Colin Montgomerie defended himself yesterday against charges he broke the rules at the Indonesian Open in March.
When play was suspended by lightning, Montgomerie failed to mark his ball in a bunker, and it wasn't there when the round resumed. He replaced his ball, but video later showed he put it in the wrong spot. He wound up in a tie for fourth.
Without that result, he would not have been No. 50 in the world golf ranking on Monday, the cutoff for being exempt for the U.S. Open.
The European tour declined to penalize him, but when Montgomerie had a chance to review the tape, he felt it was an incorrect drop and donated his prize money.
"There was no admission of guilt in making a gesture of that kind," Montgomerie said on the eve of the Wales Open. "That was a gesture on my behalf because I wasn't happy with what I saw."
The tour's tournament committee said two weeks ago it wasn't satisfied with Montgomerie's failure to mark his ball. But chairman Jamie Spence said there was no mechanism in place for forfeiting ranking points.
* MLS: Ramon Ramirez scored late in the first half as Chivas USA (1-8-2) tied the Kansas City Wizards, 1-1, in Carson, Calif. Jose Burciaga scored for the Wizards (4-2-4).
* WNBA: Rookie guard Yolanda Paige made a late free throw as the Indiana Fever held on for a 61-60 victory over the visiting Sacramento Monarchs. Tully Bevilaqua was fouled hard by Ticha Penicheiro as she drove for a layup with 52 seconds to play and the score tied at 60. Bevilaqua left with a knee injury, and Monarchs Coach John Whisenant chose Paige to shoot the free throws.
* PRO FOOTBALL: Minnesota Vikings center Matt Birk is expected to miss two to three months while recovering from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip.
* CYCLING: American Tyler Hamilton appealed his two-year doping suspension to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He tested positive during the Spanish Vuelta, a month after he won a gold medal in Athens.
-- From News Services