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Sideline chatter

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Talk about a golfer hitting hard-pan

Michelle Wie recalled the time that uber-fit Gary Player, 78, once asked her to take a swing at him.

"Out of the blue he says, 'Michelle, hit me in the stomach,' " she told Golf Digest. "I didn't want to punch him, so I kind of poke him instead. He says, 'No, I want you to really hit me!' He widens his stance and clenches his stomach. Now I really hit him. I'm no fighter, but I hit him as hard as I could. It hurt my hand. It didn't faze him.

"He pointed to his stomach and said, 'A thousand situps a day,' and kept walking."

Sweetness

Rockets centre Dwight Howard says he once consumed the equivalent of 24 Hershey bars a day in candy and soda.

Superman? Maybe Howard's nickname should've been Sugar Shaq.

Headlines

-- At Fark.com: "Belichick: 'Lack of workouts (and good videotapes) is why the Pats haven't won another Super Bowl.'"

-- SportsPickle.com: "Seahawks lose first game at home / To blame refs in 3, 2, 1... "

Football 101

"A nickel back" in an NFL game is:

a) An extra DB inserted during obvious passing downs.

b) What the vendor gives you back when you fork over $10 for a beer.

Quote marks

-- Brad Dickson of the Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald, on Buffalo and San Diego State playing in 30-degree temperatures at the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: "Only a team from Buffalo would consider going to Boise in late December a form of reward."

-- Greg Cote of the Miami Herald, on the usually under-the-radar Dolphins becoming the No. 3 NFL team for Google searches in 2013: " 'You're welcome,' said Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin."

-- Mike Hegan, the ex-Seattle Pilot who died this week at 71, as quoted in Ball Four on the toughest part about being a big-league player: "Explaining to your wife why she needs a penicillin shot for your kidney infection."

-- Steve Schrader of the Detroit Free Press, after Lions WR Calvin Johnson -- called out for being old by Ravens rookie Matt Elam -- had a couple of big drops against Baltimore: "Maybe the hands are the first to go."

Lion kings

"If it is better to give than receive," noted Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com, "then this year the Detroit Lions are the best team in the NFL."

Win some, lose some

Detroit Lions season-ticket holders received useless playoff tickets in the mail less than 24 hours after their team was eliminated from post-season play.

Unless Justin Bieber retracts his vow to quit singing, it doesn't get much more cruel than that.

-- The Seattle Times

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 29, 2013 A1

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