SHELVED For the rest of the 2003 season, Jaguars punter Chris
Hanson, who needed surgery on his right (nonkicking) shin after
gashing it with an ax while chopping a tree stump--in the Jags'
locker room. Last month, to support his "keep chopping wood"
mantra, Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio had the stump delivered
to Alltel Stadium, and players took turns chopping at the stump
every day at practice. Hanson, the team's only Pro Bowler in
2002, missed the stump and hit his leg last Thursday and will
have to wear a hard boot for four to six weeks. Hanson, who seems
to have a knack for unusual injuries, suffered second-degree
burns in June after a fondue pot fell on his kitchen floor at his
home in Jacksonville. As of Sunday the stump remained in the
Jaguars' locker room, but the ax had been removed. Said Del Rio,
"We may need to come up with a new [motto]."
APOLOGIZED Australian-born golfer Jan Stephenson, for saying
top-earning Asian players are "killing" the LPGA tour by not
making themselves more available for promotional purposes. In the
November issue of Golf Magazine, Stephenson, 51, said that if she
were the LPGA commissioner, she would have a quota on Asian
players. "This is probably going to get me in trouble, but the
Asians are killing our tour," said Stephenson. "Their lack of
emotion, their refusal to speak English when they can speak
English. They rarely speak. We have two-day pro-ams where people
are paying a lot of money to play with us, and they say, 'Hello,
goodbye.'" In a statement last week Stephenson said, in part, "I
clearly understand how these comments could be taken as racial
comments, and for that I am truly sorry." Annika Sorenstam, the
world's No. 1 player, called Stephenson's comments "pathetic,"
while South Korea's Grace Park, one of four Asians among the
LPGA's top six money earners, said, "She has her own opinion. I
just don't like the fact that she picked on Asians.... She should
come and play with me. I have great emotions."
LAUNCHED By the ATP, an investigation into suspicious betting
patterns on three men's tennis matches that not only had
unexpected results but also attracted what the ATP calls
"considerable" gambling activity. The most recent match under
suspicion was played last week in Lyon, France, between Russia's
Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Spain's Fernado Vicente, who was initially
touted as a 5-to-1 underdog but ended up the favorite after a
flurry of prematch gambling activity. Because of the unusual
swing, betting was suspended six hours before the match, which
Vicente then won in straight sets, his first win since June. The
ATP's penalty for a player guilty of match-fixing is a three-year
suspension and a $100,000 fine, but there is no evidence that
either player was involved in any wrongdoing.
RETIRING After 37 years and five World Series rings, Yankees
organist Eddie Layton, the Cal Ripken Jr. of the keyboard set.
Layton, who'll quit after the playoffs, hasn't missed a game
since his hiring in '67. When his retirement was announced during
a Sept. 28 game between the Yanks and the Orioles, the players on
both teams stood to clap as the crowd chanted his name. Says
Layton, "I welled up, but they had me on Diamond Vision and I
didn't want to cry."