Norman out after surgery

By wire services
Published March 23, 2005

JUPITER - Fearing he might have to retire from golf, two-time British Open champion Greg Norman had back surgery Tuesday and hopes to resume playing within three months.

Norman has cut back on playing the past two years because of recurring back pain. He played seven times on the PGA Tour last year but never broke par and made only one cut. He had to withdraw this month from the Dubai Desert Classic.

"I had a simple choice," said Norman, 50. "Either retire from the game of golf or seek any and all available means to help relieve the pain that has kept me from performing at a level that suits my standards and at the same time improves my quality of life."

Norman had the 90-minute operation at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

TENNIS: Top Belgians out of Fed

Justine Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters pulled out of Belgium's April 23-24 Fed Cup match against the United States. The Americans are expected to field Lindsay Davenport and Serena Williams for the match in Delray Beach.

RODDICK AT QUEENS: Andy Roddick will attempt to win his third straight title in the Queen's Club tournament, the major warmup for Wimbledon. The field for the grass-court tournament June 6-12 includes three-time winner Lleyton Hewitt and Britain's top player, Tim Henman.

HONOR: Wimbledon champions Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova were three-time winners at the inaugural Pro Tennis Choice Awards in Miami.


Former WNBA executive Val Ackerman was elected president of USA Basketball, becoming the first woman to hold the post. Her term runs through 2008. She replaces Tom Jernstedt, the executive vice president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. USA Basketball governs international competition, including the Olympics. The American men's team during this past summer's Athens Games lost for the first time since NBA players were made eligible in 1992.

SOCCER: Man U expanding empire

Manchester United will spend $81.6-million to add 7,600 seats to the existing 70,000-capacity Old Trafford stadium by the start of the 2006-07 season to boost revenue. United's stadium already is the biggest of any British team.

MLS: The Los Angeles Galaxy signed Costa Rican national team defender Pablo Chinchilla and Brazilians Ednaldo da Conceicao and Paulo Nagamura.

BOXING: Bowe comeback bout off

Riddick Bowe's bout scheduled for Friday night in Salt Lake City was postponed indefinitely because of contract and scheduling problems. Bowe, the former heavyweight champion, had been scheduled to fight in the first boxing event held at the Delta Center. No new date had been determined, and it is not clear whether Bowe would even fight in the "Night of the Heavies" when it happens.


AUTO RACING: Richie Hearn and Adrian Fernandez were added to the driver lineup for the upcoming Indianapolis 500. Hearn will drive a Chevrolet-powered car owned by former Indy Racing League driver Sam Schmidt. Fernandez said he will join team owner Morris Nunn.

CURLING: The United States lost for the first time at the World Women's Championship, 6-4 to Sweden, in Paisley, Scotland. The Americans had won six straight and later took back first place by defeating Finland 9-4. Also, Canada defeated Japan and Denmark.

RUGBY BAN: Australian player John Hopoate, who amassed bans totaling 45 Rugby League matches, retired after the Manly Sea Eagles fired him following his eighth disciplinary charge in seven years. The Australian league suspended him for 17 weeks for striking an opponent in a March 20 game.