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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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May 09, 2014 | 11:43 AM

Open To Portrush?

After years of rumors, it appears that the British Open might finally be returning to Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, long regarded as one of the best courses in the world. According to Golfweek, an announcement could come as early this summer that the 2019 Open Championship will be awarded to Portrush, which hosted its one and only previous Open in 1951, when it was won by Englishman Max Faulkner. For many years, the “troubles” in Northern Ireland kept any consideration of an Open there to a minimum. But with years of peace and a very successful Irish Open at the course in 2012, chances look very good and it is said that the club and the R&A are deep into negotiations. Among the topics being discussed is the fate of the current 17th and 18th holes, which are the course’s weakest; word is that architect Martin Ebert would create two new holes while the old final two would be used for hospitality. Graeme McDowell, who is a Portrush member and has been vocal in his support for the course, told Golfweek, “It needs some changes, needs a little length, but it’ll be a solid Open venue."

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