By Nick Mulvenney SYDNEY (Reuters) - Europe's Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke is in no hurry to pick his vice-captains for next year's clash with the United States at Hazeltine, saying he wanted to give the candidates every chance to qualify as players first. Davis Love III, the Northern Irishman's American counterpart for the Sept. 30-Oct. 2 clash, announced four of his five vice-captains, including Tiger Woods, earlier this month. Clarke said he would wait until early April before finalizing his list.
By Nick Mulvenney SYDNEY, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Europe's Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke is in no hurry to pick his vice-captains for next year's clash with the United States at Hazeltine, saying he wanted to give the candidates every chance to qualify as players first. Davis Love III, the Northern Irishman's American counterpart for the Sept. 30-Oct. 2 clash, announced four of his five vice-captains, including Tiger Woods, earlier this month. Clarke said he would wait until early April before finalising his list.
By Roberta Rampton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays, sporting running shoes with his suit and tie, rose slowly from his chair and waved his baseball cap as President Barack Obama decorated him on Tuesday with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Mays, 84, one of the first black players in Major League Baseball and considered among the game's all-time greats in a career spent mostly with the New York and San Francisco Giants, was among 17 people given the highest U.S. civilian honor. "It's because of giants like Willie that someone like me could even think about running for president," Obama said during the White House ceremony.
Carolina Panthers defensive end Frank Alexander was suspended by the NFL for a minimum of one year without pay Tuesday while free agent safety LaRon Landry was issued an indefinite ban. The Panthers announced Alexander's ban, the third on a Carolina player this week, for his third violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy. Landry's punishment, confirmed by the NFL's website, was for his third violation of the league's performance-enhancing drug policy, according to ESPN.
(Reuters) - Johnny Manziel's reign as starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns proved short-lived as the National Football League club demoted him on Tuesday one day after a partying video of him hit social media sites. Browns coach Mike Pettine said in a statement issued by the team that veteran quarterback Josh McCown would start Monday's game against the Baltimore Ravens and would be his starter "going forward". Manziel, known by the nickname "Johnny Football" from his standout collegiate years at Texas A&M, had been named the Browns' starter for the rest of the season after throwing for 372 yards in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov 15.
Johnny Manziel was dumped as the starting quarterback of the Cleveland Browns on Tuesday after video of him drinking champagne in a party atmosphere surfaced. Manziel, who spent three months in a rehabilitation facility he entered voluntarily in January, was seen in video and photos purportedly partying with alcohol last week during the team's week off. Browns coach Mike Pettine, who a week earlier had said Manziel would be the starter for the remainder of the season, said he was very disappointed to see the video.
Undefeated Carolina will try to reach 11-0 while the Green Bay Packers seek a NFL division lead Thursday in their first US Thanksgiving Day home game since 1923. Green Bay will pay tribute to legendary quarterback Brett Favre on Thursday with his name and jersey number, 4, unveiled alongside the team's five other icons to have their numbers retired: Reggie White (92), Bart Starr (15), Ray Nitschke (66), Don Hutson (14) and Tony Canadeo (3).
Daily fantasy sports company DraftKings said on Tuesday it hired regulatory risk and compliance firm Exiger to conduct a review of its financial, operational, compliance and risk controls, as the company and its top competitor, FanDuel, have come under fire from state and federal regulators. DraftKings said in a statement that Ray Pollitt -- a former Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent who was the lead case agent in the U.S. government's investigation of online poker -- will head up Exiger's efforts at the daily fantasy sports company.
LeBron James reached another statistical milestone as the Cleveland Cavaliers overpowered the Orlando Magic 117-103 on Monday. James joined Oscar Robertson as the only other player in NBA history to rank in the top 25 for both scoring and assists after helping team-mate Kevin Love to a three-pointer with five minutes left in the second quarter. The assist pushed James' career total to 6,837, nudging him ahead of Norm Nixon into 25th place.
World number one Jordan Spieth on Tuesday said he's treating the Olympics as a "fifth major" next year as he revealed his excitement at golf's return to the Games in Rio de Janeiro. "Winning a gold medal has got to be up there now in my mind with winning a major championship. Scott last week said the Olympics was "not really a priority of my scheduling next year".
World number one Jordan Spieth admitted Tuesday it will be difficult to repeat the success he's enjoyed this year in 2016, but the American expects to win at least one major. Spieth is back in Sydney to defend this week's Australian Open, a victory he capped with a blistering final-round, course-record 63 that kick-started a rich vein of form. The Dallas-born player went on to win the following week’s Hero World Challenge and then headed into the PGA Tour season, capturing the Masters and US Open titles along with the Valspar Championship, a second John Deere Classic and the year-ending Tour Championship.
The New England Patriots ground out a bruising 20-13 victory over the Buffalo Bills to keep their unbeaten start to the season intact. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady survived a sustained buffeting from the Buffalo defense to steer the reigning Super Bowl champions to their 10th win of the current campaign. Brady threw one touchdown pass and his third interception of the season as New England dug deep at Foxborough to see off their AFC Eastern Division rivals.
The Philadelphia 76ers edged closer to another chapter of NBA infamy on Monday, crashing 100-95 to the Minnesota Timberwolves to leave them just one defeat away from the worst losing streak in history. The 76ers are now 0-15 for the season, and combined with a run of 10 straight defeats last year have lost 25 games in a row. One more defeat will see them match the all-time record of 26 straight losses, which the 76ers 2013-14 team currently shares with the Cleveland Cavaliers side of 2010-11.
Kevin Durant scored 27 points on his return from a six-game injury layoff as the Oklahoma City Thunder routed Utah Jazz 111-89. Durant set the tone for a dominant performance in the opening two minutes with a superb floater as the Thunder blew away Utah at the Vivint Smart Home Arena. "It felt good," said Durant, who hit 10 of 13 shots from the field and three of six from three-point range.
(The Sports Xchange) - The undefeated New England Patriots survived a physical war and topped the Buffalo Bills 20-13 on Monday night. Running back James White scored his first two NFL touchdowns and wide receiver Danny Amendola caught nine passes for 117 yards for the Patriots (10-0). Amendola suffered a knee injury in the second half.
(The Sports Xchange) - Christmas might still be a month away but the San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns are already in a giving mood, or so it seems from the two teams' combined 49 turnovers in the Spurs' 98-84 win versus the Suns Monday. Forward Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 24 points and 13 rebounds as one of four San Antonio players in double-figure scoring. The Spurs remained unbeaten at home despite setting a season-high with 21 turnovers that resulted in 18 points for the Suns.
(The Sports Xchange) - The Miami Heat's sputtering offense continued but they used an improving defense to defeat the New York Knicks 95-78 on Monday. Miami, spurred by a 36-8 run in the first half, led by as many as 26 points and held on rather comfortably. The Heat snapped the Knicks' four-game win streak, holding them to 32-percent shooting from the floor.
By Nick Mulvenney SYDNEY (Reuters) - World number one Jordan Spieth returns to the course where he rediscovered the art of winning last year to defend the Australian Open title he clinched with a quite brilliant final round. The American arrived in Sydney last November ranked 14th in the world with just one U.S. PGA title to his name but shot a course record 63 to beat Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott, then the top two in the world, and secure the Stonehaven Cup. "I didn't think it would launch that type of year," Spieth told reporters at The Australian Golf Club on Tuesday.
The National Football League said on Monday it was investigating why St. Louis Rams quarterback Case Keenum was not tested for a possible concussion despite new rules to show the league is taking concussions more seriously. When he was tackled by Baltimore Ravens' 300-lb (136-kg) defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan, Keenum immediately held his head before managing to get to his knees while game officials sorted out a penalty. St. Louis's backup quarterback Nick Foles put his helmet on and began warming up, but a wobbly Keenum managed to stand up and stay in the game.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into the violent arrest of a fan at University of Mississippi football game after a video showed a security officer punching the man in the face during the arrest, school officials said Monday. The video, which went viral over the weekend, shows two security officers confronting a man in the stands at Saturday's matchup between Ole Miss and Louisiana State University at the Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Miss. The man is identified as Chris Barnes by his wife, Holly Barnes, who posted the video on her Facebook page. In the video, Chris Barnes is smiling during his conversation with the officers when one of them appears to punch or push him, causing him to fall down behind some nearby spectators.
Now there's talk that the Golden State Warriors could surpass the record 72-10 season of the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. Golden State's Klay Thompson is on record as saying 73 wins are possible for the defending champions, who moved to 15-0 on Sunday. Reigning Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry thinks it would be a tall order -- but has also indicated it wasn't out of the realm of possibility.
Former outfielder Dave Roberts was confirmed as the new manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday, becoming the first ethnic minority boss of the iconic franchise, the Major League Baseball outfit said. Roberts, 43, the son of an African-American former Marine and Japanese-American mother, will be formally introduced at an unveiling on December 1, the Dodgers said. The new team manager replaces Don Mattingly, who left the club by mutual agreement at the end of the close season after the Dodgers once again failed to reach the World Series.
By Michael Erman NEW YORK (Reuters) - Entries at daily fantasy sports site FanDuel's NFL contests have fallen sharply since New York's attorney general declared the games to be illegal gambling in the state and the company stopped taking money from New Yorkers. FanDuel received $23.6 million in entries overall for its National Football League contests over the weekend, down 17 percent from two weeks earlier, according to data from daily fantasy sports industry tracker Super Lobby. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has asked a court to shutter FanDuel and top competitor DraftKings in the state, saying that daily fantasy sports gaming "is nothing more than a rebranding of sports betting." The companies will argue in a New York court on Wednesday that they should be allowed to continue operating.
(Reuters) - Quarterback Peyton Manning will sit out once again as the Denver Broncos said on Monday that 25-year-old understudy Brock Osweiler will make his second successive start on Sunday against the New England Patriots. Manning is recovering from left foot and rib injuries and coach Gary Kubiak told reporters that he was seeking a second opinion for the painful case of plantar fasciitis in Manning's foot. "Peyton is frustrated by the fact that he's injured," Kubiak said of the 14-time Pro Bowler and five-time NFL MVP, who has been struggling through a sub-par season.
By Jonathan Stempel and Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) - The federal appeals court in New York will hear on March 3 the National Football League's appeal of the lifting of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's four-game suspension in the "Deflategate" controversy. Monday's scheduling order from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals should permit the league to complete its season, including Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7, without disruption from the court case.
By Mark Lamport-Stokes LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Los Angeles Dodgers appointed longshot Dave Roberts as their new manager on Monday, a month after the club had mutually agreed to part ways with the previous skipper, Don Mattingly. Roberts, 43, was the starting center fielder for the Dodgers from 2002-04 but has never previously managed at any level in baseball. Most recently, he was bench coach with the San Diego Padres and he takes charge of one of the sport's best-known franchises after dazzling the club's management in his interview.
After another stellar season, Rory McIlroy says one of his priorities for 2016 is to win the Masters at Augusta which would complete the Northern Irishman's "Grand Slam" set of all four majors. The 26-year-old put the finishing touches on his 2015 campaign when he won the DP World Tour Championship on Sunday and also retained his Race to Dubai crown for a bumper payday of some $3.208 million (3.02m euros). It was a season, in which the four-time major winner failed to defend both his British Open and PGA Championship crowns, the former after damaging ankle ligaments playing football with friends.
(Reuters) - Arizona's J.J. Nelson had big shoes to fill when he stepped into the line-up for the injured Michael Floyd against Cincinnati on Sunday but the rookie receiver took the task in his stride, hauling in four catches for 142 yards and a touchdown. Nelson has been used sparingly by the Cardinals this season, but with Floyd sidelined due to a hamstring problem the speedy first-year player grabbed his chance to shine with both hands in Arizona's 34-31 win. “I rose to the occasion,” Nelson said.
(The Sports Xchange) - Carson Palmer said Sunday night's showdown against the Cincinnati Bengals was not going to be "just another game." The contest carried some extra weight on a few different fronts, from it being the 100th game the Arizona Cardinals would play in University of Phoenix Stadium, to it coming against the former team Palmer demanded to be traded from. The Cardinals hit the trifecta with a 34-31 victory over the Bengals during their second consecutive appearance on NBC's "Sunday Night Football," as Palmer overcame two first-quarter interceptions to throw for four touchdowns. The Bengals rallied behind quarterback Andy Dalton (315 yards, two touchdowns) to tie the score, 31-31, with 1:08 to play on a 43-yard field goal by kicker Mike Nugent.
Quarterback Cam Newton threw five touchdown passes to lead the Carolina Panthers to a 10th straight NFL victory on Sunday, a 44-16 pounding of the Washington Redskins. The Panthers improved the best season start in franchise history to 10-0, scoring off of four Washington turnovers to remain one of two unbeaten teams in the league. The New England Patriots will be trying to improve to 10-0 when they host the Buffalo Bills on Monday.
(The Sports Xchange) - Golden State guard Klay Thompson scored 21 points, Stephen Curry had 19 and seven assists, and the Warriors won their 15th straight to match the best start in league history with a 118-105 win over the Denver Nuggets. The Warriors are the third NBA team to start the season 15-0 and the first defending champions to do so. The 1948-49 Washington Capitals and the 1993-94 Houston Rockets also began with 15 straight wins.
The Golden State Warriors defeated the host Denver Nuggets 118-105 to equal the best start to a season in NBA history with their 15th win of 2015. The reigning NBA champion Warriors matched the record 15-0 opening achieved by Washington in 1948-49 and by the Houston Rockets in 1993-94. "To get to 15-0 and tie a record that has been standing for a long time is a huge accomplishment," said reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry.
(The Sports Xchange) - Even though Oklahoma City have a team full of veteran and experienced players, this season they have had problems closing out games. While playing without forward Kevin Durant is a factor, it is only one reason for fourth-quarter meltdowns. When the Thunder took on Dallas on Sunday, they once again were given the opportunity to fall apart and allow a team to steal a victory from them.
(The Sports Xchange) - Bullies of the NFC North in recent seasons, the Green Bay Packers rode into Minnesota with a three-game losing streak and an edge of desperation on Sunday and got a dominating 30-13 win over the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium. The win saw Green Bay move back into a first-place tie with Minnesota atop the North with matching 7-3 records. The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Vikings and was their first defeat at home this season.
(Reuters) - Cristie Kerr eagled the par-five 17th for a one-shot win at the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship in Florida on Sunday, while Lydia Ko held off Park In-bee and Lexi Thompson to claim the $1 million Race to the CME Globe jackpot. Kerr, 38, claimed her 18th career LPGA title and a $500,000 check by rolling in a three-foot par putt at the 18th to complete a four-under-par 68 for a 17-under 271 total at the Tiburon course in Naples. Rookie Jang Ha-na of South Korea posted a 69 for 272 to share second place with American Gerina Piller, who fired a 67.
* Kerr wins 18th title * Ko collects million-dollar bonus and Player of the Year * Park claims scoring title and qualifies for Hall of Fame (Adds details, quotes) Nov 22 (Reuters) - Cristie Kerr eagled the par-five 17th for a one-shot win at the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship in Florida on Sunday, while Lydia Ko held off Park In-bee and Lexi Thompson to claim the $1 million Race to the CME Globe jackpot. Kerr, 38, claimed her 18th career LPGA title and a $500,000 check by rolling in a three-foot par putt at the 18th to complete a four-under-par 68 for a 17-under 271 total at the Tiburon course in Naples. World number one Ko was in a tight battle to hold on to her edge in the jackpot race, with South Korean Park missing a birdie putt at the 17th as did Thompson that would have put them out in front for that prize.
(Reuters) - The Baltimore Ravens lost quarterback Joe Flacco for the rest of the season with knee ligament damage on Sunday as they notched a costly win over St Louis Rams with a last-second field goal. Flacco went down with a torn ACL, and possibly a torn MCL, Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said after the Ravens' 16-13 win. Harbaugh said Flacco suffered the injury on their last offensive series, which he still finished, with the Ravens winning on Justin Tucker's 47-yard field goal as time expired.
The golf course to be used for the 2016 Rio Olympics, which was at the centre of a series of delays and environmental disputes, was handed over to Games organisers Sunday. Situated at Barra da Tijuca to the west of the teeming city, the $10.6 million course which boasts an artificial lake and is spread over 970,000 square metres was built despite Rio already having two golf courses. "The course is ready for the Olympic Games," said Rio mayor Eduardo Paes.
(Reuters) - Kevin Kisner, a runner-up four times this year, secured his first PGA Tour win with a flourish, firing his second successive 64 for a six-shot victory in the RSM Classic in coastal Georgia on Sunday. Kisner, 31, began the final round with a three-shot lead and turned it into a romp with five birdies on the front side to make the turn in 30. American Kevin Chappell shot 67 to take second place on 16-under 266, one stroke better than Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell, who also returned a 67 on St Simons Island.
Kevin Kisner, a runner-up four times this year, secured his first PGA Tour win with a flourish, firing his second successive 64 for a six-shot victory in the RSM Classic in coastal Georgia on Sunday. Kisner, 31, began the final round with a three-shot lead and turned it into a romp with five birdies on the front side to make the turn in 30. American Kevin Chappell shot 67 to take second place on 16-under 266, one stroke better than Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell, who also returned a 67 on St Simons Island.