CONGRESS AWARDED its highest civilian honor to golfing great

Jack Nicklaus,

who accepted the gold medal with a few tears, humility and humor.

In a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda yesterday, the House and Senate leadership bestowed the award on Nicklaus, winner of 18 majors who Speaker John Boehner called the "gold standard."

Nicklaus spoke of his parents, thanked his family and praised his wife Barbara. He recalled that when his son Jack was 6, he was asked what his father did for a living. The younger Nicklaus said, "nothing, he just plays golf."

Attending the ceremony for the 75-year-old Nicklaus was golfing legend Arnold Palmer.

Pro Hockey

*

Henrik Lundqvist

practiced with the New York Rangers for the first time since he was forced from the lineup by a neck injury in February, and could be back in goal by this weekend. Lundqvist took the Madison Square Garden ice several hours before the NHL-leading Rangers hosted the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings in a rematch of last year's finals. He faced all kinds of shots from teammates, who were pleased to have their No. 1 goalie back after he got hit in the neck with a puck on Jan. 31.

Pro Basketball

* Prosecutors dropped a misdemeanor case stemming from a man's complaint that Los Angeles Clippers star

Blake Griffin

slapped him and grabbed his cellphone at a Las Vegas Strip nightclub last October.

Colleges

* The University of Massachusetts selected a high-ranking athletics administrator at Georgia Tech with New England roots to be its new director of athletics, announcing the appointment of

Ryan Bamford.

Bamford has been at Georgia Tech for 4 years, the last 2 as senior associate director of athletics. He previously worked at Yale for 8t years.

* An Oklahoma man pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting death of a college baseball player from Australia. The Oklahoman reported that 19-year-old Michael DeWayne Jones was sentenced to life in prison for his involvement in the killing of Christopher Lane in 2013. He will be eligible for parole in 36 years. Prosecutors said Jones was driving when a friend in his car fired the shot that killed Lane, who was out jogging in the city of Duncan, about 80 miles southwest of Oklahoma City. As part of the plea deal, Jones will not testify against his friend, Chancey Allen Luna, whose trial on a first-degree murder charge is set to begin next month. Lane, a 22-year-old from Melbourne, was visiting his girlfriend before starting his senior year at East Central University in Ada. Investigators have said he was randomly targeted by bored teenagers.

Soccer

 

U.S. captain

Clint Dempsey

will miss exhibition games at Denmark and Switzerland because of a strained right hamstring. He is expected to be sidelined 2 to 3 weeks. Dempsey was injured during training in Zurich.