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Weekly Top 10 Sports News Headlines and Major Events: July 31, 2022

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This Week in Sports Talk (TWIST) is our weekly report on the big sports news headlines and major events, plus a preview of what’s up next. For July 31, 2022, here are the weekly top 10 sports news headlines to know: the big stories and major events in sports news this week in the MLB, NFL, the golf world and more.

weekly top 10 big sports news headlines and major events: July 31, 2022

Here are 10 top headlines from the world of sports to know this Sunday.

1. LIV Golf comes to America.

Even non-sports fans are chattering right now about the world of golf. In case you’ve been on a no-news diet, here’s what you need to know. LIV Golf, the Saudi-backed start-up golf enterprise that has been poaching players from the PGA Tour for the past few months, held its first U.S. tournament this weekend. At the Trump golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.

The politicos have lots to say about the location, and the families of the victims of 9/11 have a lot to say about a former President doing business with the sovereign nation that was home to 15 of the 19 terrorists who attacked America that day. Since this is a sports report, though, we’re staying mum on all of that.

big paydays for LIV players

Purely as a sport, the LIV (and by the way, it’s pronounced like “Live well,” not like “L-I-V”) is all about pay-to-play. Phil Mickelson is the most prominent player to abandon the PGA for the new entity – for a reported $200 million signing bonus. The tournament’s slogan kind of says it all: “Golf, but louder.” Um, okay. Is that what golf has been missing all this time? Noise?

Phil Mickelson, circa 2015, when he was a face of the PGA Tour.

Although the New York Times reports that the loud noise element in the LIV events actually happens not during play, but the night before. That would be when players partake of the best food and wine at the pre-tournament parties, accompanied by their families and caddies, who get to tag along for free. The prospect of splitting a $3 million purse with three teammates probably adds to the merriment. But even the less talented have reason for cheer: everyone leaves an LIV Golf event with a prize. For example, this weekend even the last-place finisher is guaranteed $120,000. (Of note: one of our Sports Desk editors was spotted hanging out near Gotham Hall, site of the official pre-event party. No word on what was said or done, but the popcorn shrimp was apparently first-rate).

So, will this new entrant serve as a healthy new competitor to the hidebound PGA? Will it attract young bros to the sport? Time will tell. Meanwhile, the party continues until October, when the final tournament takes place at . . . wait for it . . . the Trump golf club in Florida. Do you think Ron DeSantis will be there? Ooops, sorry, we said no politics.

barkley decides to stay pat

In one last note on the impact of LIV Golf, commentator Charles Barkley announced that he was ending his flirtation with the series and staying with Turner Broadcasting. Given that he’s making $30 million over 3 years – and that his threat of leaving might push that sum higher – it appears to be the case that anyone in the proximity of LIV Golf gets to make it rain.

2. Mets sweep the Yankees in subway series.

In the first Subway Series of the season, the New York Mets (63-37) swept the New York Yankees. What??? Yep, that happened. Both teams went into the series leading their respective divisions, which made the victory even sweeter for Mets fans.

The Mets’ Max Scherzer pitched seven scoreless innings in the final game of the series, which was also his birthday. CBS Sports notes that he’s now lowered his career ERA to 0.82, which is the best in MLB history. And in more good news for Mets fans, after more than a year their ace Jacob deGrom is expected to make his season debut on Tuesday.

Jacob DeGrom is slated to return to the Mets rotation this Tuesday.

Yankees still lead the league, but Dodgers are closing the gap

Despite the fact that the Yanks (69-33) are still the best team in the league, they have been in a bit of a slump lately. That may be in part that their slugger Giancarlo Stanton – after a blockbuster performance at the All-Star Game – is back on the injured list with an Achilles injury.

However, their fortunes may be turning – they’ve taken two in a row from the Kansas City Royals (although that shouldn’t have been all that difficult). As of this posting, the Yankees are still ahead of the third-place Houston Astros (66-36) and a hairsbreadth ahead of the second-place LA Dodgers (67-33). They’re beefing up their lineup a bit before the trade deadline, signing Andrew Benintendi from the Royals this week. Gonna be an interesting few weeks ahead.

3. Aaron Judge is still on fire.

Despite the cooling of his team’s fortunes, Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is still hitting home runs at a record pace. In fact, last night Judge hit his 42nd home run of the season – the most in MLB (he’s 10 ahead of the next closest player). With his 200th career home run, Judge has broken Babe Ruth’s record for homers hit before August 1st. He had already matched another record a couple of days earlier, with a walk-off home run that tied him with Mickey Mantle (1959) for the most by a Yankee in a single season.

4. MLB trade deadline is this week.

The MLB trading deadline is this Tuesday, and the hot topic of conversation is whether the Washington Nationals will trade Juan Soto, and to whom. Our Sports Desk notes that the front runners on the other side of a potential trade are the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Diego Padres, with the Yankees and Mets also in the mix. Although it’s unlikely that they would trade a star player to a division rival like Mets. And the Yanks need pitchers a lot more than they need sluggers.

In other trade news, pitcher Luis Castillo was traded to the Seattle Mariners.

There’s one other storyline worth following as the deadline approaches, and that’s what happens in LA. There’s talk of an Ohtani trade. While the consensus is that the LA Angels are “extremely unlikely” to trade pitcher-slugger Shohei Ohtani, but CBS Sports reports that they are fielding calls regarding the reigning AL MVP.

Ohtani, 27, is a superstar player – he was named an All Star as both a pitcher and batter for the second straight season. And yet, he is making just $5.5 million this season. He is set to be a free agent after next season, and its possible that the team will trade him before then. Making matters more glum for the Angels is the fact that Mike Trout has been diagnosed with a rare back condition called “costovertebral dysfunction at T5.” It’s unclear how long he’ll be out. Ugh. After a good start, the Angels are just 15-33 since June 1, the worst record in MLB, and they’ve fallen well out of playoff contention. So Ohtani may be happy to move to a team with a real shot at the World Series.

5. New York’s Jackie Robinson Museum opens September 5th.

The ribbon-cutting for the long-awaited Jackie Robinson Museum in Lower Manhattan took place this week. And after 14 years of planning, the museum opens to the public on September 5th. In a poignant twist, the opening ceremony arrived 75 years after Robinson first integrated Major League Baseball.

Robinson’s widow, Rachel Robinson – who turned 100 last week – cut the ribbon in the presence of dignitaries and family members, including the couple’s son David.

The new Jackie Robinson Museum in New York City opened this week, Photo Credit: New York Times.

While many people know Robinson as a transformational figure in the world of sports, he was perhaps even more notable as a social activist and civil rights leader, and the museum’s exhibits focus on both elements of his legacy. In fact, it is described as New York City’s first museum dedicated largely to the civil rights movement.

6. Is KD headed for Boston?

In the latest twist in the ongoing drama of where NBA star Kevin Durant will play in the upcoming season, now it seems that Boston is a front runner. While it would seem odd for Brooklyn to trade to a division rival that could put Boston over the top to win a title, it all comes down to what they get in return. Watch this space for further updates.

7. NFL news

In a really unfortunate turn of events, this week Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ center Ryan Jensen suffered what’s believed to be a “serious” knee injury in practice on Thursday. It was bad enough that he had to be carried off the field. It’s a real blow to their offense, which was already in flux with Rob Gronkowski’s decision to retire (he says he really means it this time, but of course that could change).

To try to compensate for the loss, this week Tampa Bay signed a free agent receiver, Julio Jones, to a one-year deal. Jones spent last year with the Titans, but he played in just 10 games.  Our Sports Desk – many of whom are passionate Bucs’ fans – notes that Jones is a “great receiver, who spent many years with the Falcons.” So even with all the new faces, they believe the Bucs’ offense will remain formidable.

Out west, the San Francisco 49ers have officially named Trey Lance as their starting quarterback. Which makes it even more likely that Jimmy Garoppolo will be traded before the season starts. Where to? The rumors indicate that Seattle might be the best place for him. Although, this morning there were reports that the New York Giants are pursuing him.

And finally, it’s a wide receiver’s market right now. DK Metcalf is the latest to take advantage of the high demand for WRs. The Seahawks star inked a 3-year, $72-million extension that will keep him in Seattle through 2025. The deal includes a $30-million signing bonus, the largest ever for a wide receiver.

8. TB12 is still on top.

The merchandise sales figures are out, and Tom Brady (TB12) is at the top of the list again for sales since the end of last season. No wonder the dude un-retired! Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes fell to number 7. And Russell Wilson’s new Denver jersey sales made him number 2.

9. US offers prisoner exchange in attempt to free Griner.

According to reports, the United States has offered to exchange Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian arms trafficker, with Russia for two American detainees: Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner and corporate security director Paul Whelan. Griner has been detained since February 17, soon after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The authorities claimed to have discovered empty vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage at the airport as she tried to leave the country. Griner pleaded guilty in early July, although she said she had “no intent” of breaking the law.

10. Fighting femmes in the U.F.C.

Fight night looked a bit different last night at the U.F.C. 277 event in Dallas. For the first time ever, the main event featured two female competitors: Julianna Pena and Amanda Nunes competed for the bantamweight title. Both are seasoned competitors – and both have young daughters. So when they say “Don’t mess with Mama,” they really mean it.

In the end, it wasn’t close, though. Nunez – “the Lioness” – dominated her opponent and won the match in just 25 minutes. The three knockdowns she landed set a record for the most in a women’s fight in UFC history.

Weekly Top sports news headlines and major events to know: July 31, 2022

That’s our take on the big sports news headlines and major events, and a preview of the week ahead, including what to know about football, tennis, baseball and more. Stay well and safe out there, dear reader. See you next week.

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Pamela Thomas-Graham is the Founder & CEO of Dandelion Chandelier. A Detroit native, she has 3 Harvard degrees and has written 3 mystery novels. After serving as a senior corporate executive, CEO of CNBC and partner at McKinsey, she now serves on the boards of several tech companies. She’s all in with the Pats, the Warriors, the Red Sox and the Wolverines. Also Naomi and Coco. And Roger. She would like to thank her advisors on the Sports Desk, without whom this column definitely would not be possible. 

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