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woods thrilled to return

NASSAU, Bahamas — He wants to win, but for once Tiger Woods won't measure success on the golf course just by the score on his card.

After 15 months away to heal from back surgeries, he measured it with three words Tuesday: "I'm playing again."

Woods said that when he was at the Hero World Challenge last year, he needed help just to climb out of bed. At an outdoor party at Albany Golf Club, he would mingle for a few minutes and then sit on a stone bench.

He spent more time looking back than looking forward, saying at one point that anything else he achieved in golf would be "gravy."

And now he can't wait to get started on Thursday at this year's Hero World Challenge, which he started in 1999 to benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation. It has no cut and pays $1 million to the winner.

"Put it this way: It's a lot better situation this year than last," Woods said. "I just couldn't get out of bed. I needed help. It was a tough, tough time. You asked me then, 'Could I play?' No. I can't even get out of bed. How am I supposed to swing a club at 120 miles an hour? That's just two different worlds."


Abuse claims pile up

British police investigating sexual abuse in soccer have received calls from 250 people, the government announced Tuesday, as FIFA, world soccer's governing body, said the high-profile scandal could lead to offenses by youth development coaches being exposed worldwide. Chelsea also opened an investigation into an employee from the 1970s who is now dead, while the English Football Association acknowledged it was braced for compensation claims. Former professionals have been speaking publicly for the first time over the last two weeks about the ordeals they went through as youngsters. FIFA said it is ready to offer "psychological support" to victims.

MORE SOCCER: Teenager Ben Woodburn became Liverpool's youngest-ever scorer as his team beat second-tier club Leeds 2-0 to reach the semifinals of the English League Cup. At 17 years and 45 days, he beat Michael Owen's record by 98 days.


Mets keep Cespedes

Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is staying with the Mets, according to reports. After testing free agency for the second straight offseason, he agreed to a $110 million, four-year contract. Cespedes, 31, gets $22.5 million in 2017, $29 million in each of the following two seasons and $29.5 million in 2020.

MORE BASEBALL: Free agent Eric Thames agreed to a $16 million, three-year contract with the Brewers, who cut first baseman Chris Carter after a 41-homer season that tied for the NL lead. Thames, a 30-year-old first baseman and outfielder, spent the last three seasons with the NC Dinos in South Korea. … Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello won the AL comeback player of the year award, and Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon received the NL honor. Porcello went 22-4 with a 3.15 ERA; in 2015 he went 9-15 with a 4.92 ERA. Rendon hit .270 with 20 home runs and 85 RBIs in 156 games; in 2015 he was limited by injuries.


Roush at two cars

Roush Fenway Racing will be a two-car Cup program next season and its third charter will be leased to JTG Daugherty Racing. Roush will field cars at NASCAR's top level for Trevor Bayne and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. It will mark the first time since 1995 that Roush will field only two cars. The organization peaked at five in 2009. JTG will lease the Roush charter that had been designated as Greg Biffle's car. Biffle and Roush have parted ways, and the entry will be driven at JTG by Chris Buescher.

MORE AUTOS: NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer sued HScott Motorsports seeking at least $2.223 million, alleging missing monthly payments and sponsorship commission. HScott Motorsports said it disputes the claims.

Times wires

Sports in brief 11/29/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 29, 2016 9:12pm]
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© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


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