Collin Morikawa has won the PGA Championship, claiming his first major title in just his second appearance in a major tournament.
The 23-year-old American finished 35th at last year’s US Open, but nabbed four birdies and an eagle in the final round in San Francisco to claim his maiden major title.
Australian Jason Day actually held a six-way share of the lead earlier in the day thanks to three birdies in five holes on the back nine on Monday (AEST), but while he was finishing up on 10-under, Morikawa chipped in for birdie on the 14th hole to move one stroke ahead and into the outright lead.
Then on the 16th, with the field close behind him, Morikawa landed a 268-metre drive just over two metres away from the hole and putted in to eagle the par-four 16th and move to 13-under with two holes to play.
None of the chasing pack could catch him, with Englishman Paul Casey and American Dustin Johnson tying for second on 11-under, with Day and four others tied for fourth on 10-under.
Jason Day has fired the lowest opening round of his US PGA Championship career to claim the clubhouse lead at golf’s first major of 2020, while fellow Australian Adam Scott is close behind.
Lathered in Deep Heat to protect his ailing back, Day birdied his last hole for a brilliant bogey-free five-under-par 65 at TPC Harding Park to snare a one-shot lead.
Day led by one stroke early from a large group at four-under headlined by defending champion Brooks Koepka, Germany’s former winner Martin Kaymer, two-time major winner Zach Johnson and fellow former world number one Justin Rose.
Brendon Todd ended up tying for a share of the lead late on the first day.
Tiger Woods began his search for a 16th career major in style with a solid 68 to sit three behind Day at two-under, and was later joined by Queenslander Scott (68).
Playing his first tournament since March, a rusty Scott mixed three birdies with three bogeys on the front side before picking up two shots coming home to climb into contention.
Dual winner Rory McIlroy sits at even-par after a 70.
Day anticipated the cool temperatures in San Francisco and caked his back — which was operated on earlier this year — with muscle therapy cream to prevent another injury.
“I pretty much lather up in Deep Heat and I try and burn the skin off my back, to be honest,” Day said after his round. “I feel pretty good.”
Day teed off from the 10th hole and began with a birdie at the par-5. He added another at the par-3 17th to make the turn at two-under.
He then rattled off birdies at the first, fourth and ninth holes to card a blemish-free start in search of his second career major.
“I drove it really nicely and, when I was out of position, I left myself on the right side of the fairways,” Day said.
Day’s five birdies came from close range with his longest birdie putt coming from 13 feet.
The 12-time PGA Tour winner hasn’t had to tap in to his usually world-beating form on the greens, but feels it’s ready when he needs it.
“I feel like the game is slowly coming around and the confidence is coming around because I’m starting to see the results, which has been good.”
It was just the second tournament since February for four-time PGA champion Woods, but the 44-year-old dismissed any concerns of rust for the majors season.
“I felt that practice sessions [at home] have been very good,” Woods said. “They have been very intense, so there was no reason why I can’t [hit the ground running]. [Today] was a very solid round.”
At one-under, Cameron Smith was next best of the Australians nearing completion of his round.
Smith’s countrymen Matt Jones, Lucas Herbert and Marc Leishman were all even with the card.
DeChambeau hit what appeared to be a normal tee shot 296 yards into the rough on the par-4 hole. But when he bent over to pick up his tee, the club snapped under him.
A rules official said he would be allowed to replace the club during the round, and a member of DeChambeau’s support team fetched another shaft for him.
It was because the club had not been damaged through anger or abuse that DeChambeau was permitted to get a new one.
“During the course of playing the stroke the club busted into pieces and we do have the local rule in effect when that happens, the player would be allowed to replace the club,” rules official Brad Gregory explained to PGATour.com.
“Starting in 2019 this is a local rule that’s in effect for the Championship for when a club is significantly damaged. And breaking into pieces would meet that standard.”
“That was weird,” DeChambeau said as he walked toward the green, still holding the pieces. “I guess it’s all those swings I put in.”
DeChambeau finished on two-under for the day after shooting a 68.
It’s just gone midnight on a Sunday night. There’s work tomorrow. School. You should be in bed.
Instead, you — along with 18.5 million other people around the country — cannot drag yourself away from your TV.
On the box is playing the 1985 World Championships Snooker final between reigning champion Steve Davis and outside-shot Dennis Taylor, a match that has gone down as being one of Britain’s greatest sporting moments.
At its best, snooker is an addictive, geometric dance of balletic precision, featuring expert cueing and tactical nous.
The sport’s flagship event, the World Championships, got underway in Sheffield this weekend and in doing so became one of the first events to welcome back crowds in England since the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Snooker has been a bastion of British sporting television since the championships moved to the Crucible Theatre in 1977.
In 1985 though, the sport was the hottest ticket in town, so much so the World Championships final became one of the most watched sporting events in British television history — with millions tuning in to the closing stages after midnight.
Snooker was big business throughout the 80s, pulling massive TV audiences and making genuine stars of the top players.
In an interview with the BBC, Taylor remembers snooker being “bigger than any other sport, even football and golf” in the mid-80s, with the players becoming household names — even featuring in pop songs of dubious provenance.
The reason for this was circumstance and visibility.
“There was only four channels, something like that, to watch,” Taylor said, “so everyone seemed to watch [snooker].”
Davis went even further, describing snooker’s popularity during that era as “stupid”.
“[There was] a trapped audience, nobody had anything to do on a Sunday evening, Sunday afternoon, [so] they sat and watched the snooker.
What was the 1985 final so enthralling?
The enduring appeal of the 1985 final comes from the myriad of storylines that developed during its playing.
The 11th seed and clear underdog, Taylor — complete with a unique set of glasses that left you in no doubt which decade you were in — found himself 8-0 down in the blink of an eye as Davis, who would win six World Championships in nine years during the 80s, dominated.
However, a missed green in the ninth frame handed Taylor an opening and, buoyed by the fervent support of a crowd desperate for more action, fought back strongly.
Over two gruelling days’ play, the pair traded blows, sending the match into a deciding, 35th frame.
That final frame took over an hour to complete — 68 minutes of the most gruelling, high-pressure sporting action you can imagine — the enthralled audience at home and in the room seemingly oblivious to the fact that Sunday had turned into Monday.
Later, Davis described the final frame as “a trauma” — and not just because of how it ended for him, but for how much pressure the players were under.
“Nerves have now taken over,” said BBC commentator Ted Lowe when Davis missed a regulation blue mid-way through that marathon final frame, a miss typical of the contest in the closing stages.
Incredibly, after 14 hours and 50 minutes of game time, the match came down to the final ball of the final frame — the only time this has happened in World Snooker history.
After potting the pink, Taylor, now trailing in the final frame by just three points, went over to the World Championship trophy and prayed in an attempt to summon some last-minute divine inspiration.
The final ball created drama though, with both players missing their mark amidst the suffocating tension.
An attempted double in off the cushion from Taylor missed the centre pocket by millimetres, Lowe muttering, “I have never known an atmosphere like this,” as the crowd struggled to contain themselves.
Taylor appeared to throw caution to the wind, attempting outlandish shots as playing safely was put on the backburner.
Leaving a tough, but gettable pot to win, Taylor’s chance appeared to have gone, only for Davis to fluff his lines.
“No,” a surprised Lowe said, the crowd roaring for the penultimate time as Taylor was left with a straight-forward pot to finish the match.
Taylor did sink the black, prompting an eruption of unbridled joy from the enraptured crowd.
The then-36-year-old brandished his cue above his head, before wagging a knowing finger at his supporters and kissing the most coveted trophy in the sport.
Will there ever be a communal viewing experience like that again?
The Black Ball Final is still the most watched post-midnight program of any show in UK television history.
That 18.5 million was a third of the United Kingdom’s population at the time.
To put those viewing figures into some perspective, the 1985 Live Aid concert — a once-in-a-lifetime event that took place throughout an afternoon — earned the BBC a TV audience of 24.5 million.
Admittedly a similar percentage of the population watched England’s 2016 World Cup defeat to Croatia, which was the highest rating British TV program in 2018 — but that happened in prime time, not after midnight.
In contrast, the highest rating Australian sporting event on TV in 2018, game one of State of Origin, was watched by just 13 per cent of the population.
Both players said that it was unlikely anything like that would ever happen again.
“I think it’s because of the choice nowadays.” Taylor told the BBC.
“When you think of the viewing figures they used to get … nowadays you get four or five million people tuning in for any sporting event it’s big numbers because of the choice that people have.”
Davis argued the same, saying that there is too much choice now.
“That can’t necessarily happen again anywhere now that there are multiple television channels.”
An unmatched viewing experience
That people are still talking about that match in such reverent tones 35 years on speaks volumes of snooker’s enduring, albeit slightly nostalgic appeal.
In an era where you can watch everything from wood chopping to competitive pizza tossing on ESPN (yes, really), it’s perhaps not surprising that the game’s grip on the public consciousness has slipped ever so slightly.
“[Snooker] was ideally placed as great theatre,” Davis said.
Ideal lockdown-viewing, perhaps.
That the World Championships is being used as a guinea pig for fans to attend the UK’s sporting COVID-19 recovery is perhaps incongruous considering its history as a television product.
Five-time World Champion, the enigmatic Ronnie O’Sullivan, is not a fan of fans being allowed in.
“I just think it’s an unnecessary risk [to have spectators].
“I just don’t think you want to be putting people’s lives at risk. You look at the NHS and you think ‘this is like a war at the moment … anything to take the stress off them is paramount’.”
But with attendances capped at a third of capacity, just 300 fans, the vast majority will, once again, be glued to their screens instead.
And, in the chastened circumstances the world finds itself in at the present time, that may be no bad thing, although the likelihood of any match this year matching the interest of that 1985 final is remote.
Davis, who would go on to win the next two World Championship titles and become known as one of the greatest of all time, said the contest helped define him.
“The fact that I was involved in something where so many people remember what they were doing and where they were when they were watching it, you know, wow.”
It might have been 116 days since the last A-League match, but Sydney FC showed the delay had not put the brakes on their charge for a second-successive Premiers Plate — on the face of things, at least.
A 3-1 win, giving Sydney an 11-point cushion over second-placed Melbourne City and 15-point barrier over Wellington Phoenix, could give the superficial impression that Sydney simply picked up where they left off in March as the competition’s top dogs.
However, Wellington showed more than enough at Kogarah to provide plenty of optimism for the upcoming finals series.
Sydney’s strength under Steve Corica has been in its use of its fullbacks, particularly Rhyan Grant on the right, high up the pitch.
However, Wellington negated that threat brilliantly, particularly in the first half, thanks to left-sided combination Liberato Cacace and Reno Piscopo.
That meant Grant in particular was forced back into defence, where he was exceptional in denying Wellington anything resembling a clear shot on goal in the opening 45.
Sydney didn’t complete a single cross in the goal-less first half, reduced to testing Stefan Marinovic with long-range efforts from Luke Brattan, such was Wellington’s own defensive prowess.
In a match between such evenly matched teams, a penalty was an almost inevitable way to break the deadlock — although it was fitting that Wellington’s left-sided combination came together to score it with Cacace drawing the foul by Ryan McGowan and Piscopo slotting the spot kick.
Sydney has the most dangerous attack in the A-League, lead by Englishman Adam Le Fondre, but they needed a huge slice of fortune to get back on level terms.
Ulises Davila pleaded that the ball deflected off his chest and up onto his arm on the edge of the area — and he may have had a point — but in reality, his error was not controlling the bouncing ball and even with VAR it’s debatable that the decision would have been overturned.
Davila’s error may have come due to a lack of conditioning — both he and Englishman Gary Hooper arrived later to Australia than their teammates and have subsequently had to isolate for longer.
The two imports combined to give Wellington back the lead, when Hooper turned in Davilla’s goal-bound effort, but the flag went up for an incredibly tight offside call.
Football is a game played on fine margins, and those decisions that went against the Phoenix in this match would be excruciating for those supporters across the ditch, as well as their coach, Ufuk Talay.
“A lot of people were not in favour of the VAR and now all of a sudden we are on in favour of the VAR to be there because it’s not there,” Talay said.
The A-League will not use the contentious video assistant referee for the remainder of the A-League season, although the system could return for the finals.
Wellington felt they could have had two penalty decisions go their way earlier in the game in addition to having the offside call overturned in their favour.
However, Sydney did what Sydney does best by capitalising on the game opening up in the closing stages and using their impressive bench to secure all three points.
Trent Buhagiar’s late double showed Sydney’s ruthless nature by capitalising on a couple of poor defensive reads.
Buhagiar was one of a triple substitution as Steve Corica utilised the increased number of replacements to his advantage.
“Making three subs lifted our boys,” Corica said.
“It helped out fantastically, so it does help having the five subs, if you can use them at the right times as well.”
Although both coaches used all five of their allotted substitutions, the move appeared to favour Sydney, with Michael Zullo instantly exploiting space down the left that Joel King could not, and Alex Baumjohann adding his commanding presence to the midfield.
Despite the defeat, Wellington — who have been a revelation this season by playing some of the most exciting football in the competition — will take confidence into their final five matches and on into the finals.
“We played some really good football, I thought we were the better side,” Talay said.
“We will grow from this, we’ve got another five games to build that momentum up again.”
Watch the A-League match between Perth Glory and Central Coast Mariners at 5:00pm AEST on ABC TV
Rugby Australia (RA) wants to establish a quarantine hub to exclusively host the Rugby Championship if the tournament is staged following the sport’s coronavirus shutdown.
Rugby Australia is discussing the prospect of a quarantine hub with the Federal Government
A four-Test Bledisloe Cup series has also been proposed by Rugby Australia
New Wallabies coach Dave Rennie will not be required to take a pay cut
RA is in discussions with the Federal Government — as well as its SANZAAR partners, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina — with a view to holding a condensed version of the Rugby Championship this year.
Its interim chief executive, Rob Clarke, is also seeking to lock in an expanded four-Test Bledisloe Cup series with the All Blacks.
He said they were “prudent” moves to stabilise the code’s finances as RA prepared for a domestic competition to return on July 3.
In regard to cost cutting, Clarke said every RA department had been reviewed, leading to 47 of the 142 full-time staff losing their jobs.
A further 30 contractors and casual employees will also have their roles terminated.
Clarke stressed the importance of safeguarding future funding for the Wallabies and confirmed new coach Dave Rennie would not be required to take a 5 per cent pay cut required of other senior staff members.
He said Rennie was exempt from taking a pay cut as he had not yet started the role, while the RA high-performance program would be “protected” to enhance the flagship team.
“A key part of our financial underpinning is a successful Wallabies,” he said.
“It’s not everything, but it’s certainly key so we’ll be protecting that as much as possible.”
Clarke, who is also seeking to seal a new broadcasting deal for 2021 and beyond, said the domestic National Rugby Championship would not be played this year, given Australia’s Super Rugby competition and Test matches took precedence in a revised calendar.
“I felt that it was quite wrong and I went and gave evidence on Mike’s behalf and said no way should he be disqualified,” Sir Stirling, who won four races that year to Hawthorn’s one, told Reuters in an interview at his home in 2009.
“They obviously gave him his points back and that took the title from me.”
Sir Stirling never came as close again but had no regrets.
“I am in the exclusive position of people saying he should have won it and he never did,” he said at the time of his 80th birthday.
“The most important thing to me really is the respect of the other drivers.”
The Canberra Capitals have won their ninth Women’s National Basketball League championship after completing a stunning second-half comeback against the Southside Flyers.
The Canberra Capitals have beaten the Southside Flyers 71-68 to become back-to-back WNBL champions
The victory marks the Capitals’ ninth championship
The team’s French star, Olivia Epoupa, was named most valuable player of the finals
Canberra was down by 10 points at half-time, having earlier trailed by 16 points, but outscored the Flyers 21-9 in the third quarter before holding their nerve in a tight tussle down the stretch to become back-to-back champions.
The lead changed hands several times in the final quarter and it took a Kia Nurse three-pointer with 21 seconds left on the clock to put the Capitals back into the lead and set up the 71-68 win in front of a raucous home crowd of 4,481 at the AIS Arena.
The Capital’s French point guard Olivia Epoupa was tireless throughout the match, collecting 16 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds, and was awarded the Rachael Sporn Medal as the most valuable player of the finals.
Englishman Tyson Fury has handed Deontay Wilder the first loss of his professional career, claiming the WBC heavyweight title with a seventh-round technical knockout.
Fight referee Kenny Bayless was recognising a request from Wilder’s camp, who literally threw in the towel with their man pinned on the opposite corner and unable to defend himself against a combination from his English opponent.
Fury had sent Wilder to the canvas with a devastating shot in the third round, with the American wobbly on his feet once he did get back up after a six or seven count.
Wilder hit the mat again in the fourth, but he had merely slipped. That was not the case in the next round, when Fury landed a furious, left-handed head-body combination that sent Wilder down again.
Bayless took a point off Fury later in the round for an infraction, meaning it was likely a 9-8 win for the Mancunian, and Wilder returned to his corner with blood coming from his mouth and left ear.
The sixth round was less eventful, but no doubt won by Fury as he pinned the struggling American against the ropes for most of the three minutes.
Wilder, who entered the fight with 42 wins and a draw from 43 professional bouts, was barely defending himself in the seventh round when the towel was thrown into the ring.
The fairytale is over — Fallon Sherrock, the first woman to win a match at the PDC World Darts Championship, has bowed out in the third round with a 4-2 loss to fellow English player Chris Dobey.
Fallon Sherrock became a cult heroine at the PDC World Darts Championship with upset wins over Ted Evetts and Mensur Suljovic
Sherrock was one of two women to secure a place among the 96-person field at the Alexandra Palace
The 25-year-old, born in Milton Keynes in England, will receive 25,000 pounds sterling ($46,830) for reaching the third round
A big crowd at the Alexandra Palace was overwhelmingly on her side, wanting her run in the biggest tournament of the year to continue.
With a fair number of men in the crowd wearing blonde wigs and pink shirts to match their heroine, Sherrock — who has picked up the nickname “Queen of the Palace” over the past week — received a huge welcome as she made her way to the stage.
She went on to take the set to lead 2-1 in the first-to-four contest.
But just when the crowd sensed another upset in the offing, Dobey — who said after the match that he had been wearing earplugs to drown out the crowd noise — began to not only outscore Sherrock, but hit his doubles.
He levelled at 2-2 and then raced through the final two sets to end Sherrock’s tournament.
Dobey shook hands with Sherrock and kissed her cheek, then applauded her and turned to the crowd, gesturing for them to give the 25-year-old one more ovation — and the crowd obliged.
“I enjoyed myself so much, I didn’t think this was ever possible. This is amazing, this whole experience has been unbelievable,” she told Sky Sports in a post-match interview.
“I think more people who never watched darts before are now getting interested in it.”
Sherrock will take home 25,000 pounds ($46,830) for her work at the world titles.
She also received an invitation to play in next year’s US Darts Masters — part of the World Series of Darts — at Madison Square Garden in New York next June.