F). Authorities have issued public health warnings, urging children and older people to avoid going outdoors at midday, while parts of the country were under a state of emergency due to large forest fires.


McGregor's biggest rival: "No way" Conor beats Mayweather

 

In this Dec. 12, 2015, file photo, Conor McGregor, left, fights Jose Aldo during their featherweight championship mixed martial arts bout at UFC 194 in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Greg Beacham

Los Angeles (AP) — Conor McGregor became known as a fighter with a mystical ability to defy the odds because of his stunning upset victory over Jose Aldo, the former UFC featherweight champion.

Aldo says there's zero chance McGregor can beat the daunting odds he faces when he steps into a boxing ring with Floyd Mayweather.

"There is no way McGregor can defeat Mayweather," Aldo said. "Mayweather has done this his entire life, and it's a different sport."

The way Aldo sees it, McGregor has obvious motivations for the spectacle that will occur Aug. 26 in Las Vegas — and those motivations don't include boxing glory.

"After the Mayweather fight, he'll get lots of millions of dollars," Aldo said. "Probably he'll never fight again."

Aldo was the most dominant champion in mixed martial arts until McGregor set his sights on the Brazilian star several years ago. McGregor embarrassed and infuriated the champ with his loquacious showmanship during the buildup to their December 2015 bout — and then McGregor stunned the UFC with a 13-second knockout of Aldo, flattening the feared 145-pound star with one punch.

While McGregor's win ended Aldo's 10-year winning streak, nobody found it to be as utterly improbable as a potential victory over Mayweather (49-0), the most successful boxer of his generation. McGregor worked relentlessly to get under Aldo's skin during the months before their fight, and Aldo recognizes the similarities in the mental game McGregor is playing against Mayweather.

McGregor calls himself "Mystic Mac" due to his ability to predict the results of his fights. While he has been wrong before — such as in his submission loss to Nate Diaz last year — he has shown a remarkable ability to back up his boasts with results.

McGregor vowed to stop Mayweather within four rounds during their uproarious promotional tour last month, but Aldo is among those who don't think even McGregor believes it. Aldo saw the posturing and insult-trading as something else entirely.

"It's a joke," Aldo said. "He's just looking for the money."

Aldo spoke while in Los Angeles to support Brazilian boxer Esquiva Falcao, who fought on the undercard of Vasyl Lomachenko's victory over Miguel Marriaga.

McGregor never defended the featherweight belt that he took from Aldo, who reclaimed that 145-pound title last year with a win over Frankie Edgar. Aldo lost the belt again in June to Max Holloway, who stopped him in the third round in Brazil.

Aldo said he doesn't plan to move up to lightweight, but hopes to reclaim the featherweight belt from Holloway, who received praise from Aldo. The loss to McGregor stings much more.

"(McGregor) can say whatever he wants, but he was a lucky guy," Aldo said. "One punch and he finished it. No skills."


2-time Tour winner Alberto Contador to retire after Vuelta

 

Spain's Alberto Contador announced Monday Aug. 7, that he will retire next month after riding in the Spanish Vuelta. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Madrid (AP) — Two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador will retire next month after riding in the Spanish Vuelta.

Contador announced his plan to stop racing on a video posted Monday on Instagram. The Spanish rider said the Vuelta "will be my last race as a professional cyclist."

"It's a decision that I have thought (about) very well and I don't think there is a better farewell than in the home race and in my country," he said.

The three-week Vuelta starts Aug. 19.

Second only to five-time Tour winner Miguel Indurain in Spanish cycling lore, the 34-year-old Contador has been one of the sport's top riders for the last decade in a contentious career.

He accumulated seven grand tour titles, winning the Spanish Vuelta three times and the Giro d'Italia twice.

Only five other riders have ever won the three grand tours.

Contador won the Tour de France in 2007 and 2009. But in 2012 he was stripped of a third Tour title from 2010 and banned for two years for doping. The Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected Contador's claim that his positive test for clenbuterol was caused by eating contaminated meat on a 2010 Tour rest day.

Contador is riding for Trek-Segafredo this season.


Update August 7, 2017

Bowie wins 100 meters at world championships

United States' Tori Bowie, left, crosses the line to win the gold in the women's 100-meter final during the World Athletics Championships in London Sunday, Aug. 6. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Eddie Pells

London (AP) — The American sprinter took a mighty tumble. Nobody, however, has fallen harder than Jamaica so far at this year's world championships.

The evening after Usain Bolt's improbable loss to a pair of U.S. runners, the world's best sprint island watched the red, white and blue paraded around the track once again at its expense.

Tori Bowie leaned over the line for her 100-meter victory, then stumbled and crashed down to the track to put the exclamation point on the second straight sprint shock of the meet. Her .01-second victory Sunday over Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast was a photo-finish thriller. The fact that the defending Olympic champion and the most dominant female sprinter of 2017, Elaine Thompson of Jamaica, finished fifth was every bit as stunning.

"The past few years, Jamaica has dominated," Bowie said. "We've had no harsh feelings toward them, no negative thoughts. We've been extremely focused on ourselves. Just trying to get where they're at."

In snapping a stretch of four straight Jamaican wins at the Olympics and worlds, Bowie became the first U.S. woman to win the world title at 100 meters since Carmelita Jeter in 2011. This marks the first U.S. sweep of the 100 at the worlds since 2005.

Bowie's time, 10.85 seconds, was nothing spectacular. Her race, though, was something to behold.

She trailed Ta Lou by two paces as they headed into the last 20 meters but Bowie just kept charging. She caught Ta Lou at the end, and Bowie's lean at the line was textbook. The photo finish actually shows Ta Lou's foot ahead of Bowie's, but Bowie beats her where it counts — her torso is over the line a fraction of an inch ahead of Ta Lou's.

Dafne Schippers, the 2015 world champion in the 200, took bronze in 10.96.

"It's not like there's a training session for a lean," said Bowie's coach, Lance Brauman. "She did what she had to do to get to the line first. She's scraped up and won and that's all that really matters."

The lean was so extreme, it sent Bowie off balance and careening into Lane 8, where she landed on her left hip while the runner in that lane, Murielle Ahoure, had to slow down, then jump to avoid landing on her.

Bowie stayed down for a few seconds. The "7'' sticker on her left hip was torn almost completely off. She gathered herself and walked gingerly around the track for the victory lap. Afterward, she spent about an hour receiving treatment for abrasions on her shoulder, back and hip. The pain will go away. That gold is hers forever.

"The plan was to just come out here and execute, leave it all on the track," Bowie said. "I didn't want to come back saying, 'Oh, I should've done this. I should've done that.' That for sure wasn't the case."

Much as Bolt did the night before, Thompson moved awkwardly out of the blocks. Her 0.2 second reaction time was the worst in the field, and from there, she was never a factor in the race.

Quite a stunner, given the way she's dominated the sprint game over the past year. Since she beat the previous champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica, at the Olympics last year on her way to a 100-200 double, Thompson has been virtually untouchable. She came to London on a 17-race winning streak at 100 meters and her season-best time of 10.71 was the fastest in the world by more than 0.1 second.

One thing: She had been dealing with an Achilles' injury this year and ran — and won — a race last month in training shoes, not spikes. She refused to use injuries as an excuse.

"I can't complain," she said. "I can't re-run that race. I have to give those girls a lot of credit. It didn't go as I planned."

Like Bolt, Thompson won't be running in the 200, raising the distinct possibility that the Jamaicans could get completely shut out of individual sprint gold at the worlds.

But Bowie will be there. The one-time long jumper who took up the sprint game only a few years ago posted a 21.77 at the Prefontaine Classic earlier this year, which is the fastest in the world this season.

First, though, some time to heal.

"I'm pretty sure I'll feel much better tomorrow," Bowie said.

DAY 3 WINNERS: Rose Chelimo and Geoffrey Kirui took the titles in the marathon doubleheader. ... Tomas Walsh won the gold in shot put for New Zealand — a result that was verified after Joe Kovacs lost an appeal over his last throw. The throw would've been a winner but the American was ruled to have foot faulted, and the call was held up on appeal. ... Ekaterini Stefanidi of Greece held off Sandi Morris of the United States to claim pole vault gold. ... Nafi Thiam of Belgium added a world championship gold medal in heptathlon to her Olympic title.


Matsuyama wins at Firestone with big finish

Hideki Matsuyama, from Japan, pumps his fist after his birdie putt on the 18th hole in the final round of the Bridgestone Invitational golf tournament at Firestone Country Club, Sunday, Aug. 6, in Akron, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Doug Ferguson

Akron, Ohio (AP) — Hideki Matsuyama was along for the ride four years ago when he watched Tiger Woods tear apart Firestone Country Club on his way to a 61 in the second round, which tied the South course record and sent Woods to a seven-shot victory in the Bridgestone Invitational.

"I just couldn't believe that anyone could shoot 61 on this golf course," Matsuyama said.

He sure didn't expect that from himself Sunday, especially after warming up so badly that Matsuyama wasn't sure which the way ball was going. Some four hours later, the 25-year-old Japanese star had a place alongside Woods in the record book.

Matsuyama finished with three straight birdies to cap off a runaway victory with a 9-under 61, giving him his second World Golf Championship in nine month. It was the lowest final round in four decades at venerable Firestone, and it gave Matsuyama a five-shot victory over Zach Johnson.

He finished at 16-under 264 and moved back to the top of the FedEx Cup standings.

Matsuyama found more than just his swing after he left the range. He might have found the game that first elevated him to the elite in golf last fall when he had four victories and two runner-up finishes over six straight tournaments.

And the timing couldn't be better with the PGA Championship four days away, with a Japanese nation clamoring for its first major champion.

"I hope their expectations aren't too high," Matsuyama said. "But my expectations really at the beginning of this week weren't that high, either, and here we are."

He won for the third time this season, joining Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth for most on the PGA Tour.

"Once he gets going, he just keeps the hammer down and keeps it going," Rory McIlroy said. "It's very impressive. He's played very impressively over the past 18 months with a lot of wins and a lot of good finishes. That's the caliber of player he is. I expect him to be right up there next week, as well."

Matsuyama, who started the final round two shots behind Thomas Pieters and Zach Johnson, quickly got into the hunt by chipping in from 60 feet for eagle. He took the lead for the first time on No. 6 with a 15-foot birdie, and then he was gone.

Woods shot 61 twice at Firestone. Jose Maria Olazabal in 1990 and Sergio Garcia in 2014 were the other players to do it. Matsuyama knew from his experience playing with Woods in 2013 what it would take. And just like everything else on this day, he made it look easy.

He spun a wedge back to 4 feet on the par-5 16th for birdie. He holed an 8-foot putt on the 17th hole and then closed with another approach and settled 6 feet away.

He now has won two World Golf Championships by a combined 12 shots, having captured the HSBC Champions by seven shots in Shanghai last fall.

Johnson, winless since his British Open victory two years ago at St. Andrews, pulled within one shot with a long birdie putt at the 11th, but he could do no better than pars the rest of the way and shot 68.

Pieters was never in the game after missing 4-foot par putts on successive holes to close out the front nine. He closed with a 71.

The only other player with a chance was Charley Hoffman, who also was one shot behind on the back nine. Hoffman was three shots behind on the par-5 16th hole when his caddie suggested laying up because there was no place to get it close by going for the green 282 yards away.

"I'm trying to win a tournament," Hoffman said. "I'm tired of finishing second."

He ripped a 3-wood onto the green and over the back into light rough, chipped weakly to 15 feet and made par anyway. He wound up with a 66 to finish third, though it was a big step in trying to make his first Presidents Cup team.

Matsuyama's final birdie broke by one shot the lowest final round by a winner at Firestone. Fulton Allem shot 62 when he won the old World Series of Golf in 1993.

McIlroy got within one shot of the lead on the front nine with three birdies in six holes until his momentum stalled with a few missed putts. He stumbled on the back nine and shot 69, leaving him in a tie for fifth with Russell Knox, Paul Casey and Adam Hadwin.

Spieth closed with a 68 and tied for 13th in his last tournament before he goes for the career Grand Slam in the PGA Championship. After the Bridgestone Invitational, add one more player — Matsuyama — to the list of major obstacles in his way.

"I haven't won a major yet. I have a lot of work left to do," Matsuyama said. "But that's not to say that I don't have confidence."


Community Shield: Arsenal beat Chelsea in penalty shootout

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud, right, celebrates after scoring the winning penalty during the English Community Shield match against Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday, Aug. 6. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Rob Harris

London (AP) — Arsenal will start the Premier League season on a high note after mastering the experimental ABBA penalty shootout pattern to beat Chelsea to the Community Shield.

Wembley Stadium provided the biggest stage yet for global trials with the format that mixes up the order of penalties rather than spotkicks alternating between teams A and B.

The long-standing system was deemed by soccer's lawmaking body to be handing an unfair advantage to the team going first. And going second in the rejigged shootout, Arsenal overwhelmed Chelsea 4-1 to win the traditional curtain raiser to the English season after the match was locked at 1-1 after 90 minutes.

"We showed great composure to come back to the game," Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech said, "then it is penalties and who keeps their cool better."

Only six penalties were required between Premier League champions Chelsea and FA Cup holders Arsenal.

Gary Cahill got Chelsea off to a perfect start before Theo Walcott and Nacho Monreal responded by finding the target for Arsenal. But Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois blazed his kick over the crossbar followed by striker Alvaro Morata also missing.

Arsenal duo Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Olivier Giroud then converted their kicks in succession to ensure the north London club started the new season just as they finished the last one — by beating Chelsea at Wembley.

Just like in the FA Cup final, Chelsea were reduced to 10 men.

Victor Moses, who was sent off in the May showpiece, made amends this time by putting Chelsea in front a minute into the second half by getting on the end of Cahill's header.

"Even though we were 1-0 down we didn't panic and kept control of our game and came back," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said.

Arsenal gained a man advantage with 10 minutes to go when Pedro Rodriguez, wearing a mask after being injured on Chelsea's pre-season tour of Asia, was dismissed for a studs-up sliding challenge on Mohamed Elneny.

It proved even costlier when the resulting free kick by Granit Xhaka was headed in by new defensive signing Sead Kolasinac, sending the game into the shootout.

"Physically he is naturally very strong," Wenger said of Kolasinac, who was a free recruit after being out of contract at Schalke. "We have players pumped up in the gym and players who were born strong. And he was the second part."

Defeat for Chelsea added to the uneasy atmosphere around the club since winning the title, with uncertainty and rancor surrounding the future of striker Diego Costa, who is up for sale and didn't play at Wembley.

Asked about Costa, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte replied: "I have already replied to this question."

The tough questions on the pitch will start next weekend when the league season begins. Chelsea open their title defence against Burnley on Saturday. Arsenal play Leicester on Friday as Wenger chases a first league title since 2004, with his team out of the Champions League after finishing fifth last season.

"It's down to us to keep a positive atmosphere around the team," said Wenger, who dithered over his own future before signing a new two-season contract after the FA Cup success. "A lot was created by my own situation. Maybe I made a mistake."


Netherlands crowned women's European soccer champions

Players of the Netherlands celebrate with the trophy after defeating Denmark at the Women's Euro 2017 soccer final in Enschede, the Netherlands, Sunday, Aug. 6. (AP Photo/Patrick Post)

Mike Corder

Enschede, Netherlands (AP) — Striker Vivianne Miedema scored twice Sunday as the Netherlands beat Denmark 4-2 to win their first Women's European Championship title and set off a huge party among thousands of orange-clad fans.

Long after the final whistle and award ceremony, the players — many clutching bottles of Champagne — danced through the corridors of the FC Twente stadium chanting "Champions!"

The success of the Dutch women's team is in stark contrast to the country's men, who failed to qualify for last year's European Championship in France and are struggling to reach next year's World Cup in Russia.

Netherlands coach Sarina Wiegman said she hoped the victory and success of the tournament on home soil would promote the game among Dutch girls and prove a platform on which to build greater success for the women's team as it prepares to start qualification for the World Cup later this year.

It was a disappointing end to the tournament for Denmark, who knocked out six-time defending champions Germany in the quarterfinals and reached their first final after losing five previous semifinals. A penalty shootout win over Austria after extra time in the semifinals left the Danes looking tired in the second half, allowing the Dutch to control play.

The end of the German reign as European champions after more than two decades at the top is a sign that the game is improving across the continent, Wiegman said.

"Germany was champion and nobody else could get close," she said. "Today we changed that. Actually Denmark changed it and we continued today."

The game started well for the Danes, when striker Nadia Nadim — a former refugee from Afghanistan whose father was killed by the Taliban — converted a sixth-minute penalty after Kika van Es clumsily brought down Sanne Troelsgaard in the area.

"Sometimes you can't choose what you want. You just get it," said Nadim, who fled Afghanistan after her father's death and settled in Denmark. She now plays for the Portland Thorns in the U.S. National Women's Soccer League.

The Dutch fans did not have to wait long for their team to cancel out Nadim's opener.

A long ball by midfielder Jackie Groenen launched right winger Shanice van de Sanden and her low cross was met by Miedema for her third goal in as many matches in the knockout stage of the tournament.

Left winger Lieke Martens, named player of the tournament after the match, put the Dutch ahead in the 28th when she drifted into the center, turned a defender and fired a low shot past goalkeeper Stina Lykke Petersen.

Five minutes later, Denmark were back on terms at 2-2 when captain Pernille Harder overcame the Dutch offside trap and then beat Sari van Veenendaal at her near post with a well-placed shot.

Captain Sherida Spitse restored the Dutch lead after the break with a free kick that rolled wide of the wall and into the corner. Miedema, who had been criticized for not scoring in the group stage, sealed the victory in the 89th with her second goal of the final.

"It was tough at the start, but then things started going well," the forward told Dutch broadcaster NOS. "Today the first half was so chaotic, Denmark was good, and it was fantastic that we could show in the second half that we can play good football."

The frenetic match was played in front of a sell-out crowd of more than 28,000 fans, including Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik, at FC Twente's stadium in the eastern city of Enschede. Also in the crowd was Marco van Basten, the star of the Dutch men's team that won the 1988 European Championship.

Nadim, who overcame so much to reach the final, said she was disappointed with the loss, "but maybe in a week or so we can be proud of our performance and happy that we won a silver medal, but right now it feels like we lost a gold medal."


Marc Marquez wins Czech Grand Prix to increase overall lead

Spanish MotoGP rider Marc Marquez of the Repsol Honda Team celebrates his victory in the Czech Republic motorcycle Grand Prix at the Automotodrom Brno, in Brno, Czech Republic, Sunday, Aug. 6. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Brno, Czech Republic (AP) — Defending MotoGP champion Marc Marquez won the Czech Grand Prix on Sunday to increase his overall lead with a third victory of the season.

Starting on a wet track that was quickly drying out, riders were allowed to swap their bikes for ones with tires suitable for dry conditions.

Marquez was the first to do so, a strategy that paid off for him and secured his second straight victory.

Starting from pole, Marquez had the best start but was overtaken by Jorge Lorenzo on the opening lap and then dropped further down the field.

After the swap, the Spaniard used the speed of his Honda to take the lead with 18 laps to go and cruised unchallenged to victory in 44 minutes and 15.974 seconds on the 5.403-kilometer (3.357-mile) Brno circuit.

"I went in very very early, it was still wet, it was still very difficult," the three-time MotoGP champion said. "I'm very very happy. This kind of races are very very difficult. This championship will be long, will be hard. But we took these 25 points, very important."

It was the 32nd victory for Marquez in MotoGP.

His Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa was second, 12.438 seconds behind to become only the third rider to reach the podium 150 times in all categories after Italians Giacomo Agostini and Valentino Rossi.

Maverick Vinales was third on a Yamaha, 18.135 back while his teammate, six-time MotoGP champion Rossi placed fourth. Rossi was leading with 19 laps to go but waited too long to make the swap.

With eight races to go, Marquez leads the overall standings with 154 points from Vinales on 140 in second. Rossi is fourth with 132, trailing Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso by one point.

The next race is the Austrian Grand Prix next week.

Earlier, Joan Mir won his sixth Moto3 race of the season to stretch his overall lead in wet conditions. In Moto2, Thomas Luthi took the first win of the season in a race that started on a dry track but had to be interrupted due to rain after seven laps and restarted.


Kim holds on to win Women's British Open

Korea's In-Kyung Kim plays her approach to the 2nd hole during day four of the 2017 Women's British Open at Kingsbarns Golf Links, St Andrews, Sunday Aug. 6. (Kenny Smith/PA via AP)

John Huggan

St. Andrews, Scotland (AP) — I.K. Kim banished the haunting memory of missing a 14-inch putt to win a major and replaced it with the sweetest sensation.

Finally, she can call herself a major champion.

Staked to a six-shot lead in the Women's British Open, Kim never led anyone get closer than two shots at Kingsbarns Links and sealed victory with a bold hybrid over the burn to the 17th green. She made nine pars on the back nine and closed with a 1-under 71 for a two-shot victory.

"I cannot describe my feelings," Kim said. "I just tried to have some fun, but it wasn't fun on the back nine."

Jodi Ewart Shadoff made her work for it by charging home with a 64 to put pressure on the 29-year-old South Korean. Kim didn't falter over an increasingly soggy course, however. She finished at 18-under 270 to capture the $487,500 prize.

Michelle Wie went out in 30 to give Kim something to think about, but the 27-year-old from Hawaii stalled and closed with a 66 to tie for third with Caroline Masson (67) and Georgia Hall (70).

Kim now has won three times, the most by anyone on the LPGA Tour this year, all in the last two months.

But this was the biggest by far.

She was no more than 14 inches away from winning the 2012 Kraft Nabisco Championship for her first major when she clasped her hand over her mouth in disbelief when it spun out of the hole. She lost in a playoff, and it was a tough memory to shake.

Until Sunday.

"I almost cried when I won. Winning is great," Kim said. "It's a long process to get over 2012. A lot of people helped me. Now I enjoy playing golf again. What it did teach me is to to give the same effort to every shot, even the shortest of putts."

Armed with a six-shot overnight advantage, Kim was rarely threatened throughout a four-and-a-half hour round in which she crucially made only one bogey.

Ewart Shadoff matched the course record — reached earlier this week by Wie and Olympic gold medalist Inbee Park — and got within two shots of Kim with her eighth birdie of the round that put her at 16 under.

"I didn't think starting the day that I would have a shot," she said. "I had a great stretch in the middle of the round to get me going. My plan at the start was just to take the opportunities when I got them and that's what I did."

Wie was the only other player to get closer than five shots of Kim.

Seemingly impervious to the pressure of leading, Kim sailed along in the damp, overcast conditions, her steady play offering little encouragement to a chasing pack that also included the likes of Lexi Thompson, Stacy Lewis, Park and Moriya Jutanugarn.

A birdie at the par-3 opening hole, where her tee-shot nearly found the bottom of the cup, set Kim on her way. She made birdie on the par-5 eighth, and then had her first bogey in 44 holes with a three-putt at the turn.

Kim's clinching shot, however, came as late as the penultimate hole, when a beautifully struck hybrid from the fairway sailed over the burn fronting the green and finished 15 feet from the flag. A routine par at the last completed her five-year journey between missing and making.


Ali attacks to give England 360-run lead over South Africa

England's Moeen Ali, left, is struck by the ball during day three of the Fourth Test match against South Africa at Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Sunday Aug. 6. (Anthony Devlin/PA via AP)

Manchester, England (AP) — More lower-order resistance put England on course for a series-clinching victory in the fourth and final test against South Africa on Sunday as Moeen Ali's quick-fire 67 gave the home team a 360-run lead.

There's likely more to come from Ali, too, as he ended unbeaten and took England to stumps on Day 3 on 224-8, a slightly wobbly second innings but enough to open a convincing lead with two days to play.

Like Jonny Bairstow's 99 in the first innings, Ali's brisk half-century ensured England didn't succumb when under pressure, this time at 153-7.

Ali, coming in at No. 8, counterattacked convincingly, hitting eight fours and three sixes in his 67 from just 59 balls. His 50 arrived off 49 balls and after England had been struggling and had gone 29 deliveries at one point without scoring.

Ali controlled a 58-run stand with Toby Roland-Jones, scoring 45 of those 58 runs from just 40 balls.

Rain brought an early stumps at Old Trafford, and Ali and Stuart Broad will return on Day 4 with a 400-run lead in sight. As it stands, England are still favorites to seal a 3-1 series victory to start the tenure of new captain Joe Root.

The current lead of 360 is more than any team has successfully chased in the fourth innings at Old Trafford.

Victory would bring England a second straight series win over South Africa after winning in South Africa 18 months ago, but their first at home over the Proteas since the Michael Atherton vs. Allan Donald series of 1998.

On Sunday, Root once again propped up England's top order with his 49, but he played on to Olivier on the brink of a half-century and was fifth man out following failures by opener Keaton Jennings and new men Tom Westley and Dawid Malan.

Bairstow and Ben Stokes also failed this time, but at crucial points in this series the late-order trio of Bairstow, Stokes and now Ali has come to England's rescue to stave off South Africa.


India beat Sri Lanka by an innings and 53 runs, win series

Indian players celebrate the dismissal of Sri Lanka's Dimuth Karunaratne, center wearing helmet, during the fourth day's play of their second cricket test match in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, Aug. 6. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Krishan Francis

Colombo, Sri Lanka (AP) — Ravindra Jadeja bagged his ninth five-wicket haul in test cricket Sunday to help India crush Sri Lanka by an innings and 53 runs in the second test and secure the three-match series 2-0 with a match to be played.

Batting first, India declared their first innings on 622 for nine and dismissed Sri Lanka for 183 and enforced the follow-on, commanding a 439-run lead. Sri Lanka performed better in the second innings but couldn't prevent an innings defeat when they were bowled out for 386 with more than a day to spare.

India have secured the series by taking a 2-0 lead that includes a 304-run win in the first test in Galle.

Opener Dimuth Karunaratne and No. 3 Kusal Mendis scored centuries and shared 191 runs for the second wicket to lift Sri Lanka's spirits in the second innings.

Mendis scored his third test century and was out for 110 off 135 deliveries, a knock that included 17 boundaries.

Sri Lanka resumed day four on 209 for two and looked determined to make India bat again. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bowled out Malinda Pushpakumara for 16 when the nightwatchman tried a reverse sweep then left-arm spinner Jadeja opened his account removing the Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal for just two, caught by Ajinkya Rahane at slip.

Karunaratne was then joined by Angelo Mathews and the pair consolidated the innings going to lunch on 302 for four.

However Jadeja dismissed Karunaratne soon after lunch having him caught by Rahane with the total on 310.   Karunaratne made 141 for his sixth test century. He spent more than six hours at the crease, faced 307 deliveries and hit 16 boundaries.

The lower-middle order could not capitalize on the momentum as Sri Lanka lost their last five wickets for 76 runs.

Jadeja finished with 5-152 and collected seven wickets in the match. He also made an unbeaten 70 in India's only innings. His versatile effort won him the player of the match award.

Indian captain Virat Kohli said the he wasn't surprised at Sri Lanka's fightback but was focused on remaining disciplined.

"You expect teams playing test cricket to come out and play like that. Because of the way we got wickets in the first innings sometimes frustration can creep in," he said. "Then you have to give credit to the batters as well, to play like that on a pitch like that; it was high quality batting."

Sri Lanka captain Chandimal said India's big first-innings total put his team on the back foot but he took strength from how they bounced back in the second innings.

"As the captain I am proud of the way the guys played in the second innings so we have to get the positives out of that."

He added that although the series is already lost, his team will now focus on trying to win the third test because a win against the No. 1-ranked side would provide a major confidence boost.

Cheteshwar Pujara (133), Rahane (132), Wriddhiman Saha (67), Lokesh Rahul (57) and Ashwin (54) contributed to India's large total.

The third and final test will begin in Pallekele on Aug. 12.


Update August 5 - 6, 2017

Farah upstages Bolt at worlds, and it took an amazing race

Britain's Mo Farah, left, celebrates after winning the Men's 10,000 meters final during the World Athletics Championships in London Friday, Aug. 4. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland) (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

Raf Casert

London (AP) — It takes something to upstage Usain Bolt in an Olympic Stadium. Then again, there is only one long-distance runner quite like Mo Farah.

The British great came out onto the track Friday after Bolt had absorbed the adulation of the crowd just by showing up and coasting to victory in his opening 100-meter heat at the world track and field championships in London.

For Bolt it was easy. Farah still had one of the toughest races of his life coming up in the men’s 10,000m final — an all-out assault by the best African runners to wear him down to sap his finishing speed. There was even a trip and stumble on the final lap that could have felled him.

It didn't.

"I am mentally strong," said the 34-year-old Farah, who was born in Somalia but moved to Britain as a child.

There was no doubt about that after a 300-meter final kick that still left him with time to cross the finish line with arms outstretched and the same amazement in his eyes he had when winning his first Olympic gold in the same stadium five years ago.

"It was about believing in my sprint finish and knowing that I have been in that position before," Farah said.

The last time he was not in that position was when his sprint left him just short for gold at the 2011 world championships. It was the last time he lost a big one, and his overpowering kick has always been his ticket to gold.

One year after that disappointing finish, Farah earned his first 5,000-10,000 double, and it was at his home Olympics in London. His 10,000 win was the finale of what became known in British lore as "Super Saturday," when home athletes won three gold medals within an hour.

The noise that day was breathtaking, and if Farah is now a sir, it originated at that very moment.

On Friday, the noise levels were close to the same and Farah knew how to let it push him to an unprecedented 10th straight global long-distance title.

After Bolt's grins and shadow boxing, Farah came out with a focused routine of sipping and squirting a water bottle, a figure of Zen concentration. He knew the whole nation was counting on him.

"There's no place like London. There's no place like home," Farah said. "I love London. I love the people."

For a half decade now, competitors know a tactical race only leads to a winning Farah sprint. So this time the best of Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia set a punishing pace from the start to shake the pack — but not Farah's concentration.

"The guys gave it to me. It wasn't about Mo, it was about, 'How do we beat Mo?'" Farah said.

He held back at first and then methodically made his way through the pack. When he briefly took the lead with five of the 25 laps to go, his rivals were already anxiously glancing at him.

Sensing victory, the crowd of 60,000 went wild with two laps to go. One thought was with him: "I can't lose in my hometown. I can't. I can't. I can't."

Then, as if there wasn't enough drama already, he was clipped with 300 meters to go. His arms flailed and he even put one foot inside the inner railing to regain his balance.

There, too, his experience counted. After all, he fell at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics and still won. And after years of being hounded by suspicions of doping — never proven and always denied — nothing phases him.

"Your instinct is to stand up," he said of the moment momentum was taking him down. "At the same time, it takes the rhythm out of you, takes that stride out of you. It's harder to be able to get back into your routine."

Yet, he did. In the finishing straight, like so often, there was no match, as much Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda and Paul Tanui of Kenya tried.

"Mo is a great guy and legend, so running with him in the last championship for him is really great," Cheptegei said.

Another double might just be too good to resist. Farah will now be preparing for the heats of the 5,000 meters on Wednesday.

If all goes to plan, he can then retire with Bolt next Saturday — both with two more golds around their neck.


Walker managing fatigue, builds 2-shot lead at Firestone

Jimmy Walker acknowledges the gallery after finishing the second round of the Bridgestone Invitational golf tournament at Firestone Country Club, Friday, Aug. 4, in Akron, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Doug Ferguson

Akron, Ohio (AP) — The sun finally came out, and Jimmy Walker saw a glimpse of what he hopes are brighter days ahead.

In a year marked by coping with Lyme disease and bouts of fatigue, Walker endured rain delays of nearly five hours Friday and posted a 5-under 65 for a two-shot lead going into the weekend at the Bridgestone Invitational.

The timing couldn't be better for Walker, who goes to Quail Hollow next week to defend his title in the PGA Championship.

"It hadn't been a lot of fun this year," Walker said. "But it's nice to see some putts go in and make some solid swings and keep rounds going, make par putts, just the stuff I haven't been doing."

He was at 7-under 133, two shots ahead of Thomas Pieters of Belgium, who had a 70.

Walker didn't have a lot going last year until he finished well in the Canadian Open, and then went wire-to-wire at Baltusrol the next week to win the PGA Championship. So maybe there's another spark he can find at Firestone Country Club.

"There's still a lot of golf on a hard course, but I know it's there," he said.

He also has a slew of players not far behind him in this World Golf Championship. Rory McIlroy put together a steady round of 69 and was three shots back, along with Zach Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama, who each shot 67.

The large group at 3-under 137 included Jordan Spieth, going after his third straight victory. Spieth missed a short par putt on the 15th and was slipping behind when he faced an awkward lie from the edge of a bunker. Stumbling out of the sand backward, he nearly holed the shot and made birdie, and then he stuffed his approach to 3 feet for birdie on the 18th hole to salvage a 70.

Jason Day, winless in nearly 15 months, also got back into the picture despite some mild back pain. He opened with three straight birdies and shot 30 on the front nine to get back near the leaders, though two bogeys on the back nine slowed him and he shot 66. He was in the group at 137.

"The front side definitely felt like 2015, 2016," Day said, alluding to his best stretch of golf when he rose to No. 1 in the world. "I was just pouring in everything. I know that it's still in there. I've just got to keep practicing hard. I know it will eventually happen."

Day felt he was slowed by the last — and longest — of the rain delays. He returned to three-putt the 10th for a bogey and never got back any momentum.

It was like that for everyone who slogged through a 10-hour day.

The second round was delayed 45 minutes at the start, and then another 45 minutes when a small band of storms rolled through. A delayed of some 3 1/2 hours followed, making it feel like two separate rounds and one long day.

Walker still isn't out of the woods just yet. He first thought he had mononucleosis around the Masters, and it eventually was diagnosed as Lyme's disease. He has tried to muddle through the year when his energy allowed, though there hasn't been a lot of practice.

And even a 65, which matched his low score of the year, wasn't smooth sailing.

"It's day to day," he said. "I felt pretty good all week physically, and I wake up this morning and I've just got his overall flu feeling in my body. So I take some Advil, it goes away. And then during the last break, it came back, so I took some more. Now it's gone. You just never know when it's going to spike up."

But he felt good enough to make birdie on both par 3s on the back nine, and drop only one shot on the round.

The scoring has been good with the rain and softer greens, and a South course that was in pristine condition to start the tournament. A strong wind arrived after the storm cleared, which kept everyone's attention.

Only two dozen players from the 76-man field remained under par.

Among those who fell back was Dustin Johnson, the world's No. 1 player still trying to find his form from a back injury that knocked him out of the Masters. He hit only one green in regulation on the front nine — 60 feet from the hole — and shot 40. Johnson didn't make a single birdie in his round of 75 that knocked him 10 shots out of the lead heading into the final major of the year.


Neymar says move not cash-driven; PSG expect financial lift

Brazilian soccer star Neymar controls the ball following a press conference in Paris Friday, Aug. 4. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Rob Harris

Paris (AP) — Neymar opened a new extravagant chapter in soccer history Friday as the game's costliest player by fending off questions about his financial motivations as deftly as he repels opponents on the pitch.

Paris Saint-Germain's 222 million euro ($262 million) recruit was sticking to the script at his presentation in the French capital. Leaving the prestige of Barcelona for the less exalted surroundings of PSG was about seizing the chance to raise the status of an ambitious club, rather than about the size of an annual salary reported to be 30 million euros.

"I was never motivated by money," Neymar told a crowded news conference at the Parc des Princes home of PSG. "What I think about is happiness. If I was following the money I would maybe be in some other country."

It is, however, Qatari cash that has fueled the rise of PSG over the last six years, making Neymar's world-record transfer feasible.

So while the last thing Neymar wanted to do was talk about money on his first full day as a PSG player, the man alongside him had little choice. PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi was keen to justify the outlay for the 25-year-old Brazilian, touting the financial uplift that the club expects to follow with one of the game's superstars on its squad.

If Neymar's transfer fee seems lavish now, Al-Khelaifi was insistent that his value would soon "double."

The value of the club too has soared overnight from 1 billion euros before the transfer, according to Al-Khelaifi.

"Now it is worth 1.5 billion," said the Qatari face of a club linked to the energy-rich Gulf nation's ruling family.

European soccer regulations prevent unrestricted spending. PSG were fined and forced to reduce their squad size in 2014 by the UEFA governing body for spending far more than they generate in a bid to catch up with the soccer elite.

PSG have done their sums, Al-Khelaifi said, and Neymar can be afforded without breaching Financial Fair Play rules again. The value of the transfer can be spread on the annual accounts across the five-year length of the contract.

"For people worrying about FFP, go and have a coffee," Al-Khelaifi said. "There are no problems."

PSG will have to squeeze every euro — and Brazilian real — out of Neymar's appearance on the pitch through sponsorship, merchandise and jersey sales.

The club shop on the Champs-Elysees has already been transformed to make it clear PSG is now about one man. Posters of the forward — accompanied by the words "Welcome to Paris Neymar Jr 10" — were unveiled on Friday morning to cheers in central Paris where fans had waited hours to get their hands on jerseys emblazoned with his name from 10:30 a.m.

"When we look at Neymar as a brand with PSG I don't think it is expensive," Al-Khelaifi said, "as I am sure we are going to make more money than we paid. Definitely."

The pressure for Neymar to deliver won't just be on the pitch.

"The fact I am the most expensive player is not a burden," Neymar said through a translator. "I am 69 kilograms (152 pounds)."

The boxes he packed up in Spain will also be weighed down by medals. Among Neymar's honors during four seasons at the Camp Nou there were triumphs in the Champions League and Club World Cup along with two Spanish league titles and three Copa del Rey successes.

Neymar is arriving at a 47-year-old club that has won four of the last five French titles but is yet to win the biggest competitions outside of France, having failed to progress further than the quarterfinals of the Champions League.

"It was one of most difficult decisions that I made in my life, being well adapted in a city and in a big club like Barcelona," Neymar said. "It wasn't easy, it was a moment of extreme tension, of thinking what to do with my life and of course I left friends there.

"I am very happy with that because football goes away very fast, our life goes away very fast ... and I felt it was the moment to leave, looking for new air, having a different challenge."

The transfer could also elevate the 25-year-old forward to new personal heights as he escapes the Barcelona shadow of Lionel Messi, one of the greatest players of all time.

"He was my role model," Neymar said. "I learned so much off him in four years together."

It was unclear if Neymar would make his debut when PSG opens their league season Saturday at home against Amiens, a team making their top-flight debut. But Neymar said he is "always hungry for football, and I think I can play."

Regardless, the stadium is still likely to be packed with fans wearing the swiftly produced PSG jerseys emblazoned with Neymar's name.

Philippe Chembon, a fan, flaunted a receipt outside the club store showing he spent 623.50 euros ($740) on four Neymar jerseys.

"This is a very big moment for PSG," said the 63-year-old Chembon, who is older than the club.


I.K. Kim handles bad weather to take British Open lead

In-Kyung Kim of Korea plays her approach shot at the 18th hole during day two of the Women's British Open at Kingsbarns Golf Links, St Andrews Scotland, Friday Aug. 4. (Kenny Smith/PA via AP)

John Huggan

St. Andrews, Scotland (AP) — I.K. Kim, the best player in women's golf right now, emerged from the cold and wet with a 4-under 68 to build a two-shot lead in the Women's British Open going into the weekend.

A two-time winner on the LPGA Tour over the last two months, Kim dropped only one shot in some of the worst conditions at Kingsbarns Links and reached the halfway point at 11-under 133. She was two shots clear of Lexi Thompson and Georgia Hall of England.

Kim displayed a remarkable fortitude in weather that veered erratically toward the end of the day between bright sunshine and torrential downpours. The 29-year-old from South Korea atoned for her lone bogey with three birdies and an eagle on the 538-yard 11th hole.

"The eagle was very unexpected," Kim said before conceding her drive landed on a friendly downslope and gained an extra 30 yards or so. "I think this was kind of as bad as the weather could get. I expected rain, but not like this. It's not easy to play in this kind of weather. But I feel really good about my game. I've been hitting the ball very well and I'm starting to make some putts. That's when I shoot low scores."

Still, perhaps the most significant move came from Thompson, the No. 2 player in the world.

Two-over par and birdie-free after nine-holes, the big-hitting Floridian played the homeward nine in 30 with six birdies — five in succession. In addition, she found time to add a new phrase to golf's already voluminous terminology.

"I ball-striked it out there," she said. That was fair enough, if grammatically flawed. Even on that disappointing front nine, the eight-time LPGA champion struck her shots with an authority few in the women's game can match.

"I actually hit it the same throughout both nines," she said. "I just left myself with 30-40 feet on my two bogeys and three-putted them. I hit great shots. Going in, they were going right at the flag, but they both got bounces that went sideways. Then I didn't make the second putt. But I hit it great the whole day and just got on a roll there on the back."

Another key to Thompson's success so far is her caddie, Kevin McAlpine. The former Scottish Amateur champion worked four summers at Kingsbarns and knows the course well.

"Kevin has helped with my decision-making on basically every hole," said Thompson. "His input going into the greens is especially valuable. He tells me where to land the ball and he's been spot on every time. He knows the greens like the back of his hand, as well. He's helped me out a lot out there."

First-round leader Michelle Wie did not fare so well. The 27-year old American made only one birdie in a 76 that leaves her seven shots off the pace and in a tie for 21st with two rounds remaining. Wie has not won since the 2014 U.S. Women's Open at Pinehurst No. 2.


Stokes out late, England 260-6 in 4th test vs. South Africa

England's Ben Stokes, left, hits out against South Africa during the Fourth Test at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Friday Aug. 4. (Simon Cooper/PA via AP)

Manchester, England (AP) — Joe Root survived one chance but not a second one, and Ben Stokes fell just before stumps, as England finished Day 1 of the final test against South Africa on 260-6 on Friday.

The in-form Ben Stokes was bowled for 58 by Kagiso Rabada an over before the close at Old Trafford, giving South Africa a late boost after the tourists twice had England in a hole early in the series-deciding test, and twice saw the home team fight their way out.

Jonny Bairstow was 33 not out and nightwatchman Toby Roland-Jones 0 not out at the close.

Although South Africa, trailing 2-1 and seeking to save the series, edged the day by virtue of their six wickets, a score in excess of 300 by England could be competitive on a feisty pitch that gave the Proteas quick bowlers plenty to work with.

England also still have Moeen Ali, a handy batsman, to come as they seek a second straight series win over South Africa, but their first at home over the Proteas since 1998.

England twice had to dig deep on Friday, when they were 92-3 with Tom Westley's departure, and then at 187-5 when Root was lbw for 52 to Duanne Olivier.

England fought well both times, first with a 52-run stand between Dawid Malan and Root, and then with late-afternoon resistance from Stokes and Bairstow in a 65-run partnership that nearly took the home team to stumps.

Rabada had other ideas, spearing in a quick yorker that blew past Stokes' bat and rattled into his stumps.

Rabada collected 2-52 and Olivier 2-72.

The day reflected the seesaw nature of the series, which has swung one way and then the other: England won heavily in the first test, South Africa dominated the second test, and England were convincing in the third test.

For the decider, Olivier was in the team after South Africa were forced to leave out the injured Vernon Philander, the tourists' best bowler on current form. South Africa's pace attack was further weakened with the absence of Chris Morris, also injured.

England skipper Root was again the prize wicket for South Africa after a let-off allowed him to reach his fourth score of 50 or more in seven innings this series, and pass 5,000 test runs.

Root was missed on 40 after South Africa wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock allowed a nick off Morne Morkel to fly past him without moving, apparently thinking it was going straight to first slip. It was well wide of Hashim Amla at slip and De Kock, realizing his big error, sat down and covered his face with his glove.

It cost South Africa just 12 runs — to De Kock's relief — as Olivier trapped Root lbw fairly soon after, with an added bonus for South Africa as Root wasted a review.

That was one of few errors this series for Root, who began his time as England captain with a magnificent 190 in England's victory in the first test, has batted superbly through the series, and showed strong character to lead England back in front in the series after his leadership was questioned following the second-test defeat.

For Root, his 5,000 test runs have come at a fabulous rate: 57 tests and 105 innings, putting him among some outstanding names. Brian Lara took 104 innings to pass 5,000 and Sachin Tendulkar 103 innings.

Root made a brave decision at the start of the day, choosing to bat after winning the toss with the knowledge that there's been rain in Manchester this week and the pitch was likely to give early help to the bowlers.

It did, but England lost just Keaton Jennings for 17 — another failure for him — in the first session and ground their way to 67-1 at lunch.

The second session swung South Africa's way with the departure of Alastair Cook (46) and Westley (29) in the space of three overs, and with Malan out for 18 an over before tea. All three of them edged behind.

Root again held up South Africa, hitting six fours and registering a 30th test half-century, to go with 12 centuries, in just 57 tests. Stokes struck eight fours in his 58.


Sri Lanka struggle to 50-2 after India post 622-9 dec

 

India's Wriddhiman Saha plays a shot during Day 2 of the second test against Sri Lanka in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, Aug. 4. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Krishan Francis

Colombo, Sri Lanka (AP) — Ravichandran Ashwin took two wickets to punish Sri Lanka soon after India declared their first innings on 622 for nine on day two of the second cricket test on Friday.

At the end of day two the hosts were 50 for two.

Ashwin broke through in the second over of the innings when he had Upul Tharanga caught by Lokesh Rahul with the team yet to score. Dimuth Karunaratne showed promise, scoring 25 runs before Ajinkya Rahane took a low catch at slip to dismiss him off Ashwin.

Kusal Mendis  (16 not out) and Dinesh Chandimal 8 not out) were batting at the close.

Ashwin had two for 38 in 10 overs.

Earlier Cheteshwar Pujara and Rahane scored centuries and four other batsmen scored half-centuries to help India to a big score.

Pujara made 133 in his second straight test century after his 153 in the first innings of the first test. He faced 232 deliveries and hit 11 boundaries and a six. He was out lbw to seamer Karunaratne.

Pujara and Rahane added 217 runs for the fourth wicket.

Rahane was out stumped by Niroshan Dickwella for spinner Malinda Pushpakumara's maiden international wicket. He made 132, facing 22 deliveries and hitting 14 boundaries.

Rahane, who had not scored a century in nine games, said he had remained confident throughout that time.

"Coming into the game we knew that they will give us a spinning track and after day one we knew it was not going to be easy for batsmen," Rahane said.

"Yes I was visualizing in the dressing room and in my room just thinking what are the good shots on this wicket and how I am going to dominate their spinners."

Ravinra Jadeja (70 not out) Wriddhiman Saha (67), Lokesh Rahul (57) and Ashwin (54) all contributed half-centuries. Spinner Rangana Herath returned best bowling figures four for 154 for Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka still trail India by 572 runs and will need to score at least 372 runs to avoid following on.

Karunaratne said that his team are determined to save the test match hoping that Indian spinners may not be as threatening on day three as the hardness of the ball wears off.


Update August 4, 2017

Thomas Pieters takes 1-shot lead at Firestone

Thomas Pieters, from Belgium, tees off on the fifth hole during the first round of the Bridgestone Invitational golf tournament at Firestone Country Club, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, in Akron, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

By Doug Ferguson, AP Golf Writer

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Rory McIlroy had his best friend on the bag and his best start on American soil in 18 months. For Jordan Spieth, it was more of the same with two long putts and another comment filled with bravado directed at his caddie.

Both of them opened with a 3-under 67 at the Bridgestone Invitational, leaving them two shots behind Thomas Pieters of Belgium.

Pieters, playing only for the sixth time since he challenged briefly at the Masters this year, holed a 30-foot birdie putt on his final hole at Firestone to finish a day of good scoring with a one-shot lead over Russell Knox.

The opening two rounds were moved up to the morning because of a forecast of thunderstorms in the afternoon.

McIlroy split with J.P. Fitzgerald, his caddie of nine years, after the British Open. He decided to use Harry Diamond, who played amateur golf for Ireland and was the best man at McIlroy's wedding, for the Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship next week.

It didn't have much bearing on McIlroy's game, which was fine. McIlroy won at Firestone the last time he played it in 2014.

"We both did the numbers and I sort of consulted him a couple of times. Yeah, it was good," McIlroy said. "There was a couple of shots that I hit or a couple of clubs that I pulled that I maybe should have just thought a little bit more about. It's been a while since I've paced yardages off and written notes in my book."

One of them was at No. 9, his last hole, when he went some 50 feet long on his approach and three-putted for bogey. Even so, it was a solid start, and that's what has held back McIlroy in recent months when he missed three cuts in four tournaments, and then started poorly at the British Open.

Spieth has no such concerns, having won two straight events going into this World Golf Championship with an eye toward next week at the PGA Championship and his shot at becoming the youngest player to complete the Grand Slam.

Winning a major turned this into a great year for Spieth, regardless of what happens at the PGA Championship. He is feeling as good as ever about his game, particularly the way he finished off Royal Birkdale with the amazing escape on the 13th hole and the birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie stretch that followed. The biggest putt was the eagle from 50 feet on the par-5 15th at the Open, now famous for Spieth playfully barking at his caddie, "Go get that!" when it dropped in.

Thursday brought another such moment.

Spieth got back into range of the lead with a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 5 and a 50-foot birdie putt on the next hole that got him to 3 under. But he was in trouble at No. 8, well right of the fairway with trees blocking his view of the green. He couldn't punch under them because he had too much rough to cover with a punch shot beneath the branches. But he did see about a 3-foot gap way up in the trees. And he was feeling it.

His caddie, Michael Greller, got the yardage and came over to see what Spieth had in mind.

"I said, 'Michael, just put the bag over there, stand over there and watch this,'" Spieth said.

Spieth rehearsed his swing with a pitching wedge and pulled it off.

"I split a hole that was 60 yards in front of me and cut it to get onto the green," Spieth said. "It was really a cool shot. I was shocked I pulled it off."

Greller smiled, bumped fists with his boss and handed him the putter.

The opening round was no place to lose ground in such good scoring conditions. Dustin Johnson did his part with a 68. He hasn't won since the Match Play just two weeks before his staircase injury that knocked him out of the Masters. Johnson only wants to give himself a chance to win, and he says all the parts are in working order for that.

Bubba Watson, also showing signs of getting his game turned around, was also in the group at 67 that included Kevin Kisner and Jon Rahm.

The surprise might have been Knox, who has missed his last three cuts and is in danger of falling out of the top 50 in the world for the first time since he won the HSBC Champions in Shanghai in the fall of 2015. The difference was a change in the shafts of his irons, and a change back to the putter he used when he won in Shanghai.

The question is why he would ever take that putter out of play.

"Golfers are sick," Knox said. "You always blame your equipment rather than yourself. So maybe I just have to take the blame and say I (stunk) and the putter worked."


Dominant India ends Day 1 of 2nd test at 344-3 vs. Sri Lanka

India's Cheteshwar Pujara watches the ball after playing a shot during their second cricket test match against Sri Lanka in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

By Krishan Francis, Associated Press

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane scored centuries and shared an unbroken 211-run partnership for the fourth wicket as a dominant India ended the first day of the second cricket test against Sri Lanka on 344-3 Thursday.

Pujara faced 225 deliveries and was unbeaten on 128, hitting 10 boundaries and a six. It was his 13th century in his 50th test. He has continued his top form from the first test, when he scored 153 in the first innings. Rahane was not out on 103 in 168 deliveries with 12 boundaries. It was his ninth test century.

The pair came together in the second session when Sri Lanka grabbed two quick wickets after India had won the toss and chose to bat.

"130 odd for three and India were under pressure ... Rahane came and played very well," Sri Lanka coach Nick Pothas said.

"From that point onwards we didn't perhaps execute as well as we had done up to that point. We just released the pressure a little bit. That was the turning session."

Spinners Dilruwan Perera and Rangana Herath took a wicket each for Sri Lanka.

India added 106 runs in the final session without losing a wicket.

India lost in-form opener Lokesh Rahul soon after lunch to a run out after a mix-up with Pujara. Rahul made 57, including seven boundaries.

Herath sent down a quick delivery at captain Virat Kohli (13) who attempted to cut and was caught at slip by Angelo Mathews, leaving India 133-3, when Pujara and Rahane came together.

Earlier in the morning India's openers put on 56 for the first wicket.

contained five boundaries and a six. Off spinner Perera got the first wicket with an lbw decision against Dhawan.

Sri Lanka made three changes to its lineup after their 304-run defeat in the first test in Galle, with captain Dinesh Chandimal recovering from pneumonia to replace Danushka Gunathilaka.

Left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara was picked for his international debut. India recalled Rahul in place of Abhinav Mukund.


Klitschko was dominant but never really got his due

In this file photo taken on Friday, April 28, 2017, Ukrainian 41-year-old boxer Wladimir Klitschko, gestures as he takes part in the weigh-in for his fight against Britain's Anthony Joshua at Wembley Arena in London, Friday, April 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, file)

By Tim Dahlberg, AP Sports Columnist

Wladimir Klitschko had to lose before he finally became accepted by most fight fans.

Now that he's retiring, maybe it's time to fully appreciate the former heavyweight champion who never seemed to get his due.

Klitschko was as dominant as he was boring, holding pieces of the heavyweight title for the better part of a decade in a reign not seen since the days of Joe Louis. His fights weren't always works of art, but they were the work of a boxer who understood how to control space and distance in the ring.

American boxing fans never warmed to him, but he could fill soccer stadiums in Germany. Fans there didn't complain about his cautious style, instead reveling in his ability to dominate an opponent from the first bell to the last.

His brother Vitali — now the mayor of Kiev — came first and between them the two Ukrainians raised in the old Soviet athletic system pretty much dispatched anyone in their path. Vitali Klitschko came within a bad cut of beating Lennox Lewis in 2003, and Wladimir didn't lose for 11 years after suffering a shocking knockout loss to Lamon Brewster in 2004.

Outside the ring there was a lot to like about both of them. They held advanced college degrees, spoke four languages and refused to talk trash about their opponents or anyone else.

I remember meeting them for the first time at an extended stay motel off the Las Vegas Strip, where they were staying. It was the early 2000s and they were trying to establish themselves in the United States even as the heavyweight division was teetering on life support.

We talked some boxing, sure, but it was clear right away that these two behemoths were comfortable discussing anything — and in almost any language. They also liked to tell jokes, and were eager to see if they could do it well enough in English to make me laugh.

I reminded Wladimir of the meeting when we talked before his loss to Anthony Joshua in April and he not only remembered it, but also the name of the motel they were staying in. Two unpretentious brothers, two heavyweights who made it clear right away they would never fight each other because they promised their mother they wouldn't.

That they also sucked up most of the air of a heavyweight division with few contenders was a regrettable legacy.

Wladimir Klitschko could have fought more in the U.S., and the defensive style he developed with the late trainer Emanuel Steward after being knocked out by Brewster was never going to be pleasing to boxing fans who like their heavyweights to trade punches.

Klitschko himself admitted before his final fight that he had been boring even while beating everyone who was put in front of him.

Ironic, then, that in his last fight Klitschko not only put on the show of his career against Joshua but won a lot of new fans doing it. Among them were the 90,000 people packed into Wembley Stadium in London who came to cheer for the fearsome English slugger but left with new respect for Klitschko.

He had Joshua down in that fight and appeared on his way to a win before Joshua stopped him in the 11th round in a wild slugfest. The fight was a classic, so good that there were plans to do it again in Las Vegas in November.

That's not going to happen now, but it's not necessarily a bad thing. At the age of 41, Klitschko is ancient by heavyweight standards, and he's made more than enough money to lead a comfortable life with his fianc้e, American actress Hayden Panettiere, and their young daughter.

There's no reason to risk taking a beating in a rematch with Joshua. After winning an Olympic gold medal (1996) and 64 of his 69 professional fights, there's also nothing really left to prove in the ring, even against a young fighter he had on the canvas before losing in April.

Klitschko is leaving at a time when the heavyweight division is suddenly resurgent. There's Joshua and unbeaten American champion Deontay Wilder seemingly on a collision course with each other, and a number of other promising heavyweights working their way up the food chain.

He's also leaving with two straight losses, after losing his titles to Tyson Fury in 2015 and being stopped by Joshua. But he goes with newfound respect from boxing fans who saw him reach deep to nearly topple Joshua in a fight that did more for his image than any of the 68 before it.

He ended up having a great career, though he'll likely not be mentioned among the greats. That's the price Klitschko will pay for his cautionary style and lack of quality opponents.

Still, the last thing most boxers do is retire when they should.

Klitschko is one of the few smart enough to leave on his own terms.

Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at [email protected] or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg


It's here: Major League Soccer implements video replay

In this July 11, 2017, still image from video, MLS referee Silviu Petrescu tests an earpiece and mic used to communicate with a video assistant referee during a video replay scrimmage organized in a community park, in Park City, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

By Anne M. Prterson, AP Sports Writer

Today, Major League Soccer. Tomorrow, the world.

Despite purists who believe the beautiful game should never be sullied by video replay, it has arrived and isn't going anywhere. Major League Soccer will start using it for every match, even the postseason, starting Saturday.

The Video Assistant Referee, VAR for short, was showcased on an international level during this summer's Confederations Cup in Russia and the Under-20 World Cup in South Korea, with mixed results.

But MLS has been preparing for this moment for three years, determined to get it right.

"The idea is minimum interference for maximum benefit," said veteran referee Howard Webb, who is overseeing the league's implementation of video replay. "We're not trying to change the way the game is played. We're trying to enhance it. We're trying to make it fairer. We're trying to make sure the outcomes are right."

Australia's top-flight A-League used a version of video review on trial earlier this year, and the South Korean K-League Classic began working with it in July.

At least two other top-tier leagues will add a VAR soon. The German Bundesliga will debut video replay for the season opener between Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen on Aug. 18. The Italian Serie A will also introduce its version after adding goal-line technology last season.

For now, all eyes are on MLS and how it rolls out the VAR protocol. The league has not publicly stated its investment in video review.

"We've seen some really big players — and make no mistake about it MLS is a big player in the global soccer world — make the decision to take it on board, and undoubtedly we will be watched by the leagues that haven't made the decision as well as the leagues that are doing it," Webb said. "We are confident with our extensive preparation that what they'll see will encourage them to do the same thing."

Webb serves as manager of video assistant referee operations for the Professional Referee Organization, which oversees on-field officials in the U.S. and Canada. He's got the credentials: He was a Premier League referee from 2003-14, and also worked the Champions League and World Cup finals in 2010. He also served as director of referees for the Saudi Arabian Football Federation.

Soccer's rule-making body, the International Football Association Board, approved trials of video technology in March 2016. Internationally, live experiments are taking place in about 20 competitions this year, including the recent Confederations Cup, considered a test for the 2018 World Cup.

Implementation at the Confederations Cup drew criticism because of slow reviews that seemed to confuse players, coaches and fans. But FIFA concluded that video replay helped referees overturn six "game-changing decisions." Calls made in 29 additional "major incidents" were confirmed correct on review.

"What fans have been waiting for over so many years is finally happening. This is a milestone tournament. Video Assistant Refereeing is the future of modern football." FIFA President Gianni Infantino said after seeing the VAR at work in early-round matches in Russia.

It is expected that the IFAB will add video replay to the laws of the game within the next two years, and any competition meeting the requirements will be able to use it.

For the MLS program , a fifth member of the officiating crew — the Video Assistant Referee — will be at each MLS stadium and will monitor all video feeds of the game that are available, focusing on "potential clear and obvious errors or serious missed incidents" involving goals, penalty kicks, straight red cards and mistaken identity.

If a review is required, the VAR will alert the referee on the field, who will make a box gesture with his hands to indicate the VAR is examining a possible error. All final calls will lie with the head referee.

During 93 test games, the VAR checked 736 possible reviewable instances, resulting in just 28 reviews or about one every three games.

Real Salt Lake's Brooks Lennon has seen VAR firsthand at the U-20 World Cup, where he was part of the U.S. team that advanced to the quarterfinals.

"There was one big call in the quarterfinal game where we had a goal scored against us and it was offside so they called it back," Lennon said. "I think it's good for the game and I think it will make right calls that are wrong."

While MLS is considered something of a pioneer with the program at the professional level, the NCAA successfully used video replay dozens of times last season. A rules change last year allowed video replay in three situations: goals, player identification for disciplinary reasons, and to identify players involved in fights. Schools are allowed to use whatever equipment they see fit.

The technology was used in the men's College Cup final between Stanford and Wake Forest.

"So the first year we put it in, it was right there for the whole world to see in the men's Division I final," said Ken Andres, the NCAA's secretary-rules editor. "It was utilized to determine whether or not there was a goal. The ref determined on the field that there was no goal, (he) went to the video and the video was inconclusive. So the call of the field stands because we require indisputable visible evidence."

Critics point mainly to issues involving communication because fans, players and coaches are unable to see what is going on while in the stadium. Some have suggested that video review be adapted to show what the refs are looking at on video scoreboards — like other leagues, including the NBA.

Webb is pragmatic in understanding that the VAR protocol may have to be adapted. But the time has clearly come — and the MLS can lead the way, he said.

"Every time there's a big controversy in a game we have the same conversation: Why don't we have video technology? Why can't we use replays? Why can't we bring the game up to date with the way other sports have used the technology?" he said. "It is a challenge in soccer because of how the game is played, that's why it's taken a lot of training and a lot of preparation."


Update August 3, 2017

PSG signing Neymar a PR coup for isolated Qatar

FC Barcelona said Wednesday, Aug. 2, that Neymar's 222 million euro release clause must be paid in full if the Brazil striker wants to leave and join French club Paris Saint-Germain. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Rob Harris and Adam Schreck

London (AP) — If world soccer's transfer record is obliterated by Neymar's move to Paris Saint-Germain, it will be a coup for the French club — and the tiny energy-rich emirate of Qatar.

By signing the Brazilian star for its flagship sporting asset, Qatar would be projecting a business-as-usual image to foreign allies and investors after two months locked in a bitter diplomatic dispute with its neighbors.

While a footnote in monetary terms in Qatar's wider investment portfolio, the immensely wealthy 2022 World Cup host nation has long used sports as a way to elevate its stature. Signing one of the most recognizable and marketable figures in the sports world would be an extravagant demonstration of that.

Meeting Neymar's mandatory fee of 222 million euros ($262 million) would be the most significant move yet to join the soccer elite by PSG as it prepares for its seventh season under ownership this is closely linked to Qatar's ruling family.

"They are trying to literally score a point here," said Christopher Davidson, who teaches Middle East politics at Durham University in northeast England. "It sounds like a lot of money but given the stakes are hundreds of billions of dollars because of the World Cup, Neymar will be seen as a sound investment by Qatar.

"It proves they have the funds available and they have some liquidity to still be taken seriously."

Qatar has been waging an international public relations offensive to fend off accusations by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain that it supports extremists.

Qatar strongly denies the allegation and sees the boycott by its regional rivals as a politically motivated attempt to change its foreign policy and undermine its sovereignty, with the natural gas-rich country's only land border sealed off.

Soccer stars have not been deterred from flying into Doha, helping to give the impression that the desert nation is weathering the boycott.

Barcelona players Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba recently visited a soccer academy and greeted fans at a mall in the Qatari capital. Alba was photographed signing a shirt with a now-iconic image of Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani that has become a symbol of resistance to the boycott.  That came after Spain's Xavi Hernandez, who now plays for Qatari side Al-Saad, released a video message calling for an "end to the blockade against Qatar."

The diplomatic row has bled into Qatar's extensive sports empire in other ways too.

An Egyptian soccer coach, Hossam el-Badry, who manages Egypt's Al Ahly, was suspended and fined $10,000 by the Confederation of African Football for refusing to give interviews to the Qatar-based beIN Sports network following two games in the African Champions League last month.

The sports network is owned by Al-Jazeera, which was founded by Qatar's former emir and is one of the country's best-known international brands. The anti-Qatar quartet has demanded that Al-Jazeera and other Qatar-backed media outlets be shut down as a condition of normalizing relations.

Qatari officials have made a point of saying that the vast construction project for the World Cup has been unaffected by the blockade. But they have acknowledged that import costs overall have risen dramatically for items such as food and medicine, which now need to be flown in or shipped by sea from points further afield.

While big-ticket assets like British department store Harrods seem more financially astute investments for Qatar, sports entities and events enjoy a higher profile.

Qatar hosted the 2006 Asian Games and the Asian Cup football finals in 2011, and stages annual tennis and motorcycle grand prix events.

All those will pale in comparison to its controversial hosting of the World Cup in 2022 — the first time the FIFA showpiece will be held in the Middle East. The tournament, which will be played in eight stadiums across a country smaller than the U.S. state of Connecticut, is the centerpiece of footballing ambitions that were minuscule in Qatar before the FIFA vote.

In 2004, it set up the Aspire Academy to train promising young Qatari and foreign players. State-backed Qatar Airways was named in May as a sponsor to soccer's world governing body FIFA, and until the end of June was the main sponsor of Barcelona.

Barcelona enjoys the global stature and track record of success craved by PSG, which is yet to win European soccer's top Champions League title despite the lavish investment from Qatar Sports Investments.

Linked to the country's leadership, QSI describes itself as a "closed shareholding organization" that is chaired by Nasser Ghanim al-Khelaifi, a Qatari former tennis player who is also chairman and CEO of beIN.

The sports network was caught up in the diplomatic dispute too, with its signal along with that of Al-Jazeera cut for viewers in the boycotting countries. That it seems was a step too far though. The UAE unblocked the network more than a week ago to the delight of fans in the seven-state federation that's home to the commercial hub of Dubai.

It will be through beIN that Neymar's matches from PSG are beamed onto screens across the Middle East if a transfer that would provide a potent example of Qatar's sporting firepower is completed.

"This signing can demonstrate that Qatar is still viable, still able to have international influence and still able to be serious player in international soccer," said Davidson, the Middle East expert.


Olympic medalist De Grasse injures hamstring, out of worlds

Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse. (AP Photo/Abdeljalil Bounhar)

London (AP) — Andre De Grasse won't get a chance to spoil Usain Bolt's international finale at the track and field world championships, with a hamstring injury forcing the 22-year-old Canadian to pull out of the meet.

Athletics Canada issued a statement late Wednesday saying the 22-year-old De Grasse hurt his hamstring in training on Monday and made the decision to pull out of the championships after a second medical examination.

"The entire year this 100-meter race in London was my focus," De Grasse said in the statement. "I am really in the best shape of my life and was looking forward to competing against the best in the world.

"To not have this opportunity is unimaginable to me but it is the reality I am faced with. I am sad to miss this chance but I am young and will be back and better than ever in the near future."

De Grasse was a leading contender in the 100- and 200-meter events at the worlds, which start Friday in London. At the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, De Grasse won bronze in the 100 and — after pushing Bolt all the way in the semifinals — took silver in the 200.

Athletics Canada head coach Glenroy Gilbert said the timing was terrible for De Grasse, as "I know he really wanted to make a mark here."

De Grasse made Bolt work harder than expected in the Olympic semifinals in the 200, his favored event. After pulling away — much later than expected — Bolt stared down De Grasse and good-naturedly shook his finger at the youngster for pushing him so hard.

At worlds this week, De Grasse wanted to go one better and beat Bolt in the 100 in the Jamaican great's last major race before retirement.

"That's the plan," De Grasse said ahead of the meet. "I'm the underdog and want to go out there and make a statement."

Instead, he'll have to be a spectator when the men's 100 final is held on Saturday night.


McIlroy to use best friend as caddie for at least 2 weeks

In this Aug. 28, 2016 photo, Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, right, and his caddy, J. P. Fitzgerald, look down the fairway during the final round of The Barclays golf tournament in Farmingdale, N.Y. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

Doug Ferguson

Akron, Ohio (AP) — Rory McIlroy says he got rid of a caddie so that he could keep a friend.

McIlroy parted ways with J.P. Fitzgerald after the British Open, ending a nine-year partnership that McIlroy felt was heading in a bad direction.

"I still consider J.P. one of my best friends, one of my closest friends," McIlroy said Wednesday. "But sometimes to preserve a personal relationship, you might have to sacrifice a professional one, and that was sort of the decision that I came to in the end."

McIlroy will use Harry Diamond, the best man in his wedding, in the Bridgestone Invitational and next week in the PGA Championship, the final major of the year and the last chance for McIlroy to avoid three straight years without one.

"I was getting very hard on him on the golf course, and I didn't want to treat ... anyone like that," McIlroy said. "But sometimes this game drives you to that. But I felt like it was the right thing to do, and I don't think there was any good time to do it."

He figured the Bridgestone Invitational, a short field with no cut, would give him four rounds to get used to a different caddie. Diamond gives him a close friend, and someone who played for the Irish team as an amateur.

What surprised McIlroy was the attention it brought, particularly because player-caddie relationships are tenuous. It came one month after Phil Mickelson and Jim "Bones" Mackay ended 25 years together as player and caddie. That was remarkable in how long it lasted.

Tiger Woods used Mike "Fluff" Cowan when he turned pro in August 1996, and that lasted about 30 months. He used his high school friend, Bryon Bell, and won the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines and reached the quarterfinals at the Match Play Championship before hiring Steve Williams. That lasted 12 years.

McIlroy praised Fitzgerald after the opening round of the British Open, where McIlroy was 5 over through six holes. He said Fitzgerald told him on the sixth tee, "You're (expletive) Rory McIlroy," which he said helped him get back in the game.

By the end of the week, McIlroy was ready to move on.

He said he intended to tell Fitzgerald after the final round except that his caddie had to catch a boat across the Irish Sea to Dublin. The next day, McIlroy had a Nike outing in London. He finally called him on Tuesday.

"I thanked J.P. for everything," he said. "J.P. knows how much I think of him, how much he means to me, what we've achieved together, and it wasn't an easy decision. But at the end of the day I felt like it was a change that I needed to make because I got to the point where if I didn't play a good shot or if I made a wrong decision, I was getting more frustrated at him than I was at myself.

"I would much rather be angry at myself, and angry at myself for making a wrong decision, than being angry at him."

McIlroy said the change would force him to take more ownership of his game, starting with getting his own yardages and deciding what shots to hit.

He said it was unclear if Diamond would work more than the next two weeks. McIlroy has a week off between the PGA Championship and the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs, which might be enough time to find a permanent replacement or try out a tour caddie.

He also didn't rule out Diamond working longer.

"If we have a couple of good weeks here, you never know," McIlroy said. "He knows me, and that was the big thing about the next two weeks. I just needed someone who knew me and knew my thought process."

Fitzgerald previous worked for Ernie Els. When they split up in 2008, McIlroy wasn't happy with his caddie and was on a run of missing cuts. He hired Fitzgerald in the summer, and they ended the year with McIlroy having four top-5 finishes.

McIlroy won 21 times, including four majors, with Fitzgerald on the bag. The most recent victory was last year at the Tour Championship, which gave McIlroy the FedEx Cup title and the $10 million bonus. It was a big windfall for the caddie, too. McIlroy wrote him a check for $1,050,000 — 10 percent of the bonus (McIlroy received $9 million up front) and the $1.53 million check from winning the tournament.


No anthem or colors, but Russians are back at track worlds

Russian high jumper Maria Lasitskene competes during the national track and field championship in Moscow, Friday, July 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

James Ellingworth

Zhukovsky, Russia (AP) — They won't hear their anthem if they win. Their national colors — even on nail varnish — are strictly forbidden. Regardless, a group of Russian athletes is back at the track and field world championships.

Almost two years after a blanket suspension for widespread doping, and a year after just one Russian was allowed to compete on the Olympic track in Rio de Janeiro, 19 will compete at the world championships starting Friday.

In London, they'll officially be "neutral athletes," individuals not representing any country.

Sergei Shubenkov, who won the 110-meter hurdles at the 2015 world championships but had to sit out the Olympics last year because Russia was banned from international competition, said "I've got back almost all the rights I had."

Decked out in an electric blue Russia tracksuit at his national championships last Friday, he lamented he still can't "take this beautiful, awesome uniform to the worlds and flaunt it."

Keen to head off any Russian celebrations, the International Association of Athletics Federations has issued its 19 neutrals with strict codes of conduct.

The Russian flag and national colors are banned, so uniforms in neutral colors must be approved by IAAF officials. Red, white and blue are forbidden, even on hairbands or bandages or accessories.

If the neutrals win, the IAAF's anthem will play. Under the rules, an athlete who sings the Russian anthem faces a fine, though any legal tussles could prove embarrassing for the IAAF.

The rules "seem tough and a bit ridiculous," said Shubenkov, who jokingly suggested there might be a loophole for fur hats. "Bringing a bear on a leash, would that count?"

The Russians will be in London when the IAAF holds a string of ceremonies re-awarding medals from past championships after doping cases.

Some originally belonged to Russians, including Tatyana Chernova, who beat Britain's Jessica Ennis-Hill to heptathlon gold at the 2011 championships but was later stripped of that medal and others.

The Russians certainly looked like a team as they met Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev last week at their national titles.

Their world championship preparation is subsidized by the Russian state, while entry papers were submitted by the still-suspended national track federation, whose head coach Yuri Borzakovsky expects between five and seven podium finishes.

Besides Shubenkov, another medal contender is reigning world high jump champion Maria Lasitskene, who won every round of the Diamond League this season. She just wants to block out the whole doping controversy. "I don't want to waste my emotions on that. I need them for the competition," she said.

More than two years of investigations and bans have made the team stronger, says pole vaulter Anzhelika Sidorova. "Everyone who's there will support the others," she said. "We're all friends like never before."

There's a return for Russia's only track and field Olympian of 2016, long jumper Darya Klishina, while some younger athletes could be medal threats too.

Sergei Shirobokov, an 18-year-old racewalker, has promise but would be a controversial champion given his links to a training center where more than 25 athletes have been banned for doping.

Still, it's far from a full team.

Among the absentees are 2012 Olympic high jump champion Ivan Ukhov and former world indoor triple jump champion Lyukman Adams. Russian media reported both were refused neutral status by the IAAF.

Dozens more are serving bans, including former Olympic champions.

The IAAF is retesting samples from previous championships after World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren alleged a conspiracy of drug use and cover-ups stretching back years. An apparent cover-up of suspicious drug tests on the Russian track team before the 2014 world indoor championships is of particular interest.

While Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted in March the previous anti-doping system "did not work," there's been no rush to investigate what exactly went wrong, at least not publicly. Several officials resigned last year in unclear circumstances, but the then-Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko was promoted.

Russian law enforcement has sought to present McLaren's key witness, former drug-test lab director Grigory Rodchenkov, as unreliable. The government continues to deny any role in doping cover-ups, frustrating the IAAF, which wants Russia to either accept or disprove McLaren's findings.

Still, Russia is gradually getting closer to readmission to international track and field, which would make neutral uniforms a quirk of history. An IAAF taskforce on Monday said Russia was giving drug testers better access but hadn't done enough to investigate past offenses.

"We're coming out of those crises," Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov told reporters last week. Russian officials have toned down once-vehement criticism of the IAAF as they try to build bridges.

"It'll be hard for the athletes to compete because they are all patriots of their country," Kolobkov said when asked if he considered the absence of Russia's flag insulting.

Whether the Russian athletes are neutral or not, he said, "everyone understands who they represent."


Update August 2, 2017

Bolt says no chance of loss or comeback in farewell worlds

Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt poses after a press conference ahead of the World Athletics championships in London, Tuesday, Aug. 1. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Eddie Pells

London (AP) — An encore for Usain Bolt? Unthinkable.

A loss in his going-away party? Impossible.

Track's fastest man and greatest entertainer made both those points clear Tuesday leading to his final world championships this week. It was an engaging hour filled with reminisces, chats about his plans and thoughts about where his troubled and soon-to-be-starless sport might be headed.

Sporting the goatee he wears during world championships, but not the Olympics, the superstar who went 9 for 9 at the Summer Games, shattering records while dancing and smiling his way through the journey, dispensed any notion he might come back: "For me, the next championships should be fun because now it's time to watch and see who can hold their nerves," said the 11-time world champion, who turns 31 on Aug. 21.

As for the possibility he'd change his mind should he lose in Saturday night's 100-meter final: "It's not going to happen, so we won't have that problem. Don't worry," he said.

He said he's looking forward to a life of motivational speaking, occasional soccer games with friends and maybe dipping his toe into action movies to keep the adrenaline flowing.

As for the past, one of Bolt's most interesting revelations was that his now-famous "To the World" pose, which he debuted after winning his first Olympic gold medal in Beijing, was completely unplanned.

"It's just something that happened," Bolt said. "I guess it was by the grace of God. It became big. For me, it worked."

Almost every celebration since — the moderator said Bolt has taken 147 victory laps over his career — has been pre-planned, drenched in Jamaican flags and reggae music and every bit worth the wait. Among the few impromptu moments came at the last world championships, two years ago in Beijing, when a photographer riding a Segway accidentally upended him during his victory lap.

That man made a videotaped appearance at the news conference and told Bolt: "You inspired me to become more focused in my work."

"It was shocking," said Bolt, who popped right back up after the spill. "I didn't get hurt, so it was funny."

On a more serious note, he was asked how he has prepared for each season as his career has progressed. Like flipping through the calendar, Bolt ticked off his goals and motivations for each year since he burst onto the scene in 2008, a relative unknown whose only goal was to become an Olympic champion in his main race, the 200 meters.

Early on, he took umbrage to the slights: for instance, that despite setting four world records, his success in 2008 came because his main challenger, Tyson Gay, was hurt. Or how in 2012, many were favoring teammate Yohan Blake at the Olympics after Bolt lost to him twice earlier in the summer in Jamaica.

As the calendar kept turning and Bolt kept proving himself, his mission became more about trying to secure his place in history. When he swept gold for the third straight Olympics last year in Rio de Janeiro, he reached the legendary status he sought.

"Now that I got to my goal, I'm good with it," he said. "I've proven myself."

He fielded the obligatory questions about doping. Bolt has never been caught. Many in his country, and in the sprint game he dominates, have. The last two years have been filled with sordid stories of doping corruption in Russia that brought track and field to a new low.

"The only place track and field has to go is up," Bolt said. "Hopefully we're going to get it going in the right direction and continue going in the right direction."

His most telling comments — or non-comments — came when he was asked who might fill his shoes after he leaves.

"I'm not going down that road," Bolt said. "The last guy I said was going to be great disrespected me."

It was almost certainly a reference to Andre De Grasse, the Canadian up-and-comer who brazenly pushed Bolt last year in the Olympic 200 meter semifinals.

If there's going to be drama in Saturday's 100 final, De Grasse is the best bet to provide it.

But Bolt doesn't see that as a problem.

"You guys know if I show up at a championship, you know I'm fully confident and ready to go," he said.

He unveiled the gold-and-purple shoes he'll wear for his final championships. The purple is for his school colors back home at William Knibb Memorial High School. The gold is self-explanatory.

His sponsor, Puma, has been promoting the phrase "Fastest Forever," in the lead-up to the worlds, which will take place in the same London stadium where Bolt won Olympic medals 4, 5 and 6.

But Bolt has a different idea.

"Unbeatable," he said. "For me, that would be the biggest headline. Unbeatable. Unstoppable. Hear that guys? Jot it down."


Los Angeles gets Olympics with an 11-year wait _ and risks

Los Angeles Olympic Committee leader Casey Wasserman, from left, and City Council President Herb look on as L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks during a press conference to make an announcement for the city to host the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games 2028, at Stubhub Center in Carson, outside of Los Angeles, Calif., Monday, July 31. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Michael R. Blood

Los Angeles (AP) — By 2028, a new stadium being built for the Rams and the Chargers will have been beaten up by nearly a decade of NFL games. The seemingly intractable problems of Southern California — traffic and homelessness — might get better or grow worse.

So much can change in 11 years.

Los Angeles' decision to lock in an Olympic Games to far-off 2028 was praised by city leaders as a deal that offers hundreds of millions of dollars in future benefits. But the longest wait time for any Olympics in the U.S. also comes with the risks of the unknown.

"It's a big chunk of time," noted Jules Boykoff, a Pacific University professor who has written widely on the Olympics. "You just don't know what's going to come. The world presents surprises."

History teaches that the economy swings up and down, sometimes with disastrous results. Political scientists foresee an era of continuing upheaval and unrest. Geologists say an inevitable big earthquake in quake-prone Southern California could damage venues envisioned as part of the Games.

Mayor Eric Garcetti shrugged off a question about the uncertainty.

"Los Angeles is resilient," said the youthful-looking mayor, who will be granddad age, chasing 60, by the time of the Games.

"If the entire earth falls apart, probably the Olympics aren't happening in Los Angeles. But short of that, we are going to have a great Games here in LA," the mayor told reporters.

In embracing the 2028 date that is expected to be finalized later this year, city Olympic organizers ceded the 2024 Games to Paris, which both cities had craved.

But Garcetti and other supporters argued that the four-year delay was advantageous, giving the car-choked city more time to build rail lines. Additionally, the delay comes with financial sweeteners that, among other things, will pump millions of dollars into youth sports.

But time rushes on, and major changes are bound to happen.

Los Angeles County is home to 10 million people, and that population could increase by more than 500,000 by 2028, state demographers project. The cutting-edge technology in the new NFL stadium, now scheduled to open in 2020, will probably look like the forgotten Blackberry by 2028.

Many athletes in their prime today will be in the bleachers in a decade. And how can officials accurately estimate ticket prices and the revenue they will generate?

Events that happened 11 years ago can seem part of a faded, distant past. Facebook was a mere two years old. Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was executed. Taylor Swift released her first album, and "Game of Thrones" was years into the future.

Consider the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The nearly century-old iconic structure — which would be used in an Olympics for a third time after the 1932 and 1984 Games — was constructed long before modern building codes. It was also severely damaged in a 1994 earthquake. The coliseum is currently undergoing an extensive makeover, but experts have warned it could still be vulnerable to shaking.

Estimates vary widely on what the federal government would need to spend on security for the two-week event, by some accounts $1 billion or more. It's only a guess what the price tag will be in 2028, or the level of threat at that time.

Higher construction costs are likely, too. One example of the work that needs to be done: the Coliseum, a football stadium, would need to be converted into a venue for Olympic track events, then back again.

Over the years Olympics have been notorious for cost overruns, and studies have questioned if host cities benefit economically. Russia has struggled with costs from the 2014 Sochi Olympics, which have been called the most expensive Olympics of all time.

But Andrew Zimbalist, an economist at Smith College in Massachusetts, said LA was better positioned for a longer wait than other recent Olympic cities because its plan calls for no new major construction

"They will be able to run an operating surplus," he predicted.

In the shorter term, the private committee behind the LA bid must retool its initial 2024 plans for four years in the future, including renegotiating contracts for housing athletes and temporary venues, which were all hooked to 2024.

Another hurdle: With the change in date, LA apparently needs to renegotiate and extend financial guarantees approved by the city and state to cover potential shortfalls connected with the 2024 bid. Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation in September that puts California taxpayers on the hook for up to $250 million if Los Angeles were awarded the 2024 Games and they ran over budget, and the city has promised the same.

Chicago-based sports-finance consultant Marc Ganis said the overall outcome was favorable for LA, given that Paris was in line for the 2024 Games. Additionally, financial sweeteners will help cover costs over the longer wait time.

Still, facilities age, technology advances and costs rise.

"There is always going to be financial risk," Ganis said, "when you are targeting 11 years into the future."


Sharapova wins first WTA match in US since 2015

Maria Sharapova. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

Stanford, Calif. (AP) — Maria Sharapova played her first WTA match in the United States since 2015 and beat Jennifer Brady 6-1, 4-6, 6-0 on Monday night in the opening round of the Bank of the West Classic.

Sharapova, a wild-card entrant and five-time Grand Slam champion, won the opening four games of the match, lost the first three of the second set and cruised in the third.

"I feel like I just want to hug everyone and say thank you," Sharapova said in an on-court interview. "It's my first match in the States in a really long time, and it's the closest thing to home for me."

Sharapova served a 15-month ban after testing positive for a newly banned drug at the 2016 Australian Open. She returned in April and played in three tournaments, but missed Wimbledon because of an injury.

Top-seeded and reigning Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza will play 17-year-old American Kayla Day, a 6-4, 6-2 winner over Japanese veteran Misaki Doi.

Ana Konjuh, the No. 5 seed from Croatia, won 6-3, 1-0 after New Zealand qualifier Marina Erakovic retired from the match with an injury. Seventh-seeded Lesia Tsurenko beat Spain's Lara Arruabarrena 6-3, 6-3.


European rugby competition adds 2 South African teams

South Africa's Southern Kings are shown in action against Japan's Sunwolves in this March 4, 2017 file photo. (AP Photo/Joseph Nair)

Gerald Imray

Dublin (AP) - Europe's Pro12 has confirmed it will add two South African teams dropped from Super Rugby and expand to a 14-team, two-continent competition from this season.

Celtic Rugby, which runs the Pro12, said the Cheetahs and Southern Kings will join straight away for the 2017-18 season starting later this year. The Pro12 is currently made up of Irish, Welsh, Scottish and Italian clubs.

The prospect of northern hemisphere clubs taking on rivals from the southern hemisphere has long been wished for by rugby fans on both sides of the equator, but conflicting seasons in the north and south have previously prevented that.

With the addition of the Bloemfontein-based Cheetahs and Port Elizabeth-based Kings, Pro12 will be rebranded as the Pro14 and change to a two-conference system, instead of a straight league table, before the knockout stages.

Seven teams from the new Pro14 will qualify for the Champions Cup, Europe's top rugby competition, but Celtic Rugby said "at present" the two South African teams won't be eligible for that competition even if they finish in the qualification places. That will, for the moment, avoid the possibility of a South African team becoming the "European" champions.

Pro14 CEO Martin Anayi said the arrival of the Cheetahs and Kings "marks a bold and exciting new chapter for the Pro14 as a global rugby championship."

Celtic Rugby said the inclusion of the Cheetahs and Kings was part of a "long-term" agreement between it and the South African rugby union.

The South African union was forced to cut two teams from the southern hemisphere's leading club competition after Super Rugby decided to downscale from 18 to 15 teams.

The Cheetahs and Kings were dropped as the two smallest of the six South African teams in Super Rugby.

Joining the European competition brings complications for the Cheetahs and Kings, and for South African rugby.

South Africa's main club competition, the Currie Cup, runs July-October, overlapping with the Pro14's traditional September to May season. It's unclear how the Cheetahs and Kings will compete in both during the overlap.

Also, the southern hemisphere's international Rugby Championship is in August, September and October, and the South Africa team tours Europe at the end of every year, also possibly clashing with the Pro14 schedule for international players with the Cheetahs and Kings.

Celtic Rugby says it will release its 2017-18 schedule next week.


Update August 1, 2017

Moeen Ali's hat trick finishes off South Africa

England's Moeen Ali is lifted by his team mates after he takes a hat trick on the fifth day of the third test match between England and South Africa at The Oval cricket ground in London, Monday, July 31. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

London (AP) — England spinner Moeen Ali bowled a hat trick Monday to finish off South Africa in the third test match.

Ali's dismissal of South Africa's last three batsmen in three balls across two overs handed England a 239-run victory and a 2-1 series lead ahead of Friday's fourth and final test in Manchester.

The England players celebrated after the last decision was confirmed by the umpire. Ali is the first England spinner to take a hat trick since 1938.

The off-spinner's hat trick started when Dean Elgar's resistance was finally ended for 136. Elgar edged the ball to Ben Stokes at slip, and Kagiso Rabada was out to an identical shot on the next delivery. At the start of his next over, Ali trapped Morne Morkel leg before wicket to complete England's convincing victory.

Elgar was the only South African holding up England's victory as he batted despite an injured left hand.

Toby Roland-Jones took two wickets in two balls in the morning session and Ali dismissed Chris Morris with the last ball before lunch, leaving South Africa on 205-7 chasing an unlikely 492.

Roland-Jones, a seamer making his debut, took five wickets in the first innings to put England in command and claimed three more in the second innings.

South Africa resumed on Monday on 117-4 and Elgar combined with Temba Bavuma in a partnership of 108 before two wickets fell to Roland-Jones in successive deliveries. Bavuma was dismissed lbw on appeal for 32 and then Vernon Philander was trapped lbw for a duck to leave South Africa in deep trouble on 160-6.

Despite the injury to his left hand, Elgar hit 18 fours in his 189-ball innings, although he appeared set to run out of partners.

After lunch, South Africa could only add 47 runs as Ali skittled through the last batsmen.

England gained the upper hand in the first innings, scoring 353 with a century from Ben Stokes and 88 from opener Alastair Cook. Roland-Jones took 5-57. England scored 313-8 declared in the second innings, setting South Africa a massive challenge of 492 to win.


Los Angeles reaches deal with Olympic leaders for 2028 Games

Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti.
(Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP)

Michael R. Blood

Los Angeles (AP) — Los Angeles has reached an agreement with International Olympic leaders that will open the way for the city to host the 2028 Summer Games, while ceding the 2024 Games to rival Paris, officials announced Monday.

The deal would make LA a three-time Olympic city, after hosting the 1932 and 1984 Games.

With the agreement, the city is taking "a major step toward bringing the Games back to our city for the first time in a generation," Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement.

He called it a "historic day for Los Angeles, for the United States" and the Olympic movement.

The agreement follows a vote earlier this month by the International Olympic Committee to seek an unusual deal to award the 2024 and 2028 Games simultaneously. Paris is the only city left to host the 2024 Games.

The Los Angeles City Council and U.S. Olympic Committee board of directors will consider the agreement in August. If approved, the IOC, LA and Paris could enter a three-part agreement, clearing the way for the IOC to award the 2024 Games to Paris, and the 2028 Games to LA. The IOC vote is scheduled for September, in Lima, Peru.

In a statement, the Paris bid committee welcomed the announcement in Los Angeles but stopped short of confirming the obvious, that Paris is in line for the 2024 Games.

"Paris 2024 is proud to be working together with the IOC and our friends in Los Angeles to reach a positive solution for both cities, the Games and the whole Olympic Movement for 2024 and 2028," committee co-chair Tony Estanguet said.

In embracing what amounted to the second-place prize and an 11-year wait, LA will receive a financial sweetener.

Under the terms of the deal, the IOC will advance funds to the Los Angeles organizing committee to recognize the extended planning period and to increase youth sports programs leading up to the Games. The IOC contribution could exceed $2 billion, according to LA officials. That figure takes into account the estimated value of existing sponsor agreements that would be renewed, as well as potential new marketing deals.

The delay to 2028 opens a host of questions for Los Angeles, which is looking at the prospect of retooling its multibillion-dollar plans for more than a decade into the future. It would face challenges from maintaining public interest to recasting deals for stadiums, arenas and housing that have been in the works for months and even years.

Speaking with reporters at a soccer stadium in Carson, just outside LA, Garcetti said the 2028 proposal was the better of the two, promising to bring hundreds of millions of dollars in additional benefits.

The deal "was too good to pass up," the mayor said.

He also suggested the IOC would easily ratify the 2024-2028 deal in September.

LA and Paris were the last two bids remaining after a tumultuous process that exposed the unwillingness of cities to bear the financial burden of hosting an event that has become synonymous with cost overruns.

LA was not even the first American entrant in the contest. Boston withdrew two years ago as public support for its bid collapsed over concerns about use of taxpayer cash. The U.S. bid switched from the east to the West Coast as LA entered the race.

But the same apprehensions that spooked politicians and the local population in Boston soon became evident in Europe where three cities pulled out.

Uncomfortably for IOC President Thomas Bach, whose much-vaunted Agenda 2020 reforms were designed to make hosting more streamlined and less costly after the lavish 2014 Sochi Games, the first withdrawal came from his homeland of Germany.

The lack of political unity for a bid in Hamburg was mirrored in Rome and Budapest as support for bids waned among local authorities and the population. It was clear they did not want to be saddled with skyrocketing bills for hosting the Olympics without reaping many of the economic benefits anticipated.

Just like in the depleted field for the 2022 Winter Games which saw Beijing defeat Almaty, the IOC was left with only two candidates again.

With two powerful cities left vying for 2024, Bach realized France or the U.S. could be deterred from going through another contest for 2028 if they lost. Bach floated the idea in December of making revisions to the bidding process to prevent it producing "too many losers," building support that led to LA and Paris being able to figure out themselves how to share the 2024 and 2028 Games.

The dual award of the games relieves the IOC of having to test the global interest in hosting the Summer Olympics for several years until the 2032 Games are up for grabs.

Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson called the agreement a "win-win-win scenario."

The opportunity to host the Games "is a golden occasion further strengthening Los Angeles — not just through bricks and mortar, but through new opportunities for our communities to watch, play and benefit from sport," Wesson said.


Mayweather-McGregor is a stale act already

This July 13, 2017 photo shows Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, and Conor McGregor, of Ireland, facing each other for photos during a news conference at Barclays Center in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Tim Dahlberg

Las Vegas (AP) — There's a reason tons of good seats remain for what was supposed to be the year's hottest ticket.

Actually, there are two reasons the hype bubble surrounding the fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor has been punctured, at least a bit.

In their quest to extract every dollar possible, promoters wildly miscalculated their audience. This isn't boxing, with an established wealthy fan base willing to pay thousands of dollars as they did for Mayweather's 2015 fight with Manny Pacquiao.

The 20-something UFC fans that are driving this promotion for the most part don't have 10 grand to blow on a pair of seats. They'll have to be content to sit in front of the television with a few friends, cheering on McGregor from the couch instead of inside the arena.

The other reason might be that the con job that is Mayweather and McGregor has been exposed. And, in a revealing twist, it was done by the fighters themselves.

The drama has already played out, almost before it really got started. The act is tired, as anyone who saw the media tour or watched the first "All Access" episode on Showtime can attest.

See Floyd play with his money. Watch Conor model fur coats and boast that his net worth will quadruple.

Listen as they scream profanities at each other, then try not to laugh at the inside joke they share as they face off for photographers.

It's all a big tease, a fantasyland built on dreams and hopes. It's as phony as the $100 million check that Mayweather likes to wave around when the truth is he can't even afford to pay his taxes without selling some of his assets.

That's enough to sell it to home viewers at $99.95 apiece. It's entertainment, much like Wrestlemania, and a good excuse to get a few friends together for a party.

But it's a little tougher to justify $15,000 (plus $1,292.81 in service fees) for two seats in Section 4, Row S of the T-Mobile arena that are so far from ringside you'll need to spend another $100 for a pair of binoculars to see the action.

The bottom line is that there's no there there. This is more reality show than fight, and the reality is that it's such an awful mismatch that Nevada boxing regulators should be ashamed of themselves for even sanctioning it.

But Mayweather is starved for cash, and doesn't mind making a fool of himself to replenish his bank account. The boxer who likes to wear hats proclaiming himself "TBE'" (The Best Ever) is so desperate to sell this fight that he's promoting it by suggesting he's not that good anymore.

"That's what makes this fight so entertaining," Mayweather said on the All Access show. "I'm not the Mayweather of the past."

He's right, because the Mayweather of the past was at least mildly interesting. But the money act is as dated as the check from the Pacquiao fight that Mayweather seems to have trouble cashing.

Gone are the days when he and 50 Cent used to toss around stacks of bills, then head out in the Bugatti to the strip clubs to throw dollar bills at dancers. The Big Boy mansion doesn't seem so big anymore, and there are only so many times you can watch Mayweather sitting in his private jet.

The same holds true for McGregor. His fur coats seem nice enough — though it's hard to be sure the one he wore at the media tour stop in New York was really made of polar bear — and he's thrown out a few genuinely funny lines.

But it mostly feels forced, like the UFC star has been rehearsing too long. Yes, it's easy to mock Mayweather for allegedly not being able to read, but 50 Cent delivered the same material years ago after he and Mayweather had a nasty split.

Indeed, by the time the tour hit New York the trash talk was stale. Aside from the F-bombs thrown out like red meat to the eager crowd, there wasn't anything that screamed "Buy me!" about the fight.

And to think there are three more All Access episodes remaining. That's about three too many for this one-trick pony.

Still, the bottom line is that McGregor's true believers really believe. They're putting money on their man despite the fact he has no chance — other than something truly bizarre happening — inside the ring. They may not be able to afford seats in the arena but they will buy the pay-per-view in numbers that rival the 4.6 million sold for Mayweather-Pacquiao.

Expanding that outside the core of fans driving this fight will be more difficult, though, as shown by the resistance to the insanely inflated ticket prices.

Proof, perhaps, that even a freak show is worth only so much.


Ronaldo tells judge he has 'never tried to avoid taxes'

Cristiano Ronaldo was in a Spanish court Monday to answer questions as part of an investigation to determine whether the Real Madrid forward committed tax fraud. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

Iain Sullivan and Joseph Wilson

Madrid (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo told a Spanish judge Monday that he has "never tried to avoid taxes."

The Real Madrid forward, who is from Portugal, was questioned to determine whether he committed tax fraud worth almost 15 million euros ($17.5 million). Ronaldo spent more than 90 minutes answering the questions of investigating judge Monica Gomez.

According to a statement released by his public relations firm, the 32-year-old Ronaldo told the judge: "I have never hidden anything, and never tried to avoid taxes."

Judge Gomez took Ronaldo's testimony as part of an investigation to determine if there are grounds to charge him. The session at Pozuelo de Alarcon Court No. 1 on the outskirts of Madrid was closed to the public because it is part of an ongoing investigation.

In June, a state prosecutor accused Ronaldo of four counts of tax fraud from 2011-14 worth 14.7 million euros ($16.5 million). The prosecutor accused the Portugal forward of having used shell companies outside Spain to hide income made from image rights. The accusation does not involve his salary from Real Madrid.

Ronaldo denies any wrongdoing.

"Spain's Tax Office knows all the details about my sources of income because we have reported them," Ronaldo told the judge, according to his statement. "I always file my tax returns because I think that we should all file and pay our taxes.

"Those who know me know that I tell my consultants that they must have everything in order and paid up to date because I don't want trouble."

Both before and after his court appearance, Ronaldo used an alternative entrance to avoid a large swarm of more than a hundred journalists from Spain and aboard gathered near the main door to the court.

Court officials had said that either Ronaldo or his lawyer would speak to the media after he saw the judge, but instead the player's spokesman, Inaki Torres, stepped up to the temporary podium in front of the courthouse to announce that Ronaldo "was on his way home."

The prosecutor said in June that Ronaldo used what was deemed a shell company in the Virgin Islands to "create a screen in order to hide his total income from Spain's Tax Office."

The prosecutor accused Ronaldo of declaring 11.5 million euros ($12.8 million) earned from 2011-14 in a tax return filed in 2014, when the prosecutor said Ronaldo's real income during that period was almost 43 million euros ($48 million). It added that Ronaldo falsely claimed the income as coming from real estate, which "greatly" reduced his tax rate.

The prosecutor also said that Ronaldo did not declare income of 28.4 million euros ($31.8 million) made from the cession of image rights from 2015-20 to another company located in Spain.

Ronaldo said that he told judge Gomez on Monday that that his financial planning hadn't changed since 2004, when he was at Manchester United. He said he kept the same arrangement when he joined Madrid in 2009.

"When I signed for Real Madrid I didn't create a special business structure to handle my image rights, I kept the same one that had been managing them when I was in England," Ronaldo said, according to the statement. "It was checked out by the English Tax Office and was found legal and legitimate."

A four-time Ballon d'Or winner, Ronaldo is one of Europe's best soccer players. He has led Madrid to back-to-back Champions League titles and helped Portugal to win last year's European Championship.

Last month, Spain's state prosecutor also accused former Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho of defrauding 3.3 million euros ($3.7 million) in 2011 and 2012 from income made from image rights. Mourinho, now coach of Manchester United, has yet to be summoned for questioning and through his agent has denied any wrongdoing.

The probes into Ronaldo's and Mourinho's financial arrangements are the most recent high-profile tax cases involving soccer's top names in Spain.

Last year, Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, were found guilty on three counts of defrauding tax authorities of 4.1 million euros ($4.6 million) from income made from image rights. They have both paid additional fines in exchange for their 21-month jail sentences to be suspended.

Both former Real Madrid forward Angel Di Maria and Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano have admitted to tax fraud in exchange for lighter treatment from the law, and prosecutors have also opened tax fraud investigations into former Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao and former Real Madrid defender Fabio Coentrao.

In Spain, a judge can suspend sentences of less than two years for first-time offenders.


McIlroy fires caddie after 9 years

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, right, speaks with his caddie JP Fitzgerald during the second round of the British Open Golf Championship at Royal Birkdale in Southport, Friday July 21, 2017. (Richard Sellers/PA via AP)

London (AP) - Rory McIlroy has fired his caddie and will use his best friend at the Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship, according to published reports.

Reuters cited a source it did not identify as saying McIlroy has parted ways with J.P. Fitzgerald. They have worked together for the past nine years, during which McIlroy has won four major championships and reached No. 1 in the world.

McIlroy is due to speak about the change Wednesday at the Bridgestone Invitational.

The Telegraph reported that McIlroy's caddie at the next two tournaments will be Harry Diamond.

It is the second significant player-caddie split this summer. Phil Mickelson and Jim "Bones" Mackay decided to end 25 years together. Mackay since has taken a job as an analyst on the course at NBC Sports.


Manchester United sign Nemanja Matic from Chelsea

Nemanja Matic is shown in this Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016 file photo. The Serbian midfielder has signed a three-year contract with Manchester United. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Manchester, England (AP) — Manchester United signed midfielder Nemanja Matic from Chelsea on Monday on a three-year contract.

The 28-year-old Serb rejoins former manager Jose Mourinho after playing a key role when the Portuguese coach guided Chelsea to the Premier League title in the 2014-15 season.

"I am delighted to have joined Manchester United," Matic said. "To work with Jose Mourinho once again was an opportunity I couldn't turn down."

Neither English Premier League club gave financial details of the deal, which was reportedly for 40 million pounds ($52.8 million).

Matic established himself as a crucial player for Chelsea after rejoining the club in 2014 from Benfica.

However, Chelsea's signing of Tiemoue Bakayoko from Monaco meant the Blues were willing to let Matic move on.

Matic is Mourinho's third major acquisition of the offseason, joining Romelu Lukaku and Victor Lindelof as United seek to win a first league title since the 2012-13 season.

"Nemanja is a Manchester United player and a Jose Mourinho player," Mourinho said. "He represents everything we want in a footballer; loyalty, consistency, ambition, team player."

Matic will wear the No. 31 shirt.
 


DAILY UPDATE

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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Nadal, Federer win opening matches at Rogers Cup

Welcome back: Makwala stops, drops and sprints at worlds

New No. 1 Pliskova opens with second-round win in Toronto

Jason Day 'hungry,' eager to return to top of golf world

Sanchez to miss start of season for Arsenal

Lamb's slam gives D-backs 6-3 win over Dodgers


Real Madrid beat Manchester United 2-1 to win Super Cup

With challenger not admitted, Van Niekerk cruises to victory

McIlroy feeling right at home at Quail Hollow for the PGA

Sale strikes out 13 Rays, Red Sox win seventh straight, 2-0

Bouchard loses in 1st round of Rogers Cup


Jamaica overcomes the hurdles, finally gets its gold

Root's England end home drought against South Africa

Mourinho: We'd chase Bale if Real Madrid lose interest

McGregor's biggest rival: "No way" Conor beats Mayweather

2-time Tour winner Alberto Contador to retire after Vuelta


Bowie wins 100 meters at world championships

Matsuyama wins at Firestone with big finish

Community Shield: Arsenal beat Chelsea in penalty shootout

Netherlands crowned women's European soccer champions

Marc Marquez wins Czech Grand Prix to increase overall lead

Kim holds on to win Women's British Open

Ali attacks to give England 360-run lead over South Africa

India beat Sri Lanka by an innings and 53 runs, win series


Farah upstages Bolt at worlds, and it took an amazing race

Walker managing fatigue, builds 2-shot lead at Firestone

Neymar says move not cash-driven; PSG expect financial lift

I.K. Kim handles bad weather to take British Open lead

Stokes out late, England 260-6 in 4th test vs. South Africa

Sri Lanka struggle to 50-2 after India post 622-9 dec


Thomas Pieters takes 1-shot lead at Firestone

Dominant India ends Day 1 of 2nd test at 344-3 vs. Sri Lanka

Klitschko was dominant but never really got his due

It's here: Major League Soccer implements video replay


PSG signing Neymar a PR coup for isolated Qatar

Olympic medalist De Grasse injures hamstring, out of worlds

McIlroy to use best friend as caddie for at least 2 weeks

No anthem or colors, but Russians are back at track worlds


Bolt says no chance of loss or comeback in farewell worlds

Los Angeles gets Olympics with an 11-year wait _ and risks

Sharapova wins first WTA match in US since 2015

European rugby competition adds 2 South African teams


Moeen Ali's hat trick finishes off South Africa

Los Angeles reaches deal with Olympic leaders for 2028 Games

Mayweather-McGregor is a stale act already

Ronaldo tells judge he has 'never tried to avoid taxes'

McIlroy fires caddie after 9 years

Manchester United sign Nemanja Matic from Chelsea

 



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