LIV Golf unveils 12 teams for LIV Golf Invitational Portland

LIV Golf unveils 12 teams for LIV Golf Invitational Portland
Stinger GC, captained by Louis Oosthuizen, third left, will be looking to defend their team title. (File/AFP)
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Updated 29 June 2022

LIV Golf unveils 12 teams for LIV Golf Invitational Portland

LIV Golf unveils 12 teams for LIV Golf Invitational Portland
  • All-South African Stinger GC, captained by Louis Oosthuizen, look to defend team title
  • World leading 48-player field also features individuals competing for millions in prize money

JEDDAH: The Saudi-backed LIV Golf company on Wednesday revealed the 12 teams from the 48-player field competing in the LIV Golf Invitational Portland, the tour’s second event of the season taking place from June 30 to July 2 at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in Oregon.

The LIV Golf Invitational Series features teams of four where players compete as individuals and teams for both points and prize money. Captains and teams are finalized the week of each event, as each tournament may showcase a different field.

In the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational London at Centurion Club, Stinger GC, with captain Louis Oosthuizen and fellow South Africans Charl Schwartzel, Hennie du Plessis and Branden Grace, took first place with a total score of 20-under par. The four players will again compete together to defend the first-ever team title against a field that showcases a variety of new team captains and rosters, as well as major champions and rising stars making their debut.

Every team has a LIV Golf-appointed team captain who selects his squad. All members of the four-player teams, including the captain, compete in the three-day tournament. The player with the lowest 54-hole stroke play total is the individual winner. In the team competition, the best two stroke play scores in the first two rounds will count for each team. For the third and final round, the best three scores will count. The lowest overall team score after 54 holes is the team winner.

Below are the team profiles for the LIV Golf Invitational Portland:

STINGER GC: All four players were born in South Africa. Stinger GC won the inaugural team competition at the LIV Golf Invitational London. Stinger members also took the top three spots on the individual leaderboard (1-Charl Schwartzel, 2-Hennie du Plessis, 3-Branden Grace).

CRUSHERS GC: New LIV Golf member Bryson DeChambeau takes over as captain. DeChambeau replaces Peter Uihlein, who led the team to a runner-up finish in London. Uihlein, fourth individually in London, remains on the team. Newcomers include South Africans Shaun Norris (formerly of 4 Aces) and Justin Harding (formerly of Hy Flyers).

MAJESTICKS GC: Lee Westwood takes over for Ian Poulter as captain of the all-English team. Poulter remains on the team, as does Laurie Canter and Sam Horsfield. Majesticks GC finished third in London and Horsfield was the top Majesticks player, finishing fifth individually. Combined, the players have made more than 1,600 starts professionally.

TORQUE GC: This team has an entirely new lineup consisting of four players born in Japan. Hideto Tanihara (formerly of Iron Heads GC) takes over for Talor Gooch as captain. Other new players include Ryosuke Kinoshita (formerly of Punch GC), Jinichiro Kozuma (formerly of Smash GC) and Yuki Inamori (making his LIV Golf debut). Combined, they’ve made nearly 1,000 starts professionally.

4 ACES GC: Captain Dustin Johnson is the only carryover from London. His new team now includes three fellow Americans — Patrick Reed, Pat Perez and Talor Gooch. Reed and Perez are making their LIV Golf debuts and Gooch was formerly the Torque GC captain. Reed (2018) and Johnson (2020) have won two of the last five Masters. Combined, the four players have made more than 1,350 worldwide starts in professional events.

CLEEKS GC: Martin Kaymer remains captain and Ian Snyman is also a carryover from London. New team members include Scott Vincent (formerly of Smash GC) and Turk Pettit (formerly of Niblicks GC). Snyman and Vincent were among six players who qualified for the LIV Golf Invitational London through the International Series. The four teammates are from different countries — Germany (Kaymer), South Africa (Snyman), Vincent (Zimbabwe) and Pettit (US).

PUNCH GC: Wade Ormsby (captain), Matt Jones and Blake Windred are carryovers from London. Jediah Morgan (formerly of Fireballs GC) joins the now all-Australian team. Punch loses its top performer from London, Ryosuke Kinoshita (T-13th individually).

NIBLICKS GC: Captain Graeme McDowell is the only carryover from London. His new roster consists of Travis Smyth (formerly of Crushers GC), Hudson Swafford (formerly of Torque GC) and James Piot (formerly of Fireballs GC). McDowell was his team’s top performer in London, finishing T-10 individually.

SMASH GC: New LIV Golf member Brooks Koepka takes over as captain of a team with an entirely new roster of players. His younger brother Chase Koepka (formerly of Hy Flyers GC) joins the team, as does Richard Bland (formerly of Crushers GC) and Adrian Otaegui (formerly of Torque GC). Otaegui finished T-6 individually in London.

HY FLYERS GC: Captain Phil Mickelson gets three new members with Matthew Wolff making his LIV Golf debut. Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger (former of Niblicks GC) and Thailand’s Itthipat Buranatanyarat (formerly of Smash GC) join the two Americans. Mickelson and Wolff are former NCAA Division I men’s golf champions.

FIREBALLS GC: Sergio Garcia is the lone carryover. The Spaniard remains captain of a team that includes three players making their LIV Golf debuts and all four players are from Spanish-speaking countries. Abraham Ancer and Carlos Ortiz are from Mexico, and Eugenio Chacarra is from Spain. Chacarra, the number-two ranked amateur making his pro debut in Portland, considers Garcia a mentor. Ancer and Ortiz competed in the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 2021, while Garcia competed in the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

IRON HEADS GC: Kevin Na (captain) and Sadom Kaewkanjana are carryovers from London. Newcomers include Sihwan Kim (formerly Smash GC captain) and Phachara Khongwatmai (formerly of Crushers GC). Na and Kim were born in Seoul, South Korea, and each moved to California at a young age. Khongwatmai and Kaewkanjana are from Thailand.

LIV Golf is owned and operated by LIV Golf Investments whose vision and mission are centered around making holistic and sustainable investments to enhance the global golf ecosystem and unlock the sport’s untapped worldwide potential.


Nutrition for health and sports under spotlight in Riyadh

Nutrition for health and sports under spotlight in Riyadh
Updated 7 sec ago

Nutrition for health and sports under spotlight in Riyadh

Nutrition for health and sports under spotlight in Riyadh
  • Saudi federation holds workshops with PepsiCo
  • Seminars part of Vision 2030’s xQuality of Life Program

The importance of nutrition for athletic performance and general health was under the spotlight in Riyadh recently with the Saudi Sports for All Federation, or SFA, holding its second series of workshops with PepsiCo’s Gatorade Sport and Science Institute.

The popular program saw 61 participants selected from 303 applicants, which included Community Sports Groups, coaches, and experts in several sporting codes.

Shaima Saleh Al-Husseini, managing director of the SFA, said: “At SFA, we take a holistic approach to health and wellness that encompasses all elements required for a healthy lifestyle. The sports nutrition workshop is one of our initiatives to provide our communities with trainers to help them navigate a lifestyle driven by sports and physical activity.

“Participants from the workshop are now equipped with the knowledge and skills that will enable them to support fellow citizens and residents with guidance on nutrition and hydration as we embark on our goal to increase sports and physical activity in the Kingdom,” she said.

PepsiCo’s GSSI was established in 1985 to help athletes with expert nutritional advice.

Karim Khedr, franchise VP, said: “Through our partnership with SFA, we are aiming to improve people’s quality of life in Saudi Arabia. We recognize the importance of working with partners who share the same ambitions — and together we want to empower athletes for success by providing tools to advance them to become strong assets in building a better future.

“We are proud to see the number of participants who attended the sports nutrition training workshops and look forward to further playing our part in supporting the Kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030 goal of being among the leaders in selected sports regionally and globally.”

The three-day seminar covered a range of topics, including hydration, the function of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals, and dietary supplements.

Participants received personalized GSSI certificates and will serve as sports ambassadors.

The workshops are supported by the Ministry of Sport. This is part of Vision 2030’s Quality of Life Program to increase the number of people exercising at least once a week to 40 percent.


Naomi Osaka exits opening match at Toronto with back injury

Naomi Osaka exits opening match at Toronto with back injury
Updated 10 August 2022

Naomi Osaka exits opening match at Toronto with back injury

Naomi Osaka exits opening match at Toronto with back injury
  • She had been eliminated from her last three competitions in the first or second round
  • Includes straight-sets loss to Coco Gauff at last week’s Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic

TORONTO: Naomi Osaka’s recent struggles continued Tuesday with an early exit at the National Bank Open.

The four-time Grand Slam champion retired from her first-round match with a back injury. She was trailing 7-6 (4), 3-0 against Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi when she withdrew from the contest.

“I felt my back from the start of the match, and despite trying to push through it, I just wasn’t able to today,” Osaka said. “I’d like to pay credit to Kaia for playing well and want to wish her all the best for the rest of the tournament.”

Entering the tournament, Osaka had been eliminated from her last three competitions in the first or second round, including a straight-sets loss to Coco Gauff at last week’s Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic. That was her first tournament since the French Open as she recovered from an Achilles injury.

Prior to that run, she had her best tournament of the year making it to the final of the Miami Open in early April before losing to top-ranked Iga Swiatek.

The 31st-ranked Kanepi will next play No. 8 Garbine Muguruza of Spain.

In other matches, 10th seeded Gauff beat fellow American Madison Brenglem 6-1, 6-3; China’s Zheng Qinwen got past Canada’s Rebecca Marino, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4; Italy’s Camila Giorgi defeated ninth-seeded Emma Raducanu of England, 7-6 (0), 6-2; and Bianca Andreescu of Canada beat Daria Kasatkina of Russia, 7-6 (5), 6-4. Elize Mertens of Belgium, Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain, Ajla Tomljanovic of Russia, Amanda Anisimova of the US, and Zhang Shuai of China also advanced.

Osaka struggled with unforced errors and had four of her five double faults in the first set. She won the first game with the help of three unforced errors from Kanepi, but the four-time Grand Slam champion lost her momentum after going up 2-1.

Kanepi won four of the next seven games to go up 5-3. From there, Osaka had to fight her way out of two set-point opportunities from Kanepi. With a mix of a strong backhand and multiple errors from Kanepi, Osaka was able to tie it up and send the set to a tiebreaker.

With the tiebreaker tied 3-3, Kanepi turned up her level of play taking four of the next five points as Osaka handed her set point on a shot past the baseline. Kanepi built on that momentum in the second set, taking advantage of Osaka’s mishaps and firing sharp forehands past the Japanese star.

After hitting her second ace of the match earlier in the final game, Kanepi closed out with a strong serve that Osaka returned high and wide.

Andreescu won this event in 2019 before taking the US Open title in what was a breakout year for the 22-year-old. She hasn’t won a tournament since, having battled through injuries and taking a “mental break” at one point in 2021. Andreescu’s lone final appearance this year has been at the Bad Homburg Open where she fell to Caroline Garcia.

Andreescu will play Alize Cornet of France in the second round.


Kyrgios lifts mental game for seventh straight win, Murray out

Kyrgios lifts mental game for seventh straight win, Murray out
Updated 10 August 2022

Kyrgios lifts mental game for seventh straight win, Murray out

Kyrgios lifts mental game for seventh straight win, Murray out
  • Kyrgios has won 13 of his last 14 singles matches and stands 28-7 this breakthrough season

MONTREAL: Wimbledon runner-up Nick Kyrgios let an early lead slip but regrouped on Tuesday for a 6-4, 6-4 first-round victory over Sebastian Baez at the ATP Montreal Masters.

World No. 37 Kyrgios, a title winner last week in Washington, next faces world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev, who won last week’s Los Cabos crown.

“It will be a great test and a lot of fun,” Kyrgios said. “He’s a hell of a player. He’s unorthodox — an animal.

“I want to see where my game’s at so I’ll be giving it my best shot.”

The day was a disaster for Britain’s Andy Murray as the treble Grand Slam winner was cut off in the first round, a 6-1, 6-3 victim of Taylor Fritz.

The American presented nothing but frustration to Murray, who lost with just seven winners and 19 unforced errors while Fritz fired 30 winners in 87 minutes.

“It’s an honor to be on court with Andy,” Fritz said. “He has been dominating since before I came onto the tour.”

Medvedev’s chances of retaining the top ranking over the next month are on the line when he plays Kyrgios.

The 27-year-old Australian secured his seventh straight match victory since losing to Novak Djokovic in last month’s Wimbledon final.

Kyrgios said he is on point physically but had to work to maintain mental strength in the match played 48 hours after lifting the trophy in the US capital.

“Physically I feel fine, mentally I’m tired,” he said. “I’ve not had much sleep in the last few days.

“I’ve put Washington behind me already. I’ve not played great in Montreal in the past, so I’m just trying to create some good memories for myself.”

Kyrgios held a comfortable 5-1 margin in the opening set before Argentine Baez fought back to 4-5 before dropping the set.

The Aussie managed to stop the rot and left nothing to chance in the second set as he closed out victory.

Kyrgios has won 13 of his last 14 singles matches and stands 28-7 this breakthrough season.

Earlier, fellow Aussie Alex De Minaur finished off a match delayed from Monday by rain, winning four of the only five points remaining to add to the misery of Canadian Denis Shapovalov 7-5, 7-6 (7/4).

Shapovalov stands 1-9 since upsetting Rafael Nadal at Rome last May as his slump deepens.

French showman Gael Monfils defeated Spain’s Pedro Martinez 7-6 (7/4), 3-6, 6-2.

Matteo Berrettini’s comeback from the Covid-19 positive test which forced him to quit Wimbledon stalled out, with the Italian losing 6-3, 6-2 to Paolo Carreno Busta in the opening round.

Berrettini played a clay final last month against Casper Ruud in Gstaad, but was unable to make a decent start to his pre-US Open cement season.


Man City’s Mendy goes on trial for rape and sexual assault

Man City’s Mendy goes on trial for rape and sexual assault
Updated 10 August 2022

Man City’s Mendy goes on trial for rape and sexual assault

Man City’s Mendy goes on trial for rape and sexual assault
  • All the alleged offenses are said to have taken place at Mendy’s home address in Prestbury near Macclesfield, also in northwest England, between October 2018 and August last year

LONDON: Manchester City and France footballer Benjamin Mendy stands trial Wednesday for the alleged rape and assault of seven women, which could see his playing career end in jail if convicted.

Mendy, 28, is due at Chester Crown Court in northwest England to face eight counts of rape, one count of sexual assault and one count of attempted rape, relating to seven young women.

He pleaded not guilty in May to nine of the 10 charges, but was subsequently hit with the further rape count which has not yet been put to him in a court.

All the alleged offenses are said to have taken place at Mendy’s home address in Prestbury near Macclesfield, also in northwest England, between October 2018 and August last year.

He is standing trial before a jury along with his co-defendant Louis Saha Matturie, 40, who has also pleaded not guilty.

Matturie denies eight counts of rape and four counts of sexual assault, relating to eight young women. His alleged offenses span from July 2012 to August last year.

Both the defendants are on bail, with Mendy subject to what a judge previously called “stringent” conditions, including the surrender of his passport.

After his arrest last August he was initially held at Altcourse prison in Liverpool, and then a prison in Manchester, before being freed on bail in January.

None of the women said to have been assaulted can be named under English law, which also places restrictions on what can be reported about the case.

The trial is expected to last up to six weeks.

It begins in the same week that former Manchester United star Ryan Giggs started his trial on charges of attacking and coercively controlling his ex-girlfriend.

Mendy joined Premier League champions City from French side Monaco in 2017. He has played 75 times for the Manchester club, but his playing time was limited by injuries and a loss of form.

He was suspended by City after being charged by police in August.

The last of Mendy’s 10 caps for France came in November 2019, after the defender won the World Cup in 2018.


Benfica, Kyiv, Eindhoven and Rangers advance to Champions League playoffs

Benfica, Kyiv, Eindhoven and Rangers advance to Champions League playoffs
Updated 10 August 2022

Benfica, Kyiv, Eindhoven and Rangers advance to Champions League playoffs

Benfica, Kyiv, Eindhoven and Rangers advance to Champions League playoffs
  • The first leg of the playoffs take place on Aug. 16/17 with the return fixtures a week later

PARIS: Two-time former champions Benfica will play Ukraine’s Dynamo Kyiv while Ruud van Nistelrooy’s PSV Eindhoven will face Glasgow Rangers after they all qualified for the final Champions League qualifying playoff round on Tuesday.

Luuk De Jong claimed an 109th-minute winner as PSV Eindhoven edged Monaco 3-2 in extra-time in the Netherlands, to go through 4-3 on aggregate.

De Jong was adamant his side deserved the win.

“Monaco hit the bar and the post, I hit the target,” said the PSV captain.

Monaco had been awakened overnight when fireworks were set off outside their hotel, and there was a fiery atmosphere inside a packed stadium in a see-saw match.

Joey Veerman fired the Dutch ahead on 21mins with a sweet shot into the far corner but Guillermo Maripan then levelled clinically with a cool finish in a goalmouth scramble.

Monaco striker Wissam Ben Yedder then raced on to a sweeping through ball to smack home the go-ahead goal before PSV grabbed a late equalizer as Mexican Erick Gutierrez delivered PSV on 89 minutes.

Benfica beat Mitjylland 3-1 to win 7-2 on aggregate thanks largely to midfielder Enzo Fernandez and 20-year-old striker Henrique Araujo who scored before Pione Sisto responded for the Danes.

Argentinian Fernandez, 21, and Araujo were making just their second European appearances as Diogo Goncalves claimed the third goal for the 1961 and 1962 winners.

In Scotland Malik Tillman completed a turn around when he scored the decider with 11 minutes left as Rangers beat Union Saint-Gilloise 3-0.

The Belgian outfit had won the first leg 2-0 in their first appearance in European competition since 1964-65.

Kostiantyn Vivcharenko and Viktor Tsygankov guided Dynamo Kiyv past Austrians Sturm Graz 3-1 over two ties with efforts in extra time.

Dynamo were second in the Ukrainian Premier League when Russia invaded the country earlier this year.

Earlier, Moldovans Sheriff Tiraspol, who stunned Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu during last season’s group stages, were knocked out by Viktoria Plzen as the Czech outfit won 4-2 over two legs.

The first leg of the playoffs take place on Aug. 16/17 with the return fixtures a week later.