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Dec. 12, 2012 at 5:02 PM
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Nine-time LPGA winner Colleen Walker dies

NAPLES, Fla., Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Colleen Walker, who won nine tournaments in a 23-year LPGA career, has died at the age of 56.

Walker died Tuesday at her home in Valrico, Fla., after being diagnosed with cancer for a second time, the LPGA said in a release.

Walker, born Aug. 16, 1956, in Jacksonville, Fla., took up golf at age 14 and became an LPGA professional in 1982.

She collected her first tournament win in the 1987 Mayflower Classic and in 1988 won the Vare Trophy for low scoring average. She won three times in 1992 and her final two titles, including a major championship at the du Maurier Classic, came in 1997.

Walker was awarded with the LPGA's Heather Farr Award in 2004, given to a player on the tour who through hard work, dedication and love of the game of golf, demonstrated determination, perseverance and spirit.

That was after Walker was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2003.

She returned to competitive golf that September after the cancer was declared in remission. However, about a year ago doctors said Walker again had cancer and that the disease had spread to her hips and pelvis.

Walker is survived by her husband, Ron Bakich, and a son, Tyler Walker Bakich.

Bears sign kicker Mare, QB Cutler to play

CHICAGO, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- The Chicago Bears placed kicker Robbie Gould on its season-ending injured reserve list and hired veteran kicker Olindo Mare to replace him.

Mare, a 16-year NFL player, won a tryout against veterans Billy Cundiff and Neil Rackers and younger kickers Garrett Lindholm and Justin Medlock and was signed to a one-year contract, the Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday.

Gould, the fourth most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history at 85.6 percent, suffered a calf injury in warmups before the Bears' 21-14 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis Sunday.

Mare, who played for the Carolina Panthers last season, has made 81.2 percent of his field goal attempts in his career with the Seattle Seahawks, the New Orleans Saints, Miami Dolphins and the Panthers, the newspaper said.

Bears starting quarterback Jay Cutler, who left the game against the Vikings with a stiff neck, indicated he is ready to play in Sunday's home game against the Green Bay Packers.

Yankees' Rivera to be back by Opening Day

NEW YORK, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera says he will be "definitely ready" for Spring Training and be back in the lineup for Opening Day.

Rivera, 43, tore his right anterior cruciate ligament during batting practice in Kansas City in May and underwent knee surgery.

He told MLB.com during a charity event at Yankee Stadium Wednesday he threw off the mound for a commercial recently and the leg felt good.

"My arm is good. Everything else is good, so I will start throwing the baseball pretty soon," the closer said. The Yankees open the 2013 regular-season at home against the Boston Red Sox April 1.

Rivera, who leads Major League baseball in all-time saves with 650, signed a one-year, $10 million contract with the team and said he would be "definitely ready" to pitch in Spring Training.

"The leg is getting stronger, and that's it" he said. "You have to give it time. I'm doing my part. It isn't quite there yet."

NFLPA files grievance on drug waivers

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- The NFL Players Association has filed a grievance related to waivers players signed regarding the prescribed use of pain medication Toradol.

The NFLPA said Wednesday it was asking that liability waivers players were required to sign before being given Toradol be voided. The union issued the action against the NFL's teams and the league Management Council.

Toradol is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory used as short-term treatment for moderate-to-severe pain. The drug has been linked to increased risk of life-threatening heart and circulation problems along with serious side effects to the stomach or intestines.

Team physicians, acting as per the Collective Bargaining Agreement, have been seeking the signed waivers.

"If an NFL Club physician believes a player would be placed at an unacceptable medical risk by using Toradol as part of the care and treatment of an injury, or if the club physician is concerned about the long-term effects of such use, the team's medical staff should inform the player of that opinion and refuse to administer Toradol," the NFLPA said in a release.

"The NFL Club physician should not administer Toradol and require that a player sign a waiver of liability before doing so. If, on the other hand, there is no such concern on the part of the club's medical staff, it should advise the player that the use of Toradol is appropriate."

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