A fan with Ryder Cup sunglasses looks on during the 2016 Ryder Cup Celebrity Matches at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota. Photograph:  Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Clash between USA and Europe far down the list of priorities for general sports fans

The house in Dyersville, Iowa where the  character Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) lived in  the movie Field of Dreams, which was based on WP Kinsella’s novel Shoeless Joe.  Photograph:  Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images.

Canadian author exquisitely captured game’s brew of nostalgia, ritual and romance

Tim Tebow: “My goal has always been to make a difference in the biggest way possible. And one day if that’s a political route, that’s what I’ll do”

Former NFL quarter-back has signed for the New York Mets in a move raising eyebrows

Trevor Berbick backs away from a punch thrown by Mohammad Ali during their heavyweight fight in the Bahamas in 1981. Berbick won the fight in a 10-round unanimous decision. Photograph: Focus on Sport/Getty Images

In an extract from his new book Dave Hannigan details Muhammad Ali’s last fight

Trent Richardson was giving five-figure handouts to friends and family after he signed a $20.5 million contract with the Cleveland Browns. Photograph: Getty

Average careers last just over three seasons meaning healthy wages often don’t last

USA goalkeeper Hope Solo:  one of a quintet of high-profile stars who have filed a discrimination case against the USSF. Photograph:  Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Other factors in play as long-serving goalkeeper subjected to draconian punishment

Notre Dame used to style themselves a cut above schools where arrests and perp walks were as common as excessive touchdown celebrations. Not anymore. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

More than 1,300 college footballers have been arrested since 2010

Aside from aping Flair’s tired old egomaniacal act (right down to wearing Aviator sunglasses indoors just like the superannuated grappler), a lot of McGregor’s professional career has reeked of the WWE. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Irishman’s UFC career has always had more than a touch of the Ric Flairs about it

As soon as returning home, the USA gymnastics team will embark on a now traditional 36-city nationwide tour to cash in on the sport’s popularity. Photograph: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

USA Gymnastics coming under the spotlight for ignoring sex abuse allegations

American footballer and athlete Jim Thorpe  competing for Carlisle Indian Industrial School at the US Olympic trials in Celtic Park, New York, in  1912. Photograph: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Native American’s sons and tribe still seeking to bring him home to a fitting resting place

Silhouetted horses galloping in morning sunrise at Saratoga Race Course. Photograph: Getty Images

John Morrissey was, among many things, America’s bareknuckle boxing champion

 Lenny Dykstra pictured in March 1998 during his time with the Philadelphia Phillies. Photograph: Rick Stewart/Allsport

Former baseball star’s recounting of his colourful life leaves some gaping holes

 USA international DeAndre Yedlin with Sunderland team-mate Patrick van Aanholt at the end of last season. Photograph: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Most families can expect little change out of $7,000 for their nine-year-old to play game

 Donald Trump with new New Jersey Generals  signing Herschel Walker in 1983. Photograph:  Sporting News via Getty Images

US presidential candidate’s move into pro sport largely an attention-seeking exercise

A supporter of the use of cannabis as a painkiller for NFL players, Eugene Monroe was recently released by the Baltimore Ravens. Photograph: Rob Carr/Getty.

Rather than using presciption painkillers many are now advocating marijuana

Muhammad Ali, a few weeks shy of his 40th birthday, takes on Trevor Berbick in his last ever fight on  December 11th, 1981 in the Bahamas. Berbick won the fight in a ten-round unanimous decision. Photograph: Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Such is wealth of material you never know what gems the journey has in store

Muhammad Ali during training for his fight with Al “Blue” Lewis in Croke Park. Photograph: Getty Images

The fascinating story behind Muhammad Ali’s fight against Al ‘Blue’ Lewis in Dublin

Muhammad Ali in October 1974, 11 days before the “ Rumble in the Jungle” heavyweight world championship fight in Kinshasa, Zaire, against George Foreman.   Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Boxing legend was one of world’s most-loved sportsmen

 LeBron James with Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue: “The organisation gave us everything we need. There are no more excuses,” said James.  Photograph: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Cavaliers face a best-of-seven NBA series with current holders Golden State Warriors

A New York Red Bulls supporter holds a sign before a MLS game against   New York City FC. Photograph: Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

Defeat to Red Bulls reflective of crass marketing attempts that do MLS no favours

Penn State University head coach Joe Paterno: According to court documents pertaining to a lawsuit between Penn State and an insurance company, one boy informed Jpe Paterno about an attack in 1976. Photograph: Jeff Haynes/Reuters

Refusal to accept their hero did anything wrong by not reporting child molester Jerry Sandusky to police

‘I’m living under a series of mantras from The Grateful Dead right now,’ says Bill Walton, ‘I learned from them about how to become a champion.’ Photograph: Ethan Miller/Getty Images.

Bastketball great’s musing makes for compelling television entertainment

For all the puerile trash-talking and braggadocio, both men now find themselves in remarkably similar, awkward situations.

New Yorker born into riches and former apprentice appeal to same demographic

Curt Schilling of the Boston Red Sox: “There’s no grey area. If you do it and you don’t stop, you are going to eventually get cancer of the mouth.” Photo:  Nick Laham/Getty Images)

American municipalities now starting to outlaw the vile habit from sports venues

D’Brickashaw Ferguson (in green) of the New York Jets in action against the New England Patriots. Photograph: Al Bello/Getty Images

Numerous big-name players are taking matters into own hands and quitting game

Augusta National Golf Club is spoken about in hushed tones but the vast majority of the city’s residents could not care less about blushing azaleas or stately loblolly pines. Photograph: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Masters aside, this is a city of meth labs and pawn shops, strip joints and gang culture

Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully acknowledges applause from fans in front of wife Sandi , and sons Kevin  and Todd  before the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium on September 23, 2015. Photograph: Harry How/Getty Images

The voice of baseball’s LA Dodgers will call time on his commentary career at the end of this season

Leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has won the favour of a number of current and former US sports stars. Photograph: Ralph Fresco/Getty Images.

Dave Hannigan’s America at Large: John Daly the latest to row in behind presidential candidate

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning speaks during his retirement announcement. He left many in the room in tears. Photograph:  David Zalubowski/AP Photo

Tawdry allegations and crass commercialisation made this a strange farewell

Steven Gerrard of Los Angeles Galaxy and  Andrea Pirlo  of New York City FC make all the right noises about the standard of play. Photograph: Getty Images

Pirlo shows why real progress is difficult to quantify for US soccer league

Mike Francesa (left) and Chris Russo: their relationship is to be the subject of a forthcoming ESPN documentary. Photograph: Andrew H Walker/Getty Images

Mike Francesa, New York’s most popular sports talk show host, is bowing out

 Gymnast Simone Biles: In competition, on the beam, on the vault or on the floor, she is a study of impeccable grace under pressure. Photo:  Harry How/Getty Images)

The coming Olympics will showcase the talent of perhaps the best gymnast ever seen

Dave Mirra riding in 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. Photograph: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Suicide of BMX icon Dave Mirra has called into question attitude towards safety in sport

 Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton pauses in front of a television camera after scoring a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals in  January. Photograph: Erik S Lesser/EPA

Treatment of NFL’s most exhilarating quarterback is a window into race relations in US

US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally in St Paul, Minnesota. Photograph: Eric Miller/Reuters

US presidential candidate’s democratic socialism has its roots in sport of his childhood

Jeff Sims (left) in action against Tim Witherspoon in Atlantic City in January 1990, three years before he was shot dead outside a Miami store

Troubled Florida contender Jeff Sims couldn’t keep dodging the bullets

Paul DePodesta has excelled is at harvesting the reams of information now available to coaches and scouts. Photograph:  Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Paul DePodesta expected to be nothing less than saviour at struggling Cleveland Browns

 Peyton Manning, whose clean-cut image is in danger of unravelling. Photograph: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Denver Broncos quarterback accused of using Human Growth Hormone

Tregg Duerson, the son of Dave Duerson, and his mother Alicia with the late Chicago Bears defensive back’s NFL Man of the Year trophy. The family is upset at the portrayal of Duerson in Concussion. Photograph: Marc Serota/The New York Times

Hard-hitting film exposes traumatic links between American football and brain injury

 Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors  has been kind of Jordanesque, averaging almost 32 points despite playing less than 35 minutes per game. Photograph: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

LeBron James is a player for ages but Stephen Curry could be ready to usurp him

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady chats with Donald Trump. Photograph:  Donna Connor/WireImage

NFL icon in minority as star athletes including Charles Barkley lambast Republican

Former San Francisco Giants batter Barry Bonds’ misdemeanours have been quickly forgiven by the public and those in baseball. Photograph:Thearon W Henderson/Getty Images

Rehabilitation of former San Francisco Giant and others shows criticism dies quick

 Muhammad Ali: the three-time world champion and social activist  went on to become arguably the greatest sportsman of the century. He famously refused to fight in the Vietnam War saying “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet-Cong – they never called me nigger”.

Comparing the Irish UFC fighter to someone like Muhammad Ali simply ludicrous

Mal Whitfield (right) of the USA beats Arthur Wint of Jamaica to win the 800 metres at the 1948 London Olympics. Photograph: Getty Images.

Wherever he went, he held training clinics and woke up a continent to athletics

Abby Wambach holds the World Cup trophy after the USA’s  5-2 victory over Japan in the FIFA Women’s World Cup final in July in Vancouver, Canada. Photograph: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

World Cup winner and record goalscorer Abby Wambach bows out next month

 A Washington Redskins helmet sits on the grass during a preseason football game between the Redskins and Cleveland Browns in Landover, Maryland. Photo:   TJ Root/Getty Images)

Club appealing a court decision to ban their trademark which offends Native Americans

Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne: will captain two teams of former greats in a Twenty20 game at the New York Mets’ Citifield. Photograph: Earl Wilson/The New York Times)

For a decade cricket became a sinister means of surveilling New York’s Muslim community

New York Mets infielder Daniel Murphy scores in the fourth inning of Game 1 of the World Series against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. Photo: Richard Perry/The New York Times

Improbable rise to World Series place a big achievement for Big Apple’s second team

 Gennady Golovkin celebrates his eigth round tko against David Lemieux during their WBA/WBC interim/IBF middleweight title unification bout at Madison Square Garden. in New York City. Photo:  Al Bello/Getty Images

Kazakh boxer has conquered America to become the world’s most exciting fighter

 Travis d’Arnaud  of the New York Mets celebrates after hitting a two-run homer  in the third inning against  Los Angeles Dodgers  at Citi Field in New York City. Photo:  Elsa/Getty Images

Sport which strictly observes by the game’s arcane by-laws turned a blind eye to drugs issue

Louisville Cardinals coach Rick Pitino has denied claims made in Katina Powell’s book “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen”. Photograph: Getty Images.

College basketball accused of using all means in recruitment drive of young talent

Joe Frazier: It is 40 years since  arguably the greatest world title fight of all when he fought Muhammad Ali in  the famed  Thrilla in Manila. Photo: PA Wire.

Forty years on from the Thrilla in Manila, his place in boxing’s history is assured

In the first week of the new NFL season, DraftKings and FanDuelspent a combined $27 million on television advertising

Billion-dollar industry exploiting loopholes in US’s notoriously restrictive gambling laws

Irish republican leader Eamon de Valera speaking at a packed Fenway Park in Boston in 1919. Photograph: Getty Images/General Photographic Agency

Dublin and Galway hurlers have lot of history to live up to in November

Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots of the National Football League exits federal court in New York. Brady had his four-match for allgedly deflating balls to gain a competitive advantage overturned. Photograph: Bloomberg

American Football seems impervious to the type of blows that seriously damage rivals

The Great Lakes team of Bowling Green, Kentucky, and the Southeast team from Northwood, South Carolina, compete at Lamade Stadium, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, during the ESPN-televised Little League World Series this month. Photograph: Alex Trautwig/Getty Images.

Middle ground needed between the extremes used to teach children on how to view sport

Michael Sam (front) left Canadian Football League side Montreal Alouettes’ last Friday. Photograph: Reuters.

Blazing a trail brings its own, very different kind of burden. Sometimes, that weight will drag a body down

‘I don’t think I ever once opened a gear bag in a dressing-room that didn’t have everything I needed perfectly packed inside.’

For my mam, there was no sulking in defeat and, even more adamantly, no boasting in victory

Michael Phelps was back to his dominant best at the the US Nationals in San Antonio, Texas. Photograph: Eric Gay/AP

Most decorated Olympian of all time over his addiction problems and targeting more gold medals

The Ohio State University band performs on the field before the college football playoff national championship game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas last January. Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty

Secret songbook included songs mocking Holocaust victims and gays and ditties about rape

 UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey accepts the best female athlete award at the 2015 ESPYS  in Los Angeles, California. Photograph: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Ronda Rousey’s last three fights have lasted a mere 14, 16 and 66 seconds

Rookie outfit Orlando City are paying Kaka $6.6 million while the 30 other squad players receive a total of $4 million between them.  Photo:  Alex Menendez/Getty

San Jose squad earn less than new LA Galaxy star and ex-Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard

A golfer on the links at the Trump Ferry Point Golf Course, near the Whitestone Bridge in New York. Paid for by New York City,  and maintained by the Trump organization, this course in the city’s poorest borough offers a stark visual lesson in inequality. Photograph: Richard Perry/The New York Times

New York facility was built with taxpayers’ money but is set to make tycoon even richer

Beneath the old Confederate States flag, a fan watches the racers flash past the wall during the Nascar Winston Cup Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at the Darlington Raceway, Darlington, South Carolina. Photograph: Donald Miralle/ALLSPORT

Sport has become embroiled in renewed debate about future of Southern Cross

Jordan Spieth: added the US Open to his Masters title last weekend. His performance at Augusta was reckoned to be worth almost $34 million in exposure to Under Armour.

Sportswear company benefiting hugely from the Texan golfer’s spectacular rise

Norway’s Maren Mjelde goal against Germany at Lansdowne Stadium in Ottawa, Canada, at the women’s World Cup. Photograph: Andre Ringuette/Getty Images

Stephen A Smith is presenter with expertise in offensive outbursts – and he has flourished

Boston: Many on the ground regard the whole thing as ill-advised given the extent of the city’s more pressing social problems. Photo: Paul Marotta/Getty

Bostonians increasingly opposed to the city’s 2024 Olympics bid

United States striker Abby Wambach was less than impressed when she met Sepp Blatter. Photograph: Elsa/Getty Images

Stephanie Roche was always likely to struggle in the top-class American soccer league

Former Philadelphia 76ers basketball player Allen Iverson burned through a $154 million fortune amassed throughout his career. Photograph: Getty Images.

Extravagant lifestyle of basketball legend has led to him being without the ‘money for a cheeseburger’

US Air Force Thunderbirds fly over the stadium prior to Super Bowl XLIX between Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1st, this year in Glendale, Arizona. Photograph:  Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Franchises turn a quick and cynical buck by using men and women in uniform as props

John Krackauer’s new book is about a corner of Montana once dubbed “the rape capital of America”.

Sex assault victims can be made to feel like pariahs if they go to the police

Alex Rodriguez hits his 660th career home run to tie Willie Mays record during a game with Boston Red Sox in the 8th inning at Fenway Park Boston, Massachusetts. Photo: Jim Rogash/Getty

New York Yankees’ stance turning reviled baseball ‘star’ into a sympathetic figure

Many in the media believe two guilty verdicts for crimes against women is no big deal

Bruce Jenner  during his two-hour interview with ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer on Friday. Photograph: ABC News/Handout via Reuters

‘For all intents and purposes, I am a woman,’ Olympic gold medallist tells Diane Sawyer

Gregg Popovich was one of the first NBA coaches to start seriously trawling overseas for talent, the constant influx of under-rated international players has helped Spurs to a quintet of titles. Photograph: Paul Buck/Epa.

The former intelligence officer for the US Air Force has become the finest coach of his generation

Quarterback Jameis Winston of Florida State University has been accused of rape by a fellow student. Photograph: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Clubs have spent $3m trying to work out if Jameis Winston is worth the gamble

Andy Lee and Peter Quillin exchange punches during the Premier Boxing Champions Middleweight bout at Barclays Center on April 11th, 2015 in Brooklyn, New York City. Photograph: Elsa/Getty Images

Ireland’s WBO middleweight world champion forges comeback in New York

 Andy Lee defeated Matt Koborov to claim the WBO world middleweight title in Las Vegas. He will defend his title against Peter Quillin in Saturday’s big televised fight. Photo:  David Becker/Getty Images

Lee’s fight is being shown live on NBC and over three million viewers are expected to tune in

New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady celebrate their side’s victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. Photograph: Rob Carr/Getty Images

When so many pros come across as dour, it’s refreshing how Gronkowski revels in his fame

President of St Louis Chess Club Rex Sinquefield (left) and Republican congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer at a special event held at United States Capitol Building in 2013 in Washington, DC. Photograph: Ilya S Savenok/Getty Images

Former investor is spending big as he seeks to reverse decline of American chess

Arnold Palmer walks up the 18th fairway and waves to the gallery for the last time during the second round of the Masters at the Augusta National Golf Club on April 9th, 2004 in Augusta, Georgia. Photograph:  Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Palmer, Nicklaus, Ali and Foreman evoke fond memories of a more genuine era

Fab Melo (number 51) of the Syracuse Orange dunks the ball during the Big East Conference game against the Louisville Cardinals in Louisville, Kentucky. Photograph: Andy Lyons/Getty Images.

Institutions pay scant regard to educating the athletes who make them millions

Brazilian Kaka who earns $7.1 million at  Orlando City while some team-mates receive  just $700 a week on contracts which can be waived without compensation at a certain point in the season. Photo:  Miguel Schincariol/AFP/Getty

MLS exercise excessive control over where employees go and how much they earn

Michael Jordan is a legendarily impatient character. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

NBA legend is golf-mad and has thrown a very public strop over slow play

‘In a sport where the machismo ‘Ya gotta play hurt’ mantra is drilled into children from an early age, a price eventually had to be paid.’ Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

The NFL is facing a class-action lawsuit by an estimated 5,000 former NFL players

Alex  Rodriguez: hardly the first steroid user to come back to the diamond, he  is the most brazen and obstinate of them all. Photo:  Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

For good reason the New York Yankees ‘star’ has been dubbed baseball’s Lance Armstrong

 Bruce Jenner after the 1,500 metres which sealed his win at the 1976 Olympic decathlon in Montreal. Photograph: Allsport UK/Allsport

Olympic gold medalist’s decision should spark interest in transgender rights

Serena Williams poses with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup after winning the women’s singles final at the 2015 Australian Open in Melbourne. Photograph: Reuters.

Following her 19th Grand Slam victory, she is almost certainly the most under-appreciated legend in American sport

Chicago Bears defensive tackle William Perry,  aka ‘The Refrigerator’, is now battling Guillain–Barré syndrome. Photograph: Bill Smith/Getty Images

Over 20 players who won Super Bowl XX are now in various states of incapacitation

 Pádraig Harrington  punts a football into the grandstands on the 16th hole during the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Photograph: Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Tiger Woods will make his seasonal debut in the ‘debauchery’ of Scottsdale

Quarterback Russell Wilson leads his Seattle Seahawks team-mates in prayer moments after providing a touchdown pass against Green Bay Packers in the second half of their NFC Championship Playoffs at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Photograph: John G Mabanglo/EPA

NBA rivals often pray together, while victories are clear signs of benevolence from above

Muhammad Ali and his best friend Howard Bingham: we will always have the champion’s canon of remarkable stories Photograph: Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

One night in LA the world heavyweight champion talked a man down from the edge

Dallas Cowboys’ Dez Bryant waits for a replay of his spectacular catch late in the fourth quarter against Green Bay Packers. Photograph: Rob Carr/Getty Image.

Feeling prevails that too many games are being decided by video replay

Kelley Currin (centre)    before she talks to the media after her former swim coach Rick Curl was sentenced for abusing her on   May 23rd, 2013 in Washington, DC.  Photograph:  Getty Images

Truth of decades of abuse is seeping out with more than 100 coaches banned

Freddy Adu became the youngest athlete to play professional sports in the United States in more than a century when he signed for DC United at just 14 years of age.  Photograph: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

The hype surrounding the American prodigy was never based on reality

Executive chairman of Madison Square Garden James Dolan (left) with Phil Jackson. Photograph:  Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Side boasts two of the top five earners in NBA yet vies with 76ers for title of worst team

The physical nature of gridiron football has caused concerns about it being played at high school level and the correct concussion protocols ulitised by coaches and medical staff. Photograph: Getty Images)

A suit filed has authorities admitting the case could result in schools opting to drop gridiron altogether

Robbie Keane  was named the league’s Most Valuable Player ahead of Sunday’s final with New England Revolution.   Photograph: Harry How/Getty Images

The Ireland captain has embraced Major League Soccer in a way few imports have

US President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Freedom to former professional golfer Charles Sifford. He was the first African-American to earn a PGA card.   Photograph:  Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Twenty years on from his arrival, we still await a generation of black players

Jack Johnson in acton for the Columbus Blue Jackets. When he filed bankruptcy papers the balance in his current account was $2,202.62.  Photograph: Getty Images

American Letter: In the NFL, almost four out of five players will be in severe financial distress just two years after hanging up (...)

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