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May 20, 2014 | 10:27 AM

Old And New

We’ve always known that golf is the game of a lifetime, but who knew golf at the professional level could span so many generations? On Sunday, 50-year-old Miguel Angel Jimenez won a three-way playoff in the Spanish Open to become the oldest player to win on the PGA European Tour. Then yesterday, another record was set at the other end of the spectrum when Lucy Li shot rounds of 74 and 68 to become the youngest-ever qualifier for the U.S. Women's Open at the astonishing age of 11. So both of these phenoms will be heading to Pinehurst next month—but it won’t be the first major site this year for the Miguel and Lucy Show. Last month, Li won her age group title in the inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt Championship finals at Augusta National, where Jimenez finished fourth in the Masters.

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May 19, 2014 | 06:22 AM

Is Fargo Too Far To Go?

If any professional golf tournaments are looking for a new home, here’s a state they might want to talk to: North Dakota. That’s right, the “Roughrider State” has the golf bug. So much so that its tourism office likes to boast of having the most golf courses per capita in the country (our friends at Golf Digest disagree, giving that honor to Minnesota). Nevertheless, the Associated Press reports that one of the least populated states in the country thinks it can successfully host golf’s biggest names in its biggest city, Fargo, which has population of about 210,000—or roughly the attendance at the final round of the Phoenix Open. “In my opinion, this would be a great town to have some sort of a tour event,” said Greg McCullough, head pro at Edgewood, a local public course. Fargo Country Club—which hosted the U.S. Junior Amateur in 1995 (and is shown above)—is working with Tom Lehman on a redesign that members think might help nab a pro tourney. One asset not in short supply is money: The state is on an economic roll thanks to an oil-drilling boom and according to the Fargo-Moorhead Athletic Commission, local fat cats would be willing to put up big bucks to attract one of the tours.

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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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