Tiger the betting favoriteto win next year's Masters
Tiger Woods, who has gone two full seasons without adding to his total of 14 major championships, has already been picked as the favorite to win next year's Masters Tournament by Las Vegas oddsmakers. Woods is winless in nine golf tournaments this year since an admission of marital infidelity. He remains the No. 1 player in golf's Official World Rankings and has been given 5-1 odds to win the Masters next April by the Las Vegas Hilton's sports book. Woods is a four-time champion at the season's first major, with his most recent win at Augusta National Golf Club in 2005.
"Augusta is a long way off," Woods said after tying for 28th place at the PGA Championship two days ago, nine strokes behind winner Martin Kaymer. "Between now and then, I've got a lot of tournaments to play in."
Phil Mickelson is the second betting choice for the 2011 Masters, with 7-1 odds, followed by Rory McIlroy at 12-1. Lee Westwood is 20-1, and Dustin Johnson, Anthony Kim and Padraig Harrington are listed at 25-1.
■ New Zealander Steve Williams says his job as Tiger Woods' caddie is not under any threat. Williams told New Zealand radio Wednesday there is no possibility his 11-year association with Woods is about to end, despite media speculation and Woods' continuing struggle for form.
"I'm sure if there was going to be some sort of parting of the ways, I'd be the first to know," he said. "From my point of view, I don't see any chance of that happening."
Williams said Woods had no plans to change his key personnel.
Gio Ponti draws No. 6 for Arlington
Gio Ponti drew the No. 6 post position for Saturday's Arlington Million on the turf at Arlington Park. The draw was announced Tuesday for the 1¼-mile race for 3-year-olds and upward. Gio Ponti, last year's winner, will attempt to match John Henry's feat as the only two-time winner of the Grade I race. Gio Ponti, at odds of 7-5, is the morning-line favorite. In four races this year, the 5-year-old has won once and finished second twice. Just As Well, in the No. 4 post position, is the second choice with early odds of 5-1.
Arkansas: School didn't get radio host fired
The Arkansas athletics department says it did not request any employment action against a radio personality who lost her job after wearing a Florida Gators hat to a Razorbacks' football news conference. The school said in a statement Tuesday that it indicated to the reporter that she probably shouldn't come to Monday's practice "to allow additional time to pass." Renee Gork, who worked for a northwest Arkansas radio station that calls itself Hog Sports Radio, announced Monday she was fired. Gork had worn a Gators' hat Saturday to a news conference with Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino. The university said in its statement Tuesday it has no connection to Hog Sports Radio.
Budweiser signs on with Harvick
Budweiser has teamed with Sprint Cup Series points leader Kevin Harvick as a primary sponsor for most of the 2011 season. Budweiser said Tuesday its familiar red paint scheme will be on Harvick's No. 29 Chevrolet for 20 races next season, as well as the non-points events at Daytona and the annual All-Star race. The beer company will be an associate sponsor on the remaining 16 Sprint Cup races.
■ Marcos Ambrose will drive the No. 9 Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports in 2011. Ambrose announced a multiyear deal with RPM on Tuesday. The 33-year-old Australian will replace Kasey Kahne, who is leaving RPM at the end of the season to drive for Red Bull Racing before moving on to Hendrick Motorsports.
■ IndyCar drivers will race twice in one day next year at Texas Motor Speedway, where the 2011 racing schedule also includes the track's first Saturday night NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. For the first time in the IndyCar Series, and first time in major U.S. open-wheel racing since 1981, there will be two races on one day. The Firestone Twin 275s at Texas on June 11, dual races with two different winners, will replace the single 550-kilometer (342 miles) at the track.
Columnist Whitlock leaving K.C. Star
Jason Whitlock, a nationally known sports columnist for The Kansas City Star, is leaving the newspaper. Whitlock's departure after 16 years was announced Tuesday by the Star. The newspaper's announcement did not say what Whitlock's plans are. Whitlock joined the newspaper in 1994 as a general-interest sports columnist. In 2008, he became the first sportswriter to win a National Journalism Award for commentary from The Scripps Howard Foundation.
Sports in the courts
Nugent fined for using 'C'mere Deer'
Rocker and celebrity hunter Ted Nugent will have to pay a $1,750 fine after pleading no contest in California to baiting a deer and not having a properly signed hunting tag. California Department of Fish and Game spokesman Patrick Foy says game wardens saw Nugent kill an immature buck on a February episode of his Outdoor Channel TV show Spirit of the Wild. Investigators found that the deer had been eating bait called "C'mere Deer." Baiting wildlife is illegal in California.
■ The lawyer for a man accused of fatally stabbing University of Connecticut football player Jasper Howard wants to take the case to trial this fall. Deron Freeman said Tuesday he plans to file a speedy-trial motion for John Lomax III in Rockville Superior Court and is hoping for a trial in late September or October. Lomax, of Bloomfield, is accused of killing Howard, a 20-year-old cornerback from Miami, last Oct. 18 during an on-campus fight between a group of football players and a group that included Lomax. A fall trial would come in the middle of UConn's football season, and several players could be called as witnesses.
2 UK volleyball players named All-SEC
Kentucky volleyball senior Lauren Rapp and junior Becky Pavan were named to the pre-season All-Southeastern Conference team, the league announced Tuesday. They are among 10 players selected to the annual squad by the conference's coaches. Kentucky, Florida and Tennessee led all schools with two selections each. And the team will begin the season ranked No. 14, the American Volleyball Coaches Association announced Tuesday.
■ Adam Revelette, who played on Kentucky's 2006 SEC championship team and is currently the general manager for the Lexington Hustlers minor-league team, has been named pitching coach at Transylvania, head coach Chris Campbell said Tuesday.
The last word
The Cubs have the highest average ticket price in baseball, so perhaps it should come as no surprise that the team served caviar in its pre-game spread before Monday night's game against the Padres at Wrigley Field. Manager Lou Piniella joked about the expensive delicacy:
"Hell, if we were in first place, we'd have a chef from France in here."