New Houston Astro Manager Larry Dierker is encouraging his pitchers to play golf.
"The better pitchers are the better golfers," Dierker said. "All the guys in the Atlanta rotation play to a one or two handicap. Pitching and golf both have a power game and finesse. You have to concentrate for three hours. You have to be able to put bad luck and bad breaks behind you."
Trivia time: Who was the first UCLA basketball player drafted in the NBA?
Across the net: Tennis guru Bud Collins, speaking about golf in Inside Tennis: "Golf is something you play five years after you are dead. The ball sits there. It's like a blackjack dealer, 'Hit me, hit me, hit me.'
"Golf is for old and infirm people. No, I mean it. For people who are retired, who can spend four or five hours [walking around]."
Fast company: Super-heavyweight boxer Paea Wolfgramm, winner of Tonga's only Olympic medal, made his professional debut a winning one Tuesday night in Indio by knocking out Jeff Kirk in the first round. It probably won't have the same impact that his Olympic performance did.
"The day he won the silver medal was the biggest day in Tonga since Queen Elizabeth visited in the 1960s," Tony Fulilangi, Wolfgramm's corner man, said.
Call him up: If you had to pick a web site for long-hitting John Daly, it would be hard to improve on the one that opened Tuesday: http://www.gripitandripit.com.
Status quo: Rumors that Notre Dame's Lou Holtz might wind up coaching Ohio State after next year have caused a tizzy in Michigan.
"They [Michigan backers] want John Cooper right where he is," according to the Detroit News, "positioned perfectly to end every season on a happy note for the Wolverines."
Easy living: Mothers, raise your son to be a professional golfer. This past season, 162 players earned at least $100,000 on the PGA Tour. And Tom Watson did it for the 23rd consecutive year, a PGA record.
"We haven't played them yet," Barkley answered.
Different times: An 11-5 record means different things in the NFL, depending on which team has it.
"When we went 11-5 in San Diego, it was 'The Rebirth of the Chargers,' " San Francisco 49er linebacker Gary Plummer said. "We went 11-5 here [San Francisco] and it was 'The Demise of the 49ers.' "
Trivia answer: George Stanich, taken in the second round in 1950 by Rochester.
And finally: Greg Norman, philosophizing on a golf year that earned him $1.3 million in prize money and $18 million in endorsements: "I feel confident in my beliefs and my approach to whatever I do that I can do it. If I wanted to be a brain surgeon, I could."