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Mercury’s Diana Taurasi Criticizes WNBA

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Diana Taurasi

Phoenix Mercury superstar and WNBA legend Diana Taurasi is taking aim at how the WNBA is marketing their game, and their players, as well as how players are getting paid, and how the league treats it’s players.

Basically, Taurasi isn’t happy with how the WNBA operates as a whole, and isn’t shy about sharing her opinion.

“It’s just so sad to me. You know, 15 years in, it’s just such a sad thing to talk about” Taurasi said when discussing the pay disparity in the league, according to ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss.

“We had to go to a communist country to get paid like capitalists, which is so backward to everything that was in the history books in sixth grade. And even then, even within our pay scale, it doesn’t make sense. On a team, you could have seven players making the same amount of money. That doesn’t make sense to me.”

“Something’s missing. I don’t know. I don’t know what the solution is. But what’s going on now, it’s not working. And I use an example of when B.G. [Brittney Griner] was a rookie, she was walking in this arena, and the janitor was making more money than her. But you want Brittney Griner to be this superstar and carry the league into where? The kid’s got to go to Russia [in the offseason] for the next 10 years to get paid what she deserves.

And it’s just shocking to me, as we have the NBA as the best model ever. But the WNBA always finds a way to mess it up. I just don’t get it. I’m so disillusioned with it all … not because of what I had to go through, but for the younger kids. When you’re in it, when you’re playing and you’re young, you don’t worry about these things. You’re just so worried about proving yourself and getting to the playoffs, being a better basketball player.

But when you get older, like Sue [Bird] and I, we start thinking about these things, like it’s been 15 years. I think Sue said it best. In the last 11 years, I think we’ve had a 1.5% increase in our pay salary. I mean, who doesn’t leave that job? It’s like [Lionel] Messi. You play for Barcelona, and then you go back to Argentina and play in a YMCA league because you love the game. And you know what? We come back every single summer because we love the game. It’s pathetic.”

Taurasi says that the WNBA simply doesn’t care that players have to go overseas to play and make money, and noted that a contentious CBA negotiation is likely to take place because of these, and many other, issues.

Of those other issues, Taurasi isn’t thrilled with how the WNBA has marketed the game, or it’s superstars.

“Once again, I just don’t understand how the NBA has made rock stars out of their best players … if you think about what they’ve been able to do marketing-wise. And obviously it started with Magic and Larry and Isiah, and then obviously Jordan took it to the next level. And then you had Kobe, Shaq, and now you have LeBron, Harden, Steph, Durant.

They’ve made rock stars out of these players. And we just have not been able to capitalize on any of that. Not even a little bit. Not even one bit. Like, are you kidding me with some of the stuff that they do marketing and promoting-wise? It’s almost mind-boggling.”

Golf

Tiger Woods Delays Surgery to Play, Says Recovery Ahead of Schedule

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Tiger Woods put off surgery on his left knee to repair minor cartilage last fall and opted instead to have it this past August so that he could continue to play, but admitted the knee had been bothering him most of the 2019 year.

“It just kind of deteriorated over the year,” Woods said on Monday, according to ESPN’s Bob Harig. “It’s one of the reasons we were planning on doing it last year. But I screwed up by winning the Tour Championship [in September 2018], and I thought I could keep it rolling.

“It affected the way my back was feeling and my practice schedule. I’ve been down this road. That was my fifth [knee] operation. It’s been nice to have it moving again and not have it catch and lock up. A lot of wear and tear over the year. It’s been stressed out for a very long time, and it was nice having it cleaned up.”

Woods added that he is ahead of schedule in his recovery, saying that he had planned to have the procedure in the days following the Tour Championship, which he did not qualify for; “Instead I had it the week of the Tour Championship,” Woods commented. “The whole idea was to be ready for this event, the Hero World Challenge and possibly Australia.”

“The way I was feeling toward the middle part of the year, it was going to be a tall order to do it all. I was struggling waking, it affected my back, reading putts. I’m excited about having this end-of-the-year run. Feeling much more fit. I don’t have the achiness I had the last couple of years.”

“I want to be fit and ready for the end of the year,” Woods said. “Been battling through this year. Nice to get over the hump and start feeling good again and go at it full speed.”

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Rory McIlroy Agrees with Brooks Koepka in Regards to Rivalry

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Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy agrees with Brooks Koepka that the two were not true rivals despite some commentary to the contrary.

McIlroy, 30, was asked about Koepka’s comments Monday afternoon during the broadcast of The Challenge: Japan Skins, saying that Koepka had a point in his comments.

“What Brooks said wasn’t wrong,” McIlroy said, according to ESPN’s Bob Harig.

“He’s been the best player in the world for the last couple of years. Four majors. Don’t think he had to remind me that I haven’t won one in a while. I love Brooks. He’s a great guy. He’s super competitive like we all are. I see where he’s coming from.”

Ahead of last week’s CJ Cup in South Korea , Koepka was asked about the rivalry by the Agency French Press, and had some noteworthy comments.

“I’ve been out here for — what? — five years,” Koepka said in response. “Rory hasn’t won a major since I’ve been on the PGA Tour. So I just don’t view it as a rivalry. I’m No. 1 in the world. I’ve got an open road ahead of me. I’m not looking in the rear-view mirror, so I’m not seeing it as a rivalry.”

“I said a couple of things after the Tour Championship as I approached the final round as a little bit of a rivalry because he got one over on me in Memphis,” McIlroy said. “And I sort of wanted to get him back. I think it’s good for the game. I think if you take what Brooks said out of context, it can become this big thing that it’s become.

“But Brooks and I are good friends. I’ve been really happy for him to see how he’s played over the last couple of years.”


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Tiger Woods Finishes Second to Jason Day

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The Challenge: Japan Skins saw Jason Day walk off with over $200,000 and the victory, while Tiger Woods finished second.

“He hasn’t won one yet, so I’ve got that on him, which is good,” Day said of Woods, according to ESPN’s Bob Harig. “I found that out today when he told me. But this is nice, the back and forth was great, it was nice and clean and it was within the game, and I think the guys had fun out there.”

The Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club hosted the event that also featured Rory McIlroy and Hideki Matsuyama, among many others.

GolfTV, in a sponsorship deal with Woods, streamed the event worldwide.

“I did not play well at the beginning,” Woods said. “I hit a lot of bad shots and did not putt well. Once I got into the flow of competing and feeling the round, it just got exciting. We were competitive, the banter was great, the back and forth.”

“It was just great to be part of something like this,” McIlroy said. “It was a fun way to kick off the week.”

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