Thursday’s Sports In Brief
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) No nerves. No worries. Adam Scott never knew the opening round at Augusta National could be so enjoyable.
With his green jacket upstairs in the locker room for Masters champions, Scott made only one bad swing that cost him two shots in a round of 3-under 69. It was the lowest opening score by a defending champion in 13 years, and it left Scott one shot behind leader Bill Haas on an otherwise demanding day.
Haas, with a rich family history at Augusta that includes a green jacket for his great uncle Bob Goalby, settled down after an opening bogey with a collection of good birdie putts and an 8-iron to 5 feet for birdie on the 18th for a 68. It was the first time in 18 majors that Haas has had the lead after any round.
Former Masters champion Bubba Watson, who slipped that green jacket on Scott last year, played his first bogey-free round in a major since the 2009 U.S. Open and shot a 69. So did Louis Oosthuizen, whom Watson beat in a playoff at Augusta.
They were the only players to break 70, the fewest for an opening round at the Masters since 2007.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) – New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is going to start the offseason training program with a surgically repaired left ankle.
The Giants announced that Manning had arthroscopic surgery to relieve some lingering discomfort in the ankle he sprained in the regular-season finale against Washington.
The two-time Super Bowl MVP has been rehabbing the ankle for more than three months, but it was still bothering him.
Dr. Robert Anderson, a foot and ankle specialist in Charlotte, N.C., performed a debridement, removing dead, damaged, or infected tissue to improve the healing potential of the remaining healthy tissue.
Manning expects to be able to run in six weeks.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – Don’t rule out Niagara Falls as a potential future home of the Buffalo Bills.
Several officials told The Associated Press that a newly formed Bills stadium task force of public and private leaders seeking to bolster the team’s long-term viability is considering sites that would put it closer to the team’s burgeoning Ontario fan base.
Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster confirmed Niagara County was discussed as an option during the inaugural meeting last week of the newly formed New Stadium Working Group committee.
Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy made clear ”that all options should be on the table,” Dyster said, adding that includes Niagara County and even Batavia, about halfway between Buffalo and Rochester.
KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) – A Jamaican disciplinary panel banned former 100-meter world record holder Asafa Powell from athletics for 18 months after the veteran sprinter tested positive for a banned stimulant last June.
In the sprinting powerhouse’s capital of Kingston, the head of the three-member panel of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission said its decision was unanimous after examining the ”voluminous nature of the evidence.”
Powell’s backdated ban begins from the date of his sample collection on June 21, 2013 during national trials for the world championships. That means he’s eligible to return to competition on Dec. 20, about a month after he turns 32.
The 31-year-old sprinter tested positive for the banned stimulant oxilofrone at Jamaica’s national trials last June. He’d been suspended from competition since his doping case was disclosed in July.
LAS VEGAS (AP) – The UNLV Rebels will not be eligible for the Mountain West championship game or a bowl berth in 2014 after failing to reach the minimum Academic Progress Rate score.
The university said its final appeal to the NCAA subcommittee was denied and sanctions will be enforced. The sanctions include no postseason competition, replacing four hours of practice time with four hours of academics weekly and having five days of football-related activities a week instead of six.
An average APR score of 930 – out of 1,000 – is required over the last four years and the football team’s average was 925.
UNLV President Donald Snyder said the university will use this ”as an opportunity to improve.”
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Lance Armstrong has given sworn testimony naming several people he says knew about his performance-enhancing drug use, insisting he didn’t pay anyone or any organization to keep his doping secret.
The testimony came in written answers to questions in a lawsuit that was settled in late 2013. The previously undisclosed documents were filed this week as part of the federal whistle-blower lawsuit over his team’s sponsorship by the U.S. Postal Service that could lead to fines in excess of $100 million.
Armstrong said those who provided him with performance-enhancing drugs included trainer Pepi Marti, Dr. Pedro Celaya, Dr. Luis Garcia del Moral and Dr. Michele Ferrari, all of whom were involved with Armstrong’s teams or part of his entourage. He also said team manager Johan Bruyneel assisted his doping. Each of them has previously denied they aided Armstrong’s doping.
Armstrong also said he believed former U.S. Postal Team financier Thomas Weisel knew of his doping, which Weisel has denied.