By Ian ChadbandTyson Fury, the boxer at the centre of controversy over comments about women and homosexuals, made an apology at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards in Belfast on Sunday.Before tennis champion Andy Murray collected the prestigious award, an audience of 7,500 at the SSE arena applauded after world heavyweight champion Fury, 27, one of the 10 short-listed contenders, told them his remarks had been tongue-in-cheek.Fury, whose homophobic and sexist comments had led to more than 130,000 people signing a petition calling for the BBC to remove him from its shortlist, told the crowd, featuring many of Britain’s greatest sportsmen and women: “I’ve said a lot of stuff in the past, none of it with intentions to hurt anybody.“It’s all a bit tongue in cheek, it’s all fun and games for me. I’m not really a serious type of person. Everything’s happy go lucky with Tyson Fury.“If I’ve said anything in the past that’s hurt anybody, I apologise to anybody’s who’s been hurt out there. It’s not my intention to do that.”Up to 30 gay and equal-rights campaigners held banners and chanted ‘anti-woman, anti-gay, Tyson Fury go away’ outside the arena before the Belfast ceremony.Murray won the award for the second time in three years after his inspirational performances guided Britain to their first Davis Cup triumph in 79 years.The 28-year-old, who joins boxer Henry Cooper and racing drivers Damon Hill and Nigel Mansell as the only double winners of the event, held up his ‘Personality’ award and joked: “I didn’t expect this.“A friend sent me a message the other day with an article saying ‘Andy Murray is duller than a weekend in Worthing’ which I thought was a bit harsh – on Worthing,” the Scot said of the southern England seaside resort.Runner-up was rugby league player Kevin Sinfield and in third place was world heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill.
Tiger Woods declared it was all systems go after sneaking in nine quick holes at Torrey Pines on Tuesday, two days ahead of his official PGA Tour comeback at the Farmers Insurance Open.On a sparkling winter morning in southern California, with not a cloud in the sky and barely a ripple on the Pacific Ocean, Woods showed he is still an early bird when he teed off shortly after the sun had risen over the Laguna Mountains.He played the back nine on the South Course and was finished by 9.30 A.M.Woods did not speak to reporters after his round, but had a quick word with ESPN while he was playing. He was confident that his game – and body – was heading in the right direction.“You have to beat balls for a little bit of time to build up your endurance and muscles. I feel like I’ve done that and now it’s time to play a tournament,” he said.Woods, who has barely played in three years due to a serious back injury, returned after a 10-month absence when he took part in the unofficial Hero World Challenge, finishing a respectable ninth out of 18 players and swinging with apparent freedom.“I’ve had a little more time to get ready for this event,” he said. “I’ve played a lot more golf and overall I feel like I’ve made some nice changes. I feel good.”Woods, 42, will play the first two rounds with fellow Americans Patrick Reed and Charley Hoffman.He hardly needs a practice round at Torrey Pines to know his way around. He has won on eight occasions here, seven times at the PGA Tour event and most notably at the 2008 U.S. Open.That 14th major title was perhaps his greatest achievement, coming as it did as he carried multiple leg injuries.Few thought at the time that nearly 10 years later he would not have added to his major haul.The US Open was played on Torrey Pines’ South Course, while the Farmers uses the South for three rounds while one round is contested on the easier North Course.Two years ago Woods gingerly limped off the course after playing just 11 holes of the first round, a week after shooting a career-worst 82 at the Phoenix Open.He returned last year but missed the cut, before playing one round at the European Tour’s Dubai Desert Classic and withdrawing due to back spasms.Soon afterwards, with multiple microdiscectomy surgeries seemingly having failed, Woods decided to have a spinal fusion operation last April in an attempt to reduce his searing back pain and allow him to play golf again.He will get a look at the North Course on Wednesday in the pro-am.Woods has won 79 times on the PGA Tour, second only to Sam Snead’s 82.