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Woods Part of 5-Way Tie for Lead

Doral, Fla. — Tiger Woods was on his game, and so were most of the world best golfers yesterday in the Cadillac Championship. Except for the world’s No. 1 player.

Woods made nine birdies on the Blue Monster at Doral for a 6-under 66 that put him in a five-way share of the lead with Masters champion Bubba Watson, former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell, Sergio Garcia and Freddie Jacobson.

This World Golf Championship lived up to its name with Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker and Hunter Mahan among those one shot behind.

Woodstock, Vt., native Keegan Bradley shot a 68 and is two back.

Rory McIlroy hit only three fairways and made six bogeys that kept him at par or worse on a perfect day for scoring. Despite making a 15-foot eagle putt on the par-5 first hole, and lacing a 5-iron over the water for another eagle attempt on the par-5 eighth that narrowly missed, the best he could manage was a 73.

McIlroy has yet to break par this year.

He declined to speak to reporters, grabbing a quick lunch and smiling at screaming fans who wanted his autograph as he headed to the practice range.

Baseball

Rivera Plans
To Quit After 2013

New York — The great Mariano Rivera is getting set to close his career.

The New York Yankees’ reliever plans to announce this weekend that he will retire after the 2013 season, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press yesterday.

The 43-year-old closer is baseball’s saves leader with 608. He is regarded as one of the best clutch pitchers in history, posting a record 42 postseason saves with an 0.70 ERA while helping the Yankees win five World Series championships.

Rivera missed most of last season after he tore a ligament in his right knee while catching fly balls during batting practice. The right-hander was hurt May 3 and had surgery the next month.

Cards SS Out for Season

Jupiter, Fla. — St. Louis shortstop Rafael Furcal will undergo ligament replacement surgery in his right elbow and expects to miss the 2013 season.

Furcal made the decision after visiting Dr. James Andrew’s clinic in Pensacola, Fla., on Wednesday.

Furcal strained the elbow ligament near the end of last season, keeping him out of the final few weeks and the Cardinals’ playoff run. There was a concern then that he’d have to undergo offseason Tommy John surgery, but Furcal chose to try rehab instead.

NFL Football

Longtime Center Retires

Indianapolis — Indianapolis gave Jeff Saturday a chance to fulfill his NFL dream.

Yesterday, he came back to thank the town and the team that embraced his improbable journey from undrafted free agent to NFL star.

Moments after signing his final contract with the Colts, Indy’s longtime center and a key figure in forging a settlement to the 2011 NFL lockout officially retired with the team that brought him into the league 14 years ago.

Colts fans will always remember Saturday for his gritty play and down-to-earth attitude. Nationally, he will forever be known as the voice of reason during the contentious lockout negotiations. Saturday lobbied on behalf of the players he represented and constantly urged both sides to remember that they would be best served by reaching a settlement rather than losing the “golden goose.”

After the two sides agreed to a 10-year collective bargaining agreement, Saturday’s embrace of Patriots owner Robert Kraft became an endearing image of labor peace. Kraft had just finished speaking about his wife, Myra, who died during the negotiations, when Saturday put aside Indy’s bitter rivalry with New England, hugged Kraft and then credited him for “saving football.”

Falcons Prep
For New Stadium

Atlanta — Atlanta’s mayor and Falcons owner Arthur Blank agreed to financing terms for a new $1 billion, retractable-roof stadium to replace the 20-year-old Georgia Dome and keep the team’s home games in the city’s downtown, the two men said yesterday.

Mayor Kasim Reed said the city would provide $200 million of construction costs through bonds backed by the city’s hotel-motel tax. The Falcons franchise, owned by Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank, would provide $800 million and be responsible for construction cost overruns.

The Falcons would pay for up to $50 million in infrastructure costs not included in the construction budget and help retire the last few years of debt on the Georgia Dome, which was publicly financed entirely using the hotel-motel tax.

Also, Blank’s private foundation and the city each would spend $15 million on surrounding neighborhood development.

Officials said the deal presumes the stadium would be built immediately south of the existing Georgia Dome, though that is contingent on securing adjacent property that is not yet publicly owned. A secondary site is available several blocks north of the current stadium.

The Georgia Dome would be demolished after the new stadium opens.