- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 10, 2005

AUGUSTA, Ga.

Welcome to the Masters, home of the $12 cheeseburger.

(In the clubhouse, anyway.)

• • •

Don’t forget, though, you get chips with that.

• • •

The 12th-place finishers in the ‘39 Masters, I just found out, each won $33 — enough to buy a double cheeseburger at Augusta National today.

• • •

Glad to see Vijay Singh didn’t sprain his ankle on one of Phil Mickelson’s spike marks yesterday.

• • •

It got a little ridiculous after Singh’s complaints about Mickelson were made public Friday night. How ridiculous? The Masters people, I’m told, received a credential request from Spike TV.

• • •

Will Nicholson, Phil Mickelson.

Phil Mickelson, Will Nicholson.

(Nicholson — much quoted the past week — is the chairman of Augusta National’s competition committee.)

• • •

I told ya that slow start of Tiger’s was going to kill his chances.

• • •

Read a piece the other day by Peter Allis in which he claimed to have played two rounds of a tournament — back in the Olden Days — in less than four hours. Members of the press corps here, much more knowledgeable about these matters than I, have their doubts, however. Dudley Hart, they note, went off solo in the third round of the Honda last month and still took 2:48 to complete 18 holes. (He finished 54 minutes ahead of the twosome behind him.)

• • •

Two rounds in under four hours! I’m not sure Dubya and his dad, the world’s most famous speed golfers, could do that.

• • •

Congratulations to talk-show vixen Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Redskins quarterback Tim on the birth of Grace Elisabeth last week.

Elisabeth’s previous experience on “Survivor: The Australian Outback” should serve her well in motherhood. And Tim is an equally well prepared dad, having been a contestant on “Survivor: Steve Spurrier’s Second Season with the Redskins.”

• • •

Sean Taylor skipping Joe Gibbs’ voluntary offseason workouts? Gee, I wouldn’t have guessed that in a million years. The guy, after all, has been such a model citizen.

• • •

Elsewhere in football, the Supreme Court refused to hear Maurice Clarett’s case against the NFL. The door isn’t completely closed, though, sources say. The justices are willing to change their minds if Clarett can beat Ruth Bader Ginsberg in the 40-yard dash.

• • •

Moving to basketball, did you see where Nehemiah Ingram, Temple coach John Chaney’s designated “goon,” is giving football a try this spring? He probably won’t last long, though. His teammates are complaining he plays too rough.

• • •

Rubin Carter, the Owls’ defensive line coach, says Ingram “might be a guy who can be a field goal blocker.” Block field goals? At 6-8, 275 pounds, the kid can block out the sun.

• • •

If Carter’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he spent nearly a decade in Washington on the various staffs — first at Howard (1989 to 1993), then at Maryland (1997, 1998), and finally with the Redskins (1999, 2000).

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Ingram’s favorite thing about football, he told Mike Jensen of the Philadelphia Inquirer, is “not getting up at 5 o’clock in the morning [which is when Chaney likes to rouse the troops for training]. We practice in the afternoon.”

• • •

Impressive win by Riddick Bowe in the second fight of his comeback. He now joins Chauncey Welliver, Patrice L’Heureux, Michael Bennett, Javier Mora and Keith Govan as the only boxers to defeat Billy Zumbrun.

• • •

Bowe weighed in at a career-high 280 pounds — and that was before he hit the casino’s all-you-can-eat buffet.

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He was also 5 inches taller than his opponent. Heck, half the time, I couldn’t decide if he was trying to punch Zumbrun or post him up.

• • •

WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko on his first meeting with Don King (from the May issue of Playboy):

“He brought [my brother Wladimir and me] to a Mike Tyson fight and gave us a proposal. He even sang to us once, at his house in Las Vegas. He sat at the piano and began playing. I was surprised — I had no idea he was so good! Then I noticed the pedals moving automatically. His feet weren’t on them. The piano was playing by itself. I realized you have to be careful with this guy. Everything is sleight of hand.”

• • •

More from Klitschko, the only heavyweight champ to hold a Ph.D.:

“Chess is similar to boxing. You need to develop a strategy, and you need to think two or three steps ahead about what your opponent is doing. You have to be smart. … [T]he difference between chess and boxing? In chess, nobody is an expert, but everybody plays. In boxing, everybody is an expert, but nobody fights.”

• • •

News item: Robert Redford will play Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey in a movie about Jackie Robinson.

Comment: Have you ever seen a picture of Branch Rickey around the time Robinson broke the color barrier (1947)? Having Redford play Rickey is like having Jude Law play Yogi Berra.

• • •

Nice touch having Joe Grzenda, who threw the final pitch in Washington Senators history in 1971, throw the ceremonial first pitch at the Nationals’ home opener — using the same ball he walked off the field with 34 years ago.

As Larry Stewart of the Los Angeles Times points out, it gives “new meaning to the term ‘long reliever.’”

• • •

Another sports figure the club should get to throw out a ceremonial first pitch: Calvin Natt.

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You’ve gotta love Brad Wilkinson hitting for the cycle in the Nationals’ first-ever win. The last Washington player to do it, in case you were wondering, was the Senators’ Jim King on May26, 1964. Little-known fact: A mere 13 days later, King belted three homers — making him one of only 14 players in major league history to hit for the cycle and have a three-homer game in the same season.

It’s a quite a group, King aside. Eight of the 14 — Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio (twice), Jimmie Foxx, Johnny Mize, Hack Wilson, George Brett, Dave Winfield and current Nats manager Frank Robinson — are in the Hall of Fame. The Orioles’ Miguel Tejada also did it (with the A’s in 2001).

• • •

The first Washington player to hit for the cycle, nearly a century ago, was Otis Clymer in 1908.

Or as Chris Berman would call him, Otis “Social” Clymer.

• • •

An estimated 27.5million hot dogs will be consumed at big league stadiums this season, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. “Laid end-to-end,” the council says, “that’s almost enough hot dogs to stretch from Citizens Bank Park in Philly to Edison Field in Los Angeles.”

Maybe they’d make it to L.A. if they included Terrell Owens.

• • •

I did the math, by the way. The average hot dog is 6 inches long, so 27.5million of ‘em would measure 2,548 miles.

Talk about a coincidence. That’s also the length, I’m pretty sure, of the intestines.

• • •

Or maybe not. But it is:

• The length of the Niger River;

• The cruising range of a Russian DB-240 bomber;

• The distance covered by the winning team of Phil Hill and Oliver Gendebien in the 1958 24 Hours of LeMans; and

• The miles logged by President Bush on the last day of campaigning.

• • •

In other baseball news, Mark McGwire postponed his induction into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame, not wanting the Steroid Stuff to overshadow the event.

Interestingly, that didn’t deter another enshrinee, John McEnroe, who has admitted taking steroids for six years during his tennis career.

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Of course, it was different with Johnny Mac. Nobody noticed.

• • •

And finally …

It’s hard to see McGwire as a heroic figure after his wimp-out on Capitol Hill. I mean, imagine Mahatma Gandhi appearing before the British Parliament and saying, “I’m not here to talk about the fast.”

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