Column: For Tiger Woods, a picture says it all

By TIM DAHLBERG, AP Sports Columnist
The arrest itself may be little more than a historical footnote as years go by, even if it was the event that finally buried any remaining mythology surrounding Tiger Woods.
The picture will live on a lot longer.
There was Woods as we’ve never seen him, his sad eyes drooping as he stares vacantly into the camera at the Palm Beach County jail. His hair is unkempt, there’s a three-day growth of beard on his face, and he looks like he can’t wait to go home and sleep something off.
It will almost surely end up being the defining image of his downfall, a stark reminder that greatness can be a burden not always suffered easily. If there was any doubt that Woods is a troubled soul, it’s erased in a mugshot showing eyes that appear dead to the world.
Two decades ago, the image people at Nike announced his arrival with commercials that said, “Hello World.” Now all we can do is hope Woods is not trying to say goodbye to what for him has become a very different world.
Never mind that it wasn’t alcohol, as Woods quickly pointed out after he got home and cleaned himself up. Somehow, he seems to believe the fact he hadn’t been drinking makes things look better.
That’s nonsense because there’s no difference, just a choice. Pill poppers are just as dangerous as tequila drinkers on the highways, and it seems Woods took more than his share before getting in his Mercedes and going on a ride to nowhere.
Woods was so out of it, he was found sleeping in a car still running with the right turn signal blinking. So out of it that when asked to recite the alphabet backward, he thought the police officer meant the national anthem.
So out of it at 3 a.m. on a holiday that he didn’t know where his house was and thought he had been driving from a golf tournament in California.
The internet, of course, couldn’t wait to weigh in on the mugshot. There was great hilarity at Memorial Day cookouts around the country as people gathered around their phones to see how far the mighty Woods had fallen.
And on Tuesday the photo graced the front page of two New York tabloids with the same headline, “DUI of the Tiger.”
“Washed up golf legend busted in Fla.,” the Daily News added, because there’s nothing better than kicking a star when he’s down.
It’s easy to laugh because we like our heroes to fail. If watching Woods struggle on the golf course in recent years was fun, there’s nothing like seeing him before a booking cam on his way to the slammer.
What’s both telling and a bit sad is that no one is rushing to come to Tiger’s defense. He’s alone, just as he was in the car in the middle of the night on a Florida roadway.
For all his greatness, there has always been a certain disconnect with Woods. For years he was arrogant to fellow players, treated fans dismissively and couldn’t be bothered with the media.
That’s fine when you’re on top and everyone is in awe of what you’re doing. But in the descent that began outside his mansion over Thanksgiving weekend in 2009, no one has been there to hold Woods up.
His enablers will try to spin it, of course, because they have jobs to protect. But they have little credibility anymore, and neither does he.
Just a few days earlier Woods announced that his most recent surgery had finally alleviated his back pain. Yet he told police that he was taking several different medications, including Vicodin, a highly addictive painkiller.
Well, which is it?
And now there’s the picture that says way more than 100 spin doctors can say.
It wasn’t long ago that Woods was the world’s greatest golfer, someone who brought thrills to a sedate sport every time he teed it up. The fact he had character flaws was carefully hidden as he won major after major, the final one on one good leg.
His flaws have been exposed to the world for the past eight years, and Monday’s arrest was just the latest example.
He’s lucky he didn’t kill anyone, even luckier that he didn’t kill himself. He needs help, something Jack Nicklaus suggested on Tuesday.
The first step might be to look at the mugshot every morning to remind himself just what he’s become.
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Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg@ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg

LEADING OFF: Night moves for Tanaka; Blue Jays go batty

By The Associated Press
A look at what’s happening all around the majors Wednesday:
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NIGHT AND DAY
Masahiro Tanaka appears to do his best work at night. The New York Yankees right-hander makes his 11th start of the season in Baltimore, looking to extend an unusual run of success under the lights. Tanaka is 5-1 with a 2.51 ERA in six night starts and 0-3 with a 17.51 ERA in four day games. He faces Kevin Gausman (2-4, 6.17) and the Orioles. Opponents are batting .322 with 10 homers in 54 innings against Gausman.
TORONTO TURNAROUND
The Blue Jays can move within a game of .500 by beating the Reds, a stark improvement following a 6-17 start to the season. Toronto has 47 homers in May, including four while improving to 25-27 with a 6-4 win over Cincinnati on Tuesday night. Jose Bautista has been a driving force in the resurgence, hitting .320 with nine homers with 21 RBIs following a miserable April. Bautista, Josh Donaldson, Russell Martin and Kendrys Morales each homered in Tuesday’s win.
STIFF COMPETITION
Oakland left-hander Sean Manaea (3-3) gets the ball at AL champion Cleveland, his latest assignment against one of the league’s heavyweights. The second-year pitcher has won two straight starts, beating the Red Sox and Yankees while posting a 1.50 ERA with 11 strikeouts over 12 innings.
PAX IS BACK
James Paxton is set to come off the disabled list for the Mariners against Colorado. Paxton (3-0, 1.43 ERA) was among baseball’s best pitchers in April before landing on the DL with a left forearm strain. He’ll face standout rookie Antonio Senzatela (7-1, 3.19), who most recently pitched eight shutout innings in a win over the Cardinals.
HOLES IN HOUSTON
David Paulino was recalled from the minors to start at Minnesota after the major league-leading Astros (37-16) put right-hander Joe Musgrove on the disabled list Tuesday with shoulder discomfort. Paulino was at Triple-A Fresno and is considered one of the team’s top prospects. Musgrove, who is 4-4 with a 4.89 ERA after throwing seven scoreless innings against Baltimore last Friday, could miss just one turn. But for now, he joins fellow Astros starters Charlie Morton and Collin McHugh on the DL. Houston has won six straight.
DEALING D-BACKS
Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Godley will try to follow a gem by Robbie Ray with another one against the Pirates. Ray threw a four-hitter for his first complete game Tuesday night, and Godley (1-1, 1.99 ERA) is on a tear of his own. He pitched six scoreless innings in a 4-2 win over Milwaukee last time out and has churned out four straight quality starts. Pittsburgh right-hander Chad Kuhl (1-5, 6.29) is winless in nine starts since beating Atlanta on April 8 in his season debut.
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More AP baseball coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Serena’s back at a Slam! OK, sort of; she watched Venus win

By HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Tennis Writer
PARIS (AP) — Serena Williams was back on the Grand Slam scene Wednesday, only she was snacking on a piece of fruit while sitting in a shaded part of the stands at the French Open, watching her older sister win in straight sets instead of playing a match herself.
About six months pregnant, and off the WTA tour for the rest of this season, Williams was blase about attending a major tournament as a spectator rather than a participant.
“It feels fine. I don’t feel anything,” she said Wednesday before leaving the Roland Garros grounds. “It’s just a part of my life.”
As everyone connected to the sport acknowledges, tennis events simply are not the same without Williams in the draw. She generates attention and wins more than her share of trophies — the Australian Open championship in January, while she already was expecting, was her 23rd at a Slam.
She beat her sister Venus in that final. Now Venus is the only Williams who’ll be in tournament brackets until 2018, when Serena vows to return.
“I’m sure she feels the excitement of being at a major and not having the pressure to play and prepare. Must be an interesting feeling, to say the least,” the 10th-seeded Venus said after taking 11 of the last 12 games and beating Kurumi Nara of Japan 6-3, 6-1 to get to the third round. “But she knows exactly what it’s like out there, and she’s had a lot of success here.”
Serena has won the French Open three times, in 2002 (Venus was her opponent in the final), 2013 and 2015.
So what’s it like for her to be an observer nowadays?
“It’s like any athlete: When you watch another player, you can see everything that they’re not doing and you want to get out there and do it yourself. That’s the way it is,” said the sisters’ mother, Oracene Price. “She can’t wait to come back, though. Actually, she’s working toward it now.”
Yes, Serena is not staying idle.
Her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, said Serena recently texted him “and she said: ‘It’s going to sound weird, but I’m going on the court. I don’t want to lose my touch.’ That was her joke, talking about losing her touch. But she wants to keep in contact with the racket and the ball. There is no doubt that she plans to come back.”
Mouratoglou added that Serena already is talking about making it back in time to play the Australian Open next January.
“For anyone, it sounds impossible, because it’s too short a time after you give birth,” said Mouratoglou, who noted that he is planning to continue as her coach whenever she is ready to return to competition.
“But Serena is Serena. There is no rule that you can apply to Serena. She has a body that is not anybody’s body. She has a will that is also completely unusual. She is one of a kind,” he said. “I never see any limits for her and put any limits to her, because that would be wrong. So if she says Australian Open, it’s going to be the Australian Open.”
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Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich
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More AP tennis coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Tennis

6 track athletes handed doping bans after Olympic retests

MONACO (AP) — Six Russian and Ukrainian track athletes were handed doping bans Wednesday after retests found they had doped at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
The IAAF said Russian sprinter Yulia Chermoshanskaya, who won 4×100-meter relay gold in 2008, was banned for two years. Two Ukrainians, javelin silver medalist Oleksandr Pyatnytsya and pole vault bronze medalist Denys Yurchenko, were also banned for two years.
They had already been stripped of their Olympic medals last year by the International Olympic Committee.
There were also two-year bans for Ukrainian athletes Vita Palamar, Marharyta Tverdohlib and Maksym Mazuryk, who competed at the Olympics but were not medalists.
The IAAF also announced an eight-year sanction for Natalia Lupu, who was the 800-meter European indoor champion in 2013.
The IAAF said the Ukrainian failed a test in July, her second offense, so she could be disqualified from last year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where she reached the semifinals of the 800.

Headgear rules: Lee Corso, 81, signs extension with ESPN

By The Associated Press
ESPN has agreed to a multiyear contract extension with Lee Corso, the 81-year-old star of “College GameDay.”
Corso joined ESPN in 1987 and has been part of the popular college football Saturday pregame show ever since. His head-gear game predictions, off-the-cuff analysis and signature line — “Not so fast, my friend” — have endeared him to generations of college football fans.
The head-gear picks started in 1996 when Corso donned the head of Ohio State’s Brutus Buckeye before a game in Columbus with Penn State. He is on target to make his 300th head-gear pick during week six of the upcoming season.
In the spring of 2009, Corso suffered a stroke at his home in Florida, but returned to be part of the first “College GameDay” that season.

Bombing in diplomatic area of Kabul kills 80, wounds scores

By RAHIM FAIEZ and AMIR SHAH, Associated Press
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A massive suicide truck bombing rocked a highly secure diplomatic area of Kabul on Wednesday morning, killing 80 people and wounding as many as 350, an attack that left a scene of mayhem and destruction and sent a huge plume of smoke over the Afghan capital.
The target of the explosion in the Wazir Akbar Khan area was not immediately known, but Ismail Kawasi, spokesman of the public health ministry, said most of the casualties were civilians, including women and children.
It was one of the worst attacks Kabul had seen since the drawdown of foreign forces from the country at the end of 2014. The bombing also raised serious questions about the Afghan government’s ability to secure the war-battered nation.
Associated Press images from the scene showed the German Embassy and several other embassies located in the area heavily damaged. Germany, Japan and Pakistan said some of their embassy employees and staff were hurt in the explosion.
The BBC said a driver for the British broadcaster was killed and four of its journalists were wounded. Afghanistan’s private TOLO Television also reported a staffer killed; Germany said an Afghan security guard outside its embassy was among those killed.
The explosion took place at the peak of Kabul’s rush hour, when roads are packed with worktime commuters. Najib Danish, deputy spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said the bomber detonated his truck filled with explosives close to a busy intersection in the Wazir Akbar Khan district. The blast left a gaping crater, at least five meters (yards) deep.
The neighborhood is considered Kabul’s safest area, with foreign embassies protected by dozens of 10-foot-high blast walls and government offices, guarded by police and national security forces. The German Embassy, the Foreign Ministry and the Presidential Palace are all in the area, as are the British and the Canadian embassies. The Chinese, Turkish and Iranian embassies are also located there.
The U.S Embassy and the NATO mission in Kabul are also near, about a kilometer (half mile) away from the site. Both condemned the attack and the alliance praised “the courage of Afghan Security Forces, especially the police and first responders.”
Local TV footage showed shocked residents soaked in blood stumbling about, then being ferried away to hospitals. Passers-by stopped and helped the wounded into private cars, others congregated outside the nearby Italian-run Emergency Hospital.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, though both the Taliban and the Islamic State group have staged large-scale attacks in the Afghan capital in the past.
The Taliban later Wednesday issued a statement denying any involvement and condemning all attacks against civilians. Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Taliban, said the Kabul explosion had “nothing to do with the Mujahedeen of Islamic Emirate,” as the Taliban call themselves. Even though the Taliban claim they are only waging war against the Kabul government and foreign forces in Afghanistan, most of the casualties of their attacks have been civilians.
A statement from the Ministry of Interior Affairs said it condemned “in the strongest terms the terrorist attack” that killed so many, including women and children. “These heinous acts go against the values of humanity as well values of peaceful Afghans,” it added.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani also condemned the attack, which came just days into the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. A statement from his office quoted Ghani as saying that “the terrorists, even in the holy month of Ramadan, the month of goodness, blessing and prayer, are not stopping the killing of our innocent people.”
Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said that along with the Afghan guard who was killed, a German diplomat was lightly wounded while an Afghan staffer sustained severe injuries. Gabriel offered his condolences to the guard’s family.
Neighboring Pakistan denounced the “terrorist attack in Kabul” and its Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the bombing “caused damage to the residences of some Pakistani diplomats and staff, living in the close vicinity, and inflicted minor injuries to some.”
China’s foreign ministry said its embassy was partly damaged but that no staffers or Chinese citizens were injured.
Germany has had troops in Afghanistan for 15 years, primarily concentrated in the north in and around Mazar-e-Sharif. They’re currently one of the biggest contributors to the NATO-led Resolute Support mission with around 980 soldiers on the ground to support and train Afghan security forces.
Wednesday’s explosion was so heavy that more than 50 vehicles were either destroyed or damaged around the site of the attack. “We don’t know at this moment what was the target,” said Danish.
Residents described a mushroom cloud over Kabul and windows were shattered in shops, restaurants and other buildings up to a kilometer (half mile) from the blast site.
“There are a large number of casualties, but I don’t know how many people are killed or wounded,” said an eyewitness, Gul Rahim.
Mohammad Haroon, who owns a sporting goods store near the site, said all the windows on his shop and others around him were shattered. “I’ve never seen such a powerful explosion in my life,” he said.
“Business will be very bad, nobody will come for shopping anymore,” he added.
Kawasi, the health official, said the wounded were admitted to different Kabul hospitals.
Shortly after the explosion, all roads in Wazir Akbar Khan were blocked off by Afghan security forces and helicopters were deployed over the neighborhood.
Last month, the Afghan Taliban announced the beginning of their spring offensive, promising to build their political base in the country while focusing military assaults on the international coalition and Afghan security forces.
U.S. and Afghan forces have been battling the Taliban insurgency for more than 15 years. The United States now has more than 8,000 troops in Afghanistan, training local forces and conducting counterterrorism operations. In the past year, they have largely concentrated on thwarting a surge of attacks by the Taliban, who have captured key districts, such as Helmand province, which U.S. and British troops had fought bitterly to return to the government.
Yet the Afghan war shows no signs of letting up and the emergence of the local Islamic State branch has made Afghanistan even more volatile.
The affiliate, known as the Islamic State in Khorasan, an ancient name for parts of Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asia, has taken credit for several brazen assaults on Kabul, including the attack on a military hospital on March 8 when IS gunmen, wearing white lab coats, stormed a military hospital in Kabul, killing 50 people.
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Associated Press writers David Rising in Berlin and Kathy Gannon in Islamabad contributed to this report.

Civilians seek food, water as Philippines siege continues

By JIM GOMEZ, Associated Press
MARAWI, Philippines (AP) — There was food and water— welcome commodities amid the frequent tears. There was, finally, safety, at least for the moment. And there were stories — stories of things that mothers and fathers hope never happen to their families.
At an evacuation center outside the besieged Philippine city of Marawi on Wednesday, the results of a week of misery — a week of violence and uncertainty and long nights and promises of better tomorrows — were evident in the faces and hearts of the displaced.
“When you’re desperate, you will do everything to survive,” said Zia Alonto Adiong, a regional lawmaker who welcomed dozens of people, including children, who fled to safety after more than a week trapped inside Marawi.
About 130 people have been killed in the violence, which erupted last Tuesday after soldiers launched a raid to capture militant leader Isnilon Hapilon, who has been designated leader of the Islamic State group’s Southeast Asia branch.
But the operation went awry and Hapilon got away. Fighters loyal to him surprised government forces with their firepower, fending off air strikes and house-to-house searches.
The unrest has boosted fears that the Islamic State group’s violent ideology is gaining a foothold in the country’s restive southern islands, where a Muslim separatist rebellion has raged for decades.
Military spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said Hapilon is believed to still be in Marawi.
“We believe he is still there, and we believe that is why they are putting up a very stiff resistance in the areas that they are still being held up and being cleared,” Padilla told reporters in Manila, the capital.
As the two sides battle it out, civilians have been caught in the crossfire.
Bilal Sulaiman, a 47-year-old carpenter, said his wife and three children evacuated to safety early in the conflict but he stayed behind to watch their house near the scene of the battle.
He said when the fighting became too fierce, with bombs exploding two blocks away from his house, he ran for his life to a nearby mountain, where he waited without food and water until he decided to swim across a pond to safety.
He waited in an army-controlled area and was retrieved by government rescuers Wednesday.
“We did not eat for days,” Sulaiman told the AP at an evacuation center where some people wept as rescue workers handed out biscuits and water.
“It was really scary, there were explosions just two blocks from my house but I couldn’t leave our house because somebody might burn it. I later left when the fighting got too intense.”
Frightened civilians crowded into schools, basketball courts and sports centers. Villagers slept on floors and in grandstands and relied on government food and water rations and donations.
Amid the squalor and lack of privacy, Naima Dimangadap wept.
“Our homes got burned because of the bombings. We failed to save anything, including our cooking pots. It’s so difficult to live in this evacuation camp,” said Dimangadap, a single mother of five.
On Wednesday, Philippine authorities said troops had cleared almost 90 percent of Marawi city.
Padilla said 960 civilians had been rescued and an estimated 1,000 residents remained trapped in the city. The dead include 89 militants, 19 civilians and 21 government forces, Padilla said.
Eight other militants surrendered and provided “very, very valuable intelligence” during questioning, Padilla said.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who declared martial law on Mindanao island, has approved the creation of a “peace corridor” to hasten the rescue of civilians and delivery of humanitarian aid for displaced people, said presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella.
He said the corridor will be implemented by the government and the main separatist group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which has signed a peace agreement in exchange for Muslim autonomy in Mindanao, the southern third of the Philippines.
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Associated Press writer Teresa Cerojano in Manila, Philippines, contributed to this report.

Prince Charles tours churches to be restored in Transylvania

By OLIMPIU GHEORGHIU, Associated Press
VISCRI, Romania (AP) — Britain’s Prince Charles stepped into the Transylvanian countryside on Wednesday, touring medieval churches that have been vandalized with the hope of restoring them.
He visited one 800-year-old church in the village of Drauseni, which he plans to help restore. The region has 250 medieval Saxon churches that belonged to Saxons or ethnic Germans. Romania has fewer than 15,000 Saxons, down from a quarter of a million in 1990.
The prince regularly visits Romania and owns two properties in Transylvania. In 2015, he set up The Prince of Wales’ Foundation in Romania, a charity that supports the East European nation’s heritage, rural life and sustainable development.

Lebanon bans the new “Wonder Woman” movie

By SARAH EL DEEB, Associated Press
BEIRUT (AP) — A Lebanese security official says authorities have banned the new “Wonder Woman” movie following a campaign against its lead actress, who served in the Israeli army.
Lebanon is officially at war with Israel. The ban is in accordance with a decades-old law that boycotts Israeli products and bars Lebanese citizens from traveling to Israel or having contacts with Israelis. The official says the ban issued by the minister of interior Wednesday has been relayed to the distribution company. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision has not yet been published.
It is not clear if a planned premiere later Wednesday in Beirut will go ahead.

Malaysia Airlines plane diverted over disruptive passenger

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A Malaysia Airlines plane was forced to return to Australia on Wednesday after a disruptive passenger attempted to enter the cockpit, the airline said.
It said Flight MH128, which was headed from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur, turned back to Melbourne because of the incident, which it said was not a hijacking.
The airplane landed safely and the passenger was detained by airport security personnel, Malaysia Airlines said in a statement. It said the other passengers left the plane safely, and the incident would be investigated by the airline and by airport authorities.
It gave no other details of the incident.
Flightradar24, an aircraft monitoring site, said on Twitter that other flights bound for Melbourne were diverted to other airports. It said Flight MH128 landed after being airborne for 14 minutes.