It's Chris Bengel returning once again to bring you the latest news from around the sports world. I hope everybody had a great weekend, but there's no way you had as great of a weekend as Phil Mickelson.
It was truly a spectacle to behold and also didn't hurt that the fans at Kiawah Island were behind Mickelson every step of the way. Mickelson has always been one of my favorites to watch on the golf course. When he's at the top of his game, there are few better. We've got you covered with several Mickelson news items throughout the newsletter.
Without further ado, let's dive into the news on this Monday morning.
📰 What you need to know
1. Phil Mickelson joins elite company with PGA Championship win ⛳
On Sunday, Mickelson shot a 1-over 73 at the PGA Championship to win the sixth major championship of his storied career. Mickelson entered the day at the top of the leaderboard and led by as many as five strokes during the final round. The most impressive moment of Mickelson's weekend came during Sunday's action when he connected on a shot from a sandy area for birdie on the 5th hole.
When it was all said and done, he finished the tournament at 6-under to pull off one of the more miraculous weekends that the sport has ever seen. Mickelson was able to fend off two-time PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen to secure his first major title since winning The Open Championship in 2013.
With Sunday's win, Mickelson became the oldest golfer to win a major, at 50 years old. In the process, Mickelson joined a list of just 14 golfers that have won six of more major championships that includes Walter Hagen, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Tiger Woods among others. It also marked the first time in 22 years that a golfer 50 years or older was in the top five on the leaderboard heading into the weekend at the PGA Championship.
Following Mickelson's win, the sports world was truly behind him every step of the way. Once the dust settled on Mickelson's sixth major championship, athletes like 2020 PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, and even Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady took to Twitter to congratulate Mickelson for his historic accomplishment.
While Mickelson's performance was absolutely incredible, another huge storyline was the return of fans to the golf course. At the Masters last month, there were an estimated 12,000 patrons, which is a huge decline from the usual 40-50,000 normally present at Augusta. There was a sea of fans cheering on Mickelson, especially as the 50-year old walked up the 18th fairway. With COVID-19 restrictions being relaxed, it's great to see fans back in a normal capacity and it truly made for a fantastic atmosphere on Sunday.
CBS Sports golf scribe Kyle Porter broke down how amazing it was to have fans back in attendance for an accomplishment as impressive as what Mickelson put together on Sunday.
- Porter: "So as thousands pushed him toward the Atlantic and he staved off the curtain for yet another day, I couldn't help but think about how much meaning that moment held. It was spectacular to watch in 2018 at the Tour Championship when the same swath of fans enveloped Tiger Woods, but this one -- given the stark juxtaposition to what has transpired worldwide -- was far more intimate. The loneliest sport turned into the most meaningful public gathering at a tournament in years."
2. NBA Playoffs get started 🏀
With the Play-In Tournament in the rear-view mirror, the NBA postseason got underway over the weekend. One of the most anticipated matchups took place on Sunday when the Phoenix Suns hosted the Los Angeles Lakers. The Suns came out of the gates very strong with a 99-90 win.
Perhaps the most intriguing storyline that unfolded during this game was star guard Chris Paul leaving the floor in the first half due to a shoulder injury. It was later diagnosed as a right shoulder contusion, but Paul did return to the the game. The All-Star guard finished with just 7 points, but said that he'll "absolutely" be ready for Game 2.
CBS Sports basketball scribe Sam Quinn had a few key takeaways from the Suns' impressive victory.
- On the performance of Phoenix's younger stars: "The Suns had every excuse to lose this game. For most of them, it was their playoff debut," Quinn wrote. "The Lakers shot 16 more free throws. Paul got hurt and could hardly shoot. It didn't matter. Phoenix did what it has done all season. It took care of business, and if there were any doubts about how this team would hold up in the postseason, those should now be gone. The Suns are ready for this moment."
- On the struggles of Anthony Davis: "The Lakers can live with a sub-peak LeBron. His basketball IQ is so high that he can still find ways to impact the game at a superstar level," Quinn wrote. "He did that today with his passing, and sure enough, the Lakers had a positive point-differential with him on the floor at plus-2. But Davis has to be at his athletic best for the Lakers to win the title. So much of their defense relies on him blowing up multiple actions in a single play, and so much of their offense relies on him making his jump shots, as he did last postseason, rather than missing them, as he has for most of this season. If his jumpers aren't falling, opposing defenders won't respect the shot and will sag into the paint. That's the last thing the Lakers need given their overall shooting woes. They'll need a far more aggressive Davis in Game 2 if they hope to turn this thing around."
3. This weekend's MLB Winners & Losers ⚾
We're really starting to see some of the more elite teams in the MLB separate themselves. The San Diego Padres currently own the best record in baseball at 30-17 while the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays have 29 wins.
As for what happened this past weekend, Katherine Acquavella and Stephen Pianovich took an in-depth look at the winners and losers around baseball. Among the biggest winners of the weekend: The Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers have ripped off seven straight wins and are coming off a weekend sweep of the San Francisco Giants. Meanwhile, the Rays have won 10 consecutive games and we could be destined for a rematch of the 2020 World Series.
Here's a look at some of the other winners and losers from this past weekend's action, courtesy of Acquavella and Pianovich:
- Winner - Scott Kazmir: This was one of the best feel-good stories that we've seen throughout the first two months of the MLB season. For the first time since 2016, Kazmir appeared in an MLB game, getting the start for the San Francisco Giants on Saturday. The 37-year old pitcher surrendered just one run over four innings for the Giants.
- Loser - Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays are currently facing their AL East rivals -- the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Tampa Bay Rays -- over 10 consecutive games. Toronto is currently riding a five-game losing streak after dropping two games to the Red Sox followed by three consecutive losses to the Rays.
📝 Odds & Ends
- Over the weekend, contracts were signed for the third fight between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder. The two heavyweights will battle it out on July 24 in Las Vegas.
- Chase Elliott took the checkered flag in Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race at the Circuit of the Americas. The rain-shortened victory was the 12th win of Elliott's NASCAR career. Following the race, many NASCAR drivers, including as Kevin Harvick and Martin Treux Jr, were extremely outspoken regarding the safety conditions on the rainy track.
- Over the weekend, a Honus Wagner baseball card became the fifth most expensive card of all-time. The iconic card sold at an auction for $3,751,500.
- It was never a doubt that the Jacksonville Jaguars were going to select former Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. However, a video series on the Jaguars' YouTube revealed that the franchise gave Jaylen Waddle and Lawrence the exact same draft grade prior to the draft.
📺 What to watch tonight
🏒 Islanders vs. Penguins, 7 p.m. I PIT -140 I TV: NBC Sports Network
🏀 Heat vs. Bucks, 7:30 p.m. I MIL -4.5 I TV: TNT
🏀 Trail Blazers vs. Nuggets, 10 p.m. I DEN -1 I TV: TNT
🏒 Wild vs. Golden Knights, 10:30 p.m. I VGK -180 I TV: CNBC
Best thing I saw on the internet 🏅
As should come as no surprise, Phil Mickelson dominated the day as he became the oldest golfer to win a major. One of the coolest scenes was when Mickelson was heading to the green on the 18th hole. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was awesome to see fans back and swarming Mickelson when he made his way up the fairway to clinch the major victory.