LPGA chief asks Augusta to admit women
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Nov. 21 (UPI) -- LPGA Tour Commissioner Ty Votaw said Wednesday the Augusta National Golf Club should admit women as members.
To do otherwise, he said, "is not the right thing," and "damaging to the game of golf."
Addressing the highly charged topic during his annual "State of the Tour" address, Votaw said he was disappointed by the recent announcement by Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson that the club will not admit a female member by the time The Masters is played in April.
"The time for the debate has passed. Nothing anyone says or writes or no matter what polls may say overrides the single fact that not admitting women to Augusta National is exclusionary, and that is wrong for people and wrong for the game of golf," Votaw said.
"The message it sends is that women cannot be part of the face of golf and that is wrong."
While acknowledging that The Masters has donated money to the LPGA Foundation, the commissioner said, "we cannot condone its stance on this issue and we clearly can no longer hope for a quick resolution. Again, that is disappointing."
Lakers fall again
SAN ANTONIO, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Stephen Jackson made eight straight three-pointers and scored a career-high 28 points Wednesday night as the San Antonio Spurs rallied for a 95-88 triumph over the sputtering Los Angeles Lakers.
Jackson missed his first three-point attempt but made his next eight shots from beyond the arc. The third-year forward eclipsed his previous career high of 25 points set against Atlanta on Dec. 26, 2000.
Jackson kept the Spurs (8-4) in the game for the first three quarters and Tim Duncan stepped up when San Antonio needed it.
The Lakers held a 70-67 lead entering the fourth quarter, but Duncan, who had just six points through three periods, scored six of the Spurs' first eight points.
With Duncan and Jackson clicking, San Antonio opened the quarter with a 22-8 run and coasted thereafter. Jackson capped the spurt with a 3-pointer that made it 89-78 with 3:24 to go.
Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant criticized his teammates following a lackluster loss to Dallas on Tuesday. Again without star center Shaquille O'Neal, Los Angeles played hard but had little chance when Duncan joined Jackson on the offensive end.
Bryant scored 25 points but made just eight of 25 shots as the Lakers lost for the ninth time in 12 games.
Other NBA results: Boston 96, New Jersey 79; Indiana 97, Toronto 95; Minnesota 103, Atlanta 93; Detroit 79, Miami 68; Utah 96, Denver 79; Philadelphia 95, Memphis 88.
Coyotes rally to tie Stars
PHOENIX, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Brian Boucher made 36 saves and defenseman Danny Markov scored the tying goal in the final second of the second period Wednesday night as the Phoenix Coyotes rallied for a 2-2 tie with the Dallas Stars.
The Coyotes erased a two-goal deficit for the second game in a row when defensemen Deron Quint and Markov tallied in the second period.
Quint notched his second of the season on the power play at 12:47 when he took a pass from Daniel Briere and put a one-timer over goaltender Ron Tugnutt's left pad.
Markov knotted it when his blast from the point trickled between Tugnutt's pads with a half second on the clock. The officials had to call upstairs to check that the puck crossed the goal line before time expired.
Boucher gave up Brenden Morrow's seventh goal of the season and a power-play tally by defenseman Sergei Zubov in the first period but turned aside the last 27 shots he faced, including five during a power play in overtime.
Phoenix, which rallied for a 4-4 tie Sunday on against Colorado, has just one win in its last six games (1-3-2) but is unbeaten in the last three (1
Tugnutt made 28 saves for the Stars, who lead the NHL in points and had a four-game winning streak stopped.
Other NHL results: Columbus 3, St. Louis 2; Florida 3, New York Islanders 3; Montreal 3, Pittsburgh 2 in overtime.
Hokies suffer third straight loss
BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 21 (UPI) -- West Virginia cornerback Brian King intercepted a pass by Virginia Tech's Bryan Randall in the end zone with 12 seconds remaining Wednesday night as the Mountaineers handed the 12th-ranked Hokies their third straight loss, 21-18.
With just under four minutes remaining and Virginia Tech trailing, 21-16, Hokies star running back Lee Suggs was stopped in the backfield by linebacker Grant Riley on fourth and goal from the one.
On the ensuing possession, the Mountaineers went three-and-out and opted for punter Mark Fazzolari to take an intentional safety rather than risk of having a second punt blocked. That sliced West Virginia's lead to 21-18 with 2 1/2 minutes to play.
Todd James sent the free kick out of bounds, putting the Hokies at midfield. Randall drove the team well into field goal range, but on a play on which he had outstanding protection, he forced a pass into the end zone and was picked off by King.
The Hokies (8-3, 3-3 Big East) had not lost three in a row since the final two games of the regular season and a bowl setback in 1997. They had not dropped three consecutive regular-season contests since a five-game slide in 1992 -- the last time the Mountaineers (8-3, 5-1) won in Blacksburg.
Quincy Wilson rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown and Avon Cobourne added 80 yards and a score as the Mountaineers -- the nation's second-best rushing team -- gained 267 yards on the ground.
Randall passed for 168 yards and rushed for 125. Suggs ran for 71 yards and set an NCAA record by rushing for a touchdown in his 24th consecutive game, breaking the mark established by Arkansas' Bill Burnett from 1968-70.
Expos to play in Puerto Rico
NEW YORK, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Major League Baseball announced Wednesday the 2003 season will open in Japan and that the Montreal Expos will play a portion of their home schedule in Puerto Rico.
MLB said the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics will kick off the season at the Tokyo Dome on Tuesday, March 25. The teams also will play March 26 before resuming their regular season slate in the United States on April 1.
It was also confirmed that the Expos, who are owned and operated by Major League Baseball, will play 22 games -- three separate homestands -- at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan. The Expos' other 59 games will be played at Olympic Stadium in Montreal.
"We believe these games will generate considerable excitement in Puerto Rico and throughout the Caribbean region," said Commissioner Bud Selig. "We have attempted to balance the need for home schedule certainty with this opportunity to stage attractive games in a city and region renowned for its production of players and the enthusiasm of its fans."
MLS to expand season
NEW YORK, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Major League Soccer will extend its regular season to 30 games and simplify its playoff format for the 2003 season, the league's competition committee announced Wednesday.
The 30-game schedule adds two games to the current slate and tries to maximize the number of weekend matches.
The 2003 campaign kicks off April 5 with the defending MLS Cup champion Los Angeles Galaxy visiting the 2002 U.S. Open Cup champion Columbus Crew.
The eighth MLS regular season will conclude Oct. 26 and the MLS Cup playoffs will begin Nov. 1. The top four teams from each conference will advance to the postseason.
The conference semifinal series will be home-and-home affairs, with aggregate goals deciding the winner. One-game conference championship matches will determine the MLS Cup finalists.
Bid accepted for Sabres
NEW YORK, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- The bid from a group headed by Mark E. Hamister to purchase the financially troubled Buffalo Sabres will be accepted, the NHL announced Wednesday.
Terms were not disclosed. Hamister, who owns the Buffalo Destroyers of the Arena Football League, apparently outbid Tom Golisano, a Rochester billionaire who recently completed another unsuccessful campaign for New York governor.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said a closing date likely would come in the first three months of 2003. The NHL's Board of Governors still must approve the sale.
The sale of the team was necessitated when owner John Rigas and two sons were indicted on fraud charges following the collapse of Adelphia Communications. The NHL has been supervising operations of the Sabres.
Bettman had said the NHL is committed to keeping the team in Buffalo. Last week, he visited Buffalo and said efforts to sell the Sabres were beginning to "accelerate."
Dafoe signs with Thrashers
ATLANTA, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- The Atlanta Thrashers announced Wednesday they had completed negotiations and signed unrestricted free agent goaltender Byron Dafoe. Financial terms were not disclosed.
According to TSN of Canada, Dafoe will be paid $1.25 million this season and $3.5 million if he exercises his option for the 2003-04 campaign.
Waddell made the announcement during Tuesday's game with the Florida Panthers and the final details were ironed out Wednesday.
A former Vezina Trophy finalist, Dafoe was not offered a new contract by the Boston Bruins in the offseason and reportedly was being courted by the Thrashers, New York Rangers and New York Islanders.
Atlanta is last in the NHL with a 3.72 goals-against average and is yielding just under 32 shots per game to rank above only Florida and Montreal at the bottom of the league.
Pasi Nurminen and Milan Hnilicka have been sharing the goaltending chores for the Thrashers, who opened the season with a 10-game winless streak and are last in the Southeast Division with 12 points.
Tyson to fight again
NEW YORK, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson will return to the ring Feb. 22, when he meets Clifford "The Black Rhino" Etienne in a 10-round bout at the Pyramid in Memphis, Tenn.
The announcement was made Wednesday by the Showtime Cable Network, which will televise the bout.
It will be just the third fight in 28 months for Tyson, whose last bout ended in an embarrassing eighth-round knockout at the hands of IBF and WBC heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis on June 8.
After that bout, Tyson appeared uncharacteristically contrite and appeared ready to retire from the sport. But most of Tyson's current problems are financial and another payday would help.
An ex-convict with a weak chin, Etienne is the heavweight champion of the virtually disregarded IBA and the No. 8 contender in the IBF. He is 24-1-1 with 17 knockouts, with his last fight a 10-round draw with aging Francois Botha in July.
Vargas suspended for steroid use
LAS VEGAS, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Super welterweight Fernando Vargas was suspended for nine months and fined $100,000 Wednesday for testing positive for a banned anabolic steroid after his loss Sept. 14 to Oscar de la Hoya.
The Nevada Athletic Commission ruled that the suspension was retroactive to the fight, which allows Vargas to fight again on June 15.
Vargas had boasted about his physical condition before suffering an 11th-round technical knockout against de la Hoya. A post-fight urinalysis showed the steroid stanozolol.
The 24-year-old Vargas (22-2, 20 KOs) appeared bigger and stronger than de la Hoya in the September bout, but absorbed several punches without retaliation and was knocked down in the 11th round. Vargas stormed out of the ring without talking to reporters and was treated at a local hospital.
Guilty plea in Pick Six scandal
NEW YORK, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- The National Thoroughbred Racing Association Wednesday hired the consulting firm headed by former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to restore the sport's image and credibility tarnished by the recent Breeders' Cup betting scandal.
The hiring of Giuliani Partners was announced at a news conference just hours after one of the men charged with manipulating bets pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy.
Chris Harn of Newark, Del., implicated his co-defendants, Glen DaSilva of New York and Derrick Davis of Baltimore, in Federal District Court in White Plains, N.Y. Harn admitted to altering computerized bets that resulted in close to $3 million in payouts.
The three men were fraternity brothers at Tau Kappa Epsilon when they attended Drexel University in Philadelphia.
They were accused of devising a scheme that would ensure winning Pick Six tickets in the Breeders' Cup on Oct. 26.
The scandal rocked the racing industry and the NTRA attempted to move quickly to restore the faith of the betting public.
Hakim out for the season
DETROIT, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Detroit Lions wide receiver Az-Zahir Hakim, who had emerged as a favorite target for rookie quarterback Joey Harrington, will miss the rest of the season with a left hip injury.
The Lions placed the speedy receiver on injured reserve Wednesday after he dislocated and fractured his hip in Sunday's 31-14 loss to the New York Jets.
Hakim was injured in the first quarter after being tackled by Jon McGraw and John Abraham following a 14-yard catch. He was taken off the field on a stretcher.
After spending his first four seasons in the high-powered offense of the St. Louis Rams, Hakim signed a five-year, $16 million contract with the Lions in March.
Smith suspended for one game
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith was suspended for one game Wednesday for fighting during a team meeting.
Panthers Coach John Fox said Smith will not play in Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons and was being disciplined for an altercation with wide receiver Anthony Bright during a Monday meeting.
"It is no more disappointing than anybody else, whether it be by injury or suspension," Fox said. "But we have got capable people, and I expect us to be very competitive this Sunday."
Smith has 36 catches for 534 yards and two touchdowns this season. Fox said that Karl Hankton will start in place of Smith.
Sorenstam seeks final win
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Sweden's Annika Sorenstam will attempt to become just the second player in LGPA history with 11 wins in a year when the season-ending ADT Championship gets under way Thursday.
Sorenstam is the first player since Nancy Lopez in 1978-79 to claim as many as eight victories in consecutive seasons and had her sights on the single-season record of 13 victories after she captured the Samsung World Championship on Oct. 6. She needed wins in the final four events to accomplish that.
While Sorenstam will not match Mickey Wright's 1963 record, she already is the first player with 10 wins in a year since 1968, when Hall of Famers Carol Mann and Kathy Whitworth reached the plateau. Wright also had 11 wins in 1964.
The 32-year-old Sorenstam has earned $2,648,904 this year and will be the LPGA Player of the Year for the second straight season and fifth time in her career, two shy of the all-time record held by Whitworth.