May 02, 2014 | 11:05 AM

Trump Takes Turnberry

Whether you missed the big news this week or not, it is worth repeating: Donald Trump has bought Turnberry, the iconic golf resort and British Open venue on the west coast of Scotland. There seemed to be more coverage of Trump’s securing a deal with the PGA of America to host the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump National Golf Club in central New Jersey (where the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open, a USGA event, will be held) and the 2017 Senior PGA Championship at his club outside Washington, D.C. But Trump has had his eye on an Open Championship for years: Before starting construction on his course in northern Scotland, he met with the R&A reportedly about staging an Open there. He quickly learned that it doesn’t work like that, and despite the acclaim for Trump International Golf Links near Aberdeen, and Ireland’s Doonbeg, which he purchased just a few weeks ago, neither is likely to get on the Open rota any time soon. But Turnberry? It’s already held four Opens, the first in 1977 (the famous “duel in the sun” when Tom Watson outlasted Jack Nicklaus), making it the newest of that championship’s venues; Open sites have been announced through 2016, and while Turnberry isn't on the list yet, it should only be a matter of time. For a reported price of $63 million, Trump gets three courses (the Open-hosting Ailsa, the 18-hole Kintyre, and the 9-hole Arran), the spectacular 149-room hotel overlooking the Irish Sea, another jewel in his growing crown of golf properties (this will be number 17), and more deeply embedded in golf’s highest echelons. Should Augusta National be worried?

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May 01, 2014 | 11:20 AM

You're Hired!

Despite a spate of recent high profile course acquisitions—Doral in Florida, Doonbeg in Ireland and just this week, Turnberry in Scotland—it’s one of Donald Trump’s homegrown courses that will host two majors in the next eight years. It’s been confirmed that the 2022 PGA Championship will be played at the private Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, an hour west of New York City. Already set to host the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open (USGA headquarters is just 5.6 miles away), the club has two courses, including the original Tom Fazio-designed layout that opened in 2004 and will host both events. It measures 7,590 yards, complete with a 662-yard closing hole. Yes, there is a fountain in front of the clubhouse and another one behind the tee on the par-three 16th, but the course is good enough that it won’t require much, if any, tweaking to host a major. 

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Apr 30, 2014 | 06:48 AM

Go Ko, Go—Oh, No

It’s been a good few days for Lydia Ko. Mostly. Since turning pro a few months ago, the teenager from New Zealand won her first tournament—the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic—this past weekend, which also was when she reached the ripe old age of 17 and was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People. The New Zealand Herald calculated that since going pro in late October, Ko has earned $5,300 a day (slightly more than $850,000 so far). However, there is a dark cloud at home, a dispute as to whether New Zealand Golf, an agency that promotes the game, should be supporting her efforts to win a medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics by applying for more than $200,000 in public funding. “We support athletes and teams from targeted sports who can win on the world’s toughest sporting stages,” said an official of Sport New Zealand who also noted that the application was filed before Ko turned pro and that the funding now is being reviewed. To her credit, Ko has said she is embarrassed by the controversy. Also to her credit, it certainly hasn’t affected her game.

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Apr 29, 2014 | 06:37 AM

U.S. Really Open

With less than two months to go, Pinehurst is ready to host the U.S. Wide Open on a golf course with zero rough. “There will be only two mowing heights,” said USGA Executive Director Mike Davis to the press assembled for media day last week. "The fairways and the greens.” The restoration of famed course No. 2 by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw has produced a layout with wider fairways that flow directly into expanses of sandy waste, wire grass, and pine straw, similar to the way it looked and played when Donald Ross designed it more than a century ago. “We think you’re going to see some of the most spectacular recovery shots in U.S. Open history,” said Coore. The back tees of the par-70 test will stretch to 7,562 yards—nearly 350 yards longer than when Michael Campbell won in 2005—including four par fours of over 500 yards led by the 528-yard 16th. And, of course, No. 2’s famed turtleback greens will be as vexing as ever. The U.S. Open course rating will be 76.0 with a slope of 147. Still, the general feeling is that because of the absence of rough, given decent weather the winning score will likely be a bit lower than usual.

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