Wednesday Sports in Brief
DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — The first Saudi-funded LIV Golf Invitational has Dustin Johnson and 12 other PGA Tour members as part of its 48-man field next week outside London. The next move falls to the PGA Tour, which must decide whether to allow them to come back.
The first fallout after the rival league released the names of players who will compete at its inaugural event came Wednesday when the Royal Bank of Canada said it was dropping Johnson and Graeme McDowell as corporate sponsors. Both are playing the LIV event, the same week as the RBC Canadian Open on the PGA Tour.
The PGA Tour’s only comment was to mention a May 10 memo to players in which it denied releases for them to play the first LIV event. “Members who violate the tournament regulations are subject to disciplinary action,” the statement said.
Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford were among the 42 players named on the field list (six other spots are being held for a special invitation and from an Asian Tour series). Neither ever had more attention from media as they practiced Wednesday before and after the pro-am at the Memorial.
Jones confirmed he received a signing bonus and is obligated to play multiple times among the eight LIV events, each with $25 million in prize money and $4 million to the individual winner. Five of the tournaments are in the United States.
NEW YORK (AP) —- Filip Chytil scored twice in the second period and the New York Rangers routed the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning 6-2 on Wednesday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin and Frank Vatrano each had a goal and an assist, Chris Kreider also scored and Alexis Lafrenière and Adam Fox each had two assists to help New York win its franchise-record seventh straight home playoff game. Igor Shesterkin stopped 37 shots to improve to 8-3 in the last 11 games.
Steven Stamkos had a goal and an assist, and Ondrej Palat also scored for Tampa Bay, which had won six straight and was playing for the first time since completing its second-round sweep of Florida on May 23. Andrei Vasilevskiy, who gave up just three goals in four games against the Panthers, had 28 saves.
Game 2 is Friday night at Madison Square Garden.
The score was tied 1-1 after 20 minutes before the Rangers took control in the second period. They scored three times while outshooting the Lightning 17-10.
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Ukraine’s emotion-filled quest to qualify for the World Cup amid an ongoing war moved a step closer with a 3-1 win over Scotland in a pulsating playoff semifinal on Wednesday.
Veteran captain Andriy Yarmolenko lifted his nation by scoring a deft lobbed goal in the 33rd minute and then helped set up Roman Yaremchuk’s header in the 49th.
Ukraine dominated for much of a deserved win though had to resist a Scotland revival as risk-filled attacks brought a goal in the 79th by Callum McGregor, before Ukraine substitute Artem Dovbyk broke clear to score with the last kick of the game.
Dovbyk led teammates toward the corner of the stadium to share the celebration with 3,000 Ukraine fans in the 51,000 crowd, applauding each other with hands raised high above their heads.
Now Ukraine moves on to face Wales on Sunday with a place at the World Cup at stake.
The winner in Cardiff will go to Qatar in November to play in a group against England, the United States and Iran.
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Star forward Drew Timme and wing Julian Strawther said Wednesday they will drop out of the NBA draft and return to the Gonzaga basketball team next season, a decision announced a day after guard Rasir Bolton also said he would return to the Bulldogs.
Timme is the reigning West Coast Conference player of the year, and led the Zags with an average of 18.4 points per game last season. He added 6.8 rebounds per game and was an AP Second Team All-American.
“I’m back,” Timme tweeted late Wednesday, which was the deadline to drop out of the NBA draft and return for his senior year.
All five Gonzaga starters declared for the NBA draft after last season. Only center Chet Holmgren, who is expected to be a first-round pick, and guard Andrew Nembhard remain in the draft.
The 6-foot-7 Strawther averaged 11.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last season while starting 31 of 32 games.
Bolton is returning to Gonzaga using the COVID-19 waiver granted to all players from the 2020-21 season. He joined the Zags last season as a graduate transfer from Iowa State.
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