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Sports Beat

She perfected her snap kicks under the tutelage of Mr. Miyagi
when she starred as The Next Karate Kid, and Hilary Swank will
now add a crisp jab to her personal-defense repertoire for her
new role as a boxer in Million Dollar Baby. Clint Eastwood will
direct, produce and play the role of a grizzled fighter turned
trainer who mentors Swank. The script was adapted from Rope
Burns: Stories from the Corner, written by former fighter F.X.
Toole. Swank has been training for the part at Gleason's Gym in
Brooklyn, where Mike Tyson is performing community service to
avoid jail time for his part in a brawl in front of a hotel last
year. Swank's serious training regimen prompted Ralph Macchio,
the original Karate Kid, to say, "I have no doubt she can kick my
butt." Filming is set to begin in L.A. in June.

--As if we needed more proof that John Daly bleeds gravy and
grits, his newest sponsor is--you guessed it--Redneck Putters.
Dunlop created the line this year as part of its effort to bring
golf to the masses--even the mulleted masses. "We're the product
the blue-collar guy can afford," says Dunlop VP of marketing
Shane Duffy. The putters come in a variety of models, such as the
Lurch, Airhead, Bubba, Wilbur and Doublewide. Daly uses the $99
red-shafted putters on tour, and the PGA allowed him to wear the
Redneck logo on his collar. (NASCAR recently forbade driver
Derrike Cope from applying decals for to his
car.) Daly has also inspired a sitcom pilot called Bogeys, about
a beer-swilling good ol' boy pro golfer. Shooting is scheduled to
begin in North Carolina in June.

--What's the deal with talk radio? Last Thursday evening Jerry
Seinfeld spent two hours on New York City's WFAN, the flagship
station of his favorite team, the Mets. "I love the station,"
Seinfeld told host Steve Somers. "You got the funny guys in the
morning, the obsessive guys in the afternoon and the Jewish guys
at night. It's a great lineup." Seinfeld's take on Mark McGwire's
use of andro: "I love how he left it in [his] locker. Put it in a
bag. You haven't got a shaving kit?"

--Last Thursday was April Fools' Day, which did not go unnoticed
in the world of sports. The Burlington (N.C.) Indians of the
Appalachian League sent out a press release saying that the
team's mascot, Bingo, was going to appear on Late Night with
Conan O'Brien as part of the Battle for Burlington Bragging
Rights, a steel-cage battle royale against the mascots of the New
York-Penn League's Vermont Expos (of Burlington, Vt.) and the
Midwest League's Burlington (Iowa) Bees. According to the
release, the last mascot standing would be crowned "the king of
all Burlingtons." In Colorado, the editorial board of the Aspen
Daily News--which announced last October that it was no longer
going to cover the Kobe Bryant case--put up a story on its
website proclaiming KOBE GETS OFF, with a picture of Bryant
flanked by teenage girls and holding a bottle of champagne. (The
paper runs April Fools' stories every year and changes the name
of the paper to the Aspen Daily Planet for the day.) And in
Jacksonville, WAPE-FM aired a phony report stating that the NFL
voted to take next year's Super Bowl away from the city and award
it to New York City. Jacksonville Super Bowl Host Committee
director of communications Heather Surface said, "The Host
Committee appreciates a good joke as much as the next guy, but,
after three hours, the 'joke' went a bit too far."

COLOR PHOTO: WARREN LITTLE/GETTY IMAGES (PICTURE THIS) PICTURE THIS Even when his putter's hot, it's still really cold. Jan Skoglund tried to not leave it short on the 6th, um, green last Thursday at the World Ice Golf Championship in Svalbard, Norway, which is about 620 miles from the North Pole. Temperatures dropped to -15°, but frostbite wasn't a golfer's biggest fear. That would be polar bears. Four spotters armed with rifles were deployed on the course.




Te Kuiti, a small town in New Zealand, re-created Pamplona's
Running of the Bulls with 2,000 sheep.


Maple Leafs coach, on the possibility of top teams losing early
in the NHL playoffs (page 62): "Good teams will be dropped out in
that first round, and whether it is an upset or not, it will be
upsetting to somebody."