Golf: Tiger Woods returned to golf Thursday and it was as if he never left – except that he looked healthy.
Woods flubbed four chips, had only four birdie chances inside 20 feet and stumbled to a 5-over-par 77 in the opening round of the Hero World Challenge in Windermere, Florida. He was in last place among the 18 players and 11 shots behind leader Jordan Spieth. Steve Stricker, Henrik Stenson, Zach Johnson and Rickie Fowler are in a group one behind Spieth.
Woods hadn’t played since the PGA Championship on Aug. 9 because of lingering back issues. He also missed the cut at Congressional in June in his first start after back surgery. This time, Woods is coming back from injury and working with a new coach. The score was not a surprise. Woods showed ample amounts of rust, especially around the greens.
His lone birdie came on No. 12 when he spun a wedge back to tap-in range.
• Fisher leads Nedbank: Ross Fisher opened the 2015 European Tour season with a 6-under 66 to lead the Nedbank Golf Challenge after one round in Sun City, South Africa.
Fisher last won on the tour in South Africa in March and the Englishman felt right at home with four birdies on the front nine and three on the back.
He’s two shots clear of a three-way tie for second between South African George Coetzee, Germany’s Marcel Siem and Frenchman Alexander Levy. Siem had the shot of the day when he holed out from the fairway for an eagle on the par-4 No. 17, which won him a new car.
Canucks stay hot, shut out Penguins
NHL: Brad Richardson scored two goals and added an assist, and Eddie Lack posted his fifth NHL shutout to lift visiting Vancouver to another road win, 3-0 over short-handed Pittsburgh.
The Canucks, in the midst of a season-high, seven-game trip, won their league-best 11th road game. Vancouver, which has won five of six overall, beat the Penguins in Pittsburgh for the first time since Nov. 22, 2008.
Richardson scored his fifth and sixth goals, and Shawn Matthias also netted his sixth and added an assist for the Canucks, who hadn’t defeated Pittsburgh anywhere in four years.
• Predators stop Blues: Mike Ribeiro scored the winning goal and had two assists, and Nashville spoiled goalie Martin Brodeur’s debut with the Blues by beating St. Louis 4-3 at Nashville, Tennessee.
The 42-year-old Brodeur made 20 saves in his first start for a team other than the New Jersey Devils. The Blues signed the four-time Vezina Trophy winner on Tuesday.
Rookie Filip Forsberg had a goal and an assist, and Eric Nystrom and Colin Wilson had a goal apiece as the Predators improved to 11-1-1 at home.
• Alfredsson retires: Former Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson officially retired.
The 41-year-old Swedish forward spent most of his 18 seasons in Ottawa. He also led Sweden to a gold medal in 2006 at the Turin Olympics.
Cavs edge Knicks, run win streak to five
NBA: Kyrie Irving scored a season-high 37 points, including a layup with 10 seconds left after a timeout he didn’t seem to want, and Cleveland beat the host New York Knicks 90-87 for their season-high fifth straight victory.
Irving carried the Cavs most of the game before LeBron James had five straight points late that helped Cleveland pull it out. James finished with 19 points and 12 assists.
Carmelo Anthony ended a 4-for-19 night by missing a 3-pointer in the final seconds as the Knicks dropped their sixth straight and fell to 4-16.
Tim Hardaway Jr. added 20 points and Amare Stoudemire had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Knicks, who were trying to surprise the Cavs for the second time this season.
• Blazers dump Pacers: LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points and 13 rebounds for this fourth straight double-double and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the visiting Indiana Pacers 88-82.
Damian Lillard led all scorers with 23 points for the Blazers, who have won three straight and 12 of their last 13.
Rodney Stuckey had 16 points for the Pacers, who have lost three straight to open a four-game road trip. His jumper got the Pacers within three with 53 second left, but they couldn’t get any closer.
Cyclones roll past No. 18 Razorbacks
Men’s basketball: Bryce Dejean-Jones had 27 points, Georges Niang added 26 with eight assists and 20th-ranked Iowa State never trailed in defeating No. 18 Arkansas 95-77 in Ames, Iowa.
Dustin Hogue scored 14 for the Cyclones (5-1), who led by as many as 23 points in extending their non-conference home winning streak to 24 games.
Bobby Portis scored 19 to lead the Razorbacks (6-1), who haven’t won a road game as a ranked team since 1999.
• LSU pulls upset: Reserve guard Tim Quarterman scored 21 points and Josh Gray made the winning layup with 7.4 seconds left to help LSU upset No. 16 West Virginia 74-73 in Morgantown, West Virginia.
Jarell Martin had 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Tigers (6-2), who overcame a 14-point deficit in the second half. Keith Hornsby scored 15.
The Mountaineers (7-1) were led by Juwan Staten’s 17 points. Daxter Miles added 13.
U.S. women schedule Europe friendlies
Soccer: The U.S. women’s soccer team announced matches in Europe against France and England in February as part of the team’s preparation for the 2015 World Cup.
The United States will play France on Feb. 8 at the Stade du Moustoir in the city of Lorient, before playing England on Feb. 13. The venue for the second match has not been set.
The top-ranked U.S. team qualified for the World Cup at the CONCACAF women’s championship in October. The draw for the World Cup next year in Canada is set for Saturday.
• Howard wins award: Goalkeeper Tim Howard won the 2014 Player of the Year award for his work with the U.S. national team. It is the first time Howard has won the prestigious honor given to a U.S. team member by Futbol de Primera. He beat out Jermaine Jones and Clint Dempsey.
• Crimean teams barred: UEFA barred football clubs in the disputed Crimea region from playing in competitions organized by the Russian Football Union.
UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino says the prohibition starts Jan. 1.
The RFU had angered the Ukrainian football body by registering Crimean clubs in its national cup competition and third-tier league this season.
UEFA and FIFA statutes prohibit clubs switching federations without consent.
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