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Who’s playing Mr. Yuks?

Ever wonder how a PGA golfer identifies his ball when two or three in a group are playing the same brand? They all have favorite markings they apply before starting play.

Defending U.S. Open champ Ernie Els draws a line through the Maxfli logo. Fred Couples always plays a No. 6 Titleist with a dot placed on it. And Bernhard Langer changes his markings - when he’s playing well, he makes smiley faces on the ball.

Us, too. Usually with a 3-iron.

Shaqwill Industries

There is no business like shoe business, as Michael Jordan has, uh, shoed us. But sometimes you need to shoe some charity, as well.

Shaquille O’Neal did last week, sending a care package - dress shoes, gym shoes, casual shoes - to Mississippi teenager Boris Grims. And the 14-year-old junior high student can fill the superstar’s shoes, because they’re both size 20.

Dorothy Grady has tried to keep her son in shoes, but needed help when his feet grew five sizes in a few months. Her appeal attracted media attention - and, eventually, Shaq’s. While he was at it, O’Neal threw in one of his Orlando Magic uniforms, jogging pants and other clothing.

Alas, Grims is not 7-foot-2, but 6-3.

“I had my own little fashion show,” Grims said. “His clothes are huge.”

The Magic were contacted by Barbara Levingston, marketing director at the hospital where Grady works. A few days later came the response: “This is your lucky day. Shaq’s been cleaning out his closet.”

Unfortunately for Shaq, Hakeem has been in his closet, too.

What have you done for us lately?

Reds rookie Eric Owens hit a game-winning single in his first official at bat in the major leagues. The following night, he added a pinch single. After that game, the Reds optioned him back to Triple-A Indianapolis.

Just in from the Glue Factory Handicap …

Gussie Mae wins! The 6-year-old gelding has made a career out of losing, but last week avoided a record 86th consecutive loss with a stunning 2 1/2-length victory. Not that it gussied up his record much; the oatburner is now 1-1-5 in 86 starts.

The dark bay thoroughbred - abandoned by his sixth owner and bought as a pet by his current one - led wire-to-wire in the 7-furlong sprint at Atlantic City Race Course, paying $20 to win.

Still, Gussie Mae shares the futility record for thoroughbreds with Really a Tenor, a gray filly, who lost 85 straight in a 102-race career before retiring in 1991. But there have been worse horses. Treboh Joe, a pacer at Pocono Downs, raced 247 times and won only once before he was retired last year.

“Seventh-eighths of a mile - that’s the difference,” said trainer Robert Marchiano. “He’s just been missing at 6 1/2 and 6 (furlongs).”

What he’s been missing, Bob, is a start at Playfair.

The last word …

“She’s flying a kite with no string.”

- Mets reliever John Franco on his former boss, Reds owner Marge Schott

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo


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