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Good morning to everyone but especially to...
THE U.S. OPEN GOLFERS AND GOLF FANS EVERYWHERE
Prepare to watch an absolute battle. The U.S. Open is here, and Los Angeles Country Club is going to present one heck of a test for 156 of the world's best.
It's a massive field, but if you need help figuring out who to pay attention to, our Kyle Porter narrowed the field down to. While it's full of the names you'd probably expect, I was surprised to see...
- Porter: "Jordan Spieth -- One person I was speaking with Tuesday evening noted that LACC is a strange mixture of Merion and Chambers Bay. Spieth has not played the former, but he did all right at the latter. [EDITOR'S NOTE: He won.] The wrist is seemingly no longer a concern, and he's coming off a T5 at the Memorial where he hit it great. Am I concerned that the course might make him think a little too much? Indeed. But in a matchup where creativity and thoughtfulness should be decisive factors, I am all the way in on Spieth winning his fourth."
There's a big difference between being one of nine and one of one, though., and I think I'm rolling with Kyle's.
- Porter: "Scottie Scheffler (6-1): I can't help myself. His ball-striking is historically good right now, and he'll be patient until the very end. If he putts at all -- I mean, at all -- we're going to be talking about two-time major champion Scottie Scheffler possibly running the table on one of the great modern seasons in PGA Tour history this coming Sunday night."
For what it's worth, Patrick McDonald and Dean Straka both have Scheffler as a top-10 lock, and given, that's a good choice.
Our golf team has done a terrific job previewing what should be a terrific tournament, and you can see all their work here. Finally,
- Stefon Diggs , and the situation is "resolved" per Sean McDermott.
- The Mets against the Yankees.
- Opponents and locations for the 2024 SEC schedule !
- The Athletics took toward moving to Las Vegas.
- Dearica Hamby the Sparks over the Wings.
Not so honorable mentions
- Colts rookie Daniel Scott .
- The Cardinals' losing streak is .
- Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. had elbow surgery and is .
- Royals first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino (shoulder) is .
- Jesse Chavez took a . Ouch!
NBA rumors: Zion Williamson, others potentially on the move? 🏀
We're barely 48 hours past crowning the Nuggets NBA champions, and yet again, the NBA is proving there truly is no offseason.
The rumor mill is already spinning, with a 22-year-old franchise cornerstone at the center. That's right: according to reports,Zion Williamson's potential availability.
- Williamson has played just 114 games in four seasons -- including zero in 2021-22 -- due to a variety of injuries. He appeared in just 29 games this season and took longer than expected returning from a hamstring issue.
- Per another report, the Pelicans would rather trade Williamson than Brandon Ingram. New Orleans is reportedly for Scoot Henderson.
- It's easy to forget, but when healthy, Williamson is absolutely dominant. He's the only player in NBA history to average 25 points on 60% shooting across his first four seasons.
That last bullet point helps make one thing crystal clear to our Sam Quinn:
- Quinn: "The reality of team-building in most NBA markets is that risk-tolerance is a precursor for success. ... Either he's going to reach his considerable potential and help you compete for championships, or he's going to flame out and drag you down with him. The chance at the former more than outweighs the risk of the latter when the alternative of doing nothing is the worst option of the three."
Williamson isn't the only All Star who could be available. The Wizards will work with Bradley Beal to find(which, as a Wizards fan, I think they need to do). With in place and never-ending mediocrity hanging over the team like a dark cloud, trading Beal, 29, might be best for both parties. Plus, Beal's no-trade clause ensures he'll get dealt to a place he likes. With that in mind, Sam has the .
Two more rumors...
- The Lakers are looking to .
- The Warriors are looking to .
Golden Knights prove NHL's expansion plan is working 🏒
Seven years ago, the Golden Knights were a figment of everyone's imagination. Las Vegas hadn't even been approved as an expansion city and, in fact, had zero major professional sports franchises.
Fast-forward to today, and in just their sixth year of existence, the Golden Knights are Stanley Cup champions and proof that , opines our Austin Nivison.
- Nivison: "In the 2017 and 2021 expansion drafts, existing teams could only protect one goaltender, three defensemen, and seven forwards OR one goaltender and eight total skaters, regardless of position. ... As it turns out, letting new franchises have access to NHL-caliber players is a good idea. Is that fair to the expansion teams that came before Vegas and Seattle? No, but that doesn't make it wrong. The league recognized that it was too harsh on those teams in the past and made the proper corrections. Now, the NHL is firmly entrenched in two new markets, and those teams have the foundation to keep their success rolling for the foreseeable future."
As for how Vegas in particular took advantage of the more generous rules, I really enjoyed Chris Bengel's breakdown of.
USMNT vs. Mexico preview: Meet Folarin Balogun ⚽
No matter the setting, whenever the United States and Mexico meet, it's a big one. This one feels even bigger: It might include Folarin Balogun's USMNT debut.
Paramount+ -- in the Concacaf Nations League semifinal. The USA is currently riding a five-match unbeaten streak against Mexico, and Balogun could be a crucial part of running that to six straight.-- a match you can stream on
So, just who is the USA's new striker?
- Balogun, 21, , a massive victory for a team searching for consistency at striker.
- Balogun is technically rostered by Arsenal, but he spent this past season on loan at Reims and scored 21 goals, tied for fifth in Ligue 1, the top league in France.
For right now, though, he's playing for the USMNT, and our Chuck Booth has details on.
- Booth: "The United States hasn't had a proper striker to lead the line since Jozy Altidore, and make no mistake, the hopes for Balogun is that he far exceeds Altidore, and right now he can bring some of the imposing presence that has been missing in the box as of late. A poacher who can find the back of the net, Balogun can let Christian Pulisic's playmaking ability shine. Also, because of Balogun's presence in the box, one of the biggest winners of this move is Gio Reyna. ... With a proper nine leading the line, that not only creates more space for Reyna to shoot but also provides him with an outlet for his impressive playmaking ability."
Balogun isn't the only player making his USMNT debut: B.J. Callaghan took over as interim manager, and it's a big spot for him as well.
Here's a, and here's a .
What we're watching Thursday 📺
⛳ U.S. Open Round 1,
🏀 Fever at Sky, 8 p.m. on NBA TV
⚾ Angels at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. on FS1
⚽ USMNT vs. Mexico, 10 p.m. on Paramount+