Tuesday’s Sports in Brief
U.S. Open and PGA champion Brooks Koepka added to his trophy collection Tuesday when he picked up the Jack Nicklaus Award trophy as the PGA Tour player of the year.
Koepka is the sixth player in the last six years to win the award, the longest streak of different winners since PGA Tour players began voting on the award in 1990.
Along with winning two majors, Koepka said he was most proud of his attitude when he wasn’t playing. He missed four months at the start of the year recovering from a partially torn tendon in his left wrist but then made up for lost time in a big way.
“I was down when I was missing everything,” Koepka said. “I tried to have the most positive spin on it when I was home. It did stink. It was the worst, emotionally tough times for me. Sometimes when I would question it, I kept saying: ‘I’ll do it. I’ll be fine.’ Good news or bad news, I had positive energy.”
In his fourth tournament back, he was runner-up at Colonial. Three weeks later, he held off Dustin Johnson at Shinnecock Hills to win the U.S. Open for the second straight year, becoming the first back-to-back U.S. Open champion since Curtis Strange in 1988 and 1989.
Two months later, Koepka held off Tiger Woods amid ear-splitting roars on the back nine at Bellerive to win the PGA Championship by two shots. Koepka tied a major championship record by finishing at 264.
He became the fifth player to win the U.S. Open and PGA Championship in the same year, joining Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen.
The tour does not disclose how many votes he received from a ballot that included Johnson, British Open champion Francesco Molinari, FedEx Cup champion Justin Rose, Justin Thomas and Bryson DeChambeau.
Johnson, Thomas and DeChambeau each won three times.
STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) — Alex Spanos, the son of Greek immigrants who used a self-made fortune from construction and real estate to buy the Chargers in 1984, died Tuesday. He was 95.
The Chargers announced Spanos’ death. Faye Spanos, his wife, died in August at 92.
After building a nationwide construction empire based in Stockton, his Northern California hometown, Spanos realized a lifelong dream of owning an NFL franchise when he bought controlling interest in the San Diego Chargers from Gene Klein in 1984 for about $50 million. He eventually bought all but 3 percent of the team.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell hailed Spanos as “an American success story, driven by a tireless work ethic inspired by his humble beginnings.”
“Alex became one of the country’s most successful businessmen, but he never forgot his roots and the call to help others,” Goodell added in a statement. “Along with Faye, his beloved wife of nearly 70 years, Alex’s philanthropic and civic contributions touched many lives throughout California and around the country. He was a marvelous friend and partner whose impact on the NFL will never be forgotten. We all benefited from Alex’s compassion, character and zest for football and life.”
Spanos hadn’t been in charge of day-to-day management of the Chargers since 1994, when he turned over the responsibilities to Dean Spanos, his oldest son. Dean Spanos decided to move the Chargers from San Diego to Los Angeles last year.
The team announced in 2008 that Alex Spanos was suffering from dementia, and he eventually stopped attending games.
Spanos is survived by four children, 15 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays have rewarded manager Kevin Cash with a contract extension that runs through 2024, plus a club option for 2025.
The 40-year-old Cash had one year remaining on a five-year, $5 million deal he signed when he replaced Joe Maddon after the 2014 season.
Both Cash, who had no previous managerial experience when he was hired, and management said it was an easy decision to continue their relationship after a bounce-back season.
“Kevin has a long list of positives. … It’s been a joy to see him blossom,” general manager Erik Neander said. “He’s very deserving of this extension. We’re excited for the years ahead.”
The budget-minded Rays surprisingly won 90 games, finishing third in the AL East behind the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, despite trimming payroll last winter and purging the roster again in July to transform themselves into a young team with a promising future.
Cash, who turns 41 in December, has led the Rays to a 318-330 record over four seasons.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis is back in the hunt for a Major League Soccer expansion franchise after the family behind the rental car company Enterprise Holdings announced a bid that calls for a new stadium built mostly with private funding.
Members of the Taylor family said the franchise would be majority-owned by women, a first in MLS and a rarity in professional sports. The group also includes Jim Kavanaugh of St. Louis-based World Wide Technology.
The announcement rekindles hope that St. Louis could become a three-sport town for the first time since the NFL’s Rams left for Los Angeles in January 2016.
“We view an MLS team as a lasting legacy to the city we love,” Carolyn Kindle Betz, granddaughter of Enterprise founder Jack Taylor and senior vice president at Enterprise, said at a news conference.
St. Louis was considered a front-runner for an expansion team last year until voters in April 2017 turned down a ballot measure that would have used tax money to help fund a new 22,000-seat stadium.
The new plan would seek the same plot of land, near Union Station on the western edge of downtown, currently owned by the Missouri Department of Transportation. But this time, only minimal public assistance would be sought. The ownership group said it is seeking a break on the city’s 5 percent amusement tax charged for tickets to sporting events. The St. Louis Board of Aldermen could approve the tax break without a public vote.
The group also would seek state tax credits in 2018 and 2019 to help prepare the site for development.
A 20,000-seat stadium would be expected to cost around $250 million.
Major League Soccer is expected to eventually add two more franchises, bringing the total to 28. It isn’t clear when the additional expansion teams could be announced.