Tony Stewart will miss the start of his final NASCAR season after fracturing his back in an accident on an all-terrain vehicle.

The three-time NASCAR champion sustained a "burst fracture of the L1 vertebra" when he crashed on an ATV Sunday and he had surgery Wednesday. A timetable for Stewart's return has not been determined, but SHR said he is expected to make a full recovery and race this year.

Drivers report to Daytona next week to begin preparations for the season-opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 21.

Stewart was with Greg Biffle and other NASCAR personalities on the ATV outing in the Southern California desert when he crashed.


Four share Phoenix Open lead

Rickie Fowler, Shane Lowry and Hideki Matsuyama shared the lead at 6-under 65 in the suspended first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

After an hourlong frost delay at chilly TPC Scottsdale, Fowler played the first six holes in 5 under.

Lowry birdied seven of his first 13 holes, then bogeyed the next two.

Matsuyama was in one of the last groups to finish before play was stopped because of darkness.

Anirban Lahiri was a stroke back at 66, and Bryce Molder also was 5 under with two holes left when play was suspended.

Phil Mickelson settled for a 69 after dropping four strokes in a two-hole stretch. On his back nine, Mickelson bogeyed the par-3 fourth and followed with a triple bogey on the par-4 fifth.

Ko shares lead in rain-delayed Coats

Lydia Ko played enough golf to catch up to the lead. She just didn't play enough to finish the rain-delayed second round of the Coates Golf Championship. Ko was 4-under par for her round when the horn sounded to stop play because of thunderstorms in the area.

Ko was 7 under for the tournament, tied with Ha Na Jang. The 72-hole tournament is scheduled to end Saturday.


NCAA wants to punish graduates

The NCAA may start holding schools more accountable for the academic progress of athletes who are graduate transfers.

An increasing number of football and men's basketball players are changing schools after earning diplomas and many end up not earning a second degree. Graduate transfers have been automatically awarded a retention point each semester on Academic Progress Rate scores even if they do not earn a second degree.

Teams whose athletes consistently have low scores can face penalties, including postseason bans.

On Thursday, the Division I academy committee announced it will consider eliminating those automatic retention points. The committee also will consider not allowing grad transfers to be eligible for a retention point if they enroll in undergrad courses.

… The NCAA football rules committee will consider allowing replay officials to call targeting penalties that are missed by on-field officials.


Baseball: Tampa Bay pitcher Drew Smyly won baseball's first salary arbitration case this year. The 26-year-old lefty asked for a raise from $2.65 million to $3.75 million. The Rays argued for $3.2 million. Smyly was 5-2 with a 3.11 ERA in 12 starts last year.

Figure skating: Russia's Elizaveta Tuktamysheva will not defend her world title in Boston this year. The 19-year-old Tuktamysheva failed to make the three-woman Russian team for last month's European Championships, where the Russians took all three women's medals.