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Ryder Cup Provides a Lesson in Chemistry

September 23, 2004|Larry Stewart | Times Staff Writer

Golf isn't really a team sport, but Laura Davies believes camaraderie and team chemistry came into play in Europe's dominating Ryder Cup victory over the United States.

"I'm not sure the American team is as together as the European team," the longtime LPGA player said while in Palm Desert to promote next month's women's Samsung World Championship at Bighorn Golf Club.

"The European players are great friends.... They're paired together every week on the European Tour. They travel together. They really know each other very well, enjoy each others' company and they're all great golfers as well."

A big Wie fan: Davies, on Michele Wie, 14, who received a special invitation into the Samsung field: "She's our Tiger Woods. I'm so glad she's going to be in this event. If I had my way, she would be in every event we play because she has a bigger gallery than Annika [Sorenstam] now, and that's saying something."

Eye to the future: Dodger owner Frank McCourt, a speaker at a luncheon for Southern California sports broadcasters, talked about hiring General Manager Paul DePodesta.

McCourt said that in 2001, DePodesta, then 28, turned down an offer from the Toronto Blue Jays that would have made him the youngest general manager in baseball history.

McCourt said he called DePodesta at his Bay Area home one night in February to set up a breakfast interview in Los Angeles for the next day.

During that interview, McCourt said, DePodesta told him when he hung up the phone the night before, he had turned to his wife and said: "That call was the reason I turned down the Toronto job three years ago."

Trivia time: UCLA's Maurice Drew, with 322 yards against Washington, is now No. 3 on the Pacific 10 Conference list of best single-game rushing performances. The late Ricky Bell of USC is No. 2, with 347 yards against Washington State in 1976. Who holds the record?

Mask comes in handy: The latest edition of HBO's "Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel" includes a profile of former Hungarian hockey goalie Attila Ambrus, a notorious bank robber.

"It was hard to balance," Ambrus tells correspondent Frank Deford in an interview conducted in prison, "especially when at 4 p.m. you are fully armed and scaring people to death, and at 6 you have to concentrate on the game."

Now that's hot: FSN commentator Petros Papadakis, describing the heat in Tucson last weekend: "It's hotter than two rats in a wool sock."

Trivia answer: Rueben Mayes of Washington State, who ran for 357 against Oregon in 1984.

And finally: Tom FitzGerald, in his final "Open Season" column in the San Francisco Chronicle, recalled an item about a woman who used to heckle NBA referee Earl Strom.

"Hey, Earl," she yelled at Strom. "If you were my husband, I'd feed you rat poison."

Replied Strom: "If you were my wife, I'd eat it."


Larry Stewart can be reached at

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