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Fat Jack Just Got Thinner

Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post, suggesting that Jack Nicklaus has become preoccupied with business, wrote this after the first round of the Masters:

“Nicklaus is no fool. He just has to make a choice. He can be a tycoon or he can try to play high-quality golf a few more years. Watching the Olden Bear dump an iron shot in the water at the 12th hole Thursday for a double bogey on his way to a 74 is ugly stuff.

“Somebody should grab Nicklaus by his stubborn paw and tell him to hire a good CEO and get his chubby self back to the range.”

The next sound you heard was, “G-r-r-r-r!”

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Chi Chi Rodriguez, who just joined the Seniors Tour, told Golf magazine he plans to play only four or five years.

Asked why, he said: “Because then Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino will arrive.”

Add Golf: Fun-loving Jimmy Demaret, a three-time Masters champion, used to have a column in the magazine in which he offered advice to readers. Here was one exchange:

Reader: “Jimmy, what should I do to get rid of my slice.”

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Demaret: “Hook it.”

Here’s the quote from the Masters and guess who said it: “Christians go to Jerusalem to find their spiritual serenity; Moslems go to Mecca; rock fans go to rock concerts. Golfers, like the birds of San Juan Capistrano, migrate to Augusta.

“It is worth all the accolades that have ever been majestically bestowed upon it over the years.”

The speaker was Mac O’Grady.

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Tom Watson, explaining how he regained his putting touch last week, credited a letter from a fan.

“He told me to read page 55 of my own book, paragraph two,” Watson said. “That’s ‘Getting Up and Down.’ Random House. $14.95. For you, $11.95.”

Trivia Time: Who was the last player in the Hawks’ franchise to win the NBA scoring title before Atlanta’s Dominique Wilkins won it this season? (Answer below.)

Pete Rose, claiming he doesn’t feel any older, had this to say on the eve of his 45th birthday today: “The only thing Monday does, as far as I’m concerned, is if I wanted to collect my pension, I could.”

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Note: At age 25, Rose hit .313. At age 30, he hit .304. At 35, he batted .323. And at 40, he batted .325.

Said Danny Ainge of the Boston Celtics when asked how Dennis Johnson compared to other guards: “Compare him to anybody. Look at what he does on defense. Look at his passing. Look at his knack of scoring when the game is on the line. There’s no better all-around guard in the league. Sure, Magic is great, but DJ does more things.”

In his native West Germany, Boris Becker hardly ever ventures out because he would be engulfed by Beckermania.

He had no such problem in Dallas, scene of the WCT tournament. His only problem was with traffic lights. The other day, after being stopped for jaywalking, he said: “The policeman wanted to arrest me. He said, ‘Let me see your ID.’ I said, ‘I’m from Germany. I don’t have an ID. I’m a tennis player.’

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“He said, ‘I prefer football.’ ”

Trivia Answer: Bob Pettit of the St. Louis Hawks in 1958-59. He averaged 29.2 points per game.

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New Jersey guard Otis Birdsong, explaining a loss by the Nets: “I think we played hard, but it was a lackadaisical hard.”

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