‘Rahmbo’ more lethal than Stallone: 6 things we learned at the 87th Masters

‘Rahmbo’ more lethal than Stallone: 6 things we learned at the 87th Masters
Scottie Scheffler puts the green jacket on Jon Rahm, of Spain, after Rahm won the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday, April 9, 2023, in Augusta, Georgia. (AP Photo)
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Updated 10 April 2023
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‘Rahmbo’ more lethal than Stallone: 6 things we learned at the 87th Masters

‘Rahmbo’ more lethal than Stallone: 6 things we learned at the 87th Masters
  • Mickelson excels, Tiger defies odds, while McIlroy should not give up on his Augusta dreams

AUGUSTA: “No man, no law, no war can stop him.” This was said about Sylvester Stallone’s iconic character Rambo in “First Blood.” It also strangely applies to Spain’s Jon Rahm, lovingly called “Rahmbo” by his fans, who won the 87th Masters on Sunday evening by a massive margin of four shots.

The victory is even more impressive considering he started the tournament with a four-putt double bogey on his very first hole. He later kept pace with Brooks Koepka, the LIV International Jeddah champion and leader going into the final round, despite getting the worst end of the draw as a treacherous cold front moved above Augusta and dumped nearly three inches of rain in two days.

An elite field, a demanding course and filthy weather could not combine to stop Rahm. Quite remarkably, on the birthday anniversary of Spainish legend Seve Ballesteros, the 28-year-old became the fourth man from his country to slip into the Green Jacket, a symbol of supremacy in world golf.

Here are six things we learned from Augusta National Golf Club over the past week.

Believe him: Jon Rahm is the best

Six wins and four top 10s from his last 14 starts: That is insane form for anyone who does not answer to the name of Tiger Woods. Since September, Rahm has been saying he is the best golfer in the world and how poorly the official world rankings reflect his status. Not only has the Masters win validated his claim, it also makes him the official world No. 1

Those LIV Golf players can play

At least one debate is settled now. The LIV Golf stars can hold their own against the PGA Tour players. And those who had questioned their determination, skill, ambitions and motivation to play good golf were forced to eat humble Georgian pie.

Phil Mickelson and Koepka tied for second place and Patrick Reed was a shot further behind in a tie for fourth. A total of 12 players from LIV’s roster of 18 made the cut.

Rory: Don’t give up on yourself

Even if the fans seem to be giving up on Rory McIlroy and his ability and resolve to win the Masters and complete his career grand slam, the Northern Irishman absolutely needs to keep the faith. As he said himself before the start of the tournament, all the ingredients are there, it is just a matter of putting it in the pot and letting it stew. Even the spider in that story about Scottish King Robert Bruce fell 17 times before building his web. Next year will only be McIlroy’s 16th visit to Augusta.

Woods continues to defy the odds

The cold, wet and windy conditions were never going to be good for Tiger Woods and the great man had to withdraw from the tournament on Sunday following a recurrence of his painful plantar fasciitis problem. Walking remains a concern for Woods, but he still managed to make his 23rd straight cut as a professional — tying the record held by Gary Player and Fred Couples. It seems stupid to call Tiger a fair weather player, but it would be prudent for the 15-time major champion to pick and choose events where the chances of rain and cold are minimal for at least the next year or so.

For Phil, this is the country for old men

Mickelson has always believed in swimming against the tide. So, as golf gets younger and younger, he is proof that at 52 he can still be competitive on the tour. It was a thrilling final round by the three-time Masters champion, when everyone was doubting his ability. With all that is going on between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, the tied second place finish also brings him back into the conversation in a positive manner.

Theegala and Bennett are the future

A side story at the demanding Augusta National is the battle among the first-timers for the best rookie prize. This year it was American Indian Sahith Reddy Theegala. With a sensational 67 on the final day, which included a chip-in on the 16th hole that reminded everyone of Woods’ effort in 2005, Theegala finished ninth and showcased once again why he was the No. 1 college player in the US. Also worth following in the future is college star Sam Bennett, who was the only amateur to make the cut.


PSG coach Luis Enrique promises ‘much better team’ next season

PSG coach Luis Enrique promises ‘much better team’ next season
Updated 2 sec ago
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PSG coach Luis Enrique promises ‘much better team’ next season

PSG coach Luis Enrique promises ‘much better team’ next season
POISSY, France: Paris Saint-Germain coach Luis Enrique on Thursday promised that the French giants will have a stronger team next season despite the impending departure of Kylian Mbappe when the superstar forward’s contract expires.
“If everything goes well I am convinced we will have a much better team than this year,” the Spaniard said after refusing to name specific targets when asked if AC Milan forward Rafael Leao was on the club’s shopping list.
“I am convinced, as much in defense as in attack, in the midfield, tactically, physically,” added the former Barcelona and Spain coach.
His comments came after he took Mbappe off with PSG trailing in last week’s 1-1 draw against Rennes.
Luis Enrique later said the Ligue 1 leaders needed to become accustomed to life without Mbappe, who recently informed PSG of his decision to leave at the end of the current campaign.
“Sooner or later, when it happens, we are going to have to get used to playing without Kylian,” he said after that game.
PSG are 11 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 before going to Mbappe’s former club Monaco on Friday, when they will be without captain Marquinhos due to a calf injury.
They then travel to Spain to face Real Sociedad in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie next Tuesday, defending a 2-0 lead from the first meeting.
“Obviously we are entering into a difficult period. The players really want to win things and this is the key point in the season, the best time,” Luis Enrique said.
“It is all or nothing, and that is a nice feeling.”

Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba banned for 4 years for doping

Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba banned for 4 years for doping
Updated 35 min 15 sec ago
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Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba banned for 4 years for doping

Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba banned for 4 years for doping
  • World Cup winner tested positive for testosterone
  • Sentence could end Pogba’s career as the France international turns 31 next month

ROME: Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba was banned for the maximum four years by Italy’s anti-doping court on Thursday after the World Cup winner tested positive for testosterone.
Pogba’s positive test was announced in September, stemming from an exam that was carried out after Juventus’ game at Udinese on Aug. 20. Pogba did not play in the Serie A match but was on Juve’s bench.
Pogba opted not to make a plea bargain with Italy’s anti-doping agency and so the case was tried before the country’s anti-doping court. A person with direct knowledge of the case confirmed the verdict to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the sentence was not made public due to Italy’s privacy laws.
Pogba could appeal the decision to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The sentence could end Pogba’s career, as the France international turns 31 next month.
Four-year bans are standard under the World Anti-Doping Code but can be reduced in cases where an athlete can prove their doping was not intentional, if the positive test was a result of contamination or if they provide “substantial assistance” to help investigators.
Pogba rejoined Juventus from Manchester United in 2022 but struggled with injuries, playing in only six Serie A matches for Juventus last season and two this season. He was ruled out of France’s run to the World Cup final that year due to a knee injury.
Pogba helped France win the previous World Cup, scoring in the 4-2 win over Croatia in the final. He played in 178 matches for Juventus from 2012-16.


EA Sports announces inaugural Ramadan Tournament for MENA region gamers

EA Sports announces inaugural Ramadan Tournament for MENA region gamers
Updated 29 February 2024
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EA Sports announces inaugural Ramadan Tournament for MENA region gamers

EA Sports announces inaugural Ramadan Tournament for MENA region gamers
  • Participants will take part in 2 competitions, EA Sports FC 24, EA Sports FC Mobile

RIYADH: EA Sports has announced the launch of the first-ever Ramadan tournament, set to take place during the holy month from March 18 to 29.

The EA Sports FC Ramadan Tournament will be organized by Zawaya Gaming and powered by Pepsi with support from the Saudi eSports Federation.

The event will feature two parallel knockout tournaments: one for EA Sports FC 24 on PlayStation 5, and the other for EA Sports FC Mobile.

A total of 16 players will qualify to compete in the finals, with eight players being paired with athletes and creators for a two-versus-two tournament in the two competitions.

The console tournament will be open to participants from Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, while mobile participants will include competitors from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, and Indonesia.

The live finals will take place at the SEF Arena in Riyadh.


Jaguar’s Mitch Evans optimistic of form return at Sao Paulo E-Prix

Jaguar’s Mitch Evans optimistic of form return at Sao Paulo E-Prix
Updated 29 February 2024
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Jaguar’s Mitch Evans optimistic of form return at Sao Paulo E-Prix

Jaguar’s Mitch Evans optimistic of form return at Sao Paulo E-Prix
  • The New Zealand driver has been frustrated with his start to the Formula E season

DUBAI: Formula E driver Mitch Evans admits he has been frustrated with his performances this season but is optimistic he can bounce back, beginning with next month’s Sao Paulo E-Prix.

The Jaguar driver has yet to achieve a podium finish after ending fifth in the season opener in Mexico before matching the result in January’s Diriyah E-Prix. The New Zealander closed the Diriyah E-Prix doubleheader weekend with a disappointing 10th, leaving him fifth in the standings and 36 points behind leader and teammate Nick Cassidy.

“It is frustrating and am disappointed to how the season has started as I felt we had one of the quickest cars on average,” said the 29-year-old. “I have just not been able to convert it into a decent result. My best shot was in the first race in Diriyah but we didn’t execute the race properly.

“We still got some good points on the board but I walked away from Saudi that we left some good opportunities from my side of the garage. It’s still early days but it seems we still have the pace which is one of the main things.

“But I do need to ramp up big points and that is the focus. I’m still feeling very optimistic of having a good run in the next phase of the season.”

Evans is disappointed that he has not contributed more to the team’s points tally unlike teammate Cassidy who has enjoyed three podium finishes including his triumph in Diriyah’s round three.

He said: “What the most frustrating this is that we could be one-two in the championship and we’re not. Nick has done a great job in the first three races and has settled nicely into the team. He has transitioned into the team really well so Nick has driven really well in this Gen3 car and not overly surprised. We are leading the teams’ constructors which is good but I feel we could be one, two or three in the championship and that is the most frustrating.

“He’s had a great start and picked up a lot of good points total and he is going to be really competitive and quick. I just need to make some better results on the board.”


LeBron James leads epic Lakers fightback to beat Clippers 116-112

LeBron James leads epic Lakers fightback to beat Clippers 116-112
Updated 29 February 2024
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LeBron James leads epic Lakers fightback to beat Clippers 116-112

LeBron James leads epic Lakers fightback to beat Clippers 116-112
  • The 39-year-old NBA icon reeled off 34 points — 19 of them in the fourth quarter — to help the Lakers claim a pulsating victory over their in-form city rivals at the Crypto.com Arena
  • Nikola Jokic bagged his fourth straight triple-double as the Denver Nuggets overpowered the Sacramento Kings 117-96

LOS ANGELES: LeBron James staged the biggest fourth quarter comeback of his two-decade career on Wednesday as the Los Angeles Lakers rallied from a 21-point deficit to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers 116-112.

The 39-year-old NBA icon reeled off 34 points — 19 of them in the fourth quarter — to help the Lakers claim a pulsating victory over their in-form city rivals at the Crypto.com Arena.

It was another storybook performance from the evergreen James, who along with the Lakers had looked to be heading for an emphatic defeat after the Clippers jumped into a 98-77 lead early in the final frame.

But an inspired James helped the Lakers outscore the Clippers 39-16 in the fourth quarter to see them home.

“The game is not ever over until it’s double zeroes (on the play clock),” James told an on-court interviewer after the win.

James was backed by 20 points and 12 rebounds from Anthony Davis, while D’Angelo Russell added 18 and Rui Hachimura 13.

Kawhi Leonard topped the Clippers scoring with 26 points.

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue took responsibility for the loss.

“When you’re up 21 points you can’t lose a game like that,” Lue said. “I don’t think that’s ever happened since I’ve been coaching — to lose a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter.”

In other games on Wednesday, Nikola Jokic bagged his fourth straight triple-double as the Denver Nuggets overpowered the Sacramento Kings 117-96.

Two-time former NBA Most Valuable Player Jokic finished with 14 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists to bag his 19th triple of the season.

The Serbian star had gone into the game facing an intriguing duel with Sacramento’s Domantas Sabonis, who himself has been in blistering form since the All-Star break with three consecutive triple-doubles.

But Sabonis was effectively bottled up by Denver as the Nuggets staged a superb second quarter rally to turn the game around after trailing by 15 points.

Sacramento, missing injured playmaker De’Aaron Fox, had swept into a 47-32 lead to raise hopes of a morale-boosting road victory.

Denver roared back with a 21-4 run to regain control with Jamal Murray, who finished with 32 points, outstanding as the Nuggets opened up a 65-55 half-time lead at the break.

Denver outscored Sacramento 35-17 in the third quarter before coasting to victory by a 21-point margin.

The win leaves reigning NBA champions Denver third in the Western Conference with a 40-19 record, while Sacramento slipped to 33-25 in eighth place.

Elsewhere, Anthony Edwards shrugged off a lingering ankle injury to score 34 points as the Western Conference-leading Minnesota Timberwolves overcame stubborn resistance from the struggling Memphis Grizzlies to grind out a 110-101 victory.

Memphis (20-38) had surged into an early 14-point lead in the first quarter and also led by double digits in the third before Minnesota hit back to claim their 42nd win of the season.

Edwards led the Wolves scoring with 34 points while four other Minnesota players reached double figures.

In Toronto, Luka Doncic celebrated his 25th birthday with a 30-point triple double as the Dallas Mavericks bounced back from Tuesday’s shattering buzzer-beater defeat to Cleveland with a 136-125 win over the Raptors.

A high-scoring first half saw Toronto sneak into a 67-66 lead at the break before Doncic sparked a 40-point third quarter to take the visitors out of reach.

Doncic scored 15 of his 30 points in the third quarter, finishing the game with 16 assists and 11 rebounds to complete his triple.

“Just a normal game, a triple double,” Dallas coach Jason Kidd said of Doncic’s gem. “He was really good. Luka is our leader and he was really good tonight.”

Cleveland were unable to back up Tuesday’s win over Dallas in their road game against Chicago, the Bulls winning 132-123 in double overtime.

Donovan Mitchell could have won it for Cleveland as time expired in the first period of overtime, only to see his 20-foot jump shot miss.