You Never Heard of the Ping Dynasty?

Ask any golfer, or read any sports history book, and the answer to where golf was invented is always the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland.

Now comes word from China that the ancient game of Chuiwan, played centuries before the first golf game at St. Andrews, is almost identical to golf. Bud Tenerani, in the Valencia Country Club newsletter, passes along this item:

"Because Chuiwan--'Chui' means hitting and 'wan' means ball--appears in Chinese literature as far back as 943 A.D., that would give it historical preference over the first mention of 'golfe' in a 1457 Scottish statute, which has long been the claim for the game to have been invented in Scotland."

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Trivia time: How many Heisman Trophy winners have played in the Rose Bowl game in the season they won the award?

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Three at a time: The Lakers retire jersey numbers each decade in clusters--a center, forward and guard--notes columnist Bob Jacobsen of the Arizona Republic. First it was Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and Jerry West from the 1960s and '70s. Then Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and James Worthy in the next wave.

"Suppose Vlade Divac, Cedric Ceballos and Nick Van Exel are next? Nah," Jacobsen concluded.

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Just like TV: New York Giant quarterback Dave Brown had a decision to make during a seven-yard scramble against the Dallas Cowboys when he faced cornerback Deion Sanders.

"I couldn't decide whether to go around him or through him, so just like his commercial says, I did both," Brown said.

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Restructured: David Ledbetter is one of golf's better known teachers, but if you go to him you'd better be prepared for change.

"David wanted me to change my takeaway, my backswing, my downswing and my follow-through," said Brad Bryant, one of his disciples on the tour. "He said I could still play right-handed."

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Trivia answer: Seven--Frank Sinkwich, Georgia, 1942-43; O.J. Simpson, USC, 1968-69; Jim Plunkett, Stanford, 1970-71; Archie Griffin, Ohio State, 1974-75 and 1975-76; Charles White, USC, 1979-80; and Desmond Howard, Michigan, 1991-92.

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Quotebook: Arizona Gov. Fife Symington, on Phoenix being the site of the Nebraska-Florida national championship in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2 and the Super Bowl on Jan. 28: "It's the greatest 30 days of sports in state history."

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