Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Tom Watson had to be watching the final round of the 2014 PGA Championship with a wry smile on his face and a sinking feeling in his heart.

The U.S. Ryder Cup captain witnessed the best player on the planet—for the first time since the late 1990s, decidedly not an American—win his third consecutive tournament this season, including two major championships, while a host of top American players could do little down the back nine but hang on and hope for a mistake that never came.

Rory McIlroy is now fully formed—David Feherty called him a "baby-faced assassin" during his back-nine 32 on Sunday—winning the final two majors of the year, lapping the field at the British and coming back from a slow start, by his standards, to pass an all-star collection of golfers at the PGA on Sunday.

For a while on Sunday it looked like McIlroy was indeed human, losing his advantage over the field early in his final round—his three-stroke lead over runner-up Phil Mickelson had long since disappeared by the turn—before putting on the kind of all-world display we've now grown accustomed to seeing from the kid. It was great drama, even if it did leave Watson and the Americans with a lingering belief that McIlroy—and with him the Europeans—seem entirely unbeatable this year.

Matthew Emmons/USA Today

On Wednesday night, in front of a packed house in Portland, Oregon, and a television audience around the globe, Landon Donovan netted the game-winning goal to lead MLS All-Stars over one of his former clubs, Bayern Munich.

One day later, Donovan officially announced his retirement from professional soccer, effective at the end of this MLS season.

It's a heck of a way to go out.

Donovan officially announced his retirement on his Facebook page Thursday afternoon. In part:

It's hard to put into words exactly what Donovan has meant to soccer in this country. He is without question the best American man ever to wear the red, white and blue on a soccer field, and his play for the U.S. national team helped usher in a new generation of talent that, ironically, made his inclusion in this year's World Cup unnecessary.


As the marquee event for Major League Soccer, the 2014 All-Star Game, finally arrives (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2), everything has lined up perfectly for the American soccer league.

A deep roster of U.S. Soccer talent teaming up with notable stars from around the world to play against the best club side on the planet in Bayern Munich, with their own set of world-renowned stars fresh off Germany's victory in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

It should be the league's greatest night. And yet the concern has to be: What if it's not?

Before we delve into the negative, let's look at all the positives. The MLS roster is stacked with known quantities, and not just MLS standouts who may only be household names to those who habitually watch the American soccer league, but bona fide stars in this country after the performance of the U.S. national team in Brazil this summer.

Getty Images

Jon Bon Jovi has become the face of an ownership group out of Toronto that hopes to buy the Buffalo Bills, and while the city of Buffalo hopes to Never Say Goodbye to its NFL franchise, fans—and influential local support groups—feel they're about to Get Ready for the team to be One Step Closer to a Whole Lot Of Leavin'.

(Yes, these links are all to Bon Jovi songs. No, I'm not going right to Livin' on a Prayer. I'm from New Jersey—that'd be way too easy.)

The backlash toward Bon Jovi's group has been so vociferous that even former players, including Hall of Famer Andre Reed, have come out against the bid, hoping the team doesn't become a, well, Runaway.

Bon Jovi's letter did little for Bills fans to Keep the Faith, as they ostensibly told the rock icon, "Don't Lie To Me." From The Buffalo News:

Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Now that was a trade deadline.

When Jon Lester and Yoenis Cespedes both get traded for each other, with Jonny Gomes and a sack of cash making the trip out west as well—and that deal isn't even the biggest blockbuster of the day—it's safe to say the 2014 MLB trade deadline was one to remember.

It seemed evident for some time that Lester was going to be dealt, and it was clear Billy Beane was going to try to make the team with the best record in baseball even better, but shipping out Cespedes made the deal for the former Boston ace that much bigger news.

And still, not only was the Lester-Cespedes deal not the biggest trade of the day, it wasn't even the biggest trade of the day that featured a lefty starter. It wasn't even the biggest trade of the day that featured a lefty starter from the American League East.

USA Today

Roger Goodell needs a win. Perhaps the commissioner of the most powerful sports monopoly this side of the Atlantic can stand outside his Park Avenue, Manhattan office for a few hours and help little old ladies cross the street.

For a league that can seemingly do no wrong in terms of fan interest and popularity in America, the NFL can't seem to do much right in terms of relating to those fans.

The only public relations spin the NFL seems to have is, "Hey, look—football," and hope the fans of the game—and the media covering it—get stuck two-deep, if you will, inside the machinations of an actual game day so that it's impossible to remember how horribly this offseason has gone.

The logic is so simple, it usually works.

Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today

It was five o'clock in the morning on a Tuesday in July, so I did what millions of Americans do when they roll out of bed in the summer—I went searching for a football fix.

Before the coffee had even started brewing, the search engine was churning to find the latest NFL news and notes. In hopes of a little home cookin', I jumped over to NFL.com to see what was on the fire.

This has to be some kind of joke, right? Training camp starts this week. This week! This can't be all there is to talk about in the NFL right now.

Roger Goodell has to be behind this. He's been too damn quiet about his 18-game regular season this year, planting the seed deeper and deeper into our football consciousness until the idea sprouts organically, like we, as a collective fanbase, somehow thought of it ourselves.

Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images

Adam Silver sure knows how to win an offseason.

From the NBA's handling of the Donald Sterling situation to the insane World Cup-rivaling frenzy surrounding NBA free agency, to a residual growth of interest in the Summer League season, the NBA has effectively turned itself into a year-round sport.

Silver wants to continue that momentum by actually making the least-interesting part of the calendar in the NBA—the regular season—into something more interesting for fans, and more rewarding for some of the less-competitive teams.

Here is what Silver told reporters on Wednesday after meeting with the NBA's Board of Governors, via Matt Moore at CBSSports.com:

AP Images

Was this the best World Cup ever? If you ask American soccer fans, it might have been.

Without question, we witnessed the most exciting group stage in recent memory, topped by some amazing late-game dramatics in each of the knockout rounds.

Brazil's undoing as the host nation in the semifinals may be the story of the entire tournament, eclipsed only by Germany's deserved culmination as the best team in the world.

The 2014 World Cup was won by the best team, with a goal in the 113th minute that was, without question, one of the best of the tournament. Andre Schurrle took on two defenders down the left flank and put a perfect cross onto the near post for late-game substitute Mario Goetze—seemingly forgotten after the group stage by Germany coach Jogi Low—who chested the ball to a pitch-perfect volley that screamed across the goal into the far netting.

Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

It's our dream, as writers, to chronicle history. Whenever a big event rolls around, those of us who have the privilege to cover such things get excited for what's to come. Our words, somewhere in the ether of time, space and futuristic gigabits, will accompany the events of this World Cup forever.

None of us—not one writer on the entire planet—saw this one coming. None of us had Germany putting an absolute thrashing on the host nation of Brazil to the tune of 7-1.

This is uncharted territory, not just for soccer, but for any sport. No major event ever turned into such an unforgettable sporting massacre.

Sure, with Neymar lost to injury and Thiago Silva lost to suspension, many of us thought Germany would prevail over Brazil in the World Cup semifinals, but nobody—none of us—saw this coming.