Bryant, Trout named MVPs
Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant and Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout were on Thursday named the winners of this year’s Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards. Bryant, who took the National League award, helped propel the Cubs to their first World Series crown in 108 years and became only the fourth player in Major League history to follow up the Rookie of the Year with the MVP the next year. Trout won the American League honor for the second time in his career after 2014. The 25-year-old slugger finished second in 2012, 2013 and last year. Bryant, 24, became the first Cubs player to capture the honor since Sammy Sosa in 1998.
Westwood leads in Dubai
Rory McIlroy struggled to a 75 and the other contenders to top the European money list also made slow starts at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Thursday. Experienced Briton Lee Westwood led the field with an opening 66, but Henrik Stenson, who leads the money list, shot a level-par 72 and his Swedish compatriot Alex Noren and Britain’s Danny Willett had rounds of 71. Frenchman Julien Quesne and Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts were tied for second behind Westwood after rounds of 67, one shot ahead of Spain’s Sergio Garcia, Italy’s Francesco Molinari and Joost Luiten of the Netherlands. “This is as good as I’ve played for quite some time,” Westwood told reporters.
Hughes leads by a stroke
Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes, in only his ninth PGA Tour start, fired a nine-under 61 on Thursday to grab a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the RSM Classic. The world No. 287, who turns 26 on Wednesday, reeled off nine birdies and nine pars to grab the lead at the par-70 Seaside course, which along with the par-72 Plantation course is used by each golfer over the first two rounds. “I found a good thought on the range this morning and it just kind of clicked from there,” Hughes said. It was the lowest first round in tournament history and one stroke off Tommy Gainey’s 2012 course record. Stewart Cink and fellow American Jonathan Byrd shared second with career-low 62s. Taiwan’s Pan Cheng-tsung was tied for eighth place after a six-under 66.
Feng in pole position
Feng Shanshan credited an attitude adjustment for her red-hot form after the Chinese player shot an opening 66 to lead the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Florida, on Thursday. Feng, who won her previous two starts on the LPGA Tour and has not finished outside the top four since claiming the bronze medal at the Rio Olympics in August, led South Korea’s Ryu So-yeon and Britain’s Charley Hull by a stroke. “My confidence level is up,” Feng said. “Before, I think I took it too easy on myself. When I have a chance to win I always tell myself: ‘It’s OK, stick to your same plan and if you don’t win, it’s OK,’ but right now, I’m actually talking to myself and say: ‘When you have a chance, you need to go for it.’ That’s why I can be really consistent recently.” A group of eight players, including two-time major winner Chun In-gee, were another shot back after 64s. Kaohsiung-born Candie Kung shot an even-par 72.
Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is buying the Forum for US$400 million, ending the billionaire’s legal fight with Madison Square Garden Co (MSG) and clearing the way to build a new arena for his NBA team down the street in Inglewood, California. Ballmer on Tuesday announced his cash purchase of the venerated arena. Ballmer, a former Microsoft executive, and Clippers vice chairman Dennis Wong are making the transaction through CAPSS LLC, a newly formed entity that would continue to operate the Forum as a live music venue. “This is an unprecedented time, but we believe in our collective future,” Ballmer said.
DISSENT: The US track and field body joined sports officials in Norway and Brazil, as well as Indian athletes, in calling on the IOC to postpone the Tokyo Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 organizers have started drafting possible alternatives to holding the Olympics this summer, two sources familiar with the talks said, in contrast to the Japanese government’s stance that postponement is not an option. While the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted sports events around the world, Japan has been steadfast in saying that the Games would go on. A Japanese government spokesman on Wednesday said that Tokyo was not preparing for postponement. “Finally, we have been asked to make a simulation in case of a postponement,” said one of the sources, an official close to the organizing committee who is involved in drafting the
EXPENDITURE: Tokyo Games organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said that ‘additional expenses are going to be quite massive’ to reschedule the Olympics The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is working with sports bodies to arrange a July-to-August window next year for the postponed Tokyo Olympics and hopes to confirm the schedule within a month, Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun reported yesterday. John Coates, head of the IOC’s coordination commission for the Tokyo Olympics, told the newspaper that the Games would have to be held between the tennis Grand Slams of Wimbledon, scheduled to end in mid-July, and the US Open, which starts in late August. “We want to more or less finalize the dates in four weeks’ time,” the newspaper quoted Coates as saying. Coates, who is also
PROUD, BUT BOWING OUT: The Dallas center missed all of 2018 due to Guillain-Barre syndrome, but Travis Frederick returned to be a standout again last season Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick on Monday stunningly announced his retirement. Frederick, who turned 29 on Wednesday last week, was a Pro Bowl selection in five of his six NFL seasons. Frederick revealed his retirement in a lengthy letter, beginning it by writing: “After much consideration, discussion, and reflection, I have decided to retire from football. This was not an easy decision.” Frederick cited his bout with autoimmune disease Guillain-Barre syndrome as a factor. He missed the 2018 season due to the illness in which the body’s immune system attacks the nervous system, but he returned to be a standout again last