It's all comin' back to me now
The GIST: If you made plans for the summer (audacious move), cancel them now. With the NBA finally making their return-to-play Facebook official, our summer lineup is set.
When will the NBA return?: Thanks to the NBA players association approving the NBA’s restart plan, Friday, July 31st is the magic date. The final schedule is still TBD, but 22 of the league’s 30 teams will take part in the restart.
- To prep for the big day (TBH, not that different from a wedding day), one-week training camps will begin on June 30th at each team’s home facility before everyone travels to Disney World on July 7th.
- Then the 22 teams will play eight “seeding games,” with postseason entry determined by winning percentage and tiebreakers. Let the 53-day countdown begin!
Any WNBA news?: Rumor has it they’re hoping for a July 24th start date. The league has apparently proposed a shortened regular season with just 22 games (instead of 36), which would all likely take place in Florida (although Vegas is still an option).
- Now it’s up to the players union to decide if the proposal is financially and logistically feasible. Keep your ears to the ground.
What about the NHL?: They’re gunning for a late July or early August start date, and to help make that possible, the league is transitioning to Phase 2 of their Return To Play plan today. This phase will allow players to return to their home facility and take part in voluntary on- and off-ice practices in groups of up to six. A stride in the right direction.
- Phase 3 of the plan involves opening training camps and Phase 4 includes finishing the regular season, a seeding tournament and ensuring the Stanley Cup Playoffs go off without a hitch.
- Speaking of hitches, there are two: the league and the players association still have to figure out roster sizes and pick two “hub” cities.
What else can I watch this summer?: Lots of soccer. The NWSL’s month-long return-to-play tournament, the Challenge Cup, starts on June 27th in Salt Lake City, Utah. And players are praising their league for consulting with players who are also mothers to learn how to best accommodate their children while the teams live in nearby hotels. About it.
- But much to the chagrin of the league, her team and her coach, there is one key player who won’t be participating: superstar Megan Rapinoe. All the power to her.
- Meanwhile, the MLS is looking at an early July start date, Spain’s La Liga begins this Thursday and the English Premier League starts next Wednesday. The PGA Tour also returns Thursday with the Charles Schwab Challenge.
⛳A match made in heaven
The GIST: It was a crossover for the ages. Two of the best NFL quarterbacks, Tampa Bay Buccaneer Tom Brady and retired Denver Bronco and Indianapolis Colt Peyton Manning, and two of the best golfers, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, faced off in a charity golf game yesterday, and sports fans everywhere rejoiced.
Tell me everything!: On American Thanksgiving in 2018, Tiger and Phil faced off in The Match, an exhibition golf match to determine once and for all who the better golfer is (spoiler: Phil won) — and to make a boatload of money.
- Yesterday’s rematch, referred to as The Match: Champions for Charity, saw Tiger pair up with Manning (brother of Twitter’s newest star, Eli) and Phil partner with Brady in a pro-am four-ball format to play for another boatload of money...this time for COVID-19 relief charities.
So fun!: Isn’t it though? The foursome teed off after a slight rain delay and treated us to some mediocre golf and hilarious trash talk, pant-splitting and betting with the guest commentators Charles Barkley and Justin Thomas. In the end, Tiger and Peyton got the W, but really, we all won, with the tournament raising $20 million.
And when do we get to watch the real stuff?: The PGA is still holding strong to their June 11th restart, though a few of the top players will sit it out. Meanwhile, the LPGA is looking to make their comeback on July 15th. Still, many non-American LPGA and PGA players are waiting to see what testing protocols will look like before committing to any events.
- They’re also not stoked about quarantining for two weeks after entering the US, followed by a two week quarantine once back at home, saying it would be too much time away from their families. Good news for the Brits though: the European Tour (Europe’s pro golf tour, which usually runs concurrently to the PGA Tour) is looking to restart the season with a month-long UK tour — the hottest news to hit the UK since the Spice Girls reunion tour.
⛳Master of none
The GIST: Hockey playoffs aren’t the only thing we’re missing right now. The Masters, one of the most prestigious tournaments on the golf schedule, was supposed to begin today. But all is not lost!
Why’s that?: Instead of canceling, the tournament organizers have wisely decided to postpone the Masters to November. This is the first time that the Masters has been postponed (though it was canceled from 1943 to 1945 due to WWII), and it’s never not been held in the spring. The weather in Georgia is still golf-able in November, though we may miss out on the famous azaleas.
- The Masters is usually the first of four majors on the PGA calendar, but it will now be the final major event (if everything goes as planned!). The PGA Championship was moved from May to August, the US Open pushed from June to September and the British Open, the oldest golf tournament in the world, was canceled outright. Welp.
What are the players up to in the meantime?: Tiger Woods, last year’s Masters champion, decided to keep up an important tradition despite the postponement: the Masters Champions Dinner. Typically, on the Tuesday night of Masters Week, the previous year’s champion gets to pick a meal to be served to all previous winners of the green jacket.
⛳Guide to Golf
A full round of golf is 18 holes. Holes generally range from 100 to 500 yards. Unlike most other sports, the goal is to have the lowest score (counted by ) at the end of the game — meaning take the least amount of swings or putts to get the ball in the hole. Each hole on the course is given a number of strokes that it should take for a person to get the ball in the hole (this is called par) and typical championship courses have a full value of 72.
How is it organized?
Similar to tennis, men’s professional golf players play in PGA (Professional Golf Association) Tour and women play in LPGA (Ladies’ Professional Golf Association) tournaments. A tournament consists of four rounds of golf (one per day from Thursday until Sunday). The biggest tournaments are called major championships and in the PGA that includes the Masters, the US Open, the British Open and the PGA Championship.
Outside of the majors, there are also various other tourneys the pros can partake in. A player’s world ranking is based on how they do in each tournament. The most well-known and prestigious tournament is the Masters, played in Augusta, Georgia. In addition to winning copious amounts of cash money, players also receive the (super cool to win, super impractical to wear). The Masters is unique because winners are automatically invited back to play in the tournament annually for the rest of their lives!
This isn’t just your grandparents’ game anymore! While golf is a sport where experience is incredibly important, the past decade has shown that you can be young and still be at the top of your game. The best golfers today include Dustin Johnson (American who is married to Wayne Gretzky’s daughter, ), Rory McIlroy (Irish sweetheart), Brooks Koepka (American who won back-to-back US Open and PGA Championship tourneys) and Jordan Spieth (young American stud).
And then there’s Tiger Woods. Tiger dominated the game for over a decade, winning 14 major tournaments. And then things crashed (literally) and burned for the golfing superstar. Tiger was caught cheating on his wife and Swedish model, Elin, claiming that he had a “sex addiction”. More recently, Tiger was arrested in Florida in 2017 for a DUI after crashing his SUV. He has since made a rather spectacular comeback and is back to being one of the top ranked golfers in the world.
Gals who golf
It’s a myth that ‘golf’ stands for “Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden”, but only just barely. For decades, golf has been seen almost exclusively as a man’s game, but thankfully ladies have continued to break down those barriers. Professional women play in the LPGA (Ladies PGA) which is organized similarly to the men’s. Keep your eye on American sensations Nelly Korda and Danielle Kang, who remain ranked near the top of the LPGA world rankings.
In 2019, the LPGA awarded its largest ever prize ($1.5M USD) to South Korea’s Sei Young Kim at the CME Group Tour Championship. That’s $500k more than the previous record prize. Even though the overall prize money handed out in the LPGA pales in comparison to the PGA, there is reason for optimism. The LPGA’s 2020 schedule features 32 events with record prize money and at least 500 hours of televised content. Keep making moves, ladies!
Prep for your next trivia night by making sure you know these facts:
- A means you took just one stroke to get the ball all the way into the hole. Tradition says that that golfer must then buy a drink for each person in the clubhouse. But fear not, most courses have hole-in-one insurance so that you actually don’t have to pay. Hilarious.
- Jack Nicklaus is strongly considered the best golfer of all-time winning 18 majors, which remains the record for most ever.
- Have you ever sipped on an Arnold Palmer, that delicious blend of iced tea and lemonade? Well, the drink is named after a very successful pro golfer who was known to request the combination! The late Arnold Palmer won four (!!!) Masters tournaments and seven majors over his career.
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