PGA Championship invites 7 LIV players to get top 100 in the world

Individual champion captain Brooks Koepka, of Smash GC, after winning LIV Golf Singapore at Sentosa Golf Club Sunday. Leading the LIV group at the PGA Championship is defending champion Brooks Koepka. He is the only active LIV player to win a major. (Jon Ferrey/LIV Golf via AP)
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Updated 08 May 2024
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PGA Championship invites 7 LIV players to get top 100 in the world

  • The group of LIV players includes Patrick Reed, whose tie for 12th in the Masters moved him inside the top 100
  • The field has 21 club professionals — 20 from the PGA Professional Championship last week, and Michael Block, who qualified by finishing among the top 15 last year at Oak Hill

NEW YORK: The PGA Championship officially has Tiger Woods in a field released Tuesday that includes invitations to seven players from Saudi-funded LIV Golf, giving the major the entire top 100 in the world ranking at Valhalla next week.

The PGA of America strives to have the top 100 in the world to maintain its reputation for having the strongest field of the four majors, although it is not part of the criteria.

Instead, the PGA uses a catch-all category of “special invitations.” The group of LIV players includes Patrick Reed, whose tie for 12th in the Masters moved him inside the top 100. He is at No. 92, and the invitation keeps alive his streak of playing every major since the 2014 Masters.

The PGA Championship returns to Valhalla in Louisville, Kentucky, for the fourth time on May 16-19. Rory McIlroy won at Valhalla the last time it was there in 2014. The course is best known for Woods winning a playoff over Bob May in 2000 for his third straight major.

Joaquin Niemann, who won the Australian Open in December and has two LIV Golf wins this year, already received an invitation. The surprise was Talor Gooch announcing in an X post on Monday that he had received an invitation.

It was a sign the PGA of America’s selection committee was looking at LIV results on their own, as Gooch doesn’t play much outside the Saudi league. He won three times on LIV in 2023 and won the season points list.

Other invitations went to Dean Burmester, Lucas Herbert, Adrian Meronk, all of them inside the top 100 in the world. The seventh invitation went to David Puig, the 22-year-old from Spain who is No. 106 in the world ranking. Puig has finished in the top 10 in six of his last seven tournaments on the Asian Tour, including two wins.

LIV will be represented by 16 players, down from 18 a year ago.

There might have been one more, except British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen turned down his invitation. Oosthuizen, who is No. 125 in the world, won twice late last year in South Africa in tournaments co-sanctioned by the European tour.

His manager, Carlos Rodriguez, said in a text message that Oosthuizen already had some personal commitments.

The LIV group includes defending champion Brooks Koepka, who goes for a fourth PGA Championship title. He is the only active LIV player to win a major.

Kerry Haigh, the championship director for the PGA of America, has said he would consider deserving players from tours around the world. Invitations were given to Tim Widing of Sweden, who has won consecutive tournaments on the Korn Ferry Tour.

Another invitation went to Kazuma Kobori, a 22-year-old born in Japan who now plays under the New Zealand flag. He has won three times this year in the Webex Players Series on the PGA Tour of Australasia.

The field has 21 club professionals — 20 from the PGA Professional Championship last week, and Michael Block, who qualified by finishing among the top 15 last year at Oak Hill.

The PGA is keeping two spots open in case the winners of the Wells Fargo Championship and the Myrtle Beach Classic are not already eligible. Only four players in the 69-man field at the Wells Fargo Championship have not qualified. The first alternate is Doug Ghim.


Super subs give Venezuela 2-1 win over 10-man Ecuador, Mexico edge Jamaica

Updated 23 June 2024
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Super subs give Venezuela 2-1 win over 10-man Ecuador, Mexico edge Jamaica

  • Arteaga said the disallowed goal had given Mexico the impetus to go on and win the game
  • Mexico face Venezuela on Wednesday in Los Angeles with Jamaica up against Ecuador on the same day in Las Vegas

SANTA CLARA, California: Goals from substitutes Jhonder Cadiz and Eduard Bello gave Venezuela a 2-1 win over 10-man Ecuador in their Copa America Group B match on Saturday.

In the group’s other game, Mexico made a winning start to their campaign with a 1-0 victory over Jamaica in Houston but lost their captain Edson Alvarez to injury.

Ecuador were forced to play with 10 men from the 22nd minute of the game at Levi Stadium when striker Enner Valencia was sent off for dangerous play.

The 34-year-old forward struck the chest of Venezuela defender Jose Martinez with his boot while challenging for a high, bouncing ball in the box and was initially awarded a yellow card but after a VAR review he was shown a straight red.

Ecuador, which had been in control of the game before the dismissal, responded well and went ahead in the 40th minute when Venezuela failed to clear a free-kick into the box and Jeremy Sarmiento pounced on the loose ball to drill home.

Venezuela head coach Fernando Batista made two changes at the break, bringing on Cadiz and Bello and both were to make a decisive impact.

“Vinotinto” striker Salomon Rondon laid the ball off to Cadiz, whose low side-footed shot from the edge of the box took a slight deflection as it flashed past Ecuador keeper Alexander Dominguez.

Then, in the 74th minute, Alexander Gonzalez whipped in a cross from the right, met with a diving header from Rondon which was parried by Dominguez but Bello reacted to fire home the loose ball.

“To be able to score a goal, which helped in the victory, and to have contributed to the first goal, is a joy. These three points are very important for what’s to come,” said a delighted Bello.

Ecuador’s Spanish coach Felix Sanchez said the red card for Valencia had forced him to change the team’s approach.

“We had to change the plan, wait a bit behind the opposition. It’s clear that when you play with 10 men you are at the mercy of the opposition for many minutes, even if you don’t want to play that way,” he said.

“Obviously it’s not the dream start, but there are two more games left and we have the team to compete. The most important thing is that the team recovers its spirit for what is to come.”

Mexico labored for long stretches against Jamaica before a superbly struck 69th minute goal from Gerardo Arteaga earned them the three points.

Jaime Lozano’s team suffered a major blow when their skipper, West Ham midfielder Alvarez had to go off in the 29th minute after going down without contact.

’El Tri’ struggled to create opportunities in the opening half with their best effort, a curling shot just wide from Luis Romo, just before the break.

Jamaica thought they had the lead in the 50th minute but Michail Antonio’s diving header was ruled out for offside after a VAR review.

That letoff woke up the Mexicans who pushed forward with greater purpose. Luis Chavez forced a good save out of Jamaica keeper Jahmali Waite and Julian Quinones fired over the bar after cutting in from the left.

Waite was alert again to keep out a Santiago Gimenez near post blast as the pressure built and finally Mexico got the breakthrough when the ball fell to Arteaga on the edge of the box and he blasted a perfectly struck half-volley into the far corner.

Jamaica had one last opportunity to salvage a point but Dexter Lembikisa’s low shot was turned round the post by Mexico keeper Julio Gonzalez.

Arteaga said the disallowed goal had given Mexico the impetus to go on and win the game.

“A goal, whether for or against, changes your mood a lot. And seeing that it had been disallowed, that also lifted us a little bit more to keep insisting and looking for the goal ourselves,” the left-back told TUDN.

Mexico face Venezuela on Wednesday in Los Angeles with Jamaica up against Ecuador on the same day in Las Vegas.

“We know there’s not going to be an easy opponent. Thank God we won against Jamaica and now we want to go for another win,” said Arteaga.


Hatton leads by 3, DeChambeau lurks, Rahm’s Legion XIII grab team lead at LIV Golf Nashville

Updated 23 June 2024
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Hatton leads by 3, DeChambeau lurks, Rahm’s Legion XIII grab team lead at LIV Golf Nashville

  • Hatton birdied six of his final seven holes at The Grove en route to a bogey-free 7-under 64
  • With Legion XIII leading the team competition by five strokes over the Crushers, plenty of hardware is up for grabs among the top four players

COLLEGE GROVE, Tennessee: After a frustrating early string of nine consecutive pars, Tyrrell Hatton found another gear down the stretch in Saturday’s second round of LIV Golf Nashville.

As a result, the Legion XIII star is 18 holes away from his first individual title since joining LIV Golf.But first, he will have to hold off his closest pursuers, including a reserve player seeking a storybook result, and a couple of two-time major winners — including last week’s US Open champion.Hatton birdied six of his final seven holes at The Grove en route to a bogey-free 7-under 64.

His two-day total of 13 under leaves him three strokes ahead of Crushers GC’s John Catlin, the replacement for the injured Charles Howell III. Their captains — the Crushers’ Bryson DeChambeau and Legion XIII’s Jon Rahm, two of LIV Golf’s biggest stars — are another stroke back, tied for third at 9 under.

With Legion XIII leading the team competition by five strokes over the Crushers, plenty of hardware is up for grabs among the top four players. “I’ll probably be a little bit nervous tomorrow, but I’d say that’s a good thing,” said Hatton, whose last professional title was in 2021. “Obviously if you’re nervous about something, you genuinely care about it.”

The individual leaderboard was packed for the first half of Saturday— at one point, more than 30 players were within four shots of the lead. But then Hatton went on a birdie binge that included a chip-in at the par-3 13th, followed by a 30-foot putt on the 14th.

“Around this golf course, if you hit the ball good, you’re going to have a lot of opportunities for birdie,” said Hatton, who joined LIV Golf in the offseason to play for Rahm’s expansion team. “You don’t want to be making too many pars. It was kind of OK in the end, but I guess tomorrow I wouldn’t want to be stringing 10 pars in a row, obviously, when you’re being chased.”

Catlin shot his second consecutive 66, playing his final nine holes in a bogey-free 4 under. Having competed on multiple tours across the globe and with 13 professional wins, Catlin welcomes the opportunity to write his own Cinderella story this week. No reserve player has ever finished inside the top five of a LIV Golf tournament.

“I’ve been here before and I can honestly say I’ve won before, and I can do it again,” he said. “I’m going to go out and control what I can control, and we’ll see what happens.”

DeChambeau has battled fatigued in the whirlwind aftermath of last Sunday’s tense US Open victory at Pinehurst. He bogeyed two of his first three holes Saturday but avoided further trouble, finishing with four birdies in his last seven holes as he fed off the energy of the sold-out crowd.

“I’m proud of the way that I’ve managed my energy, although I have close to zero right now,” DeChambeau said. “… All I want is a shot on the back nine, and that back nine is gettable. Hopefully, I can get the job done tomorrow.”

Entering this week, Rahm was unsure how competitive he would be after withdrawing during the second round of LIV Golf Houston with a foot infection that forced him to miss the US Open.

After an opening 70, he produced the lowest score of the second round, an 8-under 63 that included nine birdies. That ties for his lowest round relative to par in LIV Golf.

“I needed a round like that to get close to the lead,” Rahm said. “Obviously, Tyrrell finished fantastic. Still a little bit of work to do tomorrow.”Hatton, Catlin and DeChambeau will play in the leaders’ group off the first tee, with Rahm playing with Ripper GC captain Cameron Smith and Torque GC’s Carlos Ortiz — the winner two weeks ago at LIV Golf Houston — in the earlier group that starts off the first tee at 12:05 p.m. CDT. Smith and Ortiz are tied for fifth at 8 under.

Team counting scores

Standings and counting scores for Saturday’s second round of the team competition at LIV Golf Nashville:

1. LEGION XIII -28 (Rahm 63, Hatton 64, Vincent 66; Rd. 2 score: -20)

2. CRUSHERS GC -23 (Catlin 66, DeChambeau 66, Lahiri 68; Rd. 2 score: -13)

3. MAJESTICKS GC -19 (Westwood 66, Poulter 67, Horsfield 68; Rd. 2 score: -12)

4. TORQUE GC -18 (Ortiz 66, Niemann 69, Pereira 69; Rd. 2 score: -9)

5. IRON HEADS GC -15 (Kozuma 67, Na 67, Vincent 67; Rd. 2 score: -12)

6. CLEEKS GC -14 (Meronk 66, Bland 67, Kaymer 70; Rd. 2 score: -10)

T7. SMASH GC -13 (Kokrak 65, McDowell 68, Gooch 69; Rd. 2 score: -11)

T7. STINGER GC -13 (Burmester 66, Grace 68, Oosthuizen 70; Rd. 2 score: -9)

T7. FIREBALLS GC -13 (Chacarra 70, Garcia 71, Puig 73; Rd. 2 score: +1)

10. RIPPER GC -11 (Smith 65, Leishman 69, Jones 72; Rd. 2 score: -7)

11. 4ACES GC -8 (Varner III 64, Perez 69, Reed 70; Rd. 2 score: -10)

T12. RANGEGOATS GC -6 (Wolff 67, Pieters 68, Watson 71; Rd. 2 score: -7)

T12. HYFLYERS GC -6 (Steele 67, Mickelson 70, Tringale 70; Rd. 2 score: -6)


India makes 196 and beats Bangladesh by 50 at Twenty20 World Cup

Updated 23 June 2024
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India makes 196 and beats Bangladesh by 50 at Twenty20 World Cup

  • Put into bat, India started quick as captain Rohit Sharma scored 23 off 11 balls
  • Virat Kohli added 37 off 28, hitting three sixes

NORTH SOUND, Antigua: Hardik Pandya blasted Bangladesh with a 27-ball half-century and Kuldeep Yadav’s three wickets finished off India’s win at the Twenty20 World Cup on Saturday.
Pandya struck four boundaries and three sixes in an unbeaten 50 to lead India to 196-5.
Yadav then took 3-19 in four overs to limit Bangladesh to 146-8.
India moved to the top of Group 1 in the Super Eight with two wins from two matches. Bangladesh was winless.
Put into bat, India started quick as captain Rohit Sharma scored 23 off 11 balls. Virat Kohli added 37 off 28, hitting three sixes. The duo put on 39 off 22 balls for India’s best opening stand in the tournament.
Sharma was caught in the fourth over off Shakib al Hasan, while Kohli put on another 32 off 27 balls with Rishabh Pant for the second wicket.
Tanzim Hasan Sakib struck twice in the ninth over, getting Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav for 6 as India slumped to 77-3.
But Rishabh Pant anchored one end with 36 off 24, including four fours and two sixes, putting on 31 off 19 balls with Shivam Dube.
Despite Pant’s dismissal in the 12th over, Dube’s prowess against spin came in handy — he hit three sixes, scoring 34 off 24 balls.
But it was Pandya who took charge in the death overs. India scored 62 runs in the last five overs.
Pandya was named player of the match.
“We have played some really good cricket (to win five straight games),” he said. “We have executed our plans well, but as a group we can still improve. We sometimes lose wickets in a bunch, but apart from that things are looking good.”
Bangladesh’s reply made a steady start. Openers Litton Das (13) and Tanzid Hasan (29) added 35 off 27 until Pandya got the breakthrough in the fifth over.
The Tigers were at 66-2 in the 10th over and scoring slower. The chase unraveled when Yadav came on to bowl. He trapped Hasan lbw, and dismissed Towhid Hridoy for 4 and claimed the big wicket of Shakib for 11.
Bangladesh lost three wickets for 32 runs across 24 balls and didn’t recover.
Pace bowlers Jasprit Bumrah (2-13) and Arshdeep Singh (2-30) helped to seal India’s fifth win over Bangladesh in the T20 World Cup.


Afghanistan stun Australia with 21-run T20 World Cup win

Updated 23 June 2024
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Afghanistan stun Australia with 21-run T20 World Cup win

  • Gulbadin Naib was Afghanistan’s man with the golden arm, bowling his team to tense 21-run victory over unbeaten Australia 
  • Both teams are on two points after two games, with Australia facing Group One leaders India in their final match

Arnos Vale, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Gulbadin Naib was Afghanistan’s man with the golden arm, bowling his team to a tense 21-run victory over previously unbeaten Australia in a Group One Super Eight encounter of the T20 World Cup at the Arnos Vale Stadium in St. Vincent on Saturday.
Set a target of 149, Glenn Maxwell (59 off 41 balls, six fours, three sixes) kept the Test and One-Day champions on course until he became Gulbadin’s third wicket in the 15th over, opening the door to a result which keeps the duel for semifinal spots alive going into the final two fixtures in the group on Monday.
Gulbadin finished with four for 20 from his four overs of medium pace to turn the match as Australia suffered their first-ever defeat to the Afghans in a senior international encounter, being dismissed for 127 with four balls left in the match.
Earlier, Pat Cummins claimed his second hat-trick in as many matches as Afghanistan lost momentum after another century opening stand from Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran, settling for a total of 148 for six after being put in.
Both teams are on two points after two games — with Australia facing Group One leaders India in their final match while Afghanistan play Bangladesh, who have lost both their Super Eights games.


Afghanistan stun Australia with 21-run T20 World Cup win

Updated 23 June 2024
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Afghanistan stun Australia with 21-run T20 World Cup win

  • Afghanistan made 148-6 and then bowled out their opponents for 127 in 19.2 overs for their first ever victory over the Australians

ARNOS VALE, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Gulbadin Naib was Afghanistan’s man with the golden arm, bowling his team to a surprise 21-run victory over previously unbeaten Australia in their Group One Super Eight encounter in the T20 World Cup at the Arnos Vale Stadium on Saturday.

Set a target of 149, Glenn Maxwell (59 off 41 balls, six fours, three sixes) had the Test and One-Day champions on course until he became Gulbadin’s third wicket in the 15th over, opening the door to a result which keeps the duel for semifinal spots alive going into the final two fixtures in the group on Monday.

Gulbadin finished with four for 20 from his four overs of medium pace to turn the match as Australia suffered their first-ever defeat to the Afghans in a senior international encounter, being dismissed for 127 with four balls left in the match.

“It is a great moment for me, my nation, my people,” said an exultant Gulbadin on receiving the Man of the Match award. “I learned a lot about the pitch from when we batted and I am glad that (captain) Rashid (Khan) had faith in me.”

Earlier, Pat Cummins claimed his second hat-trick in as many matches as Afghanistan lost momentum after another century opening stand from Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran, settling for a total of 148 for six having been put in.

A top score of 60 off 49 balls (four fours, four sixes) by Gurbaz and 51 off 48 balls (six fours) from Zadran gave the Afghans an excellent platform of 118 — their third century partnership of the tournament — by the 16th over.

But having ridden their luck via half-chances and misfields in gaining the ascendancy, four wickets for eight runs put the innings back in the balance. Marcus Stoinis made the breakthrough and leg-spinner Adam Zampa applied the brakes with two wickets.

Yet it was Cummins, who claimed a hat-trick against Bangladesh against in Antigua on Thursday, who essentially switched off the Afghanistan innings with the wicket of Rashid Khan at the end of the 18th over before adding Karim Janat and eventual hero Gulbadin at the start of the 20th over.

“It was an off night for us in the field and we own that,” conceded Australian captain Mitchell Marsh. “We knew it was a difficult wicket but both teams bowled on it, both teams batted on it and we were simply outplayed by a better team on the night.”

In reflecting on a historic night for his team, Rashid acknowledged the reward of returning to the opening pair of Gurbaz and Zadran.

“It was important to return to the previous playing eleven after we tried a few different things in the last match against India,” he explained. “We had in our minds that 140 was a good total on this wicket. The belief was there and as a captain, having so many bowling options like Gulbadin makes the job easier.”

With two teams from the group advancing to the semifinals, Australia will now have to win their final match against unbeaten leaders India in St. Lucia on Monday to be assured of a place in the last four.

Afghanistan, also on two points like Australia, will stay in St. Vincent where they face Bangladesh later on Monday by which time they will know what is required to qualify for the semifinals for the first time.