Wes Short Jr. Makes a Stunning Comeback to Win the Quebec City Championship.

It’s been a long while since we’ve seen Wes Short in the headlines, his last official win on the PGA Tour was back in 2005 for the Michelin Championship in Las Vegas.

On the final day of the Quebec City Championship, there were two leaders – Brad Faxon and defending champion Esteban Toledo – but neither of them managed to stay the course and both posted 71s to share third place.

Coming from behind, two players dominated the day, Scott Dunlap and Short, both shooting 64s. And even up until the last hole, you couldn’t have predicted which golfer was going to be victorious.

For the first eight holes, Short played good solid golf but was taking no chances and parred each hole. Even though he was sitting in the bunker on the ninth hole, his approach shot to the pin was good enough to putt for a birdie and he was on his way. He birdied the 10th hole and then holed a 25-foot putt on the 12th hole to get to 10 under par.

Almost getting an eagle three on the par five 14th hole, tapping the ball in for a birdie took him to 11 under par. With a spectacular 35-foot putt on the 16th, Short managed to close the gap with Dunlap and they shared the lead.

Although he roared into the lead with a birdie on the 17th, Dunlap got an eagle on the final hole and that put him back in the lead by one stroke. Short had two options – a birdie to force a playoff or an eagle to win the tournament outright. Short took the latter option, with an eight-foot putt that gave him the win.

Speaking to the press after the match, Short said, “It was slow in coming, that’s for sure. The first eight holes I parred, and I get to [the ninth hole] and I hit a hybrid in the sand trap and then hit it out to about six feet and I felt like that was a very important putt to make. I made it. Then it seemed to open the floodgates because then I birdied 10, I hit a really good drive and 6-iron in there. The hole started looking like a five-gallon bucket.”

Sources: Vancouver Sun, Super Sport, PGA Tour

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The San Francisco 49ers Lose Another Game in the Second Half, But Was It Their Fault?

Another week, and another loss for the San Francisco 49ers. They lost their opening game to the Chicago Bears, even though they had a healthy lead in the first three quarters. And now, against the Arizona Cardinals, they blew a lead again to lose 23-14.

The reason for their loss? Well, if you listen to the 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin, it’s not the other team so much as the guys wearing the black and white shirts who are the problem.

Talking to the press after the game on Sunday, Boldin was happy to tell everyone what he thought the issue was, “For me, it’s been obvious the last two weeks the amount of calls that have gone against us and the amount of calls that we’ve gotten. It hasn’t been close. And every week it’s the same thing. You send the tape in, and the NFL just reports back, ‘We made a mistake.’ But at the same time, the crap is costing us games. At some point, they need to be held accountable.”

In the match against Arizona, referee Gene Steratore’s refereeing team penalized the San Francisco team nine times, and that cost them 107 yards they could not afford. Two hits on Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton cost the 49ers 30 yards in all, and that resulted in a third-quarter touchdown that got the Arizona team back in the game.

Another time, Boldin himself was penalized for unnecessary roughness when they were on the six-yard line, and they were moved back to the 21-yard line. But Boldin said he was provoked and that he spoke to the referee about it, “My penalty was my penalty. I shouldn’t have did it. The guy’s been taking shots at me the whole game. I told the coach that. I told the ref that three times. ‘I didn’t see it, I didn’t see it, I’ll look for it.’ But as soon as we do something, wow, they see it. But when guys are doing crap to us, ‘We didn’t catch it.’”

In the end though, Boldin was pragmatic about the whole situation, “They’ll say we had a lot to do with it, and we did. We could’ve played better here and there, but it’s crazy.”

Sources: CSN Bay Area, CBS Sports, Golden Gate Sports

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Billy Horschel Plays the Best Golf of His Career and Wins the Playoffs in Atlanta.

So, let’s back-track, about a month. Billy Horschel didn’t even make the cut for the first FedEx Cup playoff, falling from #69 in the standings to #82. He’d only been in the top 10 in a tournament twice all season and, aside from being weeks away from becoming a father, had really nothing much to look forward to on the golf course.

Horschel told the press, “I remember flying home and talking with my wife [after the first playoff] and she said, ‘You’re probably just waiting for the season to be over and start a new season.’ I sort of was. But at the same time, I knew my game was in the right shape and I just needed to get out of my own way. I needed to allow my golf game to show.”

He certainly did that by being runner-up in Boston, Massachusetts  and winning the tournament in Denver, Colorado. For his first three days in Atlanta, he carded in the 60s  and shared the lead the world’s #1 golfer, Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy was the favorite, but his play has been on and off since he won two majors and the World Golf Championship. He’s allowed. McIlroy was doing OK for the first few holes but his ball found the water on the fifth hole and he got himself a double-bogey. Around the turn, he made three bogeys and, although he salvaged those with three consecutive birdies, managed to finish up with a 71, and that got him shared second place with Jim Furyk.

Meanwhile, Horschel was playing a safe game of golf, staying ahead of Furyk the whole way. There were a couple of great saves along the way – the best being on the 16th hole where he drove into the trees and putted a magnificent 30-footer to save his par – and for his 12th round in a row, Horschel carded in the 60s, a two-under-par 68.

Horschel bags the $10 million prize but, sadly, missed the cut for the Ryder Cup as Tom Watson had to complete his team before Horschel caught fire.

Sources: Boston Globe, Arizona Daily Star, Aljazeera

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Team USA Celebrate Their Win Over Serbia For the FIBA World Cup Championship.

The team most feared on the basketball court in the 2014 Basketball World Cup was the Spanish team, especially since the final was to be held in Madrid, Spain. And by the way the playoffs were organized, it was obvious that the organizers were more than hoping the final would be between Spain and Team USA (who, just so you know, have won more than 60 games consecutively – so they’re the other ‘to be feared’ team!).

But disaster struck before they even got to Madrid, the Spanish team falling to their age-old rivals, France, in the quarterfinals.

Now, there’s a couple of things to consider here. First off, Team USA’s unfamiliarity with the European game. They all know the good players in Europe, but they never play them. And those Europeans all know that Team USA is the one to beat, and that can drive motivation like nothing else.

That looked like what was happening in the opening minutes of the final, where Serbia roared into the lead, 15-7, against Team USA. But that was just a hiccup, although there was some excellent play by the Serbian team. Kyrie Irving leapt into action for the U.S. team and, by the end of the first quarter, there was no mistaking who was taking command of the game, the score now at 35-21 to Team USA.

Over the next quarter, the gap widened to 67-41, and the same happened in the third quarter, Team USA now 30 points up. However, credit where credit is due, the Serbian team fought back hard in the fourth quarter and actually scored one more point than the Americans – 25 to 24.

The final score was a win to Team USA, 129-92. Irving was named tournament MVP.

The current American team is the youngest since they first began attending this tournament back in 1992, and there was some criticism that many of the NBA’s finest players were not included in the team. Kenneth Faried had an answer for the critics when he spoke to the press, “It kind of was, again, a smack to our face, saying the U.S. was sending the B-team to go play in the World Cup. Just because LeBron’s [James] not here, Kobe’s [Bryant] not here, [Kevin] Durant’s not here, doesn’t mean anything. We can step up and win the gold, too. That’s what we did tonight.”

Sources: Latinos Post, News 10, Lowell Sun

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Roger Federer Helps the Swiss Team into the Davis Cup Final Against France.

The closest the Swiss team have ever got to winning the Davis Cup was in 1992, when their team lost in the final to an American dream team that consisted of Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, John McEnroe and Pete Sampras.

This year though, things are looking are good for the Swiss team, especially as their star player – Roger Federer – is back on form this year, having won 54 matches so far this season.

The Swiss team got to play Italy for a chance to go into the finals, and quickly advanced to a two-point lead after Federer beat Fabio Fognini, and Stanislas Wawrinka got the best of Simone Bolelli in the singles matches.

Then came the doubles event, which Federer bowed out of as he wanted to rest from his recent heavy schedule. The Swiss paired Wawrinka and Marco Chiudinelli, and the match played out for a full five sets. The Italians – Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini – won the match, 7-5, 3-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.

The doubles match lasted a few minutes shy of four hours. But that’s nothing for the Davis Cup. Only last year at Palexpo, the same two Swiss players lost to the Czech doubles team of Tomas Berdych and Lukas Rosol in an extraordinary last set that went to 22-24. That match took a little over seven hours to play!

Next up to play was Federer, again playing Fognini. There was never really any doubt that Federer was going to win, and he did just that in three straight sets, 6-2, 6-3, 7-6. Some great play from Federer, but also too many unforced errors and on-court frustration from Fognini.

As the French team beat the two-time defending champions, the Czech Republic team, the final will be played in late November in France, and the French will be choosing whether to play clay or hard courts.

Speaking after his match, Federer said, “It’s really nice to share it [his win against Fognini] with my team members. I think I really struggled today. I think Fabio struggled all weekend. It’s tough conditions, pretty quick court, so it’s always going to to happen especially if you are not serving so well. It’s nice that we are going to have the opportunity to do something very special at the end of the year.”

Sources: Dawn, Star Tribune, Straits Times, Seattle pi

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Brittany Lincicome Takes a One-Stroke Lead Over Hyo Joo Kim on the Second Day in Evian-Les-Bains.

On the first day of the Evian Championship held in Evian-Les-Bains in France, Korean teen Hyo Joo Kim made history with a 10-under-par 61, the lowest score ever recorded in either a women’s or men’s major. However, on her second day, she shot four bogeys on the front nine and, although saving three shots with birdies on the back nine, has fallen to second place.

All eyes on the second day of play were on 28-year old American Brittany Lincicome. She’s won a major before, but that was back in 2009 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Since then she’s won four more titles on the LPGA Tour, but the last one was in 2011 at the Canadian Women’s Open.

Playing a steady round of golf, Lincicome shot three birdies on the front nine and another three on the back nine to card a respectable 65. And that was enough to give her a one-stroke lead.

Talking to the press after her round, Lincicome said, “Even when I felt like I didn’t hit a good shot today, I kind of got away with it. Golf isn’t always a perfect game and hitting great shots. At this point, I would take any win. It’s been a while. When I’m playing well, it’s just kind of light and easy, and just having having a good time, going with the flow, and not paying attention to the leaderboard.

Lincicome has been in this position before this season after 36 holes. In the LPGA Championship, she was leading after 36 holes but ultimately lost to Korean Imbee Park. There’ll be no threat from Park in this tournament as after her second day, Park was languishing in 20th position and one under par.

In third place, Mi-Jung Hur is just two strokes behind Kim, and Karrie Webb and defending champion Suzann Pettersen are tied for fifth place one stroke behind Hur.

Sources: Golf, Golf Channel, Fox Sports

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Billy Horschel and Chris Kirk Share the Lead on the First Day of the PGA Tour Championship.

Although Billy Horschel and Chris Kirk pretty much grew up in golf together – playing a lot of the same amateur tournaments, becoming teammates in the Walker Cup – they’re very different on the course.

Whereas Kirk will chip into the hole from the apron for an eagle and simply lift his hand to acknowledge the enthusiastic crowd, Horschel will punch the sky when he gets a par. Kirk won the Deutsche Bank Championship the week before and, during one hole, he was seen pumping his fist after making a difficult putt – and that might have been the first time he’s shown that much emotion.

But these two friends are now leading the richest tournament in professional golf, the winner becoming $10 million richer.

Talking to the press about his friend, Horschel said, “We’re probably two completely opposite people in the sense that he just looks like he’s moving very slow and nothing affects him. I look like I’m running around the golf course – literally last Sunday. But Chris and I get along very well. We seem to always play well when we’re paired together.”

It was a long, steamy day in Atlanta, and the pair of golfers took all of four hours to complete their rounds. But what rounds they were. Trading birdies off each other, Horschel and Kirk kept the crowd happy until the 18th hole, where they both carded four-under-par 66s. And that was good enough to tie the lead.

One stroke behind was Bubba Watson, current Masters champion, who made seven birdies on his round, but had a couple of bogey holes, as well as a double-bogey when he tried to shoot the ball in between two tree trunks – well, it worked two years ago at the Augusta National.

Watson is tied with Jason Day, Jim Furyk, and Patrick Reed. Rory McIlroy shot a 69 which definitely keeps him in the hunt.

Sources: ESPN, CBC, Reuters

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Brad Kesolowski Wins the Opening Race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup at the Chicagoland Speedway.

This is the opening race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, and all eyes were on Brad Kesolowski who started in pole position as the #1 seed at the Chicagoland Speedway.

Under the new rules laid down by NASCAR this year, there are 16 drivers currently eligible to win the Sprint Cup. After three races, that number gets cut to 12, so there’s everything to race for.

Everything happened in the last 20 laps of the race. On a restart with just 19 laps to go, it was Kevin Harvick and rookie Kyle Larson who were side-by-side challenging each other for the lead. Keseloski simply followed waiting for a chance – and then it came. In a daring three-wide pass, Keselowski charged through the middle of the two cars, and pulled away from the field.

Havick and Larson continued to battle each other, and then had Jeff Gordon to contend with – and that gave time for Keselowski to assert his lead.

With just six laps to go, Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. made contact, and a restart was set up. But Kesolowski had little trouble moving to the front again, and held the lead through to the checkered flag.

Speaking after the race, Keselowski told the press, “I saw Kyle and Kevin racing each other really hard, they were aggressively side drafting and I was waiting for an opportunity to strike and it came. The car stuck and everything came together. Man, the next two weeks are going to be fun, knowing we don’t have to worry too much and we are going to move up.”

Keselowski’s crew chief Paul Wolfe was not too keen on relaxing though, telling the media, “We’re not going to go on vacation for the next two weeks. We’re going to continue to make our race cards better and be prepared really well for round two.”

Gordon ended up second, Larson came in third, with Joey Logano fourth and, fading at the end, Harvick, got fifth place. Four favorites for the Chase: Aric Almirola, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and Ryan Newman ended up 41st, 23rd, 20th, and 15th respectively – and that’s going to give them a lot to do over the next two races if they want to stay in the cup.

Sources: Times Union, Boston Herald, Sentinel & Enterprise

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Pablo Larrazabal Leads the Dutch Open, Shooting the Course Record, 62, on Day Two.

Just when you think that you’re going to be seeing history being made, sometimes it just ends up being spectacular golf and no more.

Starting his second round at the KLM Open – held this year at the Kennemer Golf and Country Club in Zandvoort, Netherlands – Pablo Larrazabal was sitting at two under par from his good, but far from amazing, first round. But on day two, Larrazabal was officially on fire – at least, he was on the front nine.

Larrazabal started off his round with six birdies, and then parred the next three holes to shoot 28 strokes for the first nine holes. Breaking 60 strokes suddenly seemed like it was more than possible, and that would be a first for the PGA European Tour.

On the back nine though, his play went from off-the-charts to merely amazing. He parred his 10th hole, and then scored another birdie on his 11th. He then birdied his 16th hole and 18th hole, but on the 17th he met with his first bogey of the day.

His final score was an eight-under-par 62, getting him to 10 under par for the tournament, two strokes clear of the pack.

Speaking to the media after his round, Larrazabal said, ”After starting with six birdies I was thinking, it is a par 70, I only need five more [for a first 59 on The European Tour]. The middle of the round it cooled down but it was a great shot into the last to finish with a 62. I thought about the 59 when I started with six birdies. I thought I only need five more to make the magic number, but maybe I put pressure on a bit more. I’ve a few course records around Spain but none on the European Tour, so it is nice.”

Edoardo Molinari and Romain Wattel share second place at eight under par, and Soren Hansen, Richie Ramsay and Peter Uihlein are tied for fourth place at six under par.

Sources: Golf 365, Kansas City, The Independent UK

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Arnold Palmer, the King of Professional Golf, Is 85 Years Young.

If you were wondering how someone could find the time to win seven majors, 62 PGA tournaments, and design almost 250 golf courses around the world, then you probably wouldn’t be surprised to find that person was celebrating their 85th birthday last week.

Arnold Daniel Palmer was born in September 1929. After a brief period at Wake Forest University on a golf scholarship and three years in the U.S. Coast Guard, Palmer returned to his college studies and started entering amateur contests. In 1954, he won the U.S. Amateur, and decided it was time to turn pro.

In his rookie season, Palmer won the Canadian Open, but it was really in 1958 when he won the 1958 Masters Tournament that he became a major sports personality in the U.S. The fans loved his aggressive style of play, his emotional reaction to missing shots and making impossible puts, and they loved his good looks. Palmer was everything that America was looking for to make golf an important sport – and he was perfect for TV.

After Ben Hogan won the Open Championship in Britain in 1953, U.S. players weren’t exactly lining up to play the links courses of Scotland, and especially not to win the much smaller purses. But in 1960, Palmer was convinced that – after winning the Masters for the second time as well as the U.S. Open – he should take his stardom international. First time out, he came within a stroke of winning but, in the end, lost to Kel Nagle.

However, Palmer returned to win the British Open twice in a row in 1961 and 1962, was hailed as a World Champion, especially as in 1962  when he won the Masters for the third time.

During the years 1960-1963, Palmer won 29 PGA Tour events. He was awarded the Hickok Belt as the top professional athlete in the U.S. in 1960 and was voted Sports Illustrated‘s Sportsman of the Year. His fan base, nicknamed ‘Arnie’s Army,’ watched Palmer win a PGA Tour event every year from 1955 through 1971, and winning the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average in 1961, 1962, 1964, and 1967.

Palmer played as part of the U.S. Ryder Cup team six times between 1961 and 1973, captaining the team in 1963. He also captained the team in 1975.

When the Senior PGA Tour first began, Palmer was eligible and that year won 10 events, including five senior majors.

Palmer retired from professional tournaments in 2006, but has been far from inactive. Palmer helped launch the Golf Channel on TV, owns the Bay Hill Club and Lodge that once a year hosts the PGA Tour’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, and was instrumental in the construction of the first golf course in the People’s Republic of China.

Palmer was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004, the Congressional Gold Medal in 2009, and is a Charter Member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

In his entire golfing career, Palmer earned a total of $2,130, 239 – and that would place him #38 on the money list for just this year! However, Palmer earns more money now as a retired athlete, second only to Michael Jordan.

Many happy returns, Arnold.

Sources: WikipediaSandhillsArnold Palmer, USA Today

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