Nadal, Federer win opening matches at Rogers Cup
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
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)
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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)
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,"
By the time the end of last year rolled
around, Day said he was exhausted after spending nearly a full year as the
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
"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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Real Madrid beat Manchester United 2-1 to win Super Cup
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)
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
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
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)
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
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
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
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
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
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
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)
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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)
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
"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,"
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)
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
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,
"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
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)
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
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
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
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
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.
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)
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
"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
"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
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
"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)
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
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
"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
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
"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
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
"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
"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
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
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)
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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)
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
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
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
But this was the biggest by
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.
"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
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
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
Ali controlled a 58-run stand
with Toby Roland-Jones, scoring 45 of those 58 runs from just 40
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
The current lead of 360 is more
than any team has successfully chased in the fourth innings at Old
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)
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
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
Indian captain Virat Kohli said
the he wasn't surprised at Sri Lanka's fightback but was focused on
"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
"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)
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.
"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,"
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
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
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
"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
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)
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
"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 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)
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
The value of the club too has
soared overnight from 1 billion euros before the transfer, according
"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
"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
"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
"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)
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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)
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
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
Rahane, who had not scored a
century in nine games, said he had remained confident throughout
"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
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
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
By Doug Ferguson, AP Golf
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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)
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
"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,
"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."
PSG signing Neymar a PR coup for isolated Qatar
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
"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
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
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
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
While big-ticket assets like
British department store Harrods seem more financially astute
investments for Qatar, sports entities and events enjoy a higher
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
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
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
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
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
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
He also didn't rule out Diamond
"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
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
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
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
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
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."
Bolt says no chance of loss or comeback in farewell worlds
athlete Usain Bolt poses after a press conference ahead of the World
Athletics championships in London, Tuesday, Aug. 1. (AP Photo/Frank
London (AP) — An encore for
Usain Bolt? Unthinkable.
A loss in his going-away party?
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
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
"It's just something that happened,"
Bolt said. "I guess it was by the grace of God. It became big. For me, it
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
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
"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
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
Los Angeles gets Olympics with an 11-year wait _ and risks
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Sharapova wins first WTA match in US since 2015
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
Africa's Southern Kings are shown in action against Japan's Sunwolves in
this March 4, 2017 file photo. (AP Photo/Joseph Nair)
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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)
Las Vegas (AP) — There's a
reason tons of good seats remain for what was supposed to be the year's
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.