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McIlroy keen to win money titles in Europe and US

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McIlroy keen to win money titles in Europe and US

SHANGHAI (AP) Rory McIlroy returns to competition as the defending BMW Masters champion determined to end his best season as the European Tour No. 1.

McIlroy has joined 10 of his victorious European Ryder Cup teammates, captain Jose Maria Olazabal, and 28 of the top 30 players on the European money list for the tournament starting on Thursday on the Jack Nicklaus-designed course at Lake Malaren Golf Club.

McIlroy captured the inaugural tournament in a playoff with Anthony Kim last year, but this time it's sanctioned and the sixth-to-last on the 2012 schedule.

He's scheduled to play in four of the events, hoping to do well enough to emulate Luke Donald's feat last year of winning the money titles on the European and U.S. tours.

He leads both for now, but it's the Race to Dubai money list he dearly seeks after being runner-up in 2009 and 2011.

``It would be good to knock that off and try and do what Luke did last year and win the money on both tours,'' McIlroy said.

``I've got Justin (Rose) and Branden (Grace) right behind me, so if I do play well in my four events hopefully I can achieve that goal.''

McIlroy leads Rose on the European Tour money list by $353,000, and is $634,200 ahead of Grace.

Rose and Grace could pass McIlroy by winning the $1.16 million first-prize check in the Chinese financial capital.

McIlroy competed last week in the exhibition World Golf Final in Turkey and was bundled out of the eight-man event in the round robin. The first matchplay showdown between McIlroy and Tiger Woods ended with Woods progressing to the semifinals in Antalya shooting a 64 to McIlroy's 70.

``If I had of known the summer I was going to have, I really would not have signed up for the Turkish event,'' McIlroy said. ``But then I went and it was a pretty relaxing week, and I got to spend the week with (girlfriend) Caroline (Wozniacki), which was nice.

``However, I did not pick up a club since the Ryder Cup until the day before the Turkish match, so I wasn't taking it that seriously.''

Next Monday, McIlroy will play Woods in another exhibition, the ``Duel at Lake Jinsha,'' in the north-central Chinese city of Zhenghou.

``We are both really excited as it will be the first time we will ever do something like this together, and hopefully the first of a few occasions we can do this.

``I see it also as a good marketing exercise for Tiger and myself. We both enjoy each other's company, and besides there is not many guys I would do something like this with and I know he feels the same. So it should work well.''

McIlroy has been drawn to play the opening two rounds of the BMW Masters with Rose and Lee Westwood.

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10 Training Camp Questions: How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract situation?

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USA Today Sports

10 Training Camp Questions: How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract situation?

The Redskins report to training camp on July 24th, and for the next 10 days, JP Finlay will count down the 10 biggest questions the Redskins face going into the 2019 season.

10) Will the Redskins develop depth on the D-line?

9) Can the Redskins count on Montae Nicholson?

8) Want better offense? Get more out of the tight ends 

7) Will Jimmy Moreland actually win the slot CB job from Fabian Moreau?

6) After losing Reuben Foster, how's the Redskins LB situation?

5) Will potential match production for Redskins WRs?

When a team picks in the Top 10 of the NFL Draft, folks around the NFL expect that player to become a Pro Bowler. For Washington, that exact scenario unfolded with right guard Brandon Scherff. 

Mostly. 

Selected fifth overall in 2015, the Redskins took Scherff to play right tackle and anchor the offensive line opposite Trent Williams. That idea quickly faded, helped by the emergence of Morgan Moses, and Scherff moved inside to play guard. For four years, it's worked out great, with Pro Bowl selections in 2016 and 2017. 

Scherff is a mauler in the best sense of the word. He has great footwork and Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has called the former Iowa Hawkeye the best pulling guard in the NFL. Scherff is strong and nasty, words that won't win beauty pageants but absolutely win in the trenches of the NFL. 

Considering all of that, a contract extension for Scherff should be easy. Right?

Wrong. 

Currently in the final year of his rookie deal, multiple reports stretching over the last six weeks indicate that the organization is way off in their extension offers to Scherff. He might not command the biggest contract in the league, but he will get paid like a top three guard. In 2019, that means a lot of money.

Cowboys guard Zach Martin makes $14 million a year. Jaguars guard Andrew Norwell makes $13.3 million a year. Scherff might not get to Martin's salary, but he will probably get to Norwell, whether Washington pays it or not.

That means the Redskins need to pony up the cash now because as each day passes, the team is approaching an ugly set of options. Scherff and his representatives might continue to negotiate during the season, but it doesn't make a lot of sense. Once free agency becomes in view, players tend to wait for it. Just ask Kirk Cousins. 

In fact, the situation between Scherff and the Redskins has some resemblance to the Cousins saga from a few years ago. 

In that case, Washington low-balled their homegrown quarterback in their first set of negotiations. From there, things went sideways, and the team used consecutive franchise tags on Cousins before he finally left via free agency. 

If the Redskins can't get a deal done with Scherff, the team could use a franchise tag in 2020. But that's a dangerous game of roulette. 

The time to get a deal done with Scherff is now, if not last month. Redskins team president has said in the past that deadlines drive deals, but with Scherff, there is no exact deadline. He can decide to stop working on a contract extension at any moment, particularly once the pads come on at training camp. 

The Trent Williams holdout might be complicating things a bit, if Williams only wants more cash and the issue isn't about much more than that. The truth is a Scherff extension would actually free up cap space in the short term, as his signing bonus would be spread out over the life of the contract, and some of that salary cap relief could go to Williams right away. 

Williams' status isn't the hold up between Scherff and the Redskins. Whatever is the actual holdup best be resolved soon. or the Redskins are beginning down an all too familiar franchise path.

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Sánchez and Adams lead Nationals in crucial win over Braves

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USA Today

Sánchez and Adams lead Nationals in crucial win over Braves

ATLANTA—Anibal Sanchez outpitched Mike Soroka and scored the go-ahead run in the fifth inning, Matt Adams homered and the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 5-3 on Saturday night.

Second-place Washington pulled within 5 games of the NL East-leading Braves, improving to 33-14 since May 24, best in the majors over that span. Atlanta has dropped four of five.

Sanchez (6-6) got a big assist in the bottom of the fifth when shortstop Trea Turner turned a bases-loaded double play, leaping to nab Nick Markakis' liner and throwing to first to beat Josh Donaldson back to the bag.

Soroka (10-2) allowed four runs and nine hits in six innings. He had won 10 straight decisions, best by an Atlanta pitcher since Hall of Famer Greg Maddux had a 10-decision streak in 2001.

Sean Doolittle got the last five outs, facing the minimum, for his 21st save in 25 chances. He struck out Ronald Acuna Jr. with a runner at second to end the eighth and breezed through the ninth.

Washington went up 4-1 in the fifth when Sanchez reached on an infield single to third, took second on Donaldson's throwing error and scored on Turner's double. Turner took third on Adam Eaton's single and scored on Anthony Rendon's single. Eaton scored on Juan Soto's single.

The Nationals took a 5-3 lead in the eighth off A.J. Minter as Turner singled, stole second and scored on Eaton's single.

Adams went deep for the 15th time, an opposite-field homer that bounced off the top of the wall in left-center and into the stands to tie it at 1-all in the fourth.

Sanchez, who pitched for the Braves last year and helped them win the division, allowed three runs and six hits and has a 2.70 ERA in his last nine starts.

Atlanta led 1-0 in the first when Acuna reached on an infield single, stole second base, advanced on a flyout and scored on Freddie Freeman's single.

Brian McCann's ninth homer, a two-run shot in the sixth, chased Sanchez and cut the lead to 4-3.

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NBC Sports Washington's Michael Stearman contributed to this Associated Press story.