Woods to skip Torrey Pines, open season in Abu Dhabi
Tiger Woods won't be starting his 2012 season at Torrey Pines. Instead of his traditional PGA Tour start in San Diego, Woods has agreed to play in a tournament in Abu Dhabi.
The former top-ranked golfer will play in the Jan. 26-29 Abud Dhabi HSBC Championship along with current No. 1 Luke Donald and defending champion Martin Kaymer, Abu Dhabi organizers said Wednesday.
The move is somewhat surprising for Woods, taking appearance money for the European Tour event instead of playing what he considers one of his favorite PGA Tour courses. He's won seven times at Torrey Pines as a pro, including his 14th and last major at the 2008 U.S. Open.
Woods has been starting his season at Torrey Pines, when healthy, since 2006. He missed the 2009 and 2010 tournaments because of injuries.
His five-tournament winning streak at Torrey Pines ended Jan. 30 when he shot a 75 and tied for 44th. He had never finished outside the top 10 at Torrey Pines, and it was his worst start to his golf season since he turned pro.
In the statement on Woods' Web site announcing his participation Wednesday, he said he's interested in visiting new places.
■ The first round of the Presidents Cup, pitting a United States team that includes Woods and Phil Mickelson versus an International team, finished early Thursday morning (Eastern time) in Melbourne, Australia. For a recap, go to Kentucky.com.
Blackwelder eliminated from show
Mallory Blackwelder was eliminated from Golf Channel's Big Break Ireland reality show in the episode that was broadcast Tuesday night. The former Woodford County High School and University of Kentucky star made it through nine episodes of the series that started with six male and six female golf professionals and eliminated a contestant each week.
Ex-Olympic coach banned for life
A former Olympic gymnastics coach accused of sexually abusing two athletes in the 1980s has been banned for life by USA Gymnastics and his place in the federation's Hall of Fame revoked. Don Peters, head coach of the 1984 U.S. women's Olympic team, was declared "permanently ineligible" after a disciplinary hearing by USA Gymnastics last week. Peters has already resigned from his coaching and director positions at his SCATS gym in Huntington Beach, Calif., and his ban will be published in USA Gymnastics' magazine and on its Web site. Two former gymnasts told the Orange County Register that Peters sexually abused them in the 1980s, when they were teenagers. In a Register story on Sept. 25, Doe Yamashiro, a former U.S. national team and SCATS member, said Peters began fondling her in 1986, when she was 16, and had sexual intercourse with her when she was 17. A second woman, who asked that her name not be used, told the Register that Peters had sex with her in 1985 when she was 18. The alleged abuse can't be prosecuted under California law because the statute of limitation has expired.
Peters was one of the country's top coaches in the 1980s, and his SCATS gym produced several national team members. He was head coach of the U.S. team at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, where the Americans won eight medals, including Mary Lou Retton's gold in the all-around.
Indiana official suggests cutting funds
Indiana's Inspector General recommends the state consider cutting its annual subsidy to the horse racing industry by more than half. The Indianapolis Business Journal reported Wednesday that Inspector General David Thomas made the recommendation in a recent report clearing the Indiana Horse Racing Commission of wrongdoing. Thomas says what began as a subsidy to jump-start an industry might need re-evaluation. He recommends the state consider reducing it to its original $28 million. The Legislature in 2007 expanded the funding to include a portion of slot machine revenue at the horse tracks in Anderson and near Shelbyville. It's currently $58 million. Indiana Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association Chairman Herb Likens says cutting the subsidy would devastate the industry. The Horse Racing Commission didn't comment.
Baffert's Drill favored in $1 million race
Drill, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert's promising 2-year-old, heads a full field of 10 horses entered for the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot on Saturday. Drill was made the 2-1 early favorite Wednesday and drew post position six for the 11⁄16-mile race, worth $600,000 to the winner. The first-place money gives a major boost to a horse seeking a spot in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby, whose maximum 20-horse field is determined by graded stakes earnings. Since the Jackpot began in 2002, five horses have gone on to run in the Derby, with the highest finish by Closing Argument, who was second to Giacomo in 2005. Drill, to be ridden by Martin Garcia, won the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity in September.
FIFA boss: Solve racism with handshake
With several top soccer players facing allegations they made racially abusive comments at opponents on the field, FIFA President Sepp Blatter sparked an angry reaction on Wednesday by suggesting such incidents could be settled with handshakes. Blatter said incidents of abuse were "forgotten" after matches and denied in an interview with broadcaster Al-Jazeera that soccer had a racism problem. Blatter went on to suggest that if league officials have to deal with an issue or complaint, then they should "bring two people together and say: Shake hands." His comments sparked outrage in England, where authorities are investigating two high-profile cases of alleged racial abuse among players during recent Premier League matches.
The last word
Mercury Morris, running back for the 1972 Miami Dolphins, said he'd be happy if the Green Bay Packers matched his former team and went undefeated. Morris didn't feel the same about the 2007 New England Patriots, who came up short in the Super Bowl.
"I didn't like the way (the Patriots) came across. . . . They were too much in your face. They wanted you to bow down to them and kiss the king's ring."