TIME Cricket

Australian Cricket Commentator Richie Benaud Dies at 84

Australia v Sri Lanka - Third Test: Day 1
Ryan Pierse—Getty Images Richie Benaud looks on during day one of the Third Test match between Australia and Sri Lanka at Sydney Cricket Ground on Jan. 3, 2013 in Sydney.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott tweeted that Australia had lost an "icon"

Richie Benaud, Australia’s legendary cricket captain and commentator, died in Sydney on Friday, his family said. He was 84.

Benaud died peacefully in his sleep in a hospice, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. In November, Benaud revealed he was receiving radiation treatment for skin cancer.

He was a key member of the Australian cricket team in the 1950s; he was the first man to achieve 2,000 runs and 200 wickets at Test level, according to the BBC. But he was best known for his career commentating the sport, which began in 1964 and which the BBC described as his “mellifluous, light delivery, enthusiastically imitated by comedians and cricket fans alike.”

Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott joined the masses expressing their sadness on Twitter after news of Benaud’s death broke. He called Friday “A sad day for Australia. We have lost a cricketing champion and Australian icon.”

[Sydney Morning Herald]

TIME Soccer

Watch a Barcelona Player Kick a Soccer Ball Into a Basketball Hoop From Far Away

He's no Messi, but Martin Montoya nailed this long shot

​Sure, Lionel Messi is the star of Barcelona, but could he do this?

The club posted this video of reserve right back Martin Montoya draining a long-distance shot with his foot. Montoya gets nothing but net from what looks like further away than the length of basketball court.

Zlaaatan.com finds the only stuff on the internet that matters​

Montoya’s teammates are amazed and he celebrated by pulling up his shorts to reveal the leg with the special touch.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Baseball

MLB Player’s Violent Marriage Sheds Light on Domestic Abuse

The couple struggled for 10 years with emotional and physical abuse

A detailed account sheds new light on the violent relationship between professional baseball player Milton Bradley and his wife Monique Williams.

Sports Illustrated, citing public records to reveal the extent of the violence in the couple’s relationship, reports that after meeting in 2003 and marrying two years later, Bradley and Williams struggled for the next 10 years in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship, which sometimes escalated to police intervention and court conflict.

Bradley continued to play on multiple Major League Baseball teams during this time, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Oakland Athletics and the Chicago Cubs.

Read more at Sports Illustrated

TIME golf

Masters Offers a Major Learning Curve for Most Players

Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, talks with Tiger Woods on the practice green before the Masters golf tournament, April 8, 2015, in Augusta, Ga.
Darron Cummings—AP Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, talks with Tiger Woods on the practice green before the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., on April 8, 2015

Woods joined up with Crenshaw to play the back nine

(AUGUSTA, Ga.) — Tiger Woods was the exception. Ben Crenshaw was closer to the rule.

Woods joined up with Crenshaw to play the back nine Wednesday on the final day of practice for a Masters that is shaping up as a mystery in many ways. They are Masters champions with multiple green jackets. What separates them is how soon they got them.

Crenshaw had to suffer a little before he could celebrate his first major. He was a runner-up four times in the majors, including a playoff loss to David Graham at the PGA Championship, before he broke through in 1984 at Augusta National. He won another one in 1995.

Woods wasted no time. He won the first major he played as a pro by setting 20 records in his 1997 Masters victory, and that was only the start. He already had eight majors before he recorded his first runner-up finish. He had four green jackets before he turned 30.

More players have taken the Crenshaw route.

Tom Watson. Nick Price. Phil Mickelson. Adam Scott. The group even includes Jack Nicklaus, who was a 20-year-old amateur when he finished second behind Arnold Palmer in the 1960 U.S. Open. Nicklaus played that day with Ben Hogan, who also had a chance to win until he hit into the water on the 17th hole at Cherry Hills.

Hogan said after the round, “Don’t feel sorry for me. I played with a kid today who could have won this Open by 10 shots if he had known now.”

Nicklaus figured it out.

Also on that list is Rory McIlroy, who returns to the scene of his greatest lesson in a major.

He was a 21-year-old with a four-shot lead at the Masters in 2011, ready to be crowned the next big thing in golf, when he shot 80 in the final round. He handled the collapse with remarkable poise, said he would learn from his mistakes. And then he posted scoring records at Congressional two months later in the U.S. Open.

“A lot of that win has to do with what happened at Augusta,” McIlroy said.

The Masters is even more meaningful now.

It the only major keeping him from the career Grand Slam, and McIlroy will be the clear favorite when the Masters begins Thursday.

“Everything I’ve done, all the work I’ve done gearing up for this week has been good,” McIlroy said. “I’m just ready for the gun to go off on Thursday.”

The expectations are higher than ever for McIlroy, and lower than ever for Woods, who is competing for the first time since Feb. 5. That’s when he walked off the course at Torrey Pines to work on a game that had become so bad that hardly anyone recognized it.

Woods has shown much improvement in three days of practice, including the nine holes he played with Crenshaw and Jordan Spieth.

McIlroy and Woods, even at different ends of the spectrum, have dominated the talk so much this week that a large group of contenders have largely been ignored.

Bubba Watson is the defending champion and going for his third green jacket in four years. Adam Scott is back to the long putter he used to win in 2013. Spieth and Jimmy Walker might be the hottest players on the PGA Tour — Walker is the only player with two wins this season, Spieth has won, finished second and lost in a playoff his last three starts.

The question for Spieth is whether he already paid his major dues.

A year ago, he was on the verge at age 20 of becoming the youngest Masters champion when he had a two-shot lead with 11 holes to play. Two bogeys put behind going into the back nine, and he never caught up to Watson.

“How much value do I take out of losing? A lot,” Spieth said. “But I’m not one of those people who believe it was better for me not to win. I don’t think I would have handled it the wrong way. I don’t think Rory would have if he had won. He was saying he didn’t feel ready to close that out and found out what he was doing wrong.

“I take a lot out of what happened, but I don’t necessarily think it was better for me.”

Padraig Harrington is another major champion who lost before he could win.

“The best preparation for winning is contending,” Harrington said.

The Irishman made bogey on the final hole at the 2002 British Open that cost him a spot in the playoff at Muirfield. He finished with three straight bogeys at Winged Foot in 2006 and finished two shots behind in the U.S. Open. A year later, he won the first of his three majors, going back-to-back at the end of 2008.

“You do need to be in that situation a couple of times to be comfortable,” Harrington said. “That’s not true for everyone. But for most players, you have to lose a few before you can win a few.”

Maybe that explains why no Masters rookie has won a green jacket since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. Or why the Masters has the fewest number of first-time champions compared with the other three majors over the last 20 years.

McIlroy paid a steep price four years ago and found redemption in other majors right away. Still missing, however, is the green jacket.

TIME College Basketball

NCAA VP Says Refs Saw All Replay Angles in Controversial Duke-Wisconsin Play

Justise Winslow of the Duke Blue Devils celebrates after defeating the Wisconsin Badgers during the NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 6, 2015 in Indianapolis.
Andy Lyons—Getty Images Justise Winslow of the Duke Blue Devils celebrates after defeating the Wisconsin Badgers during the NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 6, 2015 in Indianapolis.

Contradicting a statement made earlier in the week by the head of NCAA officials

Duke may have beat Wisconsin 68-63 in the NCAA Men’s National Championship on Monday night, but a controversial call that may have aided the Blue Devils in their win is still under speculation.

NCAA Vice President Dan Gavitt told ESPN’s Outside the Lines on Wednesday that game officials did see the same video replay angles that viewers at home saw on their screens, contradicting what John Adams, head of NCAA officials, said Tuesday.

The controversial call came with Duke up by five points and less than two minutes left in the game, when the ball flew out of bounds. Commentators, along with many fans, seemed to think Duke forward Justise Winslow had been the last man to touch the ball. But after officials reviewed replay footage for nearly two minutes, they awarded the ball to Duke, not the Badgers. Duke went on to win the championship.

The next morning, Adams told SiriusXM College Sports that “we never saw on our monitor what everybody saw at home, if you can believe that.” He added: “We had been told time and time again, ‘Nobody at home will see anything you didn’t see.’ And I will tell you that’s not what happened last night. That is not an excuse. That is just laying it out for you.”

But Gavitt said that Adams, who he said is leaving his post, and the other officials had in fact seen the footage that CBS aired that night.

“Unfortunately, John misspoke yesterday,” Gavitt told ESPN. “The officials did indeed have the camera angle that was shown on the CBS broadcast. It was the last angle they did see. They likely did not stay long enough with a review to see that angle magnified. But they made their determination based on the two-minute review and the camera angle that was shown on CBS and with that determined that there wasn’t indisputable evidence to overturn the call. You need to have indisputable evidence by rule to change the call. The facts are they did have the angle the viewers had.”

TIME Basketball

LeBron Says He Would Vote Himself MVP This Season

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers smiles to the fans during the second half against the Chicago Bulls at Quicken Loans Arena on April 5, 2015 in Cleveland.
Jason Miller—Getty Images CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 5: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers smiles to the fans during the second half against the Chicago Bulls at Quicken Loans Arena on April 5, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers defeated the Bulls 99-94. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

He supports the idea of players voting for awards

NBA players will be able to vote in their own set of postseason awards for the first time this year, players union executive director Michele Roberts said in a memo made public on Wednesday.

LeBron James said he knows who he would peg as this season’s MVP. From ESPN:

James said that players can’t vote for themselves for awards. But who would his vote be for MVP this year?

“Myself,” James said.

James said he supports the idea of players voting for awards.

“Guys are going to be able to recognize the guys they play against every night and what they do for their franchises,” James said, according to ESPN.

James has won four MVPs during his career. He earned two during his first stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers and two more while he played for the Miami Heat.

The forward’s 25.6 points, 7.3 assists and 6 rebounds a game are all his lowest averages since his rookie season, but he is third in the NBA in scoring and seventh in player efficiency rating. After a 19-20 start, James’ Cavaliers are now 50-27 and sit second in the Eastern Conference.

Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook and James Harden are considered favorites to win MVP.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME golf

Watch Jack Nicklaus Sink a Hole-in-One During the Masters Par-3 Contest

Jack Nicklaus celebrates his hole-in-one during the Par 3 Contest prior to the start of the 2015 Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga. on April 8, 2015.
David Cannon—Getty Images Jack Nicklaus celebrates his hole-in-one during the Par 3 Contest prior to the start of the 2015 Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga. on April 8, 2015.

And see how the 75-year-old veteran golfer celebrated

The greatest players of all-time have made their mark at the Masters.

The greatest champion of all-time, Jack Nicklaus, did it six times. As if that wasn’t enough, the Golden Bear added to his legacy at Augusta on Wednesday afternoon.

Playing the fourth hole in the Par-3 Challenge with Gary Player and Ben Crenshaw, Nicklaus tossed his approach 15 feet beyond the hole, spinning it back and into the cup for an ace.

Nicklaus celebrated with high fives all around, from his playing partners to the caddies, then on to the fans near the tee box.

This article originally appeared on Golf.com.

TIME Sports

Meet the Real Women Who Inspired A League of Their Own

The spring of 1945 found women suiting up in jerseys and skirts for the start of the league's third season

When Philip K. Wrigley spearheaded the effort to remedy professional baseball’s wartime decline with a women’s league, one question dogged the league’s founders: what, exactly, to call it. It wasn’t technically softball. The ball was smaller, the bases farther apart and stealing bases—forbidden in softball—was permitted. But it wasn’t baseball, either: the ball was larger and the bases, closer. They settled on a compromise: The All-American Girls Professional Ball League.

The league that would later inspire the 1992 movie A League of Their Own — and the enduring exclamation, “There’s no crying in baseball!” — had just kicked off its third season when LIFE featured it in a photo essay in 1945. The six teams, all based in the Midwest, were comprised of nearly 100 women between the ages of 16 and 27 who played for $50 to $85 per week. Eight were married and three had children. Nearly half a million spectators were expected to turn out over the course of that season, shelling out $0.74 for a seat to watch the Rockford Peaches face the South Bend Blue Sox and the Grand Rapid Chicks take on the Racine Belles.

As exciting as it was to watch women slide and steal and scuff their knees, the league was a product of its time, and its strict rules of conduct reflected this. According to LIFE, “League rules establish she must always wear feminine attire, cannot smoke or drink in public, cannot have dates except with ‘old friends’ and then only with the approval of the ever-present team chaperone.”

But as demure as the players may have been off the field, they were serious athletes as soon as the first pitch was thrown. Blue Sox Catcher Mary “Bonnie” Baker could throw 345 feet. Lefty pitcher Annabelle Lee threw a perfect game. And Sophie Kurys stole 1,114 bases during her ten-year career. The appeal of players’ athleticism kept the league going for more than a decade, with attendance peaking in the late 1940s at 910,000 fans. But the league’s decentralization, a dearth of qualified players and the rise of televised major league games eventually led to its demise, with players retiring their gloves after the close of the 1954 season.

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizabethRonk.

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TIME golf

See Sports Illustrated’s 100 Best Masters Photos

Since the 1950s, Sports Illustrated has captured every big moment at the Masters. Take a look back at the 100 best photos, including Jack's magical finish in 1986, Arnie's last win in 1964, and Tiger's 2001 masterpiece.

TIME golf

Phil Mickelson Drops the Best Golfing Humble Brag Ever

The Masters - Preview Day 2
David Cannon — Getty Images Phil Mickelson speaks to the media following a practice round ahead of the 2015 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 7, 2015 in Augusta, Georgia.

Lefty’s got 99 problems but a green jacket ain’t one

Phil Mickelson likes to have one of his prized green blazers on him during a round of golf, you know, in case it gets cold.

According to the three-time Masters Tournament winner, he relishes in showing up to corporate events with a green jacket in tow. (The jackets are awarded to the winners of the annual Masters Tournament).

“If it was chilly in the morning, I would pull it out,” Mickelson told reporters ahead of the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on Tuesday.

“I wouldn’t carry three [green jackets] around with me, but I would say, ‘I’ve got two more if you’re cold.’”

However, Mickelson admits he’s got to be careful whom he brags in front of.

“Some people can take it, some people can’t,” he joked.

Mickelson is scheduled to tee off on Thursday morning alongside Rory McIlroy for the first round of the 2015 Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia.

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