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Aug 14, 2013 | 07:10 AM

Anniversary Am

After 36 holes of stroke-play qualifying, the U.S. Amateur Championship gets underway in earnest today with match play at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. It’s the nation’s oldest golf tournament (by one day over the U.S. Open). Here’s a little primer:

*It was here 100 years ago in 1913 that 20-year-old amateur Francis Ouimet shocked the sports world by upsetting British professionals Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in an 18-hole playoff to claim the U.S. Open, helping to popularize golf in America.

*Founded in 1882, The Country Club is one of the five original clubs of the USGA, along with Newport (R.I.) Country Club, Shinnecock Hills, Chicago Golf Club, and St. Andrew's Golf Club. In addition to five U.S. Amateurs, it has hosted three U.S. Opens.

*The club has 27 holes, with the Main—or Composite Course—taking most of the holes from the Clyde and Squirrel nines, along with three from the Primrose Course, an executive nine designed by William S. Flynn and opened in 1927. The course will play to a par 70 of 7,310 yards.

*Except for an eight-year period (1965-1972) when it was contested at stroke play, the Amateur has been a match-play championship.

*The champions in all three Opens at The Country Club won in playoffs, including Julius Boros in 1963 and Curtis Strange in 1988.

*Last year’s champion, Steven Fox, missed qualifying for match play, as did four of the five Walker Cuppers in the tournament.

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Aug 13, 2013 | 06:40 AM

Coore, Crenshaw, Cabot, Cliffs—Cash!

If you’ve been intrigued by Cabot Links—the Canadian course that opened last year to strong reviews—but you haven’t been able to muster the enthusiasm to trek to its remote location, well, take heart. The province of Nova Scotia has just extended a loan of $8 million toward the $14 million development of Cabot Cliffs, the Coore/Crenshaw sister course now under construction on a 110-foot-high bluff just north of the original 18. Mike Keiser, the principal partner in the development of the project, believes “one course is a curiosity, two courses is a destination,” and with Bill Coore on site most of this summer (that's him above, looking at what will be the new course's final hole), that vision has begun to come to life for Keiser just as it did a decade ago at Bandon Dunes. The Cliffs, which will include an ocean-going par three similar to the 16th at Cypress Point, is expected to open in 2015.

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Aug 12, 2013 | 08:24 AM

Has He Got A Shot… Greg?

The USGA’s new broadcast partner, Fox Sports, continued to make news at the PGA of America’s expense when word leaked out over the weekend that Greg Norman has been approached for the lead analyst position on the network’s upcoming golf coverage. The story was broken by Golf Digest on Saturday and was confirmed by Norman, who'd been emailed by News Corporation Senior Vice President David Hill: The two tried to work together in the 1990s when Norman wanted to launch his World Tour. Norman has some TV experience, and reportedly was approached by CBS in 2005 for the job now filled by Nick Faldo, but following the PGA Tour would have taken too much travel and time. When Fox goes on the air with USGA golf in 2015 it will air only a few events, making it a better fit for Norman’s busy schedule of business interests. As they say on the box, “stay tuned.” And in the meantime, let us know if you think Greg would do a good job.

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Aug 09, 2013 | 06:20 AM

Crashing The PGA's Party

Even during its biggest week of the year, the PGA of America can’t get no respect. On the eve of the PGA Championship, the “largest working sports organization in the world,” whose 27,000 members run shops, give lessons, and promote the game, was upstaged not once, not twice, but three times by other associations. During a press conference on Wednesday, PGA President Ted Bishop announced that the 2016 championship probably will be held in July to avoid conflict with the Rio Olympics. At that same session, Bishop admitted that the old tagline for the PGA Championship—“Glory’s Last Shot”—was changed to “The Season’s Final Major” at the request of PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, who thought “last shot” was taking a shot at the Tour’s season-ending FedEx Cup. Then, in the unkindest cut of all, the USGA used PGA eve to announce its new TV deal with Fox Sports beginning in 2015. Forget the fact that Fox has never covered golf (who will they hire as announcers? Hello? Johnny Miller?) or that Fox is reportedly paying roughly $100 million a year for the rights. Couldn’t they have waited till next week? By the way, there’s still time for Augusta National, the LPGA, or maybe the Miniature Golf Association to chime in with more scene-stealing news.

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