McIlroy says rule change for wedges should be reconsidered
Rory McIlroy wants golf authorities to reconsider their new regulations on the shape of grooves in club heads.
"I don't see why they don't firm greens up and get the rough longer to bring scores down," McIlroy said Tuesday. "They can make golf courses a lot tougher and turn 20-under winning scores into 12 under."
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The USGA and The Royal & Ancient in January introduced rules designed to prevent tour professionals from putting excessive spin on golf balls when playing out of long, rough grass.
The measures have been greeted with mixed reactions and confusion on the PGA and European tours. Phil Mickelson has found a way around the ban on "U"-shaped grooves by playing with a 20-year-old Ping wedge. Tour player Scott McCarron has claimed that it is "cheating" to use them.
The new regulation shrinks the volume and softens the edges of the club-head grooves. Mickelson was among at least four players at Torrey Pines last week who used the Ping wedges, which have square grooves. The Ping wedges made before April 1, 1990, are approved for competition because of a 1990 settlement from Ping's lawsuit against the USGA.
The 20-year-old McIlroy will defend his title at the Desert Classic on Thursday.
Alabama gives coordinator hefty raise
Alabama more than doubled the salary of defensive coordinator Kirby Smart after he helped the Crimson Tide win a national championship. Smart, who will make $750,000 a year through 2013, won the Frank Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant coach. He made $360,000 in salary last year plus $72,000 in bonuses.
■ Eastern Kentucky offensive lineman Derek Hardman will play in the Texas vs. the Nation game on Saturday at El Paso, Texas. Hardman was named first team All-OVC twice. Kentucky running back Alfonso Smith and offensive lineman Zipp Duncan and Louisville wide receiver Scott Long are also on the Nation squad.
■ Marshall named Chris Rippon its defensive coordinator. Rippon was Rutgers' special teams coordinator in 2008. He also was an assistant coach at Mississippi from 2005-07 and spent 12 seasons before that at Syracuse, including five as defensive coordinator.
Cowgill, Coughlin to be at spring training
Former University of Kentucky stars Collin Cowgill and Sean Coughlin were among 17 non-roster players invited to spring training by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Cowgill, a right fielder who graduated from Henry Clay, hit .277 with six home runs and 36 RBI for Class A Advanced Visalia last season. Coughlin, a catcher, hit .304 with seven home runs and 20 RBI at Double-A Mobile and .260 with four home runs and 20 RBI at Visalia.
■ Outfielder Scott Hairston and the San Diego Padres agreed to a $2.45 million, one-year contract to avoid arbitration. Hairston spent the majority of the last three seasons with the Padres before being traded to Oakland on July 5. He was reacquired last month in a deal that sent third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff to the Athletics. Three days after that deal, the Padres signed his older brother, Jerry, to a free-agent deal.
IndyCar's new CEO new to racing
Randy Bernard, the new CEO of the Indy Racing League, admits he knows next to nothing about racing. The longtime head of Professional Bull Riders Inc. says he can turn that into an advantage.
"If I can't learn racing, how are we going to bring new fans into the sport and teach them racing?" he said. "My job is to re-ignite America on this great open-wheel racing series."
The 43-year-old Bernard spent 15 years overseeing the bull riders' organization, helping grow the TV audience and attendance at events. He now will work with one of the biggest stars in U.S. sports, Danica Patrick, yet he said the IRL will need more than her to reach his goals.
"I think there is definitely a Danica factor, but I also want to say that it has to be our job that if there's 22 drivers, we have to build bigger superstars with all of them," he said. "Nothing against Danica — what she's been able to do is unbelievable. That's fantastic, and she's helped open-wheel racing more than you'll ever know. I'll look at it as, we need four or five big, big superstars like that. That has to be our job."
Miller to ski in all five Alpine events
U.S. Ski Team men's coach Sasha Rearick said Bode Miller plans to race all five Alpine events at the Vancouver Olympics. Miller's first event will be the downhill on Feb. 13, and he'll compete in the super-combi, super-G, giant slalom and slalom.
There were questions over whether Miller would race the giant slalom because he has not scored a single point in the discipline on the World Cup circuit this season, whereas four other Americans have. But Rearick said Miller will get the start based on his career record, which includes a silver medal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, gold at the 2003 world championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, the 2004 World Cup title and nine World Cup race victories.
■ Vice President Joe Biden is heading to the Winter Olympics. Biden, along with his wife, Jill, and members of President Barack Obama's Cabinet are heading to Vancouver next week to represent the United States at the opening and closing ceremonies, meetings with U.S. athletes and other events. They will also be joined by notable former Olympians such as Peggy Fleming, Kristi Yamaguchi and Bonnie Blair. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett also will make the trip.
■ Kentucky swimmer Trina Winsor was named the Southeastern Conference freshman of the week for the second time this season. Winsor helped the Wildcats defeat Cincinnati and Vanderbilt by winning the 400-individual medley, and the 200- and 500-freestyle events.
■ Kentucky sprinter Rondel Sorrillo was named the Southeastern Conference's male runner of the week for his performance at the Rod McCravy Memorial Track and Field meet last weekend. Sorrillo ran the 200-meter dash in 20.77 seconds. The time ranks first in the SEC and second nationally, nine hundredths of a second behind Texas A&M's Curtis Mitchell.
■ WLEX-TV reported Tuesday night that Bryan Station has hired former Madison Central football coach Kenny Turner as its football coach. Turner's Madison Central teams were 51-30 in his seven years at the school, but he was fired after going 0-9 in 2009. Madison Central had 11-2 records in 2003 and '04 when it reached the region finals. Turner replaces Oliver Lucas, who resigned after the 2009 season when the Defenders were 9-3.
■ The Montreal Canadiens' top-scorer, Michael Cammalleri, will be out for about six weeks with a knee injury. Cammalleri has a team-leading 26 goals and 48 points in 56 games.
■ Usain Bolt will run the 100 meters this summer in New York City. Organizers said the three-time Olympic gold medalist will compete in the Adidas Grand Prix on June 12 on Randall's Island. The meet, formerly known as the Reebok Grand Prix, will be the fifth stop on the inaugural IAAF Diamond League circuit.
The last word
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning's answer to a question at Super Bowl Media Day on Tuesday:
"No, I'm not superstitious. I'm just a little 'stitious. OK, that's a bad joke. Eli (Manning) gave me that one. I take it back."