Jack Nicklaus says you'll see young pro Jeff Simke, 26, and not golf's most recognizable caddy, grizzled Angelo Argea, holding the stick for him from now on: "Angelo has lost his enthusiasm."

Nicklaus reveals he fired Argea in September after he failed to scout out a pin placement at the Pinehurst Hall of Fame tournament. "There have been several instances over the last three or four years that I noticed things like that happen," the Golden Bear said. "I wasn't getting the vibes of excitement from him and every little thing he would do was beginning to upset me." Grrr . . .

The NFL doesn't announce fines, so can't deny Miami report that Don Shula has been relieved of $1,000 for referee-baiting during Dolphins' Nov. 30 victory over the Eagles . . . Or the one from New Orleans that it cost John Mecom, Saints' owner, $5,000 for triumphantly disparaging Houston neighbor K.S. Adams' Oiler adminstration after Bum Phillips came back to haunt the Astrodome with a Saint victory Nov. 22 . . .

Dick Bestwick, just-fired Virginia football coach, nurses added hurt: bruised ribs. The other Charlottesville motorist was charged with drunk driving after striking Bestwick's oncoming car Saturday night . . . With QB Pat Haden out, Rams say today whether they'll start Jeff Kemp, ex-Churchill High, over Dan Pastorini versus Falcons and/or Redskins . . . One of five finalists to coach Utah: ex-NFL passer John Hadl, now Kansas offensive coordinator . . .

Iowa's Reggie Roby just missed being first punter to average 50 yards for a full NCAA season; takes 49.8 average to Rose Bowl. Could have used a finale like that of Cadet Joe Sartiano, all-ECAC soph from NoVa's Marshall High, whose NCAA record 57.6 on five punts keyed Army's Navy tie . . .

Baseball player of year (Sporting News): Dodger Fernando Valenzuela . . . Big East basketball rookie of week: Hoya Pat Ewing . . . UPI all-America second-teamer: D.C. gift to Nebraska, DE Jimmy Williams. UPI first-team backs: Jim McMahon, Marcus Allen, Herschel Walker, Penn State's Curt Warner.

Boxing promoter Don King visited the Bahamas, reportedly to collect a debt from promoters of Ali-Berbick card, and showed up at a Florida hospital for treatment of facial lacerations. It's said King, 50, answered his door in Freeport's Bahamas Princess Hotel and was beaten by five men.

A. Ex-Notre Dame kicker/southpaw Dan McGinn, a pitcher, hit first Expo homer, his one and only . . . Q. New College Football Hall of Famers: one was preceded into the hall by two brothers. ???