Donald leads Dubai with a 65
Luke Donald shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday to lead Rory McIlroy and two others by one stroke after the opening round of the season-ending Dubai World Championship.
Donald saved par on Nos. 1 and 4 with clutch putting, and some accurate up-and-down play helped him make four birdies in a stretch of six holes.
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"It was a nice, solid start," said the Englishman, who made six of his seven birdies in the first 10 holes. "It was very tidy. Just a lot of solid golf. I gave myself a lot of opportunities."
Donald fended off a challenge from McIlroy at the tournament last year to become the first player to clinch both the European and PGA Tour money titles. The Northern Irishman has repeated the feat this season, and he surged into contention Thursday at the $8 million event with three birdies on the back nine. The PGA Championship winner could have matched Donald, but his tee shot on the 18th went into a creek.
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano of Spain and Marc Warren of Scotland are also at 6 under.
On a day when more than three-quarters of the field shot under par, there were plenty of other big names in the mix.
Lee Westwood, three-time major champion Padraig Harrington, 2010 PGA Championship winner Martin Kaymer and two others were at 5 under. Six players, including 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, were another shot behind.
McIlroy struggled on the front nine, making only one birdie, but turned it around coming home with a stretch of five birdies in seven holes. He is trying to emulate Westwood's feat in 2009 in which he won the money title and this tournament.
"I got off to a bit of a slow start but felt I was hitting the ball well enough to give myself opportunities for birdies. I just had to stay patient. I got it together on the back nine," McIlroy said. "It's a great way to start. Obviously, I'm confident heading into tomorrow."
With the money title decided, players are now counting on strong performances to help them move up the rankings. A top-30 finish gets them into the British Open, while the top 15 is enough for the U.S. Open.
The top 10 on the European money list will receive a portion of the $3.75 million bonus pool.
Just when top-ranked Rory McIlroy thought he had avoided the tough questions about his first round in Dubai, his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki turned up at the news conference.
She waited her turn at the back of the room on Thursday before pouncing. She first asked about the support the PGA Championship winner had received — hoping for a compliment — before demanding to know what she would get for Christmas.
McIlroy tried to avoid the topic by telling the Danish tennis star she "already got a lot of nice presents."
Wozniacki wouldn't relent, prompting laughter in the room and forcing McIlroy to say he had "been looking" and would get her "a nice present."
Camacho declared brain dead
Famed Puerto Rican boxer Hector "Macho" Camacho is clinically brain dead, doctors said Thursday, though they said family members were disagreeing on whether to take him off life support.
Dr. Ernesto Torres said doctors have finished performing all medical tests on Camacho, who was shot in the face Tuesday night.
"We have done everything we could," said Torres, who is the director of the Centro Medico trauma center in San Juan. "We have to tell the people of Puerto Rico and the entire world that Macho Camacho has died, he is brain dead."
He said at a news conference that the family expects to say by Friday if Camacho should remain on life support.
Torres said Camacho's father has already indicated that he wants the boxer taken off life support and his organs donated, but one of his sisters opposes the idea.
"This is a very difficult moment," he said.
Ismael Leandry, a longtime friend and former manager, told reporters that Camacho's mother also is wavering on taking her son off life support and would like more time with him. He said the family is waiting for Camacho's oldest son to arrive Thursday night before having a family reunion and making a decision.
League says officials missed late foul
The NBA said Thursday that officials Ed Malloy, John Goble and Violet Palmer missed a foul by Charlotte's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist against Toronto's Andrea Bargnani on a jump shot in the final seconds of the Bobcats' 98-97 victory Wednesday night.
The NBA said Bargnani should have been given two free throws and the clock stopped with approximately 2.4 seconds remaining. Replays showed Kidd-Gilchrist's right hand made contact with Bargnani's left wrist as the Toronto player shot, with the ball coming up well short.
Defense sparks TCU over No. 18 Texas
Matthew Tucker scored two touchdowns, Jaden Oberkrom kicked two field goals and TCU's defense forced four turnovers in dumping No. 18 Texas 20-13 Thursday night to get the Horned Frogs their biggest win of their first season in the Big 12.
Tucker scored on runs of 1 and 2 yards and the Horned Frogs (7-4, 4-4) dominated the line of scrimmage, running the ball 48 times and passing just 10. TCU had two interceptions inside their own 10 to kill Texas (8-3, 5-3) drives and picked up a fumble by Longhorns quarterback David Ash to set up Tucker's second touchdown.
Ash was relieved by Case McCoy, who led a late touchdown drive before an interception by Sam Carter in the final two minutes sealed the win for the Horned Frogs.
The last word
After sitting out since the London Olympics with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, the Washington Wizards' Nene played a week or two earlier than expected, in a heartbreaking 101-100 overtime loss on Wednesday. Nene said he felt obligated to get back on the court and support his struggling team — even if he isn't 100 percent.
"Sometimes, you need to sacrifice something to win or invest in your future."