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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

It's Masterfully Beautiful, Just Not That 'Great'

March 16, 1997|SHAV GLICK

It's almost time for the Masters, that annual celebration of the azaleas and dogwood in Georgia. Lee Trevino calls Augusta National a "beautiful" golf course, but he's not impressed with the way Bobby Jones laid it out.

"I don't think it's a great golf course," Trevino told Golf Digest. "I think it is a beautiful golf course. But when you use the word great, you start putting it in the category of a Pebble Beach, an Oakmont, an Oakland Hills, a Shinnecock, a Winged Foot or a Baltusrol. Augusta National is not in that category."

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Trivia time: Eddie Murray, the newest Angel slugger, has 19 grand slams. How many players have more?

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Smart cookie: If brainpower is any criteria, Northwestern's All-American linebacker Tom Fitzgerald should be a first-round choice in next month's NFL draft.

"He's the most cerebral player I've ever been around," says Wildcat Coach Gary Barnett.

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Making of a feud: Olympic swimming champion Alexander Popov of Russia says his American rival, Gary Hall Jr., comes from "a family of losers." In both of Popov's gold-medal races in Atlanta, Hall finished second.

"He [Hall] says he will be at the Sydney Olympics and that he will win both sprint titles. I don't know how he can say that," Popov said. "His father was never an Olympic champion, and he never will be either. It's a family of losers."

Gary Hall Sr. won a bronze medal in the 1976 Games and a silver in 1972.

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FYI: The original name of the Harlem Globetrotters in 1926 was the Savoy Big Five.

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The way it is: Shirley Povich of the Washington Post, on the American League's use of a designated hitter:

"There has been a downside to the AL's effort to hype the game with more hitting action. That ploy eliminated one of the time-honored crisis points in the contest: When does the manager give the hook in favor of a pinch-hitter? It robbed the fans of the second-guess. The designated hitter also stripped the manager of his strategies, making him a robot instead of a strategist. Something dear went out of the game."

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Add Povich: The distinguished baseball writer turned 91 last year. His secret of longevity: "I take it one decade at a time."

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Sneaky thief: Cecil Fielder, the blimp-like Yankee slugger, was given the steal sign by another blimp, Yankee coach Don Zimmer, with the count three-and-one in a spring training game. Cecil took off from first, but it was a ball.

Last year, Fielder stole his first base in 1,097 games, after which he said, "I've been working on my jumps for nine years."

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Trivia answer: One--Lou Gehrig, with 23.

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And finally: Former Montreal Expo catcher Tim Spehr, who was traded to the Boston Red Sox, received an unusual welcome from his new teammates. Spehr, who had a cancerous testicle removed in 1985, returned to his locker room last week to find his protective cup had been cut in half.

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