Wednesday, July 17, 2024

McIlroy, Cantlay lead U.S. Open after Round 1; Panthers push Oilers to the brink with Game 3 win

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🏌 Good morning to everyone, but especially to …


Patrick Cantlay and Rory McIlroy are looking down at the rest of the leaderboard following Round 1 of the 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst. Both golfers shot a 65 on Thursday, good for 5-under and first place heading into Friday.

Cantlay has never won a major tournament in his career, and he’s never finished higher than 14th in the U.S. Open. He is already in unfamiliar territory as this is the first time he’s ever been inside the top five of a major after 18 holes.

It’s a good start for Cantlay, but he still has a lot of work to do with some daunting company right around him at the top of the leaderboard. That includes McIlroy, who is trying out a more “stoic” approach these days.

  • McIlroy: “I think, with my demeanor, just trying to be super stoic. Just trying to be as even-keeled as I possibly can be. I really feel like that’s the thing that has served me well in these U.S. Opens over the past few years. Just trying to be 100% committed to the shots and 100% committed to having a good attitude.”

While Cantlay is trying to win his first major, McIlroy is trying to notch his first major tournament victory in 10 years. McIlroy has been stuck on four major wins since he won at The Open Championship in 2014.

Heading into Round 2 of the U.S. Open, the top of the leaderboard looks like this:

T-1. Patrick Cantlay (-5)
T-1. Rory McIlroy (-5)
3. Ludvig Åberg (-4)
T-4. Matthieu Pavon (-3)
T-4. Bryson DeChambeau (-3)

Meanwhile, Tiger Woods is just trying to make the cut after shooting a 74 in Round 1. Woods is tied for 78th at 4-over, and he’s just one stroke off the projected cutline heading into Round 2.

👍 Honorable mentions

🏒 And not such a good morning for …


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The Oilers entered this Stanley Cup Final just four wins away from their first championship since 1990 … and they are still four wins away following a 4-3 loss to the Panthers in Game 3.

It was an all too familiar story for the Oilers on Thursday night. They outshot the Panthers, 35-23, but made too many catastrophic mistakes to come away with a win.

To make matters worse, Edmonton’s strengths were supposed to be high-end skill at the top of the lineup and a lethal power play. So far, neither of those things have manifested in this series.

  • Connor McDavid has yet to score despite putting 14 shots on goal.
  • Leon Draisaitl, Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have combined for zero points.
  • The vaunted Edmonton power play is now 0 for 10 in the series.

In goal, Stuart Skinner has reverted to his pre-conference final self. In the Stanley Cup Final, Skinner has posted a .868 save percentage and a 3.08 GAA. Is it too late for the Oilers to give Calvin Pickard a shot in net?

Edmonton now faces a 3-0 deficit, which has only been overcome by four teams in NHL history. The only team ever to climb out of a 3-0 hole in the Final, the Toronto Maple Leafs, did so 82 years ago in 1942.

👎 Not so honorable mentions

🏈 Trevor Lawrence gets the bag from the Jags


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Everyone’s a little more chipper on Friday morning, but Trevor Lawrence has some extra pep in his step today. That’s because he signed a record-tying $275 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday evening.

Lawrence’s contract ties him with Joe Burrow as the highest-paid quarterback in NFL history. He also becomes the fourth quarterback in NFL history with at least $200 million in guaranteed money, joining Burrow, Deshaun Watson, and Justin Herbert.

Here are the top five highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL after Lawrence’s mammoth deal:

1. Trevor Lawrence | $55 million per year
2. Joe Burrow | $55 million per year
3. Jared Goff | $53 million per year
4. Justin Herbert | $52.5 million per year
5. Lamar Jackson | $52 million per year

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Lawrence already ranks fourth in Jaguars history in passing yards (11,770) and passing touchdowns (58). Lawrence also led Jacksonville to the divisional round of the playoffs in the 2022 season.

Despite some early success, Lawrence has had some struggles taking care of the football. His 21 giveaways led the NFL last season, and his 21 fumbles lost are tied for the most by any player in his first three seasons.

Those turnovers are easier to swallow with a quarterback on a rookie deal. However, Lawrence’s performance doesn’t stack up well when compared to other highly-paid quarterbacks.

🏀 Dan Hurley goes in-depth with CBS Sports


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After flirting with the Los Angeles Lakers, Dan Hurley has chosen to remain at UConn and go for a third straight national championship.

The decision was a difficult one for Hurley, and he gave CBS Sports some insight into his thought process. The Huskies head coach sat down with our own Matt Norlander for a wide-ranging discussion about everything from his Lakers visit to a Billy Joel concert.

One aspect of the Lakers’ pitch that really appealed to Hurley was the opportunity to coach LeBron James, but the basketball world won’t ever get to see that unique combination.

  • Hurley: “That was one of the pluses. It was one of the draws, was the chance, in your lifetime, to have coached one of the greatest players of all time. I have a lot of confidence that my work ethic and my expertise and my ability to connect with him would have made for a great partnership there.”

Here are some more key points from Hurley’s interview with CBS Sports:

  • Hurley denied the idea that it was all a ploy to get more leverage in negotiations with UConn.
  • Alex Karaban‘s decision to return to UConn for another year factored into Hurley’s decision.
  • The Huskies’ head coach compared his experience to being in The Truman Show.

🏈 Big 12 Conference mulling historic naming rights deal


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If you like the abandonment of tradition in favor of big-money corporate partnerships, you might be the Big 12 Conference.

As reported by our own Brandon Marcello, the Big 12 is exploring the possibility of selling its naming rights to a corporate sponsor. The conference would drop the word “Big” and replace it with the name of the sponsor while keeping “12” in the name.

One Big 12 source admitted to CBS Sports that the conference is trying to keep up with financial juggernauts like the SEC and Big Ten, which have poached member institutions from the Big 12 in recent years.

  • Marcello: “Private equity and naming rights are among a variety of commercial opportunities the league is exploring to close the gap between Big 12 and the Big Ten and SEC, and to maintain the highest level of competitiveness.”

The Big 12 is also considering a private equity investment that would bring in as much as $1 billion in exchange for a 15% to 20% stake in the conference. The deal would be another way for member schools to compete with the Big Ten and SEC in the financial arms race.

📺 What we’re watching this weekend

Well, the U.S. Open, of course. Here’s how to view the play from Pinehurst and the rest of the weekend’s action.


CWS: Virginia at North Carolina, 2 p.m. on ESPN
CWS: Florida State at Tennessee, 7 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 NBA Finals — Game 4: Celtics at Mavericks, 8:30 p.m. on ABC


🏀 Sun at Wings, 1 p.m. on CBS
🏀 Liberty at Aces, 2 p.m. on ABC
CWS: NC State at Kentucky, 2 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 BIG3: Week 1, 4 p.m. on CBS
CWS: Florida at Texas A&M, 7 p.m. on ESPN
Yankees at Red Sox, 7:15 p.m. on Fox
🏒 Stanley Cup Final — Game 4: Panthers at Oilers, 8 p.m. on ABC


🏀 Sky at Fever, 12 p.m. on CBS
🏎 Iowa Corn 350, 7 p.m. on USA Network
Yankees at Red Sox, 7 p.m. on ESPN

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