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For the Record

By LPGA rookie Paula Creamer, 19, a penalty drop taken by Annika Sorenstam, 35 (above, right), during the first round of the ADT Championship, in West Palm Beach, Fla. On the 18th hole Sorenstam's tee shot landed in a hazard. The two disagreed over where the ball crossed the hazard's boundary--and therefore where Sorenstam was entitled to drop. Sorenstam said it crossed near where it lay; Creamer (above, left) insisted it crossed almost immediately after leaving the tee box. After some heated back-and-forth with Creamer and consultation with a rules official, Sorenstam got the drop she wanted but not absolution from Creamer: "We're never going to agree.... It's her conscience," the younger woman said. Others credited Creamer for not backing down. "Golf is a game of honor," said Cristie Kerr. "If you hit a crappy shot, you have to go back to the tee." The controversy didn't bother Sorenstam: She won the event on Sunday, her 10th title of the year.

At age 79, New York Giants co-owner Robert Tisch, of inoperable brain cancer. Tisch, a former postmaster general and the longtime chairman of Loews Corp., bought 50% of the Giants in 1991, and he and fellow owner Wellington Mara were regulars at team practices and games. (Mara died of cancer on Oct. 25.) A few days before he died, Tisch was visited at his Manhattan home by Giants coach Tom Coughlin, G.M. Ernie Accorsi and players Tiki Barber and Michael Strahan, and on Nov. 12 his sons Jonathan, the Giants' treasurer, and Steve, the executive vice president, addressed the team. "My father loved the players," Jonathan said. "He loved the organization. Every Sunday he was so looking forward to being in the football world."

Of heart failure at age 86, Steve Belichick, father of Patriots coach Bill Belichick. During his 33 years as an assistant coach at Navy, the elder Belichick helped groom two Heisman Trophy winners and led the Midshipmen to six bowl games. His son has said he learned his meticulous coaching style by watching his father, and in recent years Steve was a fixture at Patriots games and practices. "He was around a lot, but you had to sort of twist his arm to get a lot of words out of him," said linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who doused the pair with Gatorade as they embraced after the Patriots' win in the Super Bowl last January. "Like father, like son."

By Argentina's David Nalbandian, Roger Federer's record streak of 24 wins in tournament finals. Nalbandian, 23, ranked No. 12 in the world, beat the world's top-ranked player in five sets to win the Masters Cup in Shanghai on Sunday. The loss, Federer's fourth of the year against 81 wins, cost him a chance to top John McEnroe's Open-era record for best winning percentage in a season. (Federer finished at .953; McEnroe's was .965 in 1984.) Federer, who had missed the previous six weeks with a sprained ankle, wasn't in top form--and he still managed to take Nalbandian (above) to a fifth-set tiebreaker. Said Nalbandian, "I think I surprised all the world."

Florida State's 1993 and '99 national championship trophies, which disappeared from Doak Campbell Stadium in June 2004. Last week university police arrested two men in connection with the alleged theft. John Piowaty, 25, a former Florida intramural water polo player, confessed to swiping the two Waterford crystal footballs, valued at up to $30,000 each, from a locked trophy case while in Tallahassee for the 2004 Sunshine State Games. Jason Rojas, 29, a former teammate of Piowaty's who is now a lawyer in Tallahassee, was charged with possession of stolen property after one of the trophies was found at his home. Rojas faces up to 15 years in prison, and Piowaty, who had the other trophy in a storage unit he owned, faces up to 10.

That he will undergo surgery and likely miss the rest of the season, Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. On Monday--one day after the defending NFC champs fell to 4-6 with a loss to the Giants--McNabb said he would have an operation to correct a sports hernia which has bothered him for months, which he aggravated in a loss to the Cowboys. on Nov. 13. "I wanted so much to help this team turn it around and was unable to do that," said McNabb.

To qualify for the Champions Tour, former major league pitcher Rick Rhoden, 52. The ex-Dodger, Pirate, Yankee and Astro, who retired in 1989 with 151 career wins in 16 seasons, needed to finish in the top seven at qualifying school. Rhoden, who was hoping to follow former quarterback John Brodie and ex-pitcher Ralph Terry as the third pro athlete from another major sport to play full-time on the senior circuit, was in sixth place heading into Monday's sixth and final round. He shot a 75 and finished two shots out of seventh place.

On a Dutch television show, a chain of 4,155,476 dominoes, a world record. It took over two hours for all the dominoes to fall. But the accomplishment was overshadowed by the death of a house sparrow that flew in through an open window four days earlier and knocked over 23,000 dominoes while the chain was being assembled. An exterminator shot the bird with an air rifle, angering animal rights groups in the Netherlands, where the house sparrow is an endangered species. More than 5,000 people signed a condolence register on a website set up to honor the bird, and the shooter reportedly received death threats.

By Indian tennis star Sania Mirza, comments she made advocating safe sex. Speaking in New Delhi, Mirza, 19, who's ranked No. 31 in the world, said, "You don't want me to tell you that you [must] have safe sex, whether it is before or after marriage." The remark triggered protests from Indian Muslims who felt she was encouraging unmarried couples to have sex. Mirza, who is Muslim, had previously drawn the wrath of clerics who disapprove of the short skirts and revealing tops she wears on the court. "I could not possibly justify premarital sex," Mirza said in an apology last Friday, "as it is a very big sin in Islam ... which I believe will not be forgiven by Allah."

Go Figure

Consecutive games, an NFL record, in which the Raiders' Shane Lechler has had a punt of at least 50 yards.

Career touchdowns by Brown running back Nick Hartigan, an Ivy League record; the Bears clinched their first outright Ivy championship with a win over Columbia.

Percentage increase in sales of Bengals merchandise, from $9.3 million in 2004 to $27.1 million this year.

Combined winning percentage of the 14 teams the Dolphins beat during their undefeated 1972 season.

Combined winning percentage of the 10 teams the undefeated Colts have beaten this season.

Rusty Retires

One of NASCAR's 'Old Guns' goes out on top

WHEN HE joined NASCAR's top circuit full time in 1984, Rusty Wallace was a 27-year-old hard charger who would drive around, over or through anything to win. He wrecked often, but his penchant for walking away earned him the nickname Rubberhead. He was tall, handsome, well-spoken--and brash. When he lost the 1988 title to Bill Elliott by 24 points, he said, "He'd better have all the nuts and bolts tightened down next year because I'm going to thrash him." And he did, winning the '89 Winston Cup title.

Wallace drove his last race on Sunday, retiring with 55 wins, the eighth-most in NASCAR history. Rubberhead, however, left us years ago. As his career progressed, Wallace relied more and more on his wile. He'd bide his time, stay out of trouble until the end (he last wrecked in June '04) and then make his move. Wallace specialized on short tracks, where the quality of the car takes a backseat to driving ability. And so as the sport became overrun by young guns in recent years, Wallace hung with them, finishing eighth in this year's postseason Chase. "There's a lot of competition out there, and I went out on top," he said on Sunday. "I was proud to do it this way."







EARLY MODEL Wallace was rookie of the year in 1984 (right).