Sports briefs 6-27-14: A rusty start for Tiger Woods

DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer Published:

BETHESDA, Md. -- This much could be said about Tiger Woods and his return to competition -- at least he has his health.

And that might be as important as his score.

Woods competed for the first time in more than three months Thursday in the Quicken Loans National at Congressional, and it showed. He opened with back-to-back bogeys. He made five bogeys in a seven-hole stretch around the turn. And then he rallied with three birdies over the last six holes for a 3-over 74.

That left him eight shots behind Greg Chalmers, who made only one bogey in his round of 66 to build a one-shot lead after the opening round. Next up for Woods is trying to stick around for the weekend. He has not missed a cut in two years.

"I think the hard part was just getting into the rhythm of playing competitively," Woods said. "You play with your buddies all day for cash and stuff, but it's just not the same. It's not the same as tournament golf -- different level. Adrenaline is rushing, and I hit the ball further out here than I do at home. Try to get the numbers, try to get the feels. Didn't start happening until midway through my front nine."

• Golf

Early advantage: Joe Durant, David Frost and Doug Garwood sprinted to the early lead at the Senior Players Championship, shooting 6-under 64 at defenseless Fox Chapel.

Still drying out after days of steady rain, the par-70 layout in suburban Pittsburgh offered little resistance. Frost and Garwood breezed through their rounds without making a bogey, and Durant offset his lone bogey with seven birdies.

Share lead: England's Danny Willett and Spain's Rafa Cabrera-Bello shot 8-under 64 to share the lead in the BMW International Open, while local favorite Martin Kaymer opened with a 71 at Gut Laerchenhof in his first round since winning the U.S. Open.

• Elsewhere

Solo apologizes: U.S. women's goalkeeper Hope Solo has apologized to her fans via social media following her arrest for domestic violence last weekend.

Solo, who also plays for the Seattle Reign of the National Women's Soccer League, posted her apology on her Facebook page and also posted a link to the statement on her official Twitter account.

Never condemned JoePa: Gov. Tom Corbett said Thursday he has never condemned the late Penn State coach Joe Paterno for his actions regarding now-convicted child sex abuser Jerry Sandusky, and he "never will," citing what he called the "unusual circumstances" surrounding what happened.

The Republican governor, now in the middle of a re-election campaign, also told The Associated Press that he regrets that the Penn State board decided to fire Paterno by phone rather than in person. The governor was a voting trustee when the scandal broke in November 2011.

Nadal rallies: Rafael Nadal was one point away from falling behind by two sets before rallying Thursday to beat Lukas Rosol, the Czech player who knocked him out at Wimbledon in the same round and on the same court two years ago.

The top-ranked Nadal, a two-time Wimbledon champion, raised his game just in time to avoid falling into a deep hole, rallying for a 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4, 6-4 victory on Centre Court.

Wins truck race: Kyle Busch made it 5 for 5 this season in the Camping World Truck Series, holding off Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate Darrell Wallace Jr. on Thursday night at Kentucky Speedway.

Busch has six straight series victories dating to last season and 40 overall in 120 starts. The Sprint Cup driver led the final 55 laps in the 150-lap race.

New officials: The NFL hired 13 new officials for the 2014 season and promoted three veterans to referee.

First-year official Brad Allen will join the NFL as a referee from the Atlantic Coast Conference, where he has been a referee for the past nine seasons.

Allen is the first to go to the referee position in his first NFL season since Tommy Bell in 1962.

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