Feb 20, 2013 | 08:57 AM

Hot, Hot, Hot

It’s still early in the year, but here are three golfers whose exploits bear close scrutiny. On the PGA Tour, Brandt Snedeker has been on fire, entering five events, finishing in the top 25 in all five, with one win and two seconds—and nearly $3 million in winnings. (He’s not playing this week’s match-play event, giving his sore ribs a rest.) Among the Seniors, rookie Rocco Mediate won in his first appearance on the Champions Tour and finished tied 5th last week, so he’s already won more in two Senior events than in 23 regular Tour events last year. But the most compelling golfer is 15-year-old Lydia Ko, the world’s top female amateur. Last year she became the youngest-ever winner of an LPGA event and this year she’s already won a pro tournament in New Zealand, where she lives, and finished third at the Australian Open. (She won another pro event in Australia in 2012.) Even though it’s been reported that she won’t turn pro for at least 18 months, we’ll keep watching to see if she can continue to beat the pros—and then lift the fortunes of women’s golf.

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Feb 19, 2013 | 05:35 AM

What's Become Of The Neighborhood?

Gleneagles—site of next year’s Ryder Cup—has a new neighbor. Hard by the venerable Kings and Queens courses is the curiously named gWest, an ultra-swank golf development with 170 homesites starting at $2.5 million. Already in place, though not in play, is a big, rolling, David McLay Kidd course and plans call for a seven-star hotel and spa. It’s all being financed by the al-Talir family of Dubai, owners of the 24,000-acre Blackford Estate next door to Gleneagles and founders of the Highland Spring water company. Thus far the only construction has been a decidedly un-Scottish clubhouse resembling a mini Taj Mahal. If you’re willing to overlook that, however, and if you have $4 million or so you don’t know what to do with, you can probably have your new home ready in time for the Cup.

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Feb 18, 2013 | 12:23 PM

Golf Not Going To Pot

It’s been an odd few weeks. First, Vijay Singh admitted to using deer antler spray, which contains a banned performance-enhancing substance. Then the USGA announced it will test U.S. Amateur contestants for marijuana, Sergio Garcia stated that drugs aren’t much of a problem in professional golf (they’re not beneficial, he said), and police in Purcell, Oklahoma, discovered a meth lab inside a portable toilet on a local golf course. Finally, a more relevant grass-related story: The USGA revealed it will cut back on the use of “graduated rough,” an intermediate cut of longish grass, at this year’s U.S. Open. Players who miss the fairways on Merion’s short holes will be properly punished, finding deep rough rather than easier to handle transition areas.

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Feb 18, 2013 | 10:40 AM

A Quick Nine

Usually a nine on a hole is a bad thing but in the case of golf students at Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C., near Raleigh it was a good thing—a really good thing. Every month, the freshmen, sophomore, juniors, and seniors in the PGA Golf Management program have a little class-level competition. The January contest was to see how many could make a putt at the same time. The senior class won with nine of them lined up from two to 23 feet in a row, making their strokes in unison, and rolling their putts in one after another (they removed the cup liner so all the balls would fit). It only took 28 takes, too. "We lucked out with that," says Nathan Mead, second from right in the video. "We estimated it was about a 1/2 percent chance of making them all so it could have taken 200 times. The sun was going down, too, so we were pretty excited when we finally did it."

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