National briefs: Wie shrugs off latest round of criticism
RENO, Nev. ó Michelle Wie has heard the criticism of her decision to play in the Legends Reno-Tahoe Open this week instead of attempting to qualify for the Womenís British Open.
Like most teenagers, the 18-year-old just wants to have a good time. She isnít worried about what Annika Sorenstam and other top LPGA players think of her decision, either.
iThere are going to be criticisms entering this tournament, but at the same time Iím just doing what I feel like I want to do and itís going to be a lot of fun,î Wie said.
Reno sports books have made Wie a 500-1 long shot in the second-tier tournament, which opens today.
Sorenstam said earlier this week that if Wie canít qualify for a womenís major, she has no business playing with the men.
This will be Wieís eighth time on the PGA Tour. She has missed each cut and has only made money playing against men on the Korean Tour at the 2006 SK Telcom Open.
CHICAGO ó Restricted free agent forward Luol Deng and the Chicago Bulls have agreed to six-year contract that could be worth as much as $80 million.
A four-year pro out of Duke, Deng has career averages of 15.6 points and 6.4 rebounds.
* LOS ANGELES ó Ricky Davis canít will reunite on the court with Baron Davis, his former teammate in Charlotte. The two guards are part of the Los Angeles Clippersí biggest roster overhaul in recent years.
iHopefully, we can put it all together,î said Davis, who, along with Jason Hart, was introduced Wednesday. iThis is a place where a lot of people didnít want to be in the beginning. It was my choice to come.î
ATLANTA ó Thereís an interesting experiment going on at Georgia Tech, where Paul Johnson is intent on proving the option offense his teams ran so well at Navy can work in a major conference.
The Yellow Jackets opened preseason practice Wednesday with their new coach and an offense that might look more familiar in the 1970s, when run-oriented schemes such as the wishbone ruled the day.
Johnson shrugs off those who say his offense wonít fly in the ACC.
iI donít pay any attention to that,î said Johnson, whose team opens Aug. 28 against Jacksonville State. iI know what it is. People can form their own opinion and say whatever they want. Itís not a big deal for me.î
* ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. ó Kentucky quarterback Curtis Pulley has pleaded guilty to a speeding charge in Elizabethtown stemming from a traffic stop last week.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. ó Alabama has hired former Florida State and East Carolina athletic director Dave Hart as executive AD.
MONTREAL ó Third-seeded Maria Sharapova withdrew from the Rogers Open after her second-round victory because of a shoulder injury, possibly jeopardizing her participation at the Beijing Olympics.
Sharapova defeated Marta Domachowska 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 in a match that took nearly three hours. She will have an MRI today.
Top-seeded Ana Ivanovic, playing with a swollen thumb, advanced to the third round with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win over Petra Kvitova.
* MASON, Ohio ó Rafael Nadal spent only 48 minutes on court and earned a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Florent Serra in the second round of the Cincinnati Masters. Nadal has won 30 consecutive matches since May.
Novak Djokovic beat Simone Bolelli 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-2) in a second-round match, and Nicolas Lapentti upset fifth-seeded David Ferrer 7-6 (7-2), 3-6, 6-3.
RALEIGH ó The Carolina Hurricanes have signed 19-year-old forward Drayson Bowman to a three-year, entry-level contract.
Carolina drafted Bowman in the third round of the 2007 draft. He would be eligible to return to his junior hockey team if he doesnít make the Hurricanesí roster following training camp, but assistant general manager Ron Francis said Bowman could compete for a spot in Raleigh this fall.
* DETROIT ó Valtteri Filppula signed a $15 million, five-year contract with the Red Wings.
* COLUMBUS, Ohio ó The Blue Jackets re-signed restricted free agent goalie Pascal Leclaire to a three-year contract.
* ST. PAUL, Minn. ó The Minnesota Wild bought out the final three years of Mark Parrishís contract.