The first men's professional golf major of 2020 and in over a year did not disappoint. At one point on Sunday, seven big name and emerging players were atop a crowded PGA Championship leaderboard. But in one shot, our Sportsman of the Week ended it all. California phenom Collin Morikawa burst ahead of a crowded leaderboard with a near impossible tee shot off the 16th hole on a par four to get within a few feet of the hole. One putt. Match. The two shots gained on that hole gave him the margin he needed for his first major championship in only his second major start. He is only 23 years old after all. Morikawa has been right at the top of the leaderboard weekly since the PGA restart, losing a playoff at the Charles Schwab Challenge, then beating current World Number One Justin Thomas in a playoff at Workday Charity Open to win his first championship. The combination of amazing technical skills and precocious poise have Morikawa as someone to watch. A deserving Sportsman of the Week!
Baseball is back!!! And no team is favored to win the World Series more than the (love 'em or hate 'em) New York Yankees. And no player may be the face of the game more than our Sportsman of the Week, Aaron Judge. Judge has announced his courtroom authority by setting the league on fire during the first full week of action. Specifically, five straight games with a home run, six home runs during that span. Overall the Yankees were 5-0 and Judge knocked in an incredible 13 runs. Health has constantly been an issue for Judge and had the season started on time he might have not answered the opening bell. Instead the break seems to have served him well and baseball is better for it. Judge looks poised to win his first MVP and is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!
One of the first major team sports to restart in 2020 was the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) with a tournament in a Utah bubble for player safety. After a four-game round robin, the NWSL Challenge Cup tournament commenced and a surprise winner was crowned. The Houston Dash, not considered a favorite, came through in the clutch behind the solid goalkeeping of Jane Campbell who didn't allow a goal in the three tournament games and had a clutch stop in the quarterfinals during a PK shootout. She turned away all six shots in the semifinals and finals to enable 1-0 (vs. Portland Thorns) and 2-0 (vs. Chicago Red Stars) wins respectively. She had no room for error. Throughout the tournament she led the league with 21 saves and four shutouts. A deserving champion and great goalkeeper. The Longhorndave Sportswoman of the Week!
Greatness is measured by being best in your sport. Winning one of the elite tournaments in your sport to propel you to that is also a great way to demonstrate greatness. Both were achieved by our Sportsman of the week. John Rahm distanced himself from the field enough at The Memorial to make the back 9 nearly irrelevant. With up to a six stroke lead at times, Rahm proved he was at the top of his game. On a Sunday when the course was bringing players to their knees (only one player in the Final Top 9 finished under par), he managed to mitigate damage with a 3 stroke win. With the win, the Spaniard is now Tops in the World. Plenty of golf to play in 2020 including deferred majors, but he is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week.
Rookies aren't suppose to win on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series anyway. Let alone at a challenging track like the Kentucky Speedway. But our Sportsman of the Week did both, beating a strong field. Cole Custer surged past prior Cup Series Champions like Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. to win on a restart of the Quaker State 400 after a crazy, crash-filled final 20 laps. Constantly lurking toward the top with a surprisingly fast car, he found himself in the Top 4, then as the other three battled and rubbed, hit the outside groove to victory. The Stewart-Haas driver of the 41 car now finds himself in the All Star race this week, as well as the playoffs, joining teammate Harvick. It's not supposed to be like this. But it was, and Custer is now a NASCAR winner!
Fans weekends and sometimes weekdays continue an increase of sports presence, and this last weekend was the second running if the IndyCar Racing League (IRL) of the season. Second running, same as the first as far as winners go. Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing dominated the GMR Grand Prix field at the league's namesake Indianapolis Motor Speedway to win the road course by nearly 20 seconds. For someone as dominant as he has been on the circuit, it is suprising it is only Dixon's second win at the Speedway, over a decade since his first in the 2008 Indianapolis 500. Dixon has his eyes set on a second Indy 500 win for the race now rescheduled for August 23 with qualifying earlier in the month. The New Zealander is likely to be a heavy favorite and looks poised to capture his sixth overall IndyCar title. A worthy Sportsman of the Week!
Major European soccer (or what they call football) is ramping up as Europe returns to sports and there was no bigger story this week than Liverpool winning their first England Premier League title in 30 years. Thirty. Years. Led by stalwart forward Mohamed Salah, they breezed by punch less Crystal Palace by a 4-0 score. Salah struck what might be considered the back-breaking blow just before halftime in scoring his team-leading 17th goal of the season. That ties him for 3rd in the league to date, but Liverpool made a mockery of the league, now standing at 28-1-2 and 26 points ahead of second place Manchester City. A big win for the town of Liverpool and a worthy Sportsman of the Week!
We're going to go back to back on golf, but there have been two great finishes the past two weeks. This week, Webb Simpson surged ahead of a crowded field to win the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head, South Carolina by one stroke at an incredible 22 under par. Down the stretch is when he specialized, with birdie on 5 of the last 7 holes as well as a bogey free round with par or better on the last 29 holes. The victory on Father's Day was special for Simpson, a father of five and someone who lost his father less than 3 years ago. The American Simpson notched a tournament record by two strokes and continues the return to sports as a worthy Sportsman of the Week!
Another week, another American sport returns. Golf. No fans of course, but most of the top players in the world gathered to compete at The Charles Schwab Challenge at the Colonial Club in Ft. Worth, Texas. And through a thrilling back nine with as many as 8 golfers in contention, our Sportsman of the Week emerged. Daniel Berger had been one of the hottest golfers before the 13-week hiatus with several Top 10 finishes. Add a championship. Berger outdueled young phenom Collin Morikawa in the first overtime hole (at 17) to secure the victory with a par. Several golfers had a chance to join the playoff at the 18th hole with birdie putt after birdie putt being missed. The American's steady hand on the last few holes and on the playoff secured his third PGA tour victory, but his first since 2017. After a devastating wrist injury that nearly derailed his career in 2018-19, Berger is back, Baby. And our Sportsman of the Week!
It's clear who the greatest MMA female fighter of all time is. And she might be the best fighter of all time regardless of gender. Amanda Nunes once again showed why she is the standard when it comes to MMA in defending her UFC women's featherweight title to keep both of her belts (the other being bantamweight). She beats all comers, this time Canadian upstart Felicia Spencer who courageously took Nunes the full five rounds but was no where close on points (did not win a round). Nunes pieces together style and strength in dismantling her opponents either strategically or by brute force. It was the Brazilian Lioness's 11th straight win and probably more to come. Overall 20-4, note her first bout was a loss and no losses since 2014. It's going to take a special talent to beat 32 year-old Nunes and she is a deserving Sportswoman of the Week!