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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.

WATCH: World Cup, Day 8 — Argentina on the edge; France aims for berth

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France, Denmark, and Croatia can clinch knockout round berths on Thursday in Russia, the last nation also holding the opportunity to help deprive the World Cup of an extended Lionel Messi run.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Messi’s Argentina drew Iceland in its opener, the megastar infamously missing a penalty, and will look to beat a Croatian side that looked quite good in dispatching Nigeria.

That’s the final match of the day, which begins with Denmark facing Australia and continues with a tasty match-up between France and Peru.

Below is Thursday’s schedule in full.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


2018 World Cup schedule – Wednesday, June 20

Group C
Denmark vs. Australia: Samara, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
France vs. Peru: Yekaterinburg, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group D
Argentina vs. Croatia: Nizhny Novgorod, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Halted World Cup flip-throw heard around the world

AP Photo/Sergei Grits
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Milad Mohammadi knew the time was right for something special, but special isn’t always good.

And good is a subjective term. Cause to us this is very good, Milad.

The Iranian national team defender failed with a flip-throw bid in the final moments of a 1-0 loss to Spain on Wednesday at the World Cup in Russia.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

And this wasn’t like he illegally flipped or broke some other rule. No, like a kid trying an audacious jump into the deep end, Akhmat Grozny star Mohammadi just bailed and climbed in from the side (so to speak).

The kiss, the look skyward, the headbutt… all integral parts of a wonderful World Cup moment.

Renard, Morocco ‘very proud’ of unlucky national team

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If you would’ve told Morocco fans or their manager, Herve Renard, that they’d outshoot and outpossess both Iran and Portugal at World Cup, their next question would probably be, “So do we need to do against Spain to win Group B?”

Alas, Morocco lost a pair of 1-0 decisions to become the first team knocked out of the 2018 World Cup.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

The Lions of Atlas fell to Iran in their opener on a stoppage time own goal after carrying 64 percent possession and a 13-8 advantage in shot attempts, then lost to a Cristiano Ronaldo fourth minute goal on Wednesday despite a 16-10 shot advantage and 53 percent of the ball.

“I’m very proud of the performance and I am very proud of my players, I’m very proud of this country,” Renard said.

With no hope of advancing to the next round, the manager is finding the experience bittersweet. From RTE:

“What I am sure of at this moment is that the entire Moroccan people is proud of this team. Of course it’s easier to play with a player who has one chance and he puts it away. But we are in Morocco.

“We have quality players. Despite the ups and downs of the game, we should have been more effective. Because, like in the first game, we had plenty of chances. I won’t blame anyone. That’s football. It’s always those who know how to be present in the box, the most gifted players, who make the difference. We took a lot of risks and we didn’t get our reward.”

It’s unlikely Morocco will hold either of those statistical advantages against Spain, especially a Spanish side yet to qualify, but there is plenty to like from the tournament aside from poor finishing quality.

But the performances of 19-year-olds Amine Harit (Schalke) and Achraf Hakimi (Real Madrid) — not to mention Hakim Ziyech (25, Ajax) — seem to hint at a promise for 2022. And Renard’s men can still play spoiler for Spain, which is no small shockwave.

Queiroz: Iran has one ‘match point’ left in World Cup group stage

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Iran manager Carlos Queiroz isn’t going to let his tournament be defined by one win or one loss, especially with a massive moment on the horizon.

Iran fell 1-0 to Spain on Wednesday, days after defeating Morocco in its World Cup opener. Team Melli was denied its equalizer despite VAR review thanks to an offside, and failed in several other bids to level the score.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Now Queiroz and his men need a win over Portugal to qualify for the first knockout stage in its five World Cup history.

“We showed that we were ready to suffer and ready to compete. I felt we deserved a better result. There’s no doubt Spain play wonderful, stylish football but I thought we deserved more for the way we played.

“But congratulations to Fernando Hierro and Spain. We will learn a lot from this game. If you think of it like tennis, we had one match point today and we will have another against Portugal. Everything is still open. We are still alive and still dreaming.”

What chance do you give Iran of getting over on Portugal, who only topped a dominant Morocco side via a terrific designed play executed to perfection by Cristiano Ronaldo?

The odds are in Portugal’s favor, if only for its experience in tight games on massive stages. Well, perhaps the better “if only” would be to say if only for Ronaldo. Either way…