Bradley makes impressive run at Ryder Cup

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Bradley makes impressive run at Ryder Cup

MEDINAH As first Ryder Cup experiences go, Keegan Bradley has had a tremendous one.

The 26-year-old has made a successful tandem with Phil Mickelson, and their collective magic continued on Saturday morning when the two claimed their Ryder Cup match over Lee Westwood and Luke Donald, 7 and 6. That tied the all-time record for largest 18-hole victory in a team match; Paul Azinger and Mark OMeara were the most recent to do it, in 1991.

But for Bradley, the weekends been even sweeter. Saturdays match gave him a 3-0 mark, and he became the first Ryder Cup rookie since Loren Roberts (in 1995) to go 3-0 in his first three team matches.

For Bradley, whos reveled in the Cup atmosphere and shown his emotions throughout, its been special.

Its not very hard to get excited out there when you walk out onto that first tee and that crowd is going crazy, Bradley said. Its just an unbelievable event.

And as far as tempering that crowd and performance-infused emotion, Bradley said he held it in check when necessary.

(Mickelson) wants me to get fired up and get the crowd excited, to get him excited, Bradley said. Theres been a few times where my caddie, Pepsi, and Bones, have reminded us its time to calm down. Thats one thing Im very good at is, I can get very excited, but I realize how important it is after that to really calm down.

The BradleyMickelson domination in the morning was apparently a harbinger of the rest of USAs day. The U.S. team led the Europeans 8-4 through Saturday mornings matches, and as 4 p.m. came and gone, were leading three of the four afternoon matches.

Dwyane Wade tweets apology to fans after Bulls' lopsided loss in Atlanta

Dwyane Wade tweets apology to fans after Bulls' lopsided loss in Atlanta

For the opening three quarters in Atlanta, the Bulls were off. 

So off, in fact, that Dwyane Wade tweeted an apology to Chicago fans after the game. 

Thanks to a furious run by the Bulls' bench, the final score ended at a respectable 102-93. In reality, though, the Hawks dominated. 

Wade and company trailed by 29 points at half and 30 at the end of three. The 35-year-old shooting guard finished with a minus-18 and just four points while All-Star starter Jimmy Butler posted a team-low minus-22.

The Bulls will look to shake off their lopsided loss against the Sacramento Kings on Saturday. 

 

Bears' best rookies will have another learning curve

Bears' best rookies will have another learning curve

There's a sense of irony and, to a certain degree, concern about what changes the Bears' coaching staff has undergone.

Think of the best of Ryan Pace's 2016 rookie class: Leonard Floyd, Cody Whitehair, and Jordan Howard. They were brought along under the position group tutelage of outside linebackers coach Clint Hurtt, offensive line coach Dave Magazu and running backs coach Stan Drayton. The latter was the first to depart, shortly after the season ended, to return to the collegiate ranks on Texas' new staff.

He's been replaced with former 49ers and Bills offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins (also serving as that position coach in Detroit, Buffalo, Arizona and Kansas City). Howard certainly adapted to the NFL game well, more than anyone expected, as the NFL's second-leading rusher. One would think Drayton played a part in that.

Longtime John Fox assistant Magazu was also let go after the season despite the impressive move of second-round pick Whitehair to center the week of the season opener after Josh Sitton was signed following his release by Green Bay. Whitehair was sold as a "quick study" following his selection out of Kansas State, where he was a four-year starter at three different positions (but not center).

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Like Howard, he wound up making the All-Rookie team, but whether he remains in the middle of the line or not, he'll be getting his orders now from Jeremiah Washburn.

Rounding out the trio of All-Rookie selections was Floyd, who was brought along by Hurtt. He impressed Fox enough to be kept around from Marc Trestman's staff, and moved from defensive line to outside linebackers.

That's where he assisted Willie Young in morphing to a foreign role, yet still managing 14 sacks over the last two seasons. The Bears have yet to name a replacement for Hurtt, who's joined the Seahawks in taking over one of their strengths in recent years, the defensive line.

These three were already good, and the jewels of last year's draft. But if they're to grow and ascend into impact contributors if and when this team becomes a regular playoff contender, it'll come from new faces, new voices in their respective classrooms and position groups.