LONDON (Reuters) – Rory McIlroy will play in next week’s British Masters after the four times major winner failed to qualify for the Tour Championship in Atlanta.
The European Tour confirmed on Monday that the Northern Irishman will join tournament host Lee Westwood and U.S. Masters champion Lee Garcia at the Close House course near Newcastle upon Tyne.
It will be McIlroy’s fourth appearance at the British Masters, which he previously played in 2005, 2007 and 2008 before the tournament went off schedule for five years from 2009.
“I kind of had it in the back of my mind that if I didn’t make the Tour Championship then there was a chance to tee it up at Close House, so I have decided to do that before finishing my season off the next week at the Dunhill Links,” he told the Tour website (www.europeantour.com).
“Teeing it up next week gives me one more chance to end 2017 on a high as well,” he added.
“If I can sign off the year with a win or two in Newcastle and then St Andrews I would take so many positives into my six-week recovery period when I am going to reset mentally and physically and concentrate on getting myself in the right shape for next year.”
McIlroy has slipped to eighth in the latest world rankings after what is looking like becoming only his second winless season since turning professional.
Hampered with rib and back injuries, the 28-year-old said last month that he planned to take three months off at the end of the year to get fully fit.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge
(Reuters) – The Dallas Cowboys are the most valuable National Football League team for an 11th consecutive year, valued at nearly twice the league average, according to the annual list published by business magazine Forbes on Monday.
The Cowboys, who have reached the playoffs only nine times since winning their last Super Bowl in 1995, are worth $4.8 billion, up 14 percent rise from last year, Forbes said.
Reigning Super Bowl champions New England Patriots ($3.7 billion) were joined by New York Giants ($3.3 billion), Washington Redskins ($3.1 billion) and San Francisco 49ers ($3.05 billion) in the top five.
Forbes calculated the average value of the NFL’s 32 teams at $2.52 billion, an 8 percent jump that was driven by hefty TV contracts and new stadiums and stadium renovations that help to generate more revenue from premium seating and amenities.
The 10 most valuable NFL teams:
1. Dallas Cowboys ($4.8 billion)
2. New England Patriots ($3.7 billion)
3. New York Giants ($3.3 billion)
4. Washington Redskins ($3.1 billion)
5. San Francisco 49ers ($3.05 billion)
6. Los Angeles Rams ($3 billion)
7. Chicago Bears ($2.85 billion)
8. Houston Texans ($2.80 billion)
9. New York Jets ($2.75 billion)
10. Philadelphia Eagles ($2.65 billion)
For the complete list visit (Forbes.com/NFL)
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by David Goodman
LONDON (Reuters) – Sebastian Vettel’s temperament is under the spotlight again after the Ferrari driver’s hopes of seizing back the Formula One lead disappeared in a few seconds of mayhem at the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday.
The German, his fast-starting team mate Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen crashed out as they raced to the first corner.
Stewards summoned all three drivers after the race but decided none was wholly or predominantly to blame.
The view was not shared by others who either pointed the finger at Verstappen, in his last race as a teenager, or accused Vettel of needless aggression at a key point in the championship.
Long before Hamilton had stretched his lead to 28 points with six races remaining, Ferrari’s official Twitter feed stated that “VER (Verstappen) took #Kimi7 out and then he went to #Seb5.”
“What we tweeted was a factual description of events. No need to speculate on this,” it added later as reaction on social media flared.
Television footage and in-car cameras showed Raikkonen making a storming getaway from fourth on the grid and around Verstappen on the outside.
Vettel, on pole, was slower off the line and steered left to squeeze Verstappen, who kept his car straight and was pincered by the Ferraris.
The Dutch teenager and Raikkonen tangled wheels, with the Finn’s car slewing sideways and into Vettel’s before again careering into the Red Bull and also collecting Fernando Alonso’s McLaren.
“I think initially Sebastian saw I was a little bit better off the line than him so he wanted to close me. So he drove to the left,” said Verstappen.
Formula One F1 – Singapore Grand Prix 2017 – Singapore – September 17, 2017 Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel reacts after retiring from the race REUTERS/Edgar Su
“Maybe he didn’t see Kimi on the left but what do you expect, I cannot just move out of the way… I think it was just not very clever.”
Damon Hill, the 1996 world champion, was disappointed to see Vettel “pretty much blow his and Ferrari’s championships into smithereens.”
“Nice one Seb. You’re better than that. Need to watch that short fuse,” said the Briton in a blog post.
Vettel made a public apology in July after he banged into Hamilton’s Mercedes in a moment of ‘road rage’ at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix while both were following the safety car.
Former Williams, McLaren and Red Bull racer David Coulthard told Britain’s Channel 4 viewers that the crash was “instigated by Seb.”
Retired Australian driver turned pundit Mark Webber, who had a few clashes with Vettel as Red Bull team mates, defended Verstappen.
“If you were pushed for someone to blame then it looks like Seb because he’s the one doing the biggest movement,” he said in the Times newspaper.
“But in the end he wasn’t the one who crashed into Max. It was Kimi who crashed into Max. Max was innocent in this.”
Retired triple world champion Niki Lauda, now the Mercedes team’s non-executive chairman, said it was an incident Vettel could have avoided.
“If he (Vettel) would not have moved (across) he could have won the race, there’s no question about it. They were unlucky really, in a big way,” said the Austrian.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel will host the three opening stages of next year’s Giro d‘Italia, the first time a cycling classic race will be held outside Europe, organizers said on Monday.
The 101st edition of the Giro will open with a 10.1 kilometer individual time trial on May 4 in Jerusalem, followed by road races on the next two days, between Haifa and Tel Aviv (167-km) and Beersheba and Eilat (226-km).
The Giro, along with the Tour de France and Spain’s Vuelta comprise the world’s three major cycling tours.
“For us, who for years have spoken about internationalization of the Giro, to come to Israel is a unique opportunity to talk about Italy in this country,” Giro administrator Mauro Vegni said at the launch.
The event has also been embraced by Israeli authorities aiming to boost tourism and is set to be one of the largest international sports events ever staged in the country, as it celebrates 70 years since its founding in 1948.
“It’s a great honor for us to host the Giro d‘Italia, it shows the world has confidence in the ability of the state of Israel to organize a very big sports event,” Tourism Minister Yariv Levin told Reuters.
He said he did not expect political pressures to disrupt the race, and maps provided by the organizers show that the stages will be run in territory held by Israel before the 1967 Middle East war.
Although Israel is situated on the western edge of Asia, its sports organizations are affiliated with Europe. Around 200 riders are expected to compete.
Israel hopes to enter a wild-card team, said Canadian-born Israeli Sylvan Adams, one of the organizers, who added that it was he who persuaded Giro officials to bring the race to the country.
Former Giro winners Alberto Contador and Ivan Basso, who attended the launch, said the course in a new, untested environment would require careful tactical consideration by teams looking to gain an early advantage.
“All the bunch is fresh and each team will want their leader to take the pink jersey,” Basso said.
“The first time trial is not easy with a lot of turns and up and down and the second stage along the coast, and the third in the desert, possibly with a lot of wind – it will not be an easy start for the race.”
Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Christian Radnedge
(The Sports Xchange) – Highlights of Sunday’s National Football League games:
Patriots 36, Saints 20
Tom Brady threw for 302 of his 447 passing yards in a 30-point first-half explosion and New England rebounded from a season-opening loss to Kansas City with a rout of New Orleans.
Brady connected on 19 of 25 passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns in the first half alone as New England (1-1) raced to a 30-13 lead and coasted to the win over the Saints (0-2).
It was the first time in Brady’s career — spanning 273 games — that he threw three touchdown passes in the first quarter. He hit three different players – running back Rex Burkhead for 19 yards, tight end Rob Gronkowski for 53 and wide receiver Chris Hogan for 13 – and finished 30 of 39 for 447 yards.
The Patriots finished with 555 yards in total offense with Gronkowski catching six passes for 116 yards before leaving with a reported groin injury.
Drew Brees (27 of 44 for 356 yards and two touchdowns) tried to keep the Saints close, connecting with Brandon Coleman on a five-yard fade that began a 10-point comeback in the second quarter and cut New England’s lead to 20-13.
Broncos 42, Cowboys 17
Quarterback Trevor Siemian shook off a pair of costly turnovers to throw for four touchdowns, and the Denver Broncos dominated the Dallas Cowboys in a game that was suspended for about an hour due to the danger of lightning strikes.
Denver’s defense capped its performance with a flourish as cornerback Aqib Talib returned an interception 102 yards for a touchdown, stepping in front of Dak Prescott’s end-zone pass intended for Dez Bryant and sprinting down the sideline for the score.
Siemian completed 22 of 32 for 231 yards and had touchdown passes of 10 and 6 yards to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, along with a 16-yard scoring pass to C.J. Anderson and 2 yards to tight end Virgil Green.
Chiefs 27, Eagles 20
Two second-half touchdowns from running back Kareem Hunt on runs of 53 and two yards helped Kansas City (2-0) pull away from Philadelphia (1-1).
The second gave the Chiefs a 27-13 lead.
Kansas City had gone ahead for good with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Alex Smith to tight end Travis Kelce that put the Chiefs up 20-13.
Raiders, 45, Jets 20
Derek Carr threw three touchdown passes to wide receiver Michael Crabtree, running back Jalen Richard scored on a 52-yard run and wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson had a 43-yard scoring run as Oakland (2-0) rolled to an easy victory over New York (0-2).
Running back Marshawn Lynch carried 12 times for 45 yards and scored on a 2-yard touchdown in his first home game with the Raiders.
Panthers 9, Bills 3
The Carolina Panthers relied on relentless defense and three Graham Gano field goals for a victory over the Buffalo.
The Bills (1-1) put together a potential winning drive, moving to the Carolina 32 in the final minute before quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw incomplete to rookie receiver Zay Jones at the Carolina 2 on fourth down with nine seconds left.
Carolina quarterback Cam Newton completed 20 of 32 passes for 228 yards. The Panthers (2-0) lost tight end Greg Olsen to a first-half injured right foot.
Steelers 26, Vikings 9
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed 23 of 35 passes for 243 yards and two first-half touchdowns for Pittsburgh (2-0).
Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon jumps to elude the tackle of Miami Dolphins defensive back Nate Allen (29) and free safety Reshad Jones (20) during the second half.
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Roethlisberger threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Martavis Bryant to cap the Steelers’ second possession and found JuJu Smith-Schuster for a four-yard shovel pass in the second quarter as Minnesota fell to 1-1.
Seahawks 12, 49ers 9
Russell Wilson’s nine-yard touchdown pass to Paul Richardson with just over seven minutes remaining sent the Seahawks past San Francisco (0-2).
Wilson overcame a poor passing performance on a rainy afternoon to put together a 10-play, 82-yard drive that included several scrambles for first downs before throwing the go-ahead touchdown pass to Richardson.
Cardinals 16, Colts 13 (overtime)
Phil Dawson’s 30-yard field goal with 8:02 remaining in overtime rallied Arizona (1-1) from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit at Indianapolis (0-2)
Dawson kicked the winner after free safety Tyrann Mathieu intercepted Indianapolis quarterback Jacoby Brissett at the Colts 22 on the first play of overtime.
Dolphins 19, Chargers 17
Cody Parkey kicked his fourth field goal, a 54 yarder with 65 seconds remaining, to send Miami (1-0) past the Los Angeles Chargers (0-2)
Charger rookie Younghoe Koo’s 44-yard field goal with five seconds left was off the mark. It was the second straight week Koo had failed to win or tie a game in the closing seconds,.
Buccaneers 29, Bears 7
Tampa Bay (1-0) led 26-0 at halftime against the Bears (0-2) who had four first-half turnovers.
The Bucs turned two of the takeaways into touchdowns — a 13-yard pass from quarterback Jameis Winston to wide receiver Mike Evans and a 1-yard run by Jacquizz Rodgers.
Bears quarterback Mike Glennon completed 31 of 45 passes for 301 yards, but was haunted by a pair of critical second-quarter errors.
Ravens 24, Browns 10
Joe Flacco threw a pair of touchdown passes and Baltimore (2-0) forced five turnovers in the victory over Cleveland (0-2).
Flacco completed 25 of 34 pass attempts for 217 yards and an interception.
Cleveland rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer left with a migraine midway through the second quarter but returned.
Titans 37, Jaguars 16
Tennessee (1-1) forced three turnovers and scored on their first five drives of the second half to defeat Jacksonville (1-1).
The Titans had four straight touchdowns – by running back Derrick Henry, tight ends Delanie Walker and Jonnu Smith and fullback Jalston Fowler.
Redskins 27, Rams 20
Kirk Cousins’ 11-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Grant with 1:49 remaining lifted the Washington Redskins over the Los Angeles Rams.
The Redskins jumped to a 13-0 lead and never trailed. The Rams caught up to tie it, 20-20, in the fourth quarter, but never led.
LONDON (Reuters) – Line judges face an uncertain future after the ATP announced that they will be replaced by “electronic line calls” at this year’s inaugural Next Gen Finals in Milan.
For the first time at an ATP event, the chair umpire will be the only official on court, with ‘Hawk-Eye Live’ technology used to judge whether shots are in or out.
Decisions will be final with players unable to challenge calls as they do at most tournaments via Hawk-Eye playback.
Marginal calls will, however, still be accompanied by a visualization on video screens around the stadium.
Foot-faults, usually called by judges positioned in line with the baseline, will be determined by a ‘review official’ who will monitor the feet of servers via cameras.
The Next Gen ATP Finals in November, which will be contested by the top eight players aged 21 and under, will feature a range of new innovations including a shot clock and short sets.
Electronic line calling, however, raises the possibility of judges being phased out for good — ending the ritual of players scowling at officials when decision go against them.
“This could be a landmark moment for officiating in our sport,” Gayle David Bradshaw, executive vice president of the ATP’s Rules and Competition department, said.
”Our athletes work incredibly hard and they deserve the very best and most accurate officiating we can offer. The technology is now in a place where we feel comfortable trialling this new system in a real tournament environment.
“The Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan is the perfect place to do this, and we look forward to monitoring the results and assessing the merits of this new system.”
Hawk-Eye Live technology has been tested for 18 months and Sam Green, Director of Tennis at Hawk-Eye, believes it will become “the future of tennis officiating”.
“Working with the ATP has allowed us to refine the system to not only improve the quality of line calling, but the overall fan experience,” he said in a statement.