FIFA World Cup Wrap: June 17

Tommy Fleetwood makes HUGE admission after stunning US Open final round

Fleetwood went into the final round of the US Open at Shinnecock Hills, six shots off the pace, but he carded a stunning round of 63 to set a target in the clubhouse of two over par. The Race to Dubai champion was impeccable in and around the green with his approaches at six and seven. He also made an incredible 55-foot putt for a birdie at the second. While Shinnecock Hills has proved very hard to tame this term, Fleetwood gave himself a chance of landing his first Major. But the Englishman thinks his score will fall just short.

Tommy Fleetwood net worth: How much is US Open 2018 hopeful worth?

In what has been a mixed weekend at the Shinnecock Hills golf course, it was Fleetwood who finished with a flurry. The Englishman began the day six shots behind clubhouse leader Dustin Johnson heading into the final round. But he raised his game to another level on the final day to move two-over for the tournament and keep himself in contention of winning the US Open. The 27-year-old has never won a PGA Tour event since turning pro in 2010. However, he has slowly been making a name for himself on the tour and has enjoyed three top 10 finishes

Officials suspect arson at site of Randolph killing

5:28 PM ET Associated Press MARION, Ind. — Investigators have determined a fire likely was intentionally set at an Indiana bar, one day after the brother of NBA star Zach Randolph was fatally shot there. The fire happened at Hop’s Blues Room in Marion early Sunday — less than 24 hours after 35-year-old Roger Randolph was found dead. Firefighters extinguished the blaze that caused an estimated $20,000 in damage. Marion Fire Department Investigator Brandon Eckstein says the cause of the fire was arson. Roger Randolph, the brother of Kings forward Zach Randolph, was shot and killed outside of an Indiana

Blue Jays hit back-to-back homers in 8th to sweep Nationals

If Teoscar Hernandez was hurting after being hit by a pitch, he wasn’t going to let it show on the field. Hernandez took a ball off his unprotected right elbow in the fourth inning, reeling back from the plate in pain and taking his base after being examined by team trainers. He gunned down a runner at third base in the sixth and hit the game-winning home run in the eighth as the Toronto Blue Jays competed a three-game sweep of the Washington Nationals on Sunday with an 8-6 victory. Randal Grichuk hit two home runs, while Teoscar Hernandez and

Switzerland holds favoured Brazil to draw at World Cup

Brazil joined the list of big teams struggling to win their opening matches at the World Cup in Russia. The five-time champions were held to a 1-1 draw by Switzerland on Sunday, a few hours after four-time champion Germany was beaten by Mexico 1-0. Philippe Coutinho gave Brazil the lead in the 20th minute with a volley that bounced in off the right post. Steven Zuber then headed in the equalizer in the 50th. Mexican referee Cesar Ramos dismissed complaints that Zuber had shoved defender Miranda before getting to the corner from Xherdan Shaqiri. “I was pushed out of the way.

Tommy Fleetwood shoots sixth 63 in US Open history; barely misses putt at 62

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — Mike Davis promised the golf course would be softer Sunday at Shinnecock Hills. It was expected scores would be much lower. Tommy Fleetwood made good on that promise, shooting 63 in the final round, racing up the leaderboard and posting the clubhouse lead Sunday afternoon. Fleetwood made eight birdies and just one bogey on the par-70 course, finishing with a 63 and a four-day total of two-over par. His 63, the sixth in Open history, ties the record for lowest score in a U.S. Open. The 27-year-old Englishman shot 15 strokes better than he did on Saturday,

It’s complicated: To understand Mickelson’s controversial actions, you must first understand Phil

Phil Mickelson is complicated; so is understanding his controversial actions | Golf.comlogo-golflogo-golfSI-icon-searchSI-icon-searchCloseDownDownDownDownDownDownlogo-golf It’s complicated: To understand Mickelson’s controversial actions, you must first understand Phil SOURCE: GoogleNews

Nature Valley Open: Angry Johanna Konta loses in Nottingham final

Konta beat Barty on her way to reaching last year’s Nottingham final A furious Johanna Konta lost out to Ashleigh Barty in the final of the Nature Valley Open in Nottingham. Konta had recovered from 4-1 down in the decider to level at 4-4 but a controversial call allowed Barty go 5-4 ahead. The Briton got into a heated discussion with umpire Paula Vieira Souza, which seemed to affected her concentration. She was broken in the next game to give Barty a 6-3 3-6 6-4 win and did not shake the umpire’s hand at the end. “At 4-4 in the

Norrie set to face Wawrinka on opening day at Queen’s

Cameron Norrie is currently ranked 79 in the world 2018 Fever-Tree Championships on the BBC Venue: Queen’s Club, London Dates: 18-24 June Coverage: Watch live on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, Connected TVs, the BBC Sport website and app. British number two Cameron Norrie will play three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka at Queen’s Club on Monday. Andy Murray, making his comeback after a year out with a hip injury, plays Australian Nick Kyrgios on Tuesday at the Fever-Tree Championships. Kyle Edmund, who has replaced Murray as British number one, meets American Ryan Harrison the same day. Twelve-time

Golf’s biggest questions: Rickie Fowler’s major chances, Rory McIlroy’s return

Christmas is two weeks away, and the golf offseason has finally arrived … right in the middle of the 2017-18 PGA Tour season. I don’t really understand it, but I’m going to enjoy it because golf cranks up again just a few weeks after Christmas with the two-tournament Hawaii swing, and then we’re off on our nine-month journey.

There is, of course, all kinds of intrigue going into the 2018 calendar year. There already was before Tiger Woods started swinging his driver like he was Tony Finau down in the Bahamas two weeks ago, and now that intrigue has been multiplied. That’s great for golf and great for people like me who think and talk about golf for a living. I don’t care if Tiger wins or loses in 2018, only that he plays and plays at a high level.

That’s obviously question No. 1 on the minds of everyone, and we will get to that one in Part II. But first let’s dive into a few other questions I have for the next year — a year in which, as long as Big Cat stays healthy, could be one of the most fascinating we’ve ever seen in professional golf.

1. Is this Rickie Fowler’s major year? It feels like we’ve been asking this for the last five years, and it’s going to hit, eventually. Right? I posited on a recent podcast that I think one of Fowler’s problems when it comes to winning majors is that he doesn’t seem to have the intuitive understanding of the rhythm of a tournament that so many of the great ones have. Guys like Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth seem like they would lose a lot of 71- and 73-hole tournaments that they end up winning over the course of 72 holes because they understand exactly when they need to pull out in front.

I realize that sounds completely insane, but thus far Fowler has lacked that “screw this, I’m taking this tournament and nobody can stop me” kick that Spieth has shown. The glaring hole in my argument is Fowler’s Players Championship win in 2015 in which he played the final six holes in, like, 88 under. But even then it felt less like him saying, “I’m winning this and you can’t stop me” and more like he just got hot at the right time.

Maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe it does. Maybe he’ll eventually get hot at the right time at a major championship like he did with that 61 in Round 4 at the Hero World Challenge earlier in December. 

I think Fowler will win a major eventually regardless, mostly because he’s too good not to. Spieth will win a lot of majors because he has it, whatever it is. He bends tournaments to his will and takes their trophies home. Fowler will win at least one just because he’s damn good at golf. 

One thing that concerns me (and has been concerning me) is that his 2016-17 success seemed to be buoyed by his putter. He gained twice as many strokes per round (0.75) as he has in any other season in his career. That doesn’t mean he can’t win the big one, but I’d like to see some improvement in the other strokes gained categories (tee-to-green and driving).

2. Can Bubba Watson stay in the top … 100? Watson’s 2017 was one to forget. He’s trending towards no longer being a top 100 player just a few years after winning his second Masters. After ditching whatever arrangement he had with Volvik, Watson no longer has a built-in excuse (and to his credit, never blamed his struggles on the ball). 

For him, it’s always been about how dedicated he is to the craft and whether other (and often more important) interests pull him away from his time as an elite player. The next few years will be telling of whether Watson is done as a Masters contender and Ryder Cup player or if 2017 was an aberration all the way around.

3. What does Justin Thomas do for an encore? When aliens invade our planet in 150 or 200 years, one of the first questions will be, “Why in the hell did you guys not make a bigger deal out of Justin Thomas’ 2016-17 PGA Tour season?” OK, maybe not one of the first, but certainly one of the first sports questions. The answer is that he won tournaments that ended at odd times (CIMB Classic, Sony Open, Tournament of Champions) and upended the main attraction (Jordan Spieth) in his chase for the career slam at the PGA Championship. 

In some ways, Thomas is better equipped than most to deliver an encore to what he did in 2017. 

He has noted that he will consult Spieth and his newfound pal Tiger Woods about how to handle all that’s coming at him. Plus, he didn’t step outside of his statistical profile to grab those five wins plus the FedEx Cup last season. Thomas has always been an elite iron player (6th in approach shots last year) and as long as his putting stays average to above average (47th in 2017), he’s going to win a ton. Five times and a major again? I don’t know about that, but he’s already got a one tournament head start (he won again when you weren’t watching at the CJ Cup in October).

4. Rory McIlroy is still great, right? Yes, that’s right. McIlroy went winless as a professional in 2017 for the first time since 2008 and had an injured rib and balky wedge game to blame. He also changed clubs (again) and caddies (for the first time), and got married. So yeah, it was one of the busiest 0-win seasons for a future Hall of Famer ever. 

The problem with him was his play from 100-125 yards (145th) and his strokes gained putting (140th). It’s the second year in a row that he’s finished 135th or worse in putting. Just like we saw with Thomas in 2017, if he putts in the 40th-60th range on the PGA Tour, he’ll win a ton. 

He’s self aware enough to understand both of these issues and has voiced as much publicly. Is his body well enough this winter for him to get the reps he needs to be able to correct them, especially the wedge play? If the video below is any indication, the answer seems to be yes. That’s the big point in all of this for me. 

It has always been true and will continue to be true for the remainder of his career that if he puts averagely, McIlroy will win a preposterous number of tournaments. Because of this, McIlroy will go through long stretches of the best golf any of us have ever seen and long stretches when you wonder if he would have won the Northern Ireland Amateur. He’s still 28, though, and still has goals (being the best European and international player ever) to motivate him. There’s no doubt he’s still great. The real question for 2018 and beyond is really, will he stay healthy, and if so, how great can he still be?

5. Will the U.S. continue its dominance in team events? The U.S. has won three consecutive team events, and they have gotten progressively more dominant. After a narrow Presidents Cup victory in 2015, the U.S. dominated Sunday at the Ryder Cup in 2016 and turned the 2017 Presidents Cup into a victory helicopter ride for President Donald Trump. 

One of my colleagues recently declared the Ryder Cup over and dead, and there’s merit to the argument (even if I don’t fully subscribe to it). The U.S. hasn’t won in Europe since 1993 so a victory in Paris could be considered the beginning of a mini dynasty given the youth that will be on that team. A blowout could result in an actual dynasty that won’t be usurped for several years. Consider this: With Thomas, Spieth, Fowler, Brooks Koepka and others headlining this U.S. squad, they could go to Rome in 2022 having won seven straight team events (four Presidents Cups and three Ryder Cups). That’s not an infeasible proposition nor an unreasonable one. 

They will surely be favored on home soil in 2020 against Europe and will always be favored in the Presidents Cup. All of this could turn, of course, on the clubs of Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Thomas Pieters and Co. Regardless, we’re going to get one of the most intriguing Ryder Cups of our lifetime.

SOURCE: GoogleNews

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