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Morning briefing

Hope she doesn't get middle seat

May 12, 2008|Larry Stewart | Times Staff Writer

Venus Williams, on tonight's edition of HBO's "Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel," tells Gumbel that one of the perks of being a celebrity is that when you fly coach you sometimes get upgraded.

Says a disbelieving Gumbel: "Wait a second. When you fly back to L.A., you do not fly in coach class? You do not."

Williams' explanation: "I feel if I haven't won a tournament, then immediately I am in coach. There are no perks if you're not doing what you should do on the court."

Maybe the Lakers should have flown back from Salt Lake City Sunday on a commercial flight and had the players sit in coach.

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Trivia time

Three basketball players have won a state high school championship, an NCAA championship, an Olympic gold medal and an NBA title. Name them.

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His better half

Legendary announcer Keith Jackson, who will be honored today at the ninth Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission Golf Classic at Riviera, regularly shoots his age (79) or better on the South Course at the L.A. Country Club, where he is a member. But he didn't have a hole in one until a few years ago when he holed out the 165-yard 17th hole there.

Jackson's wife, Turi Ann, one-upped her husband years earlier when she got a hole-in-one on a 132-yard hole at the Whistler Golf Course near the vacation home they used to own north of Vancouver, Canada.

"She used a three-wood because she hits it straighter than her driver," Jackson said. "It skipped about three or four times and went in the hole."

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A clean shot

Jackson likes to tell the one about the Jesuit priest named Monaghan who once was paired with an obnoxious golfer who used bad language and continually tried to goad the others in the foursome into making bets.

"After the round the priest invited the young man to attend one of his masses," Jackson said. "And he told him, 'I'd also be glad to marry your parents.' "

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A clean look

Among the many refreshing things about Paul Goydos' second-place performance at the Players Championship over the weekend was his cap.

Because he has no endorsement deal, Goydos didn't have to wear a cap with a sponsor's logo. Instead, he wore a Long Beach State cap he bought two weeks ago in an airport.

It had an LB logo and tiny lettering on the side of the bill that read "Dirtbags," a reference to the 49ers' baseball team.

That should take care of his alumni donations for a while.

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Look-alikes

One couldn't blame horse trainer Mike Mitchell for being in a frivolous mood after Saturday's Jim Murray Memorial Handicap at Hollywood Park. A horse he trains, On the Acorn, won the race for a second straight year.

As Mitchell was talking with Jack Disney, who heads the syndicate that owns the horse, a woman approached. It was Connie Newhan, wife of Ross Newhan, a member of the syndicate.

"What a beauty!" she said.

Said Mitchell: "You talking about Jack or the horse?"

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Paging Mr. Ed

Greg Cote of the Miami Herald wrote that he wished horses could talk so they could voice an opinion about People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals getting involved in what happened to Eight Belles at the Kentucky Derby. The organization blamed jockey Gabriel Saez and called for his suspension.

Cote directed this at PETA: "I believe the beasts you defend so outlandishly would embrace your support about as warmly as Barack Obama would welcome a nominating speech by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright."

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Trivia answer

Magic Johnson, Quinn Buckner and Jerry Lucas.

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And finally

"The price of gas is hurting attendance at sporting events," noted Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle. "But just be thankful they don't sell gas at the ballpark. Twenty bucks a gallon, that's ridiculous! I don't care if it is garlic gas."

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larry.stewart@latimes.com

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