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THE WRITING ON (AND OFF) THE WALL DON'T MOCK BACH FOR SWATTING A SHUTTLECOCK.

Byline: TOM HOFFARTH

The real way to make an official badminton shuttlecock involves taking 16 feathers from the left wing of a goose and gathering them into a nice arrangement with a band and cork.

``But the feathers grow back,'' Howard Bach, one of the Americans' top doubles players at the International Badminton Federation 2005 World Championships held this week at the Pond in Anaheim, is quick to point out. No need getting PETA's feathers ruffled over a misunderstanding.

To Bach, who was born in Vietnam and moved to San Francisco when he was 3, it's pretty funny when he thinks about how this sport, which goes back to ancient Greece and the early Far-Eastern civilizations, is played in 156 countries and has been part of the Olympics since 1992, still uses this silly name to describe the object that weighs less than a handful of paper clips and loves to be swatted around at about 200 mph.

``Who started that?'' he asked about the naming of the shuttlecock. ``Who's the one person who came up with that? Didn't they think this thing through?''

Bach, a 2004 U.S. Olympian who made it to the round of 16 in men's doubles at Athens, did far better this week. He and new partner Tony Gunawan, seeded 13th in the world, became the first American players to reach the semifinals in World Championships history. They were still alive as of late Saturday night.

The finals take place today, and, sure, we'll be curious to see who survives. But, honestly, we were more interested to see how Bach, 26, who was included in People magazine's list of the 50 hottest bachelors, survived our new feature, ``10 Questions We Need to Know Right Now'':

Question 1: How can you get tennis elbow playing badminton?

Answer 1: We have all the injuries. Tendinitis in the knees ... shoulder strains. We're just not big enough to have any of them named after badminton yet.

Question 2: What Hollywood couple would make the best badminton mixed doubles team?

Answer 2: Angelina Jolie should at least know the culture, since she's been to Asian countries and adopted two Asian babies. If she ever wants to take it up, I know I'd be her personal escort. I won't get any tattoos, though.

Question 3: If you win the IBF title, do you have to wear a giant diamond-studded belt and then take on the winners of the WBC and WBA?

Answer 3: I'd settle for second, if that's the case. It'd be too scary to win.

Question 4: Is there anything morally wrong with killing an insect with a flyswatter?

Answer 4: If it's bothering you, go for it. Just don't take any extra enjoyment out of it.

Question 5: Badminton might be thought of as poetry in motion, but is there a good word that rhymes with ``badminton''?

Answer 5: I can't even think of a way to include it in a haiku.

Question 6: Since everything is done fast in badminton, what's the best fast food to eat while watching it?

Answer 6: A Carl's Jr. $6 burger with guacamole. It's so dang good.

Question 7: Any relation to Johann Sebastian Bach?

Answer 7: I get that a lot. Actually, Bach in Vietnamese means White. I consider myself the Johann Sebastian Bach of badminton. When I'm playing, it's music to your ears.

Question 8: If you weren't wasting all your spare time playing badminton, what else might you be doing?

Answer 8: I'd love to just make a lot of money with a regular job. I'm a cashier at Home Depot (part of the arrangement the hardware supply company has with Olympic athletes). I figure I've got a few more years left as a serious badminton competitor, then I can just get a bag of chips and sit on the couch. I'd be great at watching TV.

Question 9: What's bad about badminton?

Answer 9: A friend of mine who's a bowler asked me once, ``How do you play when it rains?'' Well, what does a bowler do when it rains? He plays indoors. This is a sport meant to be played outside in perfect weather.

Question 10: So does that mean you're able to play while holding a can of beer in one hand during a competition?

Answer 10: I haven't tried it yet. I'd like to try it holding two beers.

CAPTION(S):

6 photos, box

Photo:

(1) Howard Bach finishes through on an overhead smash during this week's competition at the International Badminton Federation World Championships in Anaheim.

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

(2) Tiger Woods was brought to his knees during some parts of last week's PGA Championship, but apparently he didn't need to stick around past Sunday night.

Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

(3) VLADIMIR GUERRERO

(4) RANDY MOSS

(5) HENRY BIBBY

(6) - TNT golf analyst Bobby Clampett, on the oversized club used by Davis Love III during the PGA Championship.

Box:

(1) SUNDAY PUNCH

- Tom Hoffarth

- Rich Hammond
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 21, 2005
Words:835
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