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Tiger loses in Miami court; Dolphins, Heat, Canes items; Musburger demotion, Local TV news

Some quick hits on a Wednesday evening:

### A jury on Wednesday night found Tiger Woods’ company, ETW, liable for deceptive and unfair trade practices in a civil case that had played out during the past week in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court.

Bruce Matthews, a South Miami resident, and his company (Gotta Have It Golf Inc.) alleged that Woods breached a 2001 licensing agreement by not providing a specified number of autographs and photographs.

The six-person all-female jury awarded $668,000 in damages to Matthews’ company, but interest will increase the total to about $1.3 million, according to Eric Isicoff, one of Matthews’ attorneys.

Woods’ company is expected to appeal.

Matthews’ attempt to recoup more than $1 million in attorney’s fees remains pending with the court.

Woods testified, under a subpoena, for more than 45 minutes on Monday, a day after he finished tied for 25th in the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

"This has been a long time coming,” Isicoff said. “The behavior of ETW Corporation has been reprehensible and we are very pleased with the jury’s verdict.”

 ### The fact that Dolphins executives invited Mike Pouncey (along with Ryan Tannehill) to dinner with Branden Albert on Tuesday night is yet another indication that Pouncey remains very much a part of this team’s future, regardless of the fact the Ted Wells report cast him in a negative light.

The Dolphins, who are cautiously hopeful Pouncey will not be suspended by the league for his role in BullyGate, haven’t yet agreed to Pouncey’s desire for a contract extension (beyond an option that will be picked up for 2015). But barring another regime change or a big falloff in his place, it's clear Dennis Hickey wants him in Miami longterm.

“I’m very excited to be playing with Mike Pouncey,” Albert said.

Albert, incidentally, told reporters today that “whoever the best pass rusher is on that Sunday, I’ll be on.”

Albert said of Ryan Tannehill: “I’ve got to protect his blind side. We all know how important that is. A quarterback has to be upright to do his job and that’s what I’m here for.”

### Dennis Hickey and Dawn Aponte ended up saving a lot of money by not making an offer to Randy Starks before Tuesday night. His two-year, $12 million deal is below the $7 million to $8 million a year he had hoped for.

Starks got a $2 million signing bonus and a $3 million base salary for 2014, which is guaranteed. He can earn another $1 million in incentives each of the two seasons of the contract. His $5 million base next season is not guaranteed.

### 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said of Jonathan Martin to USA Today: "I can't wait to give him a big hug. It’s an opportunity for Jonathan Martin to prove to the football world that he is worthy of his high-round draft status.  The goal is for this to be win-win.  As far as the other thing, I think everybody deserves an Etch-A-Sketch opportunity for a second chance."

The Dolphins will receive a seventh-round pick in 2015 if he makes the 49ers' opening day roster in 2014. Harbaugh coached Martin at Stanford.

### Brent Musburger has decided to accept a demotion at ABC/ESPN instead of retiring or looking for a job elsewhere. ESPN announced today that Musburger --- who signed a new contract --- will be the lead announcer on college football on the new SEC Network, which typically will televise the third or fourth-best SEC game each week. That’s quite a step down from his previous role as ABC’s lead college football announcer. Musburger, who will be paired with Jesse Palmer on SEC games, also will continue to call Big 12 basketball for ESPN.

ESPN wants Chris Fowler to replace Musburger, alongside Kirk Herbstreit, on its lead college football announcing team. That will become official assuming Fowler and ESPN work out a new contract.

### The big local broadcast news today was Warren Buffett buying WPLG-Channel 10. In a less important development, the station is shifting Victor Oquendo, its No. 2 sportscaster, to news; Oquendo will co-anchor at 4:30 and 5:30. WPLG hired Fort Myers sportscaster Clayton Ferraro to fill its No. 2 sportscaster job, behind lead sports anchor Will Manso.

### Erik Spoelstra, who has entrusted Michael Beasley with fourth quarter minutes recently, said this morning: “He’s starting to understand what this team is built for.” And defensively, “he’s getting better. He can make athletic plays. He gives you youth. He’s been making steady progress all year long.”

### UM extended its season with a 57-53 win against Virginia Tech today in the opening round of the ACC Tournament and now advances to play N.C. State at 7 p.m. Thursday on ESPN. Tonye Jekiri had 12 rebounds; Erik Swoope had 14 points (his sixth double figure scoring game in a row) and 8 boards, Davon Reed had 14 and Rion Brown a team-high 15 (despite shooting 2 for 10 from the field). Donnavan Kirk is missing the tournament because of a leg injury. 

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