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Sunday, February 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Woods to end 3-month layoff at Firestone

Tiger Woods has committed to play next week at the Bridgestone Invitational, ending an 11-week layoff caused by an injured left leg. (Associated Press)
Tiger Woods has committed to play next week at the Bridgestone Invitational, ending an 11-week layoff caused by an injured left leg. (Associated Press)

Golf: Tiger Woods finally gets back to golf next week at the Bridgestone Invitational, ending an 11-week break to heal injuries to his left leg.

Woods used his website to announce his return on Thursday. He posted on his Twitter account that he’s “feeling fit and ready to tee it up at Firestone next week. Excited to get back out there!”

It marks the third-longest layoff of his career, only this time Woods returns with as much uncertainty about his future as ever. Along with questions about the strength of his left knee and Achilles, he embarks on his latest comeback with a new caddie, and without guarantees Woods will be eligible for more than two weeks.

Woods last month fired Steve Williams, who caddied for Adam Scott at the U.S. Open, then angered his boss by working for the Australian again at the AT&T National without seeking permission.

Woods has plunged to No. 21 in the world – his lowest ranking since Jan. 26, 1997 – and has gone more than 20 months since last winning the Australian Masters in 2009, shortly before he was exposed for having multiple extramarital affairs that led to divorce.

He last played May 12 at The Players Championship, when he withdrew because of recurring pain in his left leg after going 6 over on the front nine. He has said he would not compete again until he was fully healed.

Browne’s eagles give him U.S. Senior Open lead: Olin Browne eagled two holes in a five-hole span down the stretch and finished with a 7-under-par 64 for a two-stroke lead after the opening round of the U.S. Senior Open in Toledo, Ohio.

Browne, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour in his third year on the over-50 circuit, had four birdies and two eagles.

The 64 tied for the lowest first round at a U.S. Senior Open, matching Bruce Fleisher (2000), R.W. Eaks (2002) and Craig Stadler (2005).

Playing late on a humid day at lengthy Inverness Club, Browne was two strokes clear of Mark O’Meara and Michael Allen, who each shot bogey-free 66s.

Lee takes lead at Women’s British Open: Meena Lee overcame wet conditions to shoot a 7-under 65 for a two-shot lead after the first round of the Women’s British Open in Carnoustie, Scotland.

The South Korean had seven birdies and no bogeys playing mainly in a heavy downpour.

Brittany Lincicome, who started her round in good conditions early in the morning, set the early pace with a 67. Among a group at 68 were Angela Stanford, South Korea’s Amy Yang, Germany’s Caroline Masson and Sweden’s Sofie Gustafson.

Wendy Ward (Edwall, Wash.) shot an opening-round 74.

Immelman leads by one at Greenbrier: Trevor Immelman shot a 6-under 64 for a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Greenbrier Classic in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. The former Masters champion carded seven birdies and a bogey on the redesigned Old White TPC course for his best round of the year. The South African missed the cut in last year’s inaugural event and is seeking his first top-10 finish since having wrist surgery in 2009.

Gary Woodland, Billy Mayfair, Derek Lamely, Webb Simpson and Steven Bowditch each shot 65, while four others had a 66.

Phil Mickelson, who can take over the FedEx Cup points lead with a win, shot an even-par round that included five birdies and five bogeys.

Vandersloot scores 12 as Sky beat Shock

WNBA: Chicago’s Courtney Vandersloot (Gonzaga) had 12 points, five rebounds and four assists and the Sky topped the Tulsa Shock 64-55.

Sylvia Fowles had a team-high 14 points for Chicago.

Baddour steps down as UNC A.D.

NCAA: North Carolina is now looking for a new football coach and athletic director.

A day after the school fired Butch Davis amid an NCAA investigation into his program, Dick Baddour said he will step down after 14 years running the 28-sport department. In the final year of a three-year contract that expires in June, Baddour will stay until the school can hire a replacement because he wants his successor to select the next coach instead of inheriting a hire.

“It is my responsibility to do what is in the best interest of the program, and this is my decision,” Baddour said in a news conference to discuss Davis’ firing.

The school also promoted defensive coordinator Everett Withers to interim head coach.

Oklahoma admits men’s hoops violations: Oklahoma admitted that its men’s basketball program committed two major rules violations and asked the NCAA for leniency despite its second serious infractions case in the last five years.

Oklahoma asked the NCAA to place the program on two more years of probation, vacate its wins from a 13-18 season in 2009-10, and take away one scholarship, two official visits and 10 in-person recruiting days during the upcoming academic year.

The school said former assistant coach Oronde Taliaferro broke NCAA rules by failing to report that a player had received an impermissible extra benefit and by lying to Oklahoma and NCAA enforcement staff during the investigation.

Lochte beats Phelps with world record

Swimming: Michael Phelps knew it would take a world record to win the 200-meter individual medley at the world championships in Shanghai. He just thought it would come from him.

Instead, Phelps found himself on the losing end of a close finish, watching teammate Ryan Lochte celebrate the first world record set since high-tech bodysuits were banned 11/2 years ago.

It was Phelps’ second straight loss to his good friend, who had beaten the 14-time Olympic gold medalist in the 200 freestyle two nights earlier.

Lochte sprinted to the wall in 1 minute, 54.00 seconds, then pumped his right arm before clasping hands with Phelps in the next lane. He lowered his mark set two years ago in Rome by one-tenth of a second.

Shackleford installed as 5-2 favorite

Horse racing: Preakness winner Shackleford is the 5-2 favorite in a field of eight for Sunday’s $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J.

Belmont Stakes winner Ruler On Ice is the co-third choice along with stablemate Pants On Fire at 4-1. Coil, trained by four-time Haskell winner Bob Baffert, is the second choice at 3-1.

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