John Daly is drinking and gambling again, not sure where it will lead but offering no regrets for losing an endorsement with Callaway Golf that had been his primary source of income.

"It's sad, but I think it's great to be free," Daly told Golf World magazine in this week's issue. "Granted, I could go out and lose everything [by] gambling and drinking, but there's no sense in denying it. It's in my blood."

Daly, a recovering alcoholic who has twice been in rehabilitation clinics since his surprising victory in the 1991 PGA Championship, said he ended 26 months of sobriety June 11 after missing the cut in the St. Jude Classic. . . .

Stephen Ames recovered from a potentially disastrous double bogey and shot an 8-under 64 for a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Texas Open in San Antonio. Kemper Open champion Rich Beem and Charles Raulerson were one stroke back with a 65, and Brent Geiberger, Sandy Lyle and Perry Moss were another shot back at 6-under 66.

"I hit the ball really good, hit it close a lot of times. . . . The putts are coming off more solid," Ames said. "We'll see if it works for the next three days. Three more 64s would be nice."

Ames, a native of Trinidad and Tobago who lives in Canada, missed some tournaments early this year because of visa problems. He was 125th on the PGA Tour money list through 13 events before this tournament.

Meantime, Beem started his round with a birdie, then bogeyed the second and fourth holes, before making eight birdies the rest of the way.


Umps Target Phillips

Dissident umpires launched their campaign to oust union head Richie Phillips, saying they were starting to collect signatures to decertify the current union and start a new one.

The dissidents claim they have the support of more than 40 umpires, enough to force the National Labor Relations Board to hold an election by secret ballot.


United to Play Host

D.C. United will host Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at RFK Stadium. Game 2 of the series will be played the following weekend, and a third match, if necessary, will be played in Washington on Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m. Individual tickets are on sale through TicketMaster or at the stadium. . . .

Jeff Cunningham scored two goals to lead the Columbus Crew to a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Fire last night at Soldier Field. Cunningham scored twice in the first half to erase an early advantage by the Fire (16-13), the defending MLS champions. Columbus improved to 18-11 with the win. . . .

Mia Hamm will not play in the U.S. National Team match against Brazil Sunday because of a hamstring injury she suffered in a Sept. 4 game against Ireland.

Replacing Hamm on the roster is 17-year-old Aleisha Cramer, a senior at Green Mountain High School in Lakewood, Colo.

Hamm is expected to play in the U.S. Women's Cup '99, beginning Oct. 3 in Columbus, Ohio. . . .

An exhibition between the Miami Fusion and the Haitian national team in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was suspended abruptly Wednesday after a referee's call against Haiti angered many fans, who trashed the field.


Bradley Retires

Former Tampa Bay Lightning center Brian Bradley, 34, a two-time all-star, retired after 13 seasons because of post-concussion syndrome. . . .

The Buffalo Sabres agreed to terms with center Stu Barnes on a new multiyear contract.