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!
In a limited sports environment, the sports that are running for real have the advantage. And running multiple times a week helps. NASCAR put together an aggressive "return from COVID" schedule that resulted in two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) races per week through the end of May, with lower series races on the other days to boot. And the TV viewership has been high. Enter one of their young stars, Chase Elliott. Chase can be a polarizing figure. Son of a champion racer Bill Elliott, some think he's too entitled. Others are craving a new generation of drivers to challenge ones they don't like. Like Kyle Busch. Either you love Kyle or hate him. The saga started with a major wreck to cost Chase a win in the Toyota 500 on Wednesday 5/20 in Darlington (Busch wrecked Chase so bad he actually apologized) and it was revenge time. Chase first exerted it in the Gander RV and Outdoor Truck Series which is raced predominantly by aspiring, younger drivers. But Kyle Busch has always flexes his muscle by racing and usually winning, what being a champion driver against much less experience. To the point that Kevin Harvick put together a fun bounty for any MENCS series driver willing to race Kyle and win, he'd pay them $100K. Then Chase did it (money went to charity). Chase avenged the 5/20 wreck to beat Kyle at the North Carolina Education 200 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Truck race on Tuesday 5/26. Then he went on to win the MENCS race two days later on Thursday 5/28 at the Alsco Uniforms 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (securing his playoff spot). All in all, had he won the wreck race (5/20), another race in which he had an ill advised pit strategy (5/24), and even the Sunday race this week in which he was running top 2 before a wreck (5/31), could have had 4 MENCS in a row not counting the Truck Series. As it was, he got his MENCS win, beat Kyle, and is our Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!