Other Sports

Sports briefs: Sept. 21


Woods shares lead with 66 in Tour Championship

Tiger Woods sure didn't look intimidated Thursday in the Tour Championship.

Woods kept the ball in play at East Lake and chipped in for one of his six birdies on his way to a 4-under 66 that gave him a share of the lead with Justin Rose. It was the first step toward what Woods hopes is another FedEx Cup title, and another $10 million bonus.

Rory McIlroy, playing with Woods for the fifth time in these playoffs, saved par on the last hole for a 69.

The week began with Greg Norman saying that Woods was intimidated by McIlroy, a suggestion that both players found amusing. While it's doubtful that inspired Woods, he played as if he wasn't ready to let McIlroy win a third straight playoff event and capture the FedEx Cup.

Lexi Thompson made a little more history Thursday in the Navistar LPGA Classic, opening her title defense with a career-best 9-under 63 to match the tournament record.

Last year, Thompson became the youngest champion in LPGA Tour history at age 16, winning by five strokes. Fifteen-year-old amateur Lydia Ko broke the record last month in the Canadian Women's Open.


Calipari gets inaugural Wooden award

The Sports America Charitable Foundation presented Kentucky Coach John Calipari with the inaugural Nell & John Wooden Coach of the Year Leadership Award. The award is in honor of legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.

There will be a dinner and awards ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 27 in Washington D.C.

Nan Wooden, daughter of the late coach, will present the award to Calipari, who has more than 500 career wins and is the winningest coach in the sport since the 2005 season. Calipari also has four Final Four appearances and is also one of just two coaches to lead three different schools to a Final Four appearance.

Tickets to the award dinner are available online at http://www.sportsamericatickets.com, and net proceeds benefit the Wounded Warriors Project and the GI Film Festival.

 North Carolina Coach Roy Williams is out of the hospital a day after surgery to remove a tumor from his right kidney.

School officials said the Hall of Fame coach checked out of UNC Hospitals on Thursday afternoon. It remains unclear how much time Williams, 62, will miss leading up to the start of pre-season practice Oct. 13. The Tar Heels begin their season Nov. 9. Williams might need another operation to remove another tumor from his left kidney.

He is entering his 25th season overall as a college head coach with a record of 675-169.


Horse deaths prompt jump changes

Organizers of the Grand National steeplechase will make modifications to fence design, landing areas and course irrigation following a review of the world's most grueling jumps race after the death of two horses this year.

However, there will be no reduction in the size of the 40-horse field. Also, Bechers Brook — the much-feared fence that has been the cause of a number of horse casualties — will remain with the same drop and dimensions.

John Baker, who runs the Aintree course where the race is staged, says "balancing the Grand National's enduring appeal while working to reduce risk in the race is a delicate but important balance to strike."

Ten horses have died in the past 12 years in the National, leading to criticism from animal welfare groups.

 Undefeated champion Awesome Feather easily won her comeback Thursday, beating All Due Respect by 11¼ lengths in the $83,300 Nasty Storm Stakes for fillies and mares at Belmont Park.

In her first race since capturing the Sunshine Millions Distaff in January at Gulfstream Park, Awesome Feather encountered little trouble improving to 10-for-10. Trainer Chad Brown will now prepare the champion 2-year-old filly of 2010 for the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic at Santa Anita in November.

 The daughter of rock star Bruce Springsteen has bought a gold medal-winning horse from the London Olympics with hopes of competing for the United States in showjumping at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Peter Charles, who rode Murka's Vindicat W in a jump-off to clinch the Olympic team title for Britain last month, says the 10-year-old gelding has been sold to Jessica Springsteen. Jessica Springsteen, who started riding at age 5, missed the cut for the U.S. Olympic equestrian team for London.


Concussions appear in sharp decline

Concussions suffered by college football players in games have decreased 26 percent in the past seven years, according to a study for the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

The survey by Indianapolis-based Datalys Center showed the incidence of concussions in all three football divisions dropped to 2.5 per 1,000 players who took the field for a game in the 2011-12 season from 3.4 per 1,000 in 2004-05.

David Klossner, the NCAA's director of health and safety, called the findings encouraging and said more data needs to be gathered over a longer period before firm conclusions can be drawn.

"Over the past 10 to 15 years we've had more awareness, so you'd speculate you'd see higher incidence than in the past," Klossner said in a telephone interview. "But we see a leveling off, and that's hopefully a good sign."


Ex-NFL player Stephen Davis arrested

Former NFL running back Stephen Davis has been arrested after officials say he was operating a nightclub even though its business license had been revoked.

Davis played 11 seasons for Washington, Carolina and St. Louis. He was arrested Wednesday. Lexington County Sheriff Department spokesman Major John Allard says Davis is still in jail.

Davis was also charged with three counts involving fraudulent checks.

The state agency says Davis' license to operate the PURE Lounge in Columbia was revoked in July. The agency says the club continued operating despite losing its license.


U.S. women top Australia

Abby Wambach broke a deadlock early in the second half and Alex Morgan added two goals to help the U.S. women's soccer team beat Australia 6-2 on Wednesday in an international friendly that was Coach Pia Sundhage's farewell game.

Sundhage announced earlier this month she was stepping away after leading the squad to back-to-back Olympic gold medals. She will return home to coach the Swedish national team.

Heather O'Reilly, Shannon Boxx and Sydney Leroux also scored for the Americans.

The last word

Casie Coleman, trainer of Little Brown Jug winner Michael's Power, was asked what she told driver Scott Zeron before the race:

"I never give a driver instructions. I told him win. That was his only instruction."