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Tuesday, July 22, 2014         

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The celebration began long before Rory McIlroy had a chance to drink out of the claret jug. McIlroy was upstairs in the clubhouse at Royal Liverpool for the traditional toast with the R&A, unable to ignore the chants below from club members waiting for a glimpse of the British Open champion.

Last week, the Indiana Pacers lost Lance Stephenson. On Monday, they replaced one of the NBA’s best young players with shooting guard Rodney Stuckey. It’s a swap that will make it a challenge for Indiana to win a third straight title in a division that might be the toughest in basketball.

As he made his way to the 18th green, Sergio Garcia experienced a sensation that had eluded him in his 17 previous British Opens. He felt no despair, no devastation, no defensiveness. Garcia had been defeated, but en route to losing to Rory McIlroy, he had won a hard-earned prize: contentment.

By the standards of final British Open chapters, this was no major thriller, but it was not the relaxed Sunday stroll around Royal Liverpool that it might have been for Rory McIlroy.

With his thinning hair and his thickening waistline, Butch Harmon has a way of blending into the crowd when he follows his players' competitive rounds on foot. On Saturday at the British Open, though, there was no missing him.

Rory McIlroy looked as though he had just thrown a knockout punch at the British Open, and it was only Saturday.

The University of Hawaii athletic department has been warned to expect more drastic budget cuts for the next two years, likely $2 million — or more — each year, in the wake of a newly announced campus-wide austerity plan.

Rory McIlroy only saw birdies at Royal Liverpool, mostly on his scorecard, and even one pheasant that trotted across the eighth green as he was lining up a putt. That was but a minor interruption in his command performance Friday in the British Open.

Eight years after the San Francisco football team announced its plans to move an hour's drive south to Santa Clara, the Niners officially opened their $1.2 billion "sports and entertainment cathedral" during a show-stopping ceremony on Thursday.

Rory McIlroy had everything go his way Thursday in the British Open. A lovely summer day in England with abundant sunshine and minimal wind allowed him to attack Royal Liverpool.

Laura Diaz got off to a surprising start at the Marathon Classic. Diaz shot a 9-under 62 for a four-stroke lead in Thursday's opening round.

Derek Jeter soaked in the adulation from fans and players during one more night on baseball's national stage, set the tone for the American League with a pregame speech and then delivered two final All-Star hits.

Derek Jeter was an elite shortstop winning World Series championships not long after many of baseball's current greats were born. Jeter's 14th All-Star Game will be his last.

At a World Cup where substitutes have made more impact than ever, it was fitting that Mario Goetze came off the bench to win it, and another replacement supplied the inch-perfect cross.

With two quick and sublimely deft touches, Mario Goetze ended Germany's 24-year wait for another World Cup title. Goetze scored the winning goal in extra time to give Germany a 1-0 victory over Argentina on Sunday in a tight and tense World Cup final that came down to a few moments of individual skill.

Carmelo Anthony wanted to be a Knick a few years ago, and nothing has changed now. Anthony is staying in New York, announcing his decision Sunday in a posting titled "My City, My Heart" on his website.

Regulation and overtime brought 120 minutes of scoreless exasperation in a World Cup semifinal on Wednesday that was by turns tense, cautious, clumsy, gripping and stubbornly unyielding.

Lance Lynn reached double figures in wins before the All-Star break for the third straight year and the St. Louis Cardinals are charging hard in the NL Central.

Kolten Wong was sitting on a fastball, hoping for extra bases to get something going in the ninth inning. The rookie downplayed his power after giving the St. Louis Cardinals their second straight game-winning, ninth-inning home run on a two-out, full-count drive that soared well beyond the right-field wall.

The fireworks began at dawn. All around this city, loud pops and bangs rang out as men and women and children, so many dressed in yellow, set off flares and beeped car horns.

The friendly matches in South Florida can involve as many as eight players, with teams decided by drawing names from a hat. Michelle Wie would seem to be a great pick, except for the timing.

A federal judge on Monday granted preliminary approval to a landmark deal that would compensate thousands of former NFL players for concussion-related claims. The ruling came about two weeks after the NFL agreed to remove a $675 million cap on damages.

There was no eye contact, nothing to indicate any reconciliation. The breakup of LeBron James and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was beyond bitter. It was an intense standoff, awkward and seemingly irreparable.

Louis van Gaal made the call, and Tim Krul made the saves. In another move that will only add to his reputation as a tactical mastermind, the Netherlands coach led his team into the World Cup semifinals after bringing on Krul with seconds remaining in extra time.

For once Lionel Messi didn't carry Argentina on his shoulders. He didn't have to. Gonzalo Higuain ended a four-game scoreless streak with an early winner as Argentina beat Belgium 1-0 and reached a World Cup semifinal match for the first time since 1990.

Colombia will mark two soccer milestones this week. One is happy, the other tragic. And chances are one doesn't happen without the other. On Friday, Colombia plays in a World Cup quarterfinal for the first time.

Underneath the jingoistic backlash that engulfed Jurgen Klinsmann last month when he dared to say that the United States national team was not currently capable of winning the World Cup was an actual question that is genuinely confusing -- particularly to casual soccer fans.

It felt as if Tim Howard would never go down. As if the United States would never go down, standing there, taking shots like an undersized fighter clinging to a puncher's chance.

Jason Kidd had a seat in the coaching box and a jersey in the rafters. He wanted more. And now his celebrated return to the Nets has turned into yet another ugly exit.

They know the eyes of the United States will be on them from thousands of miles away, and they say they are ready. The Americans try to reach the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time since 2002 when they play Belgium on Tuesday.

Stacy Lewis has worked tirelessly over her career to embrace the overwhelming support in her adopted state of Arkansas. The recovering introvert finally found a way to do so while overcoming her self-imposed pressure Sunday.

With his team down to 10 men for nearly an hour, Keylor Navas made sure Costa Rica's last line of defense held firm. The goalkeeper came through with a string of stops in regulation.

Wie continued her seasonlong surge on the LPGA Tour on Saturday, shooting her second straight 5-under 66 to take a two-shot lead in the suspended second round of the NW Arkansas Championship.

Michelle Wie didn't let a hectic national media tour slow the momentum following her U.S. Women's Open victory last week at Pinehurst. She shot a 5-under 66 to finish a stroke behind leader Alena Sharp after the first round of the LPGA NW Arkansas Championship.

Forward Jozy Altidore, who left early in the United States' opening match of the World Cup with a strained hamstring, should be available to face Belgium in the second round, coach Jurgen Klinsmann said Friday.

Novak Djokovic lay crumpled on Centre Court, clutching his upper left arm and grimacing. He felt something pop and feared the worst.

As the college basketball season hummed along, speculation of who would be the top pick in the NBA Draft shifted from Andrew Wiggins to Jabari Parker to Joel Embiid.

About 10 minutes before the end of the United States' game against Germany on Thursday, a U.S. Soccer staff member sidled up to one of coach Jurgen Klinsmann's assistants and informed him that Portugal had taken a one-goal lead against Ghana.

Michelle Wie has enjoyed a week full of celebration and national attention since finally winning her first major championship in the U.S. Women's Open. The most recognizable name in women's golf danced with her trophy and appeared on the morning television circuit.

When Jermaine Jones stands for the national anthems of his countries Thursday night, he will soak in the moment. Jones, like four American teammates and his coach, will be familiar with both “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the “Deutschlandlied” before the United States’ World Cup game against Germany.

FIFA has officially charged Uruguay's Luis Suarez with biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini in the teams' World Cup match, a process that could lead to a suspension for Uruguay's best offensive player.

With or without Luis Suarez, Uruguay faces a serious challenge keeping the Colombia juggernaut at bay in the last 16 of the World Cup. Inspired by a brilliant cameo performance off the bench from James Rodriguez, the Colombians completed a near-perfect group-stage campaign with a 4-1 win over Japan on Tuesday that eliminated the Asian champions.

Chasing a shot to his right, Rafael Nadal slipped and tumbled to the Centre Court turf. He popped up, raced across the baseline to get back into the point, and later capped the 14-stroke exchange with a backhand passing winner.

Neymar knew the responsibility was his. An increasingly anxious host nation was relying on him to ensure Brazil avoided the almost inconceivable prospect of going out in the group stage of a World Cup on its own soil.

The history-making men's and women's U.S. Opens, held back-to-back at Pinehurst No. 2, could not have produced a more fitting finale. After Martin Kaymer won the men's title, the last woman standing was Michelle Wie.

The road Michelle Wie took to a U.S. Women's Open title was unlike any other, and suddenly insignificant. Whether this was a long time coming was the least of her cares. She never looked happier.

Cristiano Ronaldo rarely sparkled on a hot and humid night in the jungle, but his inch-perfect stoppage-time cross set up Silvestre Varela for the equalizing goal Sunday in Portugal's 2-2 draw against the United States at the World Cup.

People flocked to Lucy Li like kids to the neighborhood ice cream truck during the first two rounds of the U.S. Women's Open. Michelle Wie, the 36-hole leader, was fine with that.

Moths and mosquitoes circled when the United States took the field for practice Saturday evening at Arena da Amazonia, a 40,000-seat stadium built in a remote area of the rainforest where the Rio Negro meets the Amazon.

Michelle Wie is becoming a regular contender in major championships, only now as an adult. She captivated women’s golf as a teenager, contending in three straight LPGA Tour majors when she was 16.

France is striking at the World Cup again, this time in a way the fans back home will approve of. Four years ago to the day, France’s players shamed the nation by going on strike at the last World Cup.

Edwin Encarnacion started Toronto's big comeback with a three-run homer. Many hours and momentum shifts later, he finished it with yet another. With those two bookend swings, he played the role of comeback kid.

Dropping to the turf on the left knee that was surgically repaired less than a month ago, Uruguay striker Luis Suarez was euphoric. Scoring a second goal against England sealed a 2-1 win on Thursday to revive Uruguay's World Cup campaign.

Comparisons were inevitable by hosting the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open on the game golf course in consecutive weeks. Only these had nothing to do with numbers. Stacy Lewis found comfort in comparisons with U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer.

With its superstars aging and its loyal coach slow to blend in young talent, Spain's glorious reign as the superpower of world football was bound to end.

The sandy soil of this part of the state is famous for the amount of water it can absorb. A cloudburst last Thursday night barely registered by the time the U.S. Open resumed on Pinehurst's No. 2 course Friday morning.

The Washington Redskins once wore a circled R on their helmets. Now they could become the first NFL team without a circled R -- as in registered trademark -- on their logo.

NEW YORK >> Once Masahiro Tanaka overcame that early jolt from Jose Reyes, the Japanese rookie did just fine. Tanaka gave up a home run to Reyes on the first pitch of the game, then earned his major league-high 11th victory as the New York Yankees beat Toronto 3-1 Tuesday night for their 14th straight home win over the Blue Jays.

PINEHURST, N.C. >> With pigtails and plenty of giggles, Lucy Li just wants to have fun like any 11-year-old girl. Except that she's playing the biggest event in women's golf.

FORTALEZA, Brazil >> He was called a hero and a savior by his Mexican teammates. His Brazilian opponents said he produced miracles. There is no doubt that Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa was the one responsible for spoiling Brazil's hopes of another World Cup victory at its home tournament.

John Brooks, a 21-year-old German-American who was playing in his first competitive game for the United States and who was on the field only because a starting fullback was hurt, powered a fierce header into the net in the 86th minute Monday.

About an hour after the season ended, Chris Bosh was standing near the bus ramp from where the Miami Heat would soon depart for the airport and the offseason. Miami's two-year reign was over. And Bosh almost sounded relieved.

With their 104-87 win in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, the Spurs celebrated their fifth championship in 16 seasons. San Antonio turned the series into a coronation by winning four of five games.

Switzerland grabbed a winner with virtually the final kick to earn a 2-1 victory over Ecuador in the World Cup on Sunday, extending a run of come-from-behind wins that are becoming a theme of the tournament.

Matt Adams homered for the third straight game and Matt Holliday also went deep, helping the St. Louis Cardinals to a 5-2 victory and series sweep Sunday over the Washington Nationals.

Early Sunday evening, LeBron James will gather his Miami Heat teammates around him and offer a few final words of wisdom before they try to extend their reign as NBA champions.

Costa Rica came from behind to stun Uruguay 3-1 Saturday at the World Cup, opening the tough Group D with a major upset. Costa Rica entered the tournament as one of the biggest underdogs to make it out of the group stage.

The San Antonio Spurs left Miami last June looking so human, Tim Duncan nearly in tears talking about how close they were to another championship. They don’t look human now. They look like a machine.

The Los Angeles Kings ended the longest postseason in franchise history with the longest game they had ever played. Thanks to Alec Martinez and one beautiful rebound goal, they finished as champions again.

The Netherlands thrashed the world champions 5-1 Friday in the World Cup’s first shocker, toying with an aging Spanish team that has dominated global football for the past six years and avenging a loss in the 2010 final.

Three days of practice at the new Pinehurst No. 2 was enough to make Martin Kaymer believe this would be the same old U.S. Open. Shots at the flag were checking up near the hole. He saw birdies — more than he expected.

Here they are again, back on the verge of a championship. It slipped away from the San Antonio Spurs last year, but it would take something special — historic, actually — to stop them now.

With a country that sees itself as the artful soul of football but is conflicted about spending billions of dollars to host its showcase tournament, one of the most troubled World Cups ever kicked off on Thursday.

ANAHEIM, Calif. >> After sweeping the Angels at home two weeks ago, the last thing the Oakland Athletics wanted was for Los Angeles to return the favor.

The biggest, loudest, longest, wildest party in the world kicks off Thursday in Brazil, as 32 teams descend on the soccer-crazed nation for the 2014 World Cup.

Taylor Teagarden had no idea how much of a relief his grand slam was to the scuffling New York Mets until his teammates were congratulating him for the rare hit with the bases loaded.

MIAMI >> Maybe in a video game. Possibly in the pregame layup line. But shoot this way in the NBA Finals, against the two-time defending champions? "It's not something you can plan for," San Antonio reserve Manu Ginobili said. "There was no magic plays. We just moved the ball and every shot went in."

Dwyane Wade thinks there's no one better than the Miami Heat at dealing with the mental challenge of the playoffs. In his eyes, only one other team might compare. He's talking about the San Antonio Spurs.

Manti Te'o is back practicing with the San Diego Chargers instead of working on a side field. "It's way better than running gassers, that's for sure," the inside linebacker said Monday.

With a 1-0 count, Kyle Bacak got the sign that sent the Horned Frogs back to the College World Series, executing a suicide squeeze bunt as the Horned Frogs rallied for a 6-5 victory over Pepperdine on Monday.

No cramps, no problems for LeBron James. And with their superstar making it to the finish this time, the Miami Heat bounced back from a loss, just as they always do in the playoffs.

Inbee Park won the Manulife Financial Classic on Sunday for her first LPGA Tour title in more than 11 months, matching the course record with a 10-under 61 for a three-stroke victory over Cristie Kerr.

Shanshan Feng took a two-stroke lead Saturday in the LPGA Tour's Manulife Financial Classic, shooting a 4-under 67 in calm conditions at Grey Silo. The 24-year-old Chinese player had a 15-under 198 total.

SAN ANTONIO >> The motto has always been the same for San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green when it comes to shooting the basketball. Just keep doing it until the shots start to fall.

WATERLOO, Ontario >> Defending champion Hee Young Park and Shanshan Feng topped the second-round leaderboard Friday in the LPGA Tour's Manulife Financial Classic, a stroke ahead of Michelle Wie.

SAN ANTONIO >> When the air conditioning went out in San Antonio, many of the Spurs felt right at home -- their native homelands.

"Beat the Heat!" had a whole new meaning in a sweltering start to the NBA Finals. The San Antonio Spurs handled the conditions, and the team, and it sure helped when a suffering LeBron James couldn't make it to the finish.

St. Louis second baseman Kolten Wong left his team's 3-2 loss at Kansas City on Thursday in the fifth inning with soreness in his left shoulder. The Hilo native and University of Hawaii alumnus was hurt diving for a ball Tuesday night in St. Louis.

Michelle Wie and defending champion Hee Young Park shared the first-round lead at 6-under 65 on Thursday in the Manulife Financial Classic at windswept Grey Silo.

SAN ANTONIO >> LeBron James and Dwyane Wade can point to statistics showing just how close the 2013 NBA Finals were. Tim Duncan doesn't need them.

CINCINNATI >> Juan Perez hasn't gotten many at-bats in the majors. He didn't need a whole lot of experience to know what was coming this time. Left-hander Tony Cingrani was going to throw a first-pitch fastball.

LOS ANGELES >> Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling agreed Wednesday to sign off on selling the team he has owned for 33 years to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion, bringing the possibility of a resolution to weeks of rumors, uncertainty and looming possibilities for legal action.

Four years ago, when LeBron James uttered that now-infamous phrase — "not two, not three, not four, not five ..." — about how many championships he hoped to win with the Heat, it was almost immediately turned into a punch line.

With every swing, Hideki Matsuyama appeared to join a cast of top players throwing away a chance to win the Memorial. A tee shot in the water on the 16th for double bogey.

Over the past 10 seasons, only one NBA player has been part of more wins than LeBron James. His name is Tim Duncan. Their numbers over that decade are incredibly similar.

The NBA canceled a hearing to oust Los Angeles Clippers co-owner Donald Sterling, instead moving forward to vote on a record-breaking deal negotiated by his wife to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.

Thunder guard Derek Fisher has played more playoff games than anyone in history. He says the Western Conference finals between the Thunder and San Antonio Spurs, filled with major strategy shifts and home blowouts, has produced one of the wildest series he's been involved in.

For the entirety of the regular season, the supremacy of the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference was brought into serious question by the Indiana Pacers. Then came the playoffs. And the question was answered -- emphatically.

PHILADELPHIA >> Ryan Howard is starting to look like a former MVP. Howard hit a three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Philadelphia Phillies to a 6-3 win over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night.

OKLAHOMA CITY >> The San Antonio Spurs have seen this nightmare before. In 2012, the Spurs won the first two games of the Western Conference finals against the Thunder, then lost four straight and were bounced out of the playoffs.


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