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Palmer to make appearance at WPIALs

| Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2007

Officials announced Monday that Arnold Palmer will make an appearance at the WPIAL individual boys golf championship Oct. 9 at Latrobe Country Club.

Players will have a chance to meet Palmer before the tournament begins at 10 a.m.

"It's an honor to have Mr. Palmer attend our event," WPIAL golf committee member Dede Rittman said. "He will talk to the kids, and they will have a photo opportunity with him before they play."

Players are asked to arrive around 8:15 a.m. to interact with Palmer, who won WPIAL and PIAA titles in 1946 and '47 before his storied career as a professional.

Palmer, who grew up in Latrobe, will only be at the club for a short time due to an afternoon commitment in New York City.

Rittman said legendary amateur Carol Semple Thompson will make an appearance Oct. 10 at the WPIAL girls finals at Allegheny Country Club.

Baseball

Houston Astros closer Brad Lidge had surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee. Team physician Dr. David Lintner operated at The Methodist Hospital, and the Astros said the 30-year-old reliever should be ready for the start of spring training in mid-February. Lidge was 5-3 with a 3.36 ERA and converted 19 of 27 save chances this season.

College football

No. 9 Florida will be without offensive tackle Phil Trautwein and freshman running back Chris Rainey for the rest of the season. Trautwein, a senior captain who started every game for the national champions last season, missed the first five games this year because of a stress fracture in his right foot. Rainey injured his shoulder.

Hockey

Flyers defenseman Jason Smith was named the 16th captain in team history. Mike Richards and Simon Gagne have been named alternates. The Flyers were without a captain since they traded Peter Forsberg in February. Smith, acquired in the offseason deal that sent Joni Pitkanen to Edmonton, was a captain on the Oilers.

• Hundreds attended the funeral of William Wirtz, the famed Blackhawks owner was remembered as one of the towering figures in Chicago's sports history. Wirtz, 77, died Wednesday of cancer. Those in attendance included Blackhawks greats such as Stan Mikita and Chris Chelios, as well as NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Chicago Bulls and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, and Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch.

• Sabres forward Ales Kotalik is expected to miss Buffalo's season opener against the New York Islanders on Friday because of a knee injury.

• Carey Price and Mikhail Grabovski are on Montreal's season-opening roster after the Canadiens made three final preseason cuts.

Olympics

Al Oerter, the discus great who won gold medals in four straight Olympics to become one of track and field's biggest stars in the 1950s and '60s, died of heart failure, less than two weeks after his 71st birthday. Oerter died at a hospital near his Fort Myers Beach home, wife Cathy Oerter said. He dealt with high blood pressure since he was young and struggled with heart problems, she said. Oerter won gold medals in 1956, 1960, 1964 and 1968. Oerter and Carl Lewis are the only track and field stars to capture the same event in four consecutive Olympics. Oerter, however, is the only one to set an Olympic record in each of his victories.

Tennis

Tatiana Golovin beat Martina Mueller, 6-1, 6-1, on the first day of the Porsche Grand Prix, which has attracted eight of the top-10 women. In the other match, Dinara Safina ousted Katarina Srebotnik, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4. Safina finished the match with two straight aces, after making two double-faults at match point.

• Fifth-seeded Ioana Raluca Olaru of Romania rallied to beat Petra Cetkovska of the Czech Republic, 3-6, 6-0, 6-1, and advance to the second round of the Tashkent Open. Ksenia Palkina of Kyrgyzstan beat qualifier Ekaterina Dzehalevich of Belarus, 6-2, 6-2, and 2005 runner-up Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan defeated Hana Sromova of the Czech Republic, 6-3, 7-6 (2).

• Zack Fleishman of the United States defeated Kei Nishikori of Japan, 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-1, in the first round of the Japan Open. In other men's matches, Ivan Navarro of Spain defeated Robin Haase of the Netherlands, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (0) while Germany's Mischa Zverev beat Italy's Fabio Fognini, 6-1, 7-6 (7).

Off the field

Oscar De La Hoya had the Olympic gold medal that he won at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics returned to him by promoter Bob Arum. The medal changed hands in the Cecilia De La Hoya Cancer Center at White Memorial Hospital in East Los Angeles. In turn, De La Hoya presented the medal to the cancer center, where it will be on display through the end of the year. De La Hoya's mother died at the hospital in 1991.

• The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition to hear arguments in the sexual harassment case against the women's soccer coach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, knocking down the final legal barrier to a jury trial. Former player Melissa Jennings first sued coach Anson Dorrance in 1998, saying the decorated coach maintained a hostile environment filled with sexual harassment. The former backup goalkeeper said the abuse violated Title IX by denying her the benefits of collegiate sports.

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