Update on the latest sports
Woods tees off at Masters for 1st time since ’15
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) – Tiger Woods has teed off at the Masters for the first time in three years.
The 42-year-old Woods was first off the first tee in his group, which includes Marc Leishman and Tommy Fleetwood. Woods pulled a 3-wood left into the pine straw, a common landing spot for him over the years at Augusta National.
Woods had the typically huge gallery following him to start the tournament. No surprise given it’s his first competitive round at Augusta since 2015. Woods has been away from golf for much of the last few years because of his four back surgeries. The Masters is his first major since the PGA Championship in August 2015.
Only last year, Woods had trouble just sitting through the dinner at the Masters Club of past champions because of pain from his lower back shooting down his legs. That hurt about as much as being at Augusta National without his clubs for the second straight year, not knowing when or even if he would return.
Woods has been competitive in several events since his return this season.
The 82nd Masters got underway Thursday morning with a ceremonial tee shot by Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.
Nationals give GM Mike Rizzo 2-year contract extension
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Washington Nationals have agreed to a two-year contract extension with general manager Mike Rizzo.
The team announced the deal on Thursday, hours before its home opener against the New York Mets.
Rizzo had been in the final year of his contract, but now is set to stay with the Nationals through the 2020 season.
His status was a big question mark heading into this season, along with 2015 NL MVP Bryce Harper’s chance to become a free agent after 2018.
The Nationals have won four of the past six NL East titles, but have yet to win a playoff series.
SWIMMING-RELAY WORLD RECORD
Australian women break 4×100 freestyle relay world record
GOLD COAST, Australia (AP) – Australia’s 4×100-meter women’s freestyle relay team has done it again, breaking its own world record on the opening night of the swim program at the Commonwealth Games.
Australia, with sisters Bronte and Cate Campbell, Emma McKeon and Shayna Jack, clocked a time of 3 minutes, 30.5 seconds Thursday night at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre.
That broke the mark of 3:30.65 the team clocked at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, when the Campbell sisters and McKeon were part of the team.
On Thursday, Canada finished second, nearly four seconds behind. England took the bronze, more than eight seconds behind Australia.
CYCLING-TOUR OF CALIFORNIA
Cycling’s top riders set for Tour of California next month
LOS ANGELES (AP) – The top men’s and women’s teams will compete next month in the Amgen Tour of California, the premier U.S. cycling race.
The men will cover 645 miles over seven stages from Long Beach to Sacramento from May 13 to May 19. The women will have three of the top five teams for their three-day, 187-mile race that starts May 17 in Elk Grove.
Race owner AEG announced Thursday that Pete Sagan will ride for the BORA-hansgrohe team while Mark Cavendish will go for Team Dimension Data and be joined by Rafal Majka.
Tony Gallopin of AG2R La Mondiale is in the men’s field. So is LottoNL-Jumbo’s Nielson Powless, the race’s best young rider in 2016.
The women feature 2016 champion Megan Guarnier of USA Cycling National Team, Katie Hall of UnitedHealthcare and Kasia Niewiadoma of Canyon/SCRAM.
DOCTOR-SEXUAL ASSAULT-MICHIGAN STATE
Michigan State University clears doctor amid Nassar fallout
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Michigan State University has cleared the chairman of its radiology department of wrongdoing after he was suspended during the fallout over Larry Nassar, an imprisoned former sports doctor who molested athletes.
The school said Wednesday that a law firm investigated Dr. Suresh Mukherji, chief medical officer of the MSU HealthTeam, and he was reinstated last month. Mukherji says in a statement that he’s pleased his actions were found to be proper.
The university in February announced the paid suspension of Mukherji from his role as radiology chairman pending a review of concerns about his “leadership and departmental communications.”
Nassar worked for Michigan State and USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to decades in prison earlier this year.
Detroit-area horse racing track to sell assets, close
HAZEL PARK, Mich. (AP) – A horse racing venue north of Detroit is shutting down after nearly 70 years of operations.
Hazel Park Raceway says Thursday that it has agreed to sell its assets and is expected to close the deal within a few weeks. Terms of the deal were not released.
About 90 employees are expected to lose their jobs. The company says it will attempt to offer services to help them search for other employment.
Hazel Park Raceway opened in 1949 with a five-eighths-mile track. It hosted only harness racing from 1985 to 2014, before switching back to thoroughbred use.
The raceway says in a release that changes in the gambling industry have had “a significant impact” on horse racing across the state.