OJ gets back in golfing swing charm offensive

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The Independent Online
Panama City Beach, Florida (AP) - OJ Simpson has made his first public foray since his murder acquittal, playing golf, posing for pictures and signing autographs.

Joking that he had not practised in 17 months - the period of his arrest and trial before being acquitted of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown and a friend, Ronald Goldman - Mr Simpson played at the Hombre Golf Club on Tuesday, watched by his girlfriend, Paula Barbieri.

"He played pretty good," said Joe Inman, a grounds supervisor, who partnered him during a 10-over-par round of 82.

While he played, Mr Simpson reportedly missed his daughter Sydney's 10th birthday. She was at home in California, the New York Post reported.

Ms Barbieri, whose family lives in the area, watched from a golf cart and left a short time later. Mr Simpson did his best to charm the public. "He took the time and stopped more than once with people on the course," said Mr Inman. "I guess word got around. They were coming out of their houses. He took pictures with some of the ladies."

Mr Simpson's lawyers argued that he was chipping golf balls at his darkened mansion while the murders took place - an alibi that was ridiculed by prosecutors.

Extracts from the private diary of Ms Brown, telling of a marriage destroyed by abuse and hatred, were published this week by the National Enquirer, a weekly tabloid newspaper. Further extracts are promised next week.

According to the report, Mr Simpson told his wife to have an abortion when she was two months pregnant with their son Justin, and called her "a fat pig" and a "slob".

Steve Coz, executive editor of the National Enquirer, said the diary was supplied to the tabloid by "someone who was very concerned about spousal abuse". He said the diary had been authenticated by Ms Brown's father, Lou Brown.