×

Notice

It's required that you accept cookies in order to login with your account

Jon Rahm says he is unsurprised by the amount of big-name golfers participating in the LIV Golf series given the financial rewards on offer, but sees more "meaning" in competing for historic prizes on the PGA Tour.

The Saudi-backed LIV Golf series, which held its first event in London last weekend with victor Charl Schwartzel pocketing $4.75million as the inaugural winner, has attracted several the game's biggest names by offering eye-watering prize sums.

The likes of Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia are among those to have signed up to the new circuit, with players participating in the first LIV event having been suspended by the PGA Tour last week.

Other stars, including Rory McIlroy, have made their opposition to the new tour clear, with the four-time major winner claiming on Tuesday it will "fracture" the sport.

And while world number two Rahm respects other players' decisions to feature in the breakaway competition, he simply does not see the appeal.

Speaking ahead of the U.S. Open, defending champion Rahm explained that he sees more "meaning" in competing with the world's best players in historic competitions on the PGA Tour.

"I mean, hundreds of millions of dollars are a pretty good damn reason for people to decide and go, and I see a lot of comments that's regarding it, but the high majority of the population, if they offered you 100 million or more for the next four years, a lot of people would go, right?" he said. 

"I'm not surprised at the number of players that went. I do see the appeal that other people see towards LIV Golf.

"[But] to be honest, part of the format is not really appealing to me. I want to play against the best in the world in a format that's been going on for hundreds of years. 

"There's meaning when you win the Memorial Championship. There's meaning when you win Arnold Palmer's event at Bay Hill. There's a meaning when you win, [at] LA, Torrey, some of the historic venues. That to me matters a lot.

"My heart is with the PGA Tour. That's all I can say. It's not my business or my character to judge anybody who thinks otherwise."

Rahm also added that the financial rewards on offer on the new tour – headed up by chief executive Greg Norman – would not change his mind.

"Truth be told, I could retire right now with what I've made and live a very happy life and not play golf again," the 27-year-old said. 

"I've never really played the game of golf for monetary reasons. I play for the love of the game, and I want to play against the best in the world. I've always been interested in history and legacy, and right now the PGA Tour has that."

Rahm's compatriot Garcia, meanwhile, joined Johnson in resigning his membership of the PGA Tour last month.

While Rahm says Garcia's decision is none of his concern, he hopes the split will not impact players' chances of competing at the Ryder Cup.

"[It's] not my business," he added. "He has given golf, [the] European Tour and the PGA Tour 20, 25 years of his life. It's his decision. It's not my job to judge. 

"That's all I can say. I don't know what's going to happen. I think the one thing that keeps coming to me out of all this and what can happen… I hope the Ryder Cup doesn't suffer.

"Are they going to be able to play Ryder Cup or not, the players that went? In my mind, Sergio, even if he is not breaking 90, he's a no-brainer pick, right? So what's going to happen? 

"You have quite a few young Americans. Bryson went, somebody that's probably going to be on the team in the future. 

"I think a week like that is a true essence of the game. That's where we all love to play."

Rory McIlroy says the ongoing LIV Golf series saga will serve to "fracture" the sport and the four-time major winner feels many PGA Tour players viewed those joining the Saudi-backed circuit as "selfish". 

The LIV Golf series - headed up by chief executive Greg Norman - has faced immense criticism since it launched, with opponents labelling the new tour as an exercise in "sportswashing". 

That has not stopped several of the game's biggest stars signing up, however, with Bryson DeChambeau calling his own choice to feature on the circuit a "business decision" after joining the likes of Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Lee Westwood in competing. 

The first LIV Golf event took place last weekend in London, with South Africa's Charl Schwartzel pocketing $4.75million as the inaugural winner.

McIlroy has been one of the most open critics of the new series, appearing to taunt Norman after surpassing his tally of 20 PGA Tour victories with his 21st triumph on Sunday, the successful defence of his Canadian Open title.

Before conducting a press conference ahead of the U.S. Open – which begins on Thursday – McIlroy insisted the new venture was only going to widen divides within the sport. 

"If it keeps going the way it's going, it's going to fracture the game – sorry, it's going to fracture the game more than it already is," he told Sky Sports.

"The professional world in golf has already been fractured, there's so many different tours, so many different things to follow.

"I've always been an advocate of trying to make it more cohesive and trying to get people to work together more. This is ripping that apart. 

"If people want to spend money in the game - and it's not regardless of where that money comes from - I think, if the Saudis are hell-bent on spending money in golf, let's get it spent in a way that benefits the wider ecosystem.

"That's where I would like to see it going, but whether that happens or not remains to be seen."

While McIlroy was reluctant to label any player's decision to feature on the new circuit as a "betrayal", he said many of his peers on the PGA Tour did not look upon such choices kindly.

"Betrayal's a very strong word," he said. "It's disappointing, I think the players that have decided to stay on the PGA Tour maybe feel slighted in some way, or feel those guys have been selfish, because it's for personal gain.

"I think in any industry or business, we have to lift each other up and try to make it as best we can for everyone. 

"I think if those guys [the LIV Golf players] thought outside of themselves, they'd see this wasn't best for everyone, that's my point of view on it.

"Everyone has their own goals and their own ambitions and thoughts, and they have to do what they feel is right for themselves."

Having reluctantly emerged as one of the most heralded opponents of the new circuit, McIlroy feels defending the PGA Tour is the right thing to do, considering his strong views.

"It's certainly a burden I don't need," he added. "But I have pretty strong views on the subject, and I don't think it would be right for me to have these strong opinions and not share them.

"I think I'm providing the commentary for a different thought process that is shared by a lot of people, that's the thing.

"I'm put in front of a camera more than most and everyone's here for me all the time about this subject."

A week after calling the United States Capitol insurrection a 'dust-up,' Washington Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio apologised to his team on Tuesday before they opened their three-day mandatory minicamp. 

Commanders coach Ron Rivera said the apology was "well-received" and Del Rio met individually with several players to further address his comments. 

"Jack spoke to the team this morning during the team meeting and was very open and contrite and apologised and was open to questions," Rivera said.

"He said, 'Guys, if you have any questions come see me and let's talk about that.' It was good. I'm about reconciliation." 

Del Rio created a stir last week when he compared on social media the protests following the police killing of George Floyd and the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. 

The 59-year-old Del Rio, who had regularly posted conservative opinions to his Twitter account, then defended his tweet when asked about it following an offseason practice. 

''People's livelihoods are being destroyed, businesses are being burned down, no problem,'' Del Rio said last Wednesday.

''And then we have a dust-up at the Capitol, nothing burned down, and we're going to make that a major deal. I just think it's kind of two standards.'' 

Rivera fined Del Rio $100,000 last week, and said Tuesday the fine was issued because the comments created a distraction for the team. 

"This is not about the fact he exercised his right to free speech," Rivera said. "This is about what impacted this football team. I believe in the First Amendment very strongly. 

"It's a very serious question and topic, but at the end of the day, it did impact us. That's why I did what I did." 

Del Rio also apologised in a written statement last week despite also saying he stood by what he said. 

Serena Williams has been handed a Wimbledon singles wild card after confirming her return from injury after a year out.

The 40-year-old has not played competitively since losing to Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the first round of last year's tournament at SW19 and is now ranked at 1,208 in the world.

Williams hinted at her imminent comeback in a social media post on Tuesday, however, and it has now been confirmed she will take part in the third grand slam of the year.

Twenty-three time major winner Williams will also compete in the upcoming grass-court event at Eastbourne after receiving a wild card in the doubles draw alongside Ons Jabeur.

That will act as preparation for Wimbledon, a competition she has won seven times, the most recent of those triumphs coming in 2016.

Williams is one major title shy of matching Margaret Court's long-standing record of 24, which has been the case since her most recent triumph at the 2017 Australian Open.

She missed last year's US Open on home soil, as well as this year's Australian Open and French Open.

In her earlier Instagram message, Williams posted an image of her trainers on grass and captioned it: "SW and SW19. It's a date. 2022, see you there."

American Williams joins 10 British players on the initial batch of wild cards for the Wimbledon singles, while three-time grand slam winner Stan Wawrinka will also take part.

Serena's sister Venus, a five-time singles winner at Wimbledon, was not named on the initial batch of wild cards but two spots remain up for grabs.

The tournament in London gets under way on June 27.

Serena Williams has appeared to confirm her intention to take part in this month's Wimbledon after a year out injured.

The 40-year-old has not played competitively since losing to Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the first round of last year's tournament at SW19 and is now ranked at 1,208 in the world.

Twenty-three time major winner Williams' future was called into question in April when long-time coach Patrick Mouratoglou announced he was working with Simona Halep.

However, she hinted around the same time that returning to action at Wimbledon was a possibility, and that news was all but confirmed on social media on Tuesday.

Williams posted an image of her trainers on grass and captioned it: "SW and SW19. It's a date. 2022, see you there."

She also tagged Eastbourne, where a WTA event takes place in the week before Wimbledon, which begins on June 27.

Williams has won seven Wimbledon titles, the most recent of those in 2016, having since lost in the 2018 and 2019 finals.

The American is one major title shy of matching Margaret Court's long-standing record of 24, which has been the case since her most recent triumph at the 2017 Australian Open.

She missed last year's US Open on home soil, as well as this year's Australian Open and French Open.

Phil Mickelson has expressed his "deepest of sympathy and empathy" for the families of the 9/11 victims amid continued criticism over his decision to join the LIV Golf Invitational Series.

The controversial eight-event Saudi-backed breakaway circuit, which got under way in London last week, has a prize fund of $250million that is bankrolled by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Mickelson and the other American players taking part in the series have been accused by a group representing victims' families and survivors of "sportswashing" – the practice of using sport to improve a tarnished reputation.

Terry Strada, the chair of the 9/11 Families United, said in a statement: "Whether it was the appeal of millions of dollars of hard cash, or just the opportunity to prosecute your professional grievances with the PGA, you have sold us out.

"This is a betrayal not only of us, but of all your countrymen."

Strada cited Saudi Arabia's prominent role in the terror attack 21 years ago, with Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 hijackers being Saudi nationals.

In another uncomfortable news conference on Monday ahead of this week's U.S. Open in Massachusetts, Mickelson was asked directly about Strada's comments.

"I would say to the Strada family, I would say to everyone that has lost loved ones, lost friends on 9/11 that I have deep, deep empathy for them. I can't emphasise that enough," he said.

"I have the deepest of sympathy and empathy for them."

Asked if he intended to respond privately to the letter, Mickelson repeated his earlier answer.

Mickelson and the others to have joined up for the series have also faced criticism from their colleagues, with Rory McIlroy – the winner of last week's Canadian Open – among the more vocal of those to speak out against the LIV Series.

"I certainly respect Rory," Mickelson said. "I thought what a great finish on Sunday and a great accomplishment. What a career he has had. I certainly respect him. I respect his ideas. I respect all the players that choose to stay on the PGA Tour.

"I certainly think extremely highly of many of the players on the PGA Tour and their right to their own decisions.

"I gave as much back to the PGA Tour and the game of golf that I could throughout my 30 years here, and through my accomplishments on the course I've earned a lifetime membership. I intend to keep that and then choose going forward which events to play and not."

Stephen Curry has vowed to "keep shooting" in Game 6 after his all-time streak of 233 successive games with a 3-pointer came to an end against the Boston Celtics.

The Golden State Warriors beat the Celtics 104-94 at Chase Center on Monday to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven NBA Finals series.

Curry has played a huge part in the Warriors' drive for a seventh championship, but the 34-year-old endured an off day in Game 5 as he went 0-for-9 from three-point range.

He had 16 points overall and laid on eight assists in what was a below-par showing, with Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson stepping up to help secure the pivotal victory.

Historically, when a seven-game series is tied at 2-2, the winner of Game 5 has gone on to win the series over 82 per cent of the time.

Curry, who scored 43 points in the Game 4 triumph in Boston, is confident he will respond in the best way possible in Thursday's Game 6.

"I'll keep on shooting. It's very simple," he said. "I'm not afraid to go 0-for-whatever because I'm going to keep shooting and taking shots that you normally feel like you can make. 

"And I've responded well when I've had games like that from the three-point line. But I don't think I've ever been happier after a 0-for-whatever type of night.

"Knowing the context of the game, the other ways you tried to impact the game and the fact that you had four guys step up in meaningful ways to help us win offensively.

"So all that stuff matters. Yeah, there's a fire burning and I want to make shots, but the rest of it is about how we win the game, and we did that."

 

Curry has made 285 three-pointers this season, 23 more than next best Buddy Hield, with an average of 25.5 per game through his 64 appearances in 2021-22.

And after digging deep as a team to pick up the win, Draymond Green believes team-mate Curry's off-day could work in the Warriors' favour when the teams reconvene.

"Whether Steph gets 43, 10, four, or whether he finishes with 16-for-22 shooting, a win is a win," Green said.

"Obviously, we have spoken about helping him, and I don't think he's been out there helpless, like that's the narrative.

"But everybody's doing their part, and tonight, a night that he didn't have it going, we found offense elsewhere, and that's kind of what it's been.

"On the same token, if he's got it going, we're going to be heavy Steph Curry. That's just what it is. 

"The whole notion of this guy doesn't have help, well, you've got 43, he's going to keep shooting, and we're going to do all that we can to get him shooting it.

"It was huge. Now, that's good for us. He was 0-for-9 from three. He's going to be livid going into Game 6, and that's exactly what we need."

Jayson Tatum has admitted that the Boston Celtics need to 'focus' on their game and avoid refereeing distractions following defeat to Golden State Warriors in Game 5 of the NBA finals. 

Andrew Wiggins starred in the victory that put the Warriors 3-2 up in the best-of-seven series, but Tatum outscored him in the game, putting up 27 as the Celtics went down 104-94. 

The Celtics' slow start proved to be costly, with the third quarter their best display, with decisions from the referees clearly irritating the team.

Tatum insisted those distractions must be ignored heading into Thursday's win or go home Game 6, though. 

"I mean, you saw it. I wasn't in all of those conversations. I didn't hear everything that was talked about," Tatum said.

"But in those situations, especially on the road, regardless if we feel like calls are going our way or not, just in those moments we just got to be better not letting distractions, things like that, distract us.  

"Down one going into the fourth quarter, just got to focus on what's important at the time. That's on all of us. We'll regroup and bounce back. I'm sure of it."

Despite the odds being against them, Tatum remains confident the Celtics can salvage the series with two games to play.

"You know, I've said it before: You better be confident, right? We ain't got to win two in one day. We just got to win one game on Thursday," he added.

"We've been in this situation before. So it's not over. Got to win on Thursday. That's all we got to worry about right now."

Draymond Green described Andrew Wiggins as a player you want in the big occasions after his star turn in Game 5 of the NBA Finals put the Golden State Warriors on the cusp of championship glory.

Wiggins contributed 26 points and 13 rebounds, while Klay Thompson had 21 points as the Warriors scored a 104-94 win against the Boston Celtics on home court to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

It was a particularly valuable contribution from Wiggins in the context of an off night for superstar Stephen Curry, who had scored 43 points in the Game 4 triumph in Boston.

Curry had 16 points and laid on eight assists but surprisingly went 0-for-9 from three-point range, ending his record run of at least one three in a postseason game at 132, and ending his streak of regular and post-season combined at 233.

Green concedes Wiggins has had to grow in stature with the Warriors but says he is now the kind of player to excel on the big occasions.

"I think he started to feel it out, but coming into this year, he was an All-Star starter for a reason," Green said.

"He defended very well. He scored the ball very well and really just plugged right in. Like it wasn't like 'oh, you need to call a set for him every time'. He's kind of been getting it. He's continued to do that.

"I think the bigger the challenge has been that we've thrown in front of him, the bigger he's responded. You want a guy like that, when the stage gets big, they respond and play their best basketball, and that's what he's been doing."

Wiggins was able to reflect on a special moment, and said the celebrations from the likes of Klay Thompson at his performance were a sign of the "love" among the roster.

"It's something I dreamt about for sure, being in the league, and this is the ultimate stage. It doesn't get bigger than this. I was out there being aggressive. It was a good game," Wiggins said.

"That's [the celebrations] love. That's what makes it all work. We all support each other, and we want to see each other do good and succeed. That's why we're here."

Asked how he earned the respect of his team, Wiggins added: "Before I even got here, they have been great.

"You know, things that worked for them. And I feel like I'm pretty easy going, so I just came in here and hoop. I'm playing basketball, and I'm playing hard, and I feel like people respect that. And I'm just trying to win. 

"At the end of the day, no matter what it takes or whatever they need from me, I'm here to help them win."

It was a dominant display from the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday as their stars shone brightly, defeating the Baltimore Orioles 11-1 in front of their home fans.

Blue Jays ace pitcher Alek Manoah never gave the Orioles a chance, allowing just one hit and one walk as he held the Orioles scoreless through six innings, striking out seven.

With the bat, Alejandro Kirk gave Toronto a lead in the first inning with an RBI single, before MVP candidate Vladimir Guerrero Jr. left his mark.

Guerrero made it 2-0 in the third inning when he drove in a run with a single, and he repeated his efforts in the fifth inning, driving home another run with an infield single to make it 3-0.

With some breathing room, the Blue Jays blew things out in the fifth frame, with Teoscar Hernandez's RBI double, followed by two-run base hits to both Santiago Espinal and Raimel Tapia, capped off by an RBI triple to Cavan Biggio.

Ultimately the Blue Jays scored seven runs from seven hits and a walk in the inning.

Guerrero put the finishing touches on in the eighth, crushing a 432-foot home run for his team-high 15th for the season, while Bo Bichette and George Springer both finished with a pair of hits.

Harper keeps hitting while Phillies keep winning

Reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper's quest to go back-to-back received another boost in the Philadelphia Phillies' 3-2 win against the Miami Marlins.

Harper was walked in the first inning, and then took advantage during his second at-bat, opening the scoring with an RBI double in the third frame.

He was walked again in the eighth inning, putting Rhys Hoskins into scoring position and setting up the tying run, and Hoskins then delivered again in the ninth, sending the Phillies fans home happy with a walk-off RBI double.

It is the 10th Phillies win from their past 11 games, bringing their rapidly improving record to 31-30.

Braves win 12th straight 

The hottest team in baseball kept their streak alive as the Atlanta Braves won their 12th consecutive game, beating the Washington Nationals 9-5.

Dansby Swanson was the star for the Braves, with a two-run RBI base hit in the second inning, before a 423-foot, two-run homer in the sixth inning.

He was one of five Braves players to go deep, as Travis d'Arnaud (373 feet), Marcell Ozuna (410 feet), Adam Duvall (397 feet) and Michael Harris II (388 feet) all hit home runs.

The Golden State Warriors showed their championship pedigree in Monday's 104-94 home win against the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

With the win, the Warriors have taken a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven. Historically, when a seven-game series is tied at 2-2, the winner of Game 5 has gone on to win the series over 82 per cent of the time.

While it has been all Stephen Curry for the Warriors up this point, Game 5 was a true team performance as Curry struggled.

It started on the defensive end for the Warriors, holding the Celtics to just eight points in the first nine minutes of action on the way to a 27-16 opening frame.

Andrew Wiggins had seven points in the first quarter, and backed it up with another nine in the second, clearly the Warriors' best player in the first half as they won the second frame 24-23 to head into half-time leading 51-39.

A classic Warriors third quarter would have put the game to bed, but it was the Celtics' turn to flip the game on its head, starting the second half on a 10-0 run.

The road team would hit six-of-eight three-pointers in the period to pull ahead 74-72 in the closing stages, before a running heave from Jordan Poole banked in off the backboard to beat the buzzer. Replays showed the ball left Poole's fingertips with 0.1 seconds remaining on the clock, giving the Warriors a one-point lead.

Poole's launch ignited the crowd, and they carried that momentum in the opening stages of the fourth, starting the quarter on a 10-0 run of their own to take a stranglehold on the contest.

In the biggest moments, Wiggins did not cede the floor to Curry, scoring 10 points in the last quarter, capped off with an emphatic slam dunk.

Wiggins finished with a team-high 26 points on 12-of-23 shooting, backing up his career-high 16 rebounds in Game 4 with another 13 rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot.

Averaging 34.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists in the first four games, Curry went ice cold from long range as the series returned to Golden State, going seven-of-22 from the field and a shocking zero-of-nine from deep for his 16 points and eight assists.

It was the first of Curry's 133 career playoff games that he has not made a three-pointer, and breaks a streak of 233 consecutive total games without hitting one, and a streak of 38 straight playoff games with multiple makes.

Incredibly, Curry and Wiggins combined to shoot zero-of-15 from long range, but they received some crucial shooting performances from Klay Thompson (five-of-11 from three, 21 points) and Jordan Poole (three-of-six from deep, 14 points in 14 minutes).

Gary Payton II also played a big part in the win, coming off the bench to score 15 points on six-of-eight shooting, ripping away three steals and providing a game-changing presence on the defensive end of the floor.

Ultimately, the Warriors played playoff-proven, winning basketball. They finished with six combined turnovers as a team, with just four coming from the starters, and hit 86 per cent of their free throws (13-of-15).

For the Celtics, their big three of Jayson Tatum (four turnovers), Jaylen Brown (five) and Marcus Smart (four) combined for 13 of their side's 18 total turnovers, while they shot 67 per cent from the free throw line (21-of-31).

Tatum was the visiting side's top performer, finishing with 27 points on 10-of-20 shooting, going five-of-nine from long range, adding 10 rebounds and four assists, although he did miss four of his six free throws.

The Warriors now have a chance to close out the series – and secure their fourth championship in eight seasons – when they head to Boston for Game 6. If the Celtics are able to win Game 6, Game 7 will head back to Golden State.

Justin Thomas called it "sad" that LIV Golf continues to dominate the headlines in the lead-up to the U.S. Open.

LIV Golf's first event took place this past weekend, with South Africa's Charl Schwartzel pocketing $4.75million as the inaugural winner.

Made possible through Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, the upstart tour has thrown exorbitant sums of money at PGA Tour players to poach them away, including Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson.

Speaking to the media after opting to not play in Monday's U.S. Open practice round, Thomas said the ubiquitous LIV Golf discussion during one of the great weeks on the golfing calendar was "sad".

"I grew up my entire life wanting to play the PGA Tour," he said. "Wanting to break records, make history, play Presidents Cups, play Ryder Cups.

"The fact that things like that could potentially get hurt because of some of the people that are leaving, and if more go, it's just sad. 

"It's really no other way to say it. It just makes me sad, because like I said, I've grown up my entire life wanting to do that, and I don't want to do anything else.

"The people that have gone, like I said, they have the decision that they're entitled to make. Not necessarily that I agree with it one way or the other, but everything has got a price, I guess."

He later added: "You can't go anywhere without somebody bringing it up.

"It's sad. This is the U.S. Open, and this is an unbelievable venue, a place with so much history, an unbelievable field, so many storylines, and yet that seems to be what all the questions are about.

"That's unfortunate. That's not right to the USGA. That's not right for the U.S. Open. That's not right for us players. But that's, unfortunately, where we're at right now."

Thomas was not done there, going on to discuss why he does not think the money is worth it, but also why it is not fair to make character assessments on the players who decided to make the move.

"There's no amount of money that you could get that [can make you happy doing something] you don't love or enjoy," he said. 

"You're still going to be miserable. You're still not going to enjoy it. Although you might be miserable in a bigger house or a nicer car, that doesn't necessarily mean that your life is going to be any better.

He added: "I'm the first to admit that there's times where people do something, and I bash them – obviously not externally – maybe internally with friends or whatever it is. It's not necessary.

"You can disagree with the decision. You can maybe wish that they did something differently… being in the media as a writer, you have to write about it. I understand that. 

"But for people at home to necessarily say that Dustin Johnson is now a bad person, that's not fair. That's just not right.

"Now, again, I said it last week, I'll say it again, do I wish he wouldn't have done it, and am I a little sad about it? Yeah – but it is what it is."

Bryson DeChambeau called his decision to join the LIV Golf series "very difficult", but the promise of a massive payday made the difference in the end.  

The first LIV Golf event took place this past weekend in London, with South Africa's Charl Schwartzel pocketing $4.75million as the inaugural winner.

Criticism has followed the Saudi-backed tour every step of the way, with its motivations being questioned due to the fact that it appears unlikely to turn a profit.

Speaking to the media for the first time since making the jump away from the PGA Tour, DeChambeau admitted his priorities were financial.

"It was a business decision, first and foremost," he said. "That’s all there was to it.

"It’s given me a lot more opportunities outside of the game of golf and given me more time with my family and my future family. So for me, that was the decision."

The 2020 U.S. Open champion said less than two weeks ago that joining LIV Golf would be a "risk" for him, but DeChambeau was reportedly offered a total of $100 million to participate in the series’ seven remaining events.  

"There was a lot of financials to it, and a lot of time," he said. "I get to have a life outside of the game of golf as well." 

While some players – notably Dustin Johnson and Kevin Na – have resigned entirely from the PGA Tour, DeChambeau has not surrendered his tour card. The PGA suspended 17 players for participating in the rival circuit, which resumes on June 30 at Pumpkin Ridge in Portland, Oregon.  

PGA commissioner Jay Monahan said any future LIV players will receive the same punishment. 

DeChambeau largely avoided addressing the controversial nature of LIV Golf, which is funded through Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, but he did make his first comments about concerns many fans have about the series’ connection to the Saudi government’s human rights violations.  

"What’s gone on has not been great," he said, “But they’re moving in the right decision from what I can see and what we’ve had conversations about." 

DeChambeau told the Golf Channel that he wants to play some PGA Tour events in the future.  

"I want to play where people can see great entertainment. I want to deliver that anywhere I'm at." 

Fresh off one of the best seasons in franchise history, the Memphis Grizzlies and head coach Taylor Jenkins have agreed to a multi-year contract extension, the team announced Monday.  

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.  

In his third season as a head coach, Jenkins led the 2021-22 Grizzlies to a 56-26 record, including a franchise-record 26 road wins, leading to the Western Conference’s two-seed seed, and a playoff series win against the Minnesota Timberwolves. He finished second in Coach of the Year voting.  

Memphis finished their season with a second-round playoff loss to the eventual West champions, the Golden State Warriors.  

The Grizzlies' head of basketball operations, Zach Kleiman, called the extension well-deserved in a statement.  

"The year-over-year progress under Taylor speaks for itself, but his growth-oriented, selfless and competitive approach has been a driving force in the establishment of a sustainable culture," Kleiman said.  

"We have full confidence that Taylor will steer us to Memphis’ first championship." 

Jenkins, 37, is 128-99 in three seasons coaching the Grizzlies and led Memphis to playoff appearances in each of the past two seasons.  

Simona Halep won her first match on grass since 2019 as she cruised past Lesia Tsurenko to reach the second round of the Birmingham Classic on Monday.

Halep's last grass-court match was the impressive 6-2 6-2 defeat of Serena Williams in the 2019 Wimbledon final.

While Monday's triumph may not have been of comparable importance, the 6-1 6-4 win was a positive step in Halep's preparation for a return to SW19 later this month.

After saving three break points in the very first game, the former world number one rarely looked in trouble against her Ukrainian opponent, breaking Tsurenko's serve at the first opportunity.

She repeated the feat to go 5-1 up before serving to love to close out the set, though Tsurenko showed a bit more fight at the start of the second – only one of the first five service games was a hold.

Halep ultimately weathered the storm, however, taking her chance to go 5-4 up and once again served to love to wrap up the match.

Seeded second, Halep was the only seed in action on Monday and will meet home favourite Harriet Dart next, with the Brit impressively seeing off Camila Osorio – ranked 45 places better off – 6-2 6-0.

In Berlin, fourth and sixth seeds Karolina Pliskova and Daria Kasatkina secured their passage to the last 16.

Pliskova struggled initially against Kaia Kanepi but went on to produce two near-flawless sets to progress 6-7 (6-8) 6-0 6-0 – Kasatkina also came from behind, with an ankle injury to Anhelina Kalinina potentially aiding her 5-7 6-3 6-1 victory.

Bianca Andreescu was also among the winners in Berlin, with the Canadian beating Katerina Siniakova to claim only her second career success on grass.

With the NBA draft just 10 days away, teams have begun the process of reshaping their rosters for the 2022-23 season.

The Denver Nuggets have agreed to trade forward JaMychal Green to the Oklahoma City Thunder for the 30th overall pick in this year's draft, according to multiple reports.

The Nuggets also sent a protected 2027 first-round pick and will receive the Thunder's second-round picks in 2023 and 2024.

Denver now owns the number 21 and number 30 overall selections for the draft on June 23, while a rebuilding Oklahoma City owns numbers two, 12 and 34, along with a deep collection of future picks available as trade fodder.

Green is likely to pick up the $8.2million option on his contract for next season, and his departure allows some flexibility for Denver to build around two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic.

The move is the Nuggets' first with Calvin Booth pulling the strings after Tim Connelly departed to head basketball operations with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Green shot 39.9 per cent from three-point range in 2020-21, his first season with Denver, but that mark fell to 26.6 per cent last season.

Andrey Rublev was a surprise first-round loser at the Halle Open, while numerous seeds fell on the first day of the Queen's Club Championships.

Rublev came unstuck against Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili, succumbing to a 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 loss as the world number eight crashed out in Germany.

Laslo Djere progressed after Henri Squire retired when 4-3 down, while sixth seed Pablo Carreno Busta secured a 6-3 7-6 (7-5) over French Open quarter-finalist Holger Rune.

Ugo Humber got the better of a topsy-turvy affair against qualifier Radu Albot, eventually triumphing 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 and Mackenzie McDonald defeated Marc-Andrea Huesler in straight sets.

Fourth favourite Taylor Fritz went down 6-3 6-3 against British wildcard Jack Draper, his first career win against a top-20 ranked player.

Reilly Opelka, the eighth seed, crashed out in the first round to New Zealand's Alex de Minaur, who claimed a straightforward 6-4 6-4 win.

Grigor Dimitrov, who won the event in 2014, battled past third seed Cameron Norrie 6-7 (2-7) 6-1 6-4, while Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina eased past compatriot Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-5 6-4.

Alexander Bublik was 6-3 up before Italian Lorenzo Musetti retired, while seventh seed Marin Cilic capped the day's play in London by beating home hope Liam Broady 6-1 4-6 7-5.

Andy Murray has withdrawn from the Queen's Club Championships due to an abdominal injury, leaving his Wimbledon participation in doubt.

The former world number one made a great start to the grass-court season, reaching the Stuttgart Open final before falling to Matteo Berrettini.

Murray experienced discomfort during that showpiece in Germany, twice requiring medical timeouts as he battled the pain against the Italian.

The three-time grand slam winner Murray is a five-time Queen's champion but has had to pull out of the tournament, just two weeks before Wimbledon starts.

"After having a scan this afternoon, an abdominal injury means I won't be fit to compete at Queen's this year," Murray said in a statement.

"The tournament means a lot to me, and it's disappointing not to compete, especially after playing some good matches on the grass already."

The Scot was scheduled to play Italy's Lorenzo Sonego in the first round, but has been replaced by lucky loser Denis Kudla.

James Wiseman's long road to recovery appears to be nearing an end, as the Golden State Warriors centre could return to play in the NBA's Summer League in July.

Wiseman, who has not played in an NBA game since April 10, 2021, is reportedly sprinting pain-free and is nearing clearance for full-contact workouts, according to the Athletic.

The second overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft, Wiseman has been recovering from a meniscus tear in his right knee, for which he underwent surgery last April.

The Warriors were hoping he would be able to return at some point during the 2021-22 season, but he encountered multiple setbacks and the team made the decision to shut him down with nine games to go.

Then in April, he reportedly received a plasma-rich injection in his arm to help promote healing throughout his body.

Though the 21-year-old has appeared in just 39 games in his two seasons with Golden State – averaging 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds – he remains part of the team's long-term plans and is expected to have his fourth-year option picked up.

Wiseman has been on the bench during the Warriors' playoff run, and was on the court putting up shots during shootaround prior to Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

The Finals between the Warriors and Boston Celtics are tied 2-2 heading into Game 5 on Monday in San Francisco.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.