RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Three months after declaring he was “fully committed” to the PGA Tour, Dustin Johnson is among 42 players in the field for next week’s LIV Golf Invitational, which offers a $25 million in prize money that’s backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.
Phil Mickelson was missing from the list that was released Tuesday night. It was his damaging remarks in February that led to Johnson and other top players to say they would stay on the PGA Tour.
The LIV Golf Invitational is scheduled for June 9-11 at Centurion Club outside of London. The PGA Tour and European tour denied releases for players, meaning they risk punishment — possibly a loss of tour membership — by competing.
That was a turnaround from his comments in February when Johnson issued a statement that he was committed to the PGA Tour and that he was “grateful for the opportunity to play on the best tour in the world and for all it has provided me and my family.”
Johnson, whose last victory was the Saudi International in 2021, is No. 13 in the world, the highest-ranked player in the field. He had held the No. 1 spot in the world longer than any player since Tiger Woods.
Greg Norman, in his second try to create an alternative circuit to the PGA Tour, had made a strong push for Johnson. Still to be determined is how much Johnson is being paid to join the Saudi venture.
Other players in the 48-man field were not a surprise; Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia had indicated they would be playing, along with Ian Poulter and Louis Oosthuizen.
CLEVELAND (AP) — Another massage therapist has filed a civil lawsuit against Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, raising the number of women who have accused him of sexual misconduct to 23.
Attorney Tony Buzbee, who is representing all the women, filed the latest lawsuit Tuesday in Texas and said in a text to the AP that there could be more legal action forthcoming against Watson.
Buzbee did not provide any details about the latest case.
The previous 22 lawsuits were filed in 2021, and two of those cases recently received national attention when two of the women were interviewed for a segment on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.”
Both women provided graphic details of their encounters with Watson, who was traded from Houston to Cleveland in March. The Browns sent five draft picks — including three first-rounders — to the Texans and then signed the three-time Pro Bowler to a fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract despite his legal entanglement and the cases still pending.
Watson has denied any wrongdoing, and his lawyer, Rusty Hardin, reiterated the 26-year-old’s innocence while commenting on lawsuit No. 23.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Charlotte fired coach Miguel Angel Ramírez on Tuesday just 14 league games into the season.
Ramírez was hired by owner David Tepper to lead the Major League Soccer expansion club and was dismissed after five wins, eight losses and one draw in league games. The team advanced to the round of 16 in the U.S. Open Cup, winning two matches before losing to the New York Red Bulls last week.
Assistant coach Christian Lattanzio will serve as interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
Ramírez became the third coach in the 28-team league fired this season, following San Jose’s Matías Almeyda on April 18 and D.C.’s Hernán Losada on April 20.
No explanation was given for the firing.
Assistant coach Mikel Antía, head fitness coach Cristobal Fuentes Nieto and first team video analyst Luis Piedrahita also were fired. Goalkeeper coach Andy Quy will remain on staff.
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The New Jersey Devils have hired Dr. Angus Mugford as their senior vice president of player development and performance and promoted former Olympian Meghan Duggan to director of player development.
Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald announced the moves on Tuesday.
Mugford spent the previous seven years with the Toronto Blue Jays. He directed the creation and growth of one of Major League Baseball’s first sports science departments, integrating a team of medical specialists within Toronto’s player development system. His department focused on science, medicine, nutrition, psychology, strength and conditioning and performance goals.
Duggan joined the Devils last year as manager of player development. She will now manage all levels of the club’s development department, evaluating all on-ice and off-ice information.
Duggan won 11 medals for USA hockey, including an Olympic gold in 2018 when she was the captain. She was recently named President of Women’s Sports Foundation and is on the NHL’s Player Inclusion Committee.
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