Fowler outlasts Woods at Hero World Challenge

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NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) - Rickie Fowler was the first player to offer a scouting report on Tiger Woods ahead of his celebrated return to golf, hinting that Woods was hitting it "way by" him in some of their matches in Florida.

Fowler's own game apparently was in pretty good shape, too.

Seven shots behind to start the final round of the Hero World Challenge, Fowler opened with seven straight birdies Sunday and closed with an 11-under 61 to set the course record at Albany Golf Club and win by four shots over Charley Hoffman.

Fowler played twice with Woods before he was runner-up at the OHL Classic in Mexico, and then a couple of more times before Thanksgiving.

"I think he sharpened me up a little bit," Fowler said with a grin. "I've gotten a little scared of how good he was playing at home, thought I needed to start playing a little bit better or something."

Fowler and Woods each had cause for celebrations, large and small, in the Bahamas.

Fowler won his second title of the year, making it the second time he has ended a year with multiple victories worldwide. Woods made a return to golf that was solid with his health and his game, and he headed into the holidays thinking about a schedule for 2018.

"I'm excited," Woods said after closing with a 68. "This is the way I've been playing at home."

In a week that began with so much curiosity over how Woods would perform, he had his best result in four years. More than his score, he looked strong from start to finish, including a vicious recoil on a 2-iron he hit from 265 yards on the third hole that ran over the back of the green.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - New Nebraska coach Scott Frost was given a rousing welcome home at his introductory news conference Sunday from boosters, current players and his old teammates, and he promised to make them proud with the product he will put on the field.

Frost takes over a program that has lost its stature among college football's elite in the 20 years since he quarterbacked the Cornhuskers to a share of the 1997 national championship.

The 42-year-old Frost agreed to a seven-year, $35 million contract. This year he became the hottest coach on the market for leading the dramatic turnaround at Central Florida. He inherited a team that went 0-12 in 2015, and this year he coached the Knights to a 12-0 record. He was introduced less than 24 hours after UCF defeated Memphis 62-55 in two overtimes in the American Athletic Conference championship game.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Gus Malzahn is staying at Auburn, putting an end to the questions about his future.

The football coach has agreed to a new seven-year deal to remain at the school after a strong late-season rebound, said a person with knowledge of the situation.

Complete financial details were not immediately available but the person said Malzahn will make more than $7 million in the final year of the contract. The person spoke with The Associated Press Sunday on condition of anonymity because Auburn had not announced details of the new deal.

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - Arizona State has hired former NFL coach and ESPN analyst Herm Edwards as its football coach.

The school announced the hiring Sunday night and will hold a news conference introducing Edwards on Monday morning.

The Sun Devils fired coach Todd Graham after six seasons on Nov. 26 and wanted to move quickly with the early-signing period for high school recruits starting on Dec. 20.

PRO BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - The Yankees and Red Sox are among the teams that pitcher and outfielder Shohei Ohtani has ruled out, and it seems the Japanese star will likely pursue a smaller market nearer to the West Coast.

New York general manager Brian Cashman confirmed to reporters Sunday night that his club was out of the running.

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