In Sports from United Press International

March 10, 2003 at 3:05 PM   |   0 comments

Hoch "finally" wins The Doral

MIAMI, March 10 (UPI) -- Scott Hoch, who declined to continue his playoff with Jim Furyk Sunday in semi-darkness, was vindicated when he birdied the third extra hole to win The Doral.

Hoch did not putt at the second extra hole on Sunday at the Doral Resort's Blue Monster. He sank his winning putt from six feet for his 11th PGA Tour victory, worth $900,000.

"I think everyone just made too big a deal out of it," Furyk said. "It got dark last night. It's dark. You go back out."

Twice in the past few months, playoffs have been halted in similar situations in fading light, and co-winners were declared.

It happened at the Volvo Masters on the European Tour in November, where Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer shared the title, and at the Australian PGA Championship a few weeks later, where Peter Lonard and Jarrod Moseley were declared co-champions.

It is believed the last time co-champions were declared on the PGA Tour was in 1949.

At 47, Hoch became the oldest player to win a tour event since Tom Watson won the 1998 Colonial at 48.

When play resumed at the par-five first at 8 a.m., Hoch and Furyk both had birdie putts. On carpet-smooth greens, Hoch calmly knocked in his downhill eight-footer, and he was followed in by Furyk from six feet.

They continued to the par-four 18th, where Hoch split the fairway and then hit a lovely approach shot. After Furyk missed his long birdie chance, Hoch drained his dead center.

"I guarantee you I wouldn't have been able to do that (Sunday) night," Hoch said. "I guess there are advantages to being old. You can go back to what you've done in the past. I feel sorry for the fans, but I felt it was best for me and best for us (to discontinue play Sunday night), for Jim and I to come out and play when both of us could see. It ended up being the right decision for me."

"I hit a good putt on the first hole," Furyk said. "Scott just played great this morning. There's not much I can do about it."

Fans who had watched the thrilling conclusion to regulation play as well as the first playoff hole booed when it became obvious that the tournament would not be finished Sunday as dark fell at the Doral Country Club.

Hoch shot a 69 Sunday and Furyk had a 68 to leave them tied at 17-under 271. Both made scrambling pars at the final hole of regulation, and Furyk again had to get up and down from the rough to save par at the first playoff hole, the 18th.

Hoch has had two eye surgeries over the past two years.

"I can't differentiate the way the green is breaking," Hoch said Sunday night. "I could putt it based on the way I think it will break, but I would rather putt it based on what I can see rather than what I think. It would have been tough for me to see even before I had all my problems. I want to get home and see my family, too, but there is too much riding on this not to give it your best shot."

"I feel badly for the fans," Furyk said. "They wanted to see the tournament's finish, and they can't come back (tomorrow), but I have no animosity with the decision."


Parish, Worthy named Hall finalists

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., March 10 (UPI) -- Boston center Robert Parish and Los Angeles Lakers forward James Worthy , headline the list of finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame's Class of 2003.

Parish and Worthy were among those on the list of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players. The North American Screening Committee released its list of 21 finalists Monday, and the group includes famed broadcaster Chic Hearn and five coaches -- Lefty Driesell, Guy Lewis, Norm Stewart, Eddie Sutton, and Bill Sharman.

Parish, a nine-time NBA All-Star, teamed with Hall of Famers Larry Bird and Kevin McHale to form one of the finest frontcourts in league history. The trio won NBA titles in 1981, '84, and 1986.

Worthy led North Carolina to the 1982 NCAA title, and played his entire 12-year NBA career with the Lakers, winning NBA titles in 1985, '87 and 1988. He appeared in seven All-Star Games and is one of only seven Lakers to have his number (42) retired.

Hearn, who died in August, broadcast 3,338 consecutive games for the Lakers, and earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1986. He earned the Hall of Fame's Curt Gowdy Media Award in 1992.

Sharman, who guided the Lakers to the 1972 NBA title, was enshrined into the Hall of Fame as a player in 1976. He could join John Wooden and Lenny Wilkens as members of the Hall of Fame who earned induction as both a player and coach.

Sharman also won titles with the ABL's Cleveland Pipers and the ABA's Los Angeles Stars and Utah Stars.

Other players named as finalists Monday include current Portland Coach Maurice Cheeks, Adrian Dantley, Walter Davis, Dennis Johnson, the late Gus Johnson, Bobby Jones, and Chet Walker.

Finalists from the contributor category include Hearn, Vic Bubas, Jerry Colangelo, Junius Kellogg, Meadowlark Lemon, and Tex Winter.

Longtime collegiate official Hank Nichols is being considered from the referee category.

Thirty finalists will be considered for induction by the 24-person Honors Committee for Enshrinement. Previous finalists include veterans Forrest Anderson, Grady Lewis, and Earl Lloyd, international finalists Drazen Dalipagic, Pedro Ferrandiz, and Dino Meneghin, and women's finalists Leon Barmore, Harley Redin, and Cathy Rush.

The 2003 Hall of Fame Class will be announced on Monday, April 7, in New Orleans prior to the NCAA Men's Final at the Superdome.

Enshrinements ceremonies are scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 4-6.

Bubas, Davis, Hearn, Lemon, Lewis, Nichols, Parish, and Stewart are first-time finalists.


Report: Yankees to fine Wells

NEW YORK, March 10 (UPI) -- It looks like David Wells is going to take a sizeable hit in the wallet.

The New York Times reported Monday that the veteran pitcher will be slapped with a $100,000 fine for the controversial comments he made in his new book, "Perfect I'm Not! Boomer on Beer, Brawls, Backaches and Baseball."

The newspaper, citing an unidentified source, reported that Wells has agreed not to appeal the fine through the Players Association, and that the money collected will be donated to the Boys and Girls Club, one of the favorite charities of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

A Yankees spokeswoman would not confirm the report.

Wells and the Yankees have been seeking a way to end the widespread attention that the soon-to-be-released book has created.

In the advance copies, Wells wrote that he was "half drunk" when he pitched a perfect game in 1998, and speculated on steroid and amphetamine use by major league players. The book also included disparaging comments about some of his teammates.

General Manager Brain Cashman said that the book "tarnished the Yankees image," but added that he would not ask Wells to waive his no-trade clause and pursue a deal involving the 38-year-old lefthander.

According to the report, the Yankees sought to fine Wells his salary for 10 games, $163,000, but were persuaded to reduce the fine by Wells' agent, Gregg Clifton. Gene Orza, the No. 2 official in the Players Association, had said the union would challenge any attempt to discipline Wells.

He began his second stint with the Yankees last season, and was 19-7 with a 3.75 ERA.


Nevin shelved by shoulder injury

SAN DIEGO, March 10 (UPI) -- Veteran outfielder Phil Nevin of San Diego will miss the 2003 season after a devastating shoulder injury last week.

Nevin suffered a dislocated left shoulder Friday while making a diving catch in a 2-0 exhibition loss to the Chicago White Sox. Doctors said the dislocation was severe, and that it will require reconstructive surgery.

"It has to be put back together," Nevin, the club's Most Valuable Player from 1999-2001, told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "It has to be fixed. It'll happen again and again and again if I don't get it fixed."

A report by MLB.com, the official Web site of Major League Baseball, the surgery will secure the shoulder by tightening up the ligaments that hold it in place.

"If they don't do it, during the rehab process the shoulder could keep popping in and out of the socket," said reliever and teammate Trevor Hoffman, who will miss at least half the season after surgery earlier this month to shave a small piece of his right collarbone at the A/C joint.

Nevin, 32, will have missed a good portion of two seasons when he returns to the team in 2004. Last year, he missed 55 games with a right elbow injury and a broken left arm just below the shoulder blade.

He underwent an MRI on the damaged shoulder in Peoria, Ariz., on Saturday, and then returned to San Diego.

"It was the normal stuff for that kind of severe injury," said San Diego Manager Bruce Bochy. "But there was no damage to the rotator cuff. What I feel good about is that he'll be stronger and more comfortable with the shoulder when this is all said and done. No question it was a devastating blow to the club. It was real quiet (on Saturday). With what we went through last year, it's not as if we haven't been through a lot already as a team. Guys are wondering how this can keep happening, but it has happened. We will move on here and do the best we can without Phil. We know we're not going to replace his bat. It's tough. We went through a lot last year. Nobody wants to go through that again with the games we lost."

After the injury, Nevin remained on the field for nearly 10 minutes before being taken to the hospital. He was trying to make a transition to left after beginning his major league career as a third baseman. He toyed with catcher for a couple of years before moving back to third.

Last season, he agreed to switch to first to make room for rookie Sean Burroughs, but a shoulder injury to Burroughs resulted in a move back to third. Nevin was given the choice of going to play either left or right field this spring.

He enjoyed a career year in 2001, batting .306 with 41 home runs and 126 RBI, but could not duplicate the those numbers in an injury-filled 2002, hitting just 12 homers with 57 RBI and a .285 average.

Nevin spent significant time on the disabled list last season with a strained right elbow and fractured left arm.

In 780 career games, he owns a .275 average with 135 homers and 469 RBI.


New deal for Buehrle

CHICAGO, March 10 (UPI) -- Chicago White Sox lefthander Mark Buehrle has had his contract renewed after rejecting a five-year deal worth $27 million.

The deal was first reported Sunday by ESPN Radio 1000 in Chicago.

He will make $445,000 this season, the highest ever paid by the White Sox for a one-year contract for a player with Buehrle's service time, surpassing the old team mark of Magglio Ordoñez.

A club spokesman said Buehrle had the chance for two option years that would have raised the contract's total to $27 million over five years when factoring in buyouts.

The first option year in 2006, according to MLB.com, the official Web site of Major League Baseball, would have been triggered by his pitching 200 innings in 2005, which would have added $7 million to the contract. The White Sox then had a final year option with Buehrle for $10 million.

"We are disappointed not to be able to work out something similar to what we did with (Paul) Konerko and Ordoñez," said White Sox Assistant General Manager Rick Hahn, "but we have explored this from a lot of different angles -- this is time No. 4 in the past year, with three different structures. His agent's view is that Mark is better off going year to year, as opposed to taking the guaranteed sum now and providing the club with some cost certainty. Mark is the consummate pro, and this is something he will put behind him, but given what Mark has accomplished here the last few years, given his importance to the club, our hope was to reward him for that and what he will accomplish in the future."

"This is just part of the business," Buehrle said. "We tried, but we couldn't get the deal done."

Buehrle collected $310,000 last season, his third in the major leagues. He further established himself as the team's ace, going 19-12 with five complete games, two shutouts, and a 3.58 ERA in 34 starts.

In 2001, he went 16-8 with a 3.28 ERA, finishing four games, two by shutout. In two full major league seasons, he has totaled 460 1/3 innings.

Buehrle is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in two spring appearances, allowing six hits while walking one and striking out five in seven innings.


Bengals don't match for Spikes

CINCINNATI, March 10 (UPI) -- The Cincinnati Bengals Monday declined to match the offer sheet to veteran linebacker Takeo Spikes by Buffalo, allowing him to start anew with the Bills.

Financial terms were not disclosed for the offer that was signed Friday, but ESPN reported that Spikes received a six-year offer worth about $32 million.

Spikes desperately wanted to escape the Bengals and asked new Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis not to exercise their right to match the offer to the transition player. The Bengals will not receive any compensation for losing their defensive captain.

"Takeo has been a good player for the Bengals and in the community, and I wish him well with his career in Buffalo," Lewis said. "Today is the beginning of a new day in the Bengal organization and in the shaping of the football team under my direction."

On Friday, the Bengals prepared for the departure of Spikes by signing free agent Kevin Hardy, who has played for Jacksonville and Dallas.

Spikes, the team's leading tackler four times in his five seasons with the Bengals, has made it clear he has had enough of the losing in Cincinnati. In his five years there, the Bengals were 19-61.

The Bills cleared more than $5 million in salary cap space earlier Friday when they traded receiver Peerless Price to the Atlanta Falcons for a first-round pick in the 2003 draft.

Buffalo General Manager Tom Donahoe signed free agent Jeff Posey last week to start at strongside linebacker, and likely will have Spikes on the weakside to surround middle linebacker London Fletcher.

The decision was part of a busy day for the Bengals, who also signed veteran cornerback Tory James to a four-year contract at undisclosed terms.

James, 29, has spent the last three seasons with the Oakland Raiders after four years with the Denver Broncos. He has 19 career interceptions, including four last season for the AFC champions.

"Tory is an excellent cover corner," Lewis said. "He has excellent size and speed, and like some of the other players we've brought in, he has experience in the postseason. He knows what it will take to get there again."

James started all three postseason games for the Raiders last season, and had a key interception in a divisional playoff win over the New York Jets.

Buffalo ranked 27th in points allowed last season, 29th against the run, and last in the league in takeaways.


LeBeau hired by Buffalo

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y., March 10 (UPI) -- Former Cincinnati Bengals coach Dick LeBeau has landed a job with the Buffalo Bills.

He was named assistant head coach of the Bills on Monday, and will begin his 45th year in the NFL as a player and coach. The Bengals fired him in December after finishing with the NFL's worst record at 2-14.

LeBeau, 65, had been an assistant coach with the Bengals for 15 seasons before taking over after Bruce Coslet resigned following the third game of the 2000 season. He posted a 12-33 record during his tenure, the worst winning percentage of any of the eight head coaches in franchise history.

LeBeau played cornerback with the Detroit Lions from 1959-72, and was voted to three Pro Bowls. He also was an assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, and Pittsburgh Steelers.

In Buffalo, he will be reunited with linebackers Takeo Spikes, who also will join the Bills next season after Cincinnati declined to match Buffalo's offer sheet.


Sehorn takes parting shots at Giants

NEW YORK, March 10 (UPI) -- Veteran defensive back Jason Sehorn, who was released last week, has made it known that he is unhappy about the way he was axed.

Sehorn was released after refusing to accept a $4.3 million pay cut, and made his feelings known in an open letter on his Web site.

"My opinion is I must have worn out my welcome with some in the organization, and not everyone was as excited about the prospect of me playing safety as others were," Sehorn said. "Quite frankly, some may not have appreciated my voice and opinion, or I'd still be wearing Giant Blue. Perhaps it was strictly about money for them, as I was more than willing to take a significant pay cut. If that's the case, then I'm simply another cap casualty because I would have been cheaper to keep than let go. There are many things I'll take with me from my time in New York, some worth sharing, others better left unsaid."

A report Monday in the New York Times said Sehorn likely was released because he rarely kept his feelings to himself, regardless of what they were. The Web site comments seem to bare that out.

He stated emphatically that he would have taken a pay cut, and it appears the Giants took a bigger hit on the salary cap by doing it now. If they had waited until after June 1, it would have cost them $1.5 million in cap money in 2003 and $5.8 million in 2004.

The failure to restructure a deal will count for $7.3 million against the salary cap in 2003. All of Sehorn's signing bonus money from a six-year, $36 million contract signed before the 2001 season will be lumped into the 2003 cap.

Also, New York Newsday said his continually declining relationship with Coach Jim Fassel may have been a factor. The paper said the two disagreed about the pace of Sehorn's return from a knee injury, and Sehorn criticized Fassel's practice schedule in the bye week.

Newsday said some in the Giants' organization believe he no longer is a high-level player. He lost his starting right cornerback job to second-year player William Peterson last season, and clearly was not happy in his nickel back role.

The second-round pick in 1994 out of Southern California was a reserve and special teams player his first two seasons in New York. In 1996, he became the starting right cornerback, and led the team with five interceptions, including a 23-yard touchdown.

The following season, he started all 16 games for the only time in his career, and had a career-high six interceptions along with 86 total tackles and 20 passes defensed as the Giants captured the NFC East title.

Sehorn missed the entire 1998 season after tearing ligaments in his right knee while returning the opening kickoff in a preseason game against the New York Jets on Aug. 20.

He thanks Giants' fans for their support.


Stars get Odelein from Chicago

DALLAS, March 10 (UPI) -- The Dallas Stars Monday acquired Lyle Odelein from Chicago for fellow defenseman Sami Helenius and a future draft choice.

Odelein has seven goals and four assists in 65 games with the Blackhawks, and will join his fifth team in four seasons.

Odelein, 34, has 46 goals, 189 assists, and 2,171 penalty minutes in 944 career games. He won a Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens in 1993 and has five goals, and 13 assists in 84 career playoff games.

"Lyle Odelein was going to be a free agent at the end of the season," said Blackhawks General Manager Mike Smith. "We picked up a defenseman and were also able to get another draft pick."

Dallas, which leads the Western Conference with 93 points, has won five straight division titles and a Stanley Cup in 1999 before missing the playoffs last season. The Stars are 15 points ahead of Anaheim for the lead in the Pacific Division, and three points in front of Vancouver for the top spot in the West.

The 6-6, 230-pound Helenius, 29, has appeared in just five games with Dallas this season, collecting 14 penalty minutes. In 145 games with Calgary, Tampa Bay, Colorado, and Dallas, he has two goals and three assists with 226 penalty minutes.

Chicago finished fifth in the West last season after missing the playoffs in four straight years, but the Blackhawks are 12th in the conference, nine points from the eighth and final playoff berth.

The pick Chicago receives is expected to be in the 2003 or 2004 draft, and between the sixth and eighth rounds.


Sabres send Ray to Senators

BUFFALO, N.Y., March 10 (UPI) -- Rob Ray, who has spent his entire 14-year career with the Buffalo Sabres, Monday was traded to Ottawa for future considerations.

Ray, a right wing whose 3,189 penalty minutes rank fifth all time in league history and the most ever with one team, does not have a point in 41 games this season, but he adds a toughness to the Senators, who lead the Eastern Conference with 94 points.

"Rob has been an invaluable member of our organization for the last 14 seasons," said Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier. "His contributions on and off the ice, and his leadership and dedication to the Buffalo Sabres have made him a team player in every sense. We wish him the very best as he joins Ottawa in their playoff push and quest for the Stanley Cup."

The NHL trading deadline is Tuesday at 3 p.m. Eastern time.

In 889 games with the Sabres, fourth most in franchise history, Ray has recorded 40 goals and 50 assists for 90 points. He has led the team in penalty minutes in nine of his 14 seasons, leading the NHL in 1990-91 and 1998-99.


Sabres send Barnes to Dallas

BUFFALO, N.Y., March 10 (UPI) -- The Buffalo Sabres Monday sent captain Stu Barnes to the Dallas Stars for center Mike Ryan and a second-round pick in 2003.

The Sabres continued their housecleaning Monday, and are on the verge of being eliminated from the playoffs.

Barnes, 32, has 11 goals and 21 assists in 68 games for the Sabres this season. The veteran center was acquired by Buffalo on March 11, 1999, and later became the 11th captain in team history.

"Stu has been a tremendous leader for our organization," said Buffalo General Manager Darcy Regier. "He is a tremendous individual, and has been a great asset to the organization and the community. We wish him the best in Dallas."

In 310 games with Buffalo, Barnes had 67 goals and 172 points. He was especially effective in the postseason, scoring 14 goals in 39 career playoff games with the Sabres.

Ryan was the Stars' first choice, 32nd overall, in the 1999 draft. As a senior at Northeastern University, he led his team in scoring with 18 goals, 14 assists, and 32 points in 34 games.

Buffalo, which traded left wing Vaclav Varada in late February, sent longtime Sabre Rob Ray to Ottawa earlier on Monday.


Islanders get Robitaille from Penguins

PITTSBURGH, March 10 (UPI) -- The New York Islanders, winless in their last four games, have acquired Randy Robitaille from Pittsburgh, and dealt center Claude Lapointe to Philadelphia.

The Islanders sent a fifth-round pick in this June's draft to Pittsburgh, but received a fifth-round choice from Philadelphia.

Robitaille had five goals and 12 assists in 41 games with Pittsburgh, which is 12th in the Eastern Conference and dealt All-Star right wing Alexei Kovalev to the New York Rangers last month.

The 28-year-old center will join his fifth team in as many seasons. He has 39 goals, 68 assists, and 63 penalty minutes in 239 career games.

Lapointe had six goals, six assists, and 20 penalty minutes with the Islanders. More defensive-minded than Robitaille, Lapointe, 34, has 120 goals, 173 assists, and 673 penalty minutes in 823 career games.

"Claude Lapointe is a very good faceoff man, a gritty player, and an intelligent player with a great work ethic," said Flyers General Manager Bob Clarke. "He upgrades the penalty-killing unit and the other lines. He can play wing or center, and will be an extremely useful player for us. He is a great checker, and for the style of game that we play, he is an in-your-face player. We think you can't have enough depth and that he will be a regular for us."

Philadelphia trails New Jersey by five points for the lead in the Atlantic Division, and is fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers play at Washington Monday night.

The Islanders next play at Vancouver on Tuesday night.


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