Sinking Feeling: Nancy Lopez, wearing the jersey of Atlanta catcher Javy Lopez, threw out the first ball before an April 22 Braves- Diamondbacks game. But Hall of Famer N. Lopez, who had warmed up at home with husband Ray Knight, didn't have her good stuff last week. The defending champ missed the cut at the Chick-fil-A, which Liselotte Neumann won, and bounced her ceremonial pitch. " Tom Glavine told me to hold it across the seams," she said. "I guess I threw a sinker."
Old Dog, New Geriatrics: When Kyle Kenny became Jim Colbert's personal trainer in 1994, "I introduced him to weights and cardiovascular work," says Kenny (below, passing a medicine ball to Colbert). "At first, other players laughed at us. Then we won the money title, and the laughing stopped." Kenny credits weightlifting, running, and flexibility exercises ("particularly for the back and shoulders, which support the backswing") for his client's recent triumphs and says Colbert's fitness helped him weather a 1997 bout with prostate cancer. At last week's Las Vegas Senior Classic, Colbert tied for seventh, nine strokes behind winner Hale Irwin. "Jim is living proof that aging golfers are not doomed to get flabby and fall apart," Kenny says.
Kid Stuff: "A course within a course," designer Jack Ridge calls his new kiddie 18, which is being built into Bob O Link Golf Course in Lawrenceburg, Ky. Slated to open on Father's Day, the course features far-forward tee boxes as well as greens with one hole for grown-ups and another, complete with mini-flagstick, for youngsters. All that's missing is a girl in a golf cart selling bubblegum cigars.
Killer Kid Stuff: Who has the best nickname on the European tour? It has to be Stephen Allan, the Babyfaced Assassin.
The Dane in Spain: With a torrid final-round 66, Denmark's Thomas Bjorn won last week's Spanish Open. Bjorn, the only Ryder Cupper snubbed by the Masters committee, watched the Masters on TV. "Everything was going down the drain," says the formerly melancholy Dane, who also endured a bitter breakup with his girlfriend. He now has two wins this year and a new girlfriend, a Swedish lawyer.
Mixed Blessing: The National Golf Foundation reports that 26.5 million Americans played golf in 1997, a 7% increase over '96, while rounds played jumped 15% to 547 million. Reacting with alarm, U.S. News & World Report offered tips for beginners, including, "If a group of faster players is bumping against you, invite them to play through" Should faster players begin slam-dancing or hipchecking, call a marshal.