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Harrington happy as golf ball move penalty is axed

GOLF: Triple major champion Padraig Harrington has revealed his delight after the game's governing bodies confirmed players will no longer be penalised if their golf ball is moved by a sudden gust of wind after it has been addressed.

This rule has long been regarded as among the most unfair in golf, with Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy (in the British Open) and American Webb Simpson (in the PGA Tour's New Orleans Classic) notable victims during tournaments this year.

The change, announced jointly by the United States Golf Association (USGA) and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club (R&A), is among nine principal rules which have been amended for 2012-15.

Harrington, who is an R&A ambassador, said: "Every time the wind blows, I am worried that my ball is going to move and I am worried about grounding my putter.

"This change will speed up play, there won't be as many suspensions and players won't be getting penalised or disqualified unfairly. It is definitely giving us players a little bit of a break."

David Rickman, the R&A's director of rules and equipment standards, said: "The rules of golf are constantly evolving and our hope is that what we have produced for 2012 is clear, informed by common sense and reflective of the demands of the modern game."

New Jersey to host F1 race in 2013

MOTORSPORT: Formula One will unveil a New Jersey Grand Prix for the 2013 season, the mayor of West New York has confirmed.

F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone has long hoped to bring the world's most lucrative motorsport championship to the New York City area and that will be realised after a deal was reached with a consortium of investors and city and state governments.

New Jersey governor Chris Christie announced the deal yesterday and West New York mayor Felix Roque said: "This is going to be an economic boom for this whole region. The governor has put the pedal to the metal and delivered. This is the top of the line in motor racing, it's incredible."

The race is likely to run along the Hudson River in Weehawken and West New York, to "provide a very challenging course -- they compare it to Spa in Belgium, but will have the feel of Monaco".

For the first time since 2007, the US returns to the Formula One calendar next year, this time in Austin, Texas, but the New Jersey race will provide a cost-effective way to twin the event with the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.

Irishman Morgan tops batting ranks

CRICKET: Eoin Morgan was officially crowned the world's best Twenty20 batsman yesterday when the International Cricket Council unveiled its new rankings in Dubai.

The Dublin-born left-hander, who won 63 caps for Ireland before swapping allegiances in 2009, has an impressive average of 47.4 from 18 T20 internationals with England -- the No1 ranked team.

Morgan, with 833 points, heads New Zealand wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum (799) and England's Kevin Petersen (793).

Ireland have not played sufficient T20s yet to earn a team ranking but veteran seamer Trent Johnston is 20th in the bowlers' list.

Egan and Sheehan sign for Leipzig

BOXING: Ken Egan and Tipperary super-heavyweight Con Sheehan were set to sign for new World Series of Boxing side the Leipzig Leopards at the National Stadium in Dublin today.

The Irish duo will pen six-month contracts with the German team and will travel to Leipzig on October 31 for training.

The Leopards' first outing of the new season will be a home match versus Mexico City on November 11.

John Joe Nevin's Paris United open their campaign at home to Istanbulls. Nevin helped United win out the inaugural WSB Team Championships last season and he will be looking to build on that success.

MotorSPORT: MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi has paid tribute to his good friend Marco Simoncelli, who lost his life in an accident at the Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang on Sunday.

After losing control of his bike in turn 11, 24-year-old Simoncelli slid across the track and was hit by Rossi and American rider Colin Edwards - both of whom were left with no time to react.

"Sic [Simoncelli] for me was like a youngest brother," Rossi wrote on Twitter. "So strong on track and so sweet in the normal life. I will miss him a lot."

BASEBALL: The Texas Rangers beat the St Louis Cardinals 4-2 yesterday to move within one win of claiming their first World Series title since the franchise was born in 1961.

The victory gave Texas a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.