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May 16, 2014 | 03:23 PM

Mr. Nicklaus Goes To Washington

Wherever you are next Wednesday, May 21—the seventh annual National Golf Day—stop for a moment during the day and wonder, “I wonder how Jack’s doing.” That would be Jack Nicklaus, who is going to Washington, D.C., with other representatives of the golf industry to meet with members of Congress and discuss all the good that golf does for the country. For example, they’ll be talking about the game’s economic impact, which is nearly $70 billion a year while supporting 2 million jobs (that’s $55.6 billion in wages). Golf also is good for about $4 billion a year in charitable giving, which is more than the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL combined. There are nearly 10,000 public courses eligible for tax incentives due to conservation programs. And don’t forget the fitness benefits: Walking 18 holes burns up around 2,000 calories. Representatives from We Are Golf,” an industry coalition, will give free golf lessons to members of Congress and hold a closest-to-the-pin contest on a golf simulator. Wish them luck—no, not the politicians but the golf guys there to make sure the game gets its due.

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May 15, 2014 | 07:00 AM

An Architect's Life

As a child he sailed across the Atlantic Ocean from his native England just two weeks after the Titanic sank. When he died in 2000, he had redefined the job of golf course architect. The life of Robert Trent Jones Sr. is admirably detailed in James R. Hansen’s new biography — A Difficult Par – Robert Trent Jones Sr. and the Making of Modern Golf (Gotham Books, $32.50). This thoroughly researched effort uncovers plenty of interesting facts about Jones. One is that he added Trent to his name in 1930 simply to distinguish himself from a more famous golfer of that era. That would be the same major winner he would later work with in designing Peachtree Golf Club (site of his first runway-style tee boxes) in the 1940s and then help in remodeling various holes at Augusta National. How he acquired the “Open Doctor” nickname is well-documented, and so are the inglorious disputes between father and sons Rees and Bobby, as well as the two brothers themselves. It all adds up to a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at one of the golf’s legendary characters.

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May 13, 2014 | 09:56 AM

Elin Speaks

As if we  needed another reason to question Tiger Woods’s sanity in his pre-fire hydrant days, check out this video of ex-wife Elin Nordegren, giving a commencement speech at Florida's Rollins College as the Outstanding Graduating Senior, having earned a GPA of 3.96 in psychology.

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May 12, 2014 | 10:40 AM

Presenting “Payne”

Following the success of its three-part documentary on Arnold Palmer (it was the most-watched original production in the network’s history, reaching more than 1.9 million viewers during its premier week immediately following the Masters), Golf Channel will present another original show about one of the game’s legendary figures. “Payne,” commemorating the life of Payne Stewart, will premier on Sunday, June 8 at 5 pm on NBC (and repeated on Monday, June 9, at 10 pm on Golf Channel, all times Eastern), as part of the run-up to the U.S. Open that tees off the following Thursday at Pinehurst No. 2, where Stewart won the U.S. Open in 1999 just a few months before he died. The show will feature interviews with his family, friends, and other golfers to, in the words of Golf Channel, “capture the spirit Stewart exuded."

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