National Sports Briefs

  • Posted: Saturday, January 5, 2013 10:56 p.m.
Ian Poulter, of England, rubs his face while on the driving range at the Tournament of Champions golf tournament, Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, in Kapalua, Hawaii. Because of wind, play was canceled for the day after being stopped a day earlier and is re-scheduled to begin on Sunday. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Ian Poulter, of England, rubs his face while on the driving range at the Tournament of Champions golf tournament, Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, in Kapalua, Hawaii. Because of wind, play was canceled for the day after being stopped a day earlier and is re-scheduled to begin on Sunday. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Associated Press
KAPALUA, Hawaii — For those who think the PGA Tour season never ends, here’s a new twist: This one can’t get started.

The season-opening Tournament of Champions was postponed for the second straight day because of gusts that topped 40 mph and made it impossible to play golf. Unlike the previous day when 24 players managed to tee off, no one hit a shot Saturday on the Plantation Course at Kapalua.


Play was delayed three times before it was called for the day.

The season now starts today — that’s when most tournaments end — with hopes of playing 36 holes, followed by an 18-hole finish Monday.

It will be the first time the Tournament of Champions is reduced to 54 holes since 1997, when Tiger Woods hit a 7-iron to a foot to beat Tom Lehman in a playoff when a par 3 at La Costa was the only hole that could be used because of so much rain.

WOMEN’S UPSET
STORRS, Conn. — Skylar Diggins and Notre Dame just seem to have Connecticut’s number.

The Irish have turned one of the best rivalries in women’s basketball into a one-sided affair lately, winning five of the past six meetings.

The senior All-American scored 19 points hitting big shot after big shot in the second half to lift fifth-ranked Notre Dame to a 73-72 victory over the top-ranked Huskies on Saturday.

This was the latest victory for the Irish (12-1, 1-0 Big East), who also ended UConn’s season the past two years by beating the Huskies in past two Final Fours.

The Huskies (12-1, 0-1) had a few chances to pull out the win in the final 30 seconds, but in front of a sellout crowd of 10,127, they fell short.

COLLEGE HOOPS
NEW YORK — The seven Catholic schools that have decided to leave the Big East and form their own league continued to plot the future, retaining Proskauer Rose LLP and Pilson Communications, Inc., to aid in their defection.

St. John’s, Georgetown, Marquette, DePaul, Seton Hall, Providence and Villanova all decided last month to set off on their own as the Big East continues to reshape itself.

The university presidents met in New York to discuss the future of the new league. They vow to “Honor the history and tradition on which the Big East was established.”

There is no timetable for when other schools will join the league.

DAKAR RALLY
PISCO, Peru — Former champion Carlos Sainz of Spain rebounded from missing last year’s Dakar Rally by winning the first stage of this year’s race around Pisco on Saturday.

Drivers had to rally only eight miles after driving down the Pacific coast from the official start in Lima.

Sainz, the 2010 champion who’s trying out new buggys with teammate and 2011 winner Nasser Al-Attiyah, won his 25th Dakar stage.

TENNIS
BRISBANE, Australia — Serena Williams proved the break between seasons hasn’t hurt her momentum, capturing her 47th career title with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Saturday in the Brisbane final.

Williams has won 35 of her past 36 matches, including titles at Wimbledon, the Olympics, the U.S. Open, the season-ending WTA championships and now the first event of 2013.

She already has won the Australian Open five times, and with the season’s first major a little more than a week away, she’s in good shape to add another title.

• In the men’s draw, defending champion Andy Murray advanced to the final when fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori retired with an injured left knee while trailing 6-4, 2-0 in their semifinal earlier Saturday.

• PERTH, Australia — Spain defeated Serbia 2-1 to win the Hopman Cup for the fourth time on Saturday.

Fernando Verdasco and Anabel Medina Garrigues won the deciding mixed doubles 6-4, 7-5 against Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic.

• DOHA, Qatar — Richard Gasquet won the Qatar Open for his eight career title on Saturday, coming from a set down to beat Nikolay Davydenko 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3.

CYCLING
AUSTIN, Texas — The New York Times reported that Lance Armstrong, who has strongly denied the doping charges that led to him being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, has told associates he is considering admitting to the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

The report cited anonymous sources and said Armstrong was considering a confession to help restore his athletic career in triathlons and running events at age 41.

Armstrong was banned for life from cycling and cannot compete in athletic events sanctioned by the Anti-Doping Agency.

But Armstrong attorney Tim Herman told The Associated Press he had no knowledge of Armstrong considering a confession.

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