Happy Monday, all. Hope you’re doing well.
Let’s get right to it.
Good morning to everyone but especially to…
Jon Rahm is on an absolute tear unlike anyone in recent memory. The Spanish star won yet again, this time at the loaded Genesis Invitational. The win vaults him to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
- This is Rahm’s third PGA Tour win in 2023 along with the Sentry Tournament of Champions and The American Express. The last player to have three PGA Tour wins before March was Johnny Miller in 1975.
- Overall, Rahm has won five of his last nine starts worldwide.
- With his 10th career PGA Tour win, Rahm passed Seve Ballesteros for second-most PGA Tour wins by a Spaniard. Only Sergio Garcia (11) has more.
While Rahm may make winning look easy, this was anything but. He began the day with a three-stroke lead, but after a three-putt bogey on 12, he was one stroke behind Max Homa. But Homa bogeyed 13 while Rahm made par, and Rahm sunk a twisting, 45-foot birdie putt on 14 to take the lead for good. At 17-under, he finished two strokes ahead of Homa and three strokes ahead of Patrick Cantlay.
It’s just another remarkable performance from a dominant force, writes our Patrick McDonald.
- McDonald: “The numbers, the tweets, the references, they’re all just bonkers. Should this stretch trickle into April and major championship season, we may be witnessing just the beginning of the best season in quite some time. Not since Tiger Woods in 2006 has a man won a total of eight times on the PGA Tour — two of which were major championships — a number Rahm could very seriously threaten. Grade: A+“
Speaking of Woods, he finished T-45th at 1-under. In terms of on-course performance, it was inconsistent (as expected), but, writes our Kyle Porter, and get this: It was the first time Woods finished a 72-hole tournament under par since the 2020 Masters, nearly three years ago.
And not such a good morning for…
THE NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS
The North Carolina Tar Heels have played eight Quad 1 games this season. They have lost all of them.
The latest loss — a 77-69 setback to in-state rival NC State — concluded a rough week that earned.
- The Tar Heels as the first team out in Jerry Palm’s Bracketology, and the loss to the Wolfpack certainly didn’t help.
- They have lost five of their last six games
- They are shooting 30.6% on 3-pointers this season, worst in the ACC and on pace to be the second-worst in program history.
Now, if you’re thinking “Didn’t last year’s UNC team barely make the Tournament and then go all the way to the championship game?” you’re right. But that team showed some capacity for impressive wins — over Duke, over Virginia Tech twice and over Michigan — while this team has not (yet). The Tar Heels likely have two more Quad 1 opportunities on their schedule: home games against Virginia and Duke.
Not so honorable mentions
NBA All-Star Weekend: Jayson Tatum scores record 55 points, G-Leaguer Mac McClung wins Dunk Contest 🏀
Jayson Tatum etched his name into NBA All-Star Game lore withas Team Giannis defeated Team LeBron, 184-175, in a game that was as notable for who played as who didn’t.
- The old record was 52 by Anthony Davis in 2017.
- Tatum scored 27 of his 55 in the third quarter, setting a record for most points in a quarter in the process.
- Damian Lillard (26 points) proved that “Dame Time” never stops by hitting the game-winning 3-pointer, one night after . Donovan Mitchell had 40 for Team Giannis as well.
- There wasn’t much action from the captains: Giannis Antetokounmpo, , played less than one minute, and LeBron James . Remember, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Zion Williamson were previously ruled out with injuries.
Luckily, Mac McClung, but the weekend. McClung, who first got recognition for his high-school dunks and has spent this season in the G-League, got to show off his ridiculous hops on a much bigger stage, . If you’re not familiar with McClung’s story, .
McClung earned a perfect 50 on three of his four dunks, butstood out above them all, writes our Brad Botkin.
Also Saturday night, before Lillard won the 3-Point Contest, Team Jazz.
As for Friday night, DK Metcalfand got to celebrate by… . Team Pau , led by Jose Alvarado.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wins longest Daytona 500 ever 🏎
As it turns out, the Daytona 500 is only 500 miles in name. After 212 laps — a dozen more than normal — Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won the longest Great American Race ever in double overtime.
- Stenhouse had a slight lead over Joey Logano when a caution came out on the final lap, making him the winner per NASCAR rules.
- It’s Stenhouse’s first win in over five years and the third (and by far the biggest) NASCAR Cup Series win of his career.
- A spin out by Daniel Suarez with two laps to go caused the first overtime. Kyle Busch, seaking his first Daytona 500 victory in his 18th appearance, was leading at the time, but overtime made things hectic.
- In the first overtime, contact between Austin Dillon and William Byron triggered a 13-car crash, leading to double overtime. In double overtime, Kyle Larson got caught in the middle, leading to another massive crash and, ultimately, the Stenhouse victory.
Stenhouse ended a 199-race winless streak, and a message from his crew chief, Mike Kelley, proved prescient, notes our Steven Taranto.
- Taranto: “Leaving a note for Stenhouse was a practice that dated back to his and Kelley’s days together in the Xfinity Series, when Kelly would leave a note on the rollbar — one that only Ricky could see — when times got tough. … The note that Kelley left read “We believe! Today” — a vital message for a driver who has had an up-and-down career that has ranged from being pulled from his ride when he failed to qualify for an Xfinity race as a rookie to eventually becoming a winning Cup driver.”
CBB Roundup: Kentucky finishes huge week by blasting No. 10 Tennessee 🏀
If North Carolina wants an example of just how quickly things can change for the better, the Tar Heels only need to look at fellow blue blood Kentucky. The Wildcats responded from an F-worthy week with, thanks in large part to a wire-to-wire, 66-54 win over No. 10 Tennessee. The Wildcats now have a season sweep over the Volunteers, which , Kyle Boone writes.
In the ultra-competitive Big 12, No. 5 Kansas rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit to blowout No. 9 Baylor,. The Jayhawks got 21 points and 13 rebounds from Jalen Wilson and got double-digit points from three other players. On a day when the Jayhawks honored last year’s championship team, , writes our David Cobb.
Finally, the Division I Men’s Basketball Committeein its Men’s Bracket Preview, and These certainly can (and will) change, but it’s a good reminder that Selection Sunday is under three weeks away!
What we’re watching Monday 📺
🏀 No. 5 Kansas at No. 22 TCU, 9 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 No. 16 UCLA at No. 3 Stanford, 9 p.m. on ESPN2