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Bryson DeChambeau, Scottie Scheffler impress on Masters Day 1; Ippei Mizuhara charged with bank fraud

This is an article version of the CBS Sports HQ AM Newsletter, the ultimate guide to every day in sports. You can sign up to get it in your inbox every weekday morning here.


🏌 Good morning to everyone but especially …

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU AND SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER

Once the skies cleared, the players got to work, and what marvelous work it was from Bryson DeChambeau and Scottie SchefflerΒ in the opening round of the 2024 Masters. DeChambeau birdied his first three holes en route to a seven-under 65, and Scheffler is one back after a bogey-free 66.

Thunderstorms delayed the start of the round two and a half hours, but after Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tom Watson hit their ceremonial tee shots, it was smooth sailing, weather-wise; 62 of the 89 players were able to get through their round.

Seeing Scheffler, the world No. 1, near the top is no surprise. His patience has been a key to his incredible play and was on display once again Thursday, Kyle Porter writes. Seeing DeChambeau on top, though, was an eye-opener, and Patrick McDonald broke down the magnificent opening round.

Here are our takeaways from Day 1, our Tiger Woods trackerΒ and our live leaderboard.

For today,Β here are the groups and tee times, and here’s how to watch.

πŸ‘ Honorable mentions

⚾ And not such a good morning for …

IPPEI MIZUHARA

Ippei Mizuhara, the former translator for Shohei Ohtani, was charged with bank fraud for allegedly stealing more than $16 million from the Dodgers superstar in the betting scandal that has gripped baseball for weeks. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California announced the charges at a press conference Thursday.

Here are some findings from the investigation led by the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Attorney’s Office:

  • Allegedly, Mizuhara had access to Ohtani’s bank account and illicitly funneled millions of dollars to an illegal bookmaker in California, where sports betting is banned.
  • There were several damning alleged conversations from Mizuhara, including: admitting to his bookmaker that he stole from Ohtani, falsely claiming to be Ohtani in multiple conversations with bank employees in order to transfer money and gain access to Ohtani’s account and admitting to his bookmaker that he had a problem.
  • Between December 2021 and January 2024, Mizuhara allegedly placed about 19,000 wagers, or roughly 25 per day, for a net loss of more than $40 million, according to the criminal complaint.

Mizuhara faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison if convicted of bank fraud.

The press conference also addressed Ohtani’s situation. From our storyΒ by Dayn Perry and Matt Snyder:

  • “Ohtani is considered a victim in this case, prosecutors said repeatedly. During the press conference, U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada noted that Ohtani has ‘cooperated fully and completely’ with the investigation, including access to his digital devices. Communications between Mizuhara and Ohtani ‘demonstrated no discussion of betting, wagers or authorization of transfers to bookmakers,’ Estrada said Thursday.”

Mizuhara is expected to appear in court in the coming days.

πŸ‘Ž Not so honorable mentions

πŸ€ Kentucky to hire Mark Pope as head coach

Well, that didn’t take long. Kentucky is set to hireΒ BYU‘s Mark Pope as its next head coach, as first reported by CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander. The hire comes two days after John Calipari bid farewell to the Wildcats and one day after Calipari was officially introduced as Arkansas‘ head coach. It also comes just hours after Kentucky was unable to lure Scott Drew away from Baylor.

The BullsΒ Billy Donovan, St. John’sRick PitinoΒ andΒ UConn‘s Dan Hurley had been popular names as well, but Kentucky did not pursue Donovan or Pitino, and Hurley laughed off any notion of moving to Lexington shortly after winning his second straight title with the Huskies.

So that led to Pope, a former Wildcat center who was a captain on the 1995-96 national championship team and later played six seasons in the NBA. As for his coaching record:

  • 77-56 record at Utah Valley from 2015-19
  • 110-52 record at BYU from 2019-24
  • Two NCAA Tournament trips (both with BYU): lost in first round in 2021 to (11) UCLA, lost in first round in 2024 to (11) Duquesne

Pope runs an innovative, up-tempo, high-3-point-volume offense and is fresh off leading a really impressive Big 12 debut season for BYU. The Cougars, picked 13th in the conference preseason poll, finished fifth.

Still, it is stunning to see Kentucky go from Calipari — one of the most established coaches and preeminent recruiting forces in the sport — to Pope, who, again, has zero career NCAA Tournament wins and unproven recruiting acumen. That’s not to say it won’t be a success. But it is a huge, huge change, and it might take a lot of time — time Kentucky faithful may be hard-pressed to give considering the Wildcats have one NCAA Tournament win over the past five seasons.

Given the names that were circling, Pope is a surprising and perhaps disappointing choice. But Pope will have access to major NIL reserves, he already has familiarity with the program and, most importantly, he’ll inherit a clean slate of a roster. It’s an uncertain time, sure, but not all uncertainty is bad.

Here’s more on what you need to know about Pope.

O.J. Simpson dies at 76 after battle with cancer

O.J. Simpson, the Pro Football Hall of Fame running back who was acquitted of double murder in 1995 and convicted of armed robbery in 2008, died Wednesday after a battle with cancer, his family announced. He was 76.

  • Simpson starred at USC for two seasons, winning the 1968 Heisman Trophy before being drafted first overall in 1969 by the Bills. He played in Buffalo for nine seasons, making six Pro Bowls and winning NFL MVP in 1973, the year he eclipsed 2,000 yards rushing. He finished his career with theΒ 49ers.
  • Simpson is best known for being tried and acquitted for the murders of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman. The pair was stabbed to death outside Brown’s home in Los Angeles on June 12, 1994. After an 11-month trial, Simpson was found not guilty on two counts of first-degree murder on Oct. 3, 1995.
  • Before what was dubbed the “Trial of the Century,” Simpson was arrested following a 60-mile low-speed pursuit by police through Los Angeles on June 17, 1994. The surreal scene, which cut into part of the NBA Finals, was said to have been viewed by 95 million people, many fearing that Simpson was going to take his own life.
  • Simpson was later found liable for wrongful death and battery in a 1997 civil lawsuit filed by the Brown and Goldman families. He was ordered to pay nearly $33.5 million in damages.
  • Exactly 13 years after he was acquitted of the murders, Simpson was sentenced to 33 years in prison after being found guilty of a 2007 armed robbery. He admitted to stealing some of his old sports memorabilia back from a dealer at gunpoint in a Las Vegas hotel room.

Here is more from our coverage on Simpson’s death:

πŸ€ Key races to watch in final NBA weekend, plus playoff sleepers

The NBA is down to its final weekend, and even with just three days remaining, there’s still a ton up in the air. Among the biggest races are for the No. 1 seed in the West, the No. 2 seed in the East and jumbled races to avoid the play-in in both conferences. Here’s the full playoff picture.

As we close in on the postseason, Brad Botkin picked playoff sleepers, and among them is the Pelicans. I loved James Herbert’s feature on New Orleans and Zion Williamson.

  • Herbert: “At their best and most entertaining, the Pelicans are a blur of forced turnovers and fast breaks. Per possession, New Orleans ranks second in steals, and many of them immediately turn into highlights. … This version of Williamson is making good on the defensive potential he showed at Duke. He makes multiple-effort plays, guards opposing stars and sustains his energy late in games, even when he’s carrying the Pelicans offensively.”

Make sure you keep a close eye on the standings as the final games play out.

πŸ“Ί What we’re watching this weekend

β›³ We’re watching the Masters all weekend. Here’s how.

Friday

πŸ€ Bucks at Thunder, 8 p.m. on NBA TV
πŸ€ Suns at Kings, 10:30 p.m. on NBA TV

Saturday

πŸ’ Islanders at Rangers, 12:30 p.m. on ABC
πŸ’ Kraken at Stars, 3 p.m. on ABC
πŸ’ Bruins at Penguins, 8 p.m. on ABC

Sunday

πŸ€ Bulls at Knicks, 1 p.m. on ESPN
πŸ’ Kraken at Blues, 1 p.m. on TNT
πŸ€ Lakers at Pelicans, 3:30 p.m. on ESPN
πŸ’ Avalanche at Golden Knights, 3:30 p.m. on TNT

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Author: Zachary Pereles
April 12, 2024 | 9:35 am

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