Jul 16, 2013 | 08:55 AM

Grudge Match

Tiger Woods bears grudges. Just ask the players (Stephen Ames, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Rory Sabbatini, Fuzzy Zoeller), pundits (Nick Faldo, Peter Kostis, Tom Watson), caddies (Fluff Cowan, Paul Tesori, Steve Williams), teachers (Butch Harmon, Hank Haney), writers (John Feinstein, Alex Micelli), magazines (GQ, Men’s Fitness, Vanity Fair), would-be business partners (Christensen Shipyards, Ltd., The Franklin Mint), and numberless nameless others. Publicly, he usually comes to terms (albeit frostily) with his tormenters, but the truth is, Tiger neither forgives nor forgets. This week, however, he has a score to settle with a pair of nemeses who couldn’t care less how he feels about them—Mother Nature and Muirfield. The last time Tiger took them on, in 2002, he held the Masters and U.S. Open titles and seemed en route to the Grand Slam. Instead he got grandly slammed, when in round three a ferocious squall blew in from the North Sea and wrought havoc with the entire second half of the draw. Double-teamed by the dynamic duo, Tiger blew to an 81, his worst score as a professional. He has not forgotten that humiliation, and we’re about to see whether he can get even. This year the course is playing firm and fast, and the forecast is for four warm, sunny days with little wind—the same conditions as prevailed at the Opens of 2000, 2005, and 2006, all three of them won by Woods.

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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, 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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