Golf: In the week Tiger Woods had away from golf during the FedEx Cup playoffs, Nick Faldo said he had lost his aura, Greg Norman said he was intimidated by Rory McIlroy, and Johnny Miller said Woods once wanted lessons from him.
“Nice week, huh?” Woods said, grinning.
Thursday in Atlanta at the Tour Championship, Woods kept the ball in play at East Lake, chipped in for one of his six birdies and wound up with a 4-under-par 66 for a share of the lead with Justin Rose.
Scott Piercy finished with a 67, tied with Steve Stricker, Matt Kuchar and Bo Van Pelt. McIlroy finished with a 69.
• Thompson matches tourney record: Lexi Thompson opened her title defense at the Navistar LPGA Classic in Prattville, Ala, with a career-best 9-under 63 to match the tournament record.
Lizette Salas and Hee Young Park were tied for second at 65, and Stacy Lewis was another stroke back along with Karen Stupples, Amanda Blumenherst, Wendy Ward (Edwall, Wash.) and Mi Hyang Lee.
Arkansas’ Smith has $26M in debt
College football: Arkansas coach John L. Smith is trying to wipe away $25.7 million in debt in bankruptcy court and hang onto $1.2 million in retirement accounts and some personal property, all while he leads the Razorbacks through one of the strangest seasons in team history.
Smith was coaching Louisville when he began investing in real estate, which he has said was profitable until land values took a nosedive. Smith filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Sept. 6, and court papers filed Wednesday detail the depth of his financial losses.
• Arkansas’ Wilson cleared to return: Tyler Wilson is back for Arkansas. Doctors cleared Wilson to return to action Saturday against Rutgers. Last season’s first-team All-Southeastern Conference quarterback missed the Razorbacks’ 52-0 loss to No. 1 Alabama last week with what he called a concussion.
NHL players in Europe risking injury
Hockey: The NHL players who compete in Europe during the lockout are risking injury, forcing them to pay high insurance premiums.
According to an underwriter whose New Jersey company insured about 75 players who played in Europe during the 2004-05 lockout, it costs $10,000 to $25,000 per $1 million to insure the players.
Chris Lack, an underwriter with Exceptional Risk Advisors of Mahwah, N.J., said his company has insured about 10 players during this year’s lockout and has “given about 100 quotes.”
The NHL Players’ Association is cautioning its members that NHL teams can suspend them or walk away from contracts if they are injured in Europe.
• Lockout mixed bag for Europe: The flow of star players to European teams during the NHL lockout could distort national competitions, International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel said. He said he balanced the increased attention for European hockey against potential damage to the integrity of leagues, especially if players return to North America midseason.
Filing: Speedskater ordered to tamper
Miscellany: U.S. speedskater Simon Cho allegedly tampered with the skates of a Canadian rival at last year’s world short track team speedskating championships in Poland on the orders of his coach, according to an arbitration filing.
The charge is contained in the filing on behalf of 13 U.S. short track skaters seeking to have coach Jae Su Chun dismissed from his job as head coach of the national team. They allege that Chun allegedly asked Cho to sabotage a Canadian skater. Chun has yet to respond to the allegations.
• Real Madrid coach suing journalist: Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho is taking legal action against one of Marca’s journalists over an article published this week, the Spanish newspaper said.
The Spanish champions then announced they were studying their own legal case against a former Barcelona vice president who tweeted Mourinho was a “psychopath.”
Mourinho’s law firm claims journalist Roberto Palomar “referred to our client as ‘the type of person who would flee after knocking someone down.’ ”
• Michael’s Power wins Little Brown Jug: Michael’s Power won the Little Brown Jug, beating Sweet Lou by 13/4 lengths in Delaware, Ohio, in the second leg of the Triple Crown for 3-year-old pacers.