FOOTBALL: Association Football Uruguay used its home-field advantage to win the Copa America, a biennial contest of national teams traditionally from South America but since 1993 also including two North American squads, Mexico and the U.S. In the final game Uruguay tied Brazil 1-1 in regulation time and then edged its archrival 5-3 in a penalty shootout. Brazil had reached the semifinals after defeating Argentina in a controversial quarterfinal game in which Tlio, a Brazilian forward, scored a crucial goal after illegally handling the ball. The U.S. was the surprising team of the tournament. After beating Chile 2-1 and Argentina 3-0 in the first round, it edged Mexico in a penalty shootout in the quarter-finals before finally being defeated 1-0 by Brazil in the semifinals. Colombia beat the U.S. in the game for third place. Mexico's Luis Garca and Argentina's Gabriel Batistuta were the leading scorers of the tournament, with four goals each. Grmio of Prto Alegre, Brazil, took the Libertadores de Amrica Cup, South America's club championship. Among the teams it defeated were Olimpia of Paraguay, Palmeiras of Brazil, and, in the semifinal, Emelec of Ecuador. In the two-game final series, Grmio gained a decisive advantage by beating Colombia's Atletico Nacional 3-1 in Prto Alegre. A 1-1 tie in Medelln, Colombia, was sufficient to give the Brazilians the coveted title. Grmio later lost the Toyota Cup, the unofficial world club championship, however, after battling Ajax Amsterdam of The Netherlands to a 0-0 tie and then falling 4-3 in a penalty shootout. In national play San Lorenzo was the winner of the spring Closing Tournament in Argentina, and Vlez Sarsfield took the autumn Opening Tournament. Rio de Janeiro's Botafogo became Brazil's national champion after beating Santos in a 3-2 penalty shootout after a 1-1 tie. Pearol took Uruguay's opening national club championship, while Necaxa beat its Mexico City rival Cruz Azul in the final game to win Mexico's league championship. Olimpia, winner of the second-round tournament, edged Cerro Porteo, winner of the first round, in Paraguay's national championship. Universidad de Chile won Chile's league championship by edging Universidad Catlica by a single point. Nacional of Medelln won Colombia's national championship. Emelec of Guayaquil became Ecuador's champion, and Oruro took Bolivia's national title. (SERGIO SARMIENTO) FOOTBALL: Australian Football. The Carlton Football Club emerged as the premier team in the Australian Football League (AFL) in 1995. This gave the club its 16th premiership--a record number. During the home and away season, Carlton established a league record of 20 wins and just 2 losses. Carlton then won a hollow grand final against Geelong, scoring 21.15 (141) to 11.14 (80). Geelong had to deal with the disappointment of losing its fourth grand final since 1989. The AFL also had a record-breaking year, with more than five million spectators attending the home and away series for the first time. Television and radio ratings also reached record levels, and a record number of clubs competed--16. The new club was Fremantle in Western Australia. The major award winners in 1995 were: Brownlow Medal (for the best and fairest player in the competition), Sydney captain Paul Kelly; Norm Smith Medal (best player in the grand final), Carlton's Greg Williams; Coleman Medal (leading goalkicker in the home and away rounds), Gary Ablett (Geelong), 118 goals. (GREG HOBBS) FOOTBALL: Canadian Football. By defeating the Calgary Stampeders 37-20 at Regina, Sask., on Nov. 19, 1995, the Baltimore Stallions became the first U.S. team to win the Grey Cup, the championship of the Canadian Football League (CFL). Quarterback Tracy Ham was the game's Most Valuable Player for Baltimore, which had won the South (U.S.) Division (SD) with a 15-3-0 won-lost-tied record. Calgary won the North Division (ND) with the same record. Baltimore's Mike Pringle, named the league's Most Outstanding Player, led the CFL with 1,791 yd rushing and 2,067 yd from scrimmage, and the same team's Mike Withycombe was voted the Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman. Calgary had the league's best offense, with 35.1 points, 434.6 yd per game, and 356.4 passing yards per game. Saskatchewan's Don Narcisse had the most catches, with 123. Calgary had the CFL's best rushing defense and Baltimore the best rushing offense. The passing leaders were San Antonio's David Archer with a 108.4 efficiency rating and 9.8 yd per attempt, Calgary's Doug Flutie with a .672 completion percentage, and Birmingham's Matt Dunigan with 4,911 yd and 34 touchdowns. Kicking leaders were Roman Anderson of San Antonio with 235 points, Bjorn Nittmo of Shreveport with an .868 field goal percentage, and Josh Miller of Baltimore with 47.7 yd per punt. Cory Philpot led the league with 22 touchdowns for British Columbia. Defensively, Memphis allowed league lows of 282 yd and 220.2 passing yards per game, and Tim Cofield's league-high 24 sacks helped Memphis lead with 60. Edmonton allowed the fewest points per game, 19.9, and had commanding leads with 87 takeaways and a plus-38 turnover differential. Edmonton linebacker Willie Pless was Most Outstanding Defensive Player and CFL tackles leader with 100, while teammate and wide receiver Shalon Baker was Most Outstanding Rookie. Hamilton's Eric Carter led with 10 interceptions. (KEVIN M. LAMB) FOOTBALL: Rugby Football. The year 1995 would go down as one of the most momentous in the history of Rugby Union. The sport, which had been fiercely amateur since its inception in the 19th century, finally succumbed to the pressures of the 20th century and declared itself open to professionals. The previous few years had been blighted with allegations of payments to players, which breached the amateur laws. The game at the highest level in some countries was seen as sham amateur, with a situation akin to such sports as tennis and track and field before they became professional. An August meeting in Paris of the game's governing body, the International Rugby Football Board, was expected to allow some form of limited professionalism. When the delegates met, however, they found that payments were so rife within the game that they had no option but to declare Rugby Union an open sport. The decision came almost 100 years to the day after a group of clubs based in northern England rebelled over the amateurism issue and broke away to form a professional game that became known as Rugby League. It was left to the individual unions that administered the sport in countries throughout the world to decide how they would proceed. Some, such as Argentina, declared that the sport in their country would remain amateur, but for most the decision heralded a new professional age. The advent of professionalism was hastened by the growing success of the sport, and 1995 saw the third and most successful Rugby Union World Cup tournament. Held in South Africa, which was taking part in the competition for the first time, the tournament had a fairy-tale ending when the host country took first place. The tournament had significant social and political implications, as it was the first such sporting event held in South Africa since that nation abolished apartheid. The final itself proved a nail-biting affair, with old rivals New Zealand and South Africa locked at 9-9 after 80 highly charged minutes. New Zealand's Andrew Mehrtens and South Africa's Joel Stransky swapped penalty kicks in overtime before Stransky landed the winning dropkick goal to make the final score 15-12. Although disappointed, New Zealand had the consolation of having played some of the most exhilarating rugby of the competition and had the Player of the Tournament in Jonah Lomu (see BIOGRAPHIES), a man mountain who stood 1.95 m (6 ft 5 in), weighed 118 kg (260 lb), and ran the 100 m in 10.8 seconds. At least in the new era, Lomu would not have to worry about getting a job. Despite million-dollar offers to join one of the big Rugby League clubs, the 20-year-old decided to pledge his immediate future to the newly open Rugby Union. The Rugby League Centenary World Cup was held in England and Wales in the autumn, with the 11th World Cup final at Wembley stadium before a crowd of 66,540 on October 28. Australia, which had not lost the League tournament since 1972, once again defeated England in the final, this time by the score of 16-8. (DAVID LAWRENSON) FOOTBALL: U.S. Football. Nebraska won its second consecutive national championship of college football by defeating Florida 62-24 in the Fiesta Bowl at Tempe, Ariz., on Jan. 2, 1996. The victory gave the Big Eight champion a 12-0-0 record, 25 consecutive victories, and a 36-1 record for three seasons. The Fiesta Bowl, matching the only Division I-A teams with perfect regular-season records, was the Bowl Alliance's first national championship game. The alliance ensures that the top two teams play each other in a bowl game if they are not from the Big Ten or Pacific Ten conferences, which are committed to the Rose Bowl. Florida, 12-1 and the Southeastern Conference champion, ranked second in the Associated Press writers' poll and third in the USA Today/CNN coaches' poll. The other team ranked second and third was Tennessee, 11-1, the Citrus Bowl winner 20-14 over Ohio State. Florida State, Colorado, Ohio State, Kansas State, Northwestern, Kansas, and Virginia Tech, all with 10-2 records except Ohio State at 11-2, were ranked 4th through 10th by both polls, though not in the same order. Northwestern gained its first Big Ten championship in 59 years, first Rose Bowl appearance in 47 years, and first winning season in 24 years, earning Coach of the Year honours for Gary Barnett. (See BIOGRAPHIES.) Florida State, the Atlantic Coast Conference cochampion with Virginia, defeated Notre Dame 31-26 in the Orange Bowl. Pac Ten champ Southern California (9-2-1) won the Rose Bowl 41-32 against Northwestern. Virginia Tech, the Big East cochampion with Miami (Florida), defeated Southwest Conference champion Texas 28-10 in the Sugar Bowl. Ohio State's Eddie George won the Heisman Trophy and the Maxwell Award, both honouring the best player in Division I-A, and the Doak Walker Award for the best running back. He led the division with 144 points on 24 touchdowns. Also for Ohio State, Terry Glenn won the Fred Biletnikoff Award for the best wide receiver, and offensive tackle Orlando Pace won the Vince Lombardi Award for the best lineman. Glenn's 17 touchdown catches tied Chris Doering of Florida for the division lead. Nebraska had Division I-A's dominant offense, leading it with 77 touchdowns and averages of 52.4 points per game, 399.8 yd rushing per game, and 7 yd per rushing attempt. Defensively, Nebraska ranked a close second in rushing defense to Virginia Tech, which allowed 77.4 yd per game. Nevada ranked first in passing at 416.3 yd per game. Quarterback Mike Maxwell led the division with a .677 completion percentage and 402.6 yd per game of total offense, and teammate Alex Van Dyke set records with 129 catches and 1,854 yd in 11 regular-season games. With 569.4 total yards per game, Nevada ranked ahead of Nebraska, Florida State, Florida, Ohio State, and Colorado in that order. Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel set a record with 178.4 passing efficiency points and also led the Division I-A passers with 10.05 yd per attempt and 35 touchdowns. He won the Davey O'Brien Award for the best quarterback and was named National Football Foundation Player of the Year. The leading defensive teams were Northwestern, Kansas State, and Miami (Ohio). Northwestern allowed the fewest points per game, 12.7, just ahead of Kansas State, which allowed the fewest yards, 250.8 per game. No one in the division allowed fewer rushing touchdowns than Miami and Kansas State (4), fewer passing touchdowns than Northwestern (5), or fewer offensive touchdowns than Miami and Northwestern (15). Northwestern linebacker Pat Fitzgerald won the Chuck Bednarik Award as the best defensive player. UCLA offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden won the Outland Trophy as the best lineman; Colorado State's Greg Myers took the Scholar-Athlete Award and the Jim Thorpe Award as the best defensive back; Illinois' Kevin Hardy gained the Dick Butkus Award as the best linebacker; and Texas Christian's Michael Reeder won the Lou Groza Award as the best placekicker. Reeder led Division I-A with 23 field goals, and his .920 percentage on 25 attempts was just behind Chris Ferencik's .923 for Pittsburgh on 13 attempts. Troy Davis of Iowa State led Division I-A with 2,466 all-purpose yards and 2,010 yd rushing but was the first of the five 2,000-yd rushers in Division I-A history not to win the Heisman Trophy. After winning a record fifth Super Bowl for the 1994 season, the San Francisco 49ers in 1995 missed their conference's championship game for only the second time in eight years. San Francisco defeated the San Diego Chargers 49-26 in Super Bowl XXIX on Jan. 29, 1995, at Miami, Fla., but lost their first play-off game, to Green Bay, in trying to defend their National Football League (NFL) championship. The 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys were the only teams to win their fourth consecutive division titles in 1995, San Francisco at 11-5 in the National Football Conference West and Dallas at 12-4 in the NFC East. The only other division champion to repeat was Pittsburgh in the American Football Conference (AFC) Central, but 8 of the 12 teams in the play-offs had been there a year earlier. Buffalo returned to the top of the AFC East after a one-year absence, as did Kansas City in the AFC West with an NFL-leading 13-3 record. Green Bay won the NFC Central for the first time since 1972. Of the six wild-card teams, Miami, San Diego, and Detroit returned from the 1994 season play-offs; Philadelphia had been absent for two years, Atlanta for three years, and Indianapolis for seven years. Indianapolis won its first play-off game since 1971 by defeating San Diego 35-20 on December 31. The Carolina Panthers, one of two new NFL teams, went 7-9, nearly doubling the previous record of four wins by an expansion team. The St. Louis Rams and Oakland Raiders changed cities during the off-season, leaving Los Angeles without an NFL team, and the Cleveland Browns and Houston Oilers announced plans to move to Baltimore and Nashville, respectively. The Browns' announcement, after they had consistently ranked in the NFL's top 10 in attendance and revenue, led to a congressional hearing and legal action to block the move. The Browns then slumped to 5-11, a six-game decline from 1994. NFL average scoring of 43 points per game was the highest in 10 years. The NFL also had records of 21 overtime games and 21.3% of its games decided after the two-minute warning. With nine receivers catching at least 100 passes, the league exceeded its previous all-time total of 100-catch receivers by two. Detroit became the first team with two 100-catch receivers, and Herman Moore's 123 set a league record. One catch behind him were previous record holder Cris Carter of Minnesota and Jerry Rice of San Francisco, whose 1,848 yd on receptions also set a record. Rice also set career records of 942 catches and 15,123 yd, and Arizona's Larry Centers set the season record for running backs with 101 catches. The other 100-catch receivers were St. Louis' Isaac Bruce, Dallas' Michael Irvin, Detroit's Brett Perriman, Atlanta's Eric Metcalf, and Green Bay's Robert Brooks. The 49ers led the league with 288 passing yards per game, and AFC leader Miami ranked fourth in quarterback Dan Marino's record-setting season. Marino established career passing records with 6,531 attempts, 3,913 completions, 48,841 yd, and 352 touchdowns. The leading AFC passer, Jim Harbaugh of Indianapolis, had 100.7 rating points, 1.2 more than the league's Most Valuable Player, Brett Favre of Green Bay, the NFC leader. Harbaugh led NFL passers with 8.2 yd per attempt and five interceptions (1.6%), while Favre led with 38 touchdowns and 4,413 yd. Kansas City had the league's best rushing offense with 138.9 yd per game, Detroit the best total offense with 382.1 yd per game, and San Francisco the most points with 28.6 per game. Emmitt Smith led the league with 1,773 yd rushing and 2,148 total yards from scrimmage for Dallas, the best NFC rushing team. He also set a league record with 25 touchdowns, all on runs, for an NFL-high 150 points. Detroit's Barry Sanders led the league with 4.8 yd per carry, and New England rookie Curtis Martin led AFC rushers with 1,487 yd. Denver had the AFC's best total offense, and Pittsburgh scored its most points. San Francisco allowed the fewest yards (274.9) and rushing yards (66.3) per game and Kansas City the fewest points (15.1 per game). Buffalo's 49 sacks and San Francisco's 26 interceptions were the best team totals. Placekicking leaders were Norm Johnson of Pittsburgh with 34 field goals and 141 points and Dallas' Chris Boniol with a .964 field-goal percentage on 27 for 28, the NFL's second best ever. Morten Andersen set two records with three field goals of more than 50 yd in one game and eight in the season, and Fuad Reveiz set another with 30 successful field-goal attempts in a row. Punting leader Rick Tuten averaged 45 yd for Seattle. GOLF Nobody could accuse golf of following a familiar or predictable path in 1995. Even by the standards of a sport that deals in the unexpected more than most, it was an exceptional season. Two of the four major men's championships were decided only after play-offs, and the other two had memorable finishes as well; history was made in the women's game; and, by the smallest possible margin, Europe achieved its second victory on U.S. soil in the Ryder Cup. As surprising as anything was the inability of Zimbabwe's Nick Price, the dominant figure at the beginning of the year, to make an impact. Not only did Price--winner in 1994 of both the British Open and the U.S. Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA) championships--fail to add to his major titles, but he failed to register a single tour success. His top spot, both in the U.S. and in the Sony world rankings, was taken by Greg Norman of Australia. Yet Norman would also look back on the 1995 season with some disappointment. The world tour he had hoped to see launched did not get off the ground and, as so often in the past, he came up just short on the big occasions, finishing in a tie for third in the Masters Tournament and second in the U.S. Open. His three victories helped him earn a record $1,654,959 for the season, however, and made him one of nine golfers to top the million-dollar mark. A year that began, uniquely, with no U.S. golfer in possession of a major championship ended with Americans holding three of the four. Ben Crenshaw did not anticipate being the first of them, but after poor early season form, the 43-year-old won his second Masters title at the Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club. Crenshaw, the 1984 champion, was overcome with emotion the moment he sank the short putt that gave him a 14-under-par total of 274 and a one-stroke victory over fellow American Davis Love III. Seven days earlier his 90-year-old coach, Harvey Penick, author of Harvey Penick's Little Red Book, which in 1992 became the best-selling sports book of all time, had died in Austin, Texas. The funeral was on the eve of the Masters, yet Crenshaw broke off his practice to be a pallbearer and after his victory said, "I had a 15th club in my bag--Harvey. It was like someone put their hand on my shoulder and guided me through." At the centennial U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., Corey Pavin won his first major title. While others struggled in a challenging wind, he compiled a closing 68 for an even-par total of 280. A marvelous 4-wood approach to within 1.5 m (1 m = 3.3 ft) of the final hole led to a two-stroke winning margin over Norman. For a record 25th time, the British Open was staged at the course regarded as the home of golf, St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland. In wild weather the player known as the "Wild Thing," John Daly of the U.S., emerged triumphant, although only after a play-off with Costantino Rocca of Italy. Daly's total of 282, six under par, looked good enough to give him the title until Rocca, needing a birdie to tie, made dramatic amends for the poorest of chip shots by holing a 20-m putt. In the four-hole play-off, however, Rocca never recovered from three-putting the first green and eventually lost by four strokes. The week marked the end of an era for the tournament as Arnold Palmer, who first played in the Open in 1960, announced that it would be his last. While his opening rounds of 83 and 75 prevented him from qualifying for the final two rounds, the reception the 65-year-old American received from the crowd and other players left nobody in any doubt about the special place he held in the sport's annals. The one major championship to have eluded Palmer during his career was the PGA, which in 1995 returned to the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. It produced another play-off, this time between Steve Elkington of Australia and Scotland's Colin Montgomerie. Elkington scored a final-round 64, but Montgomerie birdied the last three holes for a 65 and a matching 17-under-par total of 267. Unlike the Daly-Rocca play-off, Elkington and Montgomerie went into sudden death, and at the first hole Elkington, fifth in the Masters and sixth in the British Open, made a 7.6-m birdie putt, while Montgomerie, also seeking his first major, missed from 6.1 m. Montgomerie, who also lost a play-off for the 1994 U.S. Open, did win another close affair, however, becoming the leading money winner on the European tour for the third successive season. He went into the final event, the Volvo Masters at Valderrama, Spain, just behind his fellow Scot Sam Torrance and holed a one-metre putt on the final green to take second place. It gave him record official earnings of 835,051 against Torrance's 755,706. In the Ryder Cup competition at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., the U.S. players built a 9-7 lead in the foursomes and fourballs, and as they had lost the singles only once since 1957, few foresaw that the final day would conclude as it did. Europe, however, produced a stirring comeback. With 3 of the 12 singles contests left, the U.S. still held the lead, but England's Nick Faldo came from one down with two to play to beat Curtis Strange, and then Philip Walton of Ireland defeated Jay Haas on the final green. In Pavin the U.S. had the most successful player, four points out of a possible five, but every one of the European players enjoyed at least one win, and their 14 1/2-13 1/2 victory was a personal triumph for captain Bernard Gallacher--after eight defeats as a player and two as captain. The Toyota World Match Play championship at Wentworth, Surrey, England, was successfully defended by 1994 champion Ernie Els of South Africa. Another trophy to remain in the same hands was the Heineken World Cup. The event broke new ground for top-level golf by being held in China at the Mission Hills Club in Shenzhen, but the story remained the same. Fred Couples and Davis Love III won for the U.S. for the fourth time in a row and, as in Puerto Rico in 1994, they finished 14 shots ahead of their nearest challengers, this time Australians Robert Allenby and Brett Ogle. The history maker in the women's competition was Sweden's Annika Sorenstam, who became the first player, male or female, to be the leading money winner in both the U.S. and Europe in the same season. Sorenstam won the U.S. Women's Open at the Broadmoor Golf Club in Colorado Springs, Colo., by one stroke from Meg Mallon of the U.S. with a two-under-par total of 278 and finished the Ladies' Professional Golf Association tour with $666,533. On the Women's Professional Golfers' European Tour, Sorenstam won two tournaments, was joint runner-up behind Karrie Webb of Australia in the Weetabix British Women's Open, and earned 130,324. Webb's victory was an extraordinary one. A professional for only 10 months, she had rounds of 69, 70, 69, and 70 on the par-73 Woburn course in Milton Keynes, England, to win by six shots. Sorenstam's success overshadowed another superb season by England's Laura Davies. Four victories in Europe, including the Guardian Irish Holidays Open at St. Margaret's, Dublin, by a tour-record 16 strokes, and two in the U.S. left Davies in second place on both circuits, but she did remain at the top of the world rankings throughout the year. The outstanding players at the amateur level were Eldrick ("Tiger") Woods of the U.S. and Scotland's Gordon Sherry. Woods, still only 19, retained his U.S. amateur title at the Newport (R.I.) Country Club, while the 21-year-old Sherry, runner-up in 1994, won the British Amateur at the Royal Liverpool club, Hoylake, England. The Walker Cup match at Royal Porthcawl in Wales brought the two together as leaders of their teams. Great Britain and Ireland won the tournament 14-10, only their fourth victory over the U.S. in a series dating back to 1922. (MARK GARROD)

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