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2021 RSM Classic scores, grades: Talor Gooch wins by three at Sea Island for first PGA Tour victory of career

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Talor Gooch capped both a PGA Tour year as well as a run of unbelievable play for him with a victory Sunday at the RSM Classic over Mackenzie Hughes and Sebastian Munoz.

Gooch shot a 64 on Sunday to finish at 22 under for the week and take home the last trophy of 2021 by three over Hughes and four over Munoz. It bookended the 64 he shot on Thursday and concluded a four-day event in which Gooch ranked in the top 10 in tee-to-green play as well as strokes gained around the green and with the putter.

This is not unusual for him, either. He had four top-15 finishes in his first five events of a season that started back in September and was playing the best golf of his life coming into the week at Sea Island. He was among the top-six players in the world in strokes gained since the beginning of the 2021-22 season (min. 10 rounds played).

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The most impressive part about the first win of his career is that, even though he led at the 54-hole mark, he had to take it deep on Sunday in the final to stave off Hughes and Munoz — who combined to shoot 13 under — as well as Tyler McCumber, who shot 60, and a top 10 on the final leaderboard that shot a combined 42 under in Round 4.

“Man, it was a great week,” Gooch said. “I played well all week obviously, and today being a crucial day, I had a couple opportunities where things could have taken a turn for the worse and I was able to make some clutch putts.”

The fall portion of the PGA Tour season was built for players like Gooch. Good talents in their 20s (Gooch turned 30 last Sunday) who have yet to break through with a victory. That had been the case at times this fall, but also superstar talents Rory McIlroy and Hideki Matsuyama had also won tournaments.

Gooch’s victory was emblematic of so many other breakout victory stories we’ve seen over the years and perhaps foreshadowing of what’s to come the rest of this season for him as well as potentially for the rest of his career. At the very least, it’s an exclamation point for somebody who can legitimately lay claim to being the PGA Tour’s best player this fall with the last official event in the books and the Tournament of Champions just around the corner. Grade: A+

Here are the rest of our grades for the RSM Classic.

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Mackenzie Hughes (2nd): Hughes and the next person on our grades, Webb Simpson, are the only players in this field who were better from tee to green than Gooch. Hughes is a past champion at this event and took it as deep as possible Sunday with that 62, but Gooch just kept putting distance between himself and Hughes down the stretch as he made birdie at four of the first six on the back nine. 

“I knew it was going to require a low one today and if you told me I would have shot 62 I thought I might be pretty close, but Talor obviously played  great this week and deserved to win,” Hughes said. “Looking at my own game, I feel like I’ve been getting  better with each week and just trying to get better each week and feel like my game is trending in the right direction and hopefully sooner rather than later we’ll get one of those wins.” Grade: A

Webb Simpson (T8): Simpson led the field in strokes gained from tee to green, which is incredibly encouraging going into 2022. He also led the field in strokes gained on approach shots and, if he had not been one of the worst putters in the field on Saturday and Sunday, would have truly contended for this trophy. This is just Simpson’s second top 10 since the RBC Heritage in April, and the statistical structure of it has to give him a ton of confidence going into a new calendar year. Grade: A

Scottie Scheffler (T57): After two straight top-five finishes, Scheffler came into this week as the favorite and responded with a 63 on Thursday. He faded pretty hard, though, with a 73-75 middle of his event before shooting 68 on Sunday. He played some solid golf at times, especially on Thursday with the 63, but he’ll go into 2022 the way he came into this tournament, as possibly the best player on the planet without a win on the PGA Tour. Grade: B-

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Aaron Rodgers to the Jets? Giants' free agency options & Mike McCarthy's future with Cowboys | Ask Jay Glazer

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Jay Glazer discussed whether Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers will head to the New York Jets, the New York Giants’ free agency options, and breaks down Mike McCarthy’s future with the Dallas Cowboys.



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Super Bowl LVII: Chiefs and Eagles will meet for title in Arizona

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Patrick Mahomes finally got the best of Joe Burrow. 

All he needed was a little shove.

Harrison Butker made a 45-yard field goal with 3 seconds left — after Cincinnati’s Joseph Ossai was flagged for a 15-yard penalty for shoving Mahomes after he was out of bounds — and the Chiefs beat the Bengals 23-20 in the AFC championship game to make it back to the Super Bowl.

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Kansas City will face the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl on Feb. 12 in Glendale, Arizona. 

The Eagles opened as a 1 1/2-point favourite, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

There are no shortage of storylines: Kansas City coach Andy Reid goes against his old team — which he led to Super Bowl 39 — in a game that’s also the first matchup of Black starting quarterbacks in the Super Bowl with Mahomes and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts. 

On top of that, there’s a brother-against-brother showdown between Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Philadelphia center Jason Kelce.

“Officially done being a Chiefs fan this season!! ” Jason Kelce tweeted immediately after the Chiefs won.

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The Chiefs have been making deep postseason runs on a regular basis ever since Mahomes came to town as the franchise quarterback. 

This was their fifth straight trip to the AFC title game and will be their third Super Bowl appearance in that span. They beat the 49ers for the NFL title in the 2019 season, but lost to the Bucs the following season.

The Eagles clobbered the Niners 31-7 in the NFC title game earlier Sunday. They’ve looked dominant in the playoffs so far, also beating the New York Giants 38-7 in the divisional round.

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Philadelphia is back in the Super Bowl five years after beating the New England Patriots 41-33 on Feb. 4, 2018. 

Now a mostly new generation of Eagles — led by coach Nick Sirianni and Hurts — will come to Arizona to try and win another title.

The Chiefs-Bengals game looked as if it was going to overtime before Ossai’s ill-advised play. Mahomes — who was playing on a badly sprained ankle — was running to get a first down in the final seconds as Ossai desperately tried to track him down. 

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Mahomes was out of bounds when Ossai gave him a shove, sending both players tumbling to the turf. The ensuing 15-yard penalty was enough to push Butker into field-goal range and the kick split the uprights.

A distraught Ossai sat on the bench with his head in his hands, well after the game was over.

The Bengals and Chiefs were playing for the fourth time in less than 400 days and Cincinnati had won the previous three meetings — all by three points. This one was decided by a field goal, too, and all Burrow could do was watch.

The Bengals lost to the Rams in last year’s Super Bowl and they just missed another chance at returning to the title game.

NO DRAMA IN NFC

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Oddsmakers thought fans were in for some close conference championship games. 

They’ll have to settle for a 50% success rate.

The NFC title game was a blowout. Niners rookie quarterback Brock Purdy was injured in the first quarter when Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick drilled his right arm on a play that was ruled a fumble. The Eagles recovered that fumble and the injury proved to be a game-changer.

With Purdy hurt, San Francisco turned to 36-year-old journeyman Josh Johnson, who couldn’t do much before eventually leaving with a concussion. Purdy came back into the game, but could barely throw, and the Eagles cruised to the win.

The 49ers dealt with quarterback injuries all season, losing Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo before turning to Purdy, a seventh-round draft pick out of Iowa State. Purdy stepped into a starter’s role in December and won his first seven games before Sunday’s injury. 

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Here’s a few things to know about the upcoming Super Bowl:

WHAT’S THE UPCOMING SCHEDULE?

FEB. 5

Pro Bowl flag-football game, 3 p.m. EST, ABC/ESPN

FEB. 12

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Super Bowl LVII, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 6:30 p.m. EST, Fox

RIHANNA AT HALFTIME

Rihanna will take center stage as the headline act for this year’s Super Bowl halftime show.

With sales of more than 250 million records worldwide, Rihanna ranks as one of the best-selling female artists ever. Her most recent album was 2016′s “Anti.” Rihanna last performed publicly at the Grammy Awards in 2018.

The singer said she turned down a similar opportunity for the 2019 Super Bowl that was ultimately headlined by Maroon 5. At the time, many artists voiced support for Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who protested police brutality against Black people and minorities by kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

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Country music star Chris Stapleton will sing the national anthem, while R&B legend Babyface will perform “America the Beautiful.” 

PRO BOWL MAKEOVER

The Pro Bowl is getting a major makeover this year after the NFL eliminated its full-contact all-star game and replaced it with weeklong skills competitions and a flag football game.

The flag football contest is Feb. 5 in Las Vegas at Allegiant Stadium, one week before the Super Bowl.

The Pro Bowl debuted in January 1951 in Los Angeles and stayed there for 21 seasons before the game moved to different cities from 1972-80. Hawaii hosted from 1980-2009, and the game has had several homes in the years since, including Miami, Phoenix, Orlando and Las Vegas.

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“The game was kind of silly, I guess,” Saints two-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Ryan Ramczyk said back in September when the news was announced. “Guys weren’t out there playing true football. Hopefully, there’ll be a lot of interactions with the fans and guys will get their opportunity to go out there and show some skills. I could see that being a good change.”

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Ohio State hires James Laurinaitis & Tennessee extends Huepel's contract | Joel Klatt Show

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Joel Klatt discussed Ohio State Buckeyes hiring former linebacker James Laurinaitis as a defensive GA. Joel believes that Laurinaitis can help transform the defense into a powerhouse like the offense is for wide receivers. He then discussed the Tennessee Volunteers giving Josh Huepel a contract extension after their 11-win season.



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