May 05, 2014 | 11:01 AM

A New Concession

In a game known for good sportsmanship, one of the most famous acts of sporting fellowship was performed at the end of the 1969 Ryder Cup when Jack Nicklaus conceded a two-foot putt to Tony Jacklin, allowing the first-ever tie in the history of the matches. That’s the spirit behind The Concession Cup, which had its inaugural playing this past weekend at The Concession Golf Club in Sarasota, Florida, shown above. (The club will host the 2015 NCAA Division 1 men’s and women’s championships.) Teams from the U.S. and Great Britain/Ireland—each comprised of eight mid-amateurs (ages 25-54), eight senior ams (55-plus), and two super senior ams (65-plus)—played three rounds of foursomes, fourballs, and singles, with the U.S. team winning 21-1/2 to 14-1/2. And wouldn’t you know, the Cup ended with a concession? American Gene Elliott and GB&I’s Martin Young agreed to halve the final hole and halve their match. True, it didn’t matter much in the overall final standings, but their mutual agreement has set the tone for the biennial matches. By the way, Nicklaus and Jacklin served as Honorary Captains this year. May the circle be unbroken.

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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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