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(Reuters) - Members of Scotland's Royal Troon golf club, the venue of this month's British Open, voted "overwhelmingly" on Friday to admit women, thereby protecting the course's place on the Open rota. “We welcome this decision by the membership at Royal Troon and recognise its significance for the club," an R&A spokesman said.
(makes clear Open is this month in first para) July 1 (Reuters) - Members of Scotland's Royal Troon golf club, the venue of this month's British Open, voted "overwhelmingly" on Friday to admit women, thereby protecting the course's place on the Open rota. "We welcome this decision by the membership at Royal Troon and recognise its significance for the club," an R&A spokesman said.

Tiger Woods looks on after the Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland on June 26, 2016Ailing US golfing legend Tiger Woods withdrew from The Open at Royal Troon on Friday as he continues to recover from back surgery he underwent last year. "Tiger Woods has withdrawn from The Open and is replaced by Marcus Fraser of Australia," said a statement from the Open organisers the R&A. "I would like to say next week, but I can't," said Woods, who hasn't played since last August.


(Adds background) July 1 (Reuters) - Tiger Woods has withdrawn from this month's British Open, organisers the Royal & Ancient Golf Club said on Friday. The news was merely a formality as there was never any indication that Woods would be healthy enough to play in the July 14-17 event at Royal Troon in Scotland. Woods tied for ninth the last time the Open was held at Troon in 2004.

PGA: PGA Championship - Second Round(Reuters) - Tiger Woods has withdrawn from this month's British Open, organizers the Royal & Ancient Golf Club said on Friday. The news was merely a formality as there was never any indication that Woods would be healthy enough to play in the July 14-17 event at Royal Troon in Scotland. Woods tied for ninth the last time the Open was held at Troon in 2004.


American football - Goodell made $32 mn to boss richest sports leagueNFL commissioner Roger Goodell was paid nearly $32 million in fiscal year 2015, according to the latest tax returns filed by the league and made public on Friday. The 32-team American football league is the richest in sport from top to bottom, in part because of the guidance of Goodell, who has overseen record-shattering television rights deals. Goodell's 2015 salary of $31.74 million was a dip from $31.4 million the previous year and the $44 million he was paid in 2013, a figure that included extra bonus money plus pension and other deferred payments.


O.J. Mayo, pictured on February 25, 2016, was dismissed and disqualified from the NBA for at least two years for violating the league's anti-drug programFree agent guard O.J. Mayo was banned from the NBA for at least two years on Friday for violating the league's anti-drug program. Mayo, who has spent eight seasons in the league since being taken with the third overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, had been previously suspended for 10 games in 2011 after testing positive for steroids he said were taken unknowingly in a supplement. After being dismissed and disqualified from the league for his latest violation, Mayo cannot apply for reinstatement for two years, so his actual punishment could last longer if such a bid is rejected.


Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy reacts on the 16th green during the second round of the 100th French Golf Open on July 1, 2016 at Le Golf National in Guyancourt, near ParisSaint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (France) (AFP) - Rory McIlroy fired a brilliant five-under-par 66 to surge into a five-way share of the lead after the second round of the 100th French Open at Golf National on Friday. The Northern Irishman is tied with Mikko Ilonen, Brandon Stone, Thongchai Jaidee and Jeunghun Wang on five under par at the halfway stage. Masters champion Danny Willett missed the cut for the second week in a row on five over.


NBA: New York Knicks at Milwaukee Bucks(Reuters) - Free agent O.J. Mayo has been "dismissed and disqualified" from the National Basketball Association for violating the league's anti-drug program, the NBA announced on Friday. In line with the anti-drug program, no details of Mayo's violation were publicly disclosed by the league and the 28-year-old guard is eligible to apply for reinstatement in two years. Taken with the third overall pick in the 2008 draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, Mayo was suspended by the NBA for 10 games in 2011 after testing positive for a banned steroid.


July 1 (Gracenote) - Scores from the European Tour French Open at the par-71 course on Friday in Paris. The cut was set at 145. ...

Pan Am Games: Baseball-United States vs CubaBy Angela Moon NEW YORK (Reuters) - Kelsie Whitmore will grab her glove and head for left field on Friday while Stacy Piagno will take the pitcher's mound for minor league baseball's independent Sonoma Stompers, which will become the first co-ed professional baseball team since the 1950s with more than one female player in the starting lineup. The history-making game against the San Rafael Pacifics will feature 17-year-old Whitmore and 25-year-old Piagno, both of whom signed with the Stompers earlier this week.


An American flag flies above wreckage at a residence leveled by the Erskine Fire in South LakeThousands of structures were threatened and hundreds of people fled their homes ahead of a wildfire ravaging in a section of the Eldorado National Forest north of Sacramento, federal officials said on Friday. Firefighters have been able to carve containment lines around 12 percent of the so-called Trailhead Fire, which started on Tuesday afternoon and has grown to blacken 2,151 acres, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Jennifer Chapman said. The wildfire is moving slowly through mixed conifer and hardwood in the forest about 65 miles north of the state's capitol toward more favorable terrain for the roughly 2,000 fire personnel battling the blaze, Chapman said.


Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee, pictured at the 2016 Masters, is one of the pacesetters at the French OpenSaint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (France) (AFP) - Thongchai Jaidee and Finn Mikko Ilonen both carded under-par second rounds on Friday to take a share of the lead in the 100th French Open at Golf National. The experienced Thai Thongchai had a topsy-turvy day with three bogeys and four birdies, while Ilonen joined him at the top of the leaderboard after firing an excellent three-under-par 68. Earlier, defending champion Bernd Wiesberger, starting on the back nine, soared into a four-shot lead with five birdies in his first eight holes, only for a triple bogey at the 18th to halt his momentum.


The 'We Are Not This' slogan is seen posted at the entrance to a pub in Durham, North CarolinaProposed changes to a controversial North Carolina law requiring residents to use public restrooms corresponding to their gender at birth don't go far enough, the National Basketball Association said. The US professional basketball league has threatened to relocate the NBA All-Star weekend, which is scheduled to take place next year in Charlotte, North Carolina, unless the bill that has been slammed by rights groups as discriminatory is revoked. North Carolina legislators circulated a draft bill this week showing some minor changes in the law, but keeping the controversial bathroom provisions intact.


Brooke Henderson of Canada hits her drive on the 11th hole during the first round of the Cambia Portland Classic on June 30, 2016Defending champion and world number two Brooke Henderson fired a seven-under par 65 to seize a two-stroke lead after the first round of the LPGA Portland Classic. The 18-year-old Canadian, who won last year's event by eight strokes to become the third-youngest winner in tour history, made a solid start toward repeating as champion with nine birdies against two bogeys at the 6,476-yard Columbia Edgewater Country Club in Portland, Oregon. Henderson sits two strokes in front of Angela Stanford, Demi Runas and Colombia's Mariajo Uribe.


William McGirt plays a shot on the 17th hole during the first round of the World Golf Championships on June 30, 2016 in Akron, OhioWilliam McGirt opened up a record three-shot opening round lead but world No. 1 Jason Day and No. 2 Jordan Spieth were also in the hunt at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. McGirt set a tournament record for the largest first-round lead by firing a six-under 64 as he aims for his second win in Ohio in just four weeks. McGirt won the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio in a playoff in early June for his first USPGA Tour victory.


(Reuters) - Britain's Martin Laird birdied his final hole to record 15 points and a slim lead on Thursday at the Barracuda Championship, which uses a modified Stableford scoring system. Pars net zero points, bogeys are minus one and a double bogey or worse is minus three off a golfer's score. Gary Woodland, who won the tournament in 2013, Greg Chalmers and Camilo Villegas are all at 14 points while a group of four are at 13.
(Reuters) - Brooke Henderson began the defense of her Portland Classic title with a seven-under-par 65 on Thursday, which gave her a two-stroke lead after the first round. Henderson won her first LPGA title by eight strokes at Columbia Edgewater Country Club last year. Some of the pin placements are kind of similar, so trying to think back to what the putts did and how they broke," Henderson told reporters.
Britain's Martin Laird birdied his final hole to record 15 points and a slim lead on Thursday at the Barracuda Championship, which uses a modified Stableford scoring system. Pars net zero points, bogeys are minus one and a double bogey or worse is minus three off a golfer's score. Gary Woodland, who won the tournament in 2013, Greg Chalmers and Camilo Villegas are all at 14 points while a group of four are at 13.

Golf - Laird grabs early lead at Barracuda ChampionshipScotland's Martin Laird holds a one-point lead after the first round of the Barracuda Championship, an unusual event featuring the Modified Stableford scoring system. Laird made eight birdies (each worth two points) and one bogey (for a loss of one point) to finish at 15 at Montreux Golf and Country Club in Reno, Nevada. Gary Woodland, Australia's Greg Chalmers and Colombia's Camilo Villegas are tied for second at 14.


Brooke Henderson began the defence of her Portland Classic title with a seven-under-par 65 on Thursday, which gave her a two-stroke lead after the first round. Henderson won her first LPGA title by eight strokes at Columbia Edgewater Country Club last year. Some of the pin placements are kind of similar, so trying to think back to what the putts did and how they broke," Henderson told reporters.
July 1 (Gracenote) - Scores from the U.S. PGA Tour Reno Championship on Thursday in Reno, Nevada 15 Martin Laird (Britain) 15 14 Greg Chalmers (Australia) 14 Gary Woodland (U.S.) 14 Camilo Villegas (Colombia) 14 13 Colt Knost (U.S.) 13 Zachary Blair (U.S.) 13 Brendan Steele (U.S.) 13 Jay McLuen (U.S.) 13 12 Steve Marino (U.S.) 12 Jeff Overton (U.S.) 12 11 Bronson Burgoon (U.S.) 11 10 Rod Pampling (Australia) 10 Hunter Stewart (U.S.) 10 Tyler Aldridge (U.S.) 10 9 Graham DeLaet (Canada) 9 Kim Meen-Whee (Korea) 9 Ben Crane (U.S.) 9 Nick Taylor (Canada) 9 Scott Stallings (U.S. ...

A portion of the signage at the main gate of The Walt Disney Co. is pictured in Burbank, CaliforniaBloomberg earlier reported that Disney agreed to buy the 33 percent stake for $3.5 billion. Disney and Major League Baseball could not be immediately reached for comment. Disney will also retain a four-year option to buy an additional one-third stake, Bloomberg said.


PGA: WGC - Bridgestone Invitational - First Round(Reuters) - Clutch putting and a final four-birdie flourish helped Jordan Spieth transform what might have been a 75 into a remarkable two-under-par 68 in Thursday's opening round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio. The American world number two produced dismal form from tee to green, especially on his front nine where he hit just one green in regulation, but he "did a great job mentally" as he made par putt after par putt to work his way into contention. Spieth's fortunes improved markedly after the turn and he reached six of nine greens in regulation before capping a round to remember with birdies on his last four holes at Firestone Country Club in Akron.


Soccer: 2016 Copa America Centenario-Argentina at USA(Reuters) - The U.S. men's national soccer team will play their first friendly against Cuba in 69 years when they meet in Havana's Estadio Pedro Marrero on Oct. 7, U.S. Soccer said on Thursday. "We are happy to have the chance to bring our team to Cuba," U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said in a statement. "In addition to good competition, we are always looking for our group to have different experiences, and this is a unique opportunity." The friendly comes as the two countries work toward normalizing relations and follows an exhibition baseball game between the Cuban national team and Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays at Estadio Latinoamericano in Havana in March.


Rolando McClain of the Dallas Cowboys has been issued a 10-game ban for violating the NFL's substance abuse policyDallas Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain was issued a 10-game ban and free agent quarterback Johnny Manziel was given a four-game suspension Thursday by the NFL for violations of the league's substance abuse policy. McClain would miss the first 10 games of the upcoming season for Dallas after missing the first four games of the 2015 campaign for violating the same policy. The Cowboys re-signed him for 2016 for $5 million.


PGA: WGC - Bridgestone Invitational - First Round(Reuters) - Four weeks after winning his first PGA Tour title, William McGirt continued to ride a red-hot putter as he surged into an early three-shot lead in Thursday's opening round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio. The 37-year-old American stole the limelight from some of the game's biggest names competing in the elite World Golf Championships event, firing a flawless six-under-par 64 on a breezy, sun-splashed day at Firestone Country Club. McGirt, who won the Memorial title earlier this month, sank two birdie putts from 30 feet, holed out from a bunker at the 15th and ended his round by draining a 46-footer for par from just off the 18th green.


A portion of the signage at the main gate of The Walt Disney Co. is pictured in Burbank, California(Reuters) - Walt Disney Co has agreed to buy 33 percent stake in the video unit of Major League Baseball's digital arm MLB Advanced Media in a deal valued at about $3.5 billion, Bloomberg reported, citing a person familiar with the matter. Disney will also retain a four-year option to buy an additional one-third stake, Bloomberg said. (http://bloom.bg/29ute4B) Disney and Major League Baseball could not be immediately reached for comment. (Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)


Lydia Ko of New Zealand has four titles this year including last week's Northwest Arkansas ChampionshipWorld number one Lydia Ko of New Zealand will play alongside Canada's second-ranked Brooke Henderson and fourth-ranked American Lexi Thompson in the first two rounds of next week's 71st US Women's Open. Pairings released Thursday by the US Golf Association put the world's three top-rated healthy players in the same group that tees off the 10th hole Thursday at 2:03 p.m. among the opening day's final trios and Friday at 8:28 a.m. off the first hole at CordeValle in San Martin, California. World number three Park In-Bee of South Korea has withdrawn from the event with a left thumb injury.


Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers has been sent to the disabled list after receiving an epidural to relieve pain in his aching backStandout left-handed pitcher Clayton Kershaw was sent to Major League Baseball's disabled list Thursday by the Los Angeles Dodgers after receiving an epidural to relieve pain in his aching back. The Dodgers are 14-2 this season in games started by Kershaw, who returned from Milwaukee to Los Angeles on Wednesday for tests after complaining of pain and stiffness in his lower back over the past few days. The epidural means Kershaw would likely be idled for several days.


Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy plays off the 9th tee during the first round of the 100th French Golf Open on July 30, 2016Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (France) (AFP) - Rory McIlroy endured a stop-start opening to the 100th French Open at Golf National on Thursday, as Dane Lucas Bjerregaard fired a hole-in-one and opened up a one-shot first-round lead. World number four McIlroy, who admitted he was struggling with his swing, managed four birdies against four bogeys in an even par round of 71 to sit five shots adrift of the early lead. Englishmen Lee Westwood and Danny Willett, playing together as they did during the final round of the latter's triumphant Masters campaign, both struggled and have work to do to avoid the cut.


In nine seasons with the Chicago Bulls, Joakim Noah has averaged 9.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists a game in the NBAIn Thursday's final hours before the NBA's free agency period began, Joakim Noah was reportedly being eyed by the New York Knicks while Oklahoma City looked at Al Horford to help keep Kevin Durant with the Thunder. Players whose contracts expire become free agents and can start talks with other clubs at one minute after midnight Friday morning on the US East Coast, with Durant among the top players looking seriously at making a move. Noah, the son of French tennis legend Yannick Noah, has been a standout for the Chicago Bulls.


LPGA: KPMG Women's PGA Championship - First Round(Reuters) - Top Chinese woman golfer Shanshan Feng will compete at the Rio Games despite concerns over Zika virus and the world number 12 says she fears for the sport's Olympic future following some high-profile withdrawals from the men's competition. Golf's return to Olympics for the first time since 1904 has been hit by pullouts by several top male golfers, including world number one Jason Day, multiple major champion Rory McIlroy, Fiji's Vijay Singh and Charl Schwartzel of South Africa. The mosquito-borne Zika virus, which the World Health Organization says is spreading rapidly in the Americas, can cause crippling defects in babies and has been linked to the neurological disorder Guillain-Barre in adults.


PGA: U.S. Open - Second Round(Reuters) - An Olympic gold medal was not the pinnacle of the sport for golfers according to world number four Rory McIlroy, and he had no concerns about his decision to withdraw from the Rio de Janeiro Games. The Northern Irishman withdrew from the Rio Games last week, citing concerns about the Zika virus, though he also told British media the Olympics were not one of his goals. "Most other athletes dream their whole lives of competing in the Olympics, winning an Olympic gold, and we haven't," McIlroy told British media.


An Olympic gold medal was not the pinnacle of the sport for golfers according to world number four Rory McIlroy, and he had no concerns about his decision to withdraw from the Rio de Janeiro Games. The Northern Irishman withdrew from the Rio Games last week, citing concerns about the Zika virus, though he also told British media the Olympics were not one of his goals. "Most other athletes dream their whole lives of competing in the Olympics, winning an Olympic gold, and we haven't," McIlroy told British media.

Chinese businessman Jiang Lizhang has bought a 5% holding in the Minneapolis-based Timberwolves and associated women's team the LynxA Chinese businessman has bought a minority stake in the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves, his company and the league said, after taking over Spanish La Liga football team Granada in a 37 million euro deal earlier this month. The deal makes him the first Chinese citizen to have an ownership stake in an NBA team, the league said in a statement. "My goal is to bring China and this great league closer, and build the Timberwolves and Lynx fan base in our country," it quoted Jiang as saying.


NBA: Playoffs-Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers(Reuters) - The Golden State Warriors extended qualifying offers to forward Harrison Barnes and center Festus Ezeli on Wednesday, making them restricted free agents. The move, which needed to be made by Thursday, means the Warriors can now match any offer made to the pair by other teams. The Warriors, however, are expected to pursue Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, who could potentially take Barnes' small forward position and force him to exit.


Brooke Henderson of Canada during the final round of the LPGA Cambia Portland Classic on August 16, 2015Second-ranked Brooke Henderson defends her first LPGA title this week at the Portland Classic, her breakthrough victory last year helping the Canadian teen return as a major champion. The 18-year-old qualified for the event on Monday then rolled to an eight-stroke victory, the largest LPGA victory margin since 2012, to become the tour's third-youngest winner ever. Henderson became the first Canadian to win an LPGA event since Lori Kane in 2001 and only the second Monday qualifier to ever take a title after Laurel Kean in 2000.


The NFL has been looking into the Al-Jazeera America report alleging the use of performance-enhancing drugsThe NFL Players Association wants to see evidence supporting the league's investigation into charges of dope cheating made in a December report by Al-Jazeera America on performance-enhancing drugs. The union's formal request was revealed Wednesday in letters sent to Adolpho Birch, the NFL vice president who sent letters to the union last week asking to investigate the four remaining active NFL players mentioned in the report -- Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison, Green Bay Packers linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers and free agent linebacker Mike Neal. "On behalf of Mr. Harrison, we have repeatedly requested that the NFL inform him and the NFLPA whether the NFL possesses any credible evidence (e.g., verified documents or verified testimony of witnesses) that warrants an interview of Mr. Harrison regarding a potential violation of the Policy on Performance Enhancing Substances (PES Policy)," the union's letter on behalf of Harrison said, according to a copy obtained by USA Today.


Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts has signed a six-year contract extension through the 2021 season for $140 millionIndianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck signed a six-year contract extension through the 2021 season for $140 million, the richest contract in NFL history, Colts owner Jim Irsay said Wednesday. The biggest prior deal in NFL history saw Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers ink a five-year contract for $110 million in 2013. "Andrew has signed through 2021," Irsay tweeted.


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