In Sports from United Press International

April 10, 2003 at 11:54 PM
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Masters first round postponed

AUGUSTA, Ga., April 10 (UPI) -- Officlals try again Friday to get the weather-plagued 2003 Masters under way.

The first round was postponed Thursday for the first time since 1939 and officials said an effort would be made to get in two rounds on Friday, something never before tried at the Masters.

With forecasts calling for improving weather on Friday and through the weekend, Masters Competition Committee Chairman Wil Nicholson said he hoped to be able to complete the Masters on schedule Sunday afternoon. Whatever happens, the tournament will be played to a conclusion.

"We will complete 72 holes, sometime," he said.

Rain began falling in the area Sunday and periodic showers and thunderstorms have hit the Augusta National Golf Club course ever since. Almost four inches have rain have fallen since the slow-moving system arrived and a downpour swept through Augusta in the early morning hours Thursday.

Meanwhile, the head of a planned Masters protest is aiming at a new target at the all-male Augusta National Golf Club. Barred by a federal court from picketing the club's main gate during this week's Masters, Martha Burk said she will zero in on corporate members. Burk, chairwoman of the National Council of Women's Organizations, plans to demonstrate in front of the golf club Saturday.

Georgia names Felton coach

ATHENS, Ga., April 10 (UPI) -- Dennis Felton is the new Georgia men's basketball coach, replacing the embattled Jim Harrick.

Felton's selection was announced Thursday at a news conference. He got a five-year, $3.5 million contract that includes a $400,000 buyout clause.

Felton, 39, met with Vince Dooley, the Georgia athletic director, and school president Michael Adams in New Orleans, the site of the Final Four, this past weekend and again here on Wednesday.

Felton had a five-year record of 100-54 at Western Kentucky.

Harrick stepped down on March 27, less than three weeks after an academics scandal shamed the school into withdrawing from postseason play. Georgia still may face sanctions by the NCAA for alleged academic fraud.

Devils Rays sign Rocker

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., April 10 (UPI) -- The Tampa Bay Devil Rays, seeking help for a troubled bullpen, Thursday signed controversial lefthander John Rocker to a minor league contract.

Terms of the deal were not released.

He will report Saturday to Tampa Bay's minor league camp, and is expected to be assigned to Triple-A Durham of the International League. Rocker worked out Wednesday at Tropicana Field and impressed Devil Rays officials, including Manager Lou Piniella.

"He's going down to the minor leagues," Piniella said. "He'll get an opportunity to work his way back to the big leagues. He seemed like a pleasant young man that wants to prove that a lot of people were wrong. We're giving him the opportunity. It's up to him."

Rocker, 28, went 2-3 with one save and a 6.66 ERA in 30 appearances with the Texas Rangers last season. He had a career-high 38 saves with the Atlanta Braves in 1999, but caused a big controversy that Decemberover published comments about gays and minorities.

Serena, Davenport advance

CHARLESTON, S.C., April 10 (UPI) -- Serena Williams and Lindsay Davenport had a tougher time with the cold weather than they did with their respective opponents Thursday.

The top-seeded Williams coasted to a 6-2, 6-2 victory over 15th-seeded Conchita Martinez of Spain and advanced to the quarterfinals of the $1.3 million Family Circle Cup for the

second straight year.

Third-seeded Davenport rolled into the last eight with a 6-3, 6-3 win over No. 16 Clarisa Fernandez of Argentina.

The world No. 1, Williams increased her season-opening winning streak to 19 matches and will face Yugoslavia's Jelena Dokic in the quarterfinals. Dokic, the sixth seed, who rallied past 13th seed Elena Dementieva of Russia, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5..

The winner of 38 career WTA titles, Davenport next meets Russia's Vera Zvonareva, who posted a 6-4, 6-4 win over Argentina's Paola Suarez.

Sweetney to test NBA waters

WASHINGTON, April 10 (UPI) -- Junior forward Mike Sweetney of Georgetown announced Thursday that he plans to skip his senior season and enter the NBA draft.

But, he has an out if he changes his mind.

Georgetown Coach Craig Esherick said in a statement released by the school that Sweetney has not withdrawn from school nor hired an agent. He met with Sweetney's parents Wednesday, and helped plan Sweetney's potential pro future.

By not hiring an agent, the 6-8, 260-pounder retains the option of returning to school if he does not like his draft position.

"He will continue attending class and will take his exams," said Esherick. "When the semester is over, we will examine where he would go in the NBA draft. He will then determine whether to commit to the NBA or return to school."

Wrenn declares for NBA draft

SEATTLE, April 10 (UPI) -- Forward Doug Wrenn of Washington has decided to forego his senior season to enter the NBA draft.

Wrenn averaged 12.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest in 27 games under first-year Coach Lorenzo Romar.

Wrenn transferred from Connecticut after his freshman season, and was named Pac-10 Conference Newcomer of the Year in 2002 after finishing third in the league in scoring at 19.5 points per game. It was the highest mark by a Washington player since 1987.

UCLA drops Patterson

LOS ANGELES, April 10 (UPI) -- Sophomore forward Andre Patterson of UCLA was dismissed from the school on Thursday for academic reasons, the school announced.

The 6-7, 200-pounder, who re-enrolled for winter quarter, averaged 7.5 points and a team-leading 5.5 rebounds per contest in 24 games while leading the Pac-10 Conference in field goal percentage (60.8 percent) this past season. He started 21 games, including the final 12.

Citing federal and state student privacy laws, the school said it would issue no additional comment.

Williams talks continuing at UNC

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., April 10 (UPI) -- Talks between North Carolina AD Dick Baddour and Kansas Coach Roy Williams likely will continue into the weekend.

Baddour insisted, however, that Williams had yet to be offered the job.

"I have had several very good conversations with Roy Williams over the last two days," Baddour said in a statement released by the athletic department. "Those talks will continue through the weekend. I have not offered the job to coach Williams, but we have had good conversations that will continue over the next few days."

Williams' name immediately surfaced as a candidate at North Carolina, his alma mater, after Matt Doherty resigned as coach last week. In 2000, Williams turned down the North Carolina job before it went to Doherty.

track star expecting

RALEIGH, N.C., April 10 (UPI) -- Track star Marion Jones will not compete during the 2003 season while she is pregnant.

Jones and fellow track star Tim Montgomery announced Thursday they are expecting the birth of their first child later this summer.

Jones is a five-time Olympic gold medalist, claiming gold in the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the 2000 Sydney Games. Montgomery is the world record-holder in the 100.

Jones will return to training by the end of the year, with a focus on the 2004 outdoor season, including the Olympics in Athens, Greece.

Anderson gets Jackson State post

JACKSON, Miss., April 10 (UPI) -- Tevester Anderson has been named the new men's basketball coach at Jackson State University.

He becomes the sixth coach at the school since 1949, and inherits a team that went 10-19 last season, including 9-9 in the Southwest Athletic Conference.

His hiring is a major surprise because if his age. Anderson is 66.

"Age was never a concern," Athletics Director Roy Culberson said. "He's got a lot of energy, he's very enthusiastic, and he's got experience. That's all that mattered to us."

Anderson, a native of Canton, Miss., has been the coach at Murray State the past five years. He averaged 20 wins a year at Murray State, including two Ohio Valley regular season titles, two OVC championships, and two appearances in the NCAA, and was named Ohio Valley Coach of the Year, reaching 100 victories faster that any coach in the school's history.

Sale of Sabres approved

BUFFALO, N.Y., April 10 (UPI) -- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced approval of the sale of the Buffalo Sabres.

Both the NHL Board of Governors and U.S. Bankruptcy Court had to sign off on the sale before the team could be handed over to billionaire Tom Golisano who reportedly paid more than $80 million, plus future operating losses, for the Sabres.

The 61-year-old Golisano is the founder of Rochester, N.Y.-based Paychex, the nation's second-largest payroll-processing company. He failed last fall in his third bid to become governor of New York.

Former Sabres president Larry Quinn has served as Golisano's point man in the negotiations and said the final step in the sale is a closing, which is expected to take place in the next few days.

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