Sports Outside the Beltway

IOC strips Marion Jones of 5 medals

The disgraced Gold Medal winner confessed two months ago to taking steroids prior to the 2000 Olympics. From AP-

LAUSANNE, Switzerland – The IOC formally stripped Marion Jones of her five Olympic medals Wednesday, wiping her name from the record books following her admission that she was a drug cheat.

The International Olympic Committee also banned the disgraced American athlete from attending next year’s Beijing Olympics in any capacity and said it could bar her from all future games.

Jones had already handed back the three gold medals and two bronze she won at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Last month, the International Association of Athletics Federations erased all of Jones’ results dating to September 2000, but it was up to the IOC to formally disqualify her and erase her Olympic medals.

The decision was announced by IOC president Jacques Rogge at the end of a three-day executive board meeting.

Jones won gold medals in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 1,600-meter relay in Sydney, and bronze in the long jump and 100-meter relay. She was the first female track and field athlete to win five medals at a single Olympics.


The IOC postponed a decision on redistributing her medals, including whether to strip her American relay teammates and whether to upgrade doping-tainted Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou to gold in the 100.

The IOC’s move comes as no surprise. One thing I find intersiting is Jones not being to be at any future Olympics. Can she still attend the games as a spectator or does it just forbid her from associating with athletes?

Also the IOC postponed any decision to take away Jones’ relay teammates medals. I don’t see how they can take Jones while not taking the others. This sounds unfair to the gold medalists, but the IOC can’t just go half way in my opinion.


LPGA may have to Passover South Florida in 2008

A few weeks ago I reported on a new LPGA tournament in my part of Florida. Well, the event may have hit a legal snag.

Before the LPGA’s new South Florida stop could have its formal unveiling, the event has landed in court.

Organizers of an annual 10-day Passover vacation retreat at the Fairmont Turnberry Isle have sued the resort for breach of contract, alleging they are being kicked out to make room for the LPGA.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, asks the court to uphold the contract. Some 500 Orthodox Jews from around the world are expected in Aventura for the retreat.


According to court papers, the Fairmont Turnberry Isle is in the final year of a three-year agreement to hold the Presidential Holidays package. Next year’s retreat is set for April 17-27.

The 2008 LPGA schedule features an April 24-27 stop in South Florida. Although details have been kept under wraps, Turnberry Isle’s role is central to the lawsuit.


The Fairmont Turnberry Isle recently completed a $100 million transformation, including a $30 million redesign of its two championship courses. The resort held the ADT Skills Challenge earlier this month.

According to sources with knowledge of the negotiations, the LPGA event will be a celebrity pro-am in the mold of Pebble Beach.

Resort officials had no response to the lawsuit. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts manages the property for owners FHR TB LLC.

If Turnberry Isle has a contract with the Jewish group, I don’t see any way for the resort to get out of committment. That doesn’t mean the LPGA couldn’t still play in South Florida next April. It would just have to take place at a different golf course.

I do hope the tournament takes place. Like with the ADT Championship, I was hoping to cover it again as a credentialed member of the media.


German track and field athlete announces retirement and plans for a sex change

Some of you may remember how East German athletes were made to use steroids and the consequences that had. Yvonne Buschbaum’s story is different.

BERLIN: German pole-vaulter Yvonne Buschbaum announced her retirement Wednesday, saying she had long felt as if she were “in the wrong body” and planned hormone treatment.

Buschbaum, 27, finished third at the European Championships in 1998 and 2002.

“I feel as if I am a man and have to live my life in the body of a woman,” Buschbaum said in a statement on her Web site announcing her retirement. “I am aware of the fact that transsexuality is a fringe issue, and I do not want to be responsible for it remaining on the fringe.”

Buschbaum asked for respect for her decision and urged observers “not to draw false conclusions.”

“I do not dope,” she said, adding that her “upcoming hormone treatment” contributed to her decision to quit, as did a persistent injury.

Anyone else note the irony in Buschbaum being a ‘pole’ vaulter.

Good luck to Yvonne or whatever name she takes in the future.


ADT Championship notes

*- Christina Kim made a double bogey five on the seventh hole Sunday. When asked about the hole after the round, Christina couldn’t remember what happened.

I was present when Christina slammed her club in the bag after her tee shot found the drink at that dangerous par 3. Golfers are people too, they rather forget their failures.

*- The Sarah Lee double mystery is solved. I spoke to Sarah’s father after the round.

Sarah who was born in London England and lived there for the first three and a half years of her life and is really named Sarah. That’s her official/legal name.

Today was a rough day for Sarah. She can burn up a course like few others on the LPGA Tour. Sarah will find the winner’s circle one day.

*- Scoring varied widely in the ADT’s final round. To have players spread out 16 shots from top to bottom is hardly unusual for a professional golf event. Except when there were so few players to start with. Who would have expected Karrie Webb to shoot a final round 84?

*- Several small tweaks to the ADT’s format may occur before next year’s event. $50,000 to the golfer who shoots the low round every day and an automatic invite back to the winner.

Good ideas though I seriously doubt Lorena will need the invite.

*- Natalie Gulbis is the ADT’s good luck charm. In 2006, she played with Julieta Granada in the final round, this year with Ochoa.

Expect a tug of war over who gets Natalie for a playing partner if she qualifies to the final eight again in 2008.


Lorena Ochoa wins the ADT Championship

What looked like a rout, suddenly became a close tournament. Then a magnifiicent approach shot capped off a magnificent season for the World’s #1 female golfer.

Only days after her 26th birthday, Lorena Ochoa got a million dollar birthday present. Taking the ADT Championship with a final round 68 to win by two shots . Natalie Gulbis finished a solo second with a round of 70. Paula Creamer finished third after shooting an even par round of 70.

Out of her million dollar winnings, Lorena will give $100,000 for flood relief in the State of Tabasco.

Lorena will make other donations.

“I don’t have a number, but whatever we(her foundation) need. Sí, just we’ll see. I want to make sure—we have plans to buy land and to start construction at the high school, so I want to find good things to do with the money.”

Lorena got things going early on Sunday morning. On the second hole, Super Mex hit a 50 degree wedge from 85 yards to fifteen feet. Lorena made the putt to go one under for the day.

A wedge to ten feet on the third, and a 7-wood to six feet on the fifth also resulted in birdies. After another birdie on six, Lorena was four under par for the tournament and four shots up.

Noone would get closer than three before hole 17. The seventh hole jumping up and grabbing several of Lorena’s closest pursuers. The par 3 hole playing an average of 4.75 strokes for the day.

Lorena seemed to be on cruise control till the 17th hole. Her 8-iron tee shot of 155 yards going over the green but without finding water. It took four more shots for Lorena to find the bottom of the hole.

By the time she walked off the 17th green, Lorena’s lead was down to one. Natalie Gulbis, playing in the same group as Lorena, had made birdie after hitting her tee shot to fifteen feet on 17.

Lorena admitted to being mad when she got to the 18th tee box. Then her tee shot cut it dangerously close to the water on the right side, landing in the rough. Natalie after a good drive, hitting her 3 rescue second shot to some fifteen feet from the hole.

Considering Lorena still faced a tough shot to a difficult hole, some may have thought Gulbis was thinking of a win but Natalie wasn’t.

“Playoff did. Lorena can make par from anywhere. But I thought I just wanted a chance to be able to make that putt to push it to a playoff. That’s what I was hoping for. I didn’t even consider that I would be able to win it outright.”

Lorena then smoothly hit her 6-iron approach shot to two feet from the cup. Effectively sealing her eigth win of the year.

Eight wins, almost five million and earnings, a major championship and player of the year. What did Lorena have to say afterwards when asked what’s next.

“No, there is always room to improve. I want to get much better in my short game, especially 100 yards, 110, 100, 90, 80. I hit them just okay, maybe 10 feet. But at the same time with a 9 iron, 8 iron, 7 iron, I need to improve on my short distances.”

An improved Lorena Ochoa is a scary proposition. A deserving winner for a wonderful tournament. Now we have to wait three months till the LPGA 2008 begins. I can hardly wait.

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Rough Day for Morgan Pressel

The day after shooting a 65, the Boca Raton native shot a 73 to miss the cut by two shots.

Morgan had a good front nine, ending with a 35, but her one lapse was a six on the par five 3rd. The 3rd is a birdie hole.

It was at hole 13 Morgan began to have trouble. Three bogeys, one a three putt from ten feet, doomed Morgan’s round. Afterwards Morgan wasn’t happy with her play, but it wasn’t her putting.

“No, ball striking made a big difference. I don’t even know, but I probably barely hit six greens. I never had opportunities to make birdies.”

Morgan hit only 33 greens in regulation. Out of the Sunday qualifiers, only Cristie Kerr hit less than 36, her total being 35.

Even with a win this year, Morgan felt sad because of today’s results. When asked how she would look back at 2007, even after being reminded of how she won a major, Morgan replied.

“It was a season of ups and downs and it’s sad that it’s over and it’s sad that it’s ending this way. ”

The ADT was just one tournament. Morgan will have more chances to win.


ADT Championship 3rd Round Cut

Six players finished -3 or better

Paula Creamer
Lorena Ochoa
Karrie Webb
Cristie Kerr
Natalie Gulbis
Sarah Lee

A four way playoff was needed to determine the final two players

Sophie Gustafson- Bogey-out
Mi Hyun Kim- Birdie-in
Nicole Castrale- Par-Bogey-out
Christina Kim- Par-Birdie-in

So Christina and Mi Hyun Kim are the final players for Sunday’s Championship round. The winner gets 1 million dollars.

The pairings for tomorrow

930- Cristie Kerr
Christina Kim

940- Karrie Webb
Sarah Lee

950- Paula Creamer
Mi Hyun Kim

1000- Lorena Ochoa
Natalie Gulbis

Three Major champions- Ochoa, Webb, Kerr,
Winners in 2007- Ochoa, Webb, Kerr, Gulbis, Creamer, MH Kim
Only non-winner in LPGA career- Sarah Lee


Projected ADT Championship Cut

At the moment 15 players are +2 or better. Annika Sorensatam and Ai Miyazato are at +3. If there are no changes, Sorenstam and Miyazato will play a sudden death playoff to determine who is the 16th qualifier for Saturday play.

A playoff will start on 17. If more holes are needed, the playoff goes to 18, then back to 17 etc etc. Unless someone has a full blown disaster, some kind of playoff will be needed today.

Update- After going double bogey-bogey on holes 16 and 17, Natalie Gulbis finished +3 also. There most likely will be a three way playoff for two spots.

2nd Update- Natalie Gulbis and Ai Miyazato advance to tomorrow’s third round. They both went par-par in the playoff. Annika Sorenstam is out after going par-bogey in the playoff.


Nine holes with Christina and Mi Hyun Kim

I followed today’s co-leaders on the front nine.

Mi Hyun(or Peanut’s) round- Could be best described as a short game highlight reel. On holes 1-5, with the exception of hole 3 where she two-putted for par, Mi Hyun got up and from off the green. On the par four sixth, Peanut made a putt from about 10 feet for birdie to go -6. She gave back this stroke on the next hole by hitting it over the 7th green. A good pitch and run to 10 feet, and Mi Hyun couldn’t make the putt. Two ordinary pars resulted in a front nine 36 for Mi Hyun.

Christina’s round- She birdied the par five 3rd hole by two putting from 20-25 feet. Then on the Par three fifth, Christina looked ready to make another birdie. Her ten footer barely missing the hole, but the putt didn’t stop. A three putt bogey four was the final result.

A bogey five after an errant drive on hole #8, sent Christina to minus four for the tournament. Christina shot 37 for the first nine holes.

Overall Christina and Mi Hyun should make the cut comfortably. They remain -4 and -5 respectively through 11 holes. The cut at present would fall at +3.


Early Round Two report from the ADT

I’m now on site. Play is under way. Christina and Mi Hyun Kim will tee off at 11:35.

At present the cut line(Low 16 and no ties) will fall at +2. There are 19 players at present with this score or better. If the leaderboard stayed as it is, there would be a four way playoff for exactly one spot.

I talked to Craig Dolch of the Palm Beach Post this morning. He’s of the opinion the cut will come at a score higher that +2. I’m inclined to agree. The weather is sunny but cool. At present there’s no mentionable wind but that could change rapidly.

As for predictions this week, I am not doing particularly well. Take for instance one of my two longshot picks, Angela Stanford. Through eight holes Angela stands +9 for the tournament.

My golf prognosticating needs work. I didn’t think Lorena Ochoa would win the British Open either.


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