Two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange has been selected as the next captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team that will try to retain the cup in 2001 at The Belfry in England, a source familiar with the appointment told the Associated Press yesterday. An announcement will be made Monday.

Strange, 44, has been considered the leading candidate to succeed Ben Crenshaw since the day after the Americans staged the greatest comeback in Ryder Cup history last month to defeat Europe.

Strange has won 17 times on the PGA Tour and became the first player since Ben Hogan to win the U.S. Open in consecutive years at Oak Hill in 1989. He won the Open the previous year at The Country Club near Boston, and was among the candidates to be captain for this year's Ryder Cup matches. . . .

U.S. Open champion Payne Stewart had no further comment about his use of a mock Chinese accent in a television interview. During a rain delay in the first round of the National Car Rental Classic at Disney World, Stewart spoke with the accent on ESPN to make fun of comments made earlier this month by British analyst Peter Alliss.

Alliss told the Daily Telegraph, "Americans are totally different to us. They might as well be Chinese. In their eyes, pretty much everything in Europe is rubbish."

Squinting his eyes and sticking out his teeth, Stewart told ESPN, "I just want Peter Alliss to know that all of us American golfers on the Ryder Cup team, we are Chinese, too. Thank you very much."

Stewart later apologized after finishing his round Thursday, saying there was no intent to offend anyone but Alliss.


WNBA Teams Accepted

WNBA expansion teams in Indianapolis, Miami, Portland, Ore., and Seattle have met the requirements for season ticket sales and will join the league as planned in 2000.

SoccerWomen Go Indoors Cindy Parlow scored three goals to lead the U.S. women's national team to a 9-6 victory over the World All-Stars in the first stop of the 12-city victory tour in Pittsburgh.

Unlike the scoreless Women's World Cup final that was decided by penalty kicks, this game was played indoors and there were goals. Lots of them.

"We think this is a perfect way to thank the fans, to thank all the kids and families who supported us during the World Cup and celebrated with us after," said Mia Hamm, who scored two goals. "We want this tour to be about fun, a celebration of the game."

The tour continues Sunday in Auburn Hills, Mich. It will stop at MCI Center on Nov. 20.


Sampras Withdraws

Pete Sampras has withdrawn from next week's $2.45 million Eurocard Open in Stuttgart, Germany, because of flu. Sampras, ranked third in the world, has not played since late August. He missed the U.S. Open because of a herniated disk in his lower back. . . .

American Vincent Spadea upset Yevgeny Kafelnikov in the quarterfinals of the Lyon Grand Prix in France, all but ending the Russian's bid to finish the year as the world's top-ranked player. Spadea, seeded eighth, defeated the tournament's top-seeded player, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5).


Hamed Claims Title

Prince Naseem Hamed of Britain won a 12-round unanimous decision from Cesar Soto of Mexico to claim Soto's World Boxing Council featherweight title at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Hamed also retained the World Boxing Organization title. In the co-feature, unbeaten Erik Morales held off Wayne McCullough to retain his WBC super bantamweight title with a 12-round unanimous decision. . . .

Muhammad Ali's daughter is scheduled to fight her second professional match at Mountaineer Race Track and Gaming Resort in Chester, W. Va., on Nov. 10. Laila Ali's opponent has yet to be determined for the four-round bout. . . .

Capitol Heights junior lightweight Lamont Pearson has a new opponent in the co-feature of tonight's boxing card at Annandale Boys Club, at 6728 Commercial Drive in Annandale. Pearson will face Charles McClelland (6-15) of Fort Wayne, Ind. Laurel junior welterweight Del Matchett (7-1-1) meets Philadelphia's Tybius Flowers (12-3) in the other feature.


Race Canceled

The Sri Chinmoy 5K race at East Potomac Park scheduled for 8 a.m. today has been canceled. The next race will be held Nov. 13.

CAPTION: Payne Stewart has nothing else to say about using a mock Chinese accent during television interview in Florida Thursday. He apologized later that day.