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Oct 25, 2013 | 10:48 AM

Ko Is A "Go"

The last few months, there’s been no better story in women’s golf—perhaps all golf—than Lydia Ko, the 16-year-old amateur sensation from New Zealand. Last January, at 14, she became the youngest golfer to win a pro event (a record subsequently broken), then became the youngest-ever winner of an LPGA event, capturing last year’s CN Canadian Women’s Open at 15 years, 4 months. But she wasn’t done: This past summer, she repeated at the Canadian Open then finished second at the Evian Championship, two strokes behind Suzann Pettersen. Originally hinting that she’d turn pro next year, Ko has surprised the golf world yet again by announcing her plans in a charming video (click on the arrow in the box above). If you’re neither a Kiwi nor a rugby fan, you might not know that her playing partner in the video is Israel Dagg, a star on New Zealand’s famous All Blacks rugby team. And while their “match” might not be the best golf action you’ll seen this year, it presages an endearing, exciting star—and a potential powerhouse on the ladies’ tour.

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Oct 24, 2013 | 10:54 AM

Golf Boom In 'Bama

Yesterday marked the 21st anniversary of Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, which recently recorded its 10 millionth round of golf. What began as a concept to enhance the state’s image and boost its lowly public golf inventory has mushroomed to 26 courses at 11 sites throughout the state. Golf may have its naysayers, but before 1992, vacationing players only drove through Alabama on their way to Florida, and before the Trail’s debut, Alabama’s tourism revenues were under $2 billion. Last year, tourism revenues exceeded $10.6 billion, and the Golf Trail—often copied but never duplicated—was the state's top attraction. To celebrate the Trail’s success, golfers can tee it up on the Trail for $21 (cart extra; some restrictions apply) on the 21st day of each month for the rest of 2013. By the way, the photo above is from the Backbreaker Nine at Silver Lakes, located between Aniston and Gadsden: There's much more like that throughout the state.

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Oct 22, 2013 | 10:58 AM

COMING SOON: “SEVE” THE MOVIE

He was the most theatrical golfer of his generation, a marquee attraction wherever he played, so it makes sense that the late, great Seve Ballesteros will now be the subject of a major motion picture. The film’s writer and director are Brits, but all 34 actors and 350 extras will be Spaniards, starting with Jose Luis Gutierrez, a talented 15-year-old golfer with a swing similar to Seve’s. Shooting began recently in Santander and Pedrena, where Ballesteros grew up, and the film (in Spanish with English subtitles) is scheduled for release next year. 

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Oct 21, 2013 | 10:57 AM

Golf Crime Blotter

Golf etiquette has been in the news lately, with everyone from Hunter Mahan to Tim McCarver (yes, the baseball announcer) weighing in on how the game should be played, and Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee opining that Tiger Woods might have played a little fast and loose with the Rules this year. Tiger’s agent is threatening legal action, but it could be worse: A Reno man pleaded guilty to wounding a golfer with a shotgun. Seems the golfer broke a window in the man’s house with an errant shot, and then, while taking a drop on the 16th hole of Lakeridge Golf Course, he was shot at, sustaining minor injuries. The shooter could get up to 10 years in jail and a $10,000 fine. And in Vietnam, a government official beat a caddie unconscious after being told that his shot missed the 13th hole at Tam Dao Golf Course near Hanoi. The official was banned from golf for a year. Sounds like The Rules of Golf might need some updating.

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