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The Sports Report: Meet the local golfers who could win this week’s U.S. Open

Collin Morikawa hits from the bunker during the final round of the Masters.
(Matt Slocum / Associated Press)
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Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

From Steve Henson: The U.S. Open takes pride in being picky and delights in being daunting, traversing the country while gracing only courses that meet exacting criteria.

A selected course, according to the U.S. Golf Assn., “should test all forms of shot making, mental tenacity, and physical endurance under conditions of extreme pressure found only at the highest levels of championship golf.”

Ahem … and furthermore: “We intend that the U.S. Open prove the most rigorous examination of golfers.”

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Yet for 122 years — the U.S Open began in 1895 but was canceled for two years because of World War I and four years for World War II — an addendum could have been “… unless said course is in Los Angeles.” The closest it came was in 1948 at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades and in 2008 and 2021 at Torrey Pines in La Jolla.

But behold, here it is! The U.S. Open will be held June 15-18 at the venerable, exclusive L.A. Country Club, a treat for the handful of established PGA veterans born and raised in Southern California.

Several qualified for a U.S. Open long before earning their Tour cards, missed or barely made the cut, then waited years before getting another shot as an exempt player.

Tiger Woods is the only active SoCal product to win the U.S. Open, doing so in 2000, 2002 and 2008. He will not play this year because he’s recovering from ankle surgery. Several others have the chops to challenge the top of the leaderboard.

Let’s meet the home team:

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L.A. Country Club is part mystery, part myth that the U.S. Open will reveal

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John Light explains in black and white why L.A. Country Club is picture-perfect

Brooks Koepka fixed his golf game after Dr. ElAttrache repaired his knee

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NBA PLAYOFFS

Nikola Jokic guided Denver to its first NBA title in team history Monday night, as the Nuggets overcame dreadful shooting and a late flurry from Miami’s Jimmy Butler to squeeze past the Heat for a frantic 94-89 victory in Game 5.

Jokic had 28 points and 16 rebounds for the Nuggets, and earned NBA Finals MVP honors — a trophy certainly more meaningful to him than the two overall MVPs he won in 2021 and ’22.

He bailed out the Nuggets, going 12 for 16 from the floor on a night when none of his teammates could find the basket. Denver missed 20 of its first 22 3-point attempts and seven of its first 13 free throws, yet somehow figured out how to close out the series on its home floor.

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Butler scored eight straight points to help the Heat take an 87-86 lead with 2:45 left after trailing by seven. He made two more free throws with 1:58 remaining to help Miami regain a one-point lead. Then, Bruce Brown got an offensive rebound and tip-in to give the Nuggets the lead for good.

Trailing by three with 15 seconds left, Butler jacked up a 3, but missed it. Brown made two free throws to put the game out of reach and clinch the title for Denver.

Butler finished with 21 points.

Results, schedule

All times Pacific

NBA Finals

No. 1 Denver vs. No. 8 Miami

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Game 1: at Denver 104, Miami 93

Game 2: Miami 111, at Denver 108

Game 3: Denver 109, at Miami 94

Game 4: Denver 108, at Miami 95

Game 5: at Denver 94, Miami 89

NHL PLAYOFFS

Results, schedule
All times Pacific
Stanley Cup Final

Vegas (P1) vs. Florida (WC2)
Game 1: at Vegas 5, Florida 2
Game 2: at Vegas 7, Florida 2
Game 3: at Florida 3, Vegas 2 (OT)
Game 4: Vegas 3, at Florida 2
Today at Vegas, 5 p.m., TNT
*Friday at Florida, 5 p.m., TNT
*Mon., June 19 at Vegas, 5 p.m., TNT

*-if necessary

DODGERS

From Jack Harris: Two starts into his major league career, Bobby Miller was already looking for a change.

Weeks earlier, the Dodgers’ top-ranked pitching prospect had made a superb major league debut, holding the high-powered Atlanta Braves to one run in five innings.

Days later, the right-hander had looked even better, going six innings in another one-run outing against the rebuilding Washington Nationals in late May.

For a former late first-round draft pick with only eight starts in triple A, Miller had already surpassed initially modest expectations. Unleashing 100-mph fastballs from his 6-foot-5 frame, he was already on track to becoming the club’s latest rookie sensation.

Yet, he noticed an area for improvement — an opportunity to accelerate his ever-evolving development process, and add a little more polish to his rapidly improving game.

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Dodgers seek bullpen improvements, but not necessarily a designated closer

ANGELS

Shohei Ohtani homered on the first pitch of the 12th inning, going deep for the second time in the game as the Angels beat the AL West-leading Texas Rangers 9-6 on Monday night.

Los Angeles was down 5-1 after three innings, but Ohtani’s solo homer in the seventh inning extended his hitting streak to nine games and tied it at 5-5.

The two-run shot in the 12th off Cole Ragans (2-3), the fifth Texas pitcher, was Ohtani’s 20th homer of the season. The opposite-field shot to left provided the 10th career multihomer game for the two-way star, who was the designated hitter in the series opener and is scheduled to pitch in the finale Thursday night.

SOCCER

From Kevin Baxter: LAFC‘s Aaron Long, a World Cup veteran, and Galaxy teenager Jalen Neal were among 23 players named Monday to the U.S. roster for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which kicks off June 24 with the U.S., the defending champion, facing Jamaica in Chicago. The tournament final will be played July 16 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.

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Eighteen players on the Gold Cup roster are not on the team that will face Mexico on Thursday in the Nations League semifinals in Las Vegas, meaning interim manager B.J. Callaghan will get a look at 42 players this month.

“We’re trying to expose as many players as possible to tournament competition,” Callaghan said in a statement. “It will be valuable for the group moving forward.”

The roster:

Goalkeepers: Sean Johnson (Toronto FC), Gaga Slonina (Chelsea), Matt Turner (Arsenal)

Defenders: DeJuan Jones (New England Revolution), Aaron Long (LAFC), Matt Miazga (FC Cincinnati), Jalen Neal (Galaxy), Bryan Reynolds (Roma), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls), DeAndre Yedlin (Inter Miami)

Midfielders: Gianluca Busio (Venezia), Djordjevic Mihailovic (AZ Alkmaar), Aidan Morris (Columbus Crew), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders), James Sands (New York City FC), Alan Soñora (FC Juárez)

Forwards: Cade Cowell (San Jose Earthquakes), Jesús Ferreira (FC Dallas), Julian Gressel (Vancouver Whitecaps), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Brandon Vazquez (FC Cincinnati), Alex Zendejas (Club América)

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‘Can I even win?’ Thierry Henry waits for a phone call and another shot at coaching

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1908 — Canadian champion Tommy Burns KOs Bill Squires of Australia in 8th round in Paris to retain world heavyweight boxing title.

1913 — James Rowe, who had won back-to-back Belmont Stake races in 1872-73 as a jockey, sets the record for the most number of Belmont Stakes wins by a trainer, eight, when he sends Prince Eugene to victory.

1935 — Jim Braddock scores a 15-round unanimous decision over Max Baer in New York to win the world heavyweight title.

1953 — Ben Hogan wins the U.S. Open for the fourth time, with a six-stroke victory over Sam Snead.

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1959 — Billy Casper wins the U.S. Open golf tournament over Bob Rosburg.

1971 — Kathy Whitworth wins the LPGA championship by four strokes over Kathy Ahern.

1982 — Jan Stephenson wins the LPGA championship with a two-stroke triumph over Joanne Carner.

1989 — 43rd NBA Championship: Detroit Pistons sweep Lakers in 4 games.

1991 — The National, the nation’s first all-sports daily newspaper, ceases publication.

1992 — Sergei Bubka of Ukraine breaks his own world outdoor record in the pole vault by soaring 20 feet, one-half inch. The jump is the 30th time that Bubka has set the record indoors or outdoors, surpassing the 29 world records by distance runner Paavo Nurmi of Finland in the 1920s.

1993 — Patty Sheehan wins the LPGA Championship for a third time, with a 2-under 69 for a one-stroke victory over Lauri Merten.

1997 — Chicago wins its fifth NBA championship in the last seven years, as Steve Kerr’s last-second shot gives the Bulls a 90-86 Game 6 victory over the Utah Jazz.

2002 — Stanley Cup Final, Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, MI: Detroit Red Wings beat Carolina Hurricanes, 3-1 for a 4-1 series win; Red Wings’ 10th title; coach Scotty Bowman retires with record 9th title.

2010 — Zenyatta wins her 17th consecutive race, giving her the longest winning streak by a modern-day thoroughbred in unrestricted races. The 6-year-old mare, ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith, wins the $200,000 Vanity Handicap by a half-length over St Trinians at Hollywood Park. With the victory, Zenyatta surpasses the 16-race winning streaks of Cigar, 1948 Triple Crown winner Citation, and Mister Frisky.

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2011 — Boston scores four times in a 4:14 span of the first period and beats the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden, evening the best-of-7 series. Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic, Andrew Ference and Michael Ryder give Boston a 4-0 lead before the midway point of the first period.

2012 — Matt Cain pitches the 22nd perfect game in major league history and first for San Francisco, striking out a career-high 14 batters and getting help from two running catches by outfielders Melky Cabrera and Gregor Blanco to beat the Houston Astros 10-0.

2014 — The Netherlands thrashes Spain 5-1 in the World Cup’s first shocker, toying with an aging team that dominated global football for the past six years and avenging a loss in the 2010 final.

2014 — The Kings wins the Stanley Cup for the second time in three years with a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers in Game 5.

2016 — LeBron James has 41 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists, Kyrie Irving also scores 41 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers capitalize on the Warriors playing without suspended star Draymond Green, staving off NBA Finals elimination with a 112-97 victory in Game 5. James and Irving are the first teammates to score 40 points in an NBA Finals game as the Cavaliers pulled within 3-2 and sent their best-of-seven series back to Ohio.

2017 — The Golden State Warriors win their second NBA title in three years with a win over the Cavaliers 129-120.

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2019 — The Toronto Raptors beat defending champion Golden State Warriors, 114-110 to win the franchise’s first championship.

2021 — French Open Men’s Tennis: Novak Đoković wins his 19th Grand Slam singles title; beats Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 6-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.

—Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally...

The Kings win the Stanley Cup in 2014. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.

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