Bill Belichick is keeping everyone in the dark about who will start under center for the New England Patriots this season – including the quarterbacks themselves.

Cam Newton revealed on Monday he does not know whether he will be preferred to Mac Jones for the Week 1 game against the Miami Dolphins on September 12.

"No, [Belichick] hasn't said that," he said on Monday. "It is what it is.

"Every single day, I'm coming out here with the anticipation to just get better, and that's the only thing that I can do, so I can control that."

Newton is returning in 2021 after a difficult first year with the Patriots following Tom Brady's departure for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The former Carolina Panthers QB, who was the MVP in 2015, threw for 2,657 yards and eight touchdowns – his lowest career marks across a full season – as well as 10 interceptions.

Starting 15 games after seeing his final campaign in Carolina disrupted by injury, Newton's arm appeared to be impacted as he threw for just 7.07 air yards on average.

His 103 carries excluding scrambles led the NFL at his position, but his 4.06 yards per carry were comfortably below average.

Newton now has competition from Jones, who was selected with the 15th overall pick after leading Alabama to the College Football Playoff National Championship title.

Jones put up 4,500 yards, 41 TDs and only four picks, ranking first among Power 5 QBs in completion percentage (79.1) and third in well-thrown percentage (83.2).

The 22-year-old was also below par in air yards (8.52) and yards per carry (2.09), however.

Newton is widely expected to start ahead of Jones for now, but the three-time Pro Bowler understands the reasons for such questions.

"I don't take it personal," Newton said. "I just want you guys to understand everything you know I know. There's no hidden motives or things like that.

"I do know those things like that I can't worry about, because each and every day I don't necessarily care about who's starting.

"I mostly care about making sure I put the best product out there for me. I know Mac is feeling the same, and I know Brian [Hoyer] is feeling the same way, and everyone else, going down each and every position.

"As far as Week 1, we have so much to worry about prior to Week 1; that's where my focus is right now."

Sean Morris and Dr Mark Newnham will defend Francis & Steele Perkins Trophy in Florida in October following their comprehensive victory in the Jamaica Golf Association's (JGA) Four-Ball Trials at Caymanas Golf Club on the weekend.

Americas Netball (AN) in its continued drive to educate all its member associations on issues of governance in the sport of netball, launched the second in a series of governance webinars on Saturday, August 14 via a Zoom conference.

 Marva Bernard OD, President of Americas Netball and a Director of World Netball and recently appointed Ambassador of Teamwork by World Netball, in delivering her opening comments opined that “A sport organization needs leadership. The dynamic environment in which an organization operates requires sports leaders, and potential leaders to be constantly learning and retooling themselves”. 

The webinars are one such tool that Americas Netball utilizes to keep its members abreast of policies, procedures and regulations in the sport of netball.  She added that this year AN would partner fully with the University of the West Indies Faculty of Sport to plan the course content.

The next session is set for August 21 with the ensuing sessions to be held two Saturdays each month for the next three months culminating in November, will focus on administrative procedures and guidelines, fulfilling reporting requirements, team and stakeholder management as well as communication planning.

Other topics of focus will be Strategic planning, policy alignment and implementation, operational planning, implementing a business model, revenue generation, organizational restructuring, business plan models, governance during crises, emergency management and business planning.

Fraser McConnell credits teamwork for him being able to finish second overall in the SuperCar category of the RallyX Nordic that concluded in Arvika, Sweden on Sunday.

Rein Taaramae claimed a surprise victory on stage three of the Vuelta a Espana atop Picon Blanco to take the red jersey from Primoz Roglic.

Monday's demanding 202.8 kilometer route saw the first summit finish and Taaramae, whose only stage win at the race came in 2011, saw off some strong climbers to come out on top.

The 34-year-old finished 21 seconds ahead of Joe Dombrowski and Kenny Elissonde was a further 15 seconds back in third as the general classification standings were shaken up.

Previous race leader Roglic drops to third overall after finishing seventh on Monday, 30 seconds behind Taaramae, who is 25 seconds better off than the second-placed Elissonde.

Taaramae is the first Estonian to secure the red jersey after getting the better of an eight-man breakaway. Dombrowski and Lilian Calmejane, who eventually came fourth, took it in turn to attack but Taaramae had the legs to see the job through.

Hugh Carthy, who finished third in this event last year, lost 21 seconds on favourite Roglic, while Olympic road race champion Richard Carapaz is over two minute adrift of the new leader after failing to keep up with the chasing pack.

"Yesterday evening me and my team spoke about winning this stage and taking the leader's jersey," Taaramae said. "I believed in myself today because I'm in a good state. 

"Today was all about whether the peloton would catch us or not. When I saw that we could do it then I had questions about how good Joe Dombrowski and Kenny Elissonde

"They are all good riders but Joe and Kenny are really good so I don't know if I can beat them, but I believed it because I already did it many times.

"Red is a big achievement because I'm 34 and I don't have many years left to try to do this. I have a stage in the Vuelta and Giro but I dream a lot about a leader's jersey in a Grand Tour – at least for a few days."

STAGE RESULT

1. Rein Taaramae (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 05:16:57 
2. Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates) +0:21
3. Kenny Elissonde (Trek–Segafredo) +0:36
4. Lilian Calmejane (AG2R Citroen Team) +1:16
5. Enric Mas (Movistar) +01.45

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Rein Taaramae (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 09:25:44
2. Kenny Elissonde (Trek–Segafredo) +0:25
3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +0:30

Points Classification

1. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) 50
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 50
3. Alex Aranburu (Astana-Premier Tech) 50

King of the Mountains

1. Rein Taaramae (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 10
2. Kenny Elissonde (Trek–Segafredo) 7
3. Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates) 6

What's next?

Tuesday's stage spans 163.9km from El Burgo de Osma to Molina de Aragon and will once again favour the sprinters.

It has arguably never been easier to be a pass-catcher in the NFL.

Living in a golden era of quarterback play with a host of phenomenal athletes entering the league and confounding defenses with what they can do with both their arms and legs, receivers and tight ends continually benefit from sharing the field with signal-callers who can extend the play and complete tight-window throws with outstanding ball placement almost at will.

But the best supporting casts can elevate those quarterbacks to even greater heights while those passers who lack elite talent around them at receiver and tight end can struggle to fulfil their potential as a result.

Which pass-catching groups should provide the most assistance to their quarterbacks in 2021? And which will leave the man under center poorly equipped to succeed?

Using Stats Perform's advanced data, every group of wideouts and tight ends in the NFL has been ranked by their collective open percentage from 2020, providing an insight into the best and worst pass-catching units in the league going into the new campaign.

The Elite

1. Green Bay Packers

Green Bay will have Aaron Rodgers under center at least for one more year, and the reigning MVP will have the benefit of the best supporting cast of pass-catchers in football, a group that combined to record an open percentage of 36 in 2020.

The player who did the most to inflate that number is undoubtedly Davante Adams. Arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL, Adams' adjusted open percentage – which looks at how often a player got open against a defender's coverage, adjusted for position – of 51.97 was second only to Julian Edelman (52.13 per cent).

Adams registered a burn, which is when a receiver wins his matchup on a play where he is targeted, regardless of whether the pass is catchable, on just over 70 per cent of his targets, and his burn yards per route average of 3.9 was the best among wideouts last season.

Though Adams did the heavy lifting, there were signs of improvement from the players behind him on the depth chart. Allen Lazard led all receivers with a burn percentage of 82.6 and was 10th in adjusted open percentage (46.55) in 2020.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling (23.32) was less impressive in the latter regard but was second in burn yards per target (18.96). Only one team, the Buffalo Bills, got a larger contribution to their collective open percentage from their wideouts, but the Packers were 12th in terms of tight end production, indicating room for improvement at that spot even after a year in which Robert Tonyan averaged 11.71 burn yards per target.

2. Buffalo Bills

The Bills finished below the Packers in the rankings with an open percentage of 34.54 because of the lack of the contribution from the tight end position, which was the eighth lowest in the league, with Dawson Knox still yet to truly harness the athletic upside that helped convince the Bills to draft him in 2019.

His adjusted open percentage of 27.86 was mediocre but there was encouragement in his burn yards per target average of 10.45 that was 11th among tight ends with at least 25 targets.

Though the Bills might not be convinced by what they have at tight end, few teams in the NFL can claim to have the same level of depth at wide receiver.

The Bills have three receivers on their depth chart who were in the top 25 in adjusted open percentage last year – Cole Beasley (48.30), Stefon Diggs (42.68) and Emmanuel Sanders (41.16) – while Gabriel Davis produced an extremely promising rookie year, finishing 17th in burn yards per target with 13.45, giving Josh Allen a plethora of options with which to try to sustain his year-three leap.

Diggs, who expediently built a tremendous rapport with Allen following last year's trade from the Minnesota Vikings, is the cream of the crop. He trailed only Adams in burn yards per route in 2020 with an average of 3.6.

With the benefit of a full offseason to further their understanding, that Allen to Diggs connection could yet be more devastating in 2021. And, when teams do succeed in keeping Diggs under wraps, chances are another of this group of skilled separators will be able to create the space to keep a high-powered passing game operating at a level that was critical to the Bills joining the AFC's elite.

3. Dallas Cowboys

When Dak Prescott was healthy last season, the Cowboys offense performed at a record-setting pace, which is perhaps no surprise given the wealth of options they have among their pass-catchers.

Through the first four weeks of the 2020 campaign before Prescott suffered his season-ending ankle injury, the Cowboys led the league with 407.8 net passing yards per game. The closest team to them, the Bills, averaged 316.3 across the same period.

Whether that pace would have been sustainable even with Prescott under center is debatable, yet there is no doubt he has the weapons for this attack to be extremely potent again in 2021.

The Cowboys' pass-catchers had a collective open percentage of 31.69 to rank third overall, with Amari Cooper a significant factor in their success, Dallas' top receiver fourth in the NFL in adjusted open percentage (49.61).

Cooper recorded a second successive 1,000-yard season but tallied 12.1 yards per reception having racked up 15.1 per catch in 2019. His burn yards per route rate of 2.3 fell from 3.0 in 2019 and was the average for wideouts last year. Though that may be reflective of the drop-off from Prescott to Andy Dalton, Cooper will surely want to do more with the separation he can create in 2021.

Encouragingly, last year's first-round pick CeeDee Lamb (2.5) outperformed Cooper in the latter regard despite Prescott's absence and there is reason to believe Michael Gallup can bounce back from a down season where his adjusted open percentage was still a highly respectable 33.53.

Only 12 teams got less of a contribution to their overall open percentage from the tight end position than the Cowboys, an injury to Blake Jarwin curtailing his hopes of a breakout 2020. If Jarwin can stay healthy and boost the production from a spot where the Cowboys have long since struggled and Lamb makes the leap many expect, Dallas' pass-catching corps could lay the foundation for a postseason return.

The Bottom

30. Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins are hopeful Tua Tagovailoa can put an uneven rookie year behind him, but questions must be asked as to whether they have put enough around him at the pass-catching positions to allow him to make the necessary strides.

Indeed, Miami's group of pass-catchers goes into the 2021 ranked as the third worst in the NFL with a collective open percentage of 25.17.

Will Fuller leads the way with an adjusted open percentage of 38.29, yet he will miss the first game of the season through suspension and his injury track record makes the Dolphins' bet on him a very risky one.

Fuller was eighth among receivers with at least 25 targets with 14.08 burn yards per target, but the Dolphins will obviously need more than an oft-injured burner for their passing game to succeed.

The Dolphins recognised that fact and made a move to address the situation in the draft by adding another speedster who boasts a rapport with Tagovailoa from his Alabama days, using the sixth overall pick on Jaylen Waddle.

A broken ankle limited him to 32 targets in 2020, but Waddle led the Power 5 with an average of 19.96 burn yards per target and was third in burn yards per route (5.60) among receivers with at least 25 targets.

The 2019 season saw Waddle finish seventh in burn yards per target (16.64) on 40 targets for the Crimson Tide, yet his arrival does not lessen the pressure on DeVante Parker.

Parker finished 2020 with only 793 yards having topped 1,200 in 2019 and posted an adjusted open percentage of only 27.14, his burn yards per target rate of 9.45 well below the average of 10.98.

The Dolphins are relying on a bounce-back year from Parker, an instant impact from Waddle and consistency from a player in Fuller whose injury history has kept him from producing it to this point in his career.

Beyond that, Miami could use a significantly greater contribution from their tight ends, with Mike Gesicki's adjusted open percentage of 23.71 in 2020 a big reason why only 10 teams ranked lower than the Dolphins in terms of contribution from the position.

That is a lot to ask of one group of players and the reality is the Dolphins might have to look to another position group to help them take the next step towards playoff contention.

31. Chicago Bears

The Bears seemingly won't be throwing Justin Fields straight into the firing line as a rookie, and part of that decision may be influenced by the lack of receiving talent around him, which is reflected by an overall open percentage of 25.08

Regardless of whether it is Fields or fellow new face Dalton throwing the ball, they will likely be farming most of their passes in the direction of two receivers.

Allen Robinson (34.29) is the sole Bears pass-catcher who had an adjusted open percentage of over 30 last year, though Darnell Mooney (27.75) was not far off achieving that feat and is backed by many to make the leap in 2021.

Robinson's 2.5 burn yards per route put him slightly above average but the Bears did not add the support to suggest he could join the elite in that category this season.

Damiere Byrd averaged 11.76 burn yards per target in his sole season in New England before signing with the Bears but is unlikely to strike fear into defenses and it is tough to envision a substantial impact from rookie sixth-round pick Dazz Newsome despite his open percentage of 87.1 in his final college season at North Carolina.

With the Bears 15th in the league in contribution from tight ends, the onus will be on 2020 second-round pick Cole Kmet to take more of the burden from 34-year-old Jimmy Graham.

Kmet can look to build on a rookie season where he ranked 12th among tight ends with a minimum of 25 targets with a burn percentage of 68.2. His ability to repay the faith of Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy may go some way to potentially saving their jobs.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars

Only one rookie quarterback has a worse situation than Fields in terms of supporting pass-catchers, and it is the man who heard his named called first in April's draft.

Trevor Lawrence will get to work with a group of pass-catchers with a combined open percentage of 24.65, with just two teams performing worse in terms of tight end contribution to that collective grade.

Collin Johnson (30.47) and D.J. Chark (30.33) are the only pass-catchers on the roster with adjusted open percentages of over 30 from last year, the former providing some reason for optimism courtesy of his above-average burn yards per target rate of 11.25.

Johnson built a decent argument for receiving more than the 31 targets thrown his way last season, yet he may still find himself near the bottom of the pecking order.

More will be expected from 2020 second-round pick Laviska Shenault after he produced a burn on only 53.2 percent of his targets despite an average of depth of target of 6.5 yards, but he and Johnson may be prevented from making strides if Marvin Jones earns an established role in the offense.

Though Jones fell 22 yards shy of a 1,000-yard season for the Lions last year, he posted an adjusted open percentage of 25.05 and averaged 2.2 burn yards per route. Is he a player who can help this group progress or, at this stage in his career, is the 31-year-old a progress stopper?

The hope will be that Jones' familiarity with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell can help him provide a valuable veteran safety net for Lawrence, whose immediate success hinges on Urban Meyer's untested ability to develop a quarterback at the pro level and the rest of the Jags' pass-catchers making a jump that recent history indicates should not be expected.

On The Rise

Denver Broncos

So much in Denver hinges on who prevails in the quarterback competition between Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater. The early reports from training camp suggest the scales may be tipping in the latter's direction and Bridgewater will have one of the most exciting groups of pass-catchers in the league to work with should he indeed win the battle.

The Broncos' lowly position of 22nd in overall open percentage was likely in part a product of being robbed of Courtland Sutton for most of the 2020 campaign due to his torn ACL.

With Sutton on the sideline, Jerry Jeudy produced a rookie season to suggest he can be a star for the Broncos for years to come, leading the team with an adjusted open percentage of 38.21.

Renowned for his route-running ability, Jeudy averaged 2.6 burn yards per route and 11.44 burn yards per target with an average depth of target of 14.6, indicating he consistently won matchups on downfield routes, though he will hope to reduce the drops after letting eight passes slip through his fingers.

The return of Sutton should divert coverage away from Jeudy and the Broncos also have other options who can command the attention of defenses.

Tim Patrick (32.72) was second on the team behind Jeudy in adjusted open percentage but led Broncos receivers by producing a big play on 33.8 per cent of his targets. Noah Fant was ninth among tight ends with 50 or more targets in burn yards per target (9.92) and he and Albert Okwuegbunam have a convincing argument for being the league's most athletic duo at the position.

In a division containing Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert and Derek Carr, the Broncos look desperately short at quarterback. However, if Sutton is back to his best coming off the injury and the tight ends further capitalise on their physical gifts, the Broncos may end 2021 with the top pass-catching group in the AFC West.

Washington Football Team

Washington made the playoffs in 2020 despite a losing record, highlighting the lack of quality in the NFC East, and despite extremely pedestrian quarterback play throughout the season that limited the upside of a talented receiving corps.

Washington's pass-catchers go into the new season with only seven teams below them in collective open percentage (27.75) but there is reason to believe they should make significant progress this campaign.

In 2021, while Washington might get unpredictability at quarterback, there is likely to be little pedestrian about the passing game if free agent signing Ryan Fitzpatrick takes the reins under center. He produced a well-thrown ball on nearly 80 per cent of his passes in 2020 but his pickable pass percentage of 6.82 was the third highest in the NFL.

Steven Sims Jr. was Washington's best performer in terms of adjusted open percentage (41.4), though Terry McLaurin (37.20) is undoubtedly the premier receiving option. McLaurin's burn yards per route dropped from 3.4 in 2019 to 2.9 in 2020, but that still saw him outperform the likes of DK Metcalf (2.8) and Chris Godwin (2.7) in a year where he registered his first 1,000-yard campaign.

With improved if volatile quarterback play and more dynamic options around him, McLaurin will have expectations of performing at a more efficient level this season.

Curtis Samuel can stretch defenses horizontally with what he can do out of the backfield and in the motion game, while rookie Dyami Brown offers a substantial deep threat whose burn yards per target average of 17.30 was second behind Waddle among Power 5 receivers last season.

The presence of that duo will theoretically make life much easier for McLaurin and allow the pass-catchers to help this offense provide much better support to Washington's elite defense.

A greater impact from the tight end position would aid that cause. Logan Thomas, recently signed to an extension, finished 2020 with an adjusted open percentage of only 19.66, making Washington's presence in the bottom five in tight end contribution unsurprising.

San Francisco 49ers

As is the case for essentially the entirety of the Niners' roster, the performance of their pass-catchers in 2021 is a question of health. San Francisco may not have overly impressive depth at wideout or tight end but, when healthy, the 49ers arguably boast one of the most exciting receiving trios in the NFL.

The Niners' pass-catchers rank 16th in collective open percentage following their injury-derailed 6-10 campaign in 2020, yet the talent is there for them to experience a substantial step forward and move into the top 10.

Only one team got more from the tight end position in terms of influence on overall open percentage, with George Kittle still demonstrating his remarkable value to the 49ers last season despite missing half the season.

Kittle excels at using his athleticism and his route-running to separate from defenders, these qualities borne out by a 2020 adjusted open percentage of 45.09 that was first among tight ends and 12th overall. He also led all tight ends with 3.9 burn yards per route.

Deebo Samuel spent more than half the season playing the role of spectator, meaning he rarely had a chance to produce in the same manner as in 2019 – when he delivered a big play on 41.5 per cent of his targets – and recorded a disappointing adjusted open percentage of 23.85.

Samuel still managed 3.0 burn yards per route in a year where the limitations of the backup quarterbacks pressed into service meant he received passes almost exclusively in the backfield – his average depth target of 2.3 yards was the lowest among wide receivers.

With either Jimmy Garoppolo or third overall pick Trey Lance set to be under center in 2021, Samuel can afford to be confident of receiving more downfield targets this season and will look to benefit from getting to play alongside Brandon Aiyuk more often.

Aiyuk was second for the Niners in adjusted open percentage (30.57) and 33.1 per cent of his targets went for big plays.

Beyond that triumvirate, Richie James, though he has not impressed so far in preseason, appears worthy of an expanded role having ended 2020 sixth in burn yards per target for wideouts with an average of 16.30. Yet, for all the deserved attention on San Francisco's quarterback position, the success of the Kyle Shanahan offense this season will hinge largely on the ability of Kittle, Samuel and Aiyuk to stay healthy and make the most of their combined talents.

Cronulla Sharks' Andrew Fifita was placed into a medically induced coma after sustaining a serious throat injury on Sunday, with his brother David thanking the NRL for their support.

Fifita was taken off 39 minutes into Sunday's game against Newcastle Knights in Brisbane and the Sharks later confirmed he suffered a fractured larynx

Approximately 20 minutes after full time, the 32-year-old was brought out of the changing rooms and onto the field, where he was examined by paramedics and transferred to hospital in an ambulance.

A statement from the Sharks read: "In updating the condition of Andrew Fifita, after conferring with specialists today at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, the Sharks can inform that Andrew has suffered a laryngeal fracture and is currently in an induced coma.

"Andrew is in a stable condition, with a surgical correction scheduled to take place tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon.

"He is receiving the best possible care and all going well, it is expected he will recover in hospital for an extended period.

On Monday, Andrew's twin brother David – who plays for Super League side Wakefield Trinity – thanked fans for their support and concern but asked for privacy for his family.

"On behalf of the Fifita family, I would like to thank everyone for their support, concern and kind words during this difficult time that we face," he wrote on Twitter.

"As a family we ask everyone to please respect our privacy and allow Andrew and the family space to heal and recover.

"In saying this I would like to thank Cronulla Sharks and the NRL for helping support our family in Queensland through this time."

Toutai Kefu is in a serious but stable condition in hospital after the Tonga coach and former Australia player was wounded during a burglary at his home.

Kefu and three members of his household were taken to hospital following an incident in the Coorparoo area of Brisbane that was reported to police at around 03:00 local time on Monday.

A man in his forties was confirmed to have suffered "serious injuries" after a violent altercation.

Two 15-year-old males have been arrested in relation to the incident, with Queensland Police confirming Kefu's wife, son and daughter were also receiving treatment for knife wounds at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital. A third alleged suspect is said to be unaccounted for.

"His initial condition was described as critical, but expected to survive," detective superintendent Tony Fleming told reporters on Monday.

"Mr Kefu is out of surgery and is stable now.

"His son is still receiving treatment as I understand and there's more treatment for Mrs Kefu and their daughter that will continue tomorrow.

"The mother has suffered very, very serious lacerations to her arm and I'm told her wounds are very significant."

Support for Kefu, who played 60 Tests for Australia, and his family poured in from across the world of rugby.

Superintendent Fleming stated that the family was awoken by noises in the house, with Kefu going to investigate.

"That person was accosted by at least one of the offenders in the premises and threatened to be stabbed if they didn’t hand over vehicle keys," Fleming said.

"Other members of the family came to that person's aid and during this time very significant injuries occurred to the family."

Kefu is Australia's most capped number eight of all time and helped the Wallabies win the 1999 World Cup. He coached Tonga at the 2019 tournament in Japan and was reappointed to the role earlier in 2021.

"Thoughts and prayers are with my Tongan brother Toutai Kefu and his family," former cross-code New Zealand star Sonny Bill Williams wrote on Twitter, while the Wallabies tweeted: "You got this great man!! All our love and thoughts to you and the entire Kefu family!" 

Fernando Tatis Jr. continued where he left off before injury as the returning San Diego Padres star hit a pair of home runs in Sunday's 8-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Tatis had been on the injured list since July 31 due to a partially dislocated left shoulder, however, the MLB All-Star made his comeback against the Diamondbacks.

The 22-year-old – playing in right field for the first time in his professional career – slugged his 32nd and 33rd homers of the season to help the Padres avoid a four-game sweep.

Tatis finished four-for-five with four RBIs and three runs scored as the Padres maintained their lead in the race for the second National League (NL) Wild Card spot, two and a half games clear of the Cincinnati Reds.

"Just make them remember why they miss you," said Tatis, who homered in the third and fifth innings. "I feel like that's what it is. The hunger of being outside and not doing anything for my team for so long, I really felt bad. So, coming back, you bring your 100 per cent, take a chill and do what you know what to do."

 

McKenzie flirts with perfect game

Cleveland Indians pitcher Triston McKenzie stared at history in the team's 11-0 shutout of the Detroit Tigers. McKenzie was four outs away from perfection, retiring the first 23 Detroit batters in order. He lost the perfect game in the eighth inning. Not since 1981 have the Indians recorded a no-hit performance from one of their pitchers.

Texas Rangers rookie DJ Peters hit a pair of two-run homers in a 7-4 win at home to the Oakland Athletics.

The New York Yankees topped the Chicago White Sox 5-3 behind two-run homers via Rougned Odor and Luke Voit.

 

Slumping Cubs reeling

The Chicago Cubs suffered their 11th consecutive defeat following a 4-1 loss to the Miami Marlins. There have now been eight different losing streaks of 11-plus games this season according to Stats Perform – Cubs (twice), Baltimore Orioles (twice), Diamondbacks (twice), Rangers and Kansas City Royals. It is the most such losing streaks in a season since 1899. It is also the first time three different teams had multiple losing streaks of 11-plus games in a season.

 

Muncy crushes Mets

Max Muncy showed no mercy in the Los Angeles Dodgers' 14-4 victory against the New York Mets. He hit two homers, including this two-run dinger in the sixth inning.

 

Sunday's results 

Milwaukee Brewers 2-1 Pittsburgh Pirates
Atlanta Braves 6-5 Washington Nationals
Cincinnati Reds 7-4 Philadelphia Phillies
Boston Red Sox 6-2 Baltimore Orioles
Miami Marlins 4-1 Chicago Cubs
Cleveland Indians 11-0 Detroit Tigers
New York Yankees 5-3 Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins 5-4 Tampa Bay Rays
Texas Rangers 7-4 Oakland Athletics
St Louis Cardinals 7-2 Kansas City Royals
San Francisco Giants 5-2 Colorado Rockies
Los Angeles Angels 3-1 Houston Astros
San Diego Padres 8-2 Arizona Diamondbacks
Toronto Blue Jays 8-3 Seattle Mariners
Los Angeles Dodgers 14-4 New York Mets

 

Angels at Yankees

Gerrit Cole will make his return to the mound following a stint on the COVID-19 injured list when the Yankees (65-52) host the Angels (59-60) on Monday. Jose Suarez starts for the Angels in the make-up game from July 1.

New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole will start Monday's MLB clash against the Los Angeles Angels after recovering from coronavirus.

Cole landed on the COVID-19 injured list following a positive test on August 3, having not pitched since the Yankees' showdown with the Tampa Bay Rays on July 29.

But the four-time All-Star will take to the mound against the Angels.

"I'm feeling good, ready to go," Cole said on Sunday. "I'm very much looking forward to it.

"I don't think we'll push the limits by any means because the recovery will be important, but I'm ready to pitch."

In 2021, Cole has a 3.11 ERA through 21 games, with 176 strikeouts and a 10-6 win-loss record.

Cole is tied for fourth this season in shutouts, only behind Anthony DeSclafani of the San Francisco Giants, Oakland Athletics star Sean Manaea and Philadelphia Phillies ace Zack Wheeler.

Only Wheeler (187) has managed more strikeouts than Cole this season.

The Yankees (65-52) are third in the American League (AL) East, behind the high-flying Rays (71-47) and Boston Red Sox (69-51), while they are two and a half games adrift in the Wild Card race.

"I think we've done a really great job," Cole said. "We're playing good baseball, but we still feel like we can play just a little bit better.

"Now we're just looking for the final piece to push it over the edge and really get white-hot here."

Daniil Medvedev lived up to his top-seed billing by overcoming Reilly Opelka in straight sets in the National Bank Open final.

World number two Medvedev prevailed 6-4 6-3 in Toronto on Sunday as he became the first Russian to win the ATP tournament since Marat Safin in 2000.

Medvedev now holds four of the nine ATP Masters 1000 titles, having also previously come out on top in Cincinnati, Shanghai and Paris.

He saved all four break points faced against unseeded Opelka, who stunned Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-finals, and needed just 85 minutes to complete the job.

Reflecting on his latest tour triumph, Medvedev said: "I could not have dreamt of this at one point.

"With Novak [Djokovic] and Rafael [Nadal] playing, it seemed like an untouchable achievement. Now I have four wins in five finals, which is a good score. I am just happy. 

"Playing Canada and Cincinnati, the goal is to win as many matches as possible. I was able to do it two years ago and I will try and do it again."

Opelka was competing in his maiden final at this level and started strongly, racing 40-0 ahead in the fourth game with some powerful hitting.

However, the 23-year-old – the first American to reach the final since Mardy Fish in 2011 – could not break his opponent as Medvedev recovered with some impressive serving to take the game.

Medvedev earned the first break in the following game and comfortably held to take the first set.

The Russian forced Opelka into errors in the second set and reeled off nine points in a row en route to breaking his opponent in the third game.

It was plain sailing from that point on as two-time beaten grand slam finalist Medvedev eased over the line to add another trophy to his collection.

Unseeded Camila Giorgi again surprised Karolina Pliskova as she earned a straight-sets win in Sunday's National Bank Open final to claim the third singles title of her career.

The world number 71 defeated Pliskova at the Viking International and the Tokyo Olympics in the past three months and prevailed 6-3 7-5 in their latest meeting in Montreal.

Giorgi, who had never previously won a trophy above 250 level or on outdoor hard courts, has now triumphed in 16 of her last 20 matches in an impressive 2021 campaign.

She lost just one set all week and will move back into the world's top 35 for the first time since May 2019 with this first tournament victory since the Linz Open in October 2018.

 

Fourth seed Pliskova eliminated favourite Aryna Sabalenka in the semi-finals but could not replicate that performance as she fell at the final hurdle in a tournament for the third time this year.

Giorgi broke the former world number one for the first time in a lengthy fifth game and took the first set when Pliskova double faulted and sent a forehand wide in the final game.

Pliskova double faulted six times across the match, which lasted one hour and 40 minutes, including in the fourth game of the second set to put her opponent in complete control.

The Czech was given hope when earning her first break of serve in the following game, but she was let down by some forehand errors in the 12th game and Giorgi took her second championship point to seal an emotional win.

Roger Federer will not take part in the upcoming US Open after the 20-time grand slam winner announced he is to undergo knee surgery that will rule him out for "many months".

The 40-year-old has not been in action since losing to Hubert Hurkacz in a Wimbledon quarter-final in July and has completed only five events this year.

Federer underwent two operations on his right knee in 2020 and requires another procedure that the legendary Swiss hopes will give him a chance to return to the court.

"I just wanted to give you a bit of an update on what's been going on since Wimbledon," Federer, who won the most recent of his five titles at Flushing Meadows in 2008, posted in a video message on his Instagram page on Sunday.

"As you can imagine, it's not been simple. I've been doing a lot of checks with the doctors as well on my knee, getting all the information as I hurt myself further during the grass-court season and Wimbledon.

"That's just not the way to go forward, so unfortunately they told me for the medium to long term to feel better, I will need surgery. I decided to do it.

"I'll be on crutches for many weeks and also out of the game for many months, so it's going to be difficult of course in some ways.

"But at the same time I know it's the right thing to do because I want to be healthy, I want to be running around later as well again and I want to give myself a glimmer of hope to return to the tour in some shape or form."

 

Federer, now ranked number nine in the world, missed more than a year of action after first having his knee operated on shortly after the 2020 Australian Open.

"I am realistic, don't get me wrong," he said. "I know how difficult it is at this age right now to do another surgery and try it. 

"But I want to be healthy, I will go through the rehab process I think also with a goal while I'm still active, which I think is going to help me during this long period of time."

Federer added: "Also a big thank you already now for all of your messages that are going to be coming in because you guys are always incredible. 

"You always think of me. Some of you suffer with me. I'll update you as I move along with my rehab. I wish you all the best and I'll check in with you soon."

The US Open in New York begins on August 30, with Dominic Thiem looking to retain his title.

Fabio Jakobsen timed his sprint finish to perfection to win stage two of the Vuelta a Espana.

Alpecin-Fenix rider Jakobsen edged out Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick Step) in Burgos on Sunday at the end of a 166.7-kilometre flat stage that started in Caleruega.

Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) took third place as 23-year-old Belgian Jakobsen claimed his second Vuelta stage win after being led out brilliantly by his team-mates.

Primoz Roglic retained the red jersey with a lead of four seconds over Alex Aranburu following the defending champion's time-trial triumph on the opening stage.

Sprinter Jordi Meeus was among the Bora-Hansgrohe riders who were involved in a crash four kilometres from the end of the second day.

Diego Rubio (Burgos-BH), Sergio Martin (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Xabier Mikel Azparren (Euskaltel-Euskadi) made an early break on a hot, draining day for the riders.

Rubio looked the strongest of that breakaway trio and he tried to go solo, but was caught with a little over 20 kilometres to go to set up the sprint finish that was anticipated.

Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates) hit the front with 200 metres remaining, with Matthews on his wheel, but it was Jakobsen who nipped in front to take the victory.

He said: "It's incredible. Yesterday someone put it in our team group chat [that they could win the first sprint of all three Grand Tours] and for sure it was a dream but I didn't want to think about it because the chance is always less high than it would be true.

"It just shows how everyone from team is really motivated. It was a team effort and we can be really proud. It was amazing to see all my team-mates there and everyone on the front line. I had a lot of support and this is how we can win sprints.

"Each of us can be very happy tonight and we start this Grand Tour in a good way."

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) 03:58:57
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep)
3. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange)
4. Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates)
5. Alex Aranburu (Astana-Premier Tech)

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 0:08:32
2. Alex Aranburu (Astana-Premier Tech) +0:04
3. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) +0:10

Points Classification

1. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) 50
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 50
3. Alex Aranburu (Astana-Premier Tech 50

King of the Mountains

1. Sepp Cuss (Jumbo-Visma) 3
2. Sep Vanmarcke (Israel Start-Up Nation) 2
3. Rui Oliveira (UAE Team Emirates) 1

What's next?

A first high-altitude finale in Picon Blanco awaits the riders, who will start a demanding 202.8km third stage in Santo Domingo de Silos.

Calum Hill ended his wait for a European Tour victory with a superb final round at the English Open.

The Scot, ranked 150 in the world, came into the event with five top-10 finishes to his name in 2021.

A first win on Tour had proved elusive, but he ended his pursuit with a five-under 67 at London Golf Club, which took him to 16 under and a one-stroke win.

Rasmus Hojgaard entered the final round with a three-shot lead having carded a course-record 62 on Saturday.

But the Dane could only manage a level-par 72 on the final 18 holes, seeing him finish in a four-way tie for third on 14 under.

Alexander Levy finished second, the Frenchman's closing 64 not enough to force Hill into a playoff.

Trevor Lawrence felt "comfortable and poised" in his NFL debut while Trey Lance enjoyed a dream moment on his San Francisco 49ers bow.

Lawrence, Lance and fellow first-round rookie quarterbacks Zach Wilson and Justin Fields all took the field for the first time on Saturday.

Long seen as a generational quarterback prospect, the pressure is on Lawrence to inspire a turnaround for a Jacksonville Jaguars team that went 1-15 in 2020.

The early signs were positive for Lawrence, who completed six of his nine passes for 71 yards in the Jaguars' preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns, the former Clemson star bouncing back after he fumbled after being sacked on his first play.

"I feel like the first time out there, I felt comfortable, felt poised," Lawrence said. "Obviously, the first play's not kind of what you want for the first play, but after that, I thought we did a good job.

"We communicated well up front. They did a really good job of protection. At least one of those sacks was on me, for sure, just holding the ball too long. That's something I'll work on.

"Just manoeuvring in the pocket is something I've always got to work on. Other than that, I missed an easy one to Marvin [Jones], a little quick out I wish I would have hit.

"But other than that, I felt good out there. I think we were seeing it, all on the same page. There's obviously things to clean up, but I thought it was a pretty good day."

Lance didn't complete as many passes, going five of 14, but he had the most spectacular play of the four rookie quarterbacks, hitting Niners wide receiver Trent Sherfield for an 80-yard touchdown throw in their meeting with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The third overall pick, whom San Francisco selected after trading three first-round picks to move up in the draft, said: "It was super exciting. Kind of the moment you dream of scoring your first touchdown.

"Even though it's preseason, it's pretty cool. With my team-mates, the guys in that locker room, that they were so excited for me and for Trent making that play. It was for sure a special moment and I wish I could've capitalised on the opportunities that came after that."

Former 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh is now head coach of the New York Jets and witnessed an encouraging performance from Wilson.

Wilson went six of nine for 63 yards as the Jets beat the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.

"I thought it was good," said Wilson of his showing. "Of course, still things to clean up. It was a great experience. I really enjoyed having that game-like setting.

"The introduction to kind of like the NFL, the whole game, it's great for everybody, no matter how much football you've played, it was awesome to get out there."

Fields fell to the 11th pick in the draft, with the Chicago Bears trading up to select him, and they will be more confident in that decision after he threw for one touchdown and ran for another against the Miami Dolphins.

An uneven opening gave way to a performance that will increase calls for him to start over veteran Andy Dalton and afterwards Fields said of the speed of the game: "It was actually kind of slow to me, to be honest.

"I think I was expecting it to be a little bit faster but practicing game speed, going at it with my team-mates every day, of course, you know, we have a great defense so, me going against them every day, it definitely slowed the game up a little bit for me. So, I felt comfortable out there.

"Of course, I have room to grow, so I'm just gonna try to get better each and every day."

Jodi Munn-Barrow on Thursday was elected the first-ever female president of the 96-year-old Jamaica Golf Association and promised to expand the reach of the sport. Munn-Barrow replaces Peter Chin, who did not seek re-election after serving as president for the last decade.

Her executive includes Vice President Dr. Mark Newnham, Honorary Secretary Fred Sutherland, Assistant Secretary Bruce Lopez and Treasurer William Brown. Alison Reid is the junior golf chairperson while Dave Lyn, Michael Bradford, William Knibbs, Rowena Coe and Vikram Dhiman are committee members.

Munn-Barrow said she never dreamed of becoming president of the JGA which was formed in 1925.

"When I started my golfing career some 30-odd years ago, I never envisioned that I would ever take over the helm of this august body,” she said.

“I remember all of those who have done this before me and I have always looked up to them throughout my career.  I hope that I can make them proud as well as the members of the association and I look forward to working with all of the members in ensuring that the game of golf grows and continues to be very successful."

She said she wants to raise the profile of the sport so as to be able to attract international partnerships.

"I will endeavour to increase the optics of golf in Jamaica.  Some of the areas I would like to focus on include marketing Jamaica as a golfing destination through dialogue with the ministries of Sports and Tourism, reaching out again and having dialogue with the member clubs, trying to bring an AJGA (America Junior Golf Association) event to Jamaica thus lifting the image of our junior golf programme and also increasing the membership of the association by speaking with the presidents of other sporting bodies to try to get their members interested in golf as a second sport," she said.

 

 

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