BBC’s coverage of US PGA was not perfect, but criticism has been rough | Ewan Murray

The corporation stepped in to replace Sky at short notice, would it have been better to sit back and allow a blackout?

Criticisms of the BBC’s live coverage of the US PGA Championship were as immediate as they were predictable. Peter Alliss, again, was widely described as an anachronism, representing the dated image golf is trying desperately hard to leave behind. That elements of the BBC’s broadcast were only available via red button, or without high definition, was another cause for social media screaming. The slightest gaffe was met with widespread derision and insistence of incompetence.

Criticism of the coverage was inevitable from the moment a BBC deal for the Quail Hollow major was confirmed. It was easy to infer minds were made up from as soon as Sky Sports’ loss of the tournament broke. Anything else, surely, was second best.

Related: Justin Thomas says jealousy over Spieth’s Open win inspired US PGA victory

Related: Two of five drugs in Tiger Woods’s system on his arrest banned by PGA Tour

Continue reading…

Read more

Manchester United reaping early rewards thanks to Chelsea’s unexpected largesse | Paul Wilson

After seeing José Mourinho hijack their Romelu Lukaku deal and letting Nemanja Matic go to Old Trafford, Chelsea have undeniably strengthened a direct rival while weakening themselves

Opinion has been divided on the wisdom of Chelsea selling Nemanja Matic to Manchester United for £40m. There are those who say top teams, especially defending champions, should never sell to direct rivals, and those who believe the money was too good to refuse down for a player who has just turned 29.

It is being argued that Chelsea have just signed an upgrade in Tiémoué Bakayoko for the same price, at least a player Antonio Conte regarded as an upgrade in the same position, and at just 22 the promising France midfielder offers many more years of service than Matic, whose sale effectively means the former Monaco player has joined for free.

Related: Lukaku’s power and Rashford’s pace give Manchester United renewed hope | Jamie Jackson

Continue reading…

Read more

Batting the big question mark for West Indies to make series competitive | Vic Marks

They will have the fastest bowlers on show at Edgbaston, but a new batting star will need to emerge if the tourists are going to find the runs to put England under pressure

With uncertainty comes excitement. So it must be a good thing that we don’t quite know what to expect at Edgbaston over the next few days. We do know that the ball is pink, that ticket sales are good and that it might be a good idea to bring a jumper (and maybe a blanket and a balaclava for the final session, which will probably end around 9.30pm every evening). Even better; get an invitation to a swish, warm hospitality box.

We are less sure about how the pink ball will behave or how good this West Indies team will be. There has been a rapprochement of sorts between the players and the West Indies board, though that is not obvious from the Test squad selected. While the youngsters in the touring party prepare to do battle with England’s finest in Birmingham (the leg-spinner, Devendra Bishoo, is the only man over 30 in the tour party), the more familiar names are participating in the Caribbean Premier League. Understandably the older players are pondering their pensions.

Related: Pink balls and a witching hour: what to expect at England’s first day-night Test | Will Macpherson

Related: Mark Stoneman’s debut against West Indies offers chance of Ashes place

Continue reading…

Read more

Sport has always been political – even before Trump came to the party | Marina Hyde

In the wake of Charlottesville, protests against the president and his administration will only get louder and the sporting world is no exception

Of all the reasons for resigning from Donald Trump’s “American Manufacturing Council” in the wake of the president’s reaction to the Nazi rally in Charlottesville, the one offered on Tuesday by Under Armour chief executive Kevin Plank felt the most wilfully naive. According to the boss of the sportswear firm, he was stepping down because “Under Armour engages in innovation and sports, not politics.”

Oh dear. I’m not quite sure what Plank imagined he was getting Under Armour into when he took his seat on Trump’s American Manufacturing Council, but I can’t believe he really is so dim that he thought it was just an American manufacturing council. Furthermore, I can’t believe he doesn’t realise that big-time sport and politics are indivisible. Never mind most of the last century – has he been watching the last few years on tape delay?

Related: Putting the nuke into nuclear family: it’s Trump and Kim Jong-un | Marina Hyde

Continue reading…

Read more

Talking Horses: What Strike The Tiger is doing these days, plus tips

Wesley Ward’s first Royal Ascot winner is still helping the US trainer with his raids on Britain’s top Flat prizes

Any punter who managed to collect at 33-1 when Strike The Tiger won at Royal Ascot eight years ago might be interested to know that the horse, now 10, is back at a British racecourse for the first time since that heady day. Now working as a ‘companion thoroughbred’, the gelding travelled over from the US to York with Lady Aurelia at the end of last week and is settled there alongside the filly who is favourite for next week’s Nunthorpe Stakes. 

Related: John Gosden’s plea fails to move BHA panel on Rab Havlin French drug ban

Continue reading…

Read more

Gylfi Sigurdsson: tireless perfectionist will be worth the wait for Everton | Stuart James

A fee of £45m may seem excessive but the quiet and dedicated Icelander is a set-piece master with a bright football brain and Everton are set to reap the benefits now the transfer saga is finally over

It turned into one of those dreaded transfer sagas, leaving senior figures at Swansea City and Everton exasperated with the snail’s pace of the discussions to the point that even those on the inside became bored with the story, yet confirmation finally arrived on Tuesday evening that Gylfi Sigurdsson was on his way from the Mumbles to Merseyside for £45m.

The passage of time – more than a month – has arguably diluted some of the excitement at one end and certainly the level of disappointment at the other. While Everton fans grew tired of waiting and, in some cases, started to question whether Sigurdsson was really worth all that hassle and money, the mood shifted in Swansea once it became clear that the Icelander wanted out and that any significant signings would not be made until the first instalment of the biggest transfer fee in their history had been handed over.

Related: Everton agree £45m club record fee with Swansea for Gylfi Sigurdsson

Related: Morgan Schneiderlin: ‘Now it’s up to us, the Everton players, to do the job’

Continue reading…

Read more