Cowboys Mend Football Fence

IN a conciliatory act, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has extended an olive branch to former coach Tom Landry and Landry has graciously accepted. The peace offering came in the form of an invitation to enter the team's Ring of Honor, where the names of seven past franchise greats currently encircle Texas Stadium. Landry will be honored Nov. 7 when Dallas hosts the New York Giants, the team Landry once played for.

When Landry was dismissed four years ago, it appeared a clear and ugly case of ``What have you done for more me lately?'' As the only coach the team had ever had, he'd become a venerable institution, taking the team from a winless first season in 1960 to five Super Bowls in the 1970s. Nonetheless, Jones immediately exercised his prerogative as the team's new owner and dumped Landry, bringing in Jimmy Johnson, who was a college teammate of Jones's on the top-ranked University of Arkansas team of 1964. Johnson had the proper pedigree - his University of Miami teams had won the 1987 national championships - and the Cowboys needed a spark after two losing seasons, but still the situation might have been handled more tactfully.

Jones reportedly invited Landry to join the Ring of Honor in 1990, but Landry declined, saying the timing wasn't right. A religious man, he says he has never felt unforgiving.

Now, however, with the Cowboys riding high again - coming off a Super Bowl victory - Jones has picked a good time to recognize the franchise's leading forefather. Other luminaries from the Landry years that might soon follow in the Ring of Honor are Tony Dorsett, Drew Pearson, Randy White, and former team president Tex Schramm. Abbott serves up a no-hitter

Jim Abbott, the New York Yankee southpaw, has never let having only one hand limit him. His presence in the major leagues proves that, and what he wrought Saturday - a no-hitter - demonstrates why no one who faces him ever sees anything but a whole competitor. Certainly Cleveland's Kenny Lofton was not pulling any punches in the ninth inning when he tried to bunt to break up the no-hitter and get on base. The Yankee Stadium crowd booed. It needn't have, since Abbott fields his position very well and last year handled 46 fielding chances without an error. Lofton eventually grounded out. Abbott, now 10 wins and 11 losses for the season, then put the finishing touches on his first no-hit effort, which came less than a week after he'd been shelled by these same Indians, giving up seven runs in 3 2/3 innings.

Abbott entered the majors in 1989, having starred at the University of Michigan and on the 1988 Olympic team. He toiled four years for a mostly lackluster California Angels team, compiling a 47-52 record. He seemed to be hitting his stride when he turned in a 18-11 mark in 1991 for a last-place team, but in 1992 he dipped to 7-15 record when he received the lowest run support (2.55 runs per start) in the majors and lowest in the American League since the designated hitter era began 20 years ago. The long and short of women's golf

True or false? Men pro golfers hit the ball farther, but women are better around the green. While many people have instinctively thought this true, Golf Magazine concluded earlier this year that compared with ``their PGA Tour counterparts, the women are noticeably deficient in the short game.'' The magazine looked at putts per round, which it considers a true gauge of both putting skill and the ability to chip the ball close to the hole.

Statistics from 1992 show that a player with a 30-putts-per-round average would have been the 27th-best putter on the women's tour, but only the 169th-ranked putter on the men's tour. The women, as it turns out, do their best work with a driver and are on a par with men when it comes to driving accuracy. Both sexes keep their drives in the fairway 68 percent of the time.

Judy Rankin, who played on the LPGA tour and is now an ABC golf commentator, observed in Golf Digest that a mis-hit tee shot can present a greater problem for women than men. The women may not be able to reach the green from the rough, she says. As for the men's short-game superiority, Rankin says much of it is a matter of survival. When some men started refining their pitching and chipping, the other men had to focus on it, too, to keep up.

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