Sep 23, 2013 | 10:28 AM

History Repeats Itself

A century and a day later, Francis Ouimet once again took on Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in the 1913 U.S. Open playoff at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. On Saturday, September 21, 2013, before more than 250 spectators in period-dress costume, the three golfers played the same, final four holes as on Saturday, September 20, 1913, hitting the same shots as described in newspaper accounts of the day.

And, once more, the 17th hole proved decisive when Vardon, trailing Ouimet by one shot, hit his tee shot into a fairway bunker, could advance the ball only 70 yards, and eventually took a bogey, while Ouimet hit his second shot, a mashie niblick, onto the green and sunk the birdie putt (with the invisible aid of a nylon filament) for a three-shot lead.

The re-creation was played with wood-shafted golf clubs from the early 1900's, and with golf balls designed to repeat the performance of balls from that era; the drives of all three players averaged in excess of 200 yards.

After Ouimet parred the 18th hole, the same post-match speeches delivered by the players and USGA Secretary John Reid, Jr. in 1913 were again delivered on the steps of the clubhouse porch. A copy of the same U.S. Open trophy (provided by the USGA) was again presented to the unlikely winner—the 20-year-old amateur and former caddie from across the street, Francis Ouimet.

The roles of Ouimet, Vardon, and Ray were all filled by members of The Country Club: John Dean, who played on the Cornell golf team during 2009-12, took the role of Ouimet; Scott Dabney, a 1-handicap golfer, played Vardon; and Robert Manice, a single-digit golfer, captured the swing and presence of the big-hitting Ray. Eddie Lowery was played by James Sanford, a caddie at The Country Club, whose grandfather, as a 12-year-old, had caddied for the real Francis Ouimet and Eddie Lowery. Also on hand: Ouimet's granddaughter, Sheila Macomber, and Lowery's daughter, Cynthia Wilcox.

The re-creation of the playoff's closing holes was part of a larger centenary celebration of Ouimet's historic triumph; during the day at The Country Club, no vehicles newer than 1913 were on the property (the vintage cars included a Model T and a Packard), horse-and-carriages were used, a bi-plane flew over during play on the 16th green, and a herd of sheep (the original lawnmowers in the game of golf and at The Country Club), were also present.

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Sep 20, 2013 | 10:18 AM

A Passage From India

Much has been made of golf’s growth in emerging countries. We hear about courses and resorts being built in far-off corners of the world, and a look at the leaderboards of professional events reveals flags of more and more nations every year. What we don’t see or hear much of are the different stories of those suddenly exposed to the game, some of whom are coming from surprising places. ESPN’s documentary series E:30 ran an amazing story about a caddy at Bombay Presidency Golf Club in Mumbai, who came out of that city’s slums—where an unusual form of urban golf is played—to qualify for India’s developmental tour. Watch this video and you may never look at your own game the same way again.

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Sep 19, 2013 | 06:16 AM

Where’s the Beef?

How do those touring pros hit it so far? They chow down on Kingmade Jerky, a snack prepared from a homemade recipe by PGA Tour caddie Jeff King, a native Texan who tinkered for weeks with cooking methods to arrive at a premium-grade beef jerky, one he says would “satisfy the health-conscious tastes of the players out on tour.” Today, more than 100 tour players eat Kingmade, including Tiger Woods, Matt Kuchar, Davis Love III, Ricky Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Graeme McDowell, Yani Tseng, and Azahara Munoz. “It’s hands down the best I’ve ever had,” says Kuchar, a jerky enthusiast. King, who uses 100% flank steak with spices, said his jerky has five times less sodium and sugar than any of its competitors and no MSG or nitrites. “We are a premium protein for a different kind of carnivore,” says King, who has farmed out production to C&C Processing, a family-owned meat processing plant in the Midwest, enabling him to get out of the kitchen and back on tour. Kingmade Jerky comes in three flavors: Sweet Chili Pepper, Classic, and Buffalo Style. The product sells for $8.00 for 2.25 ounces and is also available in one-pound bags.

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Sep 18, 2013 | 12:30 PM

Great Scott!

Adam Scott’s year just got a little bit better with a course-record 63 at Shinnecock Hills on Long Island. He played the legendary layout during a casual round on his way to Chicago last week for the BMW Championship. The 2013 Masters champ, who also won The Barclays a few weeks ago, made a 12-foot birdie putt on 18 to beat the 64 shot by Ray Floyd in 1996 also during a non-competitive round—ten years after Floyd won the U.S. Open there. The next Open at Shinnecok is in 2018, so perhaps Scott's record is a good omen for him to pick up another major. “It’s pretty cool,” Scott told the AP. “The members got pretty excited when I came off the course.” Want a good laugh? Then read this bizarre interpretation of the AP story by what we imagine to be a Chinese news service website.

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