Late Birdies Power McIlroy to Players Title
Rory McIlroy made two late birdies amid the wild theatrics of Sunday at The Players Championship and closed with a 2-under 70 to win the next best thing to a major.
It required a major performance down the scary stretch at the TPC Sawgrass.
McIlroy could not afford to make a mistake over the final hour because of Jim Furyk, the 48-year-old former Ryder Cup captain who nearly pulled off a stunner. Furyk capped off a 67 with a shot so good into the 18th that he started walking when he hit it. It plopped down three feet from the hole for a birdie to take the lead.
McIlroy was coming off a bogey on the 14th to fall behind and was in trouble with a tee shot that found a bunker right of the fairway. He responded with his best shot of the day to 15 feet for birdie. He was solid to the end on a chilly, cloudy day and finished at 16-under 272 to win The Players on his 10th try.
Busch ties Petty’s mark
Kyle Busch tied Richard Petty’s NASCAR record with his 200th career victory across the three national series by using an impressive late surge through the field following a speeding penalty to win the Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway.
Busch dominated the first two stages, but a pit-road speeding penalty dropped him to 18th with 73 laps to go. He carved through the field in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota then got help from a timely caution. Busch catapulted into the lead for good with 26 laps left by drafting off Team Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano.
Fitzpatrick joins Dolphins
Ryan Fitzpatrick will become the Miami Dolphins’ caretaker quarterback.
The well-traveled veteran agreed to terms on an $11 million, two-year contract as a replacement to Ryan Tannehill and a placeholder until the Dolphins can draft their franchise quarterback. That could happen next month, but is more likely in 2020.
The 36-year-old Fitzpatrick has a 50-75-1 record as a starter for seven NFL teams. He started seven games for Tampa Bay last year and had a passer rating of 100.4, which ranked ninth in the league.
Simone Biles started off 2019 the same way she ended 2018: atop the podium. The reigning world and Olympic all-around gymnastics champion easily won her 2019 debut at the DTB Pokal World Cup. ... Another race won, another crystal trophy earned, another World Cup record written by Mikaela Shiffrin in her historically great season. Shiffrin won a giant slalom to seal the season-long standings title and, shedding a few tears while sitting in the finish area, lifted a record-tying fourth World Cup crystal globe in the A fourth discipline title in one season matched the women’s World Cup record jointly held by Lindsey Vonn (2010, 2012) and Tina Maze (2013). ... Bianca Andreescu upset three-time major champion Angelique Kerber 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 to win the BNP Paribas Open, becoming at age 18 the first wild-card winner in tournament history. The Canadian overcame nerves, arm and leg issues in the final set to earn the first title of her fledgling career. ... Jozy Altidore came off the bench to score the winner in the 80th minute and Toronto FC beat the New England Revolution, 3-2, in its home opener. Carles Gil scored twice to pull the Revolution (0-2-1) even at 2-2.