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UPI NewsTrack Sports

Sept. 30, 2011 at 5:15 PM   |   Comments

Ditka lashes out at Payton book author

CHICAGO, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Former Chicago Bears Coach Mike Ditka said he would "spit on" Jeff Pearlman, author of a controversial book on deceased player Walter Payton.

Ditka said Pearlman's book, "Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton," is "despicable" and "serves no purpose," USA Today reported Friday.

The book, which is scheduled for an Oct. 4 release, drew controversy after an excerpt posted online at SI.com revealed the tome alleges Payton abused painkillers and laughing gas as well as claiming the player had a longtime mistress and considered suicide after retiring from the NFL.

Payton died from cancer and liver problems at the age of 45 in 1999.

"What's the point? What's the point? The point is one thing only -- to sell books. That's all it's about. It's a bunch of crap, first of all," Ditka told ESPN.

"If you're going to wait 12 years after somebody's passed, come on," Ditka said. "This is the sign of a gutless individual who would do this. Totally gutless who would hide behind that, and that's what he's done."

When asked about Pearlman, Ditka said: "I'd spit on him. I have no respect for him."


Colts turn to Painter at quarterback

INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Indianapolis quarterback Curtis Painter will make his first NFL start Monday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Colts Coach Jim Caldwell said Friday Painter, in his third NFL season out of Purdue, will be the No. 1 quarterback Monday. He replaces Kerry Collins, who started the Colts' first three games.

Collins left last week's game with concussion-like symptoms.

Indianapolis is 0-3 and only four teams have scored fewer points this season. The Colts are 29th in total offense and 27th in passing. Collins has completed 48-of-98 passes for 481 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. His quarterback rating is 65.9.

Painter is 5-of-11 for 60 yards in seeing spot action. He took over for Collins in the fourth quarter Sunday.

The Colts also have Dan Orlovsky on their roster at quarterback. He signed with the team as a free agent July 30.

Collins was an emergency signing in late August when Indianapolis was concerned Peyton Manning, who underwent neck surgery in May, wouldn't be ready for the season. It has since been determined Manning needed additional surgery, which took place Sept. 8. It is unknown if he will be able to play this season.


Lexi Thompson to join LPGA in 2012

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Lexi Thompson, a 16-year-old who won an LPGA event this year, has been granted permission to join the tour in 2012.

Thompson won the Navistar LPGA Classic two weeks ago, shooting 17-under-par for the tournament and beating a star-laden field by five strokes. The tournament win qualified Thompson, the youngest woman to win an LPGA event, to join the LPGA Tour without going through qualifying school.

However, because Thompson is younger than 18, she had to petition tour officials for membership. That was granted Friday.

"Lexi Thompson is a unique talent who has continued to grow, develop and mature both on and off the golf course since turning professional in 2010," LPGA Tour Commissioner Michael Whan said in a statement.

"Additionally, her ability to handle the success and disappointment inherent to this game testifies to a level of maturity that I believe makes her capable of handling the emotional rigors of professional golf."


American Young reaches 2nd ATP semifinal

BANGKOK, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- American Donald Young dropped just three games Friday in joining three top seeds in the semifinals of the PTT Thailand Open tennis tournament.

Young, No. 55 in the world, ran past qualifier Go Soeda 6-1, 6-2 in 56 minutes. Young was good on 88 percent of his first serves and lost eight points total in his eight service games. He broke Soeda's serve four times in seven games.

Saturday will mark the second ATP tournament semifinal for Young, who will next go against world No. 9 Gael Monfils. Monfils won the only previous match against Young 6-1, 6-1, but that was more than three years ago. Young made the semifinals of the ATP event in Washington this summer.

Monfils, seeded second in Bangkok, was a 7-5, 7-6 (7-4) winner over Jarkko Nieminen in his quarterfinal. Nieminen converted both of his break-point chances but Monfils answered with three breaks of his own.

Top-seeded and No 4-ranked Andy Murray earned a spot in the semis by beating Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-4. Murray going 3-for-3 on break opportunities was the difference in the match.

No. 3-seeded Gilles Simon claimed the fourth semifinal spot, beating Matthias Bachinger 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Murray is 7-0 versus Simon since a loss in 2007, the first time the two met. Three of Murray's wins came this year.

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