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Bubba Watson watches his tee shot on the second hole during the third round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Southern Hills Country Club, Saturday, May 21, 2022, in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Next LIV name

I don't think anyone should be surprised by this, but reports are circulating that Bubba Watson — a two-time Masters champ — will be the next name you know that joins the Saudi-funded LIV golf series.

Bubba fits that niche of "aging former champ with a big following and a big name whose best golf is behind him" that makes it hard to argue with the decision to take high eight or low nine figures just to tee it up.

But it also continues a different, less-discussed trend about the players being poached by LIV.

With Mickelson, DJ, Patrick Reed, Sergio, Charl Schwartzel and now Bubba, LIV has added players who have accounted for seven Masters wins since 2010. And if reports are true that Hideki Matsuyama and Adam Scott are LIV leaning that would be nine of the last 12 green jackets.

Which has to be somewhat calculated since a) the Masters is the the Masters, and it's the coolest event anywhere, b) the Masters knows it's the Masters and does not give two rips what any outside interest has to say, and c) the Masters certainly has a slew of members and muckety-mucks on its rolls who are more than happy to do business with the Saudis.

Which makes the decisions and the conversations even more tenuous about the Masters potentially changing its code and not allowing former champions to compete because they are LIV members.

Game on.

Ice, Ice baby

So, I have always thought the Matty Ice nickname was trash for Matt Ryan.

Do you really want your nickname to be what most of us see as a spin off/pun on the octane version of Natural Light beer? Yeah, neither do I.

But according to Sports Illustrated, our former QB1 in the A-T-L is already getting much love from his new teammates in Indianapolis.

Here's more, and to be honest, the prospects of this Colts offense is off-the-charts.

Indy has a top-three O-Line, a top-two RB1 in Jonathan Taylor (behind only Derrick Henry in my book) and a slew of young but capable receivers who were good even with the artist formerly known as Carson Wentz throwing the ball. If Matty Nice is just a good version of himself — not even the great version of his MVP season — dude will be a Pro Bowler considering how much more time he will have and how effective play-action should be.

In fact, remember that unbelievable season Peyton Manning had in his first year with the Broncos? That is extremely possible with Matt Ryan in Indy.        
 

So, about that

Yes, Lia Thomas, the transgender swimmer who went from second-team all-conference as a male to NCAA champion as a female, did not get to the next round of the process to be NCAA female athlete of the year.

Yes, there is a lot to digest in that above sentence, so reread it and take a deep breath.

The Ivy League chose fencer Sylvie Binder from Columbia as its conference winner.

That likely is a good thing for everyone involved, truth be told. Whether Thomas feels foiled or not. (See what I did there, Spy?)

Still the resumés are hardly comparable, so if you are going to let Thomas compete, then shouldn't Thomas be available for the honor? And who knows if Thomas would win against all comers from all the conferences.

But Binder was 17-6 in fencing this season — she did win a national title in 2019 — and was named Columbia's top senior student athlete. That's awesome.

Thomas won the NCAA title in the 500 freestyle and finished in the top 10 in two other events.

Yes, the details are daunting in this discussion, but if Thomas can compete against females — something I don't think should happen, as we have discussed — then how was Binder better in 2022?

Thoughts?  

This and that

— You know the rules. Here's Paschall on Georgia's reloading defense and the hopes of repeating rather than regressing.

— Buckets of bloodlines, Patrick Cantlay, who is a fine golfer in his own right, has a little brother who can swing it. Jack Cantlay, 18, dropped a 28 on the front nine at the U.S. Junior Amateur earlier this week. He carded eight 3s — including eagles on each of the par 5s on the front nine — and a 4. His front side went birdie-par-eagle-birdie-birdie-par-par-birdie-eagle. Someone call the Audubon Society.  

— Rest easy Wally Cleaver — Beaver's older brother — as news came that actor Tony Dow died Wednesday. He was 77.

Today's questions

Fire away — a free for all Thursday, and there is a mailbag spot open too.

As for today, July 28, let's review.

On this day in 1978, more than 600,000 folks attended the 'Sumer Jam' rock festival with The Grateful Dead and The Allman Brothers, among others. reportedly, there was some pot smoked at that event. Allegedly.

It's also my cousin's 50th birthday.

Rushmore of 'Cousin' and be creative.

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