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How pro golfers love Happy Gilmore as much as us and all the week’s best sportswriting

We’ve also got articles on Conor McGregor’s welterweight ambitions and how football has helped refugees in Calais.

Adam Sandler as Happy.
Adam Sandler as Happy.
Image: YouTube

Amy Lawrence tells of how football has offered a haven for those living in the Calais refugee camp for the Guardian. 

“Ali is 15, from Hasakah in the north-eastern corner of Syria. He has an uncle in the UK but bureaucracy makes it very difficult for him to be reunited with the only member of his family living in Europe. He has lived by himself in the camp for two months, and sometimes tries his luck with what they call “the walk” to try to find some way under cover of darkness to get across to the UK. “I am tired, it’s cold, we make many failed attempts,” he says. “We try but there is no hope. There are lots of problems and lots of gangs.”

This week marked the 20th anniversary of Happy Gilmore, and Jason Sobel of ESPN writes that even PGA Tour pros pay homage to the classic golf comedy film

“[Speith] says, ‘You want me to Happy Gilmore this off the tee?’” Owen recalled last week. “And I’m like, ‘No, no, no, there’s tons of people’ — and with that, before I could get it out of my mouth, he runs on the tee box and Happy Gilmore’s it down the fairway. Consider it the latest reminder that professional golfers are just like us. In other words, they love the movie, they laugh at the movie and, yes, they still watch the movie. Over and over and over.”

Also in ESPN, there’s an excellent long read on how the FBI brought down Fifa by Shaun Assael and Brett Forrest. 

“If you mention football to most feds, the NFL springs to mind. Jared Randall is different. Tall with dark hair and blue eyes, he had played soccer since he was a kid and even attended a 1994 World Cup match in Foxboro Stadium. He went on to captain the team at Division I Manhattan College in the Bronx. After Randall joined the FBI a few years out of school, he even wrangled a spot for himself on the New York City Police Department’s soccer team.

“In early 2010, Randall, then 28, was assigned to a specialized group of FBI agents in lower Manhattan. The Eurasian organized crime unit, led by a veteran mob investigator named Michael Gaeta, scrutinized criminal groups from Georgia, Russia and Ukraine that were running sophisticated scams in the U.S. As Randall and Gaeta linked street-level criminal operators to figures in Eastern Europe’s business and political elite, they started piecing together a string of rumors that led them to an unsettling conclusion: Russia might be bribing its way to host the 2018 World Cup.”

Jonathan Snowden and Jeremy Botter discuss whether or not Conor McGregor is crazy to aim for a title fight with welterweight champion Robbie Lawlor for Bleacher Report. 

“And so the more you think about all of this, the less crazy it seems. Yeah, this dude is crazy for going from division to division to division, looking to fight the absolute best each has to offer. But isn’t that what this whole sport is all about? Does this thing McGregor is doing feel so weird just because it’s so rare, because we are so used to seeing dudes like Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva who would rather dominate where they are more comfortable than challenge themselves?”

In The Wall Street Journal, Joshua Robinson examines how Paris Saint-Germain’s dominance in France isn’t necessarily a good thing for their Champions League ambitions.  

“Sprinting away with championships happens all the time for the superclubs. Since 1995, 25 teams across the continent’s top five leagues have cruised home with an advantage of 10 points or more. The list is full of the usual suspects: Bayern Munich alone accounts for seven spots, while Manchester United takes up three.

“Yet, of those 25 dominant sides, only two replicated their domestic form by also lifting the Champions League trophy. The first was Barcelona in 2006. The second was Bayern in 2012-13—it squashed the Bundesliga by 25 points and, fittingly, defeated a German rival (Borussia Dortmund) in the European final.

“For most runaway champions, the likeliest outcome is a quarterfinal exit. This was the case for eight out of the 25. Four more lost in the semifinal round.”

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