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WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Stricker named vice-captain of U.S. Ryder Cup squad

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Madison golfer Steve Stricker was named today as a vice-captain for the U.S. squad at the Ryder Cup this fall.  

The best American-born golf pros will take on a squad of foreign-born players in Perthshire, Scotland September 23rd through 28th.  Earlier, U.S. captain Tom Watson named another Madison golf pro -- two-time U-.S. Open champion Andy North -- as a vice-captain for the Americans at the Ryder Cup.  Raymond Floyd is the third vice-captain.  The Ryder Cup is played every two years.  It will be at Whistling Straits near Sheboygan in 2020.  Meanwhile, Stricker is gearing up for the year's final major, the PGA Championship which starts tomorrow at Valhalla in Louisville.  That tournament will return to Whistling Straits for a third time in 2015.  

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If Brett Favre has let bygones be bygones, so has Green Bay Packers' general manager Ted Thompson.  The GM told reporters today he's happy with how the Packers are moving forward with the retired three-time MVP quarterback.  Thompson said Favre's 16 years in Green Bay were nothing short of remarkable.  Thompson was a member of former GM Ron Wolf's staff when they gave up a first-round draft choice to Atlanta in 1992 to get Favre -- which changed the course of the franchise after many fans initially questioned the move.  After Favre retired in 2007, he wanted to return that summer -- but Thompson wouldn't let him, and said the Packers were moving forward with Aaron Rodgers at QB.  The Packers traded Favre to the New York Jets, where he played a year before going to Green Bay's rival Minnesota for two seasons, in a move he said was done in part to rankle Thompson.  This week, Favre said it's all in the past -- and he'll be honored to be inducted into the Packers' Hall of Fame next July and have his No. 4 retired.  Thompson says Favre is a good guy, and a great football player -- and it's great to have him back with the Pack.

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Green Bay Packers' general manager Ted Thompson says he probably won't look to acquire an offensive lineman from another team.  That's after versatile backup Don Barclay injured his right knee yesterday, and could be out for the season with what media reports say is a torn ACL.  hompson said today that the Packers tried acquiring as many big men as possible during the off-season, and he estimates he has around 15 offensive linemen on the 90-man roster.  He did leave the door open to an acquisition, however, saying, "We'll see."  The GM said he would have a tougher job in cutting players, as a result of the reduction in training camp practices under the NFL's collective bargaining agreement.  About two-fifths of practices have been dropped in recent years, leaving 21 -- plus the four exhibition games -- for Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy to evaluate players.  They'll need to be down to 53 by the start of the regular season four weeks from tomorrow.  The Packers will hold their final public practice around mid-day, as they get ready to play their pre-season opener at Tennessee on Saturday night.

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Former University of Wisconsin running back James White is getting some good reviews from his new teammates at New England.  Quarterback Tom Brady said White has a "real maturity for someone is just getting out of college." Patriots' coach Bill Belichick, who does not normally praise newcomers, calls White a "very interesting and versatile player" who does well in both the running and the passing game. The Patriots selected White in the fourth round in May, as the 12th running back taken overall.  

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The New York Times says Milwaukee Brewers' owner Mark Attanasio was interviewed to replace the retiring Bud Selig as the Major League Baseball commissioner.  USA Today said the Brewers' chief executive was not among the three finalists -- who were said to be Boston owner Tom Werner and MLB vice presidents Rob Manfred and Tim Bronson.  Selig has said he wants Manfred to succeed him when he steps down in January after 22 years running the game.  The New York Times said Attanasio was noted as an owner who has turned the Brewers into a "big draw and a playoff contender."  He took over the Brewers from Selig before the 2005 season began.  His teams have since made the post-season twice, and was two wins away from making the World Series in 2011.

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Two hot pitchers will face off tonight, when the Milwaukee Brewers host San Francisco.  Brewers' right-hander Yovani Gallardo has not been scored upon in 16-and-two-thirds innings -- the second-longest stretch of his career.  Giants' right-hander Ryan Vogelsong is coming off a two-hitter against the New York Mets last Friday night, for his first career complete game.  San Francisco scored five runs that night, after giving Vogelsong a total of just three runs of support in his last six starts.  He's 6-8 for the year, with an ERA of 3.88.  Gallardo is 6-5 overall, with a 3.38 ERA.  He's starting on an extra day of rest, after his rotation predecessor Jimmy Nelson was pushed back a day with a blister on his middle pitching finger.  Nelson recovered from that set-back with a win over the Giants last night.  Gallardo has not pitched since last Wednesday, when he retired 13 straight in a win at Tampa Bay.  He's 4-0 in the last season-and-a-half when pitching with six or more days of rest.  The Brewers will try to hang onto their one-game National League Central Division lead over Saint Louis.  The Giants are second in the NL West, two-and-a-half behind the LA Dodgers.

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Minnesota Twins All-Star Joe Mauer will play his second straight rehab game tonight against the Class-"A" Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.  Mauer is expected to play first base for Cedar Rapids before the Kernels' home fans.  Mauer was 1-for-3 as the designated hitter last night with a run scored.  Mauer is coming off an oblique injury.  Twins' starter Ricky Nolasco is recovering from a sore arm, and he threw 51 pitches for Cedar Rapids in a 9-nothing rout of Wisconsin.  Nolasco did not allow a run, and he's expected to start again for the Kernels on Sunday.  Also tonight, the Beloit Snappers will play at Clinton.  That's after Beloit lost 5-4 to the Lumberkings in 14 innings last night.

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After taking a breather last night, teams in the Northwoods League will open the final five days of their regular season tonight.  The Lakeshore Chinooks and Willmar won the first half titles in the South and North Divisions -- and the final two playoff spots will be at stake through this weekend.  The Wisconsin Woodchucks are three-and-a-half games behind Lakeshore, but the 'Chucks hold the second-half South Division playoff spot by a half-game over Kenosha. Waterloo leads the North by a half-game over Willmar.  Eau Claire and Mankato are still in the running in the North, as they're both one-and-a-half off the pace.  The league's top 100 players have returned to their teams, after auditioning for scouts last night in the Northwoods Big League Dreams Showcase.  Tonight, Wisconsin plays at Lakeshore.  Eau Claire hosts Duluth in a twin bill. Wisconsin Rapids entertains Battle Creek.  La Crosse is at home against Kalamazoo.  Madison hosts Alexandria.  And Green Bay is at Kenosha.

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