Golf: Padraig Harrington found a way to take some of the attention away from Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy on Thursday. He made six birdies on the tough back nine of Bethpage Black and opened the FedEx Cup playoffs with a 7-under 64 for a one-shot lead at The Barclays in Farmingdale, N.Y.
And that surely got the attention of Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal. The Irishman has to rely on a captain’s pick to make his seventh straight European team, and that looks to be unlikely. Not only has the three-time major champion gone four years without winning against a strong field, he and Olazabal are not the best of friends after a dispute at the Seve Trophy from nine years ago.
“The only answer I can give at this stage is I’m pleading the Fifth Amendment on that one,” Harrington said. “I don’t want to go in there and try too desperately to beg for a pick, or I don’t want to go in there and give excuses for anything. … I’m just going to play golf.”
Harrington has a one-shot lead over Nick Watney and Brian Harman.
Sergio Garcia was part of the group at 66, while defending champion Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler were in the group at 67.
Woods scratched out a 68 and McIlroy finished at 69.
• Tseng leads in B.C.: Top-ranked Yani Tseng shot a 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Canadian Women’s Open in Coquitlam, B.C.
U.S. Women’s Open champion Na Yeon Choi was second. Lydia Ko, the 15-year-old South Korean-born New Zealander who won the U.S. Women’s Amateur two weeks ago, was two strokes back at 68 along with South Korea’s Inbee Park.
California, Panama advance at LLWS
Little League: Hance Smith hit two homers, including a first-inning grand slam, to lead Petaluma, Calif., to an 11-1, five-inning victory over San Antonio and a berth in the U.S. championship game in the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa.
California will play Goodlettsville, Tenn., on Saturday.
Aguadulce, Panama edged Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, 2-1 to advance to the international final against Japan.
Indiana scores final 15 points to edge Storm
WNBA: Shavonte Zellous’ buzzer-beating 3-pointer capped Indiana’s closing 15-0 run and lifted the visiting Fever to a 68-66 victory over the Seattle Storm.
Tamika Catchings had 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Fever (13-8), who trailed by 13 with 4:04 to go. Briann January (Lewis and Clark). added 11 points and Zellous finished with 10.
Camille Little scored 15 points to lead Seattle (10-13). The loss spoiled Lauren Jackson’s season debut with the Storm. The three-time MVP, who missed the first half of the season while training with the Australian national team for the Olympics, finished with four points and six rebounds.
NHL and union meet, make no progress
Miscellany: Another NHL lockout is beginning look inevitable.
Unable to move beyond the philosophical stage of talks, the owners and players have watched another week slip by without progress. They sat down together for a quick session Thursday morning in Toronto before reporting the same significant gap that has existed all along.
• Penn State to wear blue ribbons on helmets: Penn State football players will have a blue ribbon on the back of their helmets to show support for child abuse victims.
Athletic director Dave Joyner made the announcement on a Penn State football radio show Thursday night. The team had announced earlier this month the addition of the ribbon, but it was not clear exactly where on the uniform it would be placed.
• Irate White cancels UFC show: The UFC canceled its Sept. 1 pay-per-view show Thursday after light heavyweight contender Dan Henderson injured his knee and champion Jon Jones declined a replacement fight with Chael Sonnen.
UFC President Dana White was left furious with Jones and his trainer, Greg Jackson, after the UFC was forced to scrap a major card for the first time in his 11 years in charge of mixed martial arts’ dominant promotion.
• Bolt clocks fast 200: As tough as it is to upstage Usain Bolt, fellow Jamaican Johan Blake just about did it at the Athletissima Diamond League meet in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Bolt, the Olympic champion and world record holder over 100 and 200 meters, timed 19.58 seconds in the fastest 200 ever run at the speedy Lausanne track.
Twenty minutes earlier, Blake, Bolt’s friend and rival, closed the gap between them in the all-time 100 rankings.
Blake, a two-time Olympic silver medalist, clocked 9.69 to match Tyson Gay as the fastest man in history not named Usain Bolt.