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Original Issue

Sports Beat

Folks who think KISS is not popular with the slacks-wearing set
should think again. "KISS is my favorite rock group," says PGA
champ Shaun Micheel, who used to wear the band's black-and-white
makeup on Halloween. "I know every one of their songs." The day
after he won the PGA, Micheel got a call from his friend Paco
Zimmer, the band's road manager, inviting him to a show in
Columbus, Ohio, on Aug. 19. The 34-year-old Micheel flew from his
home in Memphis and met with the band backstage. He also found
that he's not as anonymous as he used to be. "Some guy standing
next to me between songs said, 'You look just like that guy who
won the PGA Championship. And I said, 'That's because I am.' He
was like, No way, no way."

--Gentlemen, start your divorce lawyers. The October issue of
Playboy includes a pictorial and an interview with Deanna
Merryman, the former cosmetics-counter attendant who claims to
have been the cause of Jeff Gordon's high-profile split from his
wife, Brooke. According to Merryman, she was working at a Neiman
Marcus in Palm Beach, Fla., in 2000 when "this little short dude"
asked her to lunch, and began an 11-month relationship. (Gordon
had no comment on Merryman's claim.) In the story Merryman says,
"Jeff became a wild man. He got married when he was 23 and has
been on the racetrack since he was a kid. He used to tell me that
he never had a chance to have fun."

--Before he was a Beat writer, Jack Kerouac was a beat writer.
Well, sort of. He covered sports for The Lowell Sun in his
hometown of Lowell, Mass., in 1942. He also played running back
at Columbia and was a big sports fan. So it's not so odd that the
first 1,000 fans at last Thursday's Class A game between the
Lowell Spinners and the Williamsport (Pa.) Crosscutters received
bobblehead dolls of the author holding a pen and notebook and
standing on a copy of On the Road. The event was sponsored in
part by the English department at the University of Massachusetts
at Lowell.

--Blair Underwood's new gig, playing Knicks team doctor Robert
Leeds on HBO's Sex and the City, has several perks. There's the
whole making-out-with-Cynthia Nixon thing. But Underwood also got
to spend a day at Madison Square Garden when the show rented the
arena out for a day of shooting. "I got a picture of myself
slam-dunking," Underwood said. "Of course, the ladder will be cut
out of the photo."

--In production: The Game of Their Lives, based on Geoffrey
Douglas's 1996 book about the U.S. soccer team, composed
primarily of working-class immigrants, that upset mighty England
at the 1950 World Cup. The movie will be directed by David
Anspaugh, who is no stranger to underdog stories--he directed
Rudy. Wes Bentley (American Beauty) stars, but the most
intriguing casting decision is Gavin Rossdale, who will play
English star Stanley Mortenson. Rossdale played semipro soccer in
England before becoming lead singer of the band Bush.... Though
sidelined by a back injury, Anna Kournikova was still the most
visible player in New York City in the days before the U.S. Open.
Last Thursday she was in Herald Square helping Microsoft launch
XSN, its line of sports games for the Xbox. After opening the
NASDAQ exchange the next morning, she was in Grand Central
Terminal with CEO Jeff Bezos peddling her "multiway"
sports bra, which will be sold exclusively in the U.S. on Amazon.


COLOR PHOTO: SIMON BRUTY (DRUMMOND) PICTURE THIS Sometimes you've got to take a stand--by lying down. After being disqualified for a false start in the quarterfinals of the 100 meters at the IAAF World Track and Field Championships in Paris (page 182), Jon Drummond staged a flat-out protest for 15 minutes, repeatedly saying, "I did not move." Then, heading to the warmup track, he dunked himself in the water of a steeplechase pit.



Mike Tyson is considering a fight with Bob (the Beast) Sapp, a
6'4", 375-pound mixed martial artist.


Cruiserweight boxer and write-in candidate for governor of
California, on his future plans: "After I knock out Holyfield,
it's lights out for Schwarzenegger."