- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 15, 2003

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill.

Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh or Stephen Leaney? Choose your poison.

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Furyk makes vanilla look like rainbow sherbet.

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And Vijay is about as revealing as a burka.

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As for Leaney, we’re still waiting for a copy of his passport photo so we can make a positive ID on him.

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Who would have dreamed that Jonathan Livingston Seagull — I mean Jonathan Byrd — would be on a U.S. Open leader board on the weekend?

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Forty-eight-year-old Eduardo Romero 70, 27-year-old Tiger Woods 75.

Such a grand game, golf is.

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Before you rule Tiger out completely, though, remember how often he puts up a low number on the final day when he’s all but out of a tournament.

• Memorial, 2003 — 65 to finish tied for fourth.

• Nissan, 2003 — 65 to finish T5.

• Disney, 2002 — 63 to finish third.

• British Open, 2002 — 65 to finish T28.

• Byron Nelson, 2002 — 65 to finish third.

• Mercedes, 2002 — 65 to finish T10.

And that’s just in the last two years!

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On second thought, he’s got no chance.

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Did you know that one year the first-round Open leader actually missed the cut? Yup, in 1993 at Baltusrol, Joey Sindelar began with a 66, followed it up with a 79 and caught the next plane out. The two other guys who shot a 66 in Round 1, meanwhile, wound up tying for third (Craig Parry) and fifth (Scott Hoch).

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My new favorite golf book is “The Golf Majors” by Alun Evans (A&C; Black, $19.99). It gives you the top 30 finishers in every major ever played (through 2001, anyway). There’s also a Players Section in the back that provides individual results, year by year. Makes you really appreciate somebody like Peter Thomson, who from 1952 to ‘58 in the British Open came in second, second, first, first, first, second and first.

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Found a great restaurant a couple of doors down from my hotel in Chicago — maybe the best I’ve come across in my 27 years of travels. Miller’s Pub, it’s called. Terrific food (especially the french fries), experienced wait staff, autographed pictures of old sports stars on the walls (e.g. Johnny Kerr) — the place has it all.

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Oh, and the kitchen is open until 1:30 in the morning. Can’t beat that.

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My waitress Thursday night reminded me of Marlene Dietrich. She had a kind of 1940s, Central European earthiness to her.

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We interrupt this column to bring you an important news bulletin:

Somebody just scored a basket in the Nets-Spurs series.

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Obstruction of justice charges have been dropped against Chris Webber, but the Attorney General’s office says it might still cite him for a blocking foul.

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I have just one question for Pistons boss Joe Dumars: What if Darko Milicic turns out to be the Serbian Sam Bowie?

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If you’re a Carmelo Anthony fan like I am, you just hate to see Dumars go over to the Darko side.

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In the kid’s defense, scouts say he could redefine the center position. Or, to put it another way, he’s a Thoroughly Modern Milicic.

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The Secret Service has promised to get to the bottom of this scooter mishap involving President Bush. In fact, I hear they’re bringing in Phil Rizzuto for questioning.

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If I were Roger Clemens, the first thing I would have said after winning my 300th game is, “Only 212 to go.”

• • c

For the uninitiated, that’s how many victories he needs to pass Cy Young.

• c•

Doctors are fairly certain monkeypox is being transmitted by prairie dogs. Just to be on the safe side, though, they’ve quarantined the Rally Monkey.

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The Hatfields and McCoys may have signed a truce, but not to worry, the Red Sox and Yankees still hate each other.

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Is there anything more thrilling than combined no-hitter thrown by six pitchers?

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OK, maybe an intentional walk in a split squad game.

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One of the nine combined no-nos, you may recall, was pitched by the Orioles’ Steve Barber and Stu Miller at Memorial Stadium in 1967. Alas, it didn’t prevent the O’s from losing to the Tigers 2-1 in the first game of a doubleheader. BaseballLibrary.com’s synopsis:

“Barber walks 10 in his 8⅔ innings, but in the ninth two runs come in on a wild pitch and an error. … In his first start of the year, Barber held the Angels hitless for 8⅓ innings. Just two hits today matches the American League record for fewest safeties by two clubs in one game. Three catchers are used by Baltimore, a major-league record of sorts for a no-hitter.”

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On the very same day at RFK Stadium (April 30 to be exact), the Senators’ Barry Moore tossed a one-hitter against the Twins in the second game of a doubleheader. Cesar Tovar was the only man to reach safely for Minnesota as Washington won 3-0. Imagine: A no-hitter in Baltimore followed, hours later, by a one-hitter in Washington. Wonder how often something like that has happened in big-league history — in two-team towns like New York, say, or Chicago (or Boston, Philadelphia or St. Louis in the old days).

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Trivia question: Barber, who went to Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, was a teammate there of what two-sport professional athlete? (Answer below.)

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A quickie legal analysis of the ACC-Big East imbroglio from a “lawyer acquaintance” (as I like to refer to him):

“My guess is the ACC attorneys will give the same advice we always do — i.e. we will win at trial, but there is a good chance that at least part of the suit will survive a motion to dismiss — and with a Connecticut jury, who knows? If the plaintiffs are able to get this case on the fast track, then discovery could be in about a month and all these university presidents will have the joy of being deposed.”

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No, the “lawyer acquaintance” isn’t Greta Van Susteren.

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By the way, don’t you just love UConn athletics director Lew Perkins (formerly of Maryland)? One week he’s lambasting Miami for running out on the Big East, the next he’s taking the AD job at Kansas with two years left on his contract.

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Answer to trivia question: Tom Brown, who played baseball for the Senators and football for the Green Bay Packers. Barber and Brown faced each other on Opening Day 1963 at D.C. Stadium. Also in attendance was a fellow named John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

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My column a while back on the 20th anniversary of the Washington Federals’ first season brought this e-mail from “Robert”:

“I just got my hands on a tape of their first game. The best thing about it is hearing Lou Rawls sing the national anthem.”

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And finally …

Memo to recently fired Rick Neuheisel, bender of truth: Iraq, I understand, is looking for a new information minister.

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