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Mar 30, 2016 | 08:50 am

Sign of the Times

You may never get an invite to join Augusta National, but you can own the "members only" sign that once hung in front. GreenJacketAuctions.com is currently offering the sign, which measures 30" wide and 36" tall and dates to the '60s, for sale. The current bid is close to $20,000 (bidding ends at 8pm on April 9). An Augusta resident ended up with it after the club replaced it with a new one, but he (or she) didn't realize the value of it until he tried to sell it on eBay in 2010. "Though we missed out on this historic sign six years ago, we are overwhelmed with the opportunity of finally offering it for public auction," the site states. As you can see in the photo above, the 50-year-old sign is almost identical to the one that currently hangs in front of the club. The site also has a couple dozen other Masters and club memorabilia, including a 1934 progam of the "First Annual Invitation Tournament" signed by Clifford Roberts (current bid: $9,847). Interestingly, the club produced progams for the first two years but then suspended publication until 1990.

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Mar 29, 2016 | 09:01 am

Masters Odds

If you have a willing friend in the UK, it's time to place your bets for the 80th Masters. Jason Day, whose victory last week regained him the top spot in the Official World Golf Rankings, also tops the odds charts according to oddschecker.com, which compiles the best odds from the major UK bookmakers. Day is at 13-2, followed by Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, each at 15-2. Next come Bubba Watson and Adam Scott, each of them going off at 12-1. Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson are next at 22-1.More attractive are the odds on Justin Rose (30-1), Louis Oosthuizen (33-1), Charl Schwartzl (40-1), and Patrick Reed (50-1). And if you're feeling adventurous, there's Davis Love III (500-1), his opposing Ryder Cup Captain Darren Clarke (1,000-1), and two former Masters Champions, Ian Woosnam (5,000-1) and Larry Mize (10,000-1). Curiously, the odds on Tiger are 100-1...that's on winning, not playing.

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Mar 28, 2016 | 06:39 am

A Shorts Story

One of the great pleasures of golf is being outside in the warmth and sunshine and wearing shorts. But they’re just shorts, right? How can the idea of pants without legs be improved? Leave it to the apparel aficionados at Adidas to find a way. Their new “ultimate short” is designed for golf, made from a moisture-wicking, water-resistant, lightweight stretch fabric that moves with you for comfort. The waistband also stretches and is lined on the inside with a silicone grip to keep your shirt tucked in. Even the pockets have been reimagined with a breathable micro-mesh that holds stuff securely while staying cool. The shorts come in a range of colors and "ultimate" styles (chino, five-pocket, plaid, heather, etc.), now available in stores and on the Adidas website from $65-$75. There’s even a video starring Dustin Johnson that explains their attributes, and, should you be so inclined, a hashtag for singing their praises: #FreeTheKnee.

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Mar 25, 2016 | 06:18 am

Required Course: Is Golf Back In China?

A few years ago, golf was growing in China faster than bamboo. The Mission Hills Golf Club—the world’s largest golf complex, with 12 courses designed by the likes of Nicklaus, Norman, Faldo, Dye, and others—was emblematic of the country’s total golf immersion. But just as quickly, it stopped, the victim of a national crackdown on corruption and “bourgeois” activities. What’s the game’s status now? Call this reading the tea leaves, but golf may be on the rebound. The China Daily, a state-run media outlet, reported that the Experimental School of Foreign Languages in Shanghai has made golf lessons compulsory for 400 students aged 7 and 8. The school’s principal is quoted as saying, “Golf is not a high-class sport exclusive to the rich. It can be a popular game accessible to all.” And a recent post on a Wall Street Journal blog noted that golf also is a required course at many of China’s private schools, such as the Beijing Huijia School, where 2,000 elementary, middle, and high-school pupils have added green reading to the three Rs. The head of sports management at that school says golf is “a skill that can be useful when they’re interviewing or applying for colleges,” and noted it can help them in their future careers.

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