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A U.S. Open For The Ages!
Add-on posted early Wed. a.m.
U.S. Open…a last look back
Fitzpatrick -6…final round 68
T2 Zalatoris -5…69
T2 Scheffler -5…67
4 Matsuyama -3…65!
T5 Morikawa -2…77-66 weekend
T5 McIlroy -2
T7 McCarthy -1
T7 Hadwin -1
T7 Bradley -1
T10 Woodland E
T10 Dahmen E
In what some felt was like a prize fight Sunday, Fitzpatrick and Zalatoris exchanged blows the entire afternoon, but it seemed like Fitzpatrick had it in the bag when he went up two shots with three to play.
But Zalatoris hit a superb shot on 16 and got the birdie to cut it to one, heading to 18, after pars on 17.
And there was Fitzpatrick, putting his tee shot on the final hole in the left bunker, only to hit a shot for the ages (“one of the best shots I ever hit,” he said) to 19 feet and easily two-putting for par while Zalatoris barely missed his birdie attempt to tie.
In the end, Fitzpatrick joined Jack Nicklaus as the only two to win the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Open on the same course.
Joel Beall / Golf Digest
“It stayed left. It looked like it wanted to go right, felt like it should have went right. As the ball made its way to the hole, the massive crowd around the 18th green did its best to will it to the right. However, a fan sitting behind the green, seconds before Will Zalatoris’ pulled his putter back in an attempt to send this U.S. Open past 72 holes, whispered, ‘I’m afraid he’s going to miss left,’ and whether he is a prophet or spoke it into existence, Zalatoris’ ball stayed left. Hands on his heads, elbows on his knees, Zalatoris was both in disbelief and indignant the ball did not disappear and the crowd’s ‘OOOOOOOOhhhhh’ signaled it was hoping for the same fate. He glanced one more time at the cup, double-checking what he knew didn’t need to be checked, and when it was confirmed Zalatoris’ head went down again as Matt Fitzpatrick’s arms went up.
“The claps came, eventually. Begrudgingly. It’s not that the crowd was anti-Fitzpatrick. It simply wanted more of this week and didn’t want it to end, for it has been a much-needed antidote. Though the crowd didn’t get its wish that’s about the only thing that didn’t work out in this aesthetically pleasing, delightfully cruel, charming, chaotic, instant-classic U.S. Open.
“Early in the week, before most players reached The Country Club grounds, there was hope this tournament would serve as a palette cleanser from the potential schism that threatens to tear the professional game in two. That aspiration got off to a rough start with the press conference Monday afternoon, and the bizarro performance of Phil Mickelson – a once brazen man reduced to anything but – seemed to portend the storm LIV Golf has brought to the game would hover over Boston, too.
“But then play started, and the focus went where it belonged, and the U.S. Open did not let the spotlight go to waste.”
And what a wonderful test The Country Club proved to be. As Joel Beall wrote, a “Golden Age gem (that) stood tall and played mean through all four days, winning over fans and players alike for its endless beauty and nuanced difficulty. Throw in a spirited and surprisingly respectful Boston crowd, it would be a shame if another three decades pass for the national championship to return.”
Kyle Porter / CBSSports.com
“This 2022 U.S. Open week began with a discussion of the worst parts of professional golf and ended with a handful of moments that showcased the game at its best…
“When Phil Mickelson stepped to the microphone Monday morning to address the rebel LIV Golf league he helped launch, a pall washed over one of the grandest weeks of the year. His somber-sounding shame permeated the rest of the property and foreshadowed a future that remains undesirable.
“Like it or not – and many have exclaimed their positions loudly and profanely – LIV Golf is here to stay. It’s all players, caddies, agents, managers, media and staff discussed this week at Brookline. It has rattled the piers upon which professional golf currently sits.
“Greg Norman’s pet project, though, cannot (and likely will not ever) permeate the fortress built around the 16 days of the year in which major championships are contested….
“Golf of late has felt so manipulated and choreographed. This felt impromptu and wild.
“It felt like it mattered.
“It was fitting, too, that during a year in which players have been trying to game the system to figure out how they can work less and earn more, it was a player who worked perhaps the most on his game who thrived at Brookline. Fitzpatrick has transformed his body and his game. The numbers don’t lie.
“He finished T16 in driving distance this week, which doesn’t sound like much until you realize he ranked T127 on the PGA Tour last year. He out-drove Thomas and McIlroy this week. He punished fairways, too, which is indicative of an all-around game that’s the best it’s ever been….
“Fitzpatrick proudly paraded the U.S. Open trophy all over the property as he popped from interview to interview Sunday evening. His answers were mostly benign and repetitive.
“One comment stood out, though. It served as a perfect volley back to the players who spent the early portion of the week defending the business decisions they made in joining LIV Golf and potentially giving up the opportunity to play in future major championships.
“ ‘The feeling is out of this world,’ said Fitzpatrick of holding the U.S. Open trophy in the same place he once held its cousin. ‘It is so cliché, but it’s the stuff you dream of as a kid. Yeah, to achieve it, I can retire a happy man tomorrow.’
“The last fortnight has been about, as PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said in a recent letter to players, ‘money, money, money.’ We will return to that conversation Monday and beyond as – if you believe the rumors flying around at Brookline – a few former major winners and potential future ones plan to jump ship and link up with the PGA Tour’s rival.
“Across four days, though – and especially for the final nine holes on Sunday – we shared an experience all the money in the world could not buy: contending for and winning a major championship.
“In a world where it seems anything and anyone can be bought, the joy and utter delight of that experience is simply impossible to monetize.”
--Fitzpatrick hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation. But back to his second shot out of the sand at the last, Zalatoris said:
“Matt’s shot on 18 is going to be shown probably for the rest of U.S. Open history. I walked by it and I thought that going for it was going to be ballsy, but the fact that he pulled it off and even had a birdie look was just incredible.”
--After Collin Morikawa’s 77 on Saturday, how many had him coming back for a 66 on Sunday? I didn’t. But we should know better. The guy now has six finishes of T-8 or better at a major in the past three years.
--It was tremendous to see hometown favorite Keegan Bradley get the love he deserved in the end. He battled back boldly after that dreadful bogey, bogey, bogey start Sunday. Regarding the huge reception he received walking up 18 on Sunday, Bradley said: “Man, I’ll remember that the rest of my life.”
--And it was very nice to see legendary caddie Billy Foster get his first major. Foster had six or seven really close calls, such as being on Thomas Bjorn’s bag at the 2003 Open Championship when Bjorn blew a two-shot lead with three to go. Or the 10 years he was on the bag for Lee Westwood, which featured nine top-3 finishes in majors, but no prize.
--Both Fitzpatrick and Zalatoris now have eight top-10s this 2021-22 tour season, Zalatoris with three seconds.
Zalatoris has 16 top-10s in 51 career events, and for a guy who hasn’t won as yet, he has $6,441,000 in official earnings thus far (No. 6 on the list) for this season, which ain’t too shabby.
Scottie Scheffler has bagged $12,896,849. Rory is next at $7,195,464 and Cam Smith is third at $7,189,204.
It turns out that Scheffler’s haul is a new record for earnings in a PGA Tour season, Jordan Spieth with the previous mark at $12,030,465 in the 2014-15 season when he won two majors and five events overall. And we still have some big ones to come…including the Open Championship and three FedEx Cup Playoff events.
Zalatoris’ earnings now represent the most ever in a season without winning.
--LIV players sucked. Just four of 15 made the cut, and the top LIV finisher, Dustin Johnson, was at +4.
So I wrote the above Monday morning…Tuesday, we had new developments on the LIV and PGA Tour front.
The PGA Tour told players at a meeting prior to this week’s Travelers Championship that it will look to introduce a revamped schedule for 2023 that increases purses in at least eight existing marquee events and three new ones in a global series that will include no cuts, limited fields and purses of at least $25 million.
This came after LIV Golf poached Brooks Koepka and Abraham Ancer, making eight of the top 50 in the world rankings that LIV has signed.
No one gives a damn about Ancer, but add Koepka to the golfers who are now dead to me. It’s all about needing to please the babes, when it comes to the newly married Koepka and Dustin Johnson. They already had more than enough money to retire most comfortably on, but when you marry super-models, well, you know. They are rather demanding types.
Koepka hasn’t made an official announcement as I go to post but late Tuesday he pulled out of the Travelers field. He’s been beset by injury the last few years and in the three majors this year had an MC, T55 and 55.
Collin Morikawa again denied rumors he was leaving the Tour for LIV. That would be the biggest blow yet.
We’ll learn soon enough more details on the new events, and the ones being enhanced, that might include the Genesis (Riviera) and Arnold Palmer Invitationals, as well as the Memorial Tournament (Nicklaus) and the Players Championship.
One player who attended the meeting with Commissioner Jay Monahan Tuesday told ESPN, “That’s the most engaged I’ve ever seen the membership… Jay was really great.”
Harris English, the defending champion at the Travelers, said the changes might be enough to deter further players from defecting to LIV.
But here’s the bottom line for now….
Nancy Armour / USA TODAY
“Wake me up when someone currently of consequence abandons the PGA Tour for LIV Golf. Or when Saudi Arabia’s naked play to burnish its affinity for murder and other human rights abuses draws more eyeballs than cat videos and makeup tutorials.
“Until then, this existential threat to the PGA Tour is nothing more than golf’s equivalent of spoiled frat boys cheating their way to a degree at what the smart kids consider their safety school.
“The news that Brooks Koepka will join LIV Golf beginning with next week’s event at Pumpkin Ridge in Oregon set off a fresh round of angst Tuesday among those forecasting doom and gloom for the PGA Tour. Koepka is a four-time major champion, and his ‘rivalry’ with Bryson DeChambeau had the internet buzzing throughout much of 2021.
“And yet…for all Koepka has done in the past, he’s largely become indistinguishable from most of the other guys on the PGA Tour now. His lone win in the last three seasons was 16 months ago, and he has more missed cuts this season (six) than he has top-25 finishes (four). Once a threat on Sunday afternoon at every major, he didn’t’ even crack the top 50 at the first three this year.
“In that way, Koepka is like the rest of the LIV crowd. After years of challenging himself week in and week out against the game’s best, on the most iconic courses, he’s decided the cash grab and easy life of a celebrity golfer is more his speed now.
“Which is why LIV will never be the threat the Saudis and Greg Norman envision it ot be….
“Yes, the PGA Tour will have to change some of the ways it does businesses. Re-imagining the fall schedule to include eight, limited-field, big-purse events is a good start. Appearance fees need to be considered, too, especially for some of the smaller-market tournaments.
“But so long as the PGA Tour is offering real competition while LIV is putting on glorified exhibitions, the Saudi tour is an annoyance more than a threat.”
--One last item…Nick Faldo is retiring from CBS at the end of this season, his last tournament being the Wyndham Championship. His coveted seat alongside Jim Nantz will be filled by Trevor Immelman.
Faldo talked about retiring from “full-time broadcasting,” leading some to believe he is going to broadcast LIV Golf events.
--The Yankees are in Tampa Bay for what would normally be a crucial series against the Rays but New York is so far out in front, playoff tickets have already been printed and distributed.
Monday, though, provided some excitement as Gerrit Cole no-hit the Rays through seven, but he was at 103 pitches and it was highly unlikely he’d be able to finish it. Alas, he gave up a leadoff single and left after going 7 1/3, 111 pitches. Clay Holmes then relieved and couldn’t preserve the 2-0 lead, giving up his first runs since opening day. New York still won it 4-2, the key an Aaron Hicks run-scoring triple.
Tuesday, Nestor Cortes continued his fall back to earth, giving up 4 runs in 4 1/3 while taking the loss, 5-4, Cortes now 6-3, 2.31.
So the Yanks (50-18) are 12 games up on the Blue Jays, 12 ½ over Boston, and 13 over Tampa Bay in the AL East.
--The Mets lost their first of a two-game series in Houston last night, 8-2, but at least the Giants beat the Braves 12-10 as the lead remains 5 ½ in the NL East.
--Mookie Betts is on the 10-day IL with a cracked right rib, suffered last Wednesday in an outfield collision with center fielder Cody Bellinger, but the Dodgers didn’t diagnose it until Saturday and he was put on the IL Sunday. It’s hoped he will miss just two weeks, but who knows.
This is so typical…so Trout-like, actually. Here I was recently extolling Mookie’s run-scoring prowess this season and how he could have a historic year in that regard, but he stalled out, with just 3 runs scored in June, 53 for the year, and now this.
But last night, L.A. beat the Reds 8-2 as Tony Gonsolin, 5 innings, 2 runs, is now 9-0, 1.58.
The Dodgers and Padres are tied in the NL West.
--Remember when the Red Sox were 10-19? Try 38-31 today after a 5-4 win over Detroit.
--The Angels lost their second straight Tuesday, this one 12-11 to the Royals, despite Shohei Ohtani’s two, 3-run homers and 8 RBIs. Ohtani now has 15 home runs, 45 ribbies.
--In the College World Series we are down to four teams…5 Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Ole Miss. As in one seeded team left, which is rather remarkable. I mean the tourney starts with 16 seeded teams.
Stanley Cup Finals
--A funny thing happened on the way to Colorado’s 4-game sweep of Tampa Bay. The two-time defending champion Lightning showed up on Monday and cut the series to 2-1 with a 6-2 beatdown of the Avalanche.
Six different Lightning scored, while goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy returned to form, stopping 37 of 39 shots.
Game 4, Wednesday, in Tampa.
--Separately, Toronto’s Auston Matthews is the Hart Trophy winner as the NHL’s most valuable player. Matthews, 24, scored 60 goals, leading the NHL for the second straight season. This was also the most goals by an American-born player. Connor McDavid of Edmonton was second.
Igor Shesterkin, the Rangers goalie, was third in the MVP vote and the Vezina Trophy winner as the league’s top goaltender.
Colorado’s Cale Makar won the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman.
--NBA Draft is Thursday and Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga), Jabari Smith (Auburn) and Paolo Banchero (Duke) are a consensus top three, Holmgren slated to go No. 1 to Orlando, or maybe not. All three are power forwards.
Purdue point guard Jaden Ivey, Keegan Murray (PF/Iowa), and Dyson Daniels (PG/G League) will be in the top 7 or 8.
While Wake Forest’s Jake LaRavia is a potential late first-rounder, the Deacs’ Alondes Williams, the ACC Player of the Year, will be lucky to be a late second-rounder. On the right team he’s a steal. He’ll learn he has to develop a shot, and he will, because otherwise there is no one better at bullying his way to the hoop and drawing fouls.
NBA free agency begins June 30.
--The Nets have a problem. And that’s Kyrie Irving.
Back in May, Nets GM Sean Marks said he was non-committal on a contract extension for Irving, who played just 29 games this past season after refusing to get vaccinated for Covid-19.
“We need people here that want to be here. …We’re looking for guys that want to come in here and be something bigger than themselves, play selfless, play team basketball, and be available,” Marks said. “And that goes not only for Kyrie but for everybody here.”
Marks added that the team has to consider a player’s motivations before signing him to a long term deal.
“Do they want to be part of this?” he asked. “Are they motivated by something that’s not good for the whole team? Those are the questions we have to ask.”
Irving has a player option worth $36.9 million for 2022-23 that he could decline. He could then sign with the Nets for up to five years and $247.6 million. Or he could decline his player option and avoid free agency by extending with the Nets for up to four years and $191.3 million.
The Nets could potentially sign Irving to an extension and do a sign-and-trade with the Lakers or Knicks, or someone else.
It’s possible, I guess, that the Nets and Lakers would work out a deal. Russell Westbrook isn’t happy in L.A. and has a player option for $47 million next season. LeBron has one more year on his contract with the Lakers at $44.5 million and would then be a free agent, for what’s it’s worth. He has said he wants to play with his son, Bronny James, who isn’t eligible to play in the NBA until 2024.
As for the Knicks, they are always in search of a star point guard and thus the Irving talk.
Don’t do it, Knicks!
--We had a real tragedy in Harlem, N.Y., over the weekend, as Darius Lee, a star basketball player at Houston Baptist University in Texas, was shot to death in an early-morning shooting Monday at a party/cookout organized by Harlem rapper Rich Rhymer. Two gangs apparently started firing at each other and Lee was killed, eight others shot and wounded.
Lee, who grew up in Harlem, was home for summer break.
A guard/small forward at Houston Baptist, Lee had started out playing basketball at a community college in upstate New York before enrolling at HBU. He averaged 18 points and 8 rebounds this past season, his senior year, and was named the university’s Male Student-Athlete of the Year. He was second team All-Southland Conference.
Houston Baptist coach Ron Cottrell described Lee as a “remarkable young man” and a “joy to coach.”
“We are in shock and cannot wrap our heads around this news,” Cottrell said in a statement posted on the university’s website. “My heart breaks for his mom, his sister and his entire family, and for our basketball team….As great of a basketball player as he was, he was an even better person.”
HBU is one of those schools where you take a path like Lee did, move your way up, or you start out at HBU and often transfer to a bigger school in the D-I food chain. Wake Forest had a decent HBU transfer a few years ago. Lee no doubt had the talent to play somewhere in Europe, or elsewhere, and he was looking forward to getting his degree next December.
Our prayers to his family and friends.
--We note the passing of Lennie Rosenbluth, the kid from New York who helped lead a North Carolina team with a starting lineup of New Yorkers to an unbeaten season in 1957, culminating in a win over Wilt Chamberlain’s Kansas squad for the NCAA basketball championship. Rosenbluth was 89.
Rosenbluth averaged 28 points per game in the 1956-57 season and beat out Wilt for the College Basketball Player of the Year award after his Tar Heels capped off their season with a 54-53 triple-overtime victory over Kansas, with Rosenbluth scoring 20 points before fouling out, Chamberlain held to 23.
Rosenbluth didn’t play much at James Monroe High School but made an impression at leagues in the Catskills, where he caught the eye of Frank McGuire, who was named the North Carolina coach in 1953 after taking St. John’s to the NCAA title game. Lennie was just one of a pipeline of New York players recruited by McGuire.
--Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson settled all but four of 24 lawsuits filed against him, his attorney, Tony Buzbee, said in a statement Tuesday. “The terms and amounts of the settlements are confidential,” the Buzzer added. “We won’t comment further on the settlements or those cases.”
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Tuesday that, “today’s development has no impact on the collectively bargained disciplinary process.”
Last week, Watson said in a news conference that he has no regrets about any of his actions but admitted he regretted the impact the allegations had on the people around him, including his family. “That includes males, females, everyone across the world.”
I hardly think Ukrainians care right now, but that’s me.
--Rob Gronkowski retired again.
“I will now be going back into my retirement home, walking away from football again with my head held high knowing I gave it everything I had, good or bad, every time I stepped out on the field,” Gronk said in a statement.
He’s “back to chilling out,” as he put it, and doing commercials, which he’s terrific at.
Agent Drew Rosenhaus, however, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that “It would not surprise me if Tom Brady calls him during the season to come back and Rob answers the call.”
Gronk previously retired after the 2018 season with New England due to injuries. Brady then summoned him out of retirement in 2020 to play for the Bucs.
Gronkowski’s 92 touchdowns are the third-most by a tight end all time.
--Thankfully, swimming’s world governing body, FINA, announced it has voted to restrict transgender athletes competing in elite women’s competitions.
The policy, which started Monday, requires transgender swimmers to have completed their transition by 12 years old to compete in women’s competitions and maintain their circulating testosterone below the levels of 2.5 nmol/L., whatever that means.
FINA is working to establish an “open” category for swimmers whose gender identity differs from their sex.
The vote from the 152 eligible national federations at the congress during the world championships in Budapest wasn’t close…71 percent approving the ruling.
The regulations come three months after the University of Pennsylvania’s Lia Thomas became the first openly transgender woman to win an NCAA Division I swimming title, finishing first in the 500-meter freestyle. Her rise intensified a debate about transgender swimmers’ place in the sport. Thomas recently said she hopes to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympics, which would be a travesty, but now this can’t happen.
Next Bar Chat Sunday p.m.
[Posted right after finish to U.S. Open]
Add-on up top by noon, Wed.
Philadelphia Phillies Quiz: 1) Name the only four with 250 home runs in a Phillies uniform. 2) Post-1920, name the only four Phillies pitchers to win 20 games. Answers below.
--As we entered the third round of play…
Collin Morikawa -5
Joel Dahmen -5
Hayden Buckley -4
Jon Rahm -4
Rory McIlroy -4
Aaron Wise -4
Beau Hossler -4
Scottie Scheffler among a group at -3
Sam Burns -2
If you follow golf, Dahmen, despite just one career win, isn’t a surprise, he being one of the straighter hitters on tour, fairways and greens the formula for success in the Open.
But Hayden Buckley? The guy had two top tens last fall, but has been dreadful in the 2022 calendar year, missing six of seven cuts coming in.
So in the third round, Scottie Scheffler busted through the pack with a hole-out eagle at No. 8 to go to -6, two clear, but roughly midway, with Scheffler beginning to lose shots….
Scheffler -4 thru 11
Scheffler would fall all the way back to -1 before a late birdie and after the third….
Matt Fitzpatrick -4
Rahm -3…having double-bogeyed No. 18
Keegan Bradley -2
Adam Hadwin -2
Sam Burns -1
Joel Dahmen -1
You know the Zalatoris story. Runner-up in the 2020 Masters, loser in a playoff just last month at the PGA Championship. Three other top-eight finishes in the majors.
Perhaps most impressively, Zalatoris already has a top six at three of the four majors. Only the Open Championship remains to be conquered.
And Fitzpatrick won the U.S. Amateur at The Country Club in 2013 as a teenager. He’s staying with the same host this week as back then, the Fultons, and he said Saturday, “it just feels a bit more like a home game this week.”
Rahm is looking to repeat as U.S. Open champ.
Bradley is a huge hometown favorite and has totally embraced the pressure.
So into the final round we go…and Scottie Scheffler comes out firing, birdieing four of the first six! to go -6. Fitzpatrick birdies 3 and 5 to equal Scheffler at -6.
Zalatoris bogeyed Nos. 2 and 3 to suddenly fall 4 back.
Keegan Bradley had a Nightmare on Chestnut Street start, bogeying the first three to tumble to +1.
Rory had 3 birdies and 2 bogeys in his first six holes…-2.
Scheffler -6 thru 7
Fitzpatrick -6 thru 5
Four at -2
Rory -1 after bogeying the 7th
Fitzpatrick bogeys 6…-5
Zalatoris birdies 6 and 7…back to -4
Scheffler big save at 8…-6
Fitzpatrick birdie 8…-6
Zalatoris birdies 9…-5
Scheffler bogeys 10 and 11…-4!
Hideki Matsuyama goes 5-under for the day to get to -3 thru 16
Fitzpatrick bogeys 10 and once again he’s tied with Zalatoris for the lead at -5.
Goodness gracious. Scheffler one back.
Zalatoris birdies 11 to get to -6, Fitzpatrick bogeys it…2-stroke lead for the Demon Deacon.
But then Will bogeys 12 after a very poor drive, and the lead is one.
Matsuyama finishes at -3…5-under for the round…well done, Hideki!
Zalatoris’ drive on No. 13 well right.
Fitzpatrick then gets a spectacular birdie from long range to move back to -5, only to see Zalatoris save par with a terrific bomb of his own.
Zalatoris and Fitzpatrick tied at -5 thru 13…Scheffler one back thru 14.
Both Z and F par the par-5 14th.
Zalatoris bogeys 15, Fitzpatrick with a great birdie. Scheffler birdies 17.
Fitzpatrick -6 thru 15
Scheffler -5 thru 17
Zalatoris -4 thru 15
Fitzpatrick huge par on 16. Zalatoris birdies it…back to -5!
But Will misses a makeable birdie on 17, Fitzpatrick gets a safe par, Scheffler pars 18 to finish -5.
All about the drive on 18. This is a phenomenal final round.
Zalatoris with a great drive on 18…and Fitzpatrick puts it in a fairway bunker! Holy shit! Go Deacs!
But Fitzpatrick with a superb shot onto the green. Zalatoris then just inside Fitzpatrick with his approach…will get a read from Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick with a great lag for the 2-putt. Zalatoris misses it just wide…his third major runner-up!
Fantastic final 18 all around…great U.S. Open.
Fitzpatrick, in story book fashion wins at The Country Club in 2013, and now today. His brother Alex, on the bag in 2013, and a Demon Deacon who just turned pro, in attendance.
Great for Golf! Great for the PGA Tour….F-U, Dustin, Bryson, Phil et al.
--Among those missing the cut were Sergio Garcia, Webb Simpson, Shane Lowry, Billy Horschel, Talor Gooch, Kevin Na, Tony Finau, Daniel Berger, Cam Smith, Louis Oosthuizen, Viktor Hovland, Tommy Fleetwood and Phil Mickelson.
I have to admit, I enjoyed seeing Lefty go 78-73. The cheers for him were subdued…certainly nothing like the past hero-worship.
And I sort of liked seeing Kevin Na suck, one of the LIV Golf traitors.
I also continue to think Talor Gooch, in the midst of a career-building year, only to take the LIV money and run, has made a massive mistake.
--The LIV Golf topic dominated before the first round, as in all the whispers on who was the next to go. Harold Varner III said he was staying on the PGA Tour after talking to none other than other Michael Jordan. Rickie Fowler, long rumored to be taking the LIV dollars, now doesn’t look as if he will, yet. Viktor Hovland, a key LIV target, said he is staying where he is.
But I think most expect Bubba Watson to make an announcement soon.
As for the USGA, CEO Mike Whan basically avoided the question when it came to what they will do in 2023. Everyone understands the USGA’s response to allow the LIV players in this year, especially because of the late timing, and the R&A I’m sure will act the same way for the upcoming Open Championship.
The folks running the four majors can make a decision in the fall, after they’ve seen what happens in the LIV events coming up, who else bolts for it, and what kind of headlines are generated. The Masters could easily go one way and the other three in another direction, but one hopes all four stick together regardless of the final decision on handling the LIV ingrates.
Dan Rapaport / Golf Digest
“Should the PGA Tour emerge from this existential crisis and remain the dominant force in professional golf, it’ll be in no small part due to pro-bono work from the law firm of Rahm, McIlroy & Thomas. Quite literally every professional golfer of note has been asked about LIV Golf, the Saudi-backed entity hoping – and, on some level, succeeding – to lure the game’s biggest stars away from the PGA Tour with, to use an en vogue term, ‘generational wealth.’
“The vast majority of players have responded to these endless inquiries – are you staying? are you going? – with platitudes and non-answers. Viktor Hovland told us at Riviera that all he wants is to compete against the best players in the world. Patrick Cantlay told us at Muirfield Village that these are interesting times and he looks forward to seeing how the dust settles. Cameron Smith told us at Brookline that he’s not smart enough to understand the moral minefield that follows the Saudis. Brooks Koepka told us on Tuesday to, essentially, shut the hell up and stop asking questions about it.
“Playing it down the middle like this – refusing to make anything resembling a definitive statement as to your future – makes total sense from a business perspective. It preserves options. It keeps you in good-enough graces with the PGA Tour. It simultaneously sends a message to LIV: make me an offer, and I’ll consider it.
“Rahm, McIlroy & Thomas aren’t interested in any offers. They’ve made that abundantly clear throughout the two-year period that LIV percolated in the rumor-verse, and they’ve made it clear since the upstart circuit launched last week. Rahm, McIlroy & Thomas know LIV Golf can offer money that the PGA Tour simply cannot, that flirting with the challengers could give them more leverage, and they are not interested. PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan can publicly represent his organization, and one can argue he hasn’t done so enough, but he’s not the star. Impassioned defenses carry extra significance coming from major winners….
“Why have these three emerged as spokesmen for the pro-PGA Tour faction of professional golfers?
“ ‘Because in my opinion it’s the right thing to do,’ McIlroy said Wednesday. It’s that simple. The internet can turn the most earnest soul into a skeptic, and the Machiavellian will tell you that, all posturing aside, it’s always about money. For many tour players, perhaps even most, that is true. For Rahm, McIlroy & Thomas, generational wealth should come as a byproduct of honest competition. It is a fantastic part of the job, but it is not the sole purpose of the job. Simply put: it’s not all about the money.
“ ‘The format is not really appealing to me,’ Rahm said Tuesday. ‘Shotgun [start], three [rounds] to me is not a golf tournament, no cut. It’s that simple. I want to play against the best in the world in a format that’s been going on for hundreds of years. That’s what I want to see. Yeah, money is great, but when [wife] Kelly and I – this first thing happened, we started talking about it, and we’re like, will our lifestyle change if I got $400 million? No, it will not change one bit.”
And then there’s Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee, who said the debut of LIV Golf near London made him “want to puke.”
In a rant for the ages, Chamblee said:
“When it comes to the richest sports stars in the world, Phil Mickelson is 11th. He’s ahead of Kobe Bryant, he’s ahead of David Beckham, he’s ahead of Kevin Durant, he’s ahead of Lewis Hamilton. You’re talking about him being ahead of icons in sports that are far more popular worldwide than the game of golf. And yet why is it that golf has four of the highest paid athletes of all time? Why is it that Phil Mickelson is 11th, in terms of the stratosphere he does occupy, as an athlete…that athletes who have made less money than him but play a sport that is widely more popular? Why is that? It’s because of the image of the golfer.
“Because of their independent-contract nature. Because they show up and, generally speaking, play a game that is self-governed and self-policing. It is a game of integrity. It’s because corporations want to align themselves with these players. It’s because of the philanthropic aspect of the game of golf.
“So when I hear these players say that they are ‘growing the game’…it makes we want to puke. They’re destroying the game. And they are destroying their reputations.”
He concluded: “This is one of the saddest days in the history of golf. Watching these players come together for money and show to the world…they are showing us that they are the greediest, most self-serving, self-interested, willfully blind players in the world of golf today.”
Chamblee later ripped Bryson DeChambeau, calling out his inconsistent comments and giving the 2020 U.S. Open champion a tongue-lashing.
“More recently, he’s been talking about how he’s found God and become a Christian and I just wonder how he squares accepting money from a regime that is anti-Christian,” Chamblee said. “You can’t pull a Bible out in Riyadh without going to jail. They are misogynistic, they are anti-Semitic, there’s no freedom of speech. He talks about his charities, about going home to do things, but meanwhile he’s taking money from people who oppress the things he purports to stand for, which is philanthropic enterprises. That’s where the money is coming from. He says he'll have a new legacy. He absolutely will have a new legacy, and it will be tarnished as a 100-year-old silver trophy that has been untouched up in a closet.”
Yup, the LIV golfers are dead to me. They’ll never have my respect again.
--I love Charles Barkley, because he isn’t afraid to speak his mind, on anything, but while I’m not exactly enamored with his statement concerning LIV Golf that “if somebody gave me $200 million I’d kill a relative,” what I don’t like is Sir Charles’ pronouncement, “I want to see the PGA Tour shaking in their damn boots.”
Ah, Charles? C’mon. You love the tour…always have. That wasn’t necessary. You know LIV is bad for a sport you profess to love.
--The Yankees continue to play spectacular ball, and with a 4-0 shutout of the Blue Jays in Toronto on Saturday, New York had won nine straight to move to 49-16, 12 games ahead of Toronto in the AL East.
Jameson Taillon went 5 2/3, his record now 8-1, 2.70, as the Yankees lead the majors in staff ERA at 2.74 entering Sunday’s play. That’s amazing.
Speaking of great pitching, though, Yankees reliever Clay Holmes, who they acquired at the deadline in 2021 from Pittsburgh, where it would be kind to describe him as ‘mediocre,’ then turned things around, with a 1.61 ERA in 25 games for the Yanks last season.
All he’s done this year is throw 31 1/3 of consecutive scoreless innings, a 0.28 ERA overall! Saturday, with 1 1/3 of no-run ball, he surpassed Mariano Rivera’s franchise record of 30 2/3 straight scoreless innings, set back in 1999.
With Aroldis Chapman down with Achilles tendinitis, the 29-year-old Holmes has come to the rescue, converting each of his 11 save opportunities.
But the Yanks lost to the Blue Jays today in a slugfest, 10-9…nine home runs in all.
--The Mets, despite playing solid ball, had seen an 11-game lead shrink to 4 ½ as the Braves went on a 14-game winning streak, one shy of their franchise record of 15 set back in 2000.
But the Cubs, having lost 10-in-a-row, then suddenly beat the Braves Friday and Saturday, 1-0 and 6-3, while the Mets were winning three straight, the last two over the Marlins at Citi Field, and the lead was back to 6 ½ in the NL East.
Had they officially weathered the storm?
Not quite…Atlanta beat the Cubbies, and the Mets had a bad loss, 6-2, so the lead is 5 ½.
The Mets’ Chris Bassitt threw six scoreless but was matched until the bottom of the frame by the Marlins’ Sandy Alcantara, who is having a super season, when Francisco Lindor, who homered in the first two games with his mother in the stands for the first time in New York since he became a Met, singling in a run to make it 1-0.
But in the top of the seventh, it all fell apart, thanks to reliever Seth Lugo, after Bassitt loaded it up with one out, and Lugo, who really hasn’t been good in years, gave up a grand slam home run to Jerar Encarnacion, who was appearing in his first major league game…first hit a granny.
--Also in the NL East, the Phillies are writing quite a story. Having gotten off to a 22-29 start under Joe Girardi, they fired him, replaced him on an interim basis with Rob Thomson, and the Phils promptly went 14-2. At 36-31, Philadelphia is just 8 back and, more importantly, looking forward, one of five teams that will be fighting for the three wild card slots.
It’s going to be a fun summer after all in the City of Brotherly Love (about half the time).
But the Phils lost today to the Nats, 9-3.
--The Dodgers honored Sandy Koufax yesterday with a spectacular looking statue that will grace the center-field plaza at Dodger Stadium. The 86-year-old “stunningly” gave a 10-minute speech. Stunning because no one has heard him talk for ten minutes, total, in his lifetime.
Bill Plaschke / Los Angeles Times
“It was, wondrously, the humanizing of Los Angeles’ phantom legend, a rare public pulse from a pitcher whose greatness has mostly existed in Dodgers’ mythology.
“It turns out, at age 86, he just wanted to say think you.
“ ‘Conventional wisdom has always said don’t give an old man a microphone, he’s got too many years to talk about,’ said Koufax, looking forever young with fashionable sunglasses and a full head of white hair. ‘Well, I tried not to, but I’m going to start way back at the beginning…’
“And he was off, spending the entirety of his speech tracing his career from high school outfielder to Hall of Famer, expressing gratitude for figures both great and obscure, from Jackie Robinson and Don Newcombe to sandlot coach Milton Laurie and clubhouse manager Nobe Kawano….
“He thanked his catchers. He thanked his trainers. He thanked his relievers. He thanked his outfielder. He thanked his infielders. He thanked two different Dodgers’ ownership groups. He thanked the fans.
“ ‘Most of all I thank my teammates, all of them,’ he said, before listing nearly all of them.
“In all, he thanked 46 people during the span of 10 minutes, surely a record for inclusion and gratitude.
“He spend the entire speech talking about others, which said everything about him. This was the real roots of his reclusive legacy. Koufax was never about Koufax. He never wanted to speak about himself because he always believed his greatness was about those who he believed carried him there.
“This was the Koufax few have ever seen. This was the Koufax who nearly brought an emotional Clayton Kershaw to tears during a brief Saturday speech about his mentor and friend.
“ ‘In the years and generations to come, I hope a kid sees this statue and asks his mom or dad about Sandy Koufax, and I hope they tell him he was a great pitcher, but more than that he was a great man who represented the Dodgers with humility, kindness, and passion and class,’ said Kershaw….
“Beginning fittingly with the opening of Dodger Stadium in 1962, Koufax had the greatest five-year stretch of any pitcher in history, winning five ERA titles in a row, three Cy Young Awards, two World Series championships and an MVP. His most impactful headlines were actually made on a day he didn’t work, as he refused to pitch in the opener of the 1965 World Series because it was the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur. He finished the series by shutting out the Minnesota Twins twice in four days to give the Dodgers the championship….
“He wants everyone to know that he will not be pitching alone.
“ ‘I think my only regret today is that so many are no longer with us and I’m unable to let them know how much I thank them and appreciated them,’ he said.
“The phantom legend then disappeared again, departing the Dodger Stadium center-field plaza stage with a voice as thick as his undying grip on an eternally awestruck city and its baseball team.
“ ‘I love you one and all,’ Sandy Koufax said. ‘I’m done.’”
--I’ve written of the Angels’ Anthony Rendon and his huge 7-year, $245 million contract that he signed before the 2020 season after being the offensive leader of the 2019 World Series champion Nationals.
But of the Angels’ 384 games during his first three seasons, Rendon, 32, had played in only 155 of them and the team announced Friday he was going to miss the rest of the season due to surgery for a right wrist injury. Rendon aggravated a previous injury to the wrist on Tuesday and hadn’t played since.
The franchise is snakebit when it comes to awarding big deals and Rendon’s came about because in the 2019 offseason, they had lost out on Gerrit Cole, who signed a $$324 million deal with the Yankees rather than accepting L.A.’s $300m. The team felt pressured to make a move, with Mike Trout in the fold for years to come, and Shohei Ohtani having impressed his first two seasons, 2018-19, and so they signed Rendon, who after a solid Covid-shortened 2020, has been a disaster.
Understand, the Angels this year are paying not only $36 million for Rendon (while being on the hook for another $154 million, 2023-26), they are shelling out $28 million for outfielder Justin Upton, who they released before the season started, Upton playing for the Mariners now.
Other big money contracts gone bad for the Angels include Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Vernon Wells, and Gary Matthew Jr.
The $64 million for Rendon and Upton, by the way, is more than the entire payrolls of the Oakland A’s, the Orioles, Guardians and Pirates, as of opening day.
But why is Rendon’s deal, and now injury, really so significant? Because the Angels have Ohtani under contract only through 2023. The Angels have not finished within 10 games of first place in any of his first four seasons and this one appears to be headed in the same direction.
Mike Trout is committed to the Angels, and signed through 2030, but Ohtani doesn’t have to do the same.
So it is going to be an interesting offseason for the Angels. They have to lock Ohtani up and not head into 2023 without having signed him. But if the negotiations aren’t going well, no one says the Angels couldn’t trade him.
Meanwhile, thru Saturday, the Angels had righted the ship somewhat, winning 3 of 4 to get to 32-36, as Trout has been en fuego…homering in each game of a twin-bill sweep of the Mariners Saturday in Seattle, 4-2, 3-0, including a 10th-inning game-winner in the opener, giving Trout 20 home runs suddenly on the season. Despite his recent career-worst slump, he still has a 1.044 OPS and 46 runs scored.
The Angels then won again today, 4-0, Trout hitting No. 21.
--Back to the Ohtani future contract situation, I’ve said the Nationals have the same potential problem with Juan Soto. He technically isn’t a free agent until 2025, but he’s arbitration eligible for the first time in 2023 and the Nats need to lock him up this offseason as well…or consider the unthinkable, a trade.
Soto, though, continues to struggle mightily, a .218 batting average thru Saturday, though he’s drawn enough walks to have a .369 OBP. But this far into the season, his performance is rather shocking.
[He had a 3-run homer today in the Nats’ win over the Phils, but 1-for-5 overall to stay at .218.]
--Twins second baseman Luis Arraez entered today leading the majors in batting at .363. Is this a surprise? It shouldn’t be. Arraez, 25, hit .334 in 2019 in 326 at-bats, and .294 last season.
He’s fun, a classic contact hitter who has whiffed just 19 times in 201 ABs thus far, which these days is almost Joe Sewell-like, if you know your baseball history.
Golden State defeated Boston 103-90 in Game 6 to complete an exhilarating comeback from a 2-1 series deficit to complete a 16-6 run through the playoffs to win their fourth title in eight years.
So consider this…the San Francisco Giants won the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014, and then the Warriors won in 2015, 2017-18, and 2022.
As in seven titles since 2010. As in, us Mets, Knicks and Jets fans last saw their boys win a title in 1986 (Mets), 1973 (Knicks), and 1969 (Jets… ‘68 season). And I’m not even including the 49ers.
As in…I’m jealous as hell.
But San Francisco has more poop in the streets than New York does….though it’s close. And that’s a memo.
Anyway, back to Game 6, Steph Curry had 34 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and claimed his first Finals MVP award as a unanimous selection. All were in agreement that his 43-point masterpiece in Game 4 flipped the series in Golden State’s favor.
It also reinforced Curry’s standing as an all-time NBA great. He now has four rings, same as LeBron, as the two have jockeyed to be the face of the NBA over the past decade. Consider this…in these playoffs, Curry knocked out four of the seven players who finished above him in 2022 MVP voting: Nikola Jokic, Ja Morant, Luka Doncic and Boston’s Jayson Tatum.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr summed it up: “What [Curry] does at his size is so different from the traditional greats in this league. I’ve said it many times, Steph reminds me of Tim Duncan. From a humanity standpoint, from a talent standpoint, humility, confidence, it’s a wonderful combination that makes everyone want to win for him. Without him, none of this happens. To me, this is his crowning achievement.”
It should also be noted that Andrew Wiggins had a sterling series, with 18 points in Game 6, after a star-turn in Games 4 and 5.
For Boston, which had gotten off to a 14-2 lead at home, only to see Golden State reply with a devastating 21-0 run across the first and second quarters, it was more of the same. The Celts committed 22 turnovers and fell to 0-7 this postseason when committing more than 15 giveaways.
Boston fans can’t be happy.
Dan Shaughnessy / Boston Globe
“The Celtics’ magical 2022 playoff run crash-landed on Causeway Street Thursday as the still-worthy Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship with a 103-90 Game 6 victory at the TD Garden.
“Years from now, perhaps we’ll look back and see this as a building block for Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Co., but right now, it feels like one of the worst blown opportunities in 21st century Boston sports….
“The Celtics seemingly had control of the series. They won two of the first three, and at times looked dominant. They were the younger, stronger, better team (we foolishly thought) and New England sports fans looked forward to seeing franchise flag No. 18 raised to the Garden rafters.
“The Warriors had other ideas. Time-tested champs Steph Curry (series MVP), Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and (coach) Steve Kerr showed the immature, front-running Celtics how it’s done. They beat the Celtics three straight times, twice at the Garden, each time exposing Boston’s turnover-prone offense and weak bench.
“This was supposed to be Tatum’s introduction to NBA America as a legitimate superstar. Instead, it was a nightmare for Boston’s soft-spoken All-Star.”
Tatum set an NBA postseason record for turnovers.
--The NBA Draft is Thursday and I’ll have a little something in my mid-week Add-on. But, suddenly, Wake Forest fans are wondering if Jake LaRavia is really going in the latter stages of the first round?! That would be a shocker. I thought the guy needed one more year, and then he could have been a 2023 lottery pick. But he did very well in the workouts and camps for scouts and here he is…
It sucked royally that LaRavia wasn’t returning for one more year as the Deacs would have been a potential top 15 by end of the season, but we picked up some transfers, again, and we’ll see. Us fans would easily sign up for a second, 25-win season (25-10, 13-7). We just need to improve our non-ACC schedule to get more power/SOS points, and towards that end, Wake added a home-and-home against Rutgers, which helps both schools in this regard.
--On the NIL (name, image, and likeness) front, Phil W. passed along a local piece from the North Carolina press that talked of the difference between Duke and UNC this offseason.
For Duke, freshmen Paolo Banchero, AJ Griffin and Trevor Keels all departed for the NBA, joining fellow early entries in sophomore Mark Williams and junior Wendell Moore Jr.
But over at North Carolina, Armando Bacot kind of shocked the world by announcing he was returning, ditto guard Caleb Love. RJ Davis and Leaky Black, a senior given an extra year of eligibility due to the Covid season, also chose to return.
So Duke was again reloading with an outstanding new freshmen class, and transfers, while Carolina returns a lineup that made it to the NCAA championship game.
How did the Tar Heels manage this? NIL crap, of course. Like there is speculation Bacot and Love were assured they’ll be able to earn well over six figures for remaining in Chapel Hill one more year, matching or exceeding a potential G-League salary should they not be drafted in the first round.
While that wouldn’t have been enough to keep Banchero and Griffin at Duke – it might have been for Moore and Keels.
New Duke coach Jon Scheyer has thus taken steps to ensure his future underclassmen can share in the NIL riches by hiring a general manager to focus on NIL opportunities.
As a fan, you just have to hate this…and I maintain in two years, NIL talk will largely fade away, at least for the stars. They’ll see the bigger picture, if they want to be a top NBA or NFL draft pick. GMs at the pro level will not be impressed in the least that a C.J. Stroud is driving a Bentley, or whatever. And it will impact the performance on the field in more than a few cases. And starting this fall, fingers will be pointed when those receiving NIL riches suck on the field or on the court. You can book it!
Stanley Cup Finals
Colorado won a scintillating Game 1 in Denver, 4-3 in overtime late Wednesday against Tampa Bay.
Andre Burakovsky found the back of the net just 1:23 into OT thanks to a gorgeous pass from Valeri Nichushkin.
Colorado had a 3-1 lead after the first period, Tampa Bay tied it at 3-3 after two and then we had a scoreless third.
So then in Game 2 last night, the Avalanche destroyed the two-time defending champs 7-0, shattering the confidence of ‘all-world’ goaltender Andrei Vailevskiy…the seven goals coming on just 30 shots.
Cale Makar and Nichushkin had two goals apiece. Coach Jared Bednar called it “as close to perfect of a game as you can get from your players.”
Can the Lightning recover? They were down 2-0 to the Rangers in their last series, but the Rangers aren’t the Avalanche.
--Mark Maske / Washington Post
“The NFL will argue that Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson should receive a ‘significant’ suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, multiple people familiar with the case said Friday.
“The league ‘probably’ will seek a suspension of one full season for Watson, a person on Watson’s side of the case said Friday. A person familiar with the league’s view of the case cautioned to be ‘careful’ about specifying a precise length at this point for the suspension the NFL will seek. But that person also said: ‘Significant would be the proper term.’
“Watson faces 24 active civil lawsuits by women accusing him of sexual misconduct… The NFL is preparing to present the findings of its investigation to Sue L. Robinson, the former U.S. district judge who is the disciplinary officer jointly appointed by the league and the NFL Players Association under the conduct policy.”
The league hopes the entire process, including a potential appeal to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, is completed by the start of training camp…July 27, in the case of the Browns.
--FIFA announced Thursday that 16 cities will host matches in the 2026 World Cup – the first shared by three countries and the first held in North America after a 32-year wait.
The U.S. markets selected were Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Mo., Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle.
There are three Mexican cities – Mexico City, Monterrey and Guadalajara. And Canada gets Toronto and Vancouver.
FIFA has yet to designate the number of games each city will host or the venues for late-stage matches, but MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., and AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex., are believed to be the top contenders to stage the final.
I would love to go to MetLife Stadium, assuming I’m still alive in 2026, but I’m guessing this will be a virtually impossible ticket to get. [Also $250 for the cheapest seats, I imagine.]
--The Premier League announced its 2022-23 schedule and due to a six-week break beginning mid-November for the World Cup, the season starts Aug. 5! As in the current season ended just a month ago. Hardly a break.
What sucks about the World Cup being played until mid-December is that the Premier League won’t have its full holiday schedule, with games not returning until Dec. 26, Boxing Day.
--Paul McCartney played before 60,000 at MetLife Stadium Friday night, and the reviews were once again terrific…2 ½ hours, 40 songs…Bon Jovi singing “Happy Birthday” to the now-80-year-old (his birthday Saturday), Bruce Springsteen hitting the stage to sing “Glory Days” with Sir Paul.
I mean how great is that. McCartney also acted like he might tour again.
Top 3 songs for the week 6/20/64: #1 “Chapel Of Love” (The Dixie Cups) #2 “A World Without Love” (Peter and Gordon) #3 “I Get Around” (The Beach Boys)…and…#4 “Love Me With All Your Heart” (The Ray Charles Singers) #5 “My Boy Lollipop” (Millie Small) #6 “Walk On By” (Dionne Warwick…great tune…) #7 “Love Me Do” (The Beatles) #8 “People” (Barbra Streisand…see #6…) #9 “Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying” (Gerry and The Pacemakers) #10 “Diane” (The Bachelors…eclectic week…one that made the 60s so great…it gets an ‘A-’…)
Philadelphia Phillies Quiz Answers: 1) Only four with 250 home runs as a Philly: Michael Jack Schmidt 548, Ryan Howard 382, Del Ennis 259*, Pat Burrell 251. Chuck Klein had 243. 2) Phillies pitchers to win 20 games, post-1920. Robin Roberts, 28, 1952 (as well as 23 in each of 1953-55, plus 21 in 1957, 20 in 1950); Steve Carlton, 27, 1972 (24 in 1980, 23 in each of 1977 and ’82, 20 in 1976); Roy Halladay, 21, 2010; Chris Short, 20, 1966.
*I always forget what a consistent slugger Del Ennis was, who played from 1946-1959 and slugged 288 home runs overall for his career, including stints in St. Louis, Cincinnati and the White Sox. Ennis had nine seasons of 20+ homers, and seven 100-RBI campaigns (1,284 overall). And the 3X All-Star hit .284 lifetime. Just a very good career, baseball fans.
Add-on up top by noon, Wed.