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Jack Nicklaus on board with historic PGA Tour-LIV Golf merger: ‘Good for the game of golf’

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Jack Nicklaus on board with historic PGA Tour-LIV Golf merger: ‘Good for the game of golf’

Jack Nicklaus likes that golf is finally coming together globally instead of remaining pitted in a civil war. 

“The Golden Bear,” like many others, reacted to the surprising landmark merger between the PGA Tour, Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) which runs the LIV Golf tour, and DP World Tour as one unified golf entity. 

“The last three years have been difficult for the game and the players,” Nicklaus said, via The Palm Beach Post. “I spoke with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan this morning. He seemed pleased with the arrangement that will once again bring together the best players in the world. I agree that this is good for the game of golf.

Jack Nicklaus reacts to a putt on the 10th hole during a celebrity shootout after the second round of The Ally Challenge at Warwick Hills Golf And Country Club on August 27, 2022 in Grand Blanc, Michigan. (Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)

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“I also appreciate the commissioner’s comments about continuing the tradition of the Tour and the mission to support important charitable causes. I am certainly interested in seeing the details. Jay indicated that this all will happen in 2024, so very soon the proof will be in the pudding. Whatever is best for the game of golf enjoys my full support.”

Nicklaus previously took a swing at LIV golfers, saying that he didn’t “even consider those guys part of the game anymore.”

“I don’t mean that in a nasty way,” he told Golfweek during his annual Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club, also known as Jack’s Place. “This is a PGA Tour event, and we have the best field we can possibly have for a PGA Tour event for those who are eligible to be here. The other guys made a choice of what they did and where they’ve gone, and we don’t even talk about it.”

JACK NICKLAUS TAKES SWING AT LIV GOLFERS: ‘I DON’T EVEN CONSIDER THOSE GUYS PART OF THE GAME ANYMORE’

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said that negotiations for this new unity took around seven weeks to complete. It was just him and two other PGA Tour board members in a room during that time, with no players involved. 

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The agreement was finalized Monday night. 

No one, even the players on tour, knew this was coming and many of them reacted in their own way on social media. 

“I love finding out morning news on Twitter,” PGA Tour star Collin Morikawa wrote in a tweet. Fellow PGA Tour member Scott Stallings replied, “You and me both.”

LIV golfers like Brooks Koepka had some sarcastic remarks as well. 

“Welfare Check on Chamblee,” he said, referring to former professional and current golf analyst, Brandel Chamblee, who has loathed LIV Golf since its existence and has been very public about it.

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Jay Monahan, Commissioner of the PGA Tour speaks to the media in a press conference prior to THE PLAYERS Championship on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on March 07, 2023 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Chamblee called Tuesday “one of the saddest days in the history of professional golf” following news of the unexpected merger. 

Monahan released a statement regarding the merger, saying it will “benefit golf’s players, commercial and charitable partners and fans.”

“Going forward, fans can be confident that we will, collectively, deliver on the promise we’ve always made — to promote competition of the best in professional golf and that we are committed to securing and driving the game’s future,” the statement read. 

PGA TOUR ANNOUNCES LANDMARK MERGER WITH SAUDI-BACKED LIV GOLF

The new agreement will be merging PIF’s golf businesses into the PGA Tour and DP World Tour as a “​​new, collectively owned, for-profit entity to ensure that all stakeholders benefit from a model that delivers maximum excitement and competition among the game’s best players.” 

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PIF will be adding a “capital investment” into the new entity as part of the agreement. Also, all pending litigation between these three golf powers will be dropped. 

All players that left the PGA Tour for LIV Golf — Koepka, Phil Mickelson and many more — can re-apply for membership after the 2023 season is complete. 

Jack Nicklaus in Ohio

The 2022 Jack Nicklaus Award Recipients are announced at a press conference during the final round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday at Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 5, 2022 in Dublin, Ohio. (Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)

“We are pleased to move forward, in step with LIV and PIF’s world-class investing experience, and I applaud PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan for his vision and collaborative and forward-thinking approach that is not just a solution to the rift in our game, but also a commitment to taking it to new heights,” Monahan added. 

“This will engender a new era in global golf, for the better.”

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Nicklaus and golf fans everywhere certainly hope that’s the case. 

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Seize The Grey wins 149th Preakness Stakes; Mystik Dan finishes 2nd

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Seize The Grey wins 149th Preakness Stakes; Mystik Dan finishes 2nd

Seize The Grey won the 149th Preakness Stakes Saturday, closing at 9-1 odds, one of the longest shots on the board.

Mystik Dan, the winner of the Kentucky Derby, made a move late, but finished second in the field of eight horses running in the $2 million, 1 3/16-mile race. 

It was a wire-to-wire victory for Seize The Grey, who led by several lengths at the ¾-mile mark, with Imagination trailing closely behind.

Jockey Jaime Torres, riding Seize the Grey, celebrates after winning the 149th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course May 18, 2024, in Baltimore.  (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

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Mystik Dan and Imagination both crept up, and as much as Mystik Dan tried to maneuver past the leader, nothing worked. Seize The Grey crossed the finish line first.

D. Wayne Lukas, 88, became the oldest trainer to win the Preakness, his seventh victory in the race, one shy of Bob Baffert’s record.

The original favorite, Muth, trained by the controversial Baffert, was scratched earlier this week due to a spiking fever. That led to Mystik Dan becoming the favorite in his quest to be the first Triple Crown winner since Justify in 2018.

Seize The Grey winning preakness

Jockey Jaime Torres, riding Seize the Grey, celebrates after winning the 149th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course May 18, 2024, in Baltimore.  (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Muth opened as the 8-5 favorite, ahead of Mystik Dan at 5-2 (he later closed at 2-1). Baffert said the horse was ruled out after reaching a temperature of 103 degrees Fahrenheit roughly 12 hours after arriving at the racecourse.

It was unknown for a bit whether Mystik Dan would run after his Kentucky Derby victory, but ownership decided he was good to go.

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No one in the race’s 149-year history has saddled more horses in the Preakness than Lukas with 48 since debuting in 1980. He had two this time, with Just Steel finishing fifth.

Preakness sign

The wind vane at Pimlico Race Course ahead of the 147th Preakness Stakes May 18, 2022, in Baltimore.  (Getty Images)

Baffert was at Pimlico after missing his third straight Kentucky Derby due to suspension. He is slated to be back at Churchill Downs in 2025. His National Treasure won last year’s Preakness.

The final leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, will take place at Saratoga Race Course June 8.

Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.

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Demare Dezeurn beats loaded Masters Meet field for 100 win

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Demare Dezeurn beats loaded Masters Meet field for 100 win

Demare Dezeurn had many spectators at Moorpark High shaking their heads in amazement Saturday at the Masters Meet, where the Southern Section’s best athletes across all divisions compete for berths in next week’s state track and field finals at Buchanan High in Clovis.

The Bishop Alemany freshman beat a loaded field in the boys’ 100-meter dash, getting out of the blocks first and maintaining his lead down the straightaway to win in a wind-aided 10.36 seconds.

“I was very surprised because I’ve been battling injuries but I’ve worked a lot on my start, and when I saw I was in the lead I kept putting my foot to the pedal,” said Dezeurn, who beat Long Beach Poly freshman Benjamin Harris (10.43) and Los Alamitos junior Devin Bragg (10.47). “It’s my PR and I also got the school record, so it’s great motivation going into the state meet.”

It was more vindication for Dezeurn, who won the 100 in a wind-legal 10.47 seconds at the Mt. SAC Relays in April and won the event in 10.54 at the Division 4 finals last week after placing third at the Arcadia Invitational in 10.43.

All nine entrants in the girls’ 100 qualified for state, paced by Gardena Serra senior Mia Flowers (11.46), Royal sophomore Olivia Kirk (11.54), Canyon Country Canyon senior Mikaela Warr (11.54), Chaparral junior Keelan Wright (11.56) and Oaks Christian senior Nia Clayton (11.59).

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The first race of the day pitted Division 2 winner Calabasas against Division 1 winner Poly in the girls’ 4×100 relay, and the top two teams in the state battled to the finish line with Coyotes sophomore Marley Scoggins edging Jackrabbits sophomore Brooklyn Lee on the anchor leg. Calabasas’ time of 45.71 seconds was the fastest yet for the foursome of Lahela Ray, Paige Porter, Zoe Ray and Scoggins.

“It was about even when I got the baton, but I got out quickly and didn’t want anyone to catch me,” Scoggins said. “I could hear the crowd getting louder and louder. Our goal for state is 45.5.”

Poly, which also was runner-up to Calabasas at Mt. SAC, clocked 45.95.

In the boys’ 4×100, Tre Hernandez ran a sizzling anchor leg for Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (41.27), which edged Poly (41.38) for first.

Notre Dame’s Tre Fernandez, left, and Poly’s Donte Wright Jr. sprint to the finish in the Masters Meet’s 4×100 relay. Notre Dame won in 41.27.

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(Steve Galluzzo / For The Times)

Ventura junior Sadie Engelhardt breezed to victory in the 1,600 meters in 4 minutes 45.05 seconds, separating herself from the pack on the last lap to win by 1.61 seconds over Braelyn Combe of Santiago. Afterward, she seemed just as happy to see teammate Tiffany Sax (4:50.87) also qualify for state.

“This race was more about staying out of trouble and making sure there was no one on my heels,” said Engelhardt, who became the first girl in state history to win both the 800 and 1,600 at the state meet last spring and set the national high school federation 1,600 record of 4:29.86 at Mt. SAC. “At the last Masters Meet, five people tripped and I didn’t want it to be me.”

Could she set another record at the state meet?

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“If the conditions align … it’s usually hot and windy in Clovis,” she said, a week after claiming the Southern Section Division 2 title in the 1,600 in 4:46.86. “My coach does a good job of monitoring my workouts so I’m ready to run my best.”

Later, Engelhardt and Sax teamed with Aeolo Curtis and Melanie True to win the 4×800 relay in 9:02.57, and Cathedral (7:42.19) outdueled San Clemente (7:43.92) in the boys’ race.

Sadie Engelhardt (left) leads the pack in the 1600 meters at Saturday's Masters Meet. She won the race in 4:45.05.

Sadie Engelhardt (left) leads the pack in the 1600 meters at Saturday’s Masters Meet. She won the race in 4:45.05.

(Steve Galluzzo / For The Times)

In the boys’ 1,600, all 12 runners were tightly grouped until the last 200 meters, when Beckman’s Ibzan Felix and Ventura’s Anthony Fast Horse made their moves and ran stride by stride to the finish. Felix won by one hundredth of a second in 4:09.77.

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Chaparral’s Wright won the girls’ 200 in 23.48 and Eastvale Roosevelt senior Jeremiah Harris won the boys’ 200 in 21.22, just ahead of Poly’s Julius Johnson (21.25) and Harris (21.27) and Los Alamitos’ Bragg (21.28).

Santiago junior Rylee Blade won the 3,200 by more than five seconds in 10:15.00 and is poised to repeat as eight-lap champion. She won the event by 20 seconds in a state-record 10:02.19 at last year’s state finals.

Notre Dame sophomore JJ Harel won the boys’ high jump at 6 feet 10 inches and Great Oak junior Nicolas Alexis was first in the long jump with a leap of 23-1. Taking the shotput with a throw of 62-0½ was Garden Grove Pacifica senior Zach Lewis.

Long Beach Wilson junior Loren Webster won the girls’ long jump with a mark of 19-3¼ and Ventura’s Valentina Fakrogha won the high jump at a height of 5-8.

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2014 Boston Marathon winner receives prize money from stranger

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2014 Boston Marathon winner receives prize money from stranger

Ten years and one month after Buzunesh Deba finished as the rightful winner of the 2014 Boston Marathon, she was finally given the prize money she never received — but it didn’t come from the Boston Athletic Association.

Rather, it came from a stranger.

When Deba crossed the finish line on Boylston Street in 2014, she didn’t receive international praise, the ceremonial gold wreath or the purse of $100,000 ($75,000 for winning plus $25,000 for breaking the course record). Rather, those honors and winnings went to Rita Jeptoo, who crossed the finish line first that year, but whose victory was stripped by the BAA in 2016 after a failed drug test.

Deba finished just over one minute behind Jeptoo for second place that day, but her time of 2:19:59 still shattered the previous course record set by Margaret Okayo in 2002.

But while Deba’s name replaced Jeptoo’s in the history books after the failed test, the money never appeared in Deba’s bank account.

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Despite Jeptoo’s record being scrubbed and her name being tarnished, her winnings have never been reclaimed. Similar cases have unfolded with the Chicago Marathon, where Liliya Shobukhova won the race three times for a total of $265,000 before she was caught doping. Like with Jeptoo, no money has ever been recovered from Shobukhova.

That is until Doug Guyer gave her the money out of his own pocket. Guyer, a businessman from Philadelphia, personally paid Deba her $75,000 after reading an article in The Wall Street Journal in April about her never receiving her winnings.

“We cried. I called my mother to tell her and she was so happy,” Deba told The Athletic in an email.

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Deba, who has competed internationally for Ethiopia, is based in the Bronx, N.Y., with her husband and two children.

She found success at the 2014 New York City Marathon, where she finished ninth, and returned to Boston in 2015, where she finished third.

But for Deba, that 2014 win remains the pinnacle of her career. And for her family, those winnings were sorely needed.

“It means so much. It allows me to train again. We don’t have a sponsor. We have to pay for everything,” she said. “And I have two children. The money will go to my training and my family. We are so grateful. We have waited so long for this and almost gave up. God bless Mr. Doug.”

Guyer, who played football at Boston College and was beaten out for the starting quarterback spot by Doug Flutie in 1981, told the Boston Globe, “It was just about righting a wrong that’s been wrong for 10 years.”

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Guyer said he’ll consider sending the $25,000 course record bonus if the BAA doesn’t.

The BAA said in a statement it is in “pursuit of reclaiming prize money awards from Rita Jeptoo” and plans to pay Deba her winnings when the association receives them. The organization said it is backed by policies held by World Athletics and supported by World Marathon Majors.

“The BAA is still pursuing Ms. Jeptoo to recover the prize money for Ms. Deba, which the BAA believes would be a just and fair result for her and all runners who follow the rules,” a BAA spokesperson said.

Deba said she was skeptical of Jeptoo’s performance from the day of the 2014 race, saying she wondered why Jeptoo wasn’t tired when she crossed the finish line.


Deba looks over her shoulder on the home stretch of Boylston Street during the 2014 Boston Marathon. (Photo: Dina Rudick / Getty Images)

But when Deba was told in 2016 that she was the winner, she couldn’t believe it.

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“I was in my apartment and I jumped up and down. It was my biggest win,” she said. “Not only was I the champion but I was also the course record holder.”

Despite her decade of waiting for her proper winnings, Deba said she’s never held bitterness against the BAA. Instead, she considers the organization “like family.”

While she took her story public in April, in the weeks before the 10-year anniversary of her win, she held back from sharing it so for many years because she trusted the BAA would do right by her. She also feared that if she said something she would not be invited back to the prestigious race.

“This started when my friend came to my apartment and looked at my second-place trophy and asked, ‘What’s this? Where’s your real trophy?’ I told her that they never sent one to me,” Deba said. “She was so upset for me. We wrote to them and I eventually got my medals. Then they asked me to come to a celebration for the 10 year winners. She told me that I should see what they planned to do about the money.”

In response to The Wall Street Journal story, fans from around the world came to Deba’s defense, with many even willing to crowdfund her winnings.

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“I am so grateful to know that so many people are behind me,” Deba said. “It is important that people know how hard I worked to win. This is my job. I was not begging for something that wasn’t mine. A lot went into winning and I am glad to see that the community agrees with me.”

It wasn’t until after the April article was published that the BAA responded about trying to move her case forward, Deba said.

And yet, that doesn’t diminish her adoration for the race or even deter her from wanting to return to the world’s most famous marathon.

“It is still my dream to come back and not only run but win Boston,” she said.

Required reading

(Photo: John Blanding / The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

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