Championship leaderboard

2020 PGA Championship leaderboard breakdown: Coverage, scores, highlights from Round 2 at TPC Harding Park –

The second round of the 2020 PGA Championship on Friday was a rollercoaster that left us with a major shakeup at the top of the leaderboard. Haotong Li took over the No. 1 spot in the standings with a fantastic 5-under 65, while Tommy Fleetwood jumped 46 spots on the leaderboard to T2 after posting a week-best 6-under 64.

Tied with Fleetwood in second is Brooks Koepka, Daniel Berger, Justin Rose, Jason Day and Mike Lorenzo-Vera, all of whom sit at 6 under and two strokes off Li’s lead. But there are plenty of big-name golfers easily within striking distance of Li entering Moving Day on Saturday.

Let’s take a look at the leaderboard breakdown through 36 holes at TPC Harding Park.

1. Haotong Li (-8): With a bogey-free round of 65 on Friday, Li rose 11 spots in the standings and took over as the leader entering the weekend. His hot streak through two rounds is as shocking as it is unpredictable, after he finished T75 last week at the St. Jude Invitational and missed the cut at the Memorial Tournament. And he’s maybe more surprised than you. “Yeah, I didn’t even think I could play like this this week, especially, like you said, got no confidence,” he said post-round Friday. Perhaps that’s why he spent at least four hours practicing after his round.

T2. Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood, Daniel Berger, Justin Rose, Jason Day and MIke Lorenzo-Vera (-6): There was a moment Friday when a trainer plopped Koepka flat on his back in the middle of the rough and worked his left leg as Koepka, who has dealt with a lingering knee injury, showed some discomfort. But if it was bothering him too much, he didn’t play like it. Koepka fired a 2-under 68 entering the weekend and birdied his final hole to ensure he’ll do so with a pep in his step. He’s 36 holes away from potentially becoming the first to three-peat at the same major since 1956 and first to do so at the PGA Championship in nearly a century.

Fleetwood’s 6-under 64 tied for the best round of the week with Cameron Champ — both in Round 2 — as Fleetwood jumped 46 spots on the leaderboard. He drove it well Friday as opposed to Thursday — where he hit just 50% of his fairways off the tee. Fleetwood also cleaned up nicely on the greens. “I think I drove it really well,” said Fleetwood. “Put it in the fairway around here and it makes a massive, massive difference.” 

T8. Cameron Champ, Paul Casey and Brendon Todd (-5): Following a 1-over 71, Champ tied Fleetwood with the best round of the week Friday. And he did it by crushing the ball off the tees averaging 330 yards per drive — besting Bryson DeChambeau — while showing good control, too. He carded just one bogey on the day and took advantage of every par 5, after which he uttered the words of every golfer’s dream: “Usually, whenever I swing a little harder, it goes a little straighter.” 

T11. Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele and three others (-4): DJ turned in a 4-under 31 on the back nine to polish off a Round 2 of 66, jumping more than 20 spots on the leaderboard into the top 10. He wasn’t quite as long off the tees as he was Thursday, but he commanded control of his irons and found something with the putter, draining several long ones to work his way into weekend contention. Schauffele was steady with two birdies and two bogeys for an even-par 70, but after a strong effort in Round 1, he missed an opportunity to push up the leaderboard.

T16. Tony Finau: (-3): For a second straight day, Finau boomed it off the tee but struggled to control it. And yet for a second straight day, he finds himself comfortably in the mix with an even-par round of 70 keeping him in the hunt. He was better around the greens Friday than he was Thursday and showed some promising improvement that could bode well for him going into moving day. 

T25. Bryson DeChambeau: (-2): DeChambeau summed up his round — and what he needs to improve on — like this: “I’ve got to do something special this weekend. I think I can. I think I’ve got the firepower to do that. I’ve just got to hit some fairways.” DeChambeau indeed has the firepower, but the control wasn’t there today as he found himself off the beaten path after errant tee shots, forcing him to scramble. Even-par golf isn’t bad in the windy conditions, but it’s not going to get him his first major. 

T31. Rory McIlroy (-1): Rory looked to be in decent shape and rounding into form after carding birdies on 7, 8, 9 and 10 — until No. 12 unraveled him. On the 503-yard par 4, he got to the green in four and subsequently three-putted, unraveling the progress on his round and dropping him to even-par on the day. He birdied 16 and finished the round at 1 under, but swallowing a triple-bogey was a momentum-stopper for him that may keep him from contention if he doesn’t have a huge moving day.

T45. Tiger Woods (E): Tiger makes the weekend cut — barely — after squeaking out a shaky 2-over par Friday round that had him hovering dangerously close to the cut line. Tiger’s putter saved him from disaster on Thursday but he lost strokes to the field with it in Round 2, narrowly missing several that could have reversed his fortunes and put him into the red.

CBS Sports was with you the entire way updating this story with the latest scores, updates and highlights from Round 2. Check out the updates below and a more detailed leaderboard.

See New Posts

Koepka birdies the last to get to -6.

Brooks’ last birdie was on the 10th hole. Played the next seven in 1 over. Currently teeing off on No. 18, and he’s -5, three back of the leader.

Tiger officially on the cut line after a bogey at No. 15. That group has been on an absolute ride.

See More

Read More

DeWine tells

Ohio Gov. DeWine tells ‘Your World’ positive coronavirus test ‘certainly scared me’ – Fox News

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine‘s experience of testing positive for the coronavirus Thursday before testing negative in a follow-up test “certainly scared me,” the Republican told “Your World” Friday.

“I went to Cleveland, drove to Cleveland to meet the president,” DeWine told host Neil Cavuto. “Then, of course, when you go meet the president, you get a test and they do a quick test. So they did do what’s called an antigen test. And they came back very quickly and said, ‘You’re positive.'”


The governor added that he was “surprised” at his positive test and called doctors at Ohio State University about getting tested again.

“So we went down and my wife and I and several other people who’re around me all the time got tests yesterday. And then last night it came back negative,” Dewine said. “They reran it again, came back negative. We’re going to take another test tomorrow and we hope it comes back as negative as well.”

The second test was a PCR test, which DeWine’s office said was “extremely sensitive, as well as specific, for the virus.” DeWine’s wife Fran and his and staff members also tested negative.


DeWine assured Cavuto the PCR test he took late Thursday was the “gold standard” test most people receive.

“Frankly, the only reason that I guess the White House wanted us to take this quick test yesterday,” he said, “was because it was a quick test.”

Fox News’ Megan Henney and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read More

Fossil's smartwatches

Fossil’s Gen 5 Wear OS smartwatches are about to get a major update – Engadget

The Wear OS-powered Gen 5 touchscreen smartwatches Fossil rolled out last year are about to get some upgrades. Their phone apps include avatars for contacts and quick access to key tools, as well as new battery modes that include custom profiles for stuff like working out and an extended mode that helps it reach 24 hours.

The updated cardio tracker can estimate your VO2 max — key to everyone now training for the 2021 Olympics — it’s ready for sleep tracking and the Wellness App can track your workouts while using half as much battery energy. The Gen 5 watches are available now on Fossil’s website or Amazon for $295, and the software update is scheduled to start going out on August 19th.

Read More

Arpaio loses

Joe Arpaio loses sheriff’s race in second failed comeback bid – NBC News

PHOENIX — Joe Arpaio on Friday was narrowly defeated in his bid to win back the sheriff’s post in metro Phoenix that he held for 24 years before being voted out in 2016 amid voter frustrations over his taxpayer-funded legal bills, his penchant for self-promotion and a defiant streak that led to his now-pardoned criminal conviction.

Arpaio lost the Republican primary for Maricopa County sheriff to his former top aide, Jerry Sheridan. In the Nov. 3 general election, Sheridan will face Democrat Paul Penzone, who unseated Arpaio four years ago.

The loss marked Arpaio’s second failed attempt to return to politics. He ran an unsuccessful primary campaign for U.S. Senate in 2018, not long after President Donald Trump had pardoned his 2017 criminal contempt of court conviction for disobeying a judge’s order in a racial profiling case.

As metro Phoenix’s sheriff from 1992 through 2016, Arpaio rose to political prominence by creating old-time chain gangs and housing inmates in tents during triple-digit heat. But he is most well known for launching immigration crackdowns, some of which contributed significantly to his political downfall.

Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.

While his defiant streak played well with voters for many years, Arpaio faced heavy criticism for taking on policies that he knew were controversial and racking up $147 million in taxpayer-funded legal bills. His agency also botched the investigations of more than 400 sex-crimes complaints made to his office.

His political fortunes started to decline significantly in 2013 when his officers were found by a federal judge to have racially profiled Latinos in Arpaio’s traffic patrols that targeted immigrants.

In his latest campaign, Arpaio got only a fraction of the campaign money he was famous for raising and was criticized for his conviction. Arpaio said many people didn’t know he was running until they saw his name on the ballot.

His platform consisted of his unwavering support for Trump and bringing back practices that the courts have either deemed illegal or his successor has ended, such as immigration crackdowns.

He also was facing a far more moderate electorate than in earlier campaigns.

In the profiling case, both Arpaio and Sheridan were found in civil contempt of court for disobeying a 2011 court order to stop the sheriff’s immigration patrols, leading to Arpaio’s criminal contempt conviction in 2017. Sheridan wasn’t charged with criminal contempt.

Arpaio and Sheridan vigorously dispute the contempt findings. Sheridan, a 38-year veteran of the sheriff’s office who retired after Arpaio was defeated in 2016, said he was unaware of the highly publicized court order and didn’t run the unit that carried out the immigration patrols.

Sheridan said he could help turn around the tarnished law enforcement agency and insisted that he was his own man.

Read More

losers winners

Winners and losers of new SEC football schedule 2020 –

Joe Namath

Alabama head coach Nick Saban smiles as he chats with former NFL football quarterback Joe Namath, an Alabama alum, before an NCAA college football game against Arkansas, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)AP

The intense reactions came immediately.

The Southeastern Conference’s live reveal on SEC Network of each school’s two new opponents had everyone talking headed into the weekend.

The SEC still hasn’t released the full schedule with the dates of when the games will be played — that should come within the next two weeks — but now every SEC school knows the 10 opponents it will face this season. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said the conference “made every effort to create a schedule that is as competitive as possible and builds on the existing eight conference games that had already been scheduled for 2020.”

It wouldn’t be the SEC, though, if there weren’t strong feelings about the updated schedule.

To sort out which schools got good news and which schools may already be drafting sternly worded letters to league headquarters, we give you the winners and losers of the SEC’s new 10-opponent schedules.



The Crimson Tide made out well Friday when the SEC dished out Kentucky and Missouri as its two new opponents. It could have been better — aka Vanderbilt — but the most important thing for Alabama was avoiding Florida. Alabama already had two of the toughest SEC East teams, Georgia and Tennessee, and wasn’t eager to add the third. Instead, the nation’s preseason No. 3 team gets two very winnable games though Kentucky is no cupcake.

RELATED: What new schedule means for Alabama


The preseason SEC East favorite added the two easiest SEC West opponents, on paper at least, headed into the season. Arkansas and Mississippi State are both on their third coaches in as many years, with extra growing pains possible given the absence of a normal spring and summer schedule. The Bulldogs have the best chance to emerge out of the East, and nothing that happened Friday changed that.


Ed Orgeron had to be smiling after seeing Missouri and Vanderbilt as his two new opponents. The Tigers may be the biggest winner of any SEC school getting the teams perceived to be the SEC East’s two weakest headed into the season. Avoiding Georgia and Tennessee — the Tigers already had Florida and South Carolina — should make the people of Baton Rouge very happy.

Ole Miss

The Rebels may now have the best foursome of SEC East opponents. With Florida and Vanderbilt already scheduled, Ole Miss added Kentucky and South Carolina. Neither one is a guaranteed win, but conversely, neither one is also an obvious loss the way Georgia would have been. Ole Miss could certainly go 3-1 with this slate which is huge given all the difficult games that come each year in the SEC West.



Poor Sam Pittman. The excitable “Yes Sir!” head coach got nothing but coal from commissioner Greg Sankey on Friday. Arkansas, already expected to finish last in the SEC West, added the SEC East’s two toughest teams, Georgia and Florida. Add in annual games against Alabama, LSU, Auburn and Texas A&M, the Razorbacks are now scheduled to play four top 10 teams and six Top 25 teams. Ouch.


Welcome to the SEC, Eliah Drinkwitz. Your welcome bag is having to play three preseason top five teams. If Arkansas is the big loser in the SEC West, there’s no question Missouri fared the worst in the East. The Tigers added defending national champion LSU and preseason No. 3 Alabama to their schedule. Missouri was already facing an uphill battle to win more than a couple games this season, and the SEC just added two more obvious losses.

Texas A&M

The Aggies avoided Georgia but I can’t imagine Jimbo Fisher is thrilled about adding Florida and Tennessee. This was shaping up to be an important year for Fisher headed into Year 3 of a 10-year contract with a 17-9 record to date. Even before COVID-19 changed everything, it wasn’t fair to say Fisher’s seat was even warm, but everyone seemed to understand better results in 2020 were important for the trajectory of the program. Getting Florida and Tennessee makes Texas A&M’s climb to the top of the SEC more challenging.

John Talty is the sports editor and SEC Insider for Alabama Media Group. You can follow him on Twitter @JTalty.

Tennessee v Auburn

Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission.

Read More

Trump unilaterally

Trump says will unilaterally suspend payroll taxes if no deal on coronavirus aid – Reuters

BEDMINSTER, N.J. (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump vowed on Friday to act unilaterally to suspend payroll taxes for all Americans through the end of 2020 and possibly longer and extend supplemental unemployment benefits and other coronavirus aid if no deal can be reached with Democrats on a new spending bill.

“If Democrats continue to hold this critical relief hostage I will act under my authority as president to get Americans the relief they need,” Trump told a news conference. He added that an executive order could be signed by the end of the week, without specifying whether he meant this week or next week.

Reporting by Jeff Mason, writing by David Lawder; Editing by Sandra Maler

Read More

Chelsea Houska

Teen Mom Star Chelsea Houska Reveals the Sex of Baby No. 4 – E! NEWS

Chelsea Houska, Chelsea DeBoerCalli Rentschler / @bayaraephotography

Chelsea Houska and Cole DeBoer are thinking pink!

Just two days after the Teen Mom star announced her pregnancy, she returned to Instagram on Friday, Aug. 7 with some extra special news about her baby’s sex. She’s having a girl! 

“Baby…….GIRL!!!!!!” Chelsea, 28, captioned the snapshot of her, Cole and their little ones launching a confetti cannon into the sky. 

This marks Chelsea’s fourth child. She’s already the proud mom to daughter Aubree, 10, who she welcomed with ex Adam Lind, as well as Watson, 3 and Layne, 1.

Chelsea’s MTV co-star Kailyn Lowry, who recently gave birth to her own fourth bundle of joy, commented on her post, “YESSSSSSS.” Cole wrote, “so in love!”

Chelsea told her 6 million Instagram followers that the baby is due in early 2021. She’s also shared a look at her growing baby bump. “My beautiful wife and baby!!!!” Cole, who Chelsea married in 2016, commented at the time.

“Teen Mom” Star Kailyn Lowry Gives Birth to Baby No. 4

Fans will get a new look at life at home for Chelsea and her growing family when the latest season of Teen Mom 2 premieres next week. A trailer shows Chelsea navigating what she calls a “sh–ty” situation for daughter Aubree regarding her custody agreement. 

“I definitely have my own opinion and my own opinion on things, but I have to try my best not to put my feelings out on her,” Chelsea told E! News when reflecting on past Teen Mom episodes involving Adam’s inability to meet with his daughter. “He’s still her dad. She still has her own feelings about it so I kind of have to keep my feelings to myself and let her have her own little opinion.”

Teen Mom 2 returns Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. on MTV.

Read More

Draymond Green

Draymond Green says Devin Booker needs to get out of Phoenix, is immediately accused of tampering – Yahoo Sports

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green may want to set aside a few bucks for a tampering charge that could come his way in the near future. Green may have said too much while talking about Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker on “Inside the NBA” on Friday.” data-reactid=”16″ type=”text”>Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green may want to set aside a few bucks for a tampering charge that could come his way in the near future. Green may have said too much while talking about Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker on “Inside the NBA” on Friday.

Green was asked about the Suns’ success in the bubble. The team has gone 4-0 since the season restarted, and is pushing for a surprising playoff spot in the West. Booker has been a major part of that, averaging 28 points and 6.5 assists during those games.

Green spoke highly of Booker’s play before shifting the conversation, saying Booker needs to leave Phoenix so he can win games.

Did Draymond Green tamper when talking about Devin Booker?

Those comments wouldn’t draw attention if made by a full-time analyst, but Green is still an active player. Because of that, Green’s comments could be interpreted as tampering. Ernie Johnson seemed to realize that, and immediately asked Green, “Are you tampering?” Green — who should absolutely deny the charge if he doesn’t want to be fined — responded by saying “maybe.”

Will the NBA take action against Draymond Green?

Los Angeles Lakers $50,000 after Magic Johnson — the team’s president of basketball operations at the time — said complementary things about Giannis Antetokounmpo. In a bizarre twist, the NBA also fined the Milwaukee Bucks for tampering with Antetokounmpo in 2019 after team GM Jon Horst said the Bucks would offer Antetokounmpo a max contract.” data-reactid=”28″ type=”text”>It’s unclear whether the NBA will actually punish Green for his comments. In recent seasons, the league has reserved tampering charges for NBA executives. In 2018, the NBA fined the Los Angeles Lakers $50,000 after Magic Johnson — the team’s president of basketball operations at the time — said complementary things about Giannis Antetokounmpo. In a bizarre twist, the NBA also fined t
Read More

Derrius Washington

Derrius Guice arrested on domestic violence charges, released by Washington’s NFL team – The Washington Post

Shortly after running back Derrius Guice was arrested Friday on domestic violence-related charges, the Washington Football Team announced it was releasing the 23-year-old running back.

Guice faces charges that include one count of strangulation, a felony, according to a spokesman for the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office. The other charges are three counts of assault and battery as well as one count of destruction of property.

Guice turned himself in at the Loudoun Adult Detention Center shortly after 5 p.m. He was handcuffed in the parking lot of the facility before being taken inside. Guice was released on bond and shortly before 7:30 p.m. was seen driving away in a silver Range Rover.

A team statement released less than two hours after Guice was taken into custody said club officials learned of the allegations against Guice on Thursday and notified the NFL. They then met with Guice and told him he was excused from team activities while the club reviewed the situation.

“This afternoon we learned that there were multiple charges filed against Derrius,” the statement said. “Upon review of the nature of these charges and following internal discussions, we have decided to release Derrius immediately.”

Guice hired Peter D. Greenspun, a criminal attorney in Northern Virginia who has worked on numerous high-profile cases, including representing D.C. sniper John Allen Muhammad in his capital murder trial in 2003 and sportscaster Marv Albert on sodomy charges in 1997.

As Guice turned himself in, he stood on a corner in the parking lot with an officer before two women approached him, spoke to him briefly and then waited as the officer handcuffed him. Guice was led inside moments before Greenspun pulled up and walked inside the detention center. About an hour later, Greenspun walked out, without Guice, and drove off.

“The investigators did not seek a statement or any input from Derrius before the warrants were issued,” Greenspun said in a statement obtained by The Washington Post on Friday night. “The failure to fully investigate allegations of events, which allegedly took place months ago, is inexplicable. Based only on the assertion of these unsubstantiated charges, the Washington Football Team released Derrius, also without any inquiry as to what did or did not take place.

“Derrius … was released without a single question as to what occurred. Derrius will defend these charges in court, where a full vetting of the allegations will take place, in contrast to actions by local law enforcement and the Washington Football Team that assumed the worst, directly contradicting every sense of fairness and due process.”

The arrest came after three incidents were reported to the Montgomery County Police Department in Maryland, where the person he is alleged to have abused lives, according to the sheriff’s office. The department determined assaults took place Feb. 14, March 13 and April 17 at Guice’s Ashburn home. The sheriff’s office learned of the accusations July 22. The investigation was coordinated by officials in Loudoun and Montgomery counties. Guice was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond.

Washington selected Guice in the second round of the 2018 draft after the running back fell out of the first round because of questions about his maturity and durability. At the time, the team felt it had gotten a bargain — a gifted runner from Baton Rouge who had starred at his hometown LSU. But a promising professional career was derailed in Washington’s first preseason game that summer when he tore the ACL in his left knee following his first big run.

Off the field, he had become a favorite of fans who were intrigued by his talent and enjoyed his Twitter feed, on which he has detailed his comebacks from injuries and offered public invitations to play video games with him.

As of Friday, it appeared Guice had deleted his Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Guice also has been open about a difficult childhood that included the 2003 murder of his father, Derrick Keith Guice, who was shot to death at a restaurant in Baton Rouge following an argument with another man.

Though Guice was cleared to play this summer and has appeared to be healthy as Washington’s training camp begins, he was facing a stiff battle for playing time that once seemed assured. In addition to Adrian Peterson, who was signed following Guice’s injury in 2018, Guice was set to battle with newcomers Peyton Barber, J.D. McKissic and Antonio Gibson as well as Bryce Love, a 2019 draft pick who missed last season while recovering from a torn ACL.

Guice’s arrest and release came three weeks after a Washington Post report in which 15 female former employees and two female reporters accused high-ranking team officials of sexual harassment. The team fired two scouting executives who were named in the report, and longtime play-by-play broadcaster Larry Michael, who also was named in the report, announced his retirement.

The team was in contact with the NFL throughout its investigation, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Guice could face discipline from the league under its personal conduct policy. The NFL has generally suspended players for six games in domestic violence cases, but some penalties have been lighter or stricter.

Justin Jouvenal and Mark Maske contributed to this report.

Read More

Banned' Trump

Trump banned TikTok and WeChat. Are video games next? – Los Angeles Times

President Trump’s two executive orders targeting Chinese companies went public just after 6 p.m. Pacific on Thursday.

The first went after TikTok, to no one’s surprise. The video app had been the subject of intensifying rhetoric from the Trump administration for weeks. The order declared that all U.S. entities would be banned from doing business with parent company ByteDance starting in 45 days — a deadline that may serve mostly to put a shot clock on Microsoft’s negotiations to buy TikTok.

The second order was a curveball. In a tangle of commas, it prohibited “any transaction that is related to WeChat,” a messaging app ubiquitous in China and used by more than a billion people around the world, with Tencent Holdings, WeChat’s parent company, “or any subsidiary of that entity.”

By 7 p.m., the gamers were freaking out.

Trump, tweeted Noah J. Nelson, “basically just declared war on gamers as a whole. I’m sure that will work out nicely for him.”

There’s a reading of this that means that @realDonaldTrump just declared war on League of Legends, Fortnite, and Valorant.

That he basically just declared war on gamers as a whole.

I’m sure that will work out nicely for him.

— Noah J. Nelson (@noahjnelson) August 7, 2020

In addition to WeChat, Tencent either owns or holds stakes in the largest video game companies in America. Los Angeles’ Riot Games, creator of “League of Legends,” is a fully owned subsidiary of Tencent, and the company owns 40% of Epic Games, which makes the wildly popular “Fortnite.” It also holds 5% stakes in gaming giants Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft, and ownership or investment stakes in a number of other game studios.

The bulk of the executive order focused on WeChat, laying out a case that the messaging app is a threat to national security.

“Like TikTok, WeChat automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users,” the order reads. “This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information.”

The order also says that WeChat tracks Chinese nationals visiting the United States, and censors messages and content that the Chinese government deems politically sensitive, as has been reported by NPR and researchers at the University of Toronto.

But the fuzzy phrasing seemed to leave the door open to banning business with any of Tencent’s video game companies. Even though TikTok had been dominating the headlines for weeks, Tencent quickly became a trending topic on Twitter, with panicked gamers predicting a mass uprising in response. The company said it was “reviewing the executive order to get a full understanding.”

A little after 8 p.m., White House officials offered some reassurance, clarifying that the order was meant to focus only on transactions specifically related to WeChat.

But administration officials have not gone into further detail since, and legal experts say that the ambiguous language — and the provision that the secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, has the power to define the transactions in question in the next 45 days — still leaves room for the government to go after the game studios.

“The language is atrocious,” said Bryan Sullivan, partner at Los Angeles law firm Early Sullivan Wright Gizer & McRae, and is ambiguous enough that it could be applied to anybody who transacts business with any company related to Tencent if the secretary of Commerce decided to cast that wide of a net. “I’m sure that the administration would say it’s not meant to do that, but looking at the language of it, there’s definitely a legal argument that it could apply.”

Although a company is typically considered a subsidiary when a parent company holds more than 50% ownership, Sullivan noted that the executive order did not provide a concrete definition, so it could be used to pursue even the companies that Tencent has invested in, such as Snap, Spotify, Universal Music Group and the various video game studios.

“Do I think the secretary of Commerce is going to go to that level?” Sullivan said. “Probably not, but under this executive order he has the power to do that.”

Steven Blickensderfer, a tech and video game-focused attorney with Carlton Fields who also hosts a game-focused legal podcast, said the announcement caught him off guard.

“I was as surprised as everyone else at how broadly worded it was, in terms of what you could interpret it to cover,” he said.

Disentangling the Chinese and U.S. gaming markets, the world’s two largest, would be massively difficult, Blickensderfer added.

“Gaming is so closely tied with China,” he said. “This brought the trade war to the gaming industry and made it very real — even though this might be a false alarm, who’s to say that there won’t be another one right behind it?”

The confusion around the executive order targeting WeChat doesn’t end with its ambiguous language. The premise underlying both the TikTok and WeChat orders, according to some business and cybersecurity policy analysts, is based more on rhetoric than the specifics of how those apps function.

“At a high level, there are real cybersecurity, data privacy and information manipulation questions to ask about WeChat and Chinese apps in general,” said Justin Sherman, a fellow with the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council. “This is not about that — this has been an intensely politically driven process.”

Tencent’s ownership of American game studios has also given rise to genuine political and security concerns. Last year, Activision Blizzard stripped a professional video game player of his championship title after he spoke out in support of Hong Kong protesters, which many saw as a sop to its growing Chinese user base and Tencent’s investment stake. And a Times investigation found that a number of companies, including Riot Games, created time-tracking surveillance tools for Chinese players in response to a Chinese government initiative to reduce the time spent by children on video games.

Whatever the real security issues, Sherman said, a surprise executive order is a poor substitute for well-informed policy. If TikTok, WeChat or other Tencent companies’ data policies were a concern, Sherman said, federal lawmakers could “pass a strong federal privacy law so that no company can go collect absurd amounts of information about users” or “completely swing elections with microtargeted advertising.”

“Even if you like the ban on TikTok or WeChat,” Sherman said, “you should still care about the process by which these decisions are made.”

And the Trump administration’s unusual approach to regulating TikTok and WeChat, let alone the rest of Tencent’s holdings, could have ripple effects far beyond the Washington-Beijing relationship.

“We need to be careful here from a diplomacy standpoint,” said Theresa Payton, former White House chief information officer and now chief executive of Fortalice Solutions, a cybersecurity consulting firm. “What we don’t want to do is actually create a chilling effect. The rest of the world is watching,” and might reach the conclusion that simply operating in the U.S. presents the risk that their business might be shut down or forced to sell on a tight deadline whenever they come under scrutiny.

“Forty-five days to hammer out a deal and make the regulator sitting at the table happy in the best of times is hard. I can’t even imagine,” Payton added. Microsoft is exploring buying TikTok, but no mention has been made of forcing a sale of WeChat or other Tencent properties to an American company, since the company had barely entered the discussion before the executive orders were published Thursday.

Without knowing how the secretary of Commerce will define the terms of the executive order, it remains impossible to predict whether Tencent’s holdings beyond WeChat will be affected — perhaps because the drafters of the executive order hadn’t even thought through the implications of what they were writing, one business analyst said.

“It is possible that the tiny part of the American government that’s obsessing on this issue doesn’t even know” that Riot Games and other gaming and technology companies are owned by Tencent, said Mike Vorhaus, a video game industry consultant. “I expect there to be a lot of lawsuits.”

Times staff writer Todd Martens contributed to this report.

Read More