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Premier League clubs in 2017 Masters: Who to support at Augusta

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Okay, so maybe you don’t pay too much attention to golf usually.

We get it. Soccer is awesome.

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Still, with the 2017 Masters taking place at Augusta National in Georgia over the next four days it will be hard to not be caught up in the magic of the green jacket.

With that in mind, here’s a handy little guide which may be useful if you are a PL fan and find yourself wanting to cheer on a particular golfer at the Masters.

[ MORE: Latest from the 2017 Masters

We’ve made a comparison between Premier League clubs and top professional golfers who will be teeing up. Imagine the following 20 golfers are PL clubs…

Phil Mickelson is Arsenal – A stalwart who has won three green jackets and should have won many more (Arsenal fans can certainly relate to this) Mickelson often plays with style and panache over substance. Again, Arsenal fans can both respect and relate to that. Like Arsena’s boss Arsene Wenger, a legendary figure of his game.

Matthew Fitzpatrick is Bournemouth – Young, fresh faced and full of talent, Fitzpatrick is regarded as the next big English talent by many. Eddie Howe is the next best English manager and the young team he has at Bournemouth continues to punch above their weight with the big boys. Maybe Fitzpatrick can do the same this weekend.

Tyrrell Hatton is Burnley – The Englishman has impressed on the European Tour and has made the step up to the PGA Tour with ease. Burnley have been similar this season after being promoted from the Championship as Sean Dyche‘s men look nailed on to survive in the Premier League for the first time in history. For both it’s all about one thing: ‘what’s next?’

Dustin Johnson is Chelsea – A back injury or not, Johnson is the red-hot favorite to win the Masters. He is the world No.1 and like Chelsea is sweeping all before him with power and his incredible driving ability. Plenty more silverware will be handled by this duo in the years to come with Chelsea on course to win the Premier League title.

Bubba Watson is Crystal Palace – Yes, Watson has won two Masters tournaments in the past and Palace have never won a major trophy in club history, but they are very similar because of this fact: you never know what you’re going to get. Bubba delivers all kinds of trick shots and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Palace have passionate fans, which Bubba will appreciate, and both are streaky with the Eagles often going on huge consecutive losing and winning wins throughout a season.

Jon Rahm is Everton – The hottest young talent on the scene, Spaniard Rahm has taken the golfing world by storm. Everton have plenty of youngsters in their team with Ronald Koeman rebuilding their squad for a top six challenge. Rahm would settle for a top six finish but he’ll fancy his chances of winning the famous green jacket.

Lee Westwood is Hull City – Westwood, like Hull, hails from Yorkshire and he is known as a battler who hangs in there when times are tough. Westwood’s record around Augusta has been impressive in recent seasons with six top-11 finishes since 2010. Hull are peaking at the right time of the season under Marco Silva and could well rise to the occasion and stave off relegation.

Danny Willett is Leicester City – The extreme underdogs who won the biggest prize last time out. That is Leicester and Willett. The lad from Sheffield, England came from nowhere to win the Masters last year and, like Leicester this season, he’s having a tough time. That said, nobody will ever forget Leicester and Willett for their unexpected success.

Rickie Fowler is Liverpool – Talented, fun and full of life, Rickie Fowler is on the verge of breaking through and winning his first major. The same can be said for Liverpool’s young team put together by Jurgen Klopp. Both are fun to watch but have a few small adjustments to make to start winning major silverware.

Jordan Spieth is Manchester City – A powerhouse who has dominated in recent years, Spieth is fine-tuning his game. Just like Pep Guardiola is doing at City, the tools are there to succeed and City’s two PL titles in the past four seasons show that. Now for both Spieth and City it is all about finding a winning formula which gets results consistently. In three Masters appearances Spieth has one win and two runners up finishes. Not bad…

Rory McIlroy is Manchester United – A giant who is battling hard to get back to the heights of a few years ago when he was winning major titles left, right and center. McIlroy has to overcome some big challenges at Augusta after collapsing on the back nine in 2011, so both are trying to regain mental strength to get back on top. Plus, Rory is a United fan too.

Chris Wood is Middlesbrough – Capable of grinding out results, Englishman Chris Wood has won plenty of tournaments on the European Tour and is on the verge of breaking through and consistently challenging for top 20 finishes. Boro will be hoping they can pull off some big wins in the final weeks of the season to secure their PL status.

Justin Rose is Southampton – He was born not far from Southampton in England, so this makes sense. That said, Rose continues to deliver each season just when it seems like he has regressed. Saints continue to do the same and have a perfect mixture of defensive solidity and flair.

Jimmy Walker is Stoke City – Hard as nails, Walker just keeps grinding out top 10 finishes. Stoke do the same with three-straight ninth place finishes in the PL. Walker has a Major under his belt and Stoke are certainly capable of winning a cup competition or beating any PL team on their day. Solid and dependable.

Paul Casey is Sunderland – Now, with Sunderland sitting bottom of the PL table this was a hard pick but Casey personifies a grafter. He is someone who always seems to punch above his weight and deliver at Augusta (six top 20’s) and knows his way around the course well. Not the most glamorous duo but when both hit rock bottom they always find a way to drag themselves back up.

Daniel Berger is Swansea City – With Swansea’s American owners, this makes sense. Seriously, though, Berger is on the rise and Swansea are hoping they are too under manager Paul Clement. There will be bumps along the way but both Berger and the Swans are hoping to stay battling among the big boys for many years to come.

Jason Day is Tottenham Hotspur – The lovable Day has won one Major and would love to add another to his collection. Talented, humble and young is how you would describe Tottenham too as they finished third in the PL last season and look set for at least a second place finish this year. Can Day, and Spurs, deliver more than a top two finish?

Brandt Snedeker is Watford – Ticking along nicely without anybody really noticing, both Snedeker and Watford just go about their business with minimum fuss. On their days they can cause big upsets but more often than that they’ll be steady and perform just above what is expected. Nothing wrong with that.

Hideki Matsuyama is West Brom – Having a very good last 12 months, the Japanese star has finished in the top 10 in each of his last two trips to the Masters. West Brom are having a fine season of their own and look set to finish in eighth place in the PL with a record points tally. Upward trend for both is clear.

Sergio Garcia is West Ham United – Garcia has been in the hunt for the Masters and many major titles in the past but just hasn’t got over the line. That sums up West Ham in recent years as they’ve flirted with the top four and winning an FA Cup but haven’t quite got there. Talent is never the issue with both Garcia and the Hammers.

Report: Liverpool to resist all offers for Salah

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Liverpool has a message for any club looking to sign Mohamed Salah this summer: Not gonna happen.

The Merseyside club has reportedly said it will “not sell Salah under any circumstances this summer” as the Reds look to hold off the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona, according to The Telegraph. Salah’s four-goal tally against Watford on Saturday took his goal total to an incredible 28 in 32 Premier League games, with another seven goals in cup competitions.

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Liverpool famously kept Barcelona – and Arsenal – off Luis Suarez after the Uruguayan striker wanted to leave in 2013, but Liverpool was only able to stop Barcelona from signing Philippe Coutinho for six months.

As things stand, Liverpool are qualified for the 2018-2019 UEFA Champions League with the club sitting in first place, and keeping Salah is absolutely vital if the Reds want to make a deep run in the competition and compete for a Premier League title. It remains to be seen though if Salah is happy to stay at Liverpool or if a big-money offer from Spain or France can tempt him otherwise to set himself and his family financially for life.

Report: Sarachan’s contract with USMNT extended through June

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U.S. Soccer will wait until after the World Cup to decide on a new head coach for the U.S. Men’s National Team.

The Washington Post reported on Monday that U.S. Soccer had extended interim coach Dave Sarachan’s contract through June, after his original deal was set to expire this month. Sarachan has led the U.S. since the resignation of Bruce Arena last October. Sarachan was Arena’s long-time top assistant coach with the LA Galaxy and USMNT before taking the reigns.

[READ: Manneh added to USMNT squad]

Sarachan has led the U.S. to a pair of draws with Portugal and Bosnia and Herzegovina, with two U.S. starting lineups stocked with youngsters as the preparation for the 2022 World Cup gets underway.

Sarachan and the U.S. are currently holding a training camp in Cary, N.C. ahead of a friendly match next Tuesday against Paraguay. Sarachan will also coach the U.S. against Bolivia, Ireland and France before departing.

By extending Sarachan through June, it makes it more likely that U.S. Soccer will either look abroad for its next coach or pick a coach who is currently a free agent – like Caleb Porter – or already within the system – like Tab Ramos. It’s possible, but unlikely, that U.S. Soccer could sway Peter Vermes, Oscar Pareja or Gregg Berhalter to leave their clubs halfway through the season for the national team job, and it’s equally unlikely that U.S. Soccer would hold the position open until the next MLS offseason.

Joint World Cup bidders: Trump hasn’t sparked voter concerns

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Organizers of the North American bid to host the 2026 World Cup insist FIFA members have not expressed concern about President Donald Trump’s harsh words about foreigners or the U.S. Justice Department prosecuting corrupt soccer officials.

[ MORE: Digging into the latest USMNT roster ]

“Look, this is not geopolitics,” new U.S. Soccer Federation President Carlos Cordeiro said Monday during a conference call. “We’re talking about football and what fundamentally at the end of the day, what’s the best interests of football and our footballing community, and we’ve had no backlash. We’re very focused on the merits of our bid.”

A joint bid by the United States, Mexico and Canada was submitted to FIFA on Friday along with a proposal by Morocco. The 207 other members of the international soccer governing body will vote on June 13 in Moscow.

Cordeiro, Mexican Football Federation President Decio de Maria and Canadian Soccer Association President Steven Reed spoke from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where they were meeting with members of the Association of South East Asian Nations, a subset of the Asian Football Confederation.

A solo bid by the U.S. for the 2022 World Cup was favored going into the 2010 vote but lost to Qatar. FIFA then changed the vote rules to give the decision back to the entire membership, which chose hosts prior to 1986, when the choice started being made by the roughly two dozen members of its executive committee.

“We believe that the member associations are going to judge us on the quality of the bids, on the merits of our bid, and that’s it,” Reed said. “We’re very confident about what we’re putting forward, and I don’t think that we’re concerned about politics.”

Sixty games would be played in the U.S. under the bid plan, including all from the quarterfinals on. Three cities were included from Mexico and Canada, and both of those nations would host 10 games.

Holding a tournament in the U.S. would subject many of the documents generated to subpoena by U.S. federal prosecutors, who have secured numerous guilty pleas to corruption charges from soccer officials since 2015 and obtained convictions at trial last year against Juan Angel Napout, the former president of South American soccer’s governing body, and Jose Maria Marin, the former president of Brazil’s soccer federation.

“We haven’t had any of those concerns raised by any of the members that we’ve met so far,” Cordeiro said. “The reforms that FIFA undertook some years ago I think were spot on and we feel very confident that ultimately the right decision will be made.”

Morocco’s bid envisions spending almost $16 billion, including $3 billion to construct nine new stadiums, refurbish five others and build or renovate 130 training grounds.

[ MORE: Brazil to face Austria in final World Cup tune-up match ]

The North American bid proposed venues be selected from among 23 stadiums that exist or already are under construction, including three each in Mexico and Canada. Sixteen of the U.S. stadiums are sites of NFL teams.

“The split of matches that we have proposed to FIFA frankly reflects the resources of the three countries,” Cordeiro said. “We in the United States are blessed with some very substantial resources in terms of stadium infrastructure, of cities and so on, and that reflects the 60 matches that we have on the table. But at the end of the day there is a reason why FIFA have asked for or have encouraged joint bids and we do think that our joint bids taken together provide for a vastly superior bid than our competition.”

AP Sports Writer Rob Harris contributed to this report.

Ailing LA Galaxy could miss as many as 10 players this weekend

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We’re less than a month into the new Major League Soccer season, and one club is already left scrambling to find players for its next match.

[ MORE: A deeper look at the USMNT roster ]

Between injuries, international call ups and a suspension, the LA Galaxy could be without as many as 10 players this weekend.

Ola Kamara, Romain Alessandrini and Giovani dos Santos are among the notable names likely to be absent for Saturday’s match against the Vancouver Whitecaps, but seven more players could be left unavailable for Sigi Schmid’s squad.

Kamara was the latest player to be named to his respective national team, with the striker being called up to Norway on Monday.

Meanwhile, both Giovani and Jonathan dos Santos have earned call ups to Mexico, and Emrah Klimenta has been selected by Montenegro for its next friendlies against Cyprus and Turkey.

Both Dos Santos brothers are battling injuries of their own, so they may not feature for El Tri, but that won’t necessarily help the Galaxy either as they are kept sidelined.

Of the ten players possibly missing the Whitecaps match, five of them (Michael Ciani, Cole, Gio dos Santos, J. dos Santos and Kamara) started in the Galaxy’s last game — a 2-1 loss to New York City FC.