National Sports briefs

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 29, 2006

Associated Press

NEW YORK — It was, even by Tiger Woods’ standards, an exceptional year: eight PGA Tour victories, including a stretch of six in a row that took him from the British Open to the beginning of October.

What made that finish most remarkable, though, was the loss that preceded it. For anyone who’s watched Woods dismantle opponents and golf courses alike and come away wondering if he was indeed human, the May death of his beloved father Earl was a heartbreaking reminder he is.

Woods’ ability to channel his grief into an extraordinary run of six straight PGA Tour wins, including the British Open and the PGA Championship, was chosen as the sports story of the year in voting by members of The Associated Press.

Woods received 422 points in the voting. Vince Young leading Texas to the national title with a thrilling fourth-quarter rally over defending champion Southern California was second with 380 points, followed by the doping stories involving Barry Bonds (342 points) and Tour de France winner Floyd Landis (303 points).

STEROIDS

SAN FRANCISCO — With Barry Bonds still in their sights, federal investigators probing steroids in sports can now use the names and urine samples of about 100 Major League Baseball players who tested positive for performance enhancing drugs, following a ruling from a federal appeals court.

The 2-1 decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned three lower court decisions and could help authorities pinpoint the source of steroids in baseball.

BASEBALL

NEW YORK — Barry Zito and the San Francisco Giants reached a preliminary agreement on the largest contract for a pitcher in baseball history, a $126 million, seven-year deal.

DUKE LACROSSE

RALEIGH — Nine months after the Duke lacrosse scandal broke, the prosecutor is now the accused.The North Carolina bar filed ethics charges Thursday against District Attorney Mike Nifong, accusing him of saying misleading and inflammatory things to the media about the athletes under suspicion when the case first unfolded last spring.

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