LPGA unveils schedule
A 27-event season with US$47 million in prize money was announced on Tuesday by the LPGA Tour, with four new North American tournaments and the sanctioning of another in Australia. Twelve of the tournaments will be staged outside the US, including Asian trips early and late in the campaign. Total prize money will jump US$6.6 million from last year. At a time when economic struggles have caused many sponsors and events to vanish, LPGA commissioner Mike Whan was able to add tournaments, including the return of popular events in Toledo, Ohio, and Williamsburg, Virginia. “The commitment and support of our existing tournament sponsors, dramatic improvement in our television production and viewership, and significant growth in marketing partners is really the foundation for our schedule growth,” Whan said. The LPGA season begins on Feb. 9 with the Women’s Australian Open at Royal Melbourne.
Replay to be watched by kids
The Dutch Cup replay between Ajax and AZ Alkmaar on Thursday next week will be watched by a crowd of children only, Ajax said on Tuesday. The round-of-16 match was abandoned on Dec. 21 shortly before halftime after a fan invaded the pitch and attacked Alkmaar goalkeeper Esteban. Esteban retaliated and was sent off, but his red card was rescinded and Ajax were forced to replay the game in an empty stadium. Ajax last week asked the Dutch soccer association to allow women and children to attend the match, but the ruling body decided that only the latter would be permitted because of a national law of comparable treatment for men and women. Tickets will be free for clubs and elementary schools with children aged under 13, and one adult will be allowed in to look after every six of them.
Crosby back exercising
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has started exercising in his bid to return from concussion-like symptoms, but the team have no idea when he will be back. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma had little to say about the Canadian superstar, who has played only eight games this season after suffering concussion in January last year and taking a blow to the head last month that brought back the problems. “He is in light exercise. He is exercising,” Bylsma said of Crosby. “What that is, in terms of heart rate and activity, is different on different days. That’s where Sid is in his rehab right now.” On Tuesday, Crosby missed his 13th game since returning to the injured list after a 10-month layoff. The Penguins led the Eastern Conference when Crosby was hurt and now they are in eighth as the season reaches its midpoint.
Furor over sodomy comment
Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal will face a disciplinary committee after refusing to apologize following a complaint that his side were the victims of “refereeing sodomy” in a French Top 14 game last weekend. “I will withdraw my comments the day the referees will apologize,” Boudjellal told the French sports daily L’Equipe. The case has been referred to the league’s disciplinary committee. Boudjellal hit out at the match officials after Toulon lost 25-19 to Clermont on Sunday. A video aired by local newspaper Var Matin’s Web site showed him saying: “I experienced my first refereeing sodomy against Clermont in 2009 [in a top 14 semi-final game]. I’ve just experienced my second tonight. We will be able to see the footage, not on Youtube, but on Youporn.”