Golf hazard: Sucker bet throws Couples for loss

Search for a good lie proves that gullibility is always a handicap

Sports Plus

April 01, 2001|By Andy Knobel | Andy Knobel,SUN STAFF

In a recent issue of Golf Digest, Fred Couples tells a story about running into the late tennis hustler, Bobby Riggs, at the Palm Beach (Fla.) Polo Club.

Riggs wanted to play - and bet - Couples in golf, getting no strokes, but receiving one throw on each hole. Couples figured he could whip Riggs with even two throws, so he took the bet.

Big mistake.

"On the first hole, I hit my approach shot to 15 feet," Couples said. "Meanwhile, it took Riggs four shots to reach the green. But just as I got set to putt, Riggs walked over, picked up my ball and threw it out of bounds."

Couples said Riggs laughed and refused to take his money.

Lesson learned.

Falling into a trap

Fools and their money often find their way onto the fairways.

PGA Tour sensation Tiger Woods was asked whether he ever had played golf with NBA legend and golfing wanna-be Michael Jordan.

"Actually, I have," Woods said, "and I've got some of his money in my golf bag."

Frank Robinson maybe?

To San Antonio memorabilia collector Howard O'Desky, the most amazing aspect of the sports autograph industry is the plain, old stupidity he sees.

Take, for instance, O'Desky's story about a local man who spent thousands on a Tony Gwynn-model Rawlings baseball glove that was supposedly signed by Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson.

Robinson, of course, died in 1972. Gwynn's first season in the major leagues didn't come until 1982.

As P. T. Barnum once mused, "There's a sucker born every minute."

Lone star-studded stupidity

Barnum would have been a huge Dallas Cowboys fan.

And he would have been an even bigger fan of Jerry Jones.

How could he not absolutely love what the Cowboys and their entrepreneurial owner are selling on their Web site?

If you act quickly, you can purchase, directly from the Cowboys, such "must-have" items as a practice jersey worn by Michael Irvin, gloves worn by Deion Sanders (sorry, they're not neon), a jacket worn by former coach Jimmy Johnson, shoes worn by Emmitt Smith in an actual game and the contents of Herschel Walker's locker.

Priceless?

More like pricey.

The "Prime Time" gloves are $299.99. Jimmy's jacket goes for $499.99. Irvin's practice jersey is $699.99. And Emmitt's game-used shoes are $999.99.

"If these shoes could talk ... " says the Web-site blurb.

"Hey, why can't they?" wrote Jim Donaldson of the Providence (R.I.) Journal-Bulletin. "They have tongues, don't they?"

A slice of history

Spotted last spring on eBay: For a mere $3,000, you could have picked up a tennis ball that Elian Gonzalez supposedly tossed back and forth with actor Andy Garcia.

It was a hoax, of course, intended by the seller as a way to urge people to lighten up on the Elian mania.

"If someone is dimwitted enough to cut me a check, I'll cash it," chuckled Scott Eckelaert of Florida, who cheerily alerted bidders that they must pay $200 for shipping "by armed couriers."

At least Eckelaert wasn't selling a ball Gonzalez tossed back and forth with Riggs. Of course, Riggs, were he still with us, probably would talk us into buying it.

Compiled from wire reports and Web sites.

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