Saturday Sports: Cleveland Cavaliers, The British Open

Jul 22, 2017
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And now it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: It's July, but play in the NBA never really ends. Word out of Cleveland - Kyrie Irving wants out of Cleveland. And the Cavs would have a hole the size of Lake Erie to fill. But first, some sports history. On the other side of the pond, NPR's Tom Goldman joins us. Good morning, Tom.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Good morning, Scott.

SIMON: Third round the British Open golf championship today the story had been about Jordan Spieth, the American in front - and he's playing well. But tell us what South African Branden Grace has done.

GOLDMAN: He is the first man to shoot a 62 in a major championship. Scott, break out the champagne. Grace was 8-under-par for the day. He has a pretty flawless round, no bogeys on any holes. A bogey, of course, is 1-over par. And Grace took full advantage of calm conditions on the Royal Birkdale course. The weather, of course, is often a character in the British Open dramas on those seaside golf courses.

So there have been 31 rounds of 63...

SIMON: Wow.

GOLDMAN: ...In major tournaments and several near-62s, including just last year at the British Open, when a putt on the final hole by American Phil Mickelson missed by about an inch or less.

SIMON: I remember that, yeah.

GOLDMAN: So it's a big deal. Beyond the excitement, Grace was thrilled that his round pulled him into a tie for second place behind leader Jordan Spieth. And I'll tell you, Scott, a lot of players are making moves today, taking advantage of this nice weather - for now.

SIMON: Well, Branden Grace is a name to mark - right? - as we go on.

GOLDMAN: Yes, yes.

SIMON: Staying in Europe, although actually they just voted not to be a part of Europe.

GOLDMAN: (Laughter).

SIMON: I'm thinking of the British Open. The Tour de France - final time trial today. Chris Froome of Britain, which used to be in Europe and is negotiating to get out of it now...

(LAUGHTER)

SIMON: ...Held the lead. And if he wins that will be, what, his third in a row?

GOLDMAN: I'm so confused. Yeah, it would. And it looks like he is very close to doing that and claiming his third in a row and fourth overall. You know, that would put him in the legend category. But sadly, beyond the cycling world, in the general public, the post-Lance Armstrong haze has obscured the sport, you know, created so much distrust about doping. It's made cycling the butt of jokes. You, Scott, have seen the HBO mockumentary "Tour De Pharmacy."

SIMON: And I loved it. I might have recommended it to you. I thought it was bawdy and brilliant. It has an all-star cast. And Lance Armstrong himself is in there - don't want to give away any plot points...

GOLDMAN: Right.

SIMON: ...Saying, look, everybody juices. Isn't that obvious? Can't you tell?

GOLDMAN: As if there are plot points. Yeah, but it is going to take cycling time to emerge from the haze. And it's a shame that Froome - if he's clean and isn't that what we always say?

SIMON: Yeah.

GOLDMAN: It's a shame that what looks like his fourth Tour title won't be fully appreciated.

SIMON: So now to the NBA news that has us Cavs fans disheartened - Kyrie Irving, the superlative point guard, according to sources, says he wants to be traded. And of course, this follows some news that we've heard for several weeks that LeBron James doesn't like the team's direction. They've been in the finals like - what? Three times now, right? - three times but of course, have only won twice. And, you know, maybe he won't always be there once he becomes a free agent. You know what they say in Cleveland, don't you?

GOLDMAN: What's that?

SIMON: Oy, my aching Cavs.

(LAUGHTER)

GOLDMAN: Hey. You know, what they're saying in Boston, though?

SIMON: No. What, what, what? Yes. What?

GOLDMAN: Wicked awesome...

SIMON: Oh, right.

GOLDMAN: ...Because a Cavs team in disarray is nothing but good news for the Celtics. Look, absent comments from Kyrie Irving or his agent, we are left to speculate as to why he wants out. We're hearing he doesn't want to play with LeBron. He wants to prove to the world he can lead a team. We're also hearing it's proactive on Irving's part - that he doesn't want to wait for LeBron to leave and then be left behind. If this news is true, Scott, it is disheartening, as you say. They have sure looked good together, playing together like they love playing together.

SIMON: Yeah.

GOLDMAN: But what we see isn't always what is happening.

SIMON: All right, a lesson for life, as usual. NPR Sports correspondent Tom Goldman, thanks so much.

GOLDMAN: You bet.

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