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THE INSIDE TRACK | Morning Briefing

At This Price, It Should Be a Magic Putter

July 11, 1998|SHAV GLICK

How much would you pay for a putter? Twenty bucks? Maybe $200 or so for a Tiger Woods model? Or perhaps $1,000 for one Arnold Palmer used to win the British Open?

How about $174,900? That's what Spain's Valderrama golf group paid for a rare metal-headed blade putter, said to date from the late 18th or early 19th century. The price, making it the world's most expensive golf club, was more than twice the amount predicted by Christie's auction house in London.

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Trivia time: What famous bandleader also won the American Power Boat Assn.'s unlimited hydroplane championship?

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Big and busy: UCLA recruited 300-pound Ken Kocher to play tackle on the Bruin football team, but the former San Diego Patrick Henry High player could be a baseball recruit too.

As a junior, Kocher weighed 290 pounds, but he batted .390 while playing in the outfield.

"I would tell recruiters that and they'd look at me funny," recalls Patrick Henry football Coach Jerry Varner. "I'd say, 'I'm serious, he's our left fielder.' You wouldn't think a 300-pound guy could be as quick as he is."

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The master's view: Don Dunphy, who broadcast more fights than any other radio-TV announcer in a career that spanned 50 years, celebrated his 90th birthday by saying that featherweight Willie Pep was the greatest boxer he ever saw.

Asked to rank Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali, all of whose fights he announced, Dunphy begged off.

"That's too tough," he said. "But I will tell you this: Marciano threw the best punch I ever saw, in his 1952 fight with Joe Walcott. Marciano was getting beat badly, and I thought he was finished. But he came out in the 13th round, hit Walcott with a right and knocked him out cold."

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Tough critique: High school star Rashard Lewis was a second-round selection of Seattle in the NBA draft, but Jerry Reynolds, director of player personnel for the Sacramento Kings, was not impressed with the prep phenom.

"I don't think the kid's good enough to play for Duke, let alone an NBA team," he said.

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Looking back: On this day in 1985, Nolan Ryan of the Houston Astros became the first pitcher in major league history to strike out 4,000 batters when he fanned New York's Danny Heep in the sixth inning.

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Trivia answer: Guy Lombardo, leader of the Royal Canadians, driving Tempo VI, in 1946.

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And finally: Val Rodriguez of Signal Hill, after reading about English World Cup rooters taunting police in France, recalled a British writer's comment on the eve of the 1966 World Cup final between England and West Germany:

"If, on the morrow, the Germans defeat us at our national sport, be not dismayed. For twice in this century, we've defeated them at theirs."

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