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Rory McIlroy reportedly felt Caroline Wozniacki was hurting his golf game

Rory McIlroy Caroline WozniackiRory McIlroy has been criticized over the past year or so for not spending enough time working on his golf game. The 25-year-old Northern Irishman has fallen off a bit since he burst onto the scene by winning the US Open in 2011 and the PGA Championship the next year.

Was Caroline Wozniacki part of the problem?

McIlroy announced on Wednesday that he has called off his engagement with Wozniacki just days after their wedding invitations were sent out. According to the New York Post’s Page Six, Rory felt that his personal life was affecting his golf game.

“Rory’s game hasn’t been as consistently good in the time he’s been with Caroline,” a source reportedly said. “He was a young guy in love and was flying around the world to see her play in tournaments or meet up with her. He was missing practice rounds. It was a distraction.”

Back in July, golf legend Nick Faldo accused McIlroy of not spending enough time on the course and worrying too much about his personal life. McIlroy later fired back and reminded his critics how difficult the game of golf can be. Gary Player made similar remarks when he said McIlroy needs to find the right woman.

Perhaps Wozniacki was losing focus, too.

“When you have two players focused on being No. 1, it’s a huge commitment to see each other, physically and emotionally,” the Post’s source added. “As tough as the decision to end the relationship might have been, it is wise to do it now rather than after they were married.”

I still think the love life excuse was overplayed, but you never know. We’ll see how McIlroy plays the rest of the way in 2014.

H/T SI Hot Clicks

Report: Donald Sterling agrees to let wife Shelly negotiate forced sale of Clippers

Donald-Sterling-wifeDonald Sterling is planning to sell the Los Angeles Clippers. On Friday morning, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported that Sterling has agreed to allow his wife Shelly to negotiate a forced sale of the team.

The NBA has not yet accepted the terms of the proposal between Donald and Shelly, and she will have to state her case in the coming days. If the proposed deal means having the Sterlings take their money and be gone from the league, I can’t imagine there would be much opposition from the NBA.

As Shelburne put it, the entire Sterling saga could come to an abrupt end if Donald transfers full ownership to Shelly and she agrees to sell the Clippers in their entirety.

Earlier this week, the NBA submitted its formal written case against Donald Sterling. One of the more interesting sections of the 30-page report stated that league investigator David Anders has reason to believe Shelly and Donald are “not in any sense estranged” and have spent time together since the racist audio recording was released. That seemed to set the stage for the NBA making a case that Donald turning the team over to Shelly is not a viable option.

However, the league would likely accept the proposal if it is a matter of Shelly agreeing to negotiate a complete sale. Adam Silver wants the Sterling family out of the picture completely. This would be one way of accomplishing that goal.

Mark Cuban apologizes to Trayvon Martin’s family

mark-cubanMark Cuban has taken a ton of heat for the remarks he made at a conference in Nashville this week about his personal prejudices. For the most part, the Dallas Mavericks owner has stood by his remarks and urged people to listen to the entire interview rather than analyzing snippets. But, on Thursday evening, Cuban decided to apologize to the family of Trayvon Martin.

One of the examples Cuban used about how he is “bigoted” in certain ways is that he would probably walk to the other side of the street if he saw a black kid wearing a hoodie late at night. He said he’d do the same if he saw a bald white guy covered in tattoos. As most of you know, a hoodie became a symbol for why Martin was shot and killed.

“In hindsight I should have used different examples,” Cuban wrote on Twitter. “I didn’t consider the Trayvon Martin family, and I apologize to them for that. Beyond apologizing to the Martin family, I stand by the words and substance of the interview.

“I think that helping people improve their lives, helping people engage with people they may fear or may not understand, and helping people realize that while we all may have our prejudices and bigotries we have to learn that it’s an issue that we have to control, that it’s part of my responsibility as an entrepreneur to try to solve it.”

You can read exchanges that Cuban had with a bunch of other people, including Jalen Rose and Bomani Jones, on his Twitter page.

Ultimately, many people are missing Cuban’s point. They’re focusing on the examples rather than the honesty and the message. Anyone who says they have never looked at someone and jumped to conclusions based on their appearance is lying. It’s simply human nature, and because of that we are all prejudiced in our own ways. Understanding that and making an effort to counter it — in your own mind — is important.

Prince Fielder to have neck surgery, could miss rest of season

Prince-FielderThe Texas Rangers announced on Thursday that Prince Fielder will undergo neck surgery to repair a herniated disk. General manager Jon Daniels said Fielder is scheduled to receive a second opinion, but the expectation is that he will need a cervical fusion procedure.

Assuming Fielder does go through with the surgery, he is all but certain to miss the remainder of the season. The recovery period for his particular injury is usually somewhere in the range of three to four months.

It goes without saying that this is rough news for the Rangers, who traded for Fielder this offseason in hopes that he would solidify the middle of their lineup. Fielder last played on May 16. He was hitting .247 with just three home runs and 16 RBI.

Cavs GM was getting calls about No. 1 pick before he got off TV

NBA draft lottery ping pongThe Cleveland Cavaliers won the No. 1 overall pick for the third time in the last four years on Tuesday, despite the fact that they had less than a 2% chance of getting it. The 2014 draft class is loaded at the top, and there are plenty of teams who want a shot at someone like Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker. Just ask Cavs GM David Griffin.

During an interview with ESPN Cleveland’s “The Really Big Show” on Wednesday, Griffin said he was getting phone calls from teams wanting to trade for the No. 1 pick before he was done being interviewed about it.

“I actually got calls right afterward, while I was standing there doing media,” he said. “Teams were already reaching out and texting, so I think it will be an active period of time.

“I’ve said many times that I’d trade me if it made us better. We’re going to be open-minded to whatever it is that advances our cause the furthest.”

The big name on everybody’s mind is obviously Kevin Love, and the Minnesota Timberwolves would be wise to check in with the team that has the top overall pick before anyone else. However, it seems unlikely that Love would want to go to a team like the Cavs. Winning the draft lottery three out of four years and still not having a competitive team isn’t a great quality.

Teams are always going to inquire about trading for the No. 1 pick, but it’s also possible GMs around the league think the Cavs are more likely to deal it this year. Let’s face it, having the top overall pick hasn’t worked well for Cleveland over the past few years.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk

Jameis Winston Burger King incident police phone call released (Audio)

You know what they say about stealing soda from a restaurant … it’s just a gateway to stealing bigger and better things later in life … like crab legs.

Jameis Winston and two other men were accused of stealing soda from a Burger King near the Florida State campus on July 21, 2013. The incident didn’t come to light until last November, when it was finally reported in the context of the Winston sexual assault case. It was easy at the time to brush aside the event as a college kids being college kids kind of thing, but placed in a greater context it looks bad now.

Jameis Winston crab legs

The phone call a Burger King assistant manager made to police was published by TMZ on Wednesday. In the call, you can hear how annoyed the employee is.

“I need three teenagers removed from my store,” she says.

The employee says the three guys were “causing a scene” in the front of the store after she caught them stealing soda. She also complained that they wouldn’t leave.

Like I said, it was easy to brush aside Jameis getting busy in a Burger King soda room at the time, but when you look at what came up later — the crab leg incident — it all kind of amounts to Winston being a shady character. Plus, then you add in the sexual assault allegation, and it could make some people more suspicious.

Mike Dunleavy met with Lakers about coaching job

Mike Dunleavy SrMike Dunleavy appears to be a fairly hot name for NBA coaching vacancies.

First there was a report that the Knicks had interest in the former Clippers coach, and now it sounds like the Lakers have interest in bringing the veteran coach back for another spin.

Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday that Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak met with Dunleavy to discuss the position, which became vacant after Mike D’Antoni resigned/was pushed out last month.

Dunleavy, 60, has had a lengthy coaching career. He coached the Lakers for two seasons in the early ’90s, the Bucks and Blazers for four seasons apiece, and he was the longtime coach of the Clippers until resigning during the middle of his seventh season in 2010. He has not coached since then.

I don’t think Dunleavy is anything special as a coach, but he was able to consistently win when he had a roster full of talented/competitive players. You could do worse for a hire, but you could also do better.