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Cheap Seats

‘For 7 a.m. tee time, please press two’

Golfers in Newark, N.J., who covet early tee times are spending less time in line and more time at home frantically dialing phones.

“You can’t play golf unless you have a state-of-the-art autodialer phone, multiple phone lines and stay at home Saturday night to reserve a tee time for the following Saturday morning,” said one Jersey golfer.

Public courses in five counties have installed automated reservation systems that officials say gives all players a chance to vie for prime times.

“It’s given everyone equal access to the course. We used to have them lined up at the gate, with cars backed up all the way into the church parking lot across the street,” said Tom Brush, assistant manager at an East Brunswick course. “Now they talk to an idiot computer.”

A witty African-American

Not only did New Jersey coach John Calipari call the Newark Star-Ledger’s Dan Garcia a “Mexican idiot,” he also told him, “I should punch you in the face,” before publicist John Mertz broke them up.

At UMass, Calipari could schedule breathers, refuse to rehire referees and spin the press like a ball on a seal’s nose, but so far, he can’t handle rough-and-tumble NBA life. His problem with Garcia? Garcia gave Pitino a D on a published report card.

Nets star Jayson Williams, angling for a trade, and never one to let a straight line go by in any case, joked: “No wonder Cal doesn’t like me. He thinks I’m Mexican.”

Finally, enough for a foursome

For the first time in the women’s NCAA Tournament, all of the Final Four teams were coached by women: Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer, Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw, Old Dominion’s Wendy Larry and Tennessee’s Pat Summitt.

“A lot of times people don’t think maybe that women are really capable, that they are not leaders,” said VanDerveer, also the 1996 U.S. Olympic coach. “As an example, going to Russia and training over there with a team, they would always say, ‘How can the Americans not have a male coach?’ It is good for young women to see that women can be very successful.”

And that young women are equally capable of choking in the big game.

Packer and Dickie V., Inc.

New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica asked, “Is there any way to get (Billy) Packer and (Dick) Vitale to stop shrieking that college basketball is still more popular than ‘Seinfeld?’

“You know what the deal is with these guys? They’re just desperate to protect their own franchises. They aren’t analysts anymore. They’re agents with microphones,” Lupica added.

Funny how writers draw from their own life experiences.

This from Sir Charles

The Houston Rockets’ Charles Barkley, who is taking steroid-based anti-inflammatory pills to recover from a hip injury said, “If I kill anybody or do anything stupid this week, it’s because I’m on a steroids rage.”

The last word …

“I don’t think these things up. I just sign the papers.”

- Braves’ Chipper Jones, admitting he doesn’t even like chocolate as the “Chipper Bar” was unveiled

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo