Your Must-See Sports Headlines for Today, July 18

All eyes will be on Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Brooks Koepka as the 148th Open Championship gets underway on Thursday.

Collection of photos via Getty Images All eyes will be on Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Brooks Koepka as the 148th Open Championship gets underway on Thursday.

Welcome to the roundup of must-see sports news from Wednesday, highlighted by a look at the players to watch at the golf season’s final major, the Open Championship, which kicks off today at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland.

Spanning the sports headlines, we’ll also take a look at the San Diego Padres coming close to having their first no-hitter in franchise history and Home Run Derby champion Pete Alonso’s titanic home run that traveled halfway up the upper deck in Minnesota.

All this and more as we get you up to speed with the sports world on this Thursday!


THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP: Players to Watch for at the Season’s Final Major

Players to watch at The Open Championship 2019Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy and Francesco Molinari are among the players to watch for The Open Championship 2019. Koepka arrives with two runner-up finishes and a win in three majors in 2019, while Molinari became the first Italian to caption a major at The Open in 2018. SUBSCRIBE to PGA TOUR now: http://pgat.us/vBxcZSh Welcome to…2019-07-16T23:00:02.000Z
The final golf major of 2019 is already upon us, and it will be a special one for Northern Ireland as it hosts its first Open Championship since 1951. The Open was previously slotted into the third position of the year’s four majors but with the schedule implemented this year, it now follows the U.S. Open to conclude the season’s majors.

The Open will get underway on Thursday and most likely by the time you read this article, will be deep into the first round, with the first tee shots scheduled to be hit at 6:35 a.m. local time in Northern Ireland/1:35 a.m. ET.

The Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush will be a true test for the world’s best players, which most hadn’t seen until this week. The par-71, 7,344-yard course layout will feature extremely thick rough that players will be punished for if they can’t find the fairways and approximately 60 bunkers – the fewest of any Open course.

The big question mark for the week, as it always is coming into an Open, will be how will the weather play a factor in the competition. Temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s will certainly be a shock to the PGA TOUR players’ systems, as they leave behind a sultry summer back in the U.S. Rain is in the forecast for all four days this week and the winds on this seaside course will add a huge variable to the players’ strategies.

Who will become this season’s champion golfer of the year? Here are the players to watch for this week at the Open:

RORY MCILROY
Northern Ireland, World Ranking: 3, Age:30
This week’s betting favorite will also be the fan favorite, as he will tee it up on home turf in Northern Ireland. McIlroy won the Open in 2014 and finished T-2 last year at Carnoustie behind champion Francesco Molinari. You’ll be hearing a lot this week about the course record 61 he shot at Royal Portrush as a 16-year-old in 2005.
Nike | Rory Mcilroy: Crazy DreamShooting a course-record 61 at age 16, because crazy dreams won’t wait forever.2019-07-15T21:02:34.000Z

BROOKS KOEPKA
United States, World Ranking: 1, Age:29
Golf’s number one ranked player in the world can become the first to finish first or second in all four majors in a single season. Koepka won the PGA Championship in May and placed second in both the Masters and U.S. Open.

Watch the moment Brooks Koepka won the 2019 PGA ChampionshipWitness the shot and reaction when Brooks Koepka repeated as the winner of the PGA Championship. PGA.com is the official website and YouTube page of the PGA of America and has exclusive, original video around golf instruction and golf equipment, as well as PGA Championship, Ryder Cup and Senior PGA Championship highlights.2019-05-19T22:59:36.000Z

JON RAHM
Spain, World Ranking: 8, Age:24
Rahm’s time for a break-through major feels like it’s right around the corner as he has been playing hotter than almost anyone right now. The 24-year-old Spaniard finished T-3 at the U.S. Open and then shot a final-round 62 to win the Irish Open at a links course a couple weeks ago.

Jon Rahm shoots 62 to win Irish Open | 2019 Dubai Duty Free Irish OpenJon Rahm's incredible final round 62 gave the Spanish golfer a two-shot victory at Lahinch. ► SUBSCRIBE: http://et.golf/Subscribe The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open comes to Lahinch Golf Club for the first time. Reigning champion Russell Knox won at Ballyliffin Golf Club in thrilling fashion 12 months ago, holing a 45-foot birdie putt to force…2019-07-07T17:57:07.000Z

TIGER WOODS
United States, World Ranking: 5, Age:43
Even though we haven’t seen him on a golf course since the final round of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach a month ago, you can never count out the 15-time major champion. Woods made a huge statement last summer at Carnoustie when he held the lead for a moment on the back nine before a few mishaps lead him to a T-6 finish.

VideoVideo related to your must-see sports headlines for today, july 182019-07-18T03:00:08-04:00

PATRICK CANTLAY
United States, World Ranking: 10, Age:27
Cantlay has been on an absolute tear this season, picking up a win at the Memorial Tournament, while finishing T-3 at the PGA Championship and T-9 at the Masters. He is currently ranked second in strokes gained overall and it feels like he’s on the verge of a major break-through victory.

HENRIK STENSON
Sweden, World Ranking: 37, Age:43
The 2016 Open Champion has been as consistent as can be lately, hitting fairway after fairway, and finishing T-4 at last week’s Scottish Open which followed a T-9 at the U.S. Open and a T-8 at the Canadian Open.

More from Heavy.com: 2019 Open Championship Odds


MLB ROUNDUP: Padres’ Rookie Chris Paddack Loses No-Hitter in 8th Inning; Home Run Derby Champ Pete Alonso Hits One Halfway Up the Upper Deck

Alonso smashes 474-foot HR in MinnesotaWatch as Pete Alonso nearly crushes a home run out of Target Field in the Mets' 14-4 win over the Minnesota Twins. Don't forget to subscribe! https://www.youtube.com/mlb Follow us elsewhere too: Twitter: https://twitter.com/MLB Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mlb/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mlb TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/share/user/6569247715560456198 Visit our site for all baseball news, stats and scores! https://www.mlb.com/2019-07-18T02:38:47.000Z
Paddack comes close to delivering Padres’ first no-no
Rookie right-handed pitcher Chris Paddack came within six outs of making history for the San Diego Padres on Wednesday night, as he took a no-hitter into the 8th inning of their game against the Miami Marlins. Paddack, who had been drafted by the Marlins, gave up a leadoff home run in the 8th inning to Starlin Castro that broke up the no-hitter.

The 23-year-old pitched 7 2/3 innings on Wednesday night, striking out eight batters and allowing only the solo home run, in the Padres 3-2 win.

The Padres are in their 51st season and have yet to throw a no-hitter.

MUST WATCH: Pete Alonso hits moonshot into upper deck of Target Field
The 2019 Home Run Derby champion Pete Alonso was mired in a 1-for-17 slump since his Derby title last week but broke out in an epic way on Wednesday when he hit a ball halfway up the upper deck at Minnesota’s Target Field.

The titanic blast that traveled a whopping 474 feet was the New York Mets’ rookie first baseman’s 31st home run of the season, which trails only Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich, who both have 34 long balls.

The Mets completed a two-game sweep of the first-place Twins, with a 14-4 blowout.


DON’T MISS THESE STORIES: Rounding Up the Top Sports Headlines


WHAT’S ON TAP IN THE SPORTS WORLD

GOLF: The Open Championship
Golf’s final major of 2019, the 148th Open Championship kicks off today from Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland. The Golf Channel has all-day first-round coverage beginning at 1:30 a.m. ET.
When: Today, 1:30 a.m. ET – 4 p.m. ET
TV: Golf Channel

MLB: New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays
The top two teams in the American League East face-off in a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium today after their game was postponed due to rain last night.
When: Today, 3 p.m. ET