By Tom Cunneff
Updated January 08, 2001 12:00 PM

The sporting world has been rife with rumors that Tiger Woods and his girlfriend of two years, Joanna Jagoda, have broken up. The two haven’t been seen together in public lately, and Jagoda, who last year accompanied Woods on his year-end tournament marathon, was nowhere in sight during this year’s migration. But a source close to Jagoda tells me that the two are still together. She’s just been buried in the books this past fall after enrolling in law school at Pepperdine University.

The Michael Douglas-Catherine Zeta-Jones movie Traffic is loosely based on the 1989 British miniseries Traffic, which starred Julia Ormond (Sabrina) as the drug-addicted daughter of a politician. Not everyone in Hollywood is aware of the connection—including Ormond. After a recent screening the British beauty was asked what it was like to watch newcomer Erika Christensen portray the same character she had 11 years earlier. A confounded Ormond replied, “What are you talking about?” Informed that Traffic was based on her series, an embarrassed Ormond fessed up, “I had no idea! I’m totally flabbergasted.”

Mel Gibson has finally met his match. No, not some noggin’-busting villain or action hero with prettier blue orbs. I’m talking about the willowy blonde who plays a coworker in his hit What Women Want. Prior to filming, Sarah Paulson heard that Gibson was the burping champion of Hollywood and took umbrage because she believed she could defeat all comers. Naturally they had a belch-off, and yes, Paulson emerged victorious. “I’m a burping genius,” she boasts. “I have a diaphragm that would slay the gods.”

And the nice guy of the week award goes to Eric McCormack of Will & Grace. The Emmy-nominated actor was driving along Mulholland Drive in the hills above Los Angeles in December when he saw a couple trying to catch a German shorthaired pointer that was running down the middle of the busy, curvy road. As other cars veered around the canine, McCormack, who owns three dogs himself, pulled his car aside and gave chase. He helped slow traffic down, and eventually the couple returned the dog safely to its grateful owner.

Fast Takes: Britney Spears‘s romance with ‘N Sync’s Justin Timberlake is in full bloom. To celebrate her 19th birthday in early December, Timberlake had 26 dozen roses adorn a $2,400-a-night hotel suite at the La Quinta Resort & Club near Palm Springs, with petals from another 10 dozen roses scattered around the rooms…. Ah, to work on a hit show during the holidays! The cast of Friends gave their crew, which numbers close to 100 people, top-of-the-line Canon cameras along with photo albums. Not to be outdone, the producers gifted crew members with Panasonic DVD players and the recently released DVD collection of the 10 best episodes from the first five seasons.