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Done Time? Don’t Worry About the Back Nine

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GolfWorld magazine reports that media applications for the U.S. Open were mailed out recently and the U.S. Golf Assn.--perhaps influenced by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the proximity of Bethpage State Park, where the tournament will be held, to New York City--is taking unprecedented security steps.

All media members planning to cover the national championship are being asked to submit to a background check, including permitting the USGA and “any authorized security agency” unfettered access to all records concerning driving and criminal history.

Just a guess, but the media “field” might be limited this year.

Trivia time: Who holds the Laker playoff record for rebounds in a game?

Not amused: Running back Ricky Williams, whom the Miami Dolphins acquired from the New Orleans Saints, once posed in a wedding dress with tuxedo-clad Mike Ditka for the cover of ESPN The Magazine.

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“The whole 49er defense was on me about it one time, all game,” he recently told the Miami Herald. “None of it was clever, though. I would have laughed right with them if it had at least been clever.”

Comment from Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle: “Even trash talk is judged on artistic merit.”

We’re stuck with ‘em: Patrick Hruby of the Washington Times on some of the worst sports ideas ever:

* “The prevent defense: a passive, gutless brand of football that runs counter to the game’s rock-’em, sock-’em nature and, more often than not, prevents exactly nothing--save a round of ulcers for both fans and the defensive staff of the team with the lead.”

* “Aluminum bats: a pinging pox on college baseball. Blessed with plus-size sweet spots, aluminum bats have turned the sport into a hit-happy burlesque, one in which the bottom of the order bats .350 and USC captured the 1998 College World Series by the football-like score of 21-14.”

Looking back: On this day in 1956, undefeated heavyweight boxing champion Rocky Marciano retired. Marciano finished 49-0, with six title defenses and 43 knockouts.

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Looking back again: On this day in 1994, Scott Erickson, who had given up the most hits in the majors the previous season, pitched Minnesota’s first no-hitter in 27 years as the Twins defeated Milwaukee, 6-0.

Oh no! Reader John Hughes to the San Francisco Chronicle on why the Cleveland Browns cut running back Ben Gay: “He must have rubbed Coach Butch Davis the wrong way.”

Trivia answer: Wilt Chamberlain, 33, against the Chicago Bulls on April 4, 1971.

And finally: Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star News is apparently turned off by the Pacers’ series with the New Jersey Nets: “It was fun when it was Hicks versus Knicks. It was good, clean, perpetually nasty fun, led by the legendary Reggie Miller-Spike Lee debates.

“The Knicks represented all big-city evils Hoosiers found so repulsive, and the Pacers were the face of a dull backwater where daylight-saving time continues to be a hot-button issue.

“But the Pacers and New Jersey Nets? Hicks Versus Swamp Rats?”

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