Sports Desk

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SIX DAYS LATER, CURTIS WINS BOOZ ALLEN CLASSIC After making the winning putt, Ben Curtis pumped his fists and joined his playing partners in a bow of gratitude to the volunteers and superintendents behind the 18th green. He had reason to give thanks. After all, it took him six mostly waterlogged days to win the Booz Allen Classic in Potomac, Md., his first title since the 2003 British Open at Royal St. George’s.The Tuesday finish was the first on the tour since the 1980 Tucson Open.

But there was hardly anyone to see Curtis complete the five-stroke victory. Fans were not allowed on the course yesterday because the tournament didn’t anticipate six days of security arrangements.That left about 40 people, including a handful of fellow golfers, to watch Curtis tap in for his second bogey of the morning. The two harmless bogeys concluded a 1-under-par 70.

Curtis began play yesterday on the 17th hole facing a 28-foot par putt, which he missed. He failed to get up and down for par on the 18th and wound up at 20-under 264, one short off the tournament record. Curtis, who earned $900,000, was five shots ahead of Billy Andrade (64), Padraig Harrington (66), Nick O’Hern (67), and Steve Stricker (68).


STOJAKOVIC OPTS OUT OF DEAL, BECOMES FREE AGENT Indiana Pacers forward Peja Stojakovic opted out of the final year of his contract yesterday but wants to return to the team. Stojakovic took advantage of the early termination clause in his six-year deal and became a free agent in hopes of getting a raise and long-term contract, his agent said. His current deal would have paid him more than $8.1 million next season.

Pacers officials have said re-signing Stojakovic is a priority.Stojakovic wants to play for the Pacers,but he will consider a move.He averaged 19.5 points and shot 46% from the field in 40 games with the Pacers. He missed four of the six playoff games against the Nets with a right knee injury, but Bauman says the knee has healed.


YANKEES PUT CANO ON 15-DAY DLYankees second baseman Robinson Cano was placed on the 15-day disabled list yesterday with a strained left hamstring. Cano, the leading vote getter at his position for the AL All-Star team, was put on the DL retroactive to Monday. The Yankees called up infielder Nick Green from Triple-A Columbus to take his roster spot.Cano was hitting .325 in 69 games with four home runs and 27 RBI. Joe Torre said Miguel Cairo, who started Monday at second base, would be in the lineup for the foreseeable future.

Cano left the second game of a doubleheader Sunday against Florida in the sixth inning. He did not play Monday in a 5-2 victory over Atlanta. Green was hitting .222 at Columbus, primarily as a shortstop.

GAMMONS SUFFERS BRAIN ANEURYSM ESPN baseball analyst Peter Gammons was stricken with a brain aneurysm yesterday morning and underwent surgery at a local hospital. The 61-year-old Gammons is expected to be in intensive care for 10 to 12 days, the Boston Globe reported on its Web site.

DODGERS SEND SEO TO TAMPA BAY IN FOUR-PLAYER DEAL The Tampa Bay Devil Rays traded pitcher Mark Hendrickson and catcher Toby Hall to the Los Angeles Dodgers yesterday for pitcher Jae Seo, minor league catcher Dioner Navarro and a player to be named.

Hendrickson was 4-8 with a 3.81 ERA in 13 starts.The 32-year-old lefty held opponents to a .241 batting average. Hall hit .231 with eight home runs and 23 RBIs for the last-place Devil Rays. He has thrown out 35 percent of would-be basestealers in his career. Seo, traded from the Mets to the Dodgers in the off-season, was 2-4 with a 5.78 ERA.The righty is 24-26 with a 4.13 ERA lifetime. Navarro hit .280 with two homers and eight RBI for the Dodgers before injuring his right wrist on May 5. He was sent to Triple-A after being activated from the disabled list.


NFL ADDS AMPHETAMINES TO STEROIDS POLICY The NFL has toughened up its drug policy, adding amphetamines to the list of banned performance-enhancers starting in 2007. Amphetamines were previously listed as a “substance-abuse drug,” but are now in the same category as steroids and other enhancers that carry much stronger penalties. Next year will serve as a transition year, where a first positive test would bring a warning and put a player into the drug program.

But in 2007, amphetamines will be tested for on a regular basis. A first positive test will result in a four-game suspension, the same penalty now levied for positive steroids tests. Major League Baseball also started testing for amphetamines this season as part of its steroids policy.

In addition to the amphetamines change, the penalty for a second positive test for performance-enhancing drugs was increased from six to eight games.

– Associated Press

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