For golfers like me, analyzing your game is like stable-mucking. The more you do it, the worse you stink.

Still, with a heart full of hope and a head full of useless tips, I continue to subscribe to Golf and Golf Digest, advice-rich magazines that survive on the vanity of hackers.

Let's face it, all the instructional hints in the world won't help me salvage a par when my drive lands in the parking lot.

I could hit Pro V-1s with a $1,200 driver after private lessons with David Leadbetter, and I'd still shoot a 106.

I could draw circles on my grip fingers, set the shaft under the plane at impact, put less hinge in my elbow at the top of my swing, and I'd still terrorize the squirrels.

So why do I continue to read these articles that make golf seem like the sporting equivalent of organic chemistry?

Because spring is near, and I'm addicted.

Here are some actual story titles from recent issues:

"A Magic Marker Can Improve Your Stroke": Not to mention your score.

"Stop Skulling Your Irons": Oh, OK. That'll happen when I start ironing my skull.

"Adjust the Ball": I do, but only when my fellow players aren't looking.

"Know Where to Miss": Not a problem.

"Lag It to Tap-In Range": I had a Tap-In Range in my first apartment.

"Add Yards to Your Irons": I can do this. I can't tell you how many yards I've hit into with my irons. Not to mention decks, patios and flower beds.

"Putt With the Edge of Your Wedge": Why? If I can't putt with a big-bladed putter, how am I going to improve by using an eighth-inch surface?

"Chip It Close From an Uphill Lie": The only lie golfers like me concern ourselves with is the one that comes after we total up our scores.

"Fix Pop-Up Slices": Sorry, I turn elsewhere for advice on toaster repairs.

"Turn Your Swing Into a Tour Swing": OK, and when I'm done, I'll turn my wife into Anna Kournikova.

"Swing Your Bag to Stop Your Sway": Now do-si-do!

"Turn Your Chest to Hit a Hybrid": Sure, then watch how your auto-insurance rates soar.

"How to Hit a 50-Yard Bunker Shot": That's easy. Try to hit it 150 yards.

"Point the Crease at Impact for Maximum Speed": Say what?

"Feet Open, Body Square": Head spinning.

"Never Three-Putt Again": Sell your clubs.

Baseball questions:

1. What uniform will Roger Clemens be wearing on his Hall of Fame plaque? Red Sox? Yankees? Leavenworth?

2. Are Brett Myers' eyebrows real?

3. Now that coaches must wear helmets, how many will the Dodgers' Larry Bowa shatter this season?

4. When Tony La Russa cut Scott Spiezio after the third baseman's arrest on drunken driving charges, wasn't that a little like the sot calling the kettle black?

5. If the Yankees slump, how long will it be before one of the New York tabloids labels new manager Joe Girardi "Clueless Joe"?

Football fallacy.

Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said he was eager to see a resolution to the dispute between Comcast and the Big Ten Network.

That's because, according to Alvarez, schools can use the additional revenue for "need-based scholarships and campus libraries."

Read my lips.

Money generated

by

college athletics is never, ever used for anything

but

college athletics.

NASCAR note of the week.

Ponytailed driver Kyle Petty wasn't pleased when interviewed for an article with the frightening - not to mention oxymoronic - theme of fashion trends in NASCAR:

"What do I care about fashion?" Petty said. "I haven't had a haircut in 15 years."

Point. Counterpoint.

Apparently concerned that the recent addition of David Beckham might have lent a little too much glamour to Major League Soccer's image, the league has put a team in Chester.

A risky wager.

If Phillies closer Brad Lidge really is back pitching in three to six weeks, I'll watch a Philadelphia Soul game.

Contact staff writer Frank Fitzpatrick at 215-854-5068 or ffitzpatrick@phillynews.com.