Sports in brief

GOLF

JOHNSON IN LEAD AS SEASON STARTS AT LAST

KAPALUA, Hawaii — The PGA Tour season finally got under way Monday, and Dustin Johnson wasted no time taking control in the Tournament of Champions.

Johnson had not played the Plantation Course at Kapalua since Thursday. Once he got started, he didn't miss many shots. He had four putts at eagle on the back nine in the second round. He missed only three greens in regulation. And when his 36-hole day ended, Johnson had rounds of 69-66 to take the lead into the final round today.

Three days behind schedule because of high wind, the season started on the day its opener was supposed to end. Johnson was at 11-under 135 for a three-shot lead over Steve Stricker.

BASEBALL

Rays reshuffle scouting staff

The Rays made several moves in their scouting department, including the promotion of Carlos Rodriguez to Director of Latin American Scouting; he had been a pro scout. Carlos Alfonso was named special assistant for international operations and Bobby Heck and Fred Repke were made special assignment scouts. See tampabay.com/blogs/rays for a complete rundown.

RANGERS: Lance Berkman took a $10 million, one-year deal to be DH.

SOCCER

Wambach wins, Messi first to four

Capping a year in which she won Olympic gold, Abby Wambach became the second American ever named FIFA Women's World Player of the Year. "It's humbling to know that the majority think you are one of the best in the world," said Wambach, the former Florida star who joins Mia Hamm as Americans to win the award in voting by national team coaches and captains and select media. Lionel Messi, who set a world scoring record with 91 goals for Barcelona and Argentina, was the men's winner for an unprecedented fourth year in a row.

ROWDIES: Tampa Bay, the defending NASL champion, signed defender Jay Needham, 28, to a three-year deal through 2015. He played the past two years for Puerto Rico in the NASL.

ET CETERA

AUTOS: The first NASCAR event of Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway is now called the Sprint Unlimited. The nonpoints race, formerly the Budweiser Shootout, is scheduled at 8 p.m. Feb. 16.

TENNIS: Defending champions Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka are the top seeds for the Australian Open, which starts next week. Djokovic is followed by Roger Federer and Andy Murray; Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams follow Azarenka in the women's seedings. … Li Na reached the second round of the Sydney International and Tampa resident Sam Stosur lost.

Times staff, wires

Sports in brief 01/07/13 [Last modified: Monday, January 7, 2013 10:59pm]

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