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Mickelson the last to sign up for Saudi-funded golf league

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Phil Mickelson, a chief recruiter for a Saudi-funded rival league to the PGA Tour, is ending his four-month hiatus by adding his name to the 48-man field for the LIV Golf Invitational that starts Friday outside London.

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Mickelson will be joining Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia and three other former major champions in a 54-hole tournament at Centurion Golf Club with $25 million in prize money and $4 million going to the individual winner.

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“I am ready to come back to play the game I love but after 32 years this new path is a fresh start, one that is exciting for me at this stage of my career,” Mickelson said in a statement posted on social media.

Mickelson also said he would be playing the last two majors, starting June 16 in the U.S. Open at The Country Club outside Boston.

He said the “transformative” new league would allow him to focus on a healthier approach to life on and off the course. Mickelson did not mention the signing fee, which is likely to be every bit of the $125 million or more reportedly paid to Johnson.

It will be Mickelson’s first time playing since Feb. 6 at the Saudi International, where he first began to draw attention to how he was leaning when he accused the PGA Tour of “obnoxious greed” in an interview with Golf Digest.

Two weeks later, Alan Shipnuck published excerpts from his unauthorized biography on Mickelson in which the six-time major champion acknowledged Saudi Arabia’s human rights atrocities, including the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, but said it was worth getting involved if it meant getting leverage to make changes on the PGA Tour.

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Mickelson also said he and three other top players paid attorneys to write the operating agreement of the new league. He apologized for what he said were reckless comments, without mentioning the PGA Tour.

But then he was out of view for four months, skipping the Masters and the PGA Championship, which he had won the year before at age 50 to become the oldest major champion in history.

Mickelson apologized again in Monday’s statement, adding that he “empathizes” with those who disagree with his decision to leave the PGA Tour for a league funded primarily by the Public Investment Fund in Saudi Arabia.

“His contributions to the sport and connection to fans around the globe cannot be overstated and we are grateful to have him,” said Greg Norman, the CEO and commissioner of LIV Golf Investments. “He strengthens an exciting field for London where we’re proud to launch a new era for golf.”

The PGA Tour did not grant releases for any of its 14 members who have signed up for the rival series, a list that also includes Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer and Charl Schwartzel.

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Five other players from the Asian Tour were added as exemptions.

Even as Mickelson was the leader in trying to get players to join, his name was left off the original field list that was released on Tuesday. The Daily Telegraph reported Johnson, at No. 15 the highest-ranked player in the world, received upward of $125 million to join.

The decision likely means the end of Mickelson’s career on the PGA Tour as players who defect are likely to face suspensions for violating tour regulations by playing overseas without a release.

Mickelson has 45 career PGA Tour victories and has amassed nearly $100 million in career earnings on the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions. He won his first tour event in 1991 when he was an amateur at Arizona State and his most recent title last year at the PGA.

The LIV Golf Invitational is the first of eight such tournaments, with five of them scheduled for the United States, two of them on courses owned by former President Donald Trump.

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At least six players in the field already have resigned their PGA Tour memberships. Kevin Na announced his decision on social media. The manager for Garcia, Oosthuizen, Schwartzel and Branden Grace said they have resigned, too.

As much as he was promoting a new concept, Mickelson appeared to be the one who caused the Saudi league to lose momentum with his interviews in February that disparaged the Saudis (“scary mother-(expletives)”) and the PGA Tour (“A dictatorship. They divide and conquer.”)

All the top players — including Johnson — pledged their support for the PGA Tour. Johnson later changed his mind.

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Jackie Bradley Jr. to make first start with Blue Jays vs. Guardians on Friday

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Jackie Bradley Jr. will make his first Toronto Blue Jays start on Friday night as the team hosts the Cleveland Guardians. He will play in centre field and bat ninth.

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Bradley Jr. signed with the Blue Jays on Tuesday after being released by the Boston Red Sox on Aug. 4.

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The 32-year-old Bradley Jr. is a .228 hitter with 107 homers and 434 RBIs in 1,098 major-league games. He was the MVP of the 2018 AL Championship Series and won the AL Gold Glove in centre that same year.

Watch the Blue Jays take on the Guardians on Sportsnet and Sportsnet NOW starting at 7 p.m. EST.

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The Orioles Are Reportedly Calling Up Another Top Prospect

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(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

 

Despite trading slugger Trey Mancini and All-Star closer Jorge Lopez at the deadline, the Baltimore Orioles keep winning games and are in contention for a spot in the postseason.

They are currently 58-53, fourth in the AL East division and just half-a-game behind the Tampa Bay Rays.

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It’s an incredible organizational turnaround, considering that Baltimore had an awful 52-110 record in 2021.

Recognizing that they do have a strong chance of making the playoffs against all odds, the Orioles are making a win-now move, a refreshing development considering they traded the aforementioned stars.

“Source: DL Hall is joining #orioles in St. Petersburg,” MASN Sports’ Roch Kubatko reported via Twitter.

The world is about to see what the Orioles are made of: they are playing a three-game series against the Rays, starting on Friday.

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Austin Voth will start tonight’s game for Baltimore, and will face off against veteran right-hander Corey Kluber.

The Orioles have been able to bring in, nurture, and develop many young players this year, most notably position players and relievers.

 

Baltimore Needs Rotation Help, And Hall Can Provide It

Their starting rotation, however, remains a work in progress.

That’s where a guy like DL Hall can help.

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He is one of MLB’s best pitching prospects.

He has some issues with his control, but the quality of his stuff is unquestionable.

So far, the left-hander has a 4.52 ERA and 126/45 K/BB ratio over 77 2/3 innings while covering three levels this season.

He has 114 strikeouts in 70 Triple-A innings, though, so the potential in that area is tantalizing.

Hall has a chance to be a special pitcher, as long as he can keep the walks under control (no pun intended).

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If he pitches well, the O’s will have another quality starter to fuel their playoff run.

The post The Orioles Are Reportedly Calling Up Another Top Prospect appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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The Yankees Are Dominating With Defense From 2 Key Spots

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(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

 

Defense is always a major key to the success of a baseball team.

One of the reasons the New York Yankees have been so dominant for most of the season is the fact that their defense is among the best in all of baseball.

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But from two particular spots, the defense has been elite for the Yankees.

The Yankees have 70 defensive runs saved, with 29 of them coming from the pitcher and catcher positions.

Jose Trevino‘s pitch framing skills have certainly helped, but Yankees pitchers are also second in all of baseball in defensive assists.

SIS Baseball tweeted some of the stats that show why the Yankees have been so dominant on defense.

 

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What Makes The Yankees Great

Sometimes, just one guy can be the key to the defensive success of a team.

Other times, it can be a combination of guys.

For the Yankees, it’s clear that their defense is a well-oiled machine and is one of the main reasons they have been so dominant for much of the season.

Pitchers fielding their position is also an important aspect of a great defensive team.

The club clearly has pitchers who can field their positions very well.

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But as mentioned previously, Trevino has emerged as a solid defensive catcher.

The Yankees do also lead all of baseball in caught stealing percentage.

That’s always a sign of a good defensive catcher.

It goes even beyond his pitch framing skills.

But all of that stands to reason why the Yankees have been so successful defensively this season.

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Defense is always key for great teams, and it has been ever prevalent with the Yankees during the 2022 season.

As the old saying goes, offense wins games, defense wins championships.

The post The Yankees Are Dominating With Defense From 2 Key Spots appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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