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Curable, we presume

Tiger Woods didn’t putt very well at the PGA’s Phoenix stop, where he said more than his share of putts lipped out of the hole. His explanation: “I had a bad case of liprosy.”

Marnac the magnificent

St. Joseph’s Phil Martelli is rapidly becoming known as the Atlantic 10 coach with the best sense of humor.

Consider his latest routine, in which a Carnac-like mystic based on the old Johnny Carson character takes pot shots at Arizona coach Lute Olson, who incurred Martelli’s wrath by canceling a road game against the Hawks last year because of a snowstorm in Philadelphia - two days before the game.

The answer: W.C. Fields, Rich Kotite and Lute Olson.

The question: Name three guys who would rather not be in Philadelphia.

Or this one.

The answer: A mistake, a Japanese pitcher and Lute Olson.

The question: What are a no-no, a Nomo and a no-show?

And may a diseased yak do his business on your home court.

The truth pays

Former two-time world champion Donald Curry says he’s returning to boxing because he loves the sport, but mostly because he’s low on dough. Gone is $5 million Curry estimated he earned over 11 years.

“I’m broke as a joke. I need money. I owe everybody,” said Curry, who is ending a 5-1/2-year retirement after moving to Las Vegas to try to resurrect his pro career and redeem his character.

Curry is to fight journeyman Gary Jones in a junior middleweight bout Feb. 20 in Winnipeg.

“This comeback is about a lot of things, but the bottom line is money,” said Curry. “I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t need the money.”

Better late than Irish

A compromise has been reached on the great shillelagh controversy. Notre Dame has informed USC that a new shillelagh has been crafted in Ireland and will be presented to the Trojans in April.

The original shillelagh, a small Irish club that traditionally goes to the winner of the USC-Notre Dame football game, will remain at Notre Dame because there is not room on it for any more jewels that symbolize each’s team’s victories in the series.

There had been some complaints following the Trojans’ 27-20 victory in November, because the Irish had not returned the shillelagh to USC.

Don’t cry for me Italia

Alessandro Bernardi was dropped from singing the Italian national anthem before a recent World Cup soccer game at Wembley Stadium because of a protest from the Italian embassy.

Embassy officials reportedly were embarrassed at seeing photos of Bernardi, a cabaret artist and former dishwasher, singing Nessun Dorma from Puccini’s opera”Turandot” while standing naked on a table top.

“It is a terrible disappointment,” Bernardi said. “I intended to do my best. I would have been fully dressed for the occasion.”

The last word …

“United Airlines, for the second year in a row, was voted Best Airline Food. And I thought, man, what a wonderful honor! That’s like being named MVP on the Jets.”

- David Letterman

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

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