Moving on from a devastating summer during which he lost his child, Camilo Villegas made a 10-foot birdie putt on his final hole Thursday for a 6-under 64 and a share of the lead with Matt Wallace in the RSM Classic at Sea Island Golf Club in St. Simon’s Island, Ga. Villegas and Wallace each finished on the Seaside course with big putts. Villegas capped off a bogey-free round on the ninth hole for his lowest score on the PGA Tour in four years. Wallace hit into a hazard on the 18th and saved par with a 30-foot putt. They were a shot ahead of eight players, a group that included Sea Island resident Patton Kizzire and Robert Streb, who won his only PGA Tour title at Sea Island five years ago. They each had 5-under 67 on the Plantation course, which played about three-quarters of a shot harder. Villegas, 38, from Colombia, was trying to return from a shoulder injury that kept him out all of 2019 when he and wife learned early this year their 2-year-old daughter, Mia, had tumors developing on her brain and spine. She was going through chemotherapy when she died in July. As he warmed up with his brother, Manny, who worked as his caddie, Villegas had a moment when he spotted a rainbow out on the practice range that brought his daughter to mind. “I can’t change the past and since I can’t change the past, I’ve got to focus on the present,” Villegas said. “It’s not about forgetting because you never forget your daughter. It’s about being in the moment, being in the now and this is my now. It’s not with her, but it is with her at the same time.”
Tiger Woods to be paired with his 11-year-old son
Tiger Woods still has one tournament left this year, The PNC Championship Dec. 19-20 at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando, that might feel as big as any to him because Woods will play with his 11-year-old son, Charlie, in the NBC-televised tournament that has paired major champions with their sons since 1995, the year before the 44-year-old Woods turned pro. “I can’t tell you how excited I am to be playing with Charlie in our first official tournament together,” Woods said. “It’s been great watching him progress as a junior golfer, and it will be incredible playing as a team together in the PNC Championship.” The most television exposure Charlie received was last year at Augusta National when Woods wrapped his son in his arms after winning the Masters for the fifth time, completing a comeback from four back surgeries. It was his 15th major, but the first his son saw him win . . . South Africans Wilco Nienaber and Shaun Norris both shot an 8-under 63 to share the first-round lead at the Joburg Open, which made its return to the European Tour schedule for the first time since 2017. The duo was one shot clear of American Johannes Veerman and Aaron Cockerill of Canada, who both made late-afternoon runs at Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg.
Minimum salaries hiked $7,000
The major league minimum salary will rise to $570,500 next season, a hike of $7,000. Under Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement with the players’ association, the minimum was $535,000 in 2017, $545,000 in 2018 and $555,000 in 2019. Because of the pandemic, MLB and the players’ association agreed to prorated salaries for 2020, which reduced the major league minimum from $563,500 to $208,704. The minor league minimum for a player signing his first major league contract increases from $46,000 to $46,600 next season, and the minor league minimum for a player signing a second or later major league contract goes up from $91,800 to $93,000 . . . The Milwaukee Brewers promoted Matt Arnold, 41, to senior vice president and general manager. Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns announced the move Thursday and said it “formalizes how we have operated over the last few years.”
Yankees closer Chapman’s suspension reduced
Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman’s suspension for throwing near the head of Tampa Bay’s was reduced from three games to two after he appealed the decision. Chapman will serve the suspension at the beginning of next season … The Washington Nationals are moving their Triple-A affiliate back to upstate New York after two years on the West Coast in Fresno, Calif. The change ends the Rochester Red Wings’ 18-year affiliation with the Minnesota Twins.
Maryland-Michigan State football game canceled by virus outbreak
Maryland’s Big Ten football game against Michigan State scheduled for Saturday has been canceled after 15 Terrapins players as well as coach Michael Locksley and six staff memberes tested positive for the coronavirus. Maryland canceled its game against No. 3 Ohio State last week after eight players tested positive, with 23 players testing positive in a two-week span . . . The Pac-12 Conference has approved a plan to allow member schools to schedule nonconference football opponents subject to certain conditions if games are canceled. The conference has had five of its 18 scheduled games during the first three weeks canceled amid COVID-19 issues. California and UCLA were able to schedule a game against each other last weekend on 45 hours’ notice after Cal’s game against Arizona State and UCLA’s matchup against Utah were canceled due to the Sun Devils and Utes having several positive COVID-19 tests . . . Virginia defensive tackle Jowon Briggs announced he was entering the transfer portal after starting every game this season for the Cavaliers (3-4). Briggs became the fifth Virginia football player to enter the transfer portal since August. “Any reasons at this point will be private and personal,” said Cavaliers coach Bronco Mendenhall.
Mixed martial arts
Conor McGregor comes out of UFC retirement
Conor McGregor (22-4) has agreed to end his latest retirement from mixed martial arts and return for a rematch with Dustin Poirier on Jan. 23 at UFC 257, UFC president Dana White confirmed. White hasn’t decided whether UFC 257 will be held in Las Vegas or in the UFC’s coronavirus-secure bubble in Abu Dhabi
Mikaela Shiffrin set for return
Coming off the longest break in her decade-long World Cup ski career, Mikaela Shiffrin is set to return to the slopes after being away from ski racing for 300 days for a slalom event in Levi, Finland. The two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time overall World Cup champion is approaching her first race since Jan. 26, when she picked up her 66th career win at a super-G in Bulgaria. Her father, Jeff Shiffrin, suddenly died a week later following an accident at the family’s home in Colorado . . . Angel City FC, the new Los Angeles entry in the National Women’s Soccer League, will play its home games at Banc of California Stadium starting in spring 2022, sharing the same stadium as the Los Angeles FC of Major League Soccer. Angel City is owned by a mix of celebrities, including actors Natalie Portman, Jennifer Garner and Eva Longoria, and retired soccer stars, including Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach . . . For the first time in more than two decades, NASCAR’S Truck Series will return to Watkins Glen International in upstate New York on Aug. 7 as part of a weekend in which all three of NASCAR’s national touring series will compete in a single weekend in August at The Glen, capped by a Cup Series race on Sunday . . . Jake Scott, the star safety who was the most valuable player in the Super Bowl that completed the Miami Dolphins’ 1972 perfect season, died Thursday in Atlanta. He was 75. Scott died after a fall down a stairway that left him in a coma, former teammate Dick Anderson said.