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In brief: McIlroy paired with Woods for US Open

GOLF: Tiger Woods (pictured) and Sergio Garcia have been kept apart, for the first two rounds at least, in next week's US Open at Merion.

Woods will play alongside Rory McIlroy and Masters champion Adam Scott in a group containing the world's top three, with Garcia paired with former Open champions Pádraig Harrington and Stewart Cink.

Garcia escaped punishment for what could be construed as a racist remark about Woods after offering an unreserved apology for his "stupid and out of place" comments at the European Tour's annual awards ceremony ahead of the BMW PGA Championship last month. It is the first time McIlroy and Woods have been paired together in a major, and McIlroy wrote on Twitter: "Decent group for the first 2 rounds at Merion I see..."

BRAWN'S 'CONSCIENCE CLEAR'

F1: Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn is adamant his "conscience is clear" in the wake of the recent controversial tyre test.

The FIA announced on Wednesday Mercedes will face an International Tribunal after seemingly contravening the sporting regulations. The hearing has been called after Red Bull and Ferrari protested Mercedes' use of a 2013 car to assist Pirelli in a 1,000km test, predominantly of next year's tyres, in Barcelona in mid-May.

Much has been made of the fact it appeared to be a 'secret' test as word did not leak out until the Saturday of Monaco GP weekend, nine days later. Speaking ahead of tomorrow's Canadian Grand Prix, however, Brawn said: "What we were seeking was privacy not secrecy."

LUITEN TAKES LYONESS LEAD

GOLF: Holland's Joost Luiten will take a slender lead into the third round of the Lyoness Open as England's Tom Lewis fell four shots off the pace.

Luiten added a 68 to his opening 65 at Diamond Country Club to finish 11 under par, one shot clear of England's Paul Waring, Scotland's Callum Macaulay and Spain's Eduardo de la Riva.

Lewis began the day with a two-shot lead over Luiten following a flawless 63 on Thursday, but could only manage a 74 on Friday which contained three birdies and five bogeys.

FROOME DICTATES DAUPHINE

CYCLING: Chris Froome retained his firm grip of the Criterium du Dauphine yellow jersey while Europcar's Thomas Voeckler won a sprint finish up ahead on stage six.

Froome came home safely in the peloton alongside Team Sky team-mate Richie Porte to keep the two at the front of the general classification standings, Froome leading the Tasmanian by 52 seconds with two stages left to go.

It was another strong all-round performance from Team Sky as they kept a breakaway in check to pace their leader home, to the delight of Froome.

R&A DENY PORTRUSH PLANS

GOLF: The R&A have denied a report that the British Open Championship will be staged at Royal Portrush in 2018.

Portrush is the only course outside England or Scotland to have staged the British Open, with Max Faulkner lifting the Claret Jug there in 1951.

Tournament officials have been studying the possibility of a return to the Co Antrim venue, which last year successfully staged the Irish Open on the European Tour.

However, an R&A spokesman responded to reports claiming Portrush would host the Open in 2018 by saying: "No decision has been made for 2018."

R&A chief executive Peter Dawson admitted earlier this year that Portrush is "a fantastic golf course," but concerns remain over the infrastructure required to stage a major championship and Dawson also feels the current nine-course Open rota is "about right."


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