National briefs: Golfers deny talk
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. ó Two golfers quoted by a weekly magazine as making critical comments about Tiger Woods and his marriage say they never spoke to the magazine.
Life & Style magazine says it is investigating their claims.
Ben Crane is quoted as saying Woods is a “phony and a fake.” Crane tells The Associated Press he was never at PGA Tour qualifying school last week, where the interview was to have taken place, and he has not spoken about Woods’ situation.
Charles Warren, whom the magazine quoted as saying Woods’ wife should leave him, says he never spoke to the publication.
Life & Style says a freelance reporter spoke to two players who identified themselves as Crane and Warren.
– DUBAI, United Arab Emirates ó In-Kyung Kim shot a bogey-free 7-under 65 Thursday to build a two-shot lead over Michelle Wie at the halfway point of the Dubai Ladies Masters.
QUEBEC CITY ó Quebec’s premier is confident the NHL wants to bring a team back to Quebec City.
Jean Charest told The Canadian Press on Thursday that he discussed the issue with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman at the Montreal Canadiens’ 100th anniversary game on Friday.
– MOSCOW ó Former NHL and Olympic star Slava Fetisov is coming out of retirement at age 51 to play for CSKA Moscow in a competitive game in the Continental Hockey League on Friday.
Fetisov ended his professional career in 1998 at age 40, and went on to become a lawmaker with Federation Council and president of CSKA.
LAS VEGAS ó Promoters of the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight abruptly canceled a trip to Dallas, dealing a possibly fatal blow to the chances of Jerry Jones landing the bout for Cowboys Stadium.
The trip was canceled at the last minute because Mayweather’s promoter apparently decided he didn’t want the fight at the new stadium. The move leaves the MGM Grand hotel arena in Las Vegas as the heavy favorite to host the March 13 fight.
Co-promoter Bob Arum ó who got the news at his 78th birthday party Tuesday night ó was upset by the trip being canceled because Jones had rearranged his schedule so he could give the promoters a tour of the $1.2 billion stadium and present a proposal to host the bout.
“I’m just embarrassed, really embarrassed,” Arum told The Associated Press. “The man (Jones) changed his whole schedule for this and you certainly want to listen to the man.”
– WASHINGTON ó The Justice Department is refusing to back a posthumous pardon for Jack Johnson, the black heavyweight boxing champion who was imprisoned nearly a century ago because of his romantic ties with a white woman.
ALAMEDA, Calif. ó JaMarcus Russell says he was “embarrassed” when he was benched by coach Tom Cable and plans to work hard to regain his starting quarterback role for the Oakland Raiders.
Russell spoke Thursday for the first time since losing his starting job to Bruce Gradkowski last month. He says it has been tough to be on the sideline watching the past three games but that he is doing his best to support Gradkowski.
Russell was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft. He lost his job this season after completing less than half his passes and committing 14 turnovers in nine games.
Russell called the demotion a “road bump” but believes he is still the quarterback of the future in Oakland.
LOS ANGELES ó An insurance executive agreed to plead guilty to interstate stalking after secretly making nude videos of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, according to court documents.
Michael Barrett, 48, will plead guilty in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Tuesday, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman with the U.S. attorney’s office. He could face up to five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.