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Nov 19, 2014 | 12:27 PM

Checkmate

Today’s Buzz item is devoted to the National Gingerbread Competition, which was held on Monday at the historic Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N.C. What does it have to do with golf? Well, the Inn just happens to a terrific golf resort, too, with a 1926 Donald Ross gem. This was the event’s 22nd year with more than 150 amateur entrants in four categories (child, youth, teen, and adult). A panel of 11 judges—mostly pastry chefs and sugar artitsts, along with a curator from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art—evaluated the entries based on five criteria: overall appearance, creativity and originality, difficulty, precision, and consistency of theme. Other than having to be at least 75 percent gingerbread and be completely edible (except for the base), the confectionery creations can take any form at all. Very few entries were actually “houses." In the adult category, there was a sleeping Santa, a solider opening up a Christmas box from home, and a holiday parade. The winner was “Pawn Stars” by Anne B. Bailey of Cary, N.C., who won $7,500 in cash and prizes for her whimsical chessboard with highly humorous and detailed characters. “I’ve been sculpting all my life, but it’s a little different sculpting out of gingerbread than out of clay, so it took a little longer to master that,” says Bailey, who also won the competition in 2012 for “The Three Wise Men,” which took almost a year to create. “I didn’t want to spend that much time on this one. I had a rough year and wanted something fun.” All the entries will be on display at the Inn through New Year's Day.

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Nov 18, 2014 | 08:32 AM

The Best Course You've Never Heard Of

At the Asia Pacific Golf Summit held last weekend, Black Mountain Golf Course, a resort facility 140 miles south of Bangkok, Thailand, was named the best golf course in Asia Pacific. The home of Thailand’s golf hero Thongchai Jaidee, Black Mountain has held several Asian Tour events and next year will host the European Tour’s Thailand Classic. Just six years old, it was designed by little-known Australian architect Phil Ryan who carved through a jungle and pineapple plantation while making good use of several natural streams and the mountain backdrop. It’s a comparative bargain, too. The $115 green fee covers not only your round but your caddie and round-trip golf hotel transfers. 

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Nov 17, 2014 | 10:33 AM

Tiger's Time Off

We haven’t heard much from or about Tiger Woods the last few months as he recovers from his most recent injury. But that’s not to say there isn’t Tiger-related news to report. (Isn’t there always?) We hear he is hitting balls again, getting ready for a return to competitive golf, although we don’t know when. We hear, according to Golf Digest, that about 10 years ago, Tiger blew off the autograph request of a 10-year-old boy who grew up to be NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel. We hear that if the teams for the 2016 Olympics were being chosen right now, Tiger would be nowhere near making the American golf team. We hear that after bowing out of playing in this year’s Americas Golf Cup in South America (it was held in October; what, you missed it?), he will team with Matt Kuchar to play in it next year, although no one is sure where or when it will be held. And we hear that Bluejack National near Houston, Texas, the first Tiger-designed golf course scheduled to open in the U.S. (expected completion: fall 2015) is “seeking advanced tier players to fill its ranks.” So, as usual, even a quiet Tiger has a lot going on.

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Nov 14, 2014 | 06:32 AM

Coach Phil

Among the better known alumni of Arizona State University are singer Linda Ronstadt, comedians Steve Allen and David Spade, and actors Nick Nolte and Lynda Carter. But the most famous alum, at least in golf circles, is Phil Mickelson, who currently is giving back to his alma mater by serving as an interim assistant golf coach. According to Golfweek, the appointment is likely short term, until the team’s coach fills a spot left open when one of his assistants left in September. By the way, that coach is Phil’s younger brother, Tim. And the appointment isn’t merely ceremonial: Lefty has already made at least one recruiting call, phoning Australian Ryan Ruffels, who spent an hour on the phone with the PGA Tour superstar. “I thought one of my mates from school was giving me a prank call,” Ruffels said. Next time he calls, Ryan, ask him to teach you how to hit off pine straw.

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