Charlotte, N.C. Out of golf for five months until the Masters, Tiger Woods is waiting only two weeks to tee it up again.
Woods announced Thursday he will play the Quail Hollow Championship, which begins April 29. It will be his first time playing at a tournament where tickets are sold to the general public since his spectacular downfall from a sex scandal.
Woods tied for fourth last week at the Masters, which has the most controlled gallery in golf. Weekly badges are secured months in advance, and fans fear losing them if caught showing poor etiquette. Woods received warm applause when he teed off in the first round, and the support was steady throughout the week.
Kym Hougham, tournament director for the Charlotte event, said officials have been preparing for Woods’ possible participation for some time and will need to make only slight tweaks with security plans.
Choi leads Verizon Heritage
Hilton Head Island, S.C. — K.J. Choi kept up his stellar golf, even without Tiger Woods in his group. Choi, who played with Woods in all four rounds in the Masters last week, shot a 7-under 64 on Thursday to take a two-stroke lead at the Verizon Heritage. Mike Weir and Greg Owen opened with 66s, and Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia and five-time Verizon winner Davis Love III topped a group at 67.
Rice open with 83
Hayward, Calif. — Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice shot a 12-over 83 on Thursday in his Nationwide Tour debut, leaving him 20 strokes behind leader Dicky Pride in the Fresh Express Classic. The 47-year-old Rice, also the tournament host, birdied the par-5 seventh and also had eight pars, five bogeys and four doubles bogeys at TPC Stonebrae.
Police documents released
Milledgeville, Ga. — The young woman who accused Ben Roethlisberger of sexual assault said she tried to get away from the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback and told him “no, this is not OK,” according to police documents released Thursday.
In a statement to police on March 5, the 20-year-old college student said Roethlisberger encouraged her, and her friends, to take numerous shots of alcohol. Then one of his bodyguards escorted her into a hallway at the Capital City nightclub, sat her on a stool and left. She said Roethlisberger walked down the hallway and exposed himself.
“I told him it wasn’t OK, no, we don’t need to do this and I proceeded to get up and try to leave,” she said. “I went to the first door I saw, which happened to be a bathroom.”
According to her statement, Roethlisberger then followed her into the bathroom and shut the door.
“I still said no, this is not OK, and he then had sex with me,” she wrote. “He said it was OK. He then left without saying anything.”
The woman’s statements were among hundreds of pages of the case file made public Thursday by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Two of her friends said they saw a bodyguard lead her into the hallway and then saw Roethlisberger follow.
Raiders sign QB Boller
Alameda, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders signed free-agent quarterback Kyle Boller on Thursday, adding a former first-rounder to an unsettled quarterback mix. Former No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell lost his job midway through last season because of ineffectiveness and is competing with Bruce Gradkowski to get it back. Charlie Frye started three games last season and also is back.
Sixers fire coach Jordan
Philadelphia — The Philadelphia 76ers fired coach Eddie Jordan after one season Thursday.
Team president and general manager Ed Stefanski announced the move, saying the Sixers took an “unacceptable” step backward after two straight seasons in the playoffs.
Jordan is finished after a woefully underachieving season that had the Sixers near the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Jordan was hired last summer and sold his Princeton offense as the way to turn them into contenders.
Clippers, Hughes part
Los Angeles — The Clippers have fired interim head coach Kim Hughes. The team said Thursday on its Web site that Hughes has been dismissed and the search for a new coach is already under way. Hughes took over as interim coach for Mike Dunleavy on Feb. 4 and went 8-25 the rest of the way.
Bird: Pacers getting calls
Indianapolis — Pacers president Larry Bird says he has received calls from people interested in buying and moving the team. Bird adds, however, that despite questions about the franchise’s stability he’s never heard team owner Herb Simon say he would relocate the club. The Pacers are losing money, and team officials have been talking with the city about the $15 million a year it costs the club to operate Conseco Fieldhouse.
Lakers’ Jackson fined
New York — Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson has been fined $35,000 by the NBA for criticizing officials. The fine announced Thursday was for comments Jackson made after the Lakers’ win against Sacramento on Tuesday.
Baylor’s Dunn returning
Waco, Texas — Baylor leading scorer LaceDarius Dunn is returning for his senior season.
Dunn made his announcement Thursday, ending any speculation that the 6-foot-4 guard would bypass his final year and declare for the NBA Draft like 6-foot-10 power forward Ekpe Udoh did two days earlier.
Buffs to talk to Boyle
Greeley, Colo. — University of Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn has asked for permission to talk to Northern Colorado coach Tad Boyle about the Buffs’ head basketball coaching vacancy, the Greeley Tribune reported.
Northern Colorado athletic Jay Hinrich, a Kansas University graduate, is working on contract extension talks with former KU player Boyle, the paper reported.
NU adds ex-Oregon guard
Lincoln, Neb. — Nebraska has signed former Oregon point guard Kamyron Brown to a letter of intent along with junior-college All-American Caleb Walker. Coach Doc Sadler announced the signings Wednesday.
Cousins says choice easy
Lexington, Ky. — Kentucky center DeMarcus Cousins says coach John Calipari practically ordered him to head to the NBA rather than return for his sophomore season with the Wildcats. Cousins is one of five Kentucky underclassmen who have declared for the NBA Draft. The 6-foot-10 center was named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year and is projected to be a Top 10 pick in the draft.
Blue Jays acquire OF Lewis
Toronto — The Toronto Blue Jays acquired outfielder Fred Lewis from the San Francisco Giants on Thursday for a player to be named or cash considerations.