US PGA: let the battle of Bellerive commence, Dublin must shut down Ian Burke

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Tiger Woods practices ahead of the year’s final Major at Bellerive. Photograph: Shawn Thew/EPA

Tiger Woods practices ahead of the year’s final Major at Bellerive. Photograph: Shawn Thew/EPA

The 2018 Major calendar reaches its conclusion this week, with the first round of the US PGA Championship getting underway at Bellerive later today. Another highly competitive tournament awaits, with Rory McIlroy second-favourite to lift the Wanamaker Trophy behind Dustin Johnson. Philip Reid is our man in Missouri and, as he writes, a fascinating few days lie in store: “In this championship, the storylines are entangled like a woven golden necklace in need of unravelling. There’s Jordan Spieth’s bid for the career Grand Slam. Justin Thomas’s quest to win back-to-back, in both weeks and in years. Dustin Johnson. McIlroy. The Tiger factor. A stream of possibilities; not quite equating to all of the 156 players in the field, but enough to make for an intriguing fourth and final Major of the season.” There are four Irish golfers in action - McIlroy, who tees off with Woods and Thomas (2.23pm Irish time), Shane Lowry (1.34pm), Padraig Harrington (1.56pm) and Paul Dunne (2.29pm). You can follow all of the action live on the Irish Times liveblog, or through the online broadcaster Eleven Sports.

In today’s GAA Statistics column Eamon Donoghue has looked ahead to this Saturday’s All-Ireland semi-final clash between Dublin and Galway, and suggested Jim Gavin’s champions must look to shut down Ian Burke, who “has either converted or directly assisted exactly one third of Galway’s scores from play so far this summer.” By stopping Burke play the Dubs will have one foot in next month’s All-Ireland SFC final, where Tyrone or Monaghan await. “The 25-year-old’s peripheral vision and decision making, combined with his intent and energy when in possession, creates pockets between the lines and links Galway’s running game with a diagonal out ball in the inside line.”

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