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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Brooks, a Texan, Shows His Game Is Not All Bluster

August 13, 1996|GRAHAME L. JONES

Among the press clippings Mark Brooks, the new PGA champion, probably will not be saving is one from the Times of London, even though it was not intended to be uncomplimentary:

"Once you know that [Brooks] is Texan, certain other facts fall into place. It follows, for example, that he hits the ball low and is a doughty, tough competitor because Texans who grew up playing golf in the wind almost always are.

"Just look at Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson and Lee Trevino. They all shared that essential Texan characteristic of thinking themselves better than anyone else and then quite often going out and demonstrating it."

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Trivia time: Who was the first American president to throw out the ceremonial first pitch of the baseball season?

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Hurling abuse: Bob Feller, Cleveland Indian Hall of Fame pitcher, does not think much of those on the mound these days.

"The pitching now, especially in the American League, is the worst I've seen it since I got into baseball 60 years ago," Feller said. "It's very pathetic."

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She has a point: Columnist Melissa Isaacson of the Chicago Tribune wonders about the future of some of Olympic medal winners.

"If Mary Lou Retton got on America's nerves after a couple of harmless Energizer commercials," Isaacson wrote, "what is to become of Kerri Strug, who possesses one of the best story lines of the Olympics and a voice capable of shattering glass?"

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Saddled with a title: Eddy Merckx, the Belgian cyclist with five Tour de France victories but too few vowels in his name, has been honored for his services to the country.

Commoners can now call him Baron Eddy Merckx.

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It ain't much: The oldest living NFL player is Ralph Horween, a running back with the Chicago Cardinals in the early 1920s, who this month celebrated his 100th birthday.

In a stark example of how times have changed, the largest check Horween ever got was one for $275 for a 1923 game against the Bears.

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For starters: In the Irish town of Augher, a 100-meter steeplechase for pigs (things are slow in Augher) featured a runner named Linford Crispie.

No word on whether the pig jumped the gun.

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Trivia answer: William Howard Taft in 1910.

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And finally: Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew, whose 573 homers rank him fifth on the all-time list, on how he would do today, 20 years after his retirement: "If I was playing right now, I think I could probably hit 20 home runs. I could hit more, but you've got to remember I'm 60 years old."

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