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Finding Green Pastures Is Money in the Bank

Although he has won only one golf tournament in four years, Arnold Palmer is financially sound. According to Golf Digest, Palmer will earn more than $9 million in endorsements and that makes him the leading money winner off the course. He is followed closely by Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus, who will make $8 million and $7 million this year.

According to Norman, it is not only the great players who are reaping the benefits of golf’s popularity. “A good player with flair, personality and the ability to communicate with top-level executives can make scillions,” Norman says. “He doesn’t have to be a world-beater, a superstar.”

Greg Hood, an agent for Advantage International, agrees. “If he wants to do 10 or 15 outings as well (as PGA tournaments), he’s guaranteed starting off the season in the neighborhood of $200,000 or more.”

It must be the money that makes golf so popular.

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Smart choice: At the start of the National Football League season, Paul Frazier’s judgment seemed, um, questionable. With only one full college season behind him, the running back for Northwestern Louisiana, a Division I-AA school, was academically ineligible for his college team and decided to turn pro.

He signed as a free agent with the New Orleans Saints.

“Now that I think of it, he wasn’t very smart,” said Jim Finks, the Saints’ general manager. “Here’s a kid with another year of college eligibility, looking for a job, and he signs with a team that has Dalton Hilliard and Rueben Mayes at running back.”

Frazier must have known what he was doing, though. Not only did he make the Saints’ final roster, but last Sunday he carried the ball 12 times for 74 yards in the second half of New Orleans’ 28-0 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

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Faster, Mark: If Mark Spitz does return to competitive swimming--he expects to make the Olympic team in the 100-meter butterfly--he will have to swim considerably faster than he did in the 1972 Olympics. Although his winning time of 54.37 seconds in Munich would have placed eighth at the Seoul Olympics, it would have been only fifth-best at the U.S. Olympic trials, and only the top two in each event make the team.

Spitz is the second American swimmer who won a gold medal in 1972 to try a comeback in the last several years. Sandy Nielson, who won the 100-meter freestyle in Munich, placed seventh at last year’s Olympic trials in the 50-meter freestyle.

Trivia time: Of the seven gold medals Spitz won in 1972, four were for individual events, the 100- and 200-meter freestyles and the butterfly events. What other swimmer has won four individual events in one Olympics?

On this date: On Sept. 14, 1968, Denny McLain of the Detroit Tigers beat the Oakland Athletics, 5-4, becoming the first pitcher to win 30 games since Dizzy Dean in 1934.

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Trivia answer: At the 1988 Olympics, Kristen Otto of East Germany won the 50- and 100-meter freestyles, the 100-meter butterfly, and the 100-meter backstroke. She was also on winning 400-meter freestyle and medley relay teams.

Quotebook: John Mitchell of the New York Mets, who was called up to fill out the roster, comparing himself to teammate Howard Johnson, who has hit 34 home runs and stolen 37 bases this season: “I was in the 30-30 club at Tidewater--30 walks and 30 strikeouts.”


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