Nola, Phillies reach deal
Aaron Nola is staying in Philadelphia, after all. The right-hander signed a seven-year contract to remain with the Phillies after testing the free-agent market, the team said Sunday. ESPN and others reported the 30-year-old's contract is worth $172 million. Nola is the first big-name starting pitcher to come off the board among this year's free agents, a group including Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Blake Snell, Sonny Gray, Jordan Montgomery and Eduardo Rodriguez. Nola was a first-round draft pick by the Phillies in 2014, debuted with Philadelphia the next year and has been there his entire career. He's been one of baseball's most dependable pitchers -- a valuable commodity with the modern stress on big league bullpens. He made at least 32 starts and pitched at least 180 2/3 innings in five of the last six years -- the exception was the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Nola went 12-9 with a 4.46 ERA in 32 starts with Philadelphia this year, finishing with 202 strikeouts in 193 2/3 innings.
Cowboys to honor Johnson
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that former head coach Jimmy Johnson will be inducted into the franchise's ring of honor on Dec. 30 when they host the Detroit Lions. Jones made the announcement on FOX prior to the Cowboys' game on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. Johnson won back-to-back Super Bowls in the 1992 and 1993 seasons during his five-year tenure with the Cowboys, but the relationship between the two men has been rocky at times and deteriorated at the end with a bitter departure following the 1993 season. Johnson finished 44-36 in Dallas and then went on to spend four seasons coaching the Miami Dolphins. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2020 and many wondered when, if ever, he was going into the Cowboys ring of honor.
Syracuse fires Dino Babers
Syracuse fired Coach Dino Babers on Sunday after eight years with the Orange that included just two bowl appearances. Babers was 41-55 overall and 20-45 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, including a breakout season in 2018 when the Orange went 10-3 and finished No. 15 in the AP Top 25. He could never replicate that success, managing only a 7-6 record in 2022, his other winning season. The 62-year-old Babers had only one season left on his contract, but the private school does not release terms of the deal. The Orange dropped to 5-6 on Saturday when they lost 31-22 at Georgia Tech and now need a victory next week at home against Wake Forest to get to six wins and bowl eligibility. Tight ends coach Nunzio Campanile will serve as interim head coach for the final game. Syracuse hired Babers away from Bowling Green in 2015 after he went 18-9 and won a Mid-American Conference championship.
Aberg captures RSM Classic
Ludvig Aberg added to his astonishing second half of the year when he closed with a second consecutive 9-under 61 on Sunday to win the RSM Classic in St. Simons Island, Ga., his first PGA Tour title to go along with a European tour victory and a winning debut in the Ryder Cup. And to think the 24-year-old Swede was still at Texas Tech six months ago. Not only did he win the final event of the PGA Tour season, he did it in record fashion. His final birdie allowed Aberg to tie the 72-hole scoring record on the PGA Tour, matching the 253 of Justin Thomas at the 2017 Sony Open. His 61-61 finish set the tour record for lowest closing 36 holes, beating by one the mark shared by Matt Jones at Kapalua in 2022 and Patrick Rodgers at Sea Island in 2019. Former University of Arkansas golfer Nicolas Echavarria closed with a 69 and finished at 11-under 271.
Yang earns 5th tour victory
Amy Yang birdied her last two holes for a 6-under 66 to win the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla., and claim the $2 million prize, matching the largest in women's golf. The victory was her fifth on the LPGA Tour, the previous four coming in Asia. Yang holed out for eagle on the 13th fairway to overcome an early three-shot deficit, and then she let Nasa Hataoka make the mistakes in crucial moments down the stretch. Hataoka closed with a 69 and Alison Lee had a 66 to tie for second. Lee was never closer than two shots along the back nine at Tiburon Golf Club. Lee, still winless on the LPGA Tour, closed out her season with three runner-up finishes on the LPGA and a victory in Saudi Arabia on the Ladies European Tour. Gaby Lopez (Razorbacks) turned in a 70 on Sunday to finish at 10-under 278 overall.
Hojgaard first in Dubai
Nicolai Hojgaard claimed the biggest title of his career Sunday after running off five consecutive birdies down the stretch for an 8-under 64 to win the season-ending World Tour Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, by two strokes. The 22-year-old Dane delivered a clinic in iron play to set up close-range birdies start on the 13th holes. He finished at 21-under 261 to hold off Tommy Fleetwood, Viktor Hovland and Matt Wallace. Hojgaard has now won a tournament for three consecutive years on the European tour but this was easily his biggest, earning him $3 million. Fleetwood closed with a 68. Hovland, already a winner in the PGA Tour finale, had also shot 68, while Wallace had a 69.