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He Is No Stranger to Water

Curtis Strange, leading money winner on the PGA Tour in 1985, was still looking for his first win of 1986 in the Houston Open last week. His chances didn’t look good after he three-putted the 13th hole on the first round.

Walking across a bridge to the 14th hole, Strange slammed his putter against the railing. Alas, the clubhead broke off and fell into the water. Strange finished the round putting with his wedge. He shot an even-par 72, seven strokes off the lead.

Of the deceased putter, Strange said later: “God rest its soul. I think it just gave out. I rapped it and it fell over dead. I said, ‘Please come back, but it didn’t.’ ”

He added: “I usually carry its exact duplicate with me, but I didn’t this time. So I went to one I had been wanting to use.”

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Good thing. With the new putter, Strange shot successive rounds of 68, 68 and 66 to tie Calvin Peete, whom he beat in a playoff.

Strange is best remembered for shooting an 80 in the first round of the 1985 Masters and then almost winning it. He killed his chances by gambling on the 13th and 15th holes and going into the water.

“I set all kinds of records, don’t I?” he said.

From a speech by Lou Holtz to the Notre Dame Club of Minnesota, as reported by Patrick Reusse of the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

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--"Bear Bryant said if you have a football player and you can’t hug him, pat him on the back or brag about him, he’s not worth having on a football team. There’s not a single athlete at Notre Dame that you wouldn’t be proud enough of to hug, to pat or to brag about. I’d just like them to be a little faster.”

--"We won the national championship in fencing. I wrote a note to the coach, congratulating him. I also pointed out our chances to win the national championship in football would be greater if our athletes were allowed to use sabers.”

Trivia Time: What did the following Kentucky Derby entrants have in common: Your Host (1950), Correlation (1954), Candy Spots (1963), Hill Rise (1964) and Unconscious (1971)? (Answer below.)

Gary Bradley, minority owner of the Houston Rockets, proposed a bet with Denver Nugget owner Sidney Shlenker on the outcome of their playoff series.

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Bradley said he was willing to wager a ranch in Alpine, Tex., against one of the television stations owned by Shlenker.

“I think it would really make this series interesting,” Bradley said. “Besides, Sidney’s got about five TV stations. He can afford to lose one.”

Shlenker said he considered making the wager but then thought better of it.

“I made a big enough bet last May when I bought this club,” he said.

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Said Boston’s Wade Boggs when asked about the possibility of hitting .400: “It’s possible only if you barely qualify for the batting title. But it’s not possible for someone who plays every day, who gets around 600 at-bats.”

Could be, but Rod Carew, with 616 at-bats, batted .388 in 1977. Eight more hits would have put him over .400.

Trivia Answer: All were California-breds who were favored to win but didn’t. The only two to get into the money were Hill Rise, who finished second, and Candy Spots, who was third.

Quotebook

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Bud Collins, TV tennis commentator: “My Uncle Dudley always describes an unforced error as his first marriage.”


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