Woods wins, Els falls in Match Play
Defending champion Kevin Sutherland, meanwhile, came from 3-down to knock out Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose ousted David Duval in extra holes and PGA Tour leading money winner Mike Weir survived a 26-hole marathon against Loren Roberts -- the longest match in the tournament's history.
The first World Golf Championship event of the year had its usual number of first-round upsets with Phil Tataurangi pulling off the biggest one of all.
Els had won four of his first five starts this year and there were hopes that he and Woods would advance to a dream final. But Tataurangi holed a 26-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to tie the match and then won on the second extra hole.
Woods had his hands full as well before finally eliminating Carl Pettersson of Sweden, 2 & 1. Woods holed a clutch six-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole to match Pettersson's chip-in and prevent his opponent from narrowing his deficit to one with two to play.
Mickelson advanced with a 2-up victory over Swede Robert Karlsson. The match was all square going to the 17th tee, but Mickelson won the final two holes.
Goosen was overwhelmed by Jay Haas, 5 & 3; Montgomerie fell to Alex Cejka, 4 & 2; Lehman lost to Scott Hoch, 3 & 1; and Duval fell on the second extra hole to Rose. Duval rallied from 2-down with three to play and then missed a five-foot par putt on the first extra hole that would have given him the match.
Weir, with victories at the Bob Hope Classic and Nissan Open this season, led Roberts by two holes at the turn, but Roberts evened the match at the 16th and they then played on and on until Weir won on the eighth extra hole with a par.
Sutherland also advanced as he seeks to become a shocking winner of this event for the second straight year.
Sutherland pulled off a series of upsets last year, including one in the first round when he came from two holes down to beat David Duval. But Sutherland did little of note the remainder of the year and did not even finish among the top 30 in money winnings on the PGA Tour.
He trailed Garcia by three holes Wednesday going to the 13th tee and then won five holes in a row to capture the match.
Steelers release Kordell Stewart
PITTSBURGH, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- The Pittsburgh Steelers made an expected roster move Wednesday by releasing veteran quarterback Kordell Stewart.
Stewart, who earned the nickname "Slash" early in his pro career because of his versatility and his ability as a wide receiver, was a second-round pick by the Steelers in 1995 out of Colorado. He has been a starter for most of the past six seasons.
He has the second-most passing yards in team history (13,328), and ranks 13th in rushing (2,561 yards) on Pittsburgh's all-time list.
"Kordell Stewart gave us everything he had and brought a lot of excitement and success to us on the field," said Steelers President Dan Rooney. "He also is a good person who contributed much of his time in this community. He always handled himself with class and dignity. We appreciate all of the contributions he has made to the Steelers and we wish him well."
Stewart always was plagued by his inconsistency, struggled in big games, and was demoted last season when Tommy Maddox was named the starter after the third game of 2002.
In other NFL roster moves Wednesday, Cleveland released linebacker Dwayne Rudd, Washington waived veteran running back Stephen Davis, Dallas cut receiver Raghib Ismail and Denver told quarterback Brian Griese to look for other employment.
Rudd, who turned 27 earlier this month, was involved in a crazy plays in a Week 1 loss to Kansas City last season.
With his team clinging to a two-point lead in the waning seconds, Rudd tossed his helmet in the air in celebration, thinking the game was over. But he received an unsportsmanlike penalty and the Chiefs kicked the winning field goal on the next play.
Kentucky wins 17th straight
LEXINGTON, Ky., Feb. 27 (UPI) -- The nation's second-ranked college basketball team won its 17th straight game Wednesday night, but the No. 3 club was not so fortunate.
Keith Bogans moved into seventh place on Kentucky's all-time scoring list as the No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats pulled away in the second half for an 80-68 decision over Tennessee.
Bogans scored 15 points for the Wildcats (23-3, 13-0 SEC East), passing Cotton Nash and former teammate Tayshaun Prince. With 1,783 career points, he needs 19 to pass Kevin Grevey.
With five players scoring in double figures, Kentucky remained unbeaten in conference play and clinched a bye in the first round of the SEC tournament.
Tennessee's Ron Slay scored 22 points, including 13 in the first half. The Volunteers (15-9, 7-6) shot 62.5 percent from the field during the opening 20 minutes and Slay also grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds.
Despite the hot shooting, the Volunteers trailed, 39-36, at the intermission and the Wildcats turned up the defensive pressure in the second half.
In Columbia, Mo., Ricky Clemons played despite a hand injury and Arthur Johnson collected 20 points and 11 rebounds as the Missouri Tigers snapped a nine-game skid against third-ranked Oklahoma with a 67-52 triumph.
Missouri (17-7, 8-5 Big 12) lost twice to Oklahoma last season, including an 81-75 defeat in the West Region final of the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers were supposed to be without Clemons, who fractured his thumb on his his non-shooting left hand.
But Clemons elected to play and made three three-pointers in the first half, sparking the Tigers to a 30-22 cushion at the break.
Elsewhere in the top 10, No. 5 Duke whipped Georgia Tech, 77-58; No. 6 Texas disposed of Baylor, 82-64; No. 7 Kansas crushed Texas A&M, 85-45; and No. 8 Pittsburgh defeated Virginia Tech, 75-62.
Philadelphia extends streak
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Eric Snow's triple double carried the Philadelphia 76ers to their seventh straight win Wednesday night, 111-107 over Memphis.
Snow missed two free throws before rebounding Shane Battier's potential tying three-pointer and sinking the clinching foul shot. He had 22 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for the first triple-double of his eight-year career.
The point guard made a handful of big plays down the stretch, setting up Derrick Coleman for a jumper that gave Philadelphia a seemingly safe 109-104 lead with 31 seconds left.
The teams traded free throws before Pau Gasol, who scored a season-high 32 points, had a driving layup to make it 110-107 with 15 seconds to go. Snow was fouled, but the 86 percent foul shooter missed both attempts, giving the Grizzlies a final chance.
There was a scramble for the ball before Jason Williams gained control and found Battier wide open in the left corner. But his three-pointer clanged off the rim and was run down by Snow, who corraled his 10th rebound and again was fouled with 2.2 seconds to play.
Snow missed another free throw before making one to seal the win. He sank eight of 13 shots and five of eight free throws.
Other NBA results: Boston 71, Indiana 69; New Jersey 105, New York 76; Phoenix 118, Milwaukee 112; New Orleans 91, Miami 82; Chicago 103, Toronto 75; Portland 94, Denver 84; Minnesota 92, Utah 85.
Rare Witt goal lifts Capitals
WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Defenseman Brendan Witt scored his first goal in 65 games Wednesday night as Washington held on for a 3-2 victory over Buffalo.
Witt scored his first goal since March 26 off a backhand with 5:37 left in the first period, giving the Capitals a 2-0 lead.
Peter Bondra added to the lead in the middle period for the Capitals, who nearly squandered the lead in the final 20 minutes.
Buffalo peppered Olaf Kolzig with 19 shots in the third period, scoring twice.
Less than three minutes into the period, Curtis Brown pushed in a rebound to get the Sabres on the board. Dmitri Kalinini tallied on the power play with 5:10 remaining to help the Sabres close to within 3-2.
Other NHL results: Anaheim 2, Florida 1; Phoenix 4, Carolina 2.
Pacers leave Artest behind
INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Combustible Indiana swingman Ron Artest was left behind instead of traveling with the team for Wednesday night's game against Boston.
According to team spokesman David Benner, Pacers Coach Isiah Thomas decided to make the trip without one of his top players. Benner said "it's a disciplinary thing," but was unsure when Artest would return to the team.
"I don't know," Benner said. "That will be up to Isiah."
The Pacers return home to face the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday before embarking on a four-game West Coast road trip. They entered Wednesday's action tied with the Detroit Pistons for the best record in the Eastern Conference.
Although no official reason was given for Artest's suspension, the New York Post reported that he grabbed a framed picture and smashed it against the locker room wall.
"What took place in the locker room and what happened inside -- from a coaching standpoint and from a team standpoint -- really needs to stay inside the locker room," Thomas said prior to Wednesday's game. "If Ron chooses to speak about it, that's his prerogative."
Thomas refused to reveal the specifics of Artest's absence and did not indicate when the defensive-minded swingman would return to the club.
Playing with a sore right elbow, Artest went three of 17 from the floor in Tuesday night's 83-78 loss to the Washington Wizards. He finished with eight points and just three rebounds in 28 minutes.
Veterans Committee strikes out
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y., Feb. 27 (UPI) -- No one made it into the National Baseball Hall of Fame Wednesday in balloting by the revamped Veterans Committee.
A source said none of the 42 eligible players, managers, umpires, and executives received the necessary 63 votes from the 85-member committee. Among those on the ballot were Marvin Miller and Joe Torre.
The Veterans Committee was reconfigured following the 2001 season, when Bill Mazeroski earned induction. Until then, the committee consisted of 15 members, and induction usually involved behind-the-scenes politicking.
The new format is more similar to the current writers' process. The committee, made up of the 58 living Hall of Fame members, 25 Hall of Fame writers and broadcasters, and two members of the former Veterans Committee, will vote every two years.
America's Cup remains on hold
AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- The seemingly endless America's Cup final stood idle once more Thursday because of bad weather conditions.
On Feb. 18, Alinghi took a 3-0 lead over Team New Zealand in the best-of-nine series and there has not been a race since -- first because of light wind and then because of strong breezes that brought gale warnings on the Hauraki Gulf.
Friday had been scheduled as an off day, but both crews agreed to race if conditions allowed.