National sports briefs

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 22, 2006

Associated Press

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — John Daly described his back nine as a jigsaw puzzle Thursday, when he tried to piece together bogeys and birdies and create a pretty picture on his scorecard at the Target World Challenge.

His life is a puzzle, too, with pieces scattered everywhere this year.

Injuries to his back and hand contributed to his worst finish ever on the PGA Tour money list. His season began by Daly being unaware his wife was sent to federal prison, and ended with husband and wife in a race to the courthouse to file for divorce.

But after Daly shot a hard-earned 69 at Sherwood Country Club to finish three shots behind Henrik Stenson, he walked out of the scoring tent with a wedding ring on his finger and his wife waiting atop the hill.

“We’re working it out,” Daly said. “We love each other just a little more than we hate each other.”

BASEBALL

HOUSTON — Jeff Bagwell, the face of Houston baseball for a generation with teammate Craig Biggio, will retire today after 15 years with the team.

The four-time All Star will remain with the Astros as part of a personal-services agreement reached with the team earlier this week.

Bagwell, the greatest power hitter in Houston Astros history, is expected to work with young Astros hitters.

Bagwell, 38, leaves the Astros as the team’s all-time leader in home runs (449), RBIs (1,529), walks (1,401) and extra-base hits (969). He had a lifetime batting average of .297.

* Former Florida Marlins manager Jack McKeon will have hip replacement surgery on Friday, he said.

McKeon, 76, who lives in burlington, said he was injured last spring while playing senior softball and has been ailing since then.

“I guess the wear and tear all these years, the jogging and working out at the Y, took a toll,” McKeon told the Times-News of Burlington.

* Second baseman Jose Vidro would be sent to the Seattle Mariners by the Washington Nationals for two prospects in a tentative trade that is pending physicals for all players involved.

* Regular-season major league ball is headed to Disney World.

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays’ effort to bolster fan support and make themselves a regional franchise will include playing a three-game series against the Texas Rangers at Disney’s Wide of Sports complex next season.

DUNLEAVY EXTENSION

LOS ANGELES — Coach Mike Dunleavy has agreed to terms of a four-year, $22 million contract extension with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Dunleavy, in the final year of a four-year, $10 million contract, led the Clippers to a 47-35 record last season — the second-best in franchise history. The team went on to beat Denver for its first playoff series victory in 30 years before losing to Phoenix in the second round.

TENNIS

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. — Three-time major champion Lindsay Davenport is pregnant and will miss at least the start of the 2007 tennis season.

Davenport and her husband, Jonathan Leach, are expecting their first child in early summer.

The American has won a total of 51 titles in singles, 36 in doubles, and finished four seasons ranked No. 1: 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2005.

NFL

RICHMOND, Va. — A 17-year-old girl who claims she had an almost two-year sexual relationship with Miami Dolphins rookie Marcus Vick has filed a lawsuit against him, accusing him of sexual battery upon a minor, fraud and other charges.

The lawsuit states that the girl was a 15-year-old honor student at Christiansburg High School when she first had sex with Vick in January 2004 while he was a quarterback at Virginia Tech.

* Morten Andersen has a chance to become the NFL’s No. 1 scorer when the Falcons (7-6) host the Dallas Cowboys (8-5) Saturday night.

The 46-year-old Andersen needs two points to break Gary Anderson’s record of 2,434. The kickers whose names sound the same but differ by a single letter already share the record for most career field goals with 538.

* The Carolina Panthers’ banged-up secondary got some good news Thursday when starting cornerback Ken Lucas returned to practice after missing the last four games with a hamstring injury.

* Pittsburgh linebacker Joey Porter has been fined $10,000 by the NFL for what league spokesman Steve Alic called “vulgar, inexcusable statements” to Cleveland’s Kellen Winslow after Steelers’ 27-7 win over the Browns last Thursday.

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