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This Week in Golf, Baseball, and College Football

October 12, 2020
Source: Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Source: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

⛳️LPGA: Sei Young Kim captured her first career major, shooting 14-under-par (!!!) at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Kim absolutely dominated the tournament, finishing five strokes ahead of the runner-up. Not even a late alarm could stop her!

⚾️MLB: And then there were four. The best-of-seven league championship series (ALCS for the American League, NLCS for the National League) began last night, with four teams now in the hunt for a  World Series berth. In Game 1 of the ALCS, the Tampa Bay Rays took an early 1-0 series lead over the Houston Astros. 

  • The NLCS begins tonight and pits the top-seeded LA Dodgers against the Atlanta Braves. The Dodgers led the majors in runs scored this season, but the Braves scored just one run fewer. Expect some dingers.

🏈College Football: Week 6 of college football action brought some wild upsets. Most notably, No. 22 Texas fell to previously unranked Oklahoma in a game that took four overtimes (!!!) to be decided. Also, with all of those upsets, defending national champion LSU dropped from the Top 25 rankings for the first time since 2017. Womp womp.

Reminder: the Big Ten will join the action in just under two weeks, with the Pac-12 following soon after. Expect more thrillers in the weeks to come. 

🎾Rafael Nadal Wins His 13th French Open Title, Iga Świątek Wins on Women's Side

October 12, 2020
Source: Charles Platiau/Reuters
Source: Charles Platiau/Reuters

The GIST: This weekend, Rafael Nadal hoisted his 13th (!!!) French Open (aka Roland-Garros) trophy, and fresh-faced newcomer 19-year-old Iga Świątek (pronounced SHVEE-ON-TIK) took the title on the women’s side. Très magnifique. 

How’d Rafa do it?: Nadal defeated rival Novak Djokovic (pronounced JOKE-OH-VITCH) in straight sets en route to the title, meaning the King of Clay now holds an incredible 100-2 match record at the French Open. The final marked the 56th time Nadal and Djokovic have squared off, an incredible rivalry — but not the greatest in the history herstory of the sport. 

  • Nadal’s win also earned him his 20th career Grand Slam title, tying Roger Federer’s record and setting off another intense GOAT debate...men’s GOAT, of course.

And on the women’s side?: Newcomer Świątek swept world No. 4 Sofia Kenin in straight sets, making her the first Polish player to ever win a Grand Slam singles title. She’s also the youngest to win the French Open since nine-time Grand Slam champion Monica Seles lifted the trophy in 1992. Pretty good company. 

  • Świątek’s French Open performance was truly next-level. She won every single set she played, eliminating top players (including world No. 2 Simona Halep) on her way to the title.
  • And now Świątek joins a slew of first-time Grand Slam title winners. Over the last 14 Grand Slam championships, nine first-time winners have been crowned. Are you not entertained?

🏈NFL Week 5 Preview: Spotlight Remains on COVID-19

October 08, 2020
SOURCE: TAMMY LJUNGBLAD/THE KANSAS CITY STAR
SOURCE: TAMMY LJUNGBLAD/THE KANSAS CITY STAR

The GIST: Week 5 kicks off in the NFL tonight, but the spotlight remains on the league’s response — or lack thereof — to COVID-19. Another player on the New England Patriots tested positive and the results of the league's investigation into the Tennessee Titans are truly facepalm worthy. It’s well past time for the NFL to get their sh!t together.

Who tested positive?: Patriots cornerback and reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore, who played in Monday night’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Not good. Luckily, Gilmore tweeted that he’s currently asymptomatic.

  • Adding to the scary news, a photo surfaced of NFL superstar and Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes having a way too close for comfort convo with Gilmore following Monday’s game. Just like we did at our middle school dances, let’s leave some space, please!

What about the Titans?: The Titans were the first NFL team to experience a COVID-19 outbreak, with their Week 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers rescheduled to Week 7. But two additional Titans players tested positive on Wednesday, meaning their game this Sunday vs. the Buffalo Bills is also in jeopardy.

  • To make matters worse, the NFL’s investigation into the Titans outbreak revealed that multiple players broke the league’s COVID-19 protocols and held a workout together after their facility was shut down. There are truly no words.

Ridiculous! So what’s the NFL doing about this?: TBH, not enough. Despite Gilmore’s positive test, the Patriots are still scheduled to host the Denver Broncos on Sunday. Otherwise, the NFL has threatened stricter penalties for violating COVID-19 protocols, like forfeiting a game or the loss of draft picks. That said, we’re worried commissioner Roger Goodell is focused on the wrong issue.

  • Penalizing individual noncompliance is a start, but, in lieu of a bubble, the NFL needs guidelines that truly prioritize player safety and consider COVID-19’s 14-day incubation period. Until then, we’ll be crossing all our fingers and toes that they can overcome these early issues.
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KPMG Women's PGA Championship, French Open Continue

October 08, 2020
SOURCE: DAVID CANNON/GOLFWORLD
SOURCE: DAVID CANNON/GOLFWORLD

Golf: Can you believe it’s still major season? The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the LPGA’s third of four majors this year (normally they have five), tees off today. Usually scheduled for June, the tournament hasn’t been played in October since 1964, so organizers will have to get creative with fewer daylight hours.

  • The field is wide open right now: Australian Hannah Green is back to defend her title, World No. 2 Nelly Korda is desperate for her first major win, and Sophia Popov and Mirim Lee are each looking for their second majors of the season (and of their careers). Fun! Follow the leaderboard here.

Tennis: The French Open is down to the semifinals and the women’s draw is wonderfully lopsided. One semifinal will feature a top-tier matchup between World No. 6 Sofia Kenin and No. 11 Petra Kvitová, both former Grand Slam winners.

Baseball: The MLB’s best-of-five divisional series are still going strong. In the American League, the Houston Astros missed out on their chance to sweep the Oakland A’s last night, losing 9–7 to make the series 2-1, and the Tampa Bay Rays lead the New York Yankees 2-1.

  • In the National League, the Atlanta Braves are up 2-0 in their series against the Miami Marlins, and the LA Dodgers lead the Battle of SoCal 2-0 against the San Diego Padres. Find the full postseason bracket here.

🏀Seattle Storm Win 2020 WNBA Championship

October 08, 2020
SOURCE: SEATTLE STORM/TWITTER
SOURCE: SEATTLE STORM/TWITTER

The GIST: The Seattle Storm won the 2020 WNBA Championship...and in a way, we all won.

How so?: By getting to watch the Storm absolutely dominate the Las Vegas Aces, winning Game 3 92–59 and sweeping the series 3-0. By getting to see two-time WNBA Finals MVP Breanna Stewart and 17-year veteran Sue Bird come back with a vengeance after an injury-plagued 2019 season. And by getting to witness the strangest but most successful and inspiring WNBA season in the league's herstory.

Shivers. When does the next season start?: We’re not sure yet. However, given this momentum and the fact that some star-studded players will likely return to the hardwood, whenever it starts, it’s going to be incredible.

And in the NBA?: The LA Lakers are just one win away (or the Miami Heat are three wins away...) from the NBA Championship. After a sleepy Game 3, the Lakers came back to win 102–96 in Tuesday’s Game 4 and have all the history on their side.