Up close and personal

Trevor Johnson and his family returned recently from a cruise that gives a whole new meaning to the term whale watch. They were aboard a sailboat off Queensland, Australia, when, literally out of the blue, a 30-foot humpback breached the surface and landed on deck. No injuries, but the whale pulled down the mast and sails as it slid along and disappeared off the stern, leaving the boat adrift. With the mast went connections for the radio, so the Johnsons used a cellphone to call for help.

But I'm ready for a bath

Speaking of dangerous close calls involving water, police in Fürth, Germany, saved an unidentified man from being scalded earlier this week as he prepared to shower ... in a car wash. The cops arrived in time because the unclothed suspect was having trouble starting the machinery. Said a spokesman for the force, he also "could have been coated in wax." No word on whether adult beverages were involved.

First-time winners shake up pro golf's money rankings

Winning a major sports championship can have a huge impact on your wallet. Case in point: Shaun Micheel, who earned $1.08 million for his PGA Championship victory Sunday, capping an oddball season that saw first-time winners in all four Grand Slam events on the men's pro golf tour. Micheel shot to 14th place in the prize-money rankings - below fellow champs Mike Weir and Jim Furyk and other, more famous players but quite a jump for someone who'd never made the top 100. The top 10 money-winners (in millions) on the US men's tour (nationalities, if non-US, in parentheses):

1. Davis Love III $5.12
2. Tiger Woods 4.83
3. Vijay Singh (Fiji) 4.52
4. Mike Weir (Canada) 4.51
5. Jim Furyk 4.47
6. Kenny Perry 4.09
7. David Toms 3.30
8. Ernie Els (South Africa) 3.08
9. Chad Campbell 2.51
10. Jay Haas 2.24 - Reuters

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