TIME golf

Jordan Spieth Wins Masters

Jordan Spieth wears the Green Jacket of the 2015 Masters Champion at the 79th Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in August, Ga. on April 12, 2015.
Jim Watson—AFP/Getty Images Jordan Spieth wears the Green Jacket of the 2015 Masters Champion at the 79th Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in August, Ga. on April 12, 2015.

The 21-year-old never wavered

(AUGUSTA, Ga.) — What a difference from one year to the next for Jordan Spieth.

In 2014, the young Texan squandered a lead at the Masters on the final day with back-to-back bogeys just before the turn, and could only watch as Bubba Watson pulled away to claim his second green jacket.

On Sunday, Spieth firmly seized control of a tournament that has been his from the start — at the very same spot on the course, no less — strolling confidently to the 10th hole with a commanding five-shot advantage.

Better start sizing him up for his first green jacket.

Showing no signs of cracking, the 21-year-old stretched a four-shot lead at the beginning of the day, pretty much wrapping things up with a birdie at the eighth and a par at the ninth, gaining two shots on his playing partner Justin Rose.

Rose was only three behind after Spieth bogeyed the seventh, missing a short but icy putt. Spieth quickly bounced back — as he had each time anyone put a semblance of heat on the kid — with a birdie at the par-5 eighth. Rose missed his birdie attempt from about 6 feet after a sloppy pitch from just off the green.

At No. 9, Rose put his approach 20 feet from the flag but three-putted from there. Spieth made a nice, comfortable par to keep his score at 17-under par — five shots ahead of both Rose and Phil Mickelson, who just up ahead had birdied the 10th.

The only drama, it seemed, was whether Spieth would break another Masters scoring record on a cloudy day at Augusta National. He already set new standards for 36 and 54 holes, and he pushed his score to 18-under par with a gutsy birdie at the 13th.

Rather than laying up, he went for the green for 208 yards away, the ball clearing the creek that has ruined so many contenders.

“Go hard! Go hard! Go hard!” Spieth screamed, letting out a sigh of relief when the ball stopped just 14 feet past the flag.

He missed the putt, which would have made him the first player in Masters history to reach 19-under par. But the tap-in birdie got him to 18 under and still five shots ahead of Rose with five holes remaining.

Tiger Woods set the Masters record with an 18-under 270 in 1997, winning the first of his four green jackets in a runaway.

Spieth, just a few months older than Woods that day, was dominating in similar fashion.

He already had 27 birdies for the week to eclipse another record, the 25 birdies that Phil Mickelson made 2001.

Spieth, who set the tone in the very first round with an 8-under 64, was poised to become the first wire-to-wire winner since Raymond Floyd in 1976 and only the fifth in Masters’ history.

Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champion playing in the final group of a major for the first time, kept up his strong finish to the third round by making two straight birdies to start Sunday. At that point, he had birdied seven of his last eight holes.

Spieth never wavered, and Rose faded away. A bogey at the sixth broke a streak of 18 consecutive holes with nothing but pars and birdies for the Englishman. The stumble at No. 9 left Rose with a 36 on the front side, not the sort of charge he needed the way Spieth was playing.

Mickelson, seeking his fourth Masters title, never really got it going either. The closest he got to the lead was four shots.

Charley Hoffman, playing in the next-to-last group with Lefty, finally faded away after three strong rounds. The 38-year-old was doomed by a shaky putter, the kiss of death on Augusta’s devilish greens.

Woods played in the third group from the end with the world’s top-ranked player, Rory McIlroy. It was a glamorous pairing but didn’t produce too many cheers, both players facing 10-shot deficits coming into the day and not doing anything to show they were capable of a historic comeback.

Woods, in particular, had all sorts of problems with his driver, failing to hit a fairway until the 13th. He drove into the adjacent ninth fairway with his first shot of the day, then missed that same fairway when actually playing No. 9. Winding up on the pine straw right of the fairway, he struck a hidden root on his swing, yelling out in pain and letting the club fly from his grasp.


TIME Football

NFL Quarterback Johnny Manziel Released From Rehab

Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel talks with the media at the NFL football team's training camp, in Berea, Ohio, Feb. 2, 2015.
Tony Dejak—AP Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel talks with the media at the NFL football team's training camp, in Berea, Ohio, Feb. 2, 2015.

He's expected to start off-season workouts later this month

Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel has been released from a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility and will return to practice, according to multiple reports.

ESPN and the Associated Press, citing anonymous sources, report that the 22-year-old Heisman Trophy winner is expected to start off-season workouts later this month. Manziel entered treatment at the end of January following his rookie season in the NFL.

Browns left tackle Joe Thomas told ESPN this week that Manziel had lost the trust of his teammates through his behavior, but Thomas added that Manziel checking himself into rehab was a “really positive” step. Manziel will compete with veteran Josh McCown for the QB job this year.

“I’m hoping when we come back in April we see a new Johnny and everybody’s blown away with his commitment,” said Thomas. “And I think he’s got the talent, so it’s just a matter of if he commits himself to it, we can have a really good quarterback on our hands.”


Jordan Spieth Sets Masters Record With Lowest 36-Hole Score

Jordan Spieth of the US tees off the 4th hole during Round 2 of the 79th Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in in Augusta, Georgia, on Apr. 10, 2015.
Jim Watson—AFP/Getty Images Jordan Spieth of the US tees off the 4th hole during Round 2 of the 79th Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in in Augusta, Georgia, on Apr. 10, 2015.

(AUGUSTA, Ga.) — The record belongs to Jordan Spieth.

The 21-year-old Texan posted the lowest 36-hole score in Masters history, going to the weekend at 14-under 130. That broke the mark of 131, set by Raymond Floyd in 1976.

Spieth shot a 6-under 66 in the second round, essentially blowing away everyone in the field except Charley Hoffman, who is four strokes behind with a couple of holes to play. Normally, that sort of performance would be good enough for the lead.

Not the way Spieth was playing. He had 15 birdies and only one bogey through the first two days.

“I’ve been kind of on my game and feeling really good about coming to a place that I love, that everybody loves,” Spieth said. “It’s special to be in the tournament, let alone out front.”

Ernie Els, at 139, was the only other player with a single-digit deficit when Spieth finished his round.

Everyone else was at least 10 shots behind.

Spieth missed a chance for another birdie at the 18th hole, his 7-foot putt sliding past the left side of the cup on the slick Augusta greens. He initially went up to tap it in, standing awkwardly so he wouldn’t step in the line of playing partner Henrik Stenson, who still had a short putt of his own.

Then, perhaps realizing how important this little putt was, Spieth backed away, marked his ball and waited for Stenson to finish before knocking his in for the record.

Spieth also tied the major championship record for lowest 36-hole score, matching three others.

TIME remembrance

Basketball Player Lauren Hill Dies of Brain Cancer

Lauren Hill
Tom Uhlman—AP Mount St. Joseph's Lauren Hill gives a thumbs-up as she holds the game ball during her first NCAA college basketball game at Xavier University in Cincinnati on Nov. 2, 2014.

Her nonprofit foundation helped to raise more than $1.5 million for cancer research

(CINCINNATI) — Lauren Hill spent her final year polishing a layup and inspiring others to live fully. She succeeded at both.

The 19-year-old freshman basketball player at Mount St. Joseph University died at a hospital Friday morning, the co-founder of her foundation The Cure Starts Now said.

“Through Lauren’s fundraising and advocacy efforts, she not only became a spotlight on the lack of funding for cancer research, but she most certainly has become a beacon guiding researchers for years to come,” The Cure Starts Now co-founder Brooke Desserich said.

Hill wouldn’t let an inoperable brain tumor dictate her final days. Along the way, she became known simply as Lauren, someone who knew how to make the most of every day and who had a knack for encouraging others to do the same by the way she persevered.

Her nonprofit foundation helped to raise more than $1.5 million for cancer research.

“She’s made an impact on the world, more so than me — more than I ever will do,” her coach Dan Benjamin said. “I’ve gotten so many emails and phone calls from all over the world. People are contacting me because they want to share her story.”

A year and a half ago, Hill was just another high school student getting ready for college. She decided to play basketball at Division III Mount St. Joseph in suburban Cincinnati — soccer was her favorite sport, but basketball became her selling point.

A few weeks later, she started experiencing dizziness while playing for her high school team in nearby Lawrenceburg, Indiana. Tests found the tumor. Treatment didn’t work. She knew she had less than two years left.

While the tumor squeezed her brain, Hill squeezed back, holding onto life as tightly as she could. Living every day as fully as she could. She became dedicated to raising money for cancer research and treatment and determined to show others what it means to treat each sunrise as a precious opportunity.

“I’m spreading awareness and also teaching people how to live in the moment because the next moment’s not promised,” Hill told the AP after one of her team’s 6 a.m. practices. “Anything can happen at any given moment. What matters is right now.

“Especially after this kind of diagnosis, your perspective on life and what you value changes.”

For Hill, that meant spending time with her parents and a brother and sister, going to college, raising money for cancer research, inspiring others, and achieving her goal of scoring a basket in a game.

A lot of people got involved and made it happen.

The NCAA agreed to let Mount St. Joseph move up its opening game against Hiram College by two weeks because Hill’s condition was deteriorating. Xavier University offered its 10,000-seat arena so more people could attend. Tickets sold out in less than an hour.

By the time the game came around on Nov. 2, the tumor had affected Hill’s right side so much that she had to shoot with her non-dominant hand. With Tennessee women’s coach Pat Summitt and an impressive cast of WNBA players on hand, Hill took a pass and made a left-handed layup only 17 seconds into the game.

Tears. Goosebumps. Applause.

She also made the last basket of the game, returning for a right-handed layup this time.

“It’s a dream come true,” she said. “To play on a college court, to put my foot down on the floor and hear the roar of the crowd — I just love it so much. I love basketball.

“Everything that happened today was amazing. I’m truly happy, it’s a really good day.”

It got tougher. The spreading tumor caused her to be sensitive to light, sound and movement. She couldn’t sleep well. She tired quickly and needed a wheelchair at times. She had good days and bad ones, good hours and lesser ones.

Everyone watched her grit it out.

“Even though it’s sad, her courage brings out the best in people,” Mount St. Joseph President Tony Aretz said. “She’s living with courage when a lot of people are afraid to live.”

Hill played in four games and made five layups before the spreading tumor made her give up playing. When the season ended, her team held its annual dinner in a room at the hospital where Hill was being treated.

Still together, even as the end approached.

Hill was determined to raise money for cancer research, hoping that others might have a better chance at beating the disease in the future. Her Layup4Lauren challenge and other fundraising activities brought in donations worldwide.

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association voted her the Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award, which is normally awarded at the Final Four. Athletes from other colleges autographed No. 22 jerseys — her number — and sent them in support.

Hill befriended Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman Devon Still, whose 4-year-old daughter, Leah, is fighting cancer. They exchanged jerseys, and she attended a Bengals game and met Leah.

As the cancer slowed her down, her family, friends and teammates took a bigger role in promoting her fundraising campaign. And she kept reminding everyone to appreciate life.

“Life is precious,” she told WKRC-TV. “Every moment you get with someone is a moment that’s blessed, really blessed.”

TIME Cricket

Tributes Pour in for the ‘Voice of Cricket’ Richie Benaud

Benaud's iconic commentary and presence defined the sport for multiple generations of players and fans

Richie Benaud was an integral part of the Australian cricket team in the 1950s, setting records with bat and ball while also leading his side to several memorable victories. But as the tributes pouring in following his death on Friday attest, he will most be remembered for his iconic commentary of the sport, which brought the game alive for multiple generations of cricketers and cricket fans, all over the world.

“Forever the voice of our summer,” tweeted Cricket Australia, with the association’s chairman Wally Edwards saying the country lost “a national treasure.”

Australian captain Michael Clarke and coach Darren Lehman — coming off a record fifth World Cup win last month — also expressed heartfelt tributes for Benaud on social media, as did several other past and present members of the team.

What a man. Extremely sad day. You were a lot more then just a cricketer Richie. RIP

A photo posted by Michael Clarke (@michaelclarkeofficial) on

A truely great person, you will always be remembered for what you gave to this world. R.I.P Richie

A photo posted by Mitchell Johnson (@mitchjohnson398) on

The commemorations weren’t just restricted to the Australian cricket fraternity, however.

TIME Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby Bans Drones and Selfie Sticks

Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. on May 2, 2014.
Logan Riely—AP Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY on May 2, 2014.

Re-entry on the day of race will not be allowed, either

In a loss for annoying people everywhere, Churchill Downs has banned selfie sticks from the Kentucky Derby and Oaks races.

The triple crown venue will not allow the picture-taking accessories as well as photo drones inside for the 2015 running of the Kentucky Derby, according to The Courier Journal of Louisville.

For the first time ever, fans will also not be permitted re-entry on the day of the race, with track general manager Ryan Jordan telling The Courier-Journal the policy made it too east for counterfeiters to prosper.

“Our previous re-entry policy made it a fairly simple task for ticketed patrons to exit the track and quickly generate copies of their tickets and wristbands for sale outside of our grounds.”

This article originally appeared on SI.com.


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.

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