National Sports Briefs
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates ó Tiger Woods won’t be starting his 2012 season at Torrey Pines. Instead of his traditional PGA Tour start in San Diego, Woods has agreed to play in a tournament in Abu Dhabi.
The former top-ranked golfer will play in the Jan. 26-29 Abud Dhabi HSBC Championship along with current No. 1 Luke Donald and defending champion Martin Kaymer, Abu Dhabi organizers said Wednesday.
The move is somewhat surprising for Woods, taking appearance money for the European Tour event instead of playing what he considers one of his favorite PGA Tour courses. He’s won seven times at Torrey Pines as a pro, including his 14th and last major at the 2008 U.S. Open.
His five-tournament winning streak at Torrey Pines ended Jan. 30 when he shot a 75 and tied for 44th. He had never finished outside the top 10 at Torrey Pines, and it was his worst start to his golf season since he turned pro.
ST. LOUIS ó New Cardinals manager Mike Matheny is keeping most of Tony La Russa’s coaching staff.
Mark McGwire and Dave Duncan are staying on for 2012, but first base coach Dave McKay and bench coach Joe Pettini were both dropped from their positions on Wednesday. Both will remain in the organization and assist in baseball operations.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. ó A program from the first World Series game has sold at auction for $241,500.
Hunt Auctions says the program was sold Saturday at the Louisville Slugger Museum.
Company President David Hunt said there was enormous demand for the rare 1903 program from the series between the Boston Americans and the Pittsburgh Pirates, which Boston won.
He said he was “aware of only one other copy of this 1903 World Series program, and that copy resides in the Baseball Hall of Fame.”
The program is well-preserved with its bound edge intact. It features pictures of Pittsburgh Pirates stars including Hall of Fame shortstop Honus Wagner. The item sold for 5 cents at the game
Other auction highlights included a Pete Rose-autographed, 4,000th-hit baseball that sold for $66,700 and a baseball signed by Cy Young that sold for $51,570.
NEW YORK ó David Wright understands why the New York Mets are open to listening to trade offers.
After the Mets finished their third straight losing season, general manager Sandy Alderson said he couldn’t be certain any player would be back next year but he expected Wright would remain with the Mets.
A five-time All-Star third baseman who has spent his entire professional career with the Mets, Wright hit a career-low .254 with 14 homers and 61 RBIs this year. He was sidelined from mid-May to July 22 because of a stress fracture in his lower back.
LOS ANGELES ó UCLA plans to erect a statue of late Bruins basketball coaching legend John Wooden when Pauley Pavilion’s renovation is completed in 2012.
Athletic director Dan Guerrero wrote in his weekly email to UCLA supporters that the school has been working with Wooden’s family to commission the statue, which will be in a plaza on the arena’s north side. It is being financed by UCLA boosters.
The sculptor is Blair Buswell, head sculptor for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Chip Ganassi Racing announced a multiyear sponsorship deal with Novo Nordisk for IndyCar driver Charlie Kimball.
NEW YORK ó Retiring Seattle Sounders star Kasey Keller was voted Major League Soccer’s goalkeeper of the year.
The 41-year-old from Olympia, Wash., led MLS goalkeepers with 18 wins and 76 percent of shots saved, and he had nine shutouts. He received 73.97 percent of voting by media, players and club officials announced Monday, with the percentage of each group totaled.