GOLF

The inaugural season of the DP World Tour started on Thursday with Angel Hidalgo of Spain shooting 6-under 65 to share the first-round lead of the Joburg Open before play was suspended because of bad weather at Johannesburg, South Africa.

South African golfer Thriston Lawrence was also 6 under and had one hole left to play when players came off the course due to the threat of lightning.

It marked the start of a new era following the rebranding of the European Tour to a title which better reflected the global nature of the tour. The Joburg Open is one of 24 events not staged on European soil.

The 2021 season ended just last week when Collin Morikawa won the Race to Dubai title.

The first round will be completed early Friday, with more than a quarter of the 156-man field yet to finish.

Five players were in the clubhouse a stroke behind after shooting rounds of 66, including South Africans Dylan Frittelli and Hennie Du Plessis.

PGA: Two-time major winner Martin Kaymer is taking three months off for the birth of his first child, he told a German golf magazine.

Kaymer expects to become a father in January at home in Germany and says he’s looking to live in Florida with his family after the baby is born.

“Our child will be born in Germany and I won’t play any tournaments for three months and only start again in March,” Kaymer told Golf Magazin.

Kaymer added that “commuting between America and Europe just hasn’t worked for me,” so he’s looking to live in the U.S. on a permanent basis, along with a change in training to focus more on what he sees as the strengths in his game.

Kaymer won the PGA Championship in 2010 and the U.S. Open in 2014 but hasn’t won a tournament since. Kaymer is ranked 118th in the world and placed 49th in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai this season.

TENNIS

DAVIS CUP FINALS: Sweden, Croatia and the Czech Republic took early leads as the second edition of the Davis Cup Finals got underway with simultaneous matches in three different countries.

Sweden, making its first appearance at the revamped team competition, won the opening singles against 2019 runner-up Canada when Elias Ymer defeated Steven Diaz 6-4, 6-2 in Madrid in a Group B match between players ranked lower than 170. Ymer rallied after being down 4-1 in the first set.

Sweden is trying to reach the Davis Cup quarterfinals for the first time since 2011. Canada lost the final to host Spain in 2019.

The Czech Republic went 1-0 up against France when 21-year-old Thomas Machac defeated veteran Richard Gasquet 7-6, 6-2 (3) in Group C in Innsbruck. The 35-year-old Gasquet conceded 11 aces against the 143rd-ranked Machac in an empty court because of coronavirus restrictions in Austria.

In Turin, Italy, Borna Gojo gave 2018 champions Croatia the lead over 28-time winner Australia in Group D with a 7-6 (5), 7-5 victory over No. 61 Alexei Popyrin. Gojo, ranked 276th, saved all five break points he faced.

The 18-team competition was not played last year because of the pandemic.

• A member of Spain’s Davis Cup team tested positive for the coronavirus and was put in isolation a day before its first match, the International Tennis Federation said.

The ITF did not say who tested positive in the Spanish squad, which is made up of Carlos Alcaraz, Pablo Carreno Busta, Alberto Ramos-Vinolas, Feliciano Lopez and Marcel Granollers. The team captain is Sergi Bruguera.

The ITF said the person who tested positive will remain in isolation under the supervision of the Spanish tennis federation.

It said the rest of the Spanish team members each took a new PCR test, though it did not immediately say if the results had already returned.

DOPING

REFORMS: The World Anti-Doping Agency approved a series of reforms designed to give athletes a bigger voice in decision-making, though the changes were roundly criticized by activist groups that said they didn’t go far enough.

At its board meeting, WADA announced it was adding two seats to its executive committee, one of which will go to an athlete representative. It approved creation of an independent ethics board and reformed the athletes council to give a wider group of athletes a say in appointing its 20 members.

WADA also approved a pilot athlete ombudsman program, which is supposed to provide independent advice for athletes in dealing with doping issues.

A number of athlete groups put out statements deriding the changes as little more than cosmetic.

SOCCER

WORLD CUP: Tim Hortons Field, an outdoor venue with artificial turf nicknamed “The Donut Box” in Hamilton, Ontario, will be the site of Canada’s home World Cup qualifier against the United States in January, the Canadian Soccer Association said.

The Jan. 30 game will be the first home match for the Canadian men in Hamilton, which averages a high of 30 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 18 on that date.

When Canada beat Mexico on Nov. 16 at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta, the temperature at kickoff was 16.

The U.S. Soccer Federation said the Americans’ next home qualifiers will be at Lower.com Field in Columbus, Ohio, against El Salvador on Jan. 27 and at Allianz Field in St. Paul, Minnesota, against Honduras on Feb. 2.

MANCHESTER UNITIED: Manchester United has turned to renowned German Coach Ralf Rangnick about rescuing the team’s season by taking temporary charge.

No final agreement has been reached but discussions with United are ongoing about the former Leipzig coach leaving his role as head of sports and development at Lokomotiv Moscow, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.

The managerial vacancy was opened up at United by the firing of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Sunday. Rangnick could be coach only until the end of the season but there’s potential for an ongoing role at the record 20-time English champions.

MLS: Larrys Mabiala scored in the 90th minute and the Portland Timbers beat the host Colorado Rapids 1-0 to advance to the Western Conference final.

Portland will face the winner of the game Sunday between Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake.

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