Outside Edge (04/10/09)

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The Independent Online

The excuse for a golf tournament that is the Alfred Dunhill has been lent some gravitas this year by the presence of Manuel de los Santos, a Dominican with one leg. He had hoped to be a professional baseballer but a motorcycle accident at the age of 18 meant his left leg was amputated above the knee. He moved to Paris and struggled with depression. But after watching the inspirational golf film 'The Legend of Bagger Vance', he began visiting a driving range. The staff were so impressed that they let him play for free, so he would turn up at 9am and stay all day. Now 25, he plays off a handicap of three and doesn't even use a prosthetic limb. If Tiger can win the US Open on one leg...


The cost of an hour's use of a helicopter in the Pyrenees after Catalonian officials decided to charge climbers and skiers for rescue services in cases of negligence. Before, they sent you a bill to show the cost. It just got steeper.

Chilling tale of the week

Baseball legends deserve better treatment; in fact even a corpse would be offended. Larry Johnson, formerly of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, a cryogenics laboratory in Scottsdale, Arizona, has written a book called 'Frozen' in which he describes how the decapitated head of the great Boston Red Sox slugger Ted Williams was used for batting practice by staff. The technicians began battering it with a wrench after it became lodged in a can of tuna. Sadly, it is not even certain that Williams, who died in 2002 aged 83, wanted to be preserved in liquid nitrogen and revived in the future. Johnson says he has gone into hiding after getting death threats. From the dead, maybe.

Good week for

Tiger Woods, the first sportsman to earn $1 billion, after 13 years as a professional golfer... Claire Taylor, named Women's Cricketer of the Year at the ICC's awards ceremony... and Chris Finch, Great Britain's basketball coach, appointed head coach of Grande Valley Vipers, the feeder team to the NBA's Houston Rockets.

Bad week for

Sir Allen Stanford, cricket financier, suffered two black eyes, a broken nose and concussion in a brawl with a fellow inmate at the Joe Corley Detention Centre in Texas... Paul Allen, cage fighter aka "The Enforcer", admits conspiracy to kidnap and commit robbery in the £53m Tonbridge bank heist... and Darren James, a Portsmouth fan, spent £1,019 listening to a 1-0 defeat against Fulham on his iPhone while on holiday in Egypt, thinking that the service was free.

Crime scenes of the week

It used to be such an innocent pastime, conkers. First they said it was too dangerous; now forensic investigators have been called in – though not because of any fatalities. This weekend's Poulton International Conkers Tournament in the Cotswolds will include inspections to detect cheating methods such as baking the nuts in the oven. The conkers will be labelled with fluorescent pens, as used by police to mark stolen property, to ensure no substitutes are introduced. Similar tests will be done at next week's World Pea Throwing Championships in Lewes, Sussex. Throwers are known to paint peas with nail varnish or inject them with liquid to make them heavier. Beware the CSI Pod Squad.