Officials threw 15 flags for illegal contact during the first week of the preseason, an elevated number that reflected the NFL’s point of clarification on those fouls.
The brother of retired NFL cornerback Aqib Talib has been identified by police as a suspect in the shooting death of a coach at a youth football game in Texas.
GERMANTOWN, Tenn. – Scottie Scheffler added a green jacket to his wardrobe this year, but he’s wearing something slightly more casual on this Wednesday evening. A Dunder-Mifflin Paper Co. T-shirt and sweatpants cover the thick, 6-foot-3 frame of this former high-school basketball player as he sprawls out on a couch in a rented home in the Memphis suburbs, recovering after a long day in the summer heat at the end of a long year. Sam Burns and his wife, Caroline, walk in the front door carrying plastic bags filled with the barbecue that this area is famous for, and soon the dining room table is obscured by enough red meat to give a cardiologist chest pains. The next day, Scottie and Sam will tee off in the headlining group of the FedEx St. Jude Championship, but tonight they feast. Scheffler and his wife, Meredith, sit at the table alongside the Burnses and Brad Payne, the president of College Golf Fellowship and one of the leaders of the TOUR’s Bible study. Plates are filled with brisket, ribs and macaroni and cheese. Sarcastic barbs are exchanged, existential matters discussed. The conversation shifts at whiplash speed between the mundane and the profound. The scene feels exceedingly normal considering two of the participants are among the best golfers in the world. Professional golfers, they’re just like us. The desire for normalcy is a fundamental part of the relationship between Scottie and Sam, one that’s been mentioned on television broadcasts and in articles throughout the year as the two 26-year-olds have continued to win – seven tournaments combined and counting this season. It’s easy to forget that the two friends, promising prospects since their amateur days, began this season with one TOUR title between them. So much has happened, so fast. Burns has cracked the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time and Scheffler reached No. 1. They were the top two players in the FedExCup for much of the season, as well. “When we get home every night, we are with our wives doing the exact same thing we did a year ago,” says Scottie. “If we are 100th in the FedExCup next year, it’s going to be the same. I harp on that a lot; we don’t want our lives to change a lot off the course. (Staying with the Burnses) is such an easy reminder. If my head actually gets too big, he will be the first to say, ‘You’re being a real jackwagon.’” To which Sam quickly replies, “I would love to.” His smile shows the pleasure he would take in putting the Masters champion in his place. Both couples enjoy a simple existence, even as they’ve earned millions of dollars. Scottie famously drives a decade-old SUV and the Burnses still live in the small Louisiana town of Choudrant, which had less than 1,000 residents and no Chipotles as of 2020. Scottie and Sam have known each other since they were teenagers, but their bond has deepened on TOUR, as has their faith, which they credit as the foundation of their friendship, even more than college football or their shared vocation. The couples have shared rental houses at most TOUR stops this year. They’ve vacationed in Europe together and competed in everything from board games to a spot on a Ryder Cup team and a PGA TOUR trophy. They want to win but also to encourage each other, embodying the famous proverb that says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” They share tips on course strategy and putting drills, but also support each other on those weeks when the center of the clubface feels the size of a pinhead and trade counsel on how to live out their faith and love their wives well. “It has everything to do with who they are in Christ,” says Payne, who’s also their occasional housemate. “Because of that, there’s an elevated sense of security and depth of friendship. They’re not just friends. They’re family. “When you know, ‘I’m not alone,’ there’s a rest and a peace there.” Or, as Scottie says, “We know it’s OK to not be OK.” That’s why he could say after his Masters win that he “cried like a baby” before the final round, a rare admission for a new major champion. It was the most memorable moment from his victory, more than the crucial chip-in on the third hole or the shocking, but inconsequential, four-putt on the final green. The adversity faced by professional golfers pales in comparison to what others may overcome, but there are universal struggles shared across stations. A missed cut is still frustrating, and a stretch of several in a row can send the mind spiraling. Tough times can feel interminable. Isolation can make it worse. That’s why a trusted friendship is invaluable in the lonely world of an individual sport. C.S. Lewis wrote, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’” When Burns went nearly two months between made cuts at the start of the year, Scheffler reminded him that he’d gone through the same thing a year earlier. “When I tell Scottie, ‘Hey, I feel deflated and golf feels impossible,’ he’s most likely felt that exact same thing,” Sam says. They try to be transparent and open with each other, speaking honestly about their fears and struggles instead of blaming poor play on bad breaks or missed puts. Sometimes, simply observing how other navigates their new status in the golf world is enough. Scottie likens it to growing up at Dallas’ Royal Oaks Country Club, where he learned by watching TOUR players like Justin Leonard, Ryan Palmer and Colt Knost. Just as players in the same group feed off each other’s good play, Scottie says he and Sam have done the same this year. The relationship took on a new dimension last fall, when they were both candidates for the final Ryder Cup roster spot. When U.S. Captain Steve Stricker called Sam to tell him that he wouldn’t be on the team, he felt conflicting emotions because he knew the spot would go to Scottie. The Schefflers called soon after, and the couples spoke for a half-hour to process the emotions. “That can ruin a friendship if it’s not something that’s talked about,” Scottie says. He beat Jon Rahm, then the world’s top-ranked player, as part of the U.S. win. Burns won his second PGA TOUR title the next week at the Sanderson Farms Championship. At the time, Scheffler was still without a PGA TOUR win. Sharing those doubts with Burns – “Is this really ever going to happen?” Scheffler admits wondering – helped ease the burden. “Golf will put you in bad places real quick,” Scheffler says. They’ve also been able to share in each other’s successes. Sam missed the cut in his Masters debut this year, but as he and Caroline left their Augusta house on that Saturday morning they asked how they could pray for the Schefflers before the most important 48 hours of Scottie’s career. A month later, Scottie and Sam were in a playoff at the Charles Schwab Challenge. Sam made up a seven-shot deficit, posting a 65 early, while Scottie shot 72, the wind whipping as he navigated the back nine. Scottie made par on 18 just to force a playoff. “You didn’t think I’d let you off that easy, did you?” he asked when he saw Burns before the playoff. No, but Burns sank a 40-footer for birdie to win on the first playoff hole. Undoubtedly frustrated after not making a birdie in the final round, Scheffler was still smiling as he embraced his victorious friend. When asked about the early days of their friendship, Sam mentions a pool stick and Scottie lights up at the reference to junior golf-hijinks. During a tournament, Sam broke a pool cue in the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse while using it like a baseball bat to hit a ping-pong ball. The broken piece flew into a window and broke a shutter. “The next year, we were changing our shoes in the parking lot,” Scottie says with a chuckle. They saw less of each other when Scottie went to college at Texas and Sam decamped for LSU, but they reconnected when Scottie joined Sam on TOUR for the 2020 season. Their first time staying together was the two-week stretch in Ohio for consecutive events at Muirfield Village Golf Club. The Schefflers were engaged, and Meredith was still working in Dallas. She was astonished when Scottie texted her to say he was eating pasta made from chickpeas, a healthier option she’d been unsuccessful in convincing him to try. “Who is this saint that’s getting my husband to eat chickpea pasta?” she remembers thinking. It was Caroline, who quickly became friends with Meredith when she joined them on the road after she and Scottie got married later that year. The group’s conversations cover a wide variety of topics when they’re together in the evenings, but golf is rarely one of them. Scottie and Sam cover that during their infamously mediocre practice rounds. The ongoing joke is that if one of them can break par on Tuesday, he’ll probably win that week. They bicker like brothers, arguing over Scottie’s slow response to text messages or Sam’s selective hearing when looking at his phone. The competitiveness that serves them well on the course spills over to the board game Sequence or gin rummy. While some play games for the conversation, for Scottie and Sam it’s admittedly about winning. Sometimes each couple is a team. Other times, it’s husbands versus wives. Caroline, who ran track in high school, shares Sam’s competitive streak. Debating who would win a 60-yard dash between her and her husband turns into accusations about Sam’s false start the first time they lined up. He sarcastically responds that his reaction time is simply superior. “We try not to let them be on the same team too much because if they lose, they fight,” Scottie interjects, hoping to fan the flames. Sam responds, his expression deadpan: “We’re very competitive, so if we don’t see the other one giving their best effort then we need to let them know.” Meredith is the least competitive. “Except when she’s playing against me,” Scottie says. She is known more for being a peacemaker and for her popcorn, which she makes with a machine she brings from home. Garlic hummus is another staple in their house. Even in their sarcasm is their affection apparent. The evening is coming to an end and Payne wraps it up with a soliloquy on the importance of friendship. “We were created for community and fellowship,” he says in closing. And, with that, it is Scottie’s turn to do the dishes.
Saturday at Del Mar, favorite Going Global drew off to win the Yellow Ribbon Handicap (G2) by 3 lengths over Avenue de France and Javanica. Also on the card, Vegas Magic upset in the Sorrento Stakes (G2). Get the results, charts, and photos here.
Will Zalatoris, who had the most money and the best world ranking of anyone without a PGA Tour victory, won the FedEx St. Jude Championship without making birdie in a three-hole playoff on Sunday in Tennessee.
Miguel Angel Jimenez won the Boeing Classic on Sunday for his third PGA Tour Champions victory of the season, closing with a 5-under 67 to hold off David McKenzie by two strokes.
For the first time in training camp, Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow practiced with the AFC-champion Bengals on Sunday, nearly three weeks after he had his appendix removed.
Drew Rasmussen took a perfect game into the ninth inning as the Rays prevailed over the Orioles 4-1 on Sunday.
Padres manager Bob Melvin reached out to suspended All-Star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. in a phone call Saturday and said the player “feels remorseful.”
Zach Wilson will have arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday and Jets coach Robert Saleh said Sunday the timeline for his quarterback’s return will depend on the outcome of that procedure.
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson will stop contract negotiations when the regular season starts, he confirmed Saturday.
The Bears and Chiefs opened their preseason on a less-than-stellar surface Saturday at Soldier Field, drawing the ire of NFLPA president JC Tretter, who called for the NFL “to re-evaluate what is an acceptable surface for players to compete on.”