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Tue., April 15, 1997

Tiger’s long shots no longer a long shot

Three months ago, British bookmakers had Tiger Woods at 5,000-1 to win golf’s Grand Slam. Last week, it was down to 750-1. Now, it’s 100-1.

“He is the only thing people want to bet today,” Ed Nicholson of the bookmakers Ladbrokes said Monday.

The odds on Woods winning all four of golf’s major tournaments in a single season were slashed to 100-1 after his record-smashing victory at the Masters.

Ladbrokes lists Woods as a 7-1 favorite in each of the next three majors - the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA and is offering the same odds on a Woods’ victory at next year’s Masters.

Don’t even wait for the paperback on this one

Keyshawn Johnson, who has added the title of controversial author to his resume of controversial wide receiver, strongly defended his new book, which takes a critical view of last year’s New York Jets’ players, coaches and front office.

In “Just Give Me the Damn Ball! The Fast Times and Hard Knocks of an NFL Rookie,” written with Shelley Smith, Johnson suggests that quarterback Neil O’Donnell might have faked a season-ending calf injury to help preserve the job of offensive coordinator Ron Erhardt; that his fellow wide receiver, Wayne Chrebet, “had an attitude” toward him, as did several teammates, and that Erhardt was “too old” and had unfairly yelled at him for rookie mistakes.

Johnson was harsh in evaluating O’Donnell, particularly in suggesting that the quarterback exaggerated his injury. “It gave them a big fat excuse as to why we were terrible,” Johnson wrote. “They could say, ‘Hey, we haven’t had the $25 million man. How are we supposed to win?’ … I think he went down, maybe not to save guru, old man Erhardt.”

The only missing chapter seems to be “Outspoken, and nothing to show for it.”

Rodman, the sequel

This from the publishers of Dennis Rodman’s new book, “Walk on the Wild Side:” “(He) shares his outrageous wisdom on everything from dating to one-night stands to cross-dressing to playing in the NBA.”

Said Steve Rosenbloom of the Chicago Tribune: “Now there’s a guy who has his priorities in order.”

A Royal pain in the butt

Only George Brett could stop Kansas City traffic like this. A highway overpass near Kauffman Stadium was closed for a half-hour as the stretch of road was being renamed the George Brett Bridge.

Traffic came to a complete standstill when motorists discovered their tires were covered with pine tar.

The glass is half full

San Francisco outfielder Barry Bonds offered this inventive analysis of the Giants’ 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on opening day: “If you win on opening day, you can come back the next day lackadaisical and overconfident. It works more to your advantage to lose than it does to win.”

With their 68-94 record from last season, the Giants must be busting with overconfidence.

The last word …

“Blame it on the fact that he didn’t fulfill his obligations at Stanford. That would have been our only hope today.”

- Tom Kite, who finished second at the Masters, on Tiger Woods

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

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