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Jul 15, 2013 | 06:32 AM

Thoroughly Modern Muirfield

The 142nd Open Championship begins in a few days at 120-year-old Muirfield in Scotland. And while images like the one above look classic and placid, don’t think of the Open as old and stodgy. Just the opposite, as the R&A has become quite technologically savvy. In fact, according to ComputerWeekly.com, the Open website can handle 10,000 web-page requests a second from five million user sites, and feature real-time scoring, player performance stats, mobile feeds, a live course view (with GPS mapping of groups and scores), plus maps, an interactive course guide, and social media. On-site spectators will be able to use their mobile devices, and also see LED scoreboards with stats, scores, player details, video highlights, and more. Sounds as if the R&A should change its name from Royal and Ancient to Ready and Accessible.

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Jul 12, 2013 | 07:52 AM

Swing Milka Swing

To golf fans, Jeev Milka Singh is presently best known as the defending champion of the Scottish Open, being held this weekend at Castle Stuart in northeastern Scotland, not far from Dornoch. But Singh has a distinguished sports pedigree away from golf. His father, Milkha Singh, is a sports hero in his own right, a track star who remains the only Indian male to win a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games. The elder Singh, known as “The Flying Sikh,” also competed in the Summer Olympics in both 1960 and ’64, but never medaled. A movie called Run Milka Run just opened in India, but Jeev had to miss the premiere to defend his title at Castle Stuart, where he opened with a 67. While his father was a sprinter, the son knows how to run the long race: He has four wins since becoming the first Indian to qualify for the European Tour in 1994.

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Jul 11, 2013 | 10:34 AM

Carne Expands

In a sure sign the Celtic Tiger may be purring again, the long-awaited third nine at Carne Golf Links in Co. Mayo, Ireland, debuts this month, marking the nation’s first significant new-build since the 2008 financial meltdown. The Kilmore nine, as it’s called, will circulate players through the largest dunes on the remote 280-acre property. The new holes, first suggested by original designer Eddie Hackett shortly before his death in 1996, were mapped out by American designer and devoted Carne fan Jim Engh in 2004. His plan was adopted in part by Irish architect Ally McIntosh, who was hired by the club to produce the final design. Like the core 18 (that's the 8th hole, above), the new holes were built on a shoestring budget, with a small local workforce overseeing the low impact construction. With its mountainous sand hills and wild, woolly challenges, Carne could host a future Irish Open if the organizers were ever stuck for a genuine links course with great Atlantic views and loads of charm and character.

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Jul 10, 2013 | 11:35 AM

Narrow Minded?

Last week’s European Tour winner, Graeme McDowell, has ruffled some featheries with his comments about this week’s Scottish Open host, Castle Stuart, widely regarded as one of the best new links courses and No. 69 on the LINKS100 World list. “The Scottish Open has lost its identity and its prestige,” he said. “Castle Stuart probably has not been a strong enough golf course. Let’s see them get the Scottish Open on a phenomenal links golf course with a great purse and get a world-class field back. We need to be capitalizing a little harder on the week before and after the Open. I feel bad singling out the Scottish Open, because I used to love it at Loch Lomond. It was a phenomenal tournament. Taking it to Castle Stuart was designed to get it on a links course the week before the Open and it’s a beautiful venue—but it is probably a little too wide open off the tee and a little one-dimensional. But Royal Aberdeen next year is a venue which attracts me. I’ve heard great things about it and it could re-light the event.” Translation: GMac likes tight courses that favor shorter, more accurate drivers like him, but in actuality narrow fairways are one-dimensional, not wider ones with options off the tee for different playing angles. Normally, GMac is a class act so we’ll give him a pass on this one. By the way, you can judge for yourself this weekend on NBC as the Peacock will provide network coverage—a first for a European Tour event.

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