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Apr 02, 2014 | 06:13 AM

Road To Mandalay

Add Myanmar—formerly known as Burma—as the latest Asian country to expose a golfing past. Once a British colony, there are already more than 50 courses, some more than 100 years old. And opening late next year will be Mandalay Myotha Golf Club (that's the par-five 3rd hole, above), located near Mandalay, a business hub as well as the last royal capital and center of Burmese culture. The course is the work of Schmidt-Curley Design, an American firm with many courses in Asia, and Kyi Hla Han, executive chairman of the Asian Tour and a former professional golfer. Built for world-class events—it's par 72 and will stretch to 8,000 yards—Mandalay Myotha “will take full advantage of the site’s dramatic terrain, with golf holes playing along deep river canyons and fairways routed through a vast rolling landscape,” explains Lee Schmidt. It’s one part of an 11,000-acre project that will include schools, hospitals, factories, warehouses, parks, and housing for a population of 250,000.

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Apr 01, 2014 | 10:36 AM

Spring Break-In

Fair warning: This is not an April Fool’s Day item.

Late yesterday, a message on the website of Florida-based Eckerd College read: “Due to circumstances beyond the team’s control, the men’s golf program has withdrawn from the Buccaneer Invitational Presented by Carrabba’s Italian Grill.”  How can that be, you ask? How could any team no-show for such a prestigious event on the Sunshine State Division II Collegiate Golf Calendar? The website provided no details, perhaps out of embarrassment, as truth was, the team van was burglarized while the boys and their coach ate dinner at a restaurant on Collins Avenue in Miami Beach two nights before the event. Everything was taken—not just their clubs, but their luggage, phones, computers. Everything. Rather than find replacement sticks, the fighting Tritons bagged the BIPCIG and pointed the van back to St. Petersburg.

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Mar 31, 2014 | 10:29 AM

Rio Olympics: Downbeat Update

To almost no one’s surprise, the golf course being built for the 2016 Olympics in Rio won’t be ready as soon as hoped, but it should be ready for the big games. Peter Dawson, who is president of the International Golf Federation (as well as Chief Executive of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews), recently visited the site and said that the course probably will not be ready to host a test event scheduled for summer 2015. With what can only be regarded as British reserve, he said, “We are not satisfied…. However, I still think it will be ready in time for the Olympics.” Notice, he said “think.” He also said “There are other courses in Rio but there is no Plan B at present because I don’t think we’ll need one.” Notice, he said “at present.” According to the website InsideTheGames.biz, which covers the Olympics, other officials of the 2016 games expressed confidence in the preparations and that the course “would be ready in time.” As always, the whole world is watching.

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Mar 28, 2014 | 11:20 AM

The Iron is Hot

One of two sets of irons Ben Hogan used during his historic 1953 season is officially up for sale at greenjacketauctions.com—the site’s first great piece of Hogan memorabilia. Right now the current bid is $7,320 but the set of seven irons is expected to fetch somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000. The USGA has the other set in its museum, but it’s unclear which tournaments Hogan won with the set up for auction. (The Hawk entered only five events that year, but won all of them, including the Masters, U.S. Open, and British Open.) In all likelihood, he probably mixed the sets because the serial number on the 9-iron pictured matches the set at the USGA. The clubs have spent the last 40 years locked in the garage of Champions Tour player Jimmy Powell, who received them as a gift from a friend of Hogan’s, Dennis Lavender, the head pro at Dallas’ Stevens Park Golf Course for whom Powell used to caddie.

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