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U.S. Open has golf buzzing heading into final round....Dan Snyder asked to reconsider not testifying at Capitol Hill hearing....ESPN seeks to dismiss Sage Steele lawsuit

U.S. Open has golf buzzing heading into final round

For fans whose "passion is for great golf and superb sports entertainment, tip your cap to the show that is in progress" at The Country Club for the 122nd U.S. Open. The final round has the makings of a "scintillating competition upon one of the world’s greatest golf stages." It will feature a "mixture of firepower, star power, and colorful story lines," and it is owed to a "philosophy that the USGA employs beautifully" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/19).

There is a "quickly shifting and crowded leaderboard," and it features "many of the game’s youngest emerging superstars" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/19). The sport of golf "needed this week." After a "fortnight dominated by fractures, conjecture and speculation," fans are being "treated to a gripping golf tournament." At least "thus far." This U.S. Open is "overflowing with intrigue." If the USGA and NBC asked for this pre-tournament, people would have "called them greedy" (GOLFDIGEST.com, 6/18).

The temperature during yesterday's third round "dipped into the low 60s; and winds were steady at 15 mph, gusts at 20 mph," and there were "occasional blasts exceeding 30 mph." The final round is "going to be wicked cold" (GOLFWEEK.com, 6/18).

With a total purse of $17.5M, the winner of the U.S. Open will bring home $3.15M, while the runner up gets $1.89M (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/19).

LIV Golf members come up short at U.S. Open

Only two golfers in the U.S. Open field who played in last week’s inaugural LIV Golf event made the cut to qualify for this weekend’s final two rounds -- Dustin Johnson and Richard Bland. The other 11 LIV series golfers who went home after the opening two rounds were a combined 83-over par, the "futility highlighted" by Phil Mickelson’s 11-over-par finish, although Louis Oosthuizen’s six-over par was "unsightly as well" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/18). Two other golfers who did not play in the inaugural LIV event but are officially confirmed to play in future LIV events -- Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed -- also made the cut (SBJ).

Mickelson on Friday left The Country Club looking like a "haunted, washed-up mess" after missing the cut. In what was a "golden opportunity," the LIV players sent it "whistling out of bounds." More than anything, upstart leagues "crave head-to-head competition with the establishment to prove they belong." A LIV golfer winning this tournament would have "been a significant game-changer in more ways than one." Instead the "biggest LIV names have done the PGA Tour a favor by coming up small" at The Country Club. They have "lost a meaningful battle in the fight over the sport’s soul" (N.Y. POST, 6/19). They "came, they saw, but most of the headliners" from LIV Golf "didn’t exactly conquer" The Country Club (BOSTON HERALD, 6/18).

Snyder asked to reconsider not testifying

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), the chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, on Friday wrote that she "found no 'valid reason'" for Commanders Owner Dan Snyder’s "refusal to testify at next week’s Capitol Hill hearing on the team’s workplace issues and urged him to reconsider his decision.'” Maloney in a six-page letter to Snyder's attorney Karen Patton Seymour offered some "'additional accommodations' to convince Snyder to agree to testify but characterized other requests for special treatment as 'highly unusual and inappropriate.'" She gave Snyder "until Monday morning to reply." The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is "expected to testify remotely." Snyder declined the committee’s initial invitation to appear at the hearing, with Seymour citing issues of “fundamental fairness and due process” (WASHINGTON POST, 6/18). Seymour said that Snyder "could testify virtually at the June 22 hearing" (ESPN.com, 6/17).

ESPN seeks to dismiss Sage Steele lawsuit

ESPN on Thursday filed a motion to "dismiss the lawsuit" of the net's Sage Steele, who is accusing the net of "violating her free speech rights." Steele in a lawsuit filed in April alleged that her "right to free speech was violated after she was removed from assignments over comments she made on a podcast last year about former president Barack Obama’s racial identity and ESPN’s vaccine mandate, which she called 'sick' and 'scary.'" ESPN’s filing asked the Connecticut Superior Court to "dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that Steele cannot demonstrate she was punished because her pay was never docked.” ESPN also argued that it is "not legally responsible for how co-workers and others responded to Steele’s comments and that the company has its own right to expression that includes who it puts on the air” (WASHINGTON POST, 6/18).

Dodgers unveil new Sandy Koufax statue

The Dodgers on Saturday morning unveiled a new statue of Baseball HOFer Sandy Koufax in the center-field plaza of Dodger Stadium, as Koufax, who "hasn’t publicly spoken that much in 50 years," delivered a 10-minute speech "stunningly." Koufax thanked 46 people during the span of 10 minutes, which is "surely a record for inclusion and gratitude." He spent the "entire speech talking about others," which "said everything about him." This was the Koufax "few have ever seen." The speech, which occurred in front of a "small group of family and friends" before Koufax was later honored during the Dodgers game against the Guardians, also marked the "happy ending of a roller-coaster relationship between Koufax and the Dodgers since he built their connection with the city during their early days" in L.A. (L.A. TIMES, 6/19).

Nationals retire Ryan Zimmerman's No. 11

Former Nationals 1B Ryan Zimmerman on Saturday afternoon at Nationals Park had his No. 11 jersey retired, and he "thanked all the people who helped him play 16 seasons in the big leagues," from the moment the Nationals made him their first-ever draft choice in the summer of '05 to the final day of the '21 season. Former teammates "flocked to Washington," and the only sellout crowd of the season came to watch as Zimmerman provided Washington "yet another baseball milestone: It is now a baseball town that has watched the full career cycle of a hero, from draft day to enshrinement." Nationals Owner Mark Lerner said, "He’s meant everything to the franchise." Zimmerman on Saturday also "received a new official title" -- Special Adviser for Baseball and Business Operations (WASHINGTON POST, 6/19). A "capacity crowd" of 42,730 at Nationals Park "took in the perfect afternoon" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/19).

Vince McMahon appears on WWE's SmackDown

Vince McMahon made a brief appearance on WWE Friday Night SmackDown after the company announced earlier in the day that he would "be stepping back from his roles" as CEO and Chair amid "misconduct allegations against him." McMahon said, "It is a privilege as always to stand before you here tonight, the WWE universe. I’m here simply to remind you of the four words we just saw in what we call our WWE signature. Those four words are: then, now, forever -- and the most important word is together. Welcome to SmackDown!" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 6/17). It was announced on Friday that Stephanie McMahon will assume the role of interim CEO and interim Chair of the company in his absence (SBJ).

3ICE makes debut in Las Vegas

Professional 3-on-3 hockey league 3ICE made its debut last night in Las Vegas at Orleans Arena. 3ICE founder E.J. Johnston said, “We love what Vegas is and what it’s becoming.” 3ICE will "visit eight cities over the next two months," with stops in Pittsburgh, Nashville and Denver, before returning to Las Vegas for the playoffs and league championship. The games consist of "two eight-minute halves, with no hitting or fighting allowed." 3ICE Commissioner Craig Patrick said, “I believe people are going to be thrilled with the entertainment, both on TV and in the arena" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 6/18). Team Mullen, coached by Hockey HOFer Joe Mullen, won the Week 1 tournament (TWITTER.com, 6/18). 

3ICE will feature a series of "nine one-day tournaments, televised by CBS Sports Network," with weekly results "counting toward an overall champion." Players can "earn up to $160,000 in prize money out of a $2.2 million prize pool" (Toledo BLADE, 6/19). 3ICE's opening weekend comes with "some unfortunate timing when it comes to gaining traction," as it dropped the puck at 6:00pm ET yesterday, while the second game of the Avalanche-Lightning Stanley Cup Final started at 8:00 last night (THEATHLETIC.com, 6/18).

A's continue progress on potential Vegas ballpark

A’s President Dave Kaval on Friday said that he has been "making weekly trips to Las Vegas" as the club "works to choose between two sites" for a potential $1B ballpark. Kaval said, “There’s been excellent progress being made on that every week; we’ve been in and out of Vegas every week for the last couple of weeks. The momentum is building.” Kaval “didn’t have a timeline” on when the potential Las Vegas ballpark site could be announced. Kaval: “The end of this year is really where we’re all looking at to make some definitive decisions” (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 6/18).

Ross suggests recession will end work-from-home

Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross on Friday suggested that a “looming US economic recession could be an end to the work-from-home craze,” as the “possibility of layoffs could lead employees to drop their resistance.” Ross said, “Employers have been somewhat hesitant because they didn’t want to lose their employees, but I think as you go into a recession and people fear that they might not have a job, that will bring people back to the office.” However, the labor market is "expected to cool in the months ahead.” Ross: “The employees will recognize as we go into a recession, or as things get a little tighter, that you have to do what it takes to keep your job and to earn a living. ... Every executive recognizes that people need to work together, you have to train your workforce and educate them and you work as a team. You don’t work as individuals” (N.Y. POST, 6/18).

Speed Reads....

Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson in a "stunning move" has decided "not to take the Hornets’ head coaching job." Sources said that Atkinson "backed out for family reasons." Although Atkinson "hadn’t officially signed his contract yet," sources said that the expectation was for him to "do so within days leading up to him arriving in town next week." The decision "caught the Hornets off guard" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 6/19).

In celebration of Juneteenth, a new edition of MLB Network’s “MLB Tonight: A Conversation” will debut tonight at 8:00pm ET focusing on the experiences and future of African-Americans in baseball media. Hosted by Harold Reynolds, the program features conversations with MLB Network’s A.J. AndrewsFran CharlesCliff FloydCameron Maybin and Xavier Scruggs, plus Dave Sims, the only African-American TV play-by-play announcer in MLB (MLB Network).

The Red Sox recognized Cardinals 1B Albert Pujols with a "special pregame ceremony prior to Saturday night’s game at Fenway Park" (BOSTON HERALD, 6/19).

The second annual Seattle Pride Classic hockey tournament is taking place this weekend at the Kraken Community Iceplex. The two-day event, presented by Kraken founding partner Symetra and "free for spectators," features "10 teams and more than 140 players -- about two-thirds of them identifying as LGBTQ+" (SEATTLE TIMES, 6/18).

The National Lacrosse League Colorado Mammoth yesterday claimed the NLL Cup with a 10-8 Game 3 victory over the Buffalo Bandits in front of a sellout crowd of 19,070 at KeyBank Arena. The overall attendance for the '22 NLL Finals totaled a cumulative record of 42,246. The three game finals average of 14,475 is second only to 16,393 for the '19 NLL Finals (NLL).

Quick Hits....

"It’s a league-wide thing. These baseballs are slick. They did get someone hurt. So that’s on Major League Baseball for sure. I don’t know what’s going on" -- Angels P Michael Lorenzen, on changes MLB has made to the balls used in games (SEATTLE TIMES, 6/19).

“The game is at an inflection point where we’re trying to balance entertainment with analytics. Moneyball feels like a relic now. From an entertainment standpoint, I would say it’s not good for the game" -- A's 2B Jed Lowrie, on how baseball has changed since he made his MLB debut in '08 (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/19).

"I don't know. That's something I'll have to address with him directly" -- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, on if he would be open to reinstating Joel Quenneville, who resigned as Panthers coach amid the Blackhawks sexual abuse scandal (ESPN.com, 6/17).

"I don’t think that this is going to have any impact on the play on the field or the team that you see" -- Orioles GM Mike Elias, on how the Angelos family lawsuit affects the team's on-field plans (BALTIMORE SUN, 6/19).

Weekend Hot Reads:

The L.A. TIMES goes with, "Even after tragedy, Ebersol family a powerful example of how father-son bond never fades." Dick Ebersol eighteen years ago lost his youngest child in a "devastating 2004 plane crash." He explores "at length that unspeakable sadness" in his upcoming memoir, “From Saturday Night to Sunday Night,” to be released in September.

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Today's Back Pages....

The Weekend Rap offers today's back page sports covers from some of North America's major metropolitan tabloids:

N.Y. Post  N.Y. Daily News Newsday Boston Herald Chicago Sun-Times Philadelphia Daily News
 
 
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