Legg on the Links

Payne Stewart was all over the television recently as the golfer won his second U.S. Open championship. And that meant Legg Mason, the Baltimore investment firm, was too.

In January, Legg Mason and Stewart inked a deal as part of a three-year, $900,000 effort to boost the firm's name recognition, according to the Associated Press.

The investment firm can attach its logo whenever Stewart makes public appearances. During the final round of the Open, on June 20, Stewart sported a Legg Mason Funds emblem on his shirt sleeve. Legg Mason also gets dibs on billboard, print and television ad spots featuring the golfer.

Stewart appeals to Legg's ideal clients, said Tal Daley, director of funds marketing. And with his trademark golfing cap and turn-of-the-century knickers, he is easily one of the most recognizable players on the course.

Legg Mason is the third such institution in recent years to jump on the pro golf bandwagon. Investment firm Charles Schwab began sponsoring the golf tour three years ago, and Kemper Insurance Cos. of Chicago has sponsored players two years running, Daley said.

-- Tracy Grant

Software for Kicks

Learning the basics of soccer just got easier. Trying to cash in on this year's Women's World Cup frenzy, Arlington-based User Technology Associates has developed a CD-ROM package to teach the fundamentals of soccer using three-dimensional characters as players. So with the click of a mouse, soccer fans and wannabes are taught definitions of soccer terms such as corner kicks, player positions and rules and penalties of the game.

Called Soccer Made EZ, and sold at CompUSA stores, the package also includes an official Women's World Cup soccer ball.

"We're in a unique position to change the way software and sporting goods are sold and, at the same time, promote athletics and fair play," said Yong Kim, User Technology Associates founder.

-- Jamie Stockwell

Driving Bill Gates

If you can't have Bill Gates's billions, or live in his new house, at least you can drive his car.

CarScene.com of Norfolk (www.carscene.com), a new online auction site for specialty cars, is auctioning off the burgundy Lexus LS 400 previously owned by Microsoft founder Gates. The bidder who takes home Gates's Lexus will also receive two shares of Microsoft stock from CarScene.com. The car's current owner, Phil Weigand, will supply the original title showing proof of ownership and a letter from Gates on Microsoft stationery certifying that he owned and drove the car.

"We even have the original license plates," Weigand said. "It's cool to look outside your house and see Bill Gates's car in the driveway."

Weigand purchased the car at a charity auction to benefit Outward Bound. Proceeds from this sale will go to the Humane Society of Portland, Ore.

The auction, which began last Monday, runs through July 12.

-- T.G

DID YOU HEAR? . . .

"This industry is characterized by competitive pressure; people are constantly throwing ... knuckleballs."

-- Ulric Weil of Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group on America Online's move to Palm computers

CAPTION: Payne Stewart has embraced Legg Mason.

CAPTION: Soccer ball and software come packaged.