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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Riggs Knew Something Better Than Mulligans

October 17, 2000|MAL FLORENCE

In the November issue of Golf Digest, Fred Couples tells a story about running into the late tennis hustler, Bobby Riggs, at the Palm Beach (Fla.) Polo Club.

Riggs wanted to play a money golf match with Couples, getting no strokes. The only provision was that he get one "throw" on each hole. Couples figured he could whip Riggs with even two throws, so he took the bet.

Big mistake.

"On the first hole, I hit my approach shot to 15 feet," Couples said. "Meanwhile, it took Riggs four shots to reach the green. But just as I got set to putt, Riggs walked over, picked up my ball and threw it out of bounds."

Couples said Riggs laughed and refused to take his money.

Lesson learned.

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Trivia time: Who holds the Pacific 10 Conference record for the longest field goal?

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Bashing Braves: From the Vent column of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Yes, it's true. The A on the Braves cap stands for Almost.

"The Braves aren't losers. They're merely Octoberly challenged. That picture of the Braves lined up in the dugout on each side of [Manager Bobby] Cox reminded me of the last supper."

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Out of his league? Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times, commenting on Cade McNown, quarterback of the 1-6 Chicago Bears:

"Brash young quarterback, the not-so-tall left-hander who pulled out all those games in college suddenly seems like a kid better suited for, well, the college game rather than the one played in the NFL."

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It has come to this: Syndicated columnist Norman Chad: "I don't want to say the 49ers are cash-strapped, but Bill Walsh was in Target the other day, looking for kicking tees."

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City scene: David Letterman's "Top Ten Signs New York Has Baseball Fever." A sampling:

* "98% of New Yorkers walking around carrying bats--up from 94%.

* "Mayor Giuliani using 'baseball fever' as an excuse to spray city with toxic chemicals."

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Vanishing breed: The World Conservation Union has published a list of threatened species.

"Among those that may disappear from the face of the Earth," says comedy writer Jerry Perisho, "are the spotted owl, the gnat-catcher and the Dodger season-ticket holder."

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Looking back: On this day in 1936, USC and Washington State played to a scoreless tie at the Coliseum. Later, USC would tie UCLA, 7-7, and Notre Dame, 13-13, to finish with a 4-2-3 record.

Looking back again: On this day in 1978, the New York Yankees defeated the Dodgers, 7-2, to win the World Series in six games after having lost the first two.

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Trivia answer: Jason Hanson of Washington State, 62 yards against Nevada Las Vegas in 1991.

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And finally: American Daniel Newman has played in Italy's pro baseball league for nine years but still finds it a different world.

"The Italian players do some interesting things," he told the Akron [Ohio] Beacon Journal. "They celebrate whether they win or lose. They drink coffee and smoke during innings.

"And I don't know why they do this, but when they warm up before a game, they wear a plastic cup on the outside of their uniform."

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