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Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) goes up for a shot against Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) and guard Derrick White (9) during Game 4 of basketball's NBA Finals, Friday, June 10, 2022, in Boston. (Kyle Terada/Pool Photo via AP)

Weekend winners

Rory McIlroy. He did not win the tournament, and we will have more thoughts and conversations about this weekend's U.S. Open below, but after the Barnum and Bailey treatment this esteemed major received over the last six days, there are two clear off-the-course statements about today's players: Tiger Woods is golf's biggest star (and likely always will be), and Rory McIlory is the game's face, voice and soul for the foreseeable future. Admit it, when Sunday teed off, we all wanted Rory to win, if for no other reason than to hear what he would say. Because if he was going to talk smack about passing Greg Norman in career wins, what would he have offered to win the tournament that is the glaring hole on Phil Mickelson's playing resumé?

Steph Curry. Yes, the Warriors won the title on Thursday. But this was a long weekend — Happy Father's Day and Juneteenth folks — and more than that, because of a high number of high quality mailbag entries Friday, I was remiss in discussing the Warriors' Game 6 win that closed the NBA Finals. Curry was the MVP — and rightfully so — as he won his fourth title.  

Georgia recruiting landed one of the nation's most dynamic defenders in five-star DB AJ Harris. (Side question: That sounds like a great DB name, no?) It's Georgia's first five-star in the 2023 cycle — and assuredly will not be their last — and when you go into Alabama and take a five-star DB from Nick Saban, well, that's worthy of a nomination of winning the weekend. (Side note: That Auburn was not even among the finalists for one of the nation's best players who lives 45 minutes — or less — from campus — is not a goof sign for Bryan Harsin, who needs to add more talent to one of the league's thinnest rosters.) 

Michael Harris II. Man, that young fella is fun to watch. He plays center  with the highlight-waiting-to-happen skills of Andruw. He shows impressive opposite field power like Freddie. (Side question: Can we just stop calling it an oppo-taco? I'm asking you Brian Jordan, and I am asking for millions of Braves fans across the country. Please, and thank you. Grand Salami is bad enough; opportunity-taco is nonsensical.) And he runs like Ronald in a lot of ways. Yes, that's high praise, but when MLB's youngest player is hitting .321 with an OPS of almost .900 and 24 runs generated (runs scored + RBIs - home runs since those count in each) in 21 games from the 9 hole, high praise is warranted. And know this: Since calling up Harris II to fill a gaping spot in the outfield, the Braves are 16-5, so there's that.

The Sunday TFP. Wow, spent more than an hour Sunday morning reading a paper stacked with a lot of fun stories. From the Sports section effort on 50 years of Title IX, to the great Life story on country music star Walker Hayes' life-changing relationship with an Ooltewah High School grad to the interesting story on Judge Rob Philyaw detailing the steps to prosecute juveniles as adults, this was well worth the price of admission. Amid these days of skyrocketing costs, well, that's more important than.

Our fathers and those that make us fathers. Hope you had a great Father's Day. Truly. Hope you have a relationship  with your dad — and especially your kids — I know those are among the most special things in my life. Spent Saturday at a softball tournament in Cleveland with the youngest — she pitched her ponytail off — and the weather this weekend could be a contender for winning the weekend too. And it may be 364 days until the next Father's Day, but make an effort to call your old man if you can. Because when you can't, you'd give LIV money to have one more chat, catch or chuckle with him. Trust me on this one.  

Weekend losers

Jayson Tatum. (Read the NBA disclaimer above, please.) But wow, did Tatum vanish? Is he simply not as good as I thought? Is it somewhere in between? Because when your sidekick in Jaylen Brown goes for 34 and your No. 4 option Al Horford turns back the clock a decade and does that, and your team still loses Game 6 at home to end your season, you're not ready for the alpha role. Period.

Swimming decision makers. This is a classic definition of getting what you want but not the way you want it, I suppose. It also makes me wonder why are there so many folks in major leadership positions in major sports governing bodies that are terrified of making anything close to a rational albeit controversial decision. Look, anyone with two eyes and a stop watch can see that Lia Thomas has an incredibly unfair advantage in the NCAA pool swimming against females as opposed to the males Thomas raced a few years ago. But does this make sense? The swimming governing body ruled transgender athletes can only compete as long as they make the change before the Tanner Stage 2, second phase of puberty, or the age of 12. What? This is throwing the child out with the pool water, in a lot of ways isn't it? A decision this life-changing and complex and layered and stressful should not be forced to be made before a kid goes to middle school because they may or may not want to try the backstroke in seven summers.

My wallet. And now there is chatter about price dripping — unforeseen jacked up fees companies are charging — that make matters worse. I know this: Forget the pump, the grocery store is extremely eye-popping. Went Sunday for my normal grocery galavant and spent north of $150, which is less than normal. The bad thing, though, was it took only one trip and no help to get all the bags in the house. Ouch-standing.      

The sports blowhards bloviating about Steph Curry's all-time rank. Yes, Steph's most recent championship is impressive and adds to an all-time resumé. But people, we need to dial back this "Steph is a top-five all-time player" mumbo-jumbo. Yes, this may be an all-time hair-splitter because Curry is a top-five 2 guard in NBA history, but a top-five player? Man we sometimes over-value titles and we are frequently prisoners of the moment. He's tremendously skilled, but top 5, as in all-time basketball starting lineup and Curry is on the floor? Nope.

Open and shut

That's the statement that must be made about the dramatic and great finish to the 122nd U.S. Open.

It was open, and then Matt Fitzpatrick erased one of the very few Sunday mistakes he made with a brilliant bunker shot on the 72nd hole to win his first major. (Side note: All of these folks saying it's his first PGA event, hello, it's a USGA event.)

Anywell, the golf was grand, even if the build-up was a grandiose gaggle of grandstanders about Saudis and sellouts, about legacies and legal ramifications.

But the Sunday of a major reminded us what draws us to golf in particular and sports in general. It was handling the moment and embracing the challenge. It was a grind and a glorious stroll. It was the line between life-changing and the dreaded questions of "Will it ever happen for me?" that can plague an athlete, or an everyday person, for a lifetime.

It was glorious and it was a glorious finish for Matt Fitzpatrick, who has become the King of The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., since he has won the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Open at the course made famous by Francis Ouimet. Imagine for a second, can you, that one Sunday turns you from a fine competitor in your chosen profession to a guy who is now on track to be a Hall of Famer and will have one of those 'forever' highlights — his 9-iron from a precarious lie in the fairway bunker on 18 Sunday — that leads into every U.S. Open broadcast.

With that, and because there was so much happening all around us on Sunday — and all weekend — let's balance some Goods, Bads and Uglies from the 122nd U.S. Open. Deal? Deal.

Good: Fitzpatrick. Read above. And more than that, the teary-eyed Barry Foster, who after 40 years of toting a golf bag, was part of his first major victory this weekend.

Bad: Jon Rahm wilted like a Macon tulip in mid-July in Sunday's final round. This was a perfect spot to make a charge — one shot back, in the penultimate group, and against two leaders who had never been there before. Do we know how good Rahm is?

Ugly: NBC's broadcast had more commercials than a NASCAR paint job. Wow. How bad was it? Amid much heckling from social media, the USGA president openly vowed to address the matter with the organization's broadcast partner.

Good: Rory, for all the reasons we mentioned above. And that he's still playing great golf amid all the questions and controversy is quite the testament to his resolve.

Bad: Mickelson. Man, an 11-over tally after two rounds is bad. But this weekend will be remembered for a few things, and most of them are good. Fitzpatrick's breakthrough. The majesty of The Country Club layout. The excellence of Mike Tirico's work. And Mickelson's presence as the face of the LIV. It has to be a painful realization for him on what he's sold for that quarter of a billion, no? And another painful realization that he will never win the one tournament he wanted most.

Ugly: Uh, JT, we love the passion — truly — but a tirade with multiple words from Carlin's list in the middle of the fairway is never a good look.

Thoughts?
 

This and that

— Here's Saturday's A2 column from a round-faced fella.

— One more golf thing: The outrageous number of NBC commercials stole the comments about the network's coverage. But there are a few other things I feel need to be said. First, Mike Tirico > Dan Hicks, and it's not that close. Second, Paul Azinger is dreadful, and he should never say a bad word about the LIV since Mickelson's addition to that golf series likely will mean Mickelson will not be taking Zinger's job any time soon. If Paul Azinger could not use clichés, he would be as silent as a stone. Finally, not a great showing for the NBC family of networks, which pushed full-time coverage — commercial free — to its streaming platform of Peacock.

— Talk about getting the final word. How about this gravestone that has "(F-word) Off" — somewhat encrypted, mind you — on it for their departed father and grandfather in an Iowa cemetery

— Braves played. Braves lost two of three in Chicago. Side note of trivia. When the Cubs beat the Braves 1-0 on Friday it was the first time a team with a double-digit losing streak beat a team with a double-digit winning streak since 1999. So there's that.

— College World Series has been fun. Sure, would have enjoyed Auburn to get more than one stinkin' run against Ole Miss, but so it goes. And yes, I still miss — and believe Omaha misses — the energy and controversy Tennessee baseball brings to every event. Side question: Anyone else not that they are calling it the MCWS this year as in 'Men's College World Series'? Is that needed?

— Davidson's Bob McKillop is retiring from college hoops. A lot of folks are coming and singing his praises on social media, and that's fine by me. But McKillop — and maybe he just hated everything Chattanooga — but almost every single time he or one of his minions called me in my previous job at the TFP, they were arrogant, condescending and wannabe bullies who thought the sun revolved around Davidson basketball.

— So Arch Manning can crush a golf ball too. The five-star high school QB prospect was a social media sensation over the weekend when video of his Top Golf rocket cleared the netting. Wonder how big the LIV offer for young Mr. Manning will be?

— You know the rules. Here's Paschall on the latest UT football commit, a Las Vegas running back from one of the nation's top talent-producing high schools

Today's questions

Weekend winners and losers. Go. And we can have a US Open and a non-US Open division.

As for multiple-choice Monday, let's go this way:

What are you giving up/doing less amid these spiking prices?

— Eating out less;

— Drinking alcohol less;

— Cancel trips;

— Other (and share if you'd life)?

As for today, it's the observed holiday of Juneteenth, even though it's the 20th.

So "Jaws" was released on this day in 1975.

Rushmore of movie sea creatures. Go.

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