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Exclusive: DeChambeau joins controversial Saudi series

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Former US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau became the latest big name to sign on with the Saudi-funded breakaway series LIV Golf, as Charl Schwartzel remained on course to win the maximum prize of $6.75 million at its inaugural event outside London.

That kind of big money has already convinced a long line of leading golfers — although none from the top 10 so far — to accept offers from the series bankrolled by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund. DeChambeau is yet to explain why he made an about-turn to join that list, having previously said he would continue playing on the PGA Tour. That may not be possible now, as the PGA Tour announced Thursday that players who defect to the renegade series will face banishment from future tour events.

DeChambeau will be joining a series that already features Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, who are also among the golfers to have spent the week facing questions about the decision to sign up given Saudi Arabia’s human rights violations.

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On the course, Schwartzel shot a four-under 66 to take a three-shot lead over fellow South African Hennie Du Plessis in the fight for the $5.7 million individual first prize at the 54-hole event. Both players are on the Stinger team which is leading the way to share a $4.3 million purse for the best four-man team.

DeChambeau’s signing was announced as the second round was taking place.

“He is passionate about the sport, innovative in his approach and committed to pushing the boundaries in pursuit of excellence,” LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman said in a statement. “He’s not afraid to think outside the box and supports our mission of doing things differently to grow our game. The power and energy he brings to the course will deliver added electricity to our competition in Portland and beyond.”

The 28th-ranked American could make his LIV Golf debut at Pumpkin Ridge in Portland, Oregon, from June 30.

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“I don’t know how the field will look in Portland,” two-time major winner Martin Kaymer said. “If you can play against more players who are up there in the world rankings … it’s also proof that this tour here and this tournament is going into the right direction.

“They are staying in their frame, they are doing what they promised to do with the game of golf, and within a few weeks, that event so far has been great, especially in the time frame.”

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Exclusive: Kyrgios laughs off wardrobe questions after win – TalkOfNews.com

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Nick Kyrgios has laughed off questions regarding his on-court attire, as he opted to change his shoes and hat before taking a post-match interview following his gutsy performance in the fourth round.

Kyrgios’ detractors were desperate for something, anything, to take the shine off his impressive five-set win, where he battled a shoulder ailment throughout, receiving treatment several times.

But if his win over Stefanos Tsitsipas was a ‘circus’, as the vanquished Greek proposed it was, this was anything but.

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Save for a couple of words with the chair umpire late in the contest, Kyrgios was focused, and almost reserved at times.

Few sports stars are as polarising – and when Kyrgios switched his hat and shoes for a red Jordan brand cap and some matching sneakers, it gave his critics – of which there were fewer than his last match, for obvious reasons – the ammunition they needed.

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On commentary, Aussie legend Todd Woodbridge said that his countryman “might receive a letter in his locker” about the hat and shoe change.

The 27-year-old’s post-win press conference was nothing like the combative environment that it was two days ago, right until the very end.

A reporter posed the idea that Kyrgios invites his own controversy, including an open flaunting of clear wardrobe rules.

“Why then would you walk on to centre court with bright red trainers on and do an interview in a red cap?” Kyrgios was asked.

The reply was typically Kyrgios.

“Because I do what I want,” he responded, before being pressed on whether or not he thought he was above the rules.

“No. I’m not above the rules. I just like wearing my Jordans.”

The line of questioning continued despite a moderator’s attempted intervention, when Kyrgios was quick to correct the journalist that he hadn’t ‘moaned’ about controversy.

“I haven’t moaned. I love it,” he said.

“Yeah, it’s just more attention for me. What’s that saying? Any publicity is good publicity, right?

“Keep doing you then champion,” he said to the question asker before moving on.

Kyrgios will get a day off before facing Chile’s Cristian Garin for a spot in the final four.

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Exclusive: The squad regroups – TalkOfNews.com

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Erik ten Hag was afforded a first opportunity to work with a number of returning Reds at Carrington on Monday.

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Exclusive: De Minaur bundled out of Wimbledon in classic – TalkOfNews.com

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Cristian Garin came from two sets down and saved two match points in the fifth before beating Alex de Minaur to reach his first grand slam quarter-final at Wimbledon.

The unseeded Chilean trailed 5-3 in the first-to-10 fifth-set tiebreaker before winning six straight points to take a 9-5 lead.

He then converted his second match point to advance 2-6, 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-4, 7-6 (6) on Court No.2 after four hours and 34 minutes.

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Garin is the first Chilean man to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal since Fernando Gonzales in 2009.

The 19th-seeded de Minaur had never lost a set against Garin in three previous meetings and looked set to maintain that streak when he led 3-1 in the third-set tiebreaker. The Australian then held two match points at 5-4 in the fifth.

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