Garcia's not the biggest flop in golf… try these disappearing acts

Sergio Garcia’s NOT the biggest flop in golf as Tony Jacklin claims, he’s won more Ryder Cup points than any European or American golfer in history… try these five disappearing acts instead

  • Tony Jacklin gave his opinion that Sergio Garcia is biggest underachiever in golf
  • Spaniard’s been tough enough to hang around in highest echelons for so long
  • Biggest under-achievers looked so good at a young age but vanished from view

Tony Jacklin’s lifelong proclivity for speaking in headlines revealed itself once more last week when he delivered the rather startling opinion that Sergio Garcia is the biggest underachiever in golf.

Slipping the stiletto in further, the Englishman added: ‘Seve had more courage in his little finger than this lad. He’s been one of the best players in the world for the past 20 years, but he hasn’t much to show for it.’

Really, Jacko? A man who can proudly boast he’s won more Ryder Cup points than any European or American golfer in history, and with a better winning percentage than the great Seve Ballesteros to boot? Who’s won more titles in America than his fellow Spaniard?

 Sergio Garcia’s won more Ryder Cup points than any European or American golfer in history

Sure, you can put forward a persuasive argument that a single Masters victory is a poor return for someone who had so many chances to win majors but they’re hardly easy things to gather in.

Of course, describing someone as an underachiever isn’t necessarily an insult.

Indeed, Jacklin underlines the point by saying he reached his conclusion because he thinks Garcia had the ability to win 10 majors. 

All the same, I have a hard time thinking of someone as a gross underachiever who’s been tough enough to hang around in the highest echelons for so long.

For me, the biggest under-achievers are those who looked so good at a young age but disappeared from view, not someone who’s played in 10 Ryder Cups and earned himself a fabulous lifestyle with homes in three countries.

Here are what I would call five classic underachievers, players who looked to me like can’t-miss kids. In no particular order…

Michael Welch (England)

The best 16-year-old British golfer I’ve ever seen. 

One summer, he won the Shropshire Boys Championship, the Midland Boys, the English Boys, the British Boys, the European Boys and the World Boys. 

‘Nobody could touch him,’ said his contemporary, Lee Westwood. Here’s a thing: while Westy continues to prove himself one of the best players in the world, Welch carves out a living as a leading coach, having cut his teeth teaching wannabes at… the Lee Westwood golf school.

Michael Welch – best 16-year-old British golfer I’ve seen – carves out a living as leading coach

Oliver Fisher (England)

The youngest player ever to compete in the Walker Cup. 

A thrilling rivalry with Rory McIlroy as amateurs seemed certain to extend to the paid ranks when both turned pro within 18 months of one another. 

Fisher has shown glimpses, most notably when becoming the first player to shoot 59 on the European Tour in 2018 — but he’s spent the past decade and more mostly trying to keep his card rather than keep up with the Northern Irishman.

Oliver Fisher became the first player to shoot 59 on the European Tour back in 2018

Matteo Manassero (Italy)

In 2013, at the absurdly young age of 20, he collected his fourth European Tour title, and the biggest of all in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. 

Imagine saying to someone back then that the personable Italian wouldn’t even have a tour card by the age of 27 and would be ranked outside the world’s top 1,500 golfers. 

Here, if ever there was, is a sad, cautionary tale of the disastrous consequences that can follow when a player changes his swing in search of more distance.

In 2013, at absurdly young age of 20, Matteo Manassero collected fourth European Tour title

Anthony Kim (United States)

A stunning Ryder Cup debut in 2008, thrashing Sergio Garcia in the singles. Won twice that season and then, the following year, had a record 11 birdies in one round at the Masters. 

Kim was talented, feisty — and then promptly disappeared. An Achilles injury in 2012 was supposed to keep the party-lover out for 12 months but he hasn’t been seen since. 

The rumour is his vanishing act is down to an enormous insurance pay-out conditional on his injury being career-ending.

Anthony Kim made a stunning Ryder Cup debut in 2008, thrashing Sergio Garcia in the singles

Ryo Ishikawa (Japan)

Shot 58 aged 18 to win in Japan on the same day McIlroy shot 62 to win his first tournament in America, at the age of 21. Since then, Ishikawa is another seemingly caught in McIlroy’s glare. 

Still wins regularly back home but in America the ‘bashful prince’ has plenty to be bashful about. 

Has had 145 starts on the PGA Tour and never mind that he’s without a win — at the moment he’s also without a tour card.

Ryo Ishikawa has had 145 starts on the PGA Tour and at the moment he’s without a tour card

Gomez was one of golf’s good guys

Golf lost a good man last week with the passing of Sergio Gomez, the only manager that Jose Maria Olazabal ever had. 

Sergio made me laugh out loud on a number of occasions, once proclaiming with a broad smile, when Ollie was at the height of his powers: ‘My god, what do you do with a man who tells the sponsor of the Irish Open he will play regardless, even though others are getting appearance money?’ 

Life was all about integrity for both men. 

Condolences not only to Sergio’s immediate family, but also to the golfer he treated like a son and who, I know, will be feeling bereft.




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Four takeaways from the MLBPA’s actually reasonable plan for the 2020 MLB season

The MLBPA’s counterproposal to start the 2020 MLB season is slightly convoluted, a bit farfetched and is a single Vin Diesel appearance away from being the plot of a “Fast and Furious” movie — but hey, at least they’re trying.

On Sunday, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the MLB Players Association submitted its counteroffer to MLB to get a season under way. It seems pretty reasonable, current circumstances aside: a 114-game regular season stretching into October, players owning the right to opt out at any time, and playoff expansion that seems more like a bargaining chip for future labor talks.

Let’s make it clear: MLB will almost absolutely reject the proposal, because that’s how negotiations go, and if Passan’s report means anything, it could open the door for more reasonable requests from the side of ownership.

Here are some of the more important takeaways from the proposal:

That’s a lot of games

Like, a lot of games. In MLBPA’s proposal, 114 games would be scheduled to play between June 30 and Oct. 31, which sounds like something of a logistical nightmare, considering they’d have 123 days to get in those 114 games. Recently, MLB proposed an 82-game season that featured a pretty preposterous sliding scale for the players.

While there’s normally about 18 scheduled off days during an MLB season, questions like rain outs, travel and more all have to come into play with the MLBPA proposal. Obviously, extending the season into October allows for some of that to account for a more reasonable year, and logistically plausible at that. 

MLB should be satisfied that players want to and are seemingly willing to play much more than 82 games, but it seems like playoffs are a must-have in this situation, and it’s something that isn’t entirely explored in Passan’s report.

Playoff expansion? Playoff expansion.

This seems like something thrown in there to appease ownership and TV networks for future negotiations — reminder that the CBA is set to expire following the 2021 season, folks — so it’s an interesting tactic to use here.

Personally, I find nothing wrong with the current state of the MLB postseason. The addition of the second wild card has added an urgency and importance to winning a division in the last months of the season, even if the possibility of a 98-win team losing out to an 85-win team is “unfair.” Sure, baseball isn’t built on a single game but series, so the hate for the wild card is understood.

Soliloquy aside, the idea of playoff expansion for the next two seasons seems like a bargaining chip not just now, but for the future, when MLB was already talking about potentially expanding the playoffs. It’s a bold strategy, Cotton. 

Players have right to opt out

This might be the most interesting bit of the whole shebang. 

The MLBPA’s proposal states that players have the right to “opt out on the season,” so if no one wants to play, they won’t have to. That said, how do teams go about filling rosters? Is there a deadline on when players can opt out? 

Players deemed “high-risk” in regard to the coronavirus would still be allowed to collect their salary, while those who don’t want to play out of fear of COVID-19 contraction won’t. 

With a June 30 proposed start date on the season, that means players would have to be in or out right now, like Matt Damon in “Ocean’s 11.” Teams would have to figure out a way to get those roster spots filled in the immediate, which means minor-leaguers would have to get into the fold and quickly.

And what happens if, let’s say, a Clayton Kershaw or Mike Trout decides not to play? How do teams approach salary, service time and free agency? Again, there are many, many details that have to be hammered out and fast. But it’s a good way for players to take care of other players in the immediate and not pressure anyone unwilling to play into taking the field.

Minimal concessions on pay

The players don’t want to lose money, as the owners say they are. The financials seem to be the only thing keeping MLB and the MLBPA so far apart on discussions, and the players, who are within their right to fight for as much money as they can get, still don’t seem very willing to compromise on that.

The 114-game season, playoff expansion and the Home Run Derby or All-Star Game during the offseason all speak to that idea, so it’s pretty good on the players to try and figure out more ways to give a little bit more while keeping their finances intact. The MLBPA is also asking for an $100 million cash advance on salary, further alleviating a bit of the salary burden from owners.

So, really, the pressure is back on the owners. Do they continue to cry poor and point to their bleeding cash flow, or do they turn around and counter with someone more reasonable than expecting the game’s highest stars to take massive paycuts?

The clock is ticking.

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NEWCASTLE TIPS: The best bets as horse racing restarts after lockdown

NEWCASTLE TIPS: The best bets for Monday’s action as racing emerges from lockdown to restart… with Stone Mason and Mutasaamy lining up

  • UK horse racing will make its return on Monday at Newcastle after lockdown 
  • The racing will be under strict protocols with no fans or owners in attendance
  • Stone Mason and Heavenly Tale are set to face-off before Mutasaamy races 
  • One-way systems, face masks and no presentations… racing’s new reality  
  • Hugo Palmer believes racing is equipped to take Covid-19 protocols in its stride 

1.00 STONE MASON and Heavenly Tale are the least exposed of these runners and arguably the most interesting given they could well thrive for a switch in trainer.

Marginal preference is for the former who shaped with promise in a Newbury handicap (10f) last season which has worked out well last summer and the drop back to a stiff mile could see him shed the maiden tag.

1.35 The market hasn’t missed the chances of MUTASAAMY (nb), but the unexposed Newmarket raider begins the season on a very handy mark judged on his victory at Kempton last autumn. The fact connections have kept him in training appears a tip in itself and he looks one of few runners here capable of leaving behind his current mark.

Newcastle is set to host the resumption of racing in the UK following the coronavirus lockdown

2.10 Bond’s Boy ran to a good level in a well-contested Newmarket sales race in the autumn and is respected along with newcomers Blazing Hot and Freedom Flyer, both of which should be monitored in the market. However, LITTLE RED SOCKS was professional when scoring on debut at Wolverhampton in March so may put her experience to good use in this company.

2.45 ART POWER and Magical Journey could well make their racecourse experience count here unless newcomer Continental proves to be above average. The selection, well regarded by connections, hacked up at York on his final start as a juvenile and looks to have the scope to make his mark in better races this summer.

NEWCASTLE TIPS

1.00 Stone Mason 

1.35 Mutasaamy (nb) 

2.10 Little Red Socks 

2.45 Art Power 

3.20 Heath Charnock 

3.55 Rock Of Diamonds 

4.30 Be Proud 

5.05 GOOD TIDINGS (nap) 

5.40 Frankly Darling 

6.15 Valyrian Steel 

3.20 Tathmeen has won five of his 12 starts at today’s venue, but is arguably a more potent force at five furlongs so HEATH CHARNOCK may prove the answer to a tricky heat. The selection finished behind Tathmeen when they met here in February, but the extra furlong might see him reverse placings. Money for Brian The Snail could be significant.

3.55 A change to the handicap rules allows the twice-raced ROCK OF DIAMONDS and Oakenshield to take their chance and, given the handicapper has been denied many opportunities to assess their ability, they may prove well treated. Rock Of Diamonds could emerge best of the duo as he went close on his Lingfield debut so clearly goes well fresh and he wasn’t disgraced at Wolverhampton in March.

4.30 As with many of these races, fitness will be the biggest deciding factor and there is a question mark how straight BE PROUD will be following a 136-day absence. However, the four-year-old, nicely drawn in stall seven, is a pretty solid course and distance performer and also goes well for Daniel Tudhope. Tomshalfbrother and Fox Hill are the most feared of his rivals.

5.05 A really interesting handicap of its type and the two Newmarket representatives, Alignak and GOOD TIDINGS (nap) boast strong claims as they bid to withstand the challenge of the Philip Kirby-trained duo Ice Pyramid and December Second. This course and distance appears to suit the selection well and he is best forgiven an abject final effort at Chelmsford over a trip that stretched him.

Racing fans will finally get their competitive fix at the Newcastle racecourse’s restart 

5.40 This promises to be a highly informative affair with FRANKLY DARLING touted as a possible Oaks contender if she can impress here. She shaped like a decent filly in heavy ground last autumn at Yarmouth when narrowly outpointed and should give Kempton fourth Thibaan and newcomer Dream With Me a battle in an informative heat.

6.15 A cracking event to conclude the card with some well-bred newcomers tackling the likes of Byzantine Empire and Wise Glory, who was a shade unfortunate when beaten at Beverley on debut when well supported. VALYRIAN STEEL has been well mentioned in dispatches and, given he cost 600,000 Euros and holds a Derby entry, could prove above average so is narrowly preferred.




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How Kirk Cousins became the top-earning NFL player in Forbes’ 2020 rankings

Kirk Cousins was blessed with the perfect amount of talent. 

He’s a good quarterback, but few will anoint him as being great. In his first four years as a full-time starter, Cousins finished each season within one game of a .500 record. He’s one of two active quarterbacks with multiple ties in his career. The other is Andy Dalton.

He’s been to the Pro Bowl twice and, believe it or not, has the second-highest career completion percentage in NFL history. Sure, other quarterbacks have more talent than Cousins, but that’s not the discussion. 

If anything, Cousins is great at being good, but not too good. And that’s exactly how he became the highest-ranked NFL player on Forbes’ 2020 list of the highest-paid athletes in the world. 

Cousins collected $28 million from the Vikings in 2019 salary. He then signed a two year, $66 million extension this offseason with a $30 million signing bonus due as soon as the ink dried on the contract. Adding in endorsements, Forbes estimates Cousins brought in $60.5 million in the last 12 months, the ninth-most of any athlete in the world, one slot behind a fella named Tiger Woods. 

He benefits in these rankings by essentially getting paid for two seasons within the same 12-month period, but it’s more than just a fluke. He ranks so highly as a result of successfully betting on himself. If you’ll remember, Cousins took over for Robert Griffin III as the Redskins’ starter in 2015, the final year of his rookie contract. 

Cousins led Washington to an NFC East division title and a playoff berth in his first year as the full-time starter, while also leading the league in completion percentage. The Redskins weren’t ready to commit long term, so they placed the franchise tag on him. He made the Pro Bowl in 2016, but the sides still couldn’t agree to a long-term deal, so the Redskins placed the franchise tag on him again, this time at 120 percent of his previous salary. 

Finally, in 2017, Cousins’ ability to be good, but not great, shined. The team missed the playoffs with a 7-9 record. After three seasons, it was clear Cousins was good enough to have success, but not good enough to elevate a team to greatness without a talented supporting cast. A third consecutive franchise tag would have cost Washington more than $34 million for 2018 and made Cousins the highest-paid player in the league. The Redskins declined and a 29-year-old Cousins hit free agency for the first time. 

A legitimate starting quarterback hitting the open market in recent memory is as common as Ben Simmons hitting a 3-pointer: it has happened twice. Peyton Manning went to the Broncos in 2012 and Drew Brees went to the Saints in 2006, but both of those guys were coming off injuries. Cousins was healthy and relatively young and had all the leverage in the world, which he used to his advantage. 

In 2018, he signed a fully guaranteed three-year, $84 million contract with the Vikings, the first fully guaranteed contract in NFL history.

In the NBA and MLB, you don’t hear things like “a $90 million contract with $50 million guaranteed” because almost all of those contracts are fully guaranteed. The NBA is a star-driven league where the players have leverage. The NFL is different, with the exception of the quarterback, the most important position in all of sports. NFL teams need good quarterbacks to win (duh), so they’ll do whatever they need to do to get them.

It was thought Cousins’ contract could possibly start a trend, but no other players have signed a fully guaranteed deal since. If Patrick Mahomes or Russell Wilson or even Dak Prescott were to hit the open market, that would likely change. But if an NFL team has a great quarterback, it’s likely to do whatever it can to lock them into a long-term deal, and quarterbacks are likely to sign those deals thanks to the certainty and security they provide. Cousins had to risk playing in a contract year for three consecutive seasons, but he was rewarded.

In Washington, Cousins fell just shy of the threshold that made him impossible to lose for the Redskins. It turns out Cousins’ incredible ability to be a good-but-not-great quarterback might be a reason he’s the highest-compensated player in the NFL. If people out there are aiming to be great, then here’s a reminder that being good is OK, too. You might even end up as the ninth highest-paid athlete in the world. 

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The key talking points ahead of the weekend's Bundesliga action

Robert Lewandowski’s ‘full house’, Jadon Sancho FINALLY making a real restart and crisis club Schalke facing all sorts of trouble… the six big talking points as the Bundesliga resumes this weekend

  • Bayern host Fortuna Dusseldorf as they aim to take another step towards title
  • They could move 10 points ahead of Borussia Dortmund on Saturday night
  • Jadon Sancho is likely to start as Dortmund make the trip to Paderborn
  • Race for the Champions League spots is between Gladbach and Leverkusen
  • David Wagner is under increasing pressure at Schalke after three straight losses 

The Bundesliga remains the centre of football’s attention and the action continues to come thick and fast as we approach the fourth matchday since the restart.

While Bayern Munich have drastically increased their chances of winning an eighth consecutive Bundesliga title with that midweek victory over Borussia Dortmund, there’s still plenty to play for.

The race for the Champions League and Europa League places is especially interesting, while there’s an almighty scramble to avoid relegation as teams slip and slide down the bottom.

Sportsmail sets up another packed Bundesliga weekend with some of the key talking points and where to watch the action.

Bayern Munich took a huge step towards the title when they beat Borussia Dortmund 

Can Bayern move another step closer to eight in a row?

You’d be forgiven for thinking that a lot of the excitement that surrounded the Bundesliga’s return has been sucked out by Bayern’s midweek Klassiker win over Borussia Dortmund.

What was shaping up into a genuinely exciting title race now appears to be a procession to eight championships in a row for the Bavarian powerhouse.

The brutal reality is that’s precisely what Bayern do best, extinguishing the hopes of their rivals with a relentless ability to keep winning.

But, despite a seven-point lead over Dortmund with six rounds of matches left, they’re not over the finish line quite yet and we are living in extraordinary times after all.

Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski (right) will be aiming for a complete set on Saturday

A thrilled Uwe Rosler celebrates Fortuna Dusseldorf’s win over Schalke on Wednesday night

Bundesliga fixtures 

All kick-offs UK time

FRIDAY

Freiburg vs Bayer Leverkusen (7.30pm) BT Sport 1

SATURDAY (2.30pm unless stated)

Bayern Munich vs Fortuna Dusseldorf (5.30pm) BT Sport 1

Hertha Berlin vs Augsburg BT Sport Extra 1

Mainz vs Hoffenheim BT Sport 3

Schalke vs Werder Bremen BT Sport 1

Wolfsburg vs Eintracht Frankfurt 

BT Sport 2

SUNDAY

Borussia Monchengladbach vs Union Berlin (2.30pm) BT Sport 1

Paderborn vs Borussia Dortmund (5pm) BT Sport 1

MONDAY

Cologne vs RB Leipzig (7.30pm) BT Sport 1

Bayern still need to play Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Monchengladbach during the run-in – the last two clubs to beat them in any competition – and so won’t want to drop points at home to relegation-threatened Fortuna Dusseldorf on Saturday teatime.

Interestingly, Dusseldorf are the only one of the current 18 Bundesliga teams Robert Lewandowski hasn’t scored against (he scored against Bayern for old club Dortmund) and you’d back him to complete the set against Fortuna’s leaky defence.

Managed by former Manchester City forward Uwe Rosler, Fortuna currently occupy the relegation play-off spot but boosted their survival chances with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Schalke on Wednesday.

However, despite claiming a memorable 3-3 draw at the Allianz Arena last season, the omens aren’t great for them.

It’s 30 years since they recorded a win over Bayern in the Bundesliga and the champions-elect are now 14 games unbeaten in the league, winning 13 of them, either side of the two-month pause.

The situation in the title race and European qualification picture in the Bundesliga 

Will we see Jadon Sancho start as Dortmund try and bounce back?

Tuesday night’s defeat was a huge blow for Dortmund but they need to keep soldiering on and apply as much pressure on Bayern as possible along the finishing straight.

The chances are they’ll be 10 points adrift by the time they head to Paderborn on Sunday afternoon but at least playing the bottom side is an ideal opportunity to bounce back.

Jadon Sancho hasn’t started any of Dortmund’s three matches since the resumption, limited to substitute appearances as he tries to regain full match fitness.

But with star striker Erling Haaland set to miss this game because of the knee injury that forced him to exit Tuesday’s game with 20 minutes left, Sancho is more likely to start this time.

Jadon Sancho came off the bench but struggled to make much impact against Bayern Munich

Erling Haaland will sit out Dortmund’s trip to Paderborn after injuring his knee on Tuesday

The England international has 14 goals and 17 assists in the Bundesliga this season and has every chance of adding to those highly impressive totals against a Paderborn side very much drinking in the last saloon.

They are nine points adrift of safety having drawn all three of their games since the restart and they really do need a memorable win here to keep faint hopes alive.

However, they’re certainly not afraid of Dortmund. In the reverse fixture back in November, two goals from Streli Mamva and another from Gerrit Holtman gave them a 3-0 half-time lead that stunned the 81,365 crowd at Signal Iduna Park.

Dortmund rallied to earn a point thanks to a 94th-minute Marco Reus equaliser but maybe there’s something about Dortmund’s game that Paderborn can exploit.

With pressure mounting on Dortmund boss Lucien Favre after the Bayern defeat, something enhanced by his cryptic comments post-match, he knows they need to finish the season with a flourish even if the title has gone.

Dortmund were stunned as they fell 3-0 down at home to Paderborn earlier in the season

How the relegation picture looks in the Bundesliga ahead of the latest round of fixtures

Leverkusen and Monchengladbach jostling for fourth spot

In the potential absence of an enduring title race, there may be more interest in the battle for the Champions League places.

RB Leipzig in third place have a two-point cushion on Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen, who are tied on 53 points in fourth and fifth place respectively.

Leverkusen, whose excellent form was brought to a crashing halt by Wolfsburg on Tuesday, kick off the Bundesliga weekend with a testing trip to Freiburg on Friday night.

Peter Bosz’s team need to press the reset button after their run of 11 wins in 12 matches ended but can take comfort in the fine form of Kai Havertz and the fact flying winger Leon Bailey hasn’t started a game since the resumption.

Bayer Leverkusen’s excellent form came crashing to a halt as they lost 4-1 to Wolfsburg

Freiburg have proved themselves exceedingly tough to beat this season but were left frustrated by throwing away a 3-1 lead to only draw at Eintracht Frankfurt in midweek.

That left them with a four-point gap to bridge to Wolfsburg in the final Europa League spot and so the Black Forest side could do with all three points against Leverkusen.

Their recent record against them is awful though, with just one win in their last nine and just one goal in their last five meetings.

Monchengladbach will have to wait until Sunday for an opportunity to respond but will be strong favourites at home to Union Berlin.

Leverkusen proved too strong for their top four rivals Monchengladbach last Saturday

Their midweek stalemate with Werder Bremen was enough to move above Leverkusen again, having lost 3-1 at home to them last Saturday,

It won’t be lost on Gladbach that they led the Bundesliga when they lost 2-0 to Union back in November, that result signalling the end of their early season winning form.

The Berliners have collected just one point from nine since the restart, however, and are starting to get a bit anxious as they sit four points above the relegation play-off place.

Can Schalke ease the pressure on David Wagner?

These aren’t good times at Schalke. They have been absolutely woeful since the Bundesliga returned, smashed 4-0 by rivals Borussia Dortmund, humbled 3-0 at home by Augsburg and then defeated 2-1 by Dusseldorf having taken the lead.

It’s all ramped up the pressure on manager David Wagner and hit their chances of qualifying for Europe hard as they’ve slid down to ninth amid a nine-game winless run.

With stories about their parlous financial situation bubbling away in the background, a situation exacerbated by the absence of fans, they could do with getting into the Europa League.

These are tough times for David Wagner with his Schalke side in freefall down the table

Saturday offers an opportunity to stop the free fall when they take on relegation candidates Werder Bremen at home.

Bremen, second bottom and six points from safety but with a game in hand, held Gladbach in midweek having won 1-0 at Freiburg last weekend.

With Fortuna Dusseldorf ahead of them unlikely to get anything at Bayern, Bremen will sniff an opportunity to make up ground against under-performing opponents.

Werder Bremen picked up a priceless win in their survival battle against Freiburg last weekend

It’s getting claustrophobic down the bottom

While Bremen have ground to make up, it’s getting tight above them. In Germany, the third bottom side go into a relegation play-off against the side that finishes third in the 2. Bundesliga.

At the moment, Fortuna Dusseldorf occupy that place but their midweek win saw them close the gap to Mainz and Eintracht Frankfurt immediately above them.

Mainz, who could only manage a draw at Union Berlin on Wednesday despite playing much of the match against 10 men, are just a point above Fortuna now.

Mainz (in white) could only draw against Union Berlin despite playing 10 men for long spells

They host Hoffenheim on Saturday and really could do with getting something to ease relegation fears.

Eintracht Frankfurt, who are two points ahead of Fortuna, came from 3-1 down to draw with Freiburg in midweek, arresting a five-game losing streak.

But they travel on Saturday to a Wolfsburg team brimming with confidence after that 4-1 win at Leverkusen that bolstered their European hopes.

Really, you wouldn’t say either Augsburg or Union Berlin, both four points above Fortuna, can be considered at all safe from demotion and it promises to be a fascinating run in.

Eintracht Frankfurt fought back from two goals down to draw with Freiburg in midweek

Surely Hamburg aren’t going to choke again?

Last season, Hamburg somehow conspired to win just one of their last nine matches and miss out on promotion back to the Bundesliga.

It was a quite incredible bottle job from a club that only just lost their proud record of never being relegated from the Bundesliga in 55 years.

There’s a chance something similar may be unfolding this season. Thursday night saw Hamburg carelessly chuck away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 at promotion rivals Stuttgart.

Hamburg threw away a two-goal lead to lose to promotion rivals Stuttgart on Thursday night

The situation at the top of Germany’s second division with teams now chasing down Hamburg

That meant Stuttgart leapfrogged them into the second automatic promotion place, leaving Hamburg on course for the play-off.

However, having failed to win a game since the restart, Hamburg are now feeling the breath of teams closing the gap behind them.

Fourth-placed Heidenheim are just one point behind and Darmstadt in fifth and are four points adrift. From a fairly comfortable position, the chase is very much on.

Hamburg host second-bottom Wehen on Sunday in a match they’re odds-on to win. It will be interesting to see how rattled they really are.




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‘The Match 2’ live updates & highlights from Tiger Woods-Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady-Phil Mickelson golf match

There isn’t much better than a Sunday afternoon of watching golf and taking a nap, but for fans who have been deprived of live sports for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, today’s broadcast of “The Match 2” between the tandems of Tiger Woods-Peyton Manning and Phil Mickelson-Tom Brady certainly has the potential to be just that.

It’s going to be a golf event unlike any other we’ve seen. It’ll be a match-style contest, with both teams going head-to-head each hole to collect points. And not only do we get to see two great golfers, but two Hall of Fame quarterbacks compete outside of their sport.

Sporting News is tracking live updates and highlights from “The Match: Champions for Charity.” Follow along below for complete results from the Tiger Woods-Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady-Phil Mickelson golf match.

The Match 2 live updates, highlights

(The Match 2 begins at 3 p.m. ET)

Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning results

(The Match 2 begins at 3 p.m. ET)

Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson results

(The Match 2 begins at 3 p.m. ET)

What time does ‘The Match 2’ start?

“The Match 2” starts at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday at the Medalist Gold Club in Hobe Sound, Fla. The event consists of 18 holes that are unlike anything seen on the PGA tour. 

“The Match” has challenges, such as Hole 5, where each golfer can only use one club on the entire hole. The first nine holes of the day will be “best ball,” meaning the lowest score on each of the first nine holes for the teams will be kept. On the last nine holes, teammates will rotate on every shot. 

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‘The Match 2’ weather: Forecast in Florida threatens Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson rematch

Damn you, Mother Nature.

Of course, with no sports, a fair amount of sports-craved fans were looking forward to the rematch between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, with “The Match 2” coming to TVs on Sunday, May 24. This time, the event featured Peyton Manning on Team Woods and Tom Brady on Team Mickelson to try and alleviate some of the competitive edge we saw the first time around.

But nothing in 2020 is ever easy, right? Unfortunately, the weather has cast doubt over whether or not this even is going to be played. Rains sweeping Hobe Sound, Fla. — where the event is taking place — are in its future and don’t appear to be letting up any time soon.

Mickelson and Woods were running it back after their 2018 showdown drew plenty of eyes and intense competition between the two, with the stakes lowered just a bit with the addition of the two former NFL greats. The event also planned to donate $10 million for COVID-19 relief efforts.

‘The Match 2’ weather forecast

From Weather.com, thunderstorms are set to ravage South Florida for pretty much all of Sunday with no respite.



(Credit: Weather.com)

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The forecast calls for 100 percent rain in the morning and 80 percent chance of rain at night. Monday calls for more of the same, with 100 percent chance of rain in the forecast, and thunderstorms at that. There’s 100 percent chance of rain at 3 p.m., the scheduled start time of the event.

As of Sunday, no contingency plans for rescheduling were known.

If the weather forecast holds true for at least the next week, then there’s no immediate chance to open, considering rain and thunderstorms are in the atmosphere for the next seven days in South Florida.

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When is the Indy 500 in 2020? New date, start time & other details for the race in Indianapolis

The coronavirus pandemic cares not for the Month of May in auto racing. The same public health issues that shut down live sports globally in March have caused a massive shake-up in IndyCar’s plans for 2020, including the 104th annual Indy 500’s place on the schedule.

The Indianapolis 500 is one of the few races in America that attracts casual viewers on a global scale, so IndyCar and IMS are doing everything they can to keep the 2020 race on the schedule. So far so good, because the 2020 Indy 500 has not been canceled — just rescheduled.

The 2020 IndyCar season was suspended in March before it even had a chance to start, so the newly scheduled June 6 race at Texas Motor Speedway technically will be the first race of the season. As currently scheduled, the Indy 500 will be the eighth race of the season.

Below is what you need to know about the status of the 2020 Indy 500, plus NBC’s plan to fill the broadcast time it had devoted to the race on Sunday, May 24.

When is the Indy 500 in 2020?

IndyCar lists a 1 p.m. ET start time for the rescheduled Indy 500 on Aug. 23, but the complete broadcast schedule remains TBD.

The statement from IndyCar and IMS in March noted that “on-track action will begin with practice sessions Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 12-13, followed by Fast Friday on Aug. 14 and Indianapolis 500 Qualifications on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 15-16. Each day of qualifications will be televised on NBC.

“The following week’s schedule will begin with hot pit-stop practice sessions on Thursday, Aug. 20. … Final Indianapolis 500 practice will take place Friday, Aug. 21 as part of Miller Lite Carb Day.”

In other words, the typical schedule for the Indy 500 remains intact — just a few months later.

“It could be scorching hot. And will we have fans there,” Calabro said. “I think the uncertainty of it all is a factor, but the speedway will go out of their way to make it as normal as possible. Roger Penske is all about that. And he’ll leave no stone unturned to make it as special as May as possible.”

The updated IndyCar schedule for 2020, which is set to resume with a night race at Texas Motor Speedway on June 6, can be found here.

Why was the Indy 500 postponed?

The 2020 Indy 500 has been rescheduled for Sunday, Aug. 23 due to the public health and safety dangers associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

With the exception of six cancellations during World War I and II, this will mark the first time in the Indy 500’s 103-year history that it will not be run the Sunday before Memorial Day.

“This is just weird as weird can be for me,” Dave Calabro, for 35 years the track announcer at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, told Sporting News. “There’s a rhythm to the whole spring you get into, and to eliminate the biggest part of it is, just for everybody, it’s just weird.”

Added Roger Penske, whose company bought IMS this year, when the Indy 500 was postponed in late March: “The Month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is my favorite time of year, and like our fans, I am disappointed that we have had to reschedule the Indianapolis 500. However, the health and safety of our event participants and spectators is our top priority, and we believe that postponing the event is the responsible decision with the conditions and restrictions we are facing.

“We will continue to focus on ways we can enhance the customer experience in the months ahead, and I’m confident we will welcome fans with a transformed facility and a global spectacle when we run the world’s greatest race.”

As Penske noted, if all goes as planned regarding the development of health and safety technology/protocols as they relate to the coronavirus pandemic, the Indy 500 in 2020 could take place with fans in the stands.

Indy 500 broadcast on Sunday, May 24

Technically an Indy 500 broadcast will be shown by NBC on its originally scheduled date for 2020 — it just won’t be the 2020 Indy 500.

Starting at 2 p.m. ET, NBC will air an enhanced encore presentation of last year’s Indy 500, won by Simon Pagenaud. “Indy 500 Special: Back Home Again” will be hosted by NBC’s Mike Tirico and will feature new commentary from Pagenaud and Alexander Rossi during the replay of the race.

“The goal of our enhanced broadcast is to honor the traditions of ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’ and re-live elements of last year’s race through Simon Pagenaud and Alexander Rossi as they battled back-and-forth to the checkered flag,” said Sam Flood, executive producer and president of production at NBC and NBCSN.

For those who wish to watch even more Indy 500 reruns Sunday in the absence of the 2020 race, ESPN2 will re-air three ABC broadcasts of recent Indy 500s beginning at 3 p.m. ET.

ESPN2 will show the 2006 Indy 500 at 3 p.m. ET, followed by the 2011 Indy 500 starting at 5 p.m. ET. The 2014 Indy 500 will air on the network starting at 7 p.m. ET.

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The new Torres: Liverpool target Werner is a jewel in Red Bull empire

The new Torres? Timo Werner is the jewel in the Red Bull sporting empire and a major target for Liverpool this summer… as he prepares to take on Mainz on Sunday, Owen Hargreaves backs him to have the same impact on Anfield as the famous Spanish No 9

  • RB Leipzig star Timo Werner is one of Liverpool’s main summer targets
  • Fans will be able to get a glimpse of the German goal machine on Sunday 
  • Owen Hargreaves believes Werner could be as good as Fernando Torres for Reds
  • Werner said Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is best manager in the world amid links

As the eyes of the world peer at the Bundesliga in hope for the future, the gaze of Liverpool fans might fix a little harder on one player who could help shape theirs.

Timo Werner will lead the line for RB Leipzig at Mainz and give the supporters on Merseyside a glimpse of who they want to light up Anfield whenever next season begins.

One of the brightest talents in Europe, Werner’s tally of 21 goals in 26 Bundesliga games this season is second only to Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski.

Liverpool will have chance to watch main target Timo Werner when he leads line against Mainz

Werner may evoke memories for Liverpool fans of their former great striker Fernando Torres

Those Liverpool fans who tune in to see 24-year-old Werner may find their imaginations sparked by memories of a former Anfield hero.

WERNER’S SUPER GOAL RECORD THIS SEASON

Werner’s total goals this season — only PSG’s Kylian Mbappe (30) has scored more by a player aged under 25 in Europe’s big five leagues

‘Werner is the Fernando Torres type, where he is super explosive, he will run away from anyone,’ said Owen Hargreaves, former Bayern Munich and England midfielder.

‘He’s got to make sure that he gets the right fit. We saw this with Torres when he left Liverpool, the way they played, Stevie G [Gerrard] playing those balls through the middle — a match made in heaven.

‘Then he goes to Chelsea where they had a lot of slow possession and no space to run into. That’s not a great fit. He was a super player, Chelsea were a super team, but you’ve got to play to a player’s strengths.

‘Werner would suit Liverpool. They counter and transition better than anyone. He will be doing homework on who will be a good fit for him.’

By the sounds of it, Werner has already finished that assignment. ‘Jurgen Klopp is the best coach in the world,’ he said recently. ‘There is a lot to suggest that my style of play would suit there.’

Werner is another coup for Red Bull, the energy drinks firm that 15 years ago took a punt on breaking into football’s elite, now dominate Austrian football and have taken RB Leipzig from the fifth tier to the Champions League.

However, their unconventional and rapid rise meant the club became an instant hate figure for many in Germany. In 2005 Austria Salzburg became Red Bull Salzburg, but company chief Dietrich Mateschitz always had ambitions to conquer Germany’s Bundesliga.

Werner said that Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp would ‘suit his style’ if he moved to the Reds

The Austrian wanted more than the one club in his home country and quickly identified Leipzig as prime for investment. However, success in Germany would be tougher than first expected. Sachsen Leipzig, now dissolved, were the first to be identified in 2006 but the DFB (German FA) blocked the deal.

Unsuccessful negotiations with 1860 Munich, Fortuna Dusseldorf and St Pauli followed before fifth-tier SSV Markranstadt agreed to sell to Red Bull. The club was rebranded and moved 15km east. 

DFB regulations prevent the use of company names in club titles, so RasenBallsport (Lawnsports) Leipzig was adopted. RB Leipzig carry the company’s logo and their name is the club’s shirt sponsor.

Germany’s football culture is built on fan ownership, the 50+1 model that states supporters must own 50 per cent of a club plus an additional share.

In a legal move, the club issued a small number of shares and purchased 49 per cent of them, making the remainder available at significant cost while handpicking who could buy them. It allowed RB Leipzig to conform to the rules, but with 17 members, a far cry from traditional clubs such as Borussia Dortmund, who boast 154,000.

Werner is an out and out goal scorer and has netted 27 times for RB Leipzig this season

Owen Hargreaves (left) believes Werner could have same impact at Anfield as Torres if he joins

Leipzig needed to adopt a sustainable plan, and an individual to take them there. Step forward, Ralf Rangnick. He became sporting director for both Salzburg and Leipzig in 2012. No superstars, no signings over the age of 25 and no extreme wage deals. It led to a revered recruitment strategy.

Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, Naby Keita and Takumi Minamino all came via the Red Bull conveyor belt, while Erling Haaland is the latest star off the production line.

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl also started at Leipzig, where a second-placed finish in the Bundesliga in his first season took them to the Champions League.

Rangnick sees Leipzig masterminded by coveted coach Julian Nagelsmann, 32, who in March knocked Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham out of the Champions League. ‘A very confident young man and a sensational manager,’ was Jurgen Klopp’s verdict.

On Sunday, Leipzig travel to Mainz, a reverse of the fixture that saw Nagelsmann’s men win 8-0 in November. Part of that was a hat-trick for Werner. Liverpool fans would surely love a repeat.




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‘The Match 2’ purse: How much money will Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Phil Mickelson win for charity?

Four iconic athletes, two revered rivalries, one great cause. 

Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning, Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady will join forces on Sunday for “The Match 2: Champions for Charity.” Woods and Manning will compete as a pair against the team of Mickelson and Brady in an 18-hole round of golf. Scores will be kept, but the biggest victory will be the millions of dollars donated to coronavirus (COVID-19) relief. 

MANNING VS. BRADY: Who’s the better golfer?

Mickelson beat Woods in “The Match” 18 months ago for a $9 million payday. For the rematch, former NFL rivals Manning and Brady have joined the event, bringing charisma and excitement with them. All four will be mic’d up and nobody else will be around (no caddies or fans allowed), so viewers will get front-row access to the match. 

Here’s what you need to know about “The Match 2” from the financial side of things. 

‘The Match’ purse: How much money will be donated to charity?

The four participants and WarnerMedia will donate a combined $10 million to benefit COVID-19 relief. Additional fundraising will come from a partnership with the All In Challenge.

Those who donate will have chances to win “once-in-a-lifetime experiences” in the realms of sports, music and entertainment. Other prizes are also available via auction, including golfing with Manning in the winner’s hometown and going to the Buccaneers’ home opener and having dinner with Brady. 

How much will the winner make?

In 2018, the first installment of “The Match” took place between just Woods and Mickelson with a prize of $9 million on the line. This year, it’s all for charity. 

Bragging rights are also on the line, which could prove more valuable than traditional prize money. 

What is the All In Challenge?

The All In Challenge is a digital fundraising effort started by Michael Rubin, the part-owner of the 76ers and founder of Fanatics. Its focus is fighting food insecurity enhanced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The challenge aims to raise tens of millions of dollars, which will all go toward Feeding America, Meals on Wheels, World Central Kitchen and No Kid Hungry. 

Tiger Woods net worth

Woods’ dominance on the golf course has led to more than $120 million in prize money during a professional career that spans a quarter-century, but he’s earned much more off the course. Sponsors like Nike have contributed to career earnings of over $1.4 billion, according to Forbes.

In total, Forbes estimated in 2018 that Woods had a net worth of $800 million.

Peyton Manning net worth

Manning brought home a cool $248 million in salary during his 18 years in the NFL. At the time of his retirement in 2016, Manning had made more than $150 million from endorsements, according to Forbes.

The endorsements have continued rolling in since his playing days. Manning has also been apart of programming on ESPN+. 

Tom Brady net worth

Brady ended his run in New England with $235 million in career earnings from the Patriots. He’s had fewer endorsement deals than Woods and Manning, but his consistent ranking as one of the top-selling jerseys in the NFL has helped bring in an estimated $115 million off the field, according to Forbes. 

Brady signed a two-year, $50 million deal with the Buccaneers in March. 

Phil Mickelson net worth

Mickelson has made $91 million in career prize money, according to Forbes, the second-most ever behind Tiger Woods. Off the course, the 49-year-old has earned $700 million from endorsements.

Forbes estimated his net worth in 2016 to be north of $375 million.

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