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National Sports Digest

Associated Press
NEW YORK ó John Daly smashed one tee shot off the top of a beer can during a pro-am. At another tournament, he returned from a rain delay with Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden as his caddie. And his most memorable photo this year came in North Carolina, when he wore an orange jail suit, eyes half-closed.
Daly said Wednesday that such unwelcome publicity is why the PGA Tour suspended him for six months.
The two-time major champion confirmed his suspension to The Associated Press, calling this the low point of an 18-year career during which he has made as much news off the course as he has with his prodigious game.
“Is it fair that I got suspended?” he said. “It’s not fair in reality, but it’s probably fair in perception.”
Daly said he wanted to go public to let fans and tournaments know that he wasn’t abandoning them by taking his game to the European tour. At least until the spring, he simply didn’t have much of a choice.
“I’m not sure this is the smartest thing to do, but I’d rather be honest, especially with the fans,” he said. “It’s hard for me not to play on the West Coast. I love it out there.”
PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw declined comment, even after seeing Daly’s remarks, citing the tour’s longtime policy of not discussing fines or suspensions.
This is the second time the tour has suspended Daly, along with at least two other times when he agreed to sit out the final few months of a season to get his life in order.
He has not played on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut Oct. 17 in Las Vegas. Ten days later, police in Winston-Salem, N.C., said he appeared intoxicated outside a Hooters restaurant, and Daly was taken to jail to sleep it off. That led to his photo in the orange jail suit, which became an Internet sensation.
Still trying to recover from various injuries, Daly made only five cuts in 17 starts on the tour, finishing 232nd on the money list. His world ranking has plunged to No. 736.
Daly isn’t even sure when the suspension began, but he hopes it ends in May. He said PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem sent a letter to his agent, Bud Martin of SFX Sports, who passed along the news.
“Tim and his staff have to do what they do,” Daly said. “Truly and honestly, I wish Tim would get to know the facts better before he makes a decision. I would love to sit down and have a nice talk with him, tell him what really happened. But perception is reality in the world, and sometimes they have to do what they have to do.”
NHL
ST. PAUL, Minn. ó Brent Burns scored at 1:38 of overtime to give the Minnesota Wild a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night.
Burns took a cross-ice pass from Mikko Koivu and beat Evgeni Nabokov over the left shoulder. Owen Nolan also scored in his return to the Minnesota lineup, and Krystofer Kolanos added a goal.
Islanders 4, Panthers 2
UNIONDALE, N.Y. ó Mike Comrie scored twice in New York’s three-goal second period, and Sean Bergenheim and Mark Streit added goals.
Joey MacDonald, subbing for a third straight game for oft-injured regular Rick DiPietro, made 27 saves for his 11th win of the season.
Stars 4, Devils 2
DALLAS ó Loui Eriksson scored Dallas’ first short-handed goal of the season and added an empty-netter with 40 seconds left.
Hurricanes 3, Thrashers 1
RALEIGH ó Sergei Samsonov had two goals and an assist, Joe Corvo also scored for Carolina, and Cam Ward made 20 saves.
The Hurricanes have won five of eight while picking up points in nine of their 13 games under new coach Paul Maurice.
Atlanta’s Ilya Kovalchuk scored to end a career-worst nine-game goal drought.
Coyotes 3, Avalanche 1
GLENDALE, Ariz. ó Peter Mueller scored twice in a 2:05 span in the second period, and Olli Jokinen also scored for Phoenix.
BASEBALL
CHICAGO ó The Chicago Cubs and infielder Aaron Miles have agreed to a two-year contract.
The switch-hitting Miles batted .317 with four homers and 31 RBIs in 134 games for the St. Louis Cardinals last season.
In 643 major league games, the 32-year-old Miles has a career average of .289.
– PHOENIX ó Looking to lock up another regular, the Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to a three-year contract with catcher Chris Snyder.
The deal is worth a reported $14.5 million and runs through 2011.
– LOS ANGELES ó Reliever Brian Fuentes and the Los Angeles Angels reached agreement on a two-year deal Wednesday, perhaps giving the AL West champions a replacement for record-setting closer Francisco Rodriguez.
Fuentes gets $17.5 million over the two seasons.
– HOUSTON ó Roger Clemens’ name is being removed from a sports medicine institute at a Houston hospital in another dent to the legacy of the major league baseball pitcher since he was linked to steroid use.

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