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Aug 22, 2014 | 08:28 AM

Olympic Muddle

According to organizers of the 2016 Rio Olympics, the Gil Hanse-designed golf course that will welcome the world’s best is 59 percent complete. Not 60 percent. Not 58. But 59. Officials say sod has been placed on 5 of the 18 holes and two-thirds of the course is being irrigated. Grow-in should take another 11 months, which means there won’t be much time to give the course a good test—possibly a PGA Tour Latinoamerica tournament—before the games kick off in August, 2016. Ty Votaw, vice president of the International Golf Foundation was quoted as saying, “the landowner/developer needs to continue doing what he’s doing over the last few months… If they do that we feel that this schedule is certainly achievable.” Furthermore, it seems legal and environmental issues still need to be solved. According to a critical report from the website NextCity.org, the course is on land that was never to have been developed. “Until the bulldozers arrived, the area was a patchwork of mangroves, sandbanks and shoals… The whole area is made up for the Mata Atlantica (Atlantic Forest) biome, a sliver of terrain that used to encompass an area nearly twice the size of Texas. Though less than one-tenth of Brazil’s Mata Atlantica remains intact, these remaining fragments still contain the highest biodiversity index of any biome on earth, harboring eight percent of the world’s species, many of which are found only in Brazil."

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Aug 21, 2014 | 12:52 PM

Five for Four

How could Rory McIlroy’s season get any better? Well if he overcomes today’s opening round of 74 and wins The Barclays in Ridgewood, New Jersey, the 25-year old gains entrance into an exclusive club. With three wins in his last three starts, another title means he would join Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Jack Burke, Jr. and Tiger Woods as the only PGA Tour players to ever win at least four consecutive tournaments. The epic 11 wins in a row achieved by Nelson in 1945 (during which he won a grand total of $30,250) may be forever out of reach. Tiger’s seven straight from mid-2006 to early 2007 — with British Open and PGA Championship victories — earned him almost $8 million. Hogan’s streak of five consecutive wins in 1953 included The Masters, U.S. Open and British Open. But most impressive of all the streaks may have been Burke’s in early 1952. Although his wins included lower profile events such as the St. Petersburg Open and Baton Rouge Open, he remains the only member of this unique club to have earned his four straight in four consecutive weeks. 

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Aug 20, 2014 | 04:02 PM

Alabama Shakes

One of the most exciting holes in the southeast—the downhill 175-yard 5th at FarmLinks Golf Course in Sylacauga, Alabama—has gotten even more exciting this year. That’s because since April 15th, players who paid the $10 registration fee have had a chance to qualify for a $25 million hole-in-one “Super Shootout” in early October by being the closest to the pin each day. The tricky part is that the hole (pictured above) drops about a foot for every yard, so selecting the right club can be difficult, but so far more than 100 amateurs (no professionals allowed) have qualified for Stage II the last two weeks of September. That’s when they get to come back for a free round and a chance to be one of the top 12 contestants for the final stage Oct. 5th and 6th. The closest of the 12 then gets to hit 25 shots with each potentially worth $1 million. The one catch is that “Supershooter” won’t be able to hit all 25 to the same pin from the same tee. He (or she) will get five shots to five different hole locations from five different tee markers no less than 175 yards. But given how downhill the shot is, it will play a lot less, something the underwriter apparently didn’t factor in. The first stage of qualifying ends Sept. 15th.

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Aug 19, 2014 | 08:46 AM

Christian Values

Add another chapter to pro golf’s oddest biography, The Enigma That Is Bubba. Two weeks after losing a few thousand more fans with his petulant behavior at the PGA—where his antics included f-bombing, club throwing, and heaping some more abuse on his caddie Ted Scott—Bubba, as part of his penitence and promise to “be a better person,” has bestowed his long-suffering looper, Ted Scott, with a brand new car and truck. The professed devout Christian may not always act in accordance with his faith but he does seem to know something about Christian history, as the caddie car payoff harkens back to the medieval practice of buying indulgences.

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