Fri, May 30, 2014 - Page 18 News List

SPORTS BRIEFS

Agencies

GOLF

Woods skips US Open

Tiger Woods has withdrawn from the US Open as he recovers from back surgery that has kept him out of golf for nearly three months. Woods said on his Web site on Wednesday he is physically unable to play golf at a high level. The announcement was not a surprise. Woods said a week ago while promoting the Quicken Loans National tournament at Congressional that he still has not taken a full swing with a golf club. He had microdiscectomy surgery on March 31. Woods last played a tournament on March 9 at Doral. The US Open will be the sixth major that Woods has missed because of injuries and it will be the second time in the past four years he has missed the US Open.

CRICKET

India bring back Gambhir

India on Wednesday brought back opening batsman Gautam Gambhir and axed fragile pace spearhead Zaheer Khan for their first five-Test tour of England in 55 years starting in July. The selectors, who picked an 18-man squad for the back-to-back Tests, included seven seamers and Wriddhiman Saha as reserve wicketkeeper for skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The left-handed Gambhir returns to the Test arena for the first time since December 2012. Gambhir, with 4,021 runs and nine centuries from 54 Tests, is one of the three openers in the squad alongside Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay. The squad includes three players, seamers Pankaj Singh, Ishwar Pandey and Stuart Binny, who have no Test match experience. India last played five Tests on an England tour in 1959, which the hosts swept 5-0. They have not played a five-Test series since losing 1-0 in the Caribbean in 1997.

RUGBY UNION

Springboks lose Etzebeth

Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth has been ruled out of four internationals next month after failing to recover from a long-term foot injury. South Africa play a World XV in Cape Town on June 7, followed by two Tests against Wales and one against Scotland. The South African Rugby Union said the 22-year-old Western Stormers star needs about three more weeks of rehabilitation before being considered for selection. The absence of Etzebeth leaves Northern Bulls pair Victor Matfield and Flip van der Merwe as the likely first-choice locks in the four-match buildup to the Rugby Championship. Matfield, who came out of retirement this year at the age of 37, is also a potential stand-in Springboks skipper. A knee injury forced captain and center Jean de Villiers to withdraw last weekend from the June matches.

RUGBY UNION

Guildford’s contract stopped

The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) terminated troubled winger Zac Guildford’s contract early yesterday, but said the door was still open for a return to the national squad. The decision means Guildford, whose struggles with alcohol have been well documented, will be free to pursue a fresh start with French club side Clermont earlier than anticipated. The 25-year-old was due to see out an NZRU contract with the Canterbury Crusaders until the end of the Super 15, then make the switch to Top 14 rugby with Clermont. However, NZRU general manager Neil Sorensen said a decision had been made to let Guildford go sooner, rather than later, saying the player was still trying to deal with his issues. “We’re really disappointed that Zac has not be able to achieve his full potential in New Zealand — he is a good man, talented but troubled,” Sorensen said.

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