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Scott voted player of year

Masters champion Adam Scott narrowly beat out Tiger Woods as the male player of the year in voting by the Golf Writers Association of America.

The GWAA takes into account more than just a player’s performance on the PGA Tour. Scott won four times around the world, none bigger than his playoff victory at Augusta National to become the first Australian in a green jacket. He also won a Fed-Ex Cup playoff event and won twice in Australia, and he joined Jason Day to win the portion of the World Cup for Australia at Royal Melbourne.

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Out of 218 ballots, Scott won by five votes.

“It is an honor to be recognized as the most consistent male golfer of 2013 and it is appreciated to have the respect of the Golf Writers of America. Thank you,” Scott said from Kapalua, Hawaii, where he is playing in the Tournament of Champions beginning Friday.

Woods won five times on the PGA Tour, including The Players Championship and two World Golf Championships, though he went a fifth straight year without winning a major. Woods also won the PGA Tour money title and the Vardon Trophy for the lowest scoring average.

Woods won player of the year from the PGA Tour (a vote of players) and PGA of America (based on points). Those awards consider only a player’s PGA Tour record. The PGA Tour does not disclose vote totals.

The other GWAA awards were landslides.

Inbee Park, who had three straight majors among her six victories on the LPGA Tour, received 91 percent of the vote to win female player of the year.

Kenny Perry, who won two majors on the Champions Tour and captured the Schwab Cup, also had 91 percent of the vote for senior player of the year.

The Los Angeles Sparks’ ownership group has given up control of the franchise.

WNBA president Laurel Richie said Sparks chairman Paula Madison informed the league right before Christmas that her family-owned company would no longer be involved with the team. All Sparks front-office personnel, including the team’s president and general manager, were laid off on New Year’s Eve via email. The players, including star Candace Parker, have already been paid and their benefits will continue to be taken care of by the league.

The move comes after a banner year for the WNBA with attendance and viewership both up.

Richie said several groups have expressed interest in owning a team and the league is now exploring those options in regards to the Sparks. She said that while final numbers aren’t in yet from this past season, almost half the franchises were profitable. The Sparks weren’t one of them.

Richie said it was too early to tell whether the Sparks would be playing this season, which begins in four months.

Los Angeles was one of the original eight franchises when the league began in 1997. The WNBA grew to 16 teams before several franchises folded, the last of which was Sacramento in 2009.


Celski takes lead at trials

J.R. Celski from Federal Way and Jessica Smith won the men’s and women’s time trials at the U.S. Olympic short track trials in Kearns, Utah.

Celski won the opening nine-lap time trial in 1 minute, 21.667 seconds at the Utah Olympic Oval. He came back later to claim the four-lap trial in 36.269 seconds. He won two bronze medals at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

Seeking her first Olympic berth after missing out four years ago, Smith won the women’s nine-lapper in 1:28.117 and followed up with a win in the four-lapper with a time of 39.317. The former inline skater from Melvindale, Mich., finished one spot out of an Olympic berth in 2010.

Both Celski and Smith earned 1,000 points for their two victories, putting them atop their respective overall classification standings after the first of four days of competition.


Nadal moves on in Qatar

Top-seeded Rafael Nadal of Spain is the only seed remaining at the Qatar Open in Doha after he beat seventh-seeded Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 7-5, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.

With Serena Williams set to play Maria Sharapova in the Brisbane International semifinals, her older sister Venus advanced to the ASB Classic final in Auckland, New Zealand, on a walkover. Also in the final is Ana Ivanovic, who beat Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 6-2, 7-6 (7-3).

At the Hopman Cup mixed team event in Perth, France clinched a place in Saturday’s final against Poland by beating winless Spain.

In Beijing, top-seeded Li Na of China advanced to the semifinals of the Shenzhen Open by beating Monica Niculescu of Romania 7-5, 4-6, 6-4.

International hockey

Russia tops U.S. at junior worlds

Russia beat the United States 5-3 in the world junior quarterfinals in Malmo, Sweden, rallying to take the lead on Nakita Zadorov’s two power-play goals. Russia will face Sweden, a 6-0 winner over Slovakia, in the semifinals. In the other quarterfinals, Canada beat Switzerland 4-1 and Finland topped the Czech Republic 5-3.


• The Columbus Blue Jackets activated right wing Nathan Horton, goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and defenseman Dalton Prout off the injured list.

Lance Armstrong is still fighting a Texas company that wants to recoup about $12 million in bonuses he was paid for winning the Tour de France while secretly using performance-enhancing drugs. Court documents filed in Dallas this week show that Armstrong has asked a judge to stop an arbitration panel from considering whether Dallas-based SCA Promotions should be able to recover its money.

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