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Meghan and Harry attend Royal Ascot with the Queen

Meghan and Harry attend Royal Ascot with the Queen

(CNN) - Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has made her first appearance at the UK's prestigious Royal Ascot -- the jewel in the crown of the British horse racing calendar.

She joined her husband Prince Harry and Queen Elizabeth II for the first day of the race meeting, which runs until June 23.

Harry and Meghan, who got married at Windsor Castle one month ago, presented the winning trophy for the St James's Palace Stakes to 'Without Parole' jockey Frankie Dettori.

The couple arrived at the racecourse in a horse-drawn carriage -- a practice which began in 1825 with members of the royal family entering the course every day from Windsor Castle.

The Duchess of Sussex arrived dressed in a cream dress, with a cream and black hat; the Queen wore bright yellow.

Royal Ascot is Britain's richest meeting -- with a $9.7 million in prize pot and eight Group One races, the highest level in racing.

Meghan carried out her first official solo engagement alongside the Queen last week where they opened a new toll bridge in the northwest UK county of Cheshire.

Today, Kensington Palace also announced the couple will visit Dublin, Ireland next month on July 10 and 11.

"They are looking forward to learning more about Ireland's history and experiencing its rich culture, as well as meeting the people who are shaping the country's future," the Palace tweeted.

Brooks Koepka wins back-to-back US Open titles

Brooks Koepka wins back-to-back US Open titles

(CNN) - Brooks Koepka became the first man to win back-to-back US Open titles for 29 years after overcoming a testing and controversial week at Shinnecock Hills.The 28-year-old Floridian triumphed ... Continue Reading
Phil Mickelson sparks controversy as four players tie for US Open lead

Phil Mickelson sparks controversy as four players tie for US Open lead

(CNN) - Phil Mickelson's "putt-gate" shenanigans at Shinnecock created a firestorm that will haunt his legacy on a tumultuous and controversial third day at the US Open.

The veteran American -- celebrating his 48th birthday -- ran after a still moving putt and hit the ball back towards the hole during his third round.

It's a no-no for kids on a crazy golf course, let alone a five-time major champion and former world No. 2 at the US Open.

But the left-hander's admission he deliberately incurred a two-shot penalty rather than risk running up a bigger score sparked criticism that he had bent the usual etiquette and spirit of the game.

The incident will always dog the colourful and often controversial Californian -- he later told critics to "toughen up" -- but Mickelson's mad-cap moment was just the start on a crazy day at Shinnecock Hills.

Two-time major winner Zach Johnson said the USGA had "lost the course" because the strengthening afternoon wind combined with slick greens and tough pin positions had made some holes extremely challenging.

Greens such as the 15th appeared to unfairly penalize good shots which landed close to the pin but ran off the putting surface.

Other players, however, were more measured and accepted the challenge for what it was. "It's a grind. But it's the US Open, you just have to keep plugging along. The guy who moves on the quickest usually plays the best," Koepka told Sky Sports.

Mike Davis, chief executive of the USGA said later: "We want the US Open to be tough, but we saw some examples late in the day where well executed shots were not only not being rewarded, but in some cases penalized."

Amid the furore, there was still a golf tournament to be won, and when Dustin Johnson missed a putt on the final green he fell back into a four-way share of the lead going into Sunday's final round.

The world No.1 is tied at three over with defending champion Brooks Koepka, alongside Daniel Berger and Tony Finau, who both carded rounds of 66 in benign morning conditions on Long Island.

England's 2013 champion Justin Rose was one of a number of overseas players who had to endure abuse from a raucous and highly charged New York crowd, but he held his nerve to sit one shot further back.

Twenty two players are bunched within five shots of the lead. They will be mindful that Arnold Palmer set a record US Open final-round comeback of seven shots when he won in 1960.

But Saturday at Shinnecock will always be remembered for Mickelson's antics.

The American had a 10-foot putt for bogey on the 13th hole, but the ball slid past and he watched it gather pace down a slope. He jogged after it and tapped it back up towards the hole as it was still rolling.

Mickelson then marked his stationary ball before taking two more putts for an eight, which was later corrected to a 10 after he was assessed a two-stroke penalty.

It dropped the veteran star to 16 over for the tournament, 20 shots adrift of then leader Dustin Johnson.

The USGA invoked Rule 14-5 which states a player "must not make a stroke at his ball while it is moving."

According to the body, it was not relevant to apply golf rule 1-2 which says a player "must not take an action with the intent to influence the movement of a ball in play." Serious breaches of this rule could result in disqualification.

"He didn't deflect it or stop it. He played a moving ball. He made a stroke at a moving ball, which is, again, it's just explicitly covered under 14-5," said USGA official John Bodenhamer.

'Take advantage of the rules'

Afterwards, Mickelson, who finished with an 11-over 81 to end 17 over, told Fox: "I was just going back and forth and I'd gladly take the two shots over continuing that display.

"No question it was going to go down into the same spot behind the bunker. You take the two shots and you move on."

Asked whether he thought his actions were disrespectful, Mickelson added: "It was meant to take advantage of the rules as best as you can. I don't mean it in any disrespect and if that's the way people take it, I apologize."

Mickelson is no stranger to controversy and caused significant ructions at the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles when he criticized the captaincy of Tom Watson in the US team's losing press conference.

Mickelson's playing partner Andrew Johnston, who also struggled, told BBC Radio 5 Live: "His body acted quicker than his brain. I think you see it in different sports people do these wacky things. He wasn't doing it in a bad way or to try and get disqualified.

"It's brutal out there and he was upset the way he played the previous holes. It just got to him. I've never seen that in tournament, only when playing with my mates."

'Lost the course'

Shortly after Mickelson finished, Zach Johnson launched a scathing attack on the course set-up.

The 2007 Masters champion and 2015 British Open winner told Sky Sports the USGA had "lost the golf course," meaning the course had become out of control and a lottery because of the rising wind and slippery green conditions.

"When you have a championship that comes down to sheer luck, that's not right," he said.

The Shinnecock Hills course has a reputation for being a brutal test of golf in US Open conditions with slick greens and pins set in tough positions, allied to a baking sun and stiff breeze.

When the tournament was last held at the Long Island venue in 2004 - when Mickelson finished second to Retief Goosen -- officials had to water greens in between groups to stop them becoming too glassy.

"They lost it 14 years ago and they've lost it again," Johnson added.

However, Masters champion Patrick Reed saw no issues.

"I feel like they've kept it on the correct side. You have to go out and play good golf," he told Sky Sports.

Mickelson has finished runner-up a record six times in the US Open, the last major he needs to complete the set of all four of golf's big titles.

Only five players in history have won the career grand slam -- Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.

Mickelson may one day join that group, but "putt-gate" won't help his reputation.

Longines Prix de Diane: Laurens wins France's fillies' Classic

Longines Prix de Diane: Laurens wins France's fillies' Classic

(CNN) - It's one of the jewels of European racing, and Laurens was crowned queen of the Longines Prix de Diane, France's equivalent of fillies' classic the Oaks. The Karl Burke-trained three-year- ... Continue Reading
Geoff Hurst:

Geoff Hurst: "Winning a World Cup for your country changes your life"

(CNN) - It's been just over 50 years since England's World Cup victory against West Germany in 1966 and still to this day Geoff Hurst remains the first and only footballer to ever score a hat trick i ... Continue Reading
US Open: Dustin Johnson leads as Woods, Spieth, McIlroy miss cut

US Open: Dustin Johnson leads as Woods, Spieth, McIlroy miss cut

(CNN) - He showed why he is ranked the best in the world as Dustin Johnson surged into a four-shot lead heading into the weekend of the 118th US Open at Shinnecock Hills.

The 33-year-old was the only player left under par after another challenging day which claimed the scalps of Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy on Long Island.

The 2016 champion shot a round of 67 through a burst of cold morning rain to set the bar at four under par ahead of fellow American Scott Piercy, the runner-up two years ago, and compatriot Charley Hoffman.

As rain gave way to a still, warm afternoon conducive to scoring, Johnson was hunted down by a pair of Englishmen in New York. But Ian Poulter undid all the effort of clawing to within one shot of the lead with a triple-bogey on his penultimate hole, while Justin Rose ended with two bogeys to finish alongside his countryman on one over.

Another Englishman Tommy Fleetwood shot the low round of the week -- a 66 -- to also finish on one over with former Open champion Henrik Stenson and defending US Open champion Brooks Koepka.

'Patience a virtue'

Phil Mickelson, still searching for a first US Open win to complete the set of all four majors after six runner-up spots, carded a one-under 69 to inch to six over, two shots inside the cut. Mickelson has been runner-up in four US Opens in the New York area, including at Shinnecock Hills in 2004, and is a firm favorite of the local crowds who would love nothing more than a trademark charge on his 48th birthday Saturday.

But the tournament for now is in the hands of Johnson, who has married an impressive short game with his prodigious length to open up a sizeable gap after sharing a four-way tie for the lead after round one.

Johnson was reminiscent of playing partner Woods in his prime as he strode the fairways in complete control, seemingly impervious to the trials befalling others. He carded just one bogey and four birdies, including a monster 45-foot effort across the green of the short seventh.

The key, he said, was not getting angry.

"It's a tough golf course, tough conditions, so it's very important to stay patient all day," he said.

"Why am I going to get upset about a bad shot I hit? I do it every day when I play. So you just got to go find it and hit it again."

'Can't fake it'

Woods, playing his first US Open since 2015 after multiple back surgeries, resumed at eight over, looking to make some amends for Thursday's disappointing opening round. A birdie at his first hole, the 10th, suggested he was in the mood to claw his way back up the leaderboard on the 10th anniversary of his 14th and last major title.

He also birdied the 16th but two bogeys canceled out his good work to reach the turn level par for the day, and he hit the buffers early in the back nine.

He made a double bogey on the first hole -- scene of Thursday's opening triple -- and also bogeyed the short second to plummet to 11 over.

Another shot went on the sixth, but like the Woods of old he kept fighting to the end and closed with back-to-back birdies to end 10 over.

"I'm not very happy the way I played and the way I putted," Woods told reporters.

"You don't win major championships by kind of slapping all around the place and missing putts. You have to be on.

"You just can't fake it at a major championship."

'Sour taste'

McIlroy, who won the last of his four majors in 2014, had effectively played himself out of the tournament with that career-worst major round of 80 Thursday, and despite improving by 10 shots he was still comfortably outside the cut at 10 over.

"I felt like my game was good coming in here. I just felt like I was blown away by the wind Thursday," he told Sky Sports.

His playing partner Spieth began the day eight over and had slipped to 11 over after 11 holes before four straight pars set up a late scramble to make the cut. But back-to-back bogeys to finish punched an early ticket home for the three-time major champion who will defend his British Open title at Carnoustie next month.

Poulter was fuming with himself after following his triple-bogey with a bogey at the last as he chases a first major title following second in the British Open in 2008.

"Finishing like that is really disappointing," he told Sky Sports.

"It's a sour taste to what was a great day. Up to that point I felt very in control. It's frustrating to finish like that but I'm not going to think about it.

"I'm up there hunting in a major so I'm doing the right thing."

US Open: Savage Shinnecock Hills humbles golf stars

US Open: Savage Shinnecock Hills humbles golf stars

(CNN) - They mostly walked off shell-shocked at Shinnecock Hills, humbled by the difficulty of a brutal golf course in US Open conditions.Only four players beat par in stiff winds blowing across L ... Continue Reading
From refugee camp to Test match: Afghan cricket team face India

From refugee camp to Test match: Afghan cricket team face India

NEW DELHI (CNN) - Only 11 nations have ever played at the top level of cricket --- until today.On Thursday morning, Afghanistan's cricket team made history when they stepped out on the pitch in the ... Continue Reading
Daughter of Olympic skier Bode Miller drowns in California

Daughter of Olympic skier Bode Miller drowns in California

(CNN) - The daughter of Olympic skier Bode Miller drowned Saturday.Orange County firefighters responded to the incident Saturday evening and tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate 19-month-old Emelin ... Continue Reading
Belmont Stakes: Can Justify win horse racing's fabled Triple Crown?

Belmont Stakes: Can Justify win horse racing's fabled Triple Crown?

(CNN) - It's perhaps the most coveted prize in horse racing, a feat only 12 thoroughbreds have achieved in the past century.At this weekend's Belmont Stakes on Long Island, the 150th anniversary o ... Continue Reading
Nassar victims will receive Arthur Ashe Courage Award

Nassar victims will receive Arthur Ashe Courage Award

(CNN) - The athletes who spoke out against abuse by Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor, will be awarded this year's Arthur Ashe Courage Award. "The strength and resolve these indi ... Continue Reading
Australia coach Darren Lehmann to step down after ball-tampering scandal

Australia coach Darren Lehmann to step down after ball-tampering scandal

(CNN) - Australia cricket coach Darren Lehmann has announced he is stepping down following the ball-tampering scandal that has engulfed his side.Lehmann initially refused to resign, saying he was ... Continue Reading
Commonwealth Games 2018: Hamish Bond switches strokes for spokes

Commonwealth Games 2018: Hamish Bond switches strokes for spokes

(CNN) - For eight years Hamish Bond was unvanquished, winning double Olympic gold and seven world titles with rowing partner Eric Murray.But what do you do when winning becomes routine? In Bond's ... Continue Reading
FIFA gives VAR the green light for 2018 World Cup

FIFA gives VAR the green light for 2018 World Cup

(CNN) - The use of Video Assistant Referees (VAR) is one of the most polarizing issues in modern football. The technology has been rolled out in Italy, Spain and the USA, among other countries, ea ... Continue Reading
Shock as Marcel Hirscher crashes out of slalom, Sweden's Myhrer wins gold

Shock as Marcel Hirscher crashes out of slalom, Sweden's Myhrer wins gold

(CNN) - In one of the biggest shocks of the 2018 Winter Olympics, Austrian great Marcel Hirscher crashed out of the men's slalom, squandering his chance of claiming a third gold medal.With Hirs ... Continue Reading


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