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To Lemmon, It Was the Unkindest Cut of All

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Jack Lemmon is never going to make the cut.

The death Wednesday of the two-time Oscar winner ended what may have been one of the most futile careers in sports. For 25 years, the golf-loving actor, paired with a PGA Tour player, tried to make the cut in the Pebble Beach pro-am. He never made it.

In 1998 it appeared Lemmon had finally broken through. He and Peter Jacobsen were at 16-under-par 128 and a cinch to survive the cut, but the final two rounds were rained out and the pro-am was canceled.

“That was our year, but Mother Nature got in the way,” said Jacobsen, who partnered with Lemmon 17 times at Pebble Beach.

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Trivia time: Golfers become eligible for the U.S. Senior Open at 50. How many times has the tournament been won by a player older than 56?

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Changing times: When John Newcombe won Wimbledon in 1970, he earned about $4,200, with women’s champion Margaret Court taking home $2,100 at current exchange rates.

This year, all the losers in the first round make more than the champions did three decades ago. The men’s first-round losers earned $10,500 and women $8,400.

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Just asking: After watching 7-foot-2 heavyweight Nicolai Valuev knock out Terrell Nelson in the second round at the Taj Mahal, matchmaker Don Elbaum said of the 320-pound Russian, “He hits like a mule.”

“Does he move like one?” someone wondered.

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Do you remember? On this day in 1956, Charlie Dumas became the first high jumper to clear 7 feet, jumping 7 feet 5/8 in the U.S. Olympic trials at the Coliseum.

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Double zeros: On this day in 1990, Dave Stewart of the Oakland A’s threw a no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays and that evening, Fernando Valenzuela of the Dodgers duplicated Stewart’s feat against the St. Louis Cardinals. It was the first time in major league history two no-hitters were pitched on the same day.

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Now you know: Italian race driver Max Papis said it before winning the rain-drenched Portland CART race Sunday:

“Italian people are genetically superior in the rain.”

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Golf forever: Want a gift idea for that golfing fanatic in your family?

How about a “Fairway to Heaven” model casket which features a golf scene with mountains in the background? It costs only $2,500. About 800 of them have been sold.

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Trivia answer: Once, by Roberto DeVicenzo, who was 57 when he won in 1980.

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And finally: Mickey Herskowitz of the Houston Chronicle tells a story about Lou Holtz after his Notre Dame football team won the 1988 national championship.

“Lou squeezed into an elevator in New York, where a reporter congratulated him on his winning season. A woman in the crush asked, innocently, ‘Are you a football coach?’

“ ‘Where do you coach?’ she asked. As the elevator stopped, Holtz held the door and said, with a sly smile, ‘What school do you think of when you think of college football?’

“Without hesitation, she answered, ‘Iowa.’ ”

Talk about deflation.


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