No time to putter around on millennium's front side

In bid to finish first round of new era, golfer pitches and especially runs

Sports Plus

January 14, 2001|By Andy Knobel | Andy Knobel,SUN STAFF

It's no surprise to find a doctor at the golf course ... except if it's midnight New Year's Eve.

Yet, that was Dr. Ant Gear's tee time at North Island Manawatu Club in Wellington, New Zealand, as he attempted for the second year in a row to become the first person in the world to complete a round of golf in the new millennium.

"I wanted to make sure I had both years covered in case someone gets picky about which is the true millennium," said Gear, referring to worldwide confusion about whether a millennium - or a century or a decade - starts with a year ending in the number 0 or the number 1.

"Just to be safe," Gear once more raced around the course with a luminous golf ball, a 3-iron and a light strapped to his head.

The doctor had a lot of help from his wife, Rosemary, who bravely stood in the middle of every fairway shining a torch to give her husband something to aim at.

Last year, Gear, who has a 9 handicap, sprinted his way to a 122, completing his round in 45 minutes. His time was the same this year, but his score improved to 114.

His address has no zip

Ireland's Padraig Harrington may be a world-class golfer, but he'll never beat Gear in a race to the 18th hole. Not with his ridiculously long pre-shot routine.

When the Ryder Cup was held in Brookline, Mass., in 1999, NBC's Dick Enberg said of him: "He gives a new meaning to the Boston Marathon."

We're in the here and now

If you're looking for the sports world to clarify issues of the millennium, you're in the wrong place - not to mention the wrong time.

What would Yogi Berra say about the matter?

Probably "It ain't over 'til it's over." Or "It gets late early out here."

And what would Don Zimmer say? The New York Yankees' bench coach was asked last fall where he was in 1969 when the New York Mets won the World Series.

"I don't even remember where I was in 1969," he said. "I've been on so many teams, I don't remember where I'm at half the time."

Watch him

Berra once was asked for the time.

"You mean now?" he asked.

Daze of the week

Herb Brooks, who was recently named coach of the U.S. men's hockey team for the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, remembers where he was in 1980: That's when he coached the Americans to their "Miracle on Ice" gold medal.

Forgotten to time are some of the "Herbisms" he used to motivate that team.

One of them went like this: "For the last three weeks you've been getting worse and worse every day, and tonight you're playing like it's next week."

Week-minded thinking

Rhode Island coach Jerry DeGregorio on the Los Angeles Clippers' calendar-challenged Lamar Odom:

"If Lamar says he'll meet you Thursday at 8, he'll be there. The only question is, what week?"

He's late, he's late

Jason Caffey, one of three Milwaukee Bucks benched for being late to a noon team meeting this season, offered up this excuse: "I heard 12 o'clock, and to me I interpreted that as be here between 12 and 12:30."

Said Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle: "This explanation could have spared the White Rabbit some aggravation. He wasn't really late for the Mad Hatter's tea party; the appointed time was a matter of interpretation."

No speed gun on that game

It seems as if a millennium could pass during CBS' six-hour Super Bowl pre-game show.

David Whitley of the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel asks:

"What are they going to show, Game 1 of the World Series?"

Human rain delay

After filling seven hours of rain delays during a three-game baseball series several years ago, Florida Marlins broadcaster Jon Sciambi said:

"I feel like I just hosted the Jerry Lewis [MDA] Telethon."

The end, really

Among those befuddled by time is football center Grant Garrett, who said after a particularly tough loss at Arkansas two seasons ago:

"We didn't lose. We were just behind when the clock ran out."

Compiled from wire reports and Web sites.

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