Other Sports

Sports briefs: May 22


Cavaliers get first shotat drafting ex-Cat Noel

Former Kentucky center Nerlens Noel, projected to go first in the 2013 NBA draft, might be headed to Cleveland after Nick Gilbert and the Cavaliers beat the NBA lottery odds again.

The Cavaliers won the lottery for the second time in three years and have the No. 1 pick for the June 27 draft.

Gilbert, owner Dan Gilbert's son, was on stage again for the coup. He won in 2011, a pick the Cavs used on Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving. The Orlando Magic, with the best shot at winning the lottery, will pick second, while the Washington Wizards drew the third spot.

Vinny Del Negro is out as coach of the Los Angeles Clippers after their first-round playoff exit. Del Negro had a 128-102 regular-season record in three years. The Clippers made the playoffs the last two seasons. This season the Clippers won a franchise-record 56 games, had a 17-game winning streak and won the club's first Pacific Division title before their early playoff exit. They led Memphis 2-0 before losing in six games.

Bobcats owner Michael Jordan says he's changing his team's name to the Charlotte Hornets. Charlotte will remain the Bobcats next season, but if all goes as planned Jordan anticipates his team will become the Hornets for the start of the 2014-15 season.


San Francisco gets 50th Super Bowl

The 50th Super Bowl will be held in the San Francisco Bay Area and the NFL championship will go to Houston the following year.

Team owners voted Tuesday for the 49ers' new stadium as host of the 2016 game. That facility in Santa Clara, Calif., is due to open for the 2014 season.

San Francisco beat out South Florida, which was stymied in its bid to stage an 11th Super Bowl when the Florida Legislature did not support financing to renovate Sun Life Stadium. Earlier Tuesday, owners approved a $200 million loan for stadium construction in Atlanta. The multipurpose stadium could cost as much as $1 billion, with team owner Arthur Blank committed to funding most of it.

Buffalo Bills top receiver Stevie Johnson resumed practicing for the first time since hurting his back during the first minicamp last month. Johnson was limited to individual drills but says he is ahead of the initial prognosis of a six-to-eight week recovery.

The NFL and Microsoft, through its next generation Xbox device, are combining to upgrade interactive TV viewing of pro football games in a multiyear agreement. The next step, perhaps as early as 2014, will be bringing technology to the sidelines on tablets.

"Coaches can look at formations as they develop. We'll look at how do you do the still photos better, get more into real time," said Brian Rolapp, chief operating officer of NFL Media. "Is there a more efficient way to give replay officials a way of doing reviews better through technology?"


Yankees, Man City to own MLS team

Hoping their baseball success will translate to titles in another sport, the Yankees are combining with English power Manchester City to own a Major League Soccer expansion team in New York that will start play in 2015.

The team, the 20th in a league that has doubled in size in two decades, will be called New York City Football Club. "It's a powerhouse combination," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

Carli Lloyd will make her first appearance with the U.S. women's soccer team since breaking her left shoulder in a June 2 exhibition against Canada. Lloyd was among 21 players on the roster released Tuesday by Coach Tom Sermanni. The game in Toronto will be a rematch of last summer's contentious semifinal at the London Olympics, which the U.S. won 4-3 in extra time.

sports television

ESPN laying off hundreds of employees

ESPN is cutting 300 to 400 jobs through layoffs and by leaving positions unfilled throughout the company. The reductions are small in a company with more than 6,500 employees but surprising because ESPN is such a robust part of the Walt Disney Co.

"We are implementing changes across the company to enhance our continued growth while smartly managing costs," ESPN said in a statement Tuesday. "While difficult, we are confident that it will make us more competitive, innovative and productive."

Last year Robert A. Iger, the chief executive of Disney, ordered a companywide efficiency review.


USGA outlaws anchored putting stroke

Golf's two governing bodies outlawed the anchored putting stroke used by four of the last six major champions, approving a new rule that starts in 2016 and urging the PGA Tour to follow along so the 600-year-old sport is still played under one set of rules.

The Royal & Ancient Golf Club and the U.S. Golf Association adopted Rule 14-1b, which prohibits players from anchoring a club against their bodies. "We strongly believe that this rule is for the betterment of the game," USGA President Glen Nager said. "Rule 14-1b protects one of the important challenges in the game — the free swing of the entire club."

The rule was opposed by the PGA Tour and the PGA of America, which contended the stroke commonly used for long putters was not hurting the game and there was no proof that it gave an edge.

The new rule does not ban the long putters, but golfers will no longer will be able to anchor the club against their bodies to create the effect of a hinge. Masters champion Adam Scott used a long putter he pressed against his chest. British Open champion Ernie Els and U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson used a belly putter, as did Keegan Bradley in the 2011 PGA Championship.

Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old from China, has withdrawn from U.S. Open sectional qualifying in Dallas on June 3. Guan received a sponsor's exemption to play in the Memorial, which ends June 2. The USGA offered to move Guan's qualifier from Texas to Ohio to help with travel, but the teen declined.


Legends' rally in eighth beats Tourists

Michael Antonio's two-run single with two outs in the eighth inning capped a three-run rally, and the host Lexington Legends held on to beat the Asheville Tourists 4-3 Tuesday night. The win was the Legends' fourth straight, and improved their record to 24-21. The Legends are tied for fifth in the South Atlantic League Southern Division, but are just 21/2 games behind first-place Charleston.

Georgia baseball coach David Perno has resigned after a 12-year tenure that included three trips to the College World Series but fell on hard times in recent seasons. The Bulldogs advanced to the College World Series in 2004, 2006 and 2008 but had losing SEC records three of the last four years, including a last-place finish (7-20) this season. Overall, Perno had a record of 390-335-1.

The last word

Sergio Garcia has apologized for making a joke about Tiger Woods. The British newspaper The Guardian reports Garcia was asked in jest while on stage at the European Tour's awards dinner Tuesday night if he would invite Woods to dinner during the U.S. Open. Garcia said: "We will have him round every night. We will serve fried chicken." Garcia, who does not get along with Woods, then released a statement through the European Tour:

"I apologize for any offense that may have been caused by my comment on stage during The European Tour Players' Awards dinner. I answered a question that was clearly made towards me as a joke with a silly remark, but in no way was the comment meant in a racist manner."