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Good morning! How long have you been up today?

Morning Tea/Tee Time

Wake up, sports are already on

Only once in this century — 2011 — has a World Cup aligned to play at the same time as The Open Championship. That means the majority of the American sports gaze, minus baseball, will be focused on two massive events a world away. Unrelated, how are we all sleeping these days?

Good morning again. Here’s what happening right now:

  • **1:35 a.m. ET: **First Open golfers teed off.
  • 3 a.m. start: We already have a massive World Cup upset. Host nation New Zealand upended Norway, 1-0, the country’s first-ever World Cup win.
  • 4:47 a.m.: World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler teed off.
  • 6 a.m.: Australia and Ireland kicked off.

Time for more coffee. Bookmark our World Cup live blog for up-to-the-minute news, and see all the tee times and how to watch The Open here.


Picking the World Cup dark horses

The United States and England are favorites to meet in the Women’s World Cup final, but as we see in most sporting tournaments, chalk is never guaranteed.

Peter Keating and Jordan Brenner published some great research on dark horse candidates to advance to the knockout round, with a pick for each group. I want to highlight three:

  • I **n Group B, Ireland — ranked 22nd in the world — feels ripe. **They play a suffocating defense and could sneak their way into the next round. Canada, the group’s highest-ranked team, is also a favorite dark horse candidate to win it all (+3300).
  • **In Group H, there is dissension between world rankings and betting odds. **Germany, FIFA’s No. 2, is a shoo-in to advance, and 72nd-ranked Morocco should provide little resistance, which leaves South Korea (17) and Colombia (25) for one spot. Sportsbooks believe Colombia (-125) is the better pick here, which makes South Korea the better bet (+100) per our math.
  • Group E, which includes the U.S., has a tempting but longshot upset pick in Portugal. The Americans (who play Vietnam tomorrow night at 9 p.m. ET) are obviously favorites to win the group, but the next two teams — the Netherlands and Portugal — might be closer than you think. The Dutch, runners up in 2019, have struggled of late, and the Portuguese are a program on the rise. Keep an eye on them.

See the full breakdown here. Also, don’t miss our expert predictions on the World Cup winner, the Golden Boot and the most disappointing team. And for daily news in your inbox, sign up for Full Time, our new women’s soccer newsletter.

Things You Need to See

Let’s check in on the Yankees

The year has not been kind to the Yanks, who entered 2023 with ring dreams. Aaron Judge had just re-signed. The team thought they’d found the next Derek Jeter in young Anthony Volpe. Nothing has gone to plan.

New York is 50-47, which looks better than it is: last place in the juggernaut AL East. They’ve started the second half 1-5, punctuated by a sweep against the oft-forlorn Angels. Last night’s 7-3 loss pushed pitcher Tommy Kahnle to do this to a poor fan:

Tommy Kahnle just annihilated a fan in the dugout

— Dillard Barnhart (@BarnHasSpoken2) July 20, 2023

It’s a bad time for Yankees fans, both human and inanimate. This was also the best of multiple lowlight opportunities in the game, too. Coming in second place was Carlos Rodón, the team’s prize offseason acquisition, blowing a sarcastic kiss to those in attendance. Good vibes, everyone.

Carlos Rodón blew a kiss to Yankee fans as he comes off the mound in between innings.

His night in Anaheim:
◽️ 4.1 IP
◽️ 4 H
◽️ 6 ER
◽️ 5 BB
◽️ 3 K

🎥 @TalkinYanks

— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) July 20, 2023


Manfred’s here to stay
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred will be re-elected next week, sources told The Athletic ’s Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal. Can you blame the owners? Manfred has helped implement wildly successful rule changes while also soaking up every bit of criticism on the A’s impending move. Read more on what’s at stake here.

World Cup proceeding after shooting
New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said the World Cup will “proceed as planned” after a shooting in Auckland yesterday left two dead and five injured. See the details here.

Inside Northwestern

The evolution of Northwestern’s hazing culture

Nine days after Northwestern fired coach Pat Fitzgerald, the school’s hazing scandal continues to crescendo. Multiple parties have stated their intent to sue the school. Multiple sports programs at Northwestern are embroiled in controversy.

Kalyn Kahler and Brian Hamilton have a new story out this morning, an in-depth piece on the last 30 years of football culture at Northwestern. It features some must-read details. An overview:

  • The hazing culture that endured to 2023 started back when Fitzgerald was a player in the 1990s , though former players told The Athletic that he didn’t participate. Nonetheless, tamer versions of the hazing we’ve heard about had long festered at Northwestern’s annual offseason training trip to Kenosha, Wisconsin.
  • Players recalled memories of a “loofah line,” in which naked offensive lineman would block the way to the showers. Stories of “running,” or veteran players hazing freshmen by dry-humping them, indicate the tradition started in the 2010s.
  • Players from the ‘90s continually expressed remorse at how the culture evolved after they left.

Read more details in the full story here, which is worth your time today. And stay tuned, because it feels like this story is far from over.

Pulse Picks

We talk about the Rays, Dodgers and even Yankees as Shohei Ohtani landing spots. Ken Rosenthal wonders: Why not Baltimore?

If I’m reading it correctly, Alabama’s quarterbacks have to bake a little longer before Nick Saban names a starter.

Dane Brugler has his scouting report on next year’s NFL Draft tight end class. Brock Bowers, step right up.

John Hollinger also has takeaways on the worst of Summer League. Look away, Hornets and Lakers fans.

Kings general manager Monte McNair sat down for an exclusive interview, which I thought was illuminating. Sacramento was expected to make huge moves this offseason, but didn’t. McNair explains why.

Pablo Maurer has a fun look back at Pelé’s debut with the New York Cosmos and how it compares to Messi’s upcoming tenure at Inter Miami.

USC and UCLA’s move to the Big Ten has more than just on-field implications. It could drastically change the recruiting landscape.

It looks like Jonas Vingegaard is well on his way to winning a second consecutive Tour de France.

Meet Isaiah Hill from Kevin Durant’s “Swagger.” He’s an actor who can actually play basketball.

(Photo: Ulrik Pedersen/ Getty Images)