Teams announced for 2022 LIV Golf Team Championship in Miami

Teams announced for 2022 LIV Golf Team Championship in Miami
Brooks Koepka celebrate winning the LIV Golf Invitational Jeddah team competition. (Supplied)
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Updated 25 October 2022

Teams announced for 2022 LIV Golf Team Championship in Miami

Teams announced for 2022 LIV Golf Team Championship in Miami
  • Field set for 3-day season finale at Trump National Doral Golf Club’s iconic Blue Monster course

West Palm Beach: LIV Golf has announced the 12-team, 48-player field set to tee off for its eighth and final event of the year.

The 2022 LIV Golf Team Championship will take place from Oct. 28 to 30 at Trump National Doral Golf Club in Miami.

The iconic Blue Monster course will stage the seeded three-day, knock-out tournament featuring both match play and stroke play, delivering the excitement of head-to-head competition as teams compete for a historic $50 million purse.

The strong field will feature four former world No. 1s, seven top-ranked players within their nations, 12 major champions with a combined 22 majors won, 13 Olympians, and 14 different countries represented.

The top 36 players in the LIV Golf Invitational Series Individual Standings (minimum four events played) qualify for the Team Championship, with league commitments and captains’ selections making up the remainder of the field.

LIV Golf chief executive officer and commissioner, Greg Norman, said: “LIV Golf has revived the sport in record time during our beta-test season.

“Players are celebrating the team format which is bringing new energy and audiences to golf that the game deserves.

“It’s fitting that we tie a bow on this historic year with a dramatic and innovative team championship that will propel us into a team-focused league from 2023 onward.”

For the LIV Golf Invitational Series Team Standings, points were awarded to teams based on their finish at each tournament, with values ranging from 32 points (first place) to nought (ninth to 12th).

Following the seventh and final regular season event, team standings determined seeds one to 12 for the Team Championship. Top-seeded four Aces GC (152 points), second seed Crushers GC (96), third seed Fireballs GC (93), and fourth seed Stinger GC (72) earned a bye and automatically advance to Saturday’s semi-finals.

The remaining highest-ranked teams, starting with the fifth-seeded Smash GC, led by captain and four-time major winner Brooks Koepka, will select their opponents for Friday’s quarterfinal matchups. These selections will be announced on Oct. 26 at a live press conference at Doral featuring the team captains for seeds five to 12.

That morning, players will learn their opponents for Friday’s singles matches and foursomes matches. Captains will be matched up against one another and all 32 players will compete simultaneously in a shotgun start.

Following competition on Friday, team captains for the top four seeds and captains for the four quarterfinal match winners will convene and select their opponents for Saturday’s semi-final round, with the highest-ranked teams selecting their opponents.

On Sunday, the 16 players from the four semi-final winners will compete in a shotgun-start round of stroke play. Players will compete in twosomes, team captains will play together, and all scores will count toward a team’s cumulative score.

At the end of Sunday’s round, the team with the lowest score is the LIV Golf Invitational Series Team Champion.

Kings end playoff drought, Mavs’ woes deepen

Kings end playoff drought, Mavs’ woes deepen
Updated 17 min 11 sec ago

Kings end playoff drought, Mavs’ woes deepen

Kings end playoff drought, Mavs’ woes deepen
  • Rookie Keegan Murray expressed satisfaction that the Kings have finally ended their long wait for a playoff berth
  • LA bounced back from Sunday’s home loss to Chicago by taming the Bulls on the road in Windy City, winning 121-110.

LOS ANGELES: The Sacramento Kings ended their record-breaking 17-year NBA playoff drought on Wednesday as the Dallas Mavericks’ chances of reaching the postseason suffered a blow with a crucial loss to Philadelphia.

Sacramento, who had not advanced to the playoffs since the 2005-2006 season — the longest streak of futility in NBA history — clinched their postseason berth with a 120-80 rout of the Trail Blazers in Portland.

Malik Monk led the Kings’ scoring with 19 points while four other players made double digits, including rookie Keegan Murray, whose 13 points included his 188th three-pointer of the season — a new NBA record for a rookie.

Murray expressed satisfaction that the Kings have finally ended their long wait for a playoff berth, 12 months after finishing 12th in the Western Conference with a 30-52 record.

“We’ve had really good teams throughout that 17 years and I think this one exemplifies all of them,” Murray told ESPN.

“It’s really cool to be on this team but we know we have a lot more to do.”

The Kings sit in third place in the West on 46-30, trailing Denver and Memphis.

But while Sacramento are now looking forward to a playoff campaign, the Dallas Mavericks risk missing the postseason altogether just a year after reaching the conference finals.

The Mavericks slumped to a 116-108 defeat to Philadelphia, with the 76ers overturning a 12-point deficit as Joel Embiid inspired a fourth quarter rally to end a three-game losing streak.

Embiid led the scoring with 25 points, nine rebounds and four assists as Philadelphia outscored the Mavericks 27-17 in the final quarter to seal the win.

James Harden added 15 points with 12 assists on his return from injury while Tyrese Maxey finished with 22 points for the Sixers.

Dallas are now 11th in the Western Conference at 37-40, with only five regular season games remaining.

Luka Doncic led the Dallas scoring with 24 points while Kyrie Irving finished with 23.

However, Dallas were left ruing a feeble fourth quarter shooting performance, making just seven of 19 from the field as the Sixers pulled away down the stretch.

Doncic refused to concede defeat in the Mavericks playoff push.

“We still have chances, we shouldn’t give up yet,” Doncid said.

But the damage for Dallas was compounded by the fact that two of their nearest rivals for a place in the play-in tournament — the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder — both won on Wednesday.

LA bounced back from Sunday’s home loss to Chicago by taming the Bulls on the road in the Windy City, winning 121-110.

Anthony Davis produced a dazzling display for the Lakers at both ends of the court with 38 points, 10 rebounds, two steals and two blocks.

LeBron James added 25 points while Austin Reaves scored 19 points and D’Angelo Russell chipped in with 17.

The Lakers are eighth in the Western Conference with a 38-38 record.

Oklahoma City meanwhile occupy 10th place in the West — the last of the play-in spots — after a last-gasp 107-106 victory over the Detroit Pistons.

Jalen Williams was the hero for Oklahoma City with a layup in the final second to clinch a crucial win for the Thunder.

Williams finished with 27 points to lead the Oklahoma City scoring, with Luguentz Dort adding 20.

In Phoenix, Kevin Durant returned from injury to help the Suns claim a 107-100 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Durant finished with 16 points in what was his long-awaited home debut in Phoenix, while Devin Booker led the Suns scorers with 29 points.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, Jrue Holiday erupted for 51 points as the Milwaukee Bucks downed the Indiana Pacers 149-136 on the road.

Holiday’s masterpiece came from 20-of-30 shooting while Giannis Antetokounmpo added 38 points and Brook Lopez 21 as Milwaukee edged closer to locking down the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

In New York, the Knicks ground out a 101-92 victory over the Miami Heat to remain within touching distance of clinching a playoff berth.

But the win was overshadowed by an injury to Knicks star Julius Randle, who hobbled off the court in the second quarter after suffering a sprained left ankle.

In Memphis, meanwhile, Russell Westbrook delivered a vintage performance with 36 points and 10 assists as the Los Angeles Clippers outgunned the Grizzlies 141-132.

Robert Covington also starred for the Clippers, shooting seven of seven from three-point range in a 27-point haul off the bench.

Ja Morant led the Memphis scoring with 36 points.

Alonso seeks 33rd Formula 1 win after 100 podium finishes

Alonso seeks 33rd Formula 1 win after 100 podium finishes
Updated 30 March 2023

Alonso seeks 33rd Formula 1 win after 100 podium finishes

Alonso seeks 33rd Formula 1 win after 100 podium finishes
  • Alonso last won an F1 race in Spain in 2013, but his pair of podium finishes in 2023 have excited fans in his homeland

MELBOURNE: After claiming his 100th podium in Saudi Arabia in confusing and controversial circumstances, Fernando Alonso is looking for a better result at Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix than his two third-place finishes so far this Formula One season.

Maybe even his 33rd Formula One win, and first in 10 years.

The Aston Martin driver was behind the Red Bull pair of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez in the first two races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia in what has been a one-sided championship so far.

Alonso believes the championship will become more competitive as the season progresses but is pleased with how his Aston Martin is performing leading into the Melbourne race.

Practice sessions for the Australian Grand Prix begin on Friday, with another session on Saturday prior to qualifying.

“At the moment we are extremely happy with the performance of the car, obviously. It was better than expected, especially in Jeddah,” Alonso said. “We arrived here with a good level of confidence. But, as I said, after a few events from now on, I think the cars will change a lot in a few areas through development.”

The 41-year-old Alonso became the sixth driver in Formula One to reach the 100-podium milestone when he finished third in Saudi Arabia two weeks ago in a race with a contentious postscript.

The Aston Martin driver was hit with a 10-second penalty for being slightly out of position at the start, which dropped him to fourth behind Mercedes’ George Russell.

Alonso was later reinstated to third after a successful appeal to FIA, arguing stewards had not informed Aston Martin of the penalty within the regulated timing.

Russell said on Thursday it was a strange situation but believes the correct call was made.

“Obviously it was the right decision. It was just a bit of a shame what a mess it was for everybody else,” Russell said. “I think from my side and our side, we didn’t feel like we deserved to finish in third position, but obviously it is quite a nice feeling when it is handed to you. But then when it is taken away, it was just all a bit silly.”

Alonso said although “the situation in Jeddah was not ideal,” he still enjoyed the experience of celebrating the achievement on the podium prior to the stewards’ deliberations.

As a result of the Jeddah situation, the grid box for the Australian Grand Prix and remaining races has been extended, with a center line added to help drivers start in the correct position.

Alonso last won an F1 race in Spain in 2013, but his pair of podium finishes in 2023 have excited fans in his homeland, including No. 1- ranked tennis player and compatriot Carlos Alcaraz.

Alcaraz dedicated a victory over Tommy Paul in the Miami Masters this week to the two-time world champion. After his triumph, Alcaraz wrote the words “33 soon” when signing off on the result on the broadcast camera lens. It prompted a friendly interaction between the pair on social media.

“It is crazy to see how Spain is now so enthusiastic again for Formula One, for everything that is happening. This is very nice to see,” Alonso said. “Hopefully we can reach that number, 33, and then go for 34.”

Verstappen, who leads the drivers’ championship by one point from Perez, believes Alonso is capable of ending the drought soon.

“I think Fernando should have won a lot more races. He deserves to. I would be happy to see him win No. 33 but also in a way, I would like to see him win more,” he said.

Gary Ballance joins rare band of cricketers who have played Test cricket for two countries

Gary Ballance joins rare band of cricketers who have played Test cricket for two countries
Updated 30 March 2023

Gary Ballance joins rare band of cricketers who have played Test cricket for two countries

Gary Ballance joins rare band of cricketers who have played Test cricket for two countries
  • Only 16 players have achieved that feat in 146 years of Test match history

On Feb. 4, 2023, Gary Ballance stepped out at Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, to represent his country of birth for the first time in a Test match at the age of 33. Although there are some 70 others who have made their debuts at an older age, Balance’s story carries a difference.

He had already played Test cricket for another country, England, on 23 occasions. This makes him the 16th male cricketer to play for more than one country in the 146 years of Test match history.

Given that there have been upwards of 3,140 players who have participated in Test matches since the first one in 1877, this is a minute percentage. Only four of the 16 have occurred in the last 50 years. Prior to Ballance, the most recent was Boyd Rankin, who was born in Northern Ireland and played twice for England against Australia in 2014-15.

Beset by injuries, his opportunities for further appearances were limited and he was selected to play in Ireland’s first-ever Test in 2019 against England. This was after Ireland, representing the whole of the island, became a full ICC member.

Political circumstances disrupted the careers of South African cricketers between 1971 and 1994. John Traicos played once in 1970 against Australia. In 1991, he played for Zimbabwe at the age of 45. The gap between his two appearances is the longest in Test history. Kepler Wessels settled in Australia and qualified to appear in 24 Tests for them between 1982 and 1985. He retired in 1986 and returned to South Africa. After the country’s readmittance to international cricket in 1991, Wessels played 16 Tests between 1992 and 1994, captaining in each one, before a second retirement from Test cricket.

One player has represented both India and England, Aftikar Ali Khan Pataudi. Although he scored a century in the first Test of the controversial 1932-33 body-line series in Australia, his disapproval of the England captain’s tactics led to him being left out of the final three Tests. After declining two invitations to captain India, he finally did so in 1946 at Lords.

The creation of Pakistan by India’s partition in 1947 led to circumstances in which three players represented both countries. The first, Abdul Kardar, played in India’s first Test match at Lords in 1946. He captained Pakistan in its first Test against India in 1952, playing another 22 times until 1958. Gul Mohammad played eight times for India in 1946 and 1952. In 1955, he took Pakistani citizenship and played one Test against Australia in 1956-57. Amir Elani played once for India against Australia in 1947 and five times for Pakistan in 1952-53.

After playing in five Tests against Australia and New Zealand for the West Indies in 1951-52, Sammy Guillen emigrated to New Zealand, which selected him to play three Tests, against the West Indies. All of the other dual representations occurred between 1887 and 1910. During those years, there were no hard and fast regulations concerning registration.

Billy Midwinter was born in England in 1851, his family emigrating to Australia in 1860. He played in the inaugural test between Australia and England in 1887. He then resettled in England, playing four times against Australia, before returning to Australia for whom he played another six times, until 1887. Sadly, his subsequent personal life was tragic. Midwinter’s wife and two of his children died and he, with ailing businesses, went into an asylum, where he died, aged 39.

Switching between Australia and England was also undertaken by four other Australians of the era.

Billy Murdoch, regarded as Australia’s finest batsman between 1880 and 1884, made four tours to England, the last in 1890 after which he settled in Sussex and played for that county. In 1892, he was selected to join England’s tour of South Africa, playing in one Test. This match also witnessed the appearance of another Australian, J. J. Ferris, in English colors. He had toured England with Murdoch in 1890 and chose to settle there.

Sammy Woods, born in Australia, but schooled in England from the age of 16, developed into a fine all-round sportsman. In 1888, the visiting Australian team suffered injuries and called up Woods, who played in all three Tests. He did not play again for Australia, making his life in England for which he played three Tests against South Africa in 1896 and captained Somerset for 12 years.

Albert Trott made a sensational debut for Australia against England in 1895, averaging 102.5 with the bat. This, coupled with bowling skills, were insufficient to gain selection for the tour of England in 1896. Undeterred, Trott travelled on the same ship as the Australians, to start a fresh life in England, where he played with great success for Middlesex. At the peak of his powers, Trott was selected for England’s tour of South Africa in 1899.

During the same era, two Englishmen also played for South Africa. In 1888-89, Frank Hearne played for England in South Africa to whence he emigrated for health reasons, representing the country in 1892 against England. Frank Mitchell played for England against South Africa in 1898-99, returning there during the Boer War and afterwards as a player and captain in state cricket. His success led to him being named as captain of a South African team which played against England in 1904. South African teams were not strong when these two played against them and the matches were awarded Test status retrospectively.

It can be seen that unique sets of circumstances, either personal or political, or a combination of the two, explain these dual representations. In Ballance’s case, a new dimension was added. He admitted using racist language against his former teammate and friend, Azeem Rafiq.

His decision to leave English cricket behind for Zimbabwe accords with the ICC’s regulations, three years elapsing since his last appearance for England in 2017. Furthermore, he may avoid disciplinary sanctions imposed by England’s cricket authorities.

Algiers the standout among the best of UAE’s horseracing season

Algiers the standout among the best of UAE’s horseracing season
Updated 30 March 2023

Algiers the standout among the best of UAE’s horseracing season

Algiers the standout among the best of UAE’s horseracing season
  • With the Dubai World Cup done, Arab News picks out the horse, jockey and emerging star of the year, among other highlights

All too soon, we’ve reached the pointy end of the UAE season. It’s far from over, as a three-way battle for the Trainers’ Championship will be played out over the final three meetings, but the big stuff is done. So, time for my unofficial end-of-season awards.

Horse of the Year

He didn’t win the Dubai World Cup, but Algiers is still the star of the season. Trained by Simon and Ed Crisford, he hacked up in the first two rounds of the Maktoum Challenge and was probably only undone by chasing a fast early pace when second in the big one. Hopefully, he’ll keep flying the UAE flag with a run at the Breeders’ Cup in the plans.

Jockey of the Year

No surprises here. It goes to Tadhg O’Shea who cruised to an amazing 11th UAE Jockeys’ Championship despite a tough year personally, due to the passing away of his mother. O’Shea’s hunger for winners remains as strong as ever and he’ll already be thinking about title number 12.

Emerging Star Award

This is a tie, between Panamanian rider Oscar Chavez, who cemented an excellent season with G1 Dubai Kahayla Classic victory on Hayyan, and Nisren Maghoub. Emerging from the shadow of trainer husband Mohammed Daggash, Nisren had eight winners in an outstanding first campaign with her own license. Chavez, meanwhile, is no newcomer, having ridden for two decades in Singapore, but thrived from his new base with Doug Watson, riding 16 winners at the time of writing.

The ‘Confidence Pays Off’ Award

Congratulations to Michael Costa, who predicted great things for Jebel Ali Stables when he took over last summer and achieved them. The Aussie saddled 14 winners from just 93 runners, and managed a Stakes win and DWC night runner with Mouheeb. An excellent start, by anyone’s standards, and it might even have been better if talented 3-year-old Seyouff hadn’t suffered a season-ending injury. He’ll be back next season, as will Costa, who will spend part of the summer recruiting horses in the UK and America.

The One to Watch Award

Saeed Bin Suroor had a low season, by his own high standards, but Mawj was the shining light, proving that she stays a mile with a scintillating win in the Jumeirah Fillies’ Guineas. She could make a splash in a European Guineas this year, too, with the English and French versions up for discussion.

The ‘So Close’ Award

It is to be hoped that the connections of Aegean Finale return for another Dubai World Cup Carnival as the gelding has unfinished business in Dubai, coming a close second on two of his three runs. He heads back to Turkey with plenty of prize money, however, and should make an impact in some big races back home this summer.

‘Wow’ Moment of the Year

This has to go to Equinox, who produced a spellbinding moment when beating eight other Group 1 winners and taking the G1 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic on the bridle. He is the best turf horse in the world right now and it’s fascinating to see if this can propel him to further international success, possibly in November’s G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf.

World No. 2 Sabalenka knocked out of Miami Open by 74th-ranked Cirstea

World No. 2 Sabalenka knocked out of Miami Open by 74th-ranked Cirstea
Updated 30 March 2023

World No. 2 Sabalenka knocked out of Miami Open by 74th-ranked Cirstea

World No. 2 Sabalenka knocked out of Miami Open by 74th-ranked Cirstea
  • The 32-year-old Romanian previously defeated No. 4 Caroline Garcia this month at Indian Wells and topped Garcia again in the second round at Miami

MIAMI GARDENS, Florida: Sorana Cirstea advanced to her first semifinal of a WTA 1000 event in a decade, beating Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka 6-4, 6-4 at the Miami Open on Wednesday.
The 32-year-old Cirstea beat the highest-ranked opponent of her career by knocking off the second-ranked Sabalenka. Cirstea previously defeated No. 4 Caroline Garcia this month at Indian Wells and topped Garcia again in the second round at Miami.
“I think I’m a bit speechless,” Cirstea said. “I came out knowing that it’s going to be a really tough match. Aryna hits so hard, so I knew I had to hold my ground, and I’m very, very happy with my performance today.”
The 74th-ranked Romanian, who has two career singles titles, will face either Petra Kvitova and Ekaterina Alexandrova in the semifinals. The Kvitova-Alexandrova match had been scheduled for Wednesday night but was postponed to Thursday because of rain; also postponed was the men’s match between top-ranked Carlos Alcaraz and No. 10 Taylor Fritz.

Sorana Cirstea reacts after defeating Aryna Sabalenka during the Miami Open tennis tournament on March 29, 2023, in Miami Gardens, Florida. (AP)

Alexandrova advanced on Tuesday when Bianca Andreescu suffered a left ankle injury and left the court in a wheelchair. On Wednesday, the 22-year-old Andreescu tweeted that she tore two ligaments in her ankle and will be out indefinitely.
“It’s tough to say exactly how long it will take, but let’s just say it could’ve been much worse!! I’m going to take it day by day, and I am optimistic that with the right work, rehab, and preparation, I’ll be back on court soon,” the 2019 US Open champion said in her social media post.
Sabalenka had six double faults, three of them on break points, and made 21 unforced errors to just nine for Cirstea.
“I guess people like to keep count of the age, the years, the results, but I never do that. I just mind my own business, work hard, do my thing, believe in my game, work with my coach Thomas Johansson — we just started in December and so far, I think it’s going great,” Cirstea said.
In the men’s draw, 11th-ranked Jannik Sinner beat Emil Ruusuvuori 6-3, 6-1.