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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Here's a Switch: Golfer Mis-Clubs His Caddie

May 23, 1999|MAL FLORENCE

The late Gene Sarazen, whose famous double eagle in 1935 helped make the Masters a major tournament, later gave a three-wood to a teenage caddie in St. Paul, Minn., and said it was the club he used for that shot.

But was it?

"Gene said this is the club he used for the double eagle when he gave it to me," said Thor Nordwall, 78. "Late in his life, he said he didn't remember what he had done with it. Is the club as he presented it or was it a lie? Was he the good guy he was supposed to be to all kids or wasn't he?"

Sarazen's autobiography, "Thirty Years of Championship Golf," says the club used to hit the famous double eagle was a four-wood. That four-wood and the ball Sarazen hit at the '35 Masters are in a trophy case in the Augusta National clubhouse.

Sarazen died May 13 at 97.

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More club: Nordwall, then 17, carried Sarazen's bag for five days in the St. Paul Open in 1939. He says he received the club as part of his pay.

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Trivia time: How many double eagles were recorded on the PGA Tour in 1998?

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BYOB solution: The big Olympic issue in Salt Lake City now isn't the corruption scandal, but where to get a drink.

Concerned that the Utah capital's restrictions on alcohol might alienate foreign cultures where beer and wine are normal table items, the IOC asked Salt Lake organizers to ease up and let the booze flow during the 2002 Winter Games.

Utah officials have said repeatedly they would not relax the laws for the Olympics.

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A hacker's tale: Watching Tiger Woods play the par-three 17th hole in seven shots during the recent GTE Byron Nelson Classic, Frank Luksa of the Dallas Morning News was reminded of a story about a clumsy American playing golf in Scotland.

"Approaching the last green with roughly 100 strokes already on his card, the American turned to his caddie with a crucial question.

" 'Can I get there with a seven-iron?' " he asked. "The Scotsman handed him the club, nodded and said, " 'Ay, eventually.' "

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Too daunting: Luis Gonzalez, the Arizona Diamondback outfielder who had hit successfully in 30 consecutive games before he went hitless Wednesday against the Giants, knew he would never threaten Joe DiMaggio's record of 56 games in a row.

"When I was at 28 straight, I realized I was [only] halfway to 56. And I thought, 'There's no way.' You know, no way I would get there."

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Trivia answer: One, by Woody Austin in the Kemper Open in Potomac, Md. He tied for 54th.

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And finally: John Elway's retirement has stirred talk about the lists of the all-time greatest quarterbacks in the NFL.

Not to be forgotten is Sammy Baugh, now 85, who lives on his ranch in Rotan in west Texas and rarely strays from home.

"I've got a rule that includes not going anywhere," Baugh said. "I go to the golf course and back home. That's my travel."

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