In Sports from United Press International

May 14, 2003 at 3:41 PM
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Singh speaks out; many react

DALLAS, May 14 (UPI) -- PGA veteran Vijay Singh has created a firestorm of controversy this week with incendiary comments about Annika Sorenstam competing in next week's Colonial.

For sure, his remarks have pretty much guaranteed that the tournament will sell out and have fairly solid television ratings for as long as she is competitive. CBS, which is airing the event, already has said it will extend its coverage if Sorenstam makes the cut.

Singh is angered by Sorenstam's expected participation in the Colonial, which will be played May 22-25.

In an interview with the Associated Press in Charlotte, N.C., which was published Monday, Singh said a number of things that are thought many PGA players feel or think but are afraid to say.

Part of his comments were contained Wednesday in an editorial by the Dallas Morning News.

"I hope she missed the cut," Singh told the Associated Press. "Why? Because she doesn't belong out there. If I'm drawn with her, which I won't be, I won't play."

After a practice round Tuesday for this week's Bryon Nelson Classic, Singh backed off only slightly.

"I said, 'If I miss the cut, I hope she misses the cut because I don't want to get beat by a lady,'" Singh said. "This is a men's tour. There are guys out here trying to make a living. It's not a ladies' tour. If she wants to play, or if any lady for that matter wants to play on the men's tour, they should have to qualify to play."

Singh said Tuesday that he is surprised about all the attention his comments have gotten.

"There was no attack on Annika," Singh said. "If it was, it wasn't put that way."

Sorenstam, who has been extended a sponsor's exemption to compete in the Colonial, says she will play regardless of how people feel. Many PGA players have whispered that they do not think Sorenstam, easily the best player on the LPGA circuit, will not make the cut.

"I believe that I have got a chance at the Colonial, otherwise I wouldn't go," Sorenstam was quoted by Reuters. "This is a one-time opportunity. I want to see how good I am against the best men in the world on a course that I think I can handle. About 95 percent of the courses (on the PGA Tour) I wouldn't stand a chance on. I'm not here to prove anything. I'm here to test myself and face a new challenge. I just look at it as the biggest challenge I've ever had in my career."

One of those who is not happy about the exemption is Nick Price.

"(This) reeks of publicity", Price told Reuters. "She should have to qualify for a PGA Tour event if she wanted to prove herself at the highest level."

Among other critics are Scott Hoch, analyst Andy North, and Fulton Allem.

"You can't mix oil and water; it's as simple as that," Allem was quoted by the Dallas Morning News. "I'm 100 percent behind Vijay because men can't play on the women's tour, so why should women be allowed to play on our tour?"

Among those who have give her their support are world No. 1 Tiger Woods, who won't even play the Colonial, Brandel Chamblee, a PGA veteran who also is getting a sponsor's exemption, and Dan Forsman.

"Everybody has a stake in this," Forsman said. "I think that's why it's a captivating story. There will be some critics. There also will be some supporters. I suppose I'm in that camp."

"I think it's unfortunate Vijay said that - very unfortunate," said Woods, who this week goes for a third successive victory in the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open in Germany. "I don't think his is a widely-held view. I think it's just Vijay's opinion. My message to Annika is 'just go and play.' I think it would have been more fair for her to have four or five starts. Then you can judge. The Colonial is very difficult, and it would be a great performance if she makes the cut -- a fantastic performance."

Woods and Sorenstam share the same business manager, and Woods was consulted over which tournament Sorenstam should play in once she made it clear she was interested in competing on the PGA Tour.

Sorenstam will attempt to become the first woman in 58 years to compete on the PGA Tour. Babe Zaharias played in and qualified for the 1945 Los Angeles Open.

DeBusschere dead at 62

NEW YORK, May 14 (UPI) -- Hall of Famer Dave DeBusschere, regarded as the rock of the two New York Knicks' championship teams in 1970 and '73, died Wednesday.

He was 62.

A team spokeswoman confirmed DeBusschere died of a "massive heart attack."

Playing for Knicks teams which featured five Hall of Famers, DeBusschere was one of the league's elite power forwards, making the All-Defensive Team six times.

DeBusschere also played major league baseball with the Chicago White Sox in 1962 and '63 while playing with the Detroit Pistons in the NBA. He was a player-coach with the Pistons from November 1964-to-March 1967 before being traded to the Knicks.

DeBusschere also served as commissioner of the American Basketball Association, and was the Knicks' general manager from May 1982-to-January 1986.

NBA conference semifinals continue

DETROIT, May 14 (UPI) -- Philadelphia and Detroit, even at two games each, play Game Five Wednesday night in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series.

The home team has won every game thus far. Star guard Allen Iverson of the 76ers is looking forward to playing again at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Iverson admitted he "let one slip away" in Game Two, when he missed two free throws with 15 seconds left in regulation of a 104-97 overtime loss at Detroit. He rebounded to lead his team to back-to-back wins over the weekend, totaling 61 points and 22 assists.

However, he's still thinking about those two missed free throws which preceded the tying basket by rookie Tayshaun Prince in the final seconds of regulation.

"I think I can get the bad taste out of my mouth if we can win the series," Iverson said. "I am definitely looking forward to going back to Detroit and trying to make up for what happened the last time I was there."

Detroit Coach Rick Carlisle has used a variety of defenders on Iverson, who had 36 points and 11 assists in Game Four. Richard Hamilton did most of the chasing of Iverson, and led the Pistons with 30 points.

The 76ers also got major contributions from Derrick Coleman and Kenny Thomas, who again outplayed Ben Wallace and Clifford Robinson inside in Game Four.

Coleman had 14 points and 15 rebounds, and Thomas added 14 points. Wallace grabbed 15 rebounds, but scored just seven points, and Robinson finished with five points on 2-of-9 shooting.

Detroit point guard Chauncey Billups returned Sunday after missing two games with a sprained left ankle, but was a non-factor, missing 5-of-6 shots in 23 minutes.

The Sixers have injury problems of their own.

Philadelphia point guard Eric Snow has been playing with an injured right foot, and reserve forward Tyrone Hill will miss the rest of the series with a torn right calf muscle.

Game Six is Friday at Philadelphia. The series winner gets the second-seeded New Jersey Nets, who completed a sweep of sixth-seeded Boston with a 105-99 double-overtime win on Monday.

San Antonio and Dallas both won pivotal Game Fives of their Western Conference semifinal series on Tuesday, taking 3-2 leads.

The top-seeded Spurs wasted a 25-point lead and escaped the Los Angeles Lakers, 96-94, when a three-point jumper by Lakers forward Robert Horry, one of the best clutch shooters in this era, in the closing seconds went in and out.

Meanwhile, the Mavericks, who are not known for their defense, held Sacramento to a paltry 10 points, a franchise-low, in a pivotal third quarter, and wiped out the Kings, 112-93.

Morgan replaces Eustachy at Iowa State

AMES, Iowa, May 14 (UPI) -- Wayne Morgan has been named the new men's basketball coach at Iowa State, succeeding his boss, Larry Eustachy, after just one year as an assistant.

Morgan told WHO-TV in Des Moines Tuesday night that he was offered and has accepted the job, ending a controversial period that included the buyout of Eustachy.

Morgan, 52, served as an assistant under Eustachy last season, his first at the school. He came to the Cyclones after six seasons as coach at Long Beach State, where he compiled a 91-84 record. He also spent 12 seasons as an assistant to Jim Boeheim at Syracuse.

Eustachy resigned May 5, one week after photographs were published that showed him kissing co-eds and drinking at parties on other college campuses following losses by the Cyclones last season. He reportedly was the highest-paid state employee in Iowa.

Eustachy admitted he is an alcoholic, but Athletic Director Bruce Van De Velde recommended the coach be fired. Instead, Eustachy and the university agreed on a $960,000 buyout.

The Des Moines Register, which initially reported the Eustachy pictures, Tuesday also reported that Tennessee-Chattanooga Coach Jeff Lebo was the unanimous choice of the school's search committee to replace Eustachy, but turned down the job.

Creighton's Dana Altman and Ray Lopes of Fresno State also were candidates, but withdrew from consideration before being interviewed. Steve McClain of Wyoming interviewed for the job on Friday, but also withdrew from consideration.

Lebo spent two days on campus, but issued a statement Tuesday saying he was going back to Chattanooga.

"I am flattered that Iowa State had an interest in me," Lebo said in the statement. "Iowa State is a first-class institution, and it has a first-rate Athletic Director in Bruce Van De Velde. However, I have withdrawn my name from consideration from this position, and I am looking forward to coaching at Chattanooga next year."

"Hiring coach Morgan is good for us because he knows the system," center Jared Homan told the Register Tuesday night. "I heard coaches kept dropping out of the picture, so I was starting to get a little worried, but I knew that coach Morgan was still there for us."

Big East to fight reported ACC expansion

PROVIDENCE, R.I., May 14 (UPI) -- The commissioner of the Big East has decided to try to keep the conference alive.

The decision was announced one day after the Atlantic Coast Conference voted to take steps toward expansion by voting to add three schools from the Big East.

The schools likely will come from a group of four ? Miami, Syracuse, Boston College, and Virginia Tech.

"I am anxious to meet with our conference members in Florida and am prepared to do whatever it takes to preserve the 24-year history of the Big East Conference," said Commissioner Mike Tranghese. "This is a conference that is worth preserving, and we should all look forward to the challenge."

The Charlotte Observer reported on its Web site Tuesday that no formal invitations have been extended.

In a statement late Tuesday, ACC Commissioner John Swofford would say only that conference officials were discussing the matter.

"(This was) another step towards completion of an ongoing process that is not yet finalized," Swofford said in a statement late Tuesday. "It is not appropriate at this time for me to share the particulars of (Tuesday) morning's conference call out of respect to our own schools and to potential candidates. At this time, no final decisions have been reached."

"We have been monitoring the news surrounding the ACC and expansion," Tranghese said. "I will take Swofford at his word that the ACC presidents have not formally voted."

The centerpiece of any expansion would involve Miami, which has won five national football championships since 1983, but ACC presidents reportedly are divided on which schools would join the Hurricanes in leaving the Big East.

The ACC has not expanded since adding Florida State in 1991. The main attraction of a 12-team league would be the ability to split into two divisions, and play a lucrative football championship game.

Should Miami depart, it would be a serious blow to the Big East, which was formed more than two decades ago with basketball as its centerpiece. The addition of Miami allowed the Big East to form a football league in 1992.

Miami officials admitted last month they would listen to an offer from ACC officials, adding the school also would consider a counterproposal from the Big East.

"I will take (Miami Athletic Director) Paul Dee at his word that Miami intends to take its time in reviewing its options," Tranghese said.

If three schools were to leave the Big East, that league likely would seek additional members. A Conference USA team such as Louisville has been mentioned as a possible candidate.

In that scenario, a football split could leave five traditional basketball schools -- Georgetown, St. John's, Villanova, Providence, and Seton Hall -- out in the cold.

Minnesota tries to break through

ANAHEIM, Calif., May 14 (UPI) -- After being shut out at home in consecutive contests to start the Western Conference finals, Minnesota visits Anaheim Wednesday night.

At the Arrowhead Pond, it will be Game Three of the Western Conference finals, with the Wild, trailing two games to none, needing to solve Anaheim goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who has been outstanding for the Mighty Ducks.

He has shutout the Wild in back-to-back games to open the best-of-seven series, and has played like Hall of Famer.

On Monday, he stopped 24 shots, and the Ducks got shorthanded goals from rookie defenseman Kurt Sauer and Rob Niedermayer in a 2-0 win to grab what looks like an insurmountable two games to none lead, the way Giguere is performing, for the third straight series.

Giguere, who turns 26 Friday, became the fourth goalie in NHL history to record consecutive shutouts in the conference finals. He extended his shutout streak to 153 minutes, 17 seconds.

Also, in six games against the Wild this season, Giguere has four shutouts. In Minnesota's last visit to Anaheim on Jan. 20, Antti Laaksonen beat Giguere with 2:06 left in overtime to give the Wild a 2-1 victory.

Game Four is Friday in Anaheim.

In the Eastern Conference finals, defenseman Tommy Albelin ended an eight-year playoff scoring drought in his return to the lineup Tuesday, sending the New Jersey Devils on their way to a 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators that evened the Eastern Conference finals at one win apiece.

That series shifts to East Rutherford, N.J., for Game Three on Thursday. The Devils are 6-0 at home in the playoffs.

Funny Cide heads field for Preakness

BALTIMORE, May 14 (UPI) -- Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide will take on nine rivals Saturday during the Preakness, the second leg of horse racing's Triple Crown.

Funny Cide also will likely have to overcome an unfavorable post position. When the draw was held Wednesday morning to select the order in which post selections will be made, Funny Cide ended up with the 10th and last spot.

The tight turns at Pimlico Race Course make it difficult to pass, so a far outside post could make a difference in the 1 3/16th-mile race.

A stunning victory by Funny Cide in the Kentucky Derby, a subsequent investigation of jockey Jose Santos, and a couple of injuries kept the field for the Preakness in a constant state of flux over the past week.

The field was as low as five or six horses last week, rose to a dozen by Monday, and finally came back down to an even 10. Peace Rules, Scrinshaw, and Ten Cents a Shine will join Funny Cide as the only horses to compete in the first two legs of the Triple Crown.

Funny Cide become the first gelding to win the Kentucky Derby since Clyde van Dusen in 1929, upsetting favorite Empire Maker as the 12-1 choice.

Trainer Bobby Frankel considered putting Empire Maker in the Preakness field when it was learned that Santos was being investigated for possibly having an illegal device in his hand during his ride at Churchill Downs.

Santos was exonerated by Kentucky Derby stewards on Monday. By that time, Frankel already had committed Peace Rules as his lone candidate for Saturday's race.

Peace Rules was third in the Kentucky Derby after beating Funny Cide in the Louisiana Derby.

Trainer Bob Baffert scratched Indian Express on Sunday because of a minor foot injury, but he will be represented by Senor Swinger, who was fifth in the Wood Memorial and won the Grade III American Turf at Churchill Downs the day before the Kentucky Derby. Pat Day, who rode Ten Most Wanted in the Derby, will be aboard Senor Swinger.

Baffert has won the Preakness four times, all in the last six years, including the last two years with Point Given and War Emblem. He also won with Silver Charm (1997) and Real Quiet (1998).

Senor Swinger will be part of the same betting entry with Scrinshaw, the 11th-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby, who is trained by D. Wayne Lukas and ridden by Gary Stevens.

Unlike the Kentucky Derby, horses with common ownership are coupled in Maryland wagering. Scrinshaw and Senor Swinger are both owned by Bob and Beverly Lewis. Lukas also will saddle Cents a Shine, who was eighth in the Kentucky Derby at 37-1, and will switch jockeys, choosing Patrick Valenzuela over Calvin Borel.

Champali was taken out of the field Wednesday morning because of a bout with colic.

The race will include Kissin' Saint, who was third behind Empire Maker and Funny Cide in the Wood Memorial, and New York Hero, who won the Grade II Lane's End, but was a disappointing fourth in the Wood.

New York Hero is named after the Manhattan heroes of Sept. 11, but is won of three Maryland-bred horses in the field.

The others are Foufa's Warrior, who races at nearby Laurel and was a distant third in the Illinois Derby, and Cherokee's Boy, who won the Federico Tesio at Pimlico on April 19.

A Maryland-bred horse has not won the Preakness since Disputed Testamony in 1983.

Midway Road, who won an allowance race by 11 3/4 lengths at Keeneland on April 24, completed the field.

Nadeau only semi-conscious

RICHMOND, Va., May 14 (UPI) -- NASCAR Winston Cup veteran Jerry Nadeau is listed as being in a semiconscious state at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center.

The hospital said he has a "moderate to severe" head injury.

MB2 Motorsports General Manager Jay Frye said doctors remain encouraged by Nadeau's recovery. He was placed in an induced coma upon being hospitalized May 2, but has been communicating by squeezing hands and making facial gestures.

"He is in a transitional state of regaining consciousness," Frye said. "Being as determined and motivated as he is, he has a hard time sitting still. I think that will help him recover."

Nadeau, 32, faces a long recovery. He has begun a program that includes being placed in a standing position, sitting in a chair, being physically manipulated, and being stimulated by television, including racing tapes and familiar smells.

He was in critical condition after sustaining head, lung and rib injuries during a practice crash for the Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. He also broke a shoulder blade.

Nadeau was taken to VCU Medical Center, where he since has been moved from the intensive care unit to a private room.

He was hurt when the back end of his Pontiac Grand Prix got loose and spun, hitting the wall with the driver's side of the vehicle between turns 1 and 2.

That was the area of the 3/4-mile speedway where water seeped and caused flooding a day earlier, forcing a four-hour delay in qualifying for a Busch series race. Nadeau had to be cut out of the car, and needed breathing assistance before he was taken by helicopter to the hospital.

Nadeau is in his sixth full season on the Winston Cup circuit. His only victory in 177 career starts came in the final race of 2000 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

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