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Places We Like: Dallas' Old Monk tavern

By Matthew Rudy

Meat, Mexican food, Bud Light and country music are all easy to find in Dallas. That isn't what makes the Old Monk stand out, but it certainly helps. 

Situated on a funky three-way corner of Henderson Avenue, the Old Monk anchors a popular stretch of bars, restaurants and galleries in the Uptown neighborhood just to the east of North Central Expressway.

The highway is less than two blocks away, but Old Monk's two patios feel like Belgium -- especially in the early spring, when Dallas feels like a place you could live instead of the surface of the sun. 

Come here for the beer selection -- a rotating selection of limited-release and hard-to-find boutique American, Belgian and Irish offerings--and the consistently excellent pub food. It's usually best to proceed with caution when the menu calls itself out for the "best of" anything, but in the case of the fish and chips, it isn't an exaggeration.

You get two giant pieces of cod fried in Smithwicks batter and served with thick steak fries, vinegar and tartar sauce, all for $13. Pair it with an exquisitely-named Delerium Tremens Belgian strong ale (8.5 percent alcohol, so watch it) on a clear, 72-degree night on the patio and you'll forget you're in Texas. 

Until a Luke Bryan song comes on. 

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My Usual Game

Surprising golf accessory: "Grandpa, is that a cloth Kleenex?"

By David Owen

One of my wife’s nieces visited us for Easter, and I reminded her that when she was 11 she saw her grandfather using a handkerchief and asked, with astonishment, “Is that a cloth Kleenex?” A couple of years ago, I myself became a cloth-Kleenex-user, especially while playing golf, and especially during allergy season -- which for me is pretty much every season. As a result, I’ve stopped blowing my nose on my golf towel and wiping it on my rain gloves, among other behavior upgrades.

Recently, I found some inexpensive cotton handkerchiefs that I really like. They’re called Umo Lorenzo (of all things), and on Amazon you can buy them for $12 a dozen, including shipping. I try to remember to put at least one in my pocket before I leave for the golf course, and I keep a few more in my golf bag, in case I forget. The other day, I accidentally dropped one near a green, and Tim picked it up, very carefully, by pinching just the tiniest end of one corner, and gave it back to me.

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The handkerchiefs in my golf bag I keep in a small food-storage container made by a company called Lock & Lock. I learned about Lock & Lock containers a few years ago from a guy I used to play bridge with, and my wife and I now have two or three dozen, in many sizes. They’re so watertight and airtight that geocachers use them to geocache stuff in. (If anyone ever accuses you of playing a dumb game, tell them about geocaching.) I keep three handkerchiefs in an 11-ounce one; two range-finder batteries, two camera batteries, and a glasses screwdriver in a 6-ounce one; and some Band-Aids, a jar of Advil, a tiny thing of Purell, and a microfiber glasses-cleaning cloth in another 6-ounce one. The containers are heavier than Zip-Lock bags, but not a lot heavier -- the smaller ones weigh just 2.3 ounces each, empty -- and they last forever.

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Courses & Travel

Beware phony deals as 2016 Ryder Cup hospitality tickets go on sale next week

By Stephen Hennessey

loop-hazeltine-national-518.jpgWhile most people in golf await this October's Ryder Cup being held at Gleneagles Resort in Scotland, some are already looking into the future when the event returns to the United States in 2016 at Hazeltine National Golf Club outside Minneapolis (above). Hospitality chalet tickets go on sale May 1, but the PGA of America, which runs the event, has a message for anyone buying hospitality packages: Make sure you're buying badges from a legitimate source.

"Right now, third-party companies are already selling packages, but [the PGA of America] has yet to release any tickets to the public," says tournament director Brett Sterba.

In the past, Sterba says, clients have shown up to a Ryder Cup or PGA Championship thinking they had passes that allowed them access to the grounds. But in actuality, the tickets didn't give them a spot on site. Some passes only give access to an off-site suite.

How do you know if the badges are real or fake? Ask to see a contract, and read it carefully. The assumption of risk is in the fine print.

"Buyer beware is the big thing. Look twice to make sure who you're buying from to guarantee that the access is indeed real," Sterba says.

Some more questions you can ask: What type of ticket am I going to receive? Where is my table specifically? And where am I going to park? The PGA of America provides these details as part of their hospitality packages. If a reseller can't answer these questions, it's a sign they're not the passes you want to buy.

Adds Larry Sinclair, director of hospitality sales for the PGA of America: "[Resellers] can be very persuasive on the phone and always pressing for a quick purchase decision. Another standard line is to say, 'we've had a client cancel and we can offer you a discounted price if your company purchases in the next 24 hours.' Unfortunately CEOs and event planners are busy and they do it. They do not realize until they arrive that their hospitality is not on site or they have been taken and there are no tickets."

For more information, visit: rydercup.com/2016hospitality/welcome.

Photo: Stephen Szurlej

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Celebrity

Jimmy Fallon and Cameron Diaz play roller golf, which is now apparently a thing

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

Earlier this month, "Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon showed off his golf skills by holing a bunker shot on camera. On his show on Wednesday night, his luck wasn't quite as good.

After talking with Cameron Diaz -- a big golfer in her own right -- about her new film "The Other Woman," Fallon invited her to a friendly game of roller golf. The rules were fairly simple: hit the ball around the course even though the score doesn't actually matter. It's all about who finishes first.

Here's a GIF of them teeing off. Also, Cameron Diaz totally crushes it.

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After a few random surprises along the way, it's safe to say Diaz took care of Fallon with relative ease, despite Fallon's best attempts to thwart her efforts in the final moments. 

The full video:


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Style

Throwback Thursday: 'A sixteenth century golf enthusiast'

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

The state of golf in the 16th century was a far cry from the flat blim-wearing, big-hitting, big-money game of today.

In the 16th century, people didn't even know what to call it; in the Netherlands they went with "colf," while in Scotland they opted for "gaulf." "Gowf" -- a different Scottish spelling -- was constantly being banned in parts of Scotland, the British Open was still more than 100 years away from being created, and Mary, Queen of Scots was dodging accusations by her enemies that she played golf herself. The horror!

To help paint a clearer picture of what "golve" -- yet another Scottish spelling -- was like back then, here's a picture of an unnamed child 16th century "golf enthusiast," courtesy of Getty Images. 

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The full caption:

"Circa 1650, Sixteenth century golf enthusiast with an early golf club and the large ball stuffed with feathers."

We are assuming the young player removed her golf glove for the picture.

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News & Tours

Cheyenne Woods is better than Lexi Thompson -- at throwing out first pitches

By Alex Myers

Cheyenne Woods' fame continues to grow, which means at some point, she was going to be asked to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game. It happened Wednesday night, when Woods, in Tampa for a Symetra Tour event, did the honor before the Rays' game against the Minnesota Twins.

Related: Woods just the latest golfer to follow in the footsteps of a family member

Woods posted a video to her Instagram account and she seemed pretty happy with how the toss turned out:

Not bad at all. Sure, Woods came up a little short, but couldn't the guy catching the ball (We think Brandon Guyer, who Woods took a picture with right before the pitch) have come up with that cleanly? The outfielder was playing out of position, but he's a Major League Baseball player! You've got to come up with that ball! 

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In any event, Woods fared much better than Lexi Thompson, who bounced her first pitch at a Miami Marlins game last Friday. To her credit, Thompson joked about it on Twitter after, saying she "threw a grounder" and that she's sticking to golf.

Related: From hornets to cigars, a wild week in golf

So will Woods, but both should keep their throwing arms loose. At a combined 42 years old, these two should be in the spotlight for a while.

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News & Tours

On her 17th birthday, Lydia Ko featured on Time's 100 Most Influential People list

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

She's been called a phenom, a prodigy, and now, by Time magazine, a pioneer.

In its annual list of the world's Top 100 Most Influential People, released Thursday, Lydia Ko featured as one of just five athletes -- and the only professional golfer -- on the list. Jason Collins, Richard Sherman, Serena Williams and Cristiano Ronaldo were the other athletes honored. Ko now joins a short but prestigious group of LPGA golfers to make the list, which includes the likes of Michelle Wie, Yani Tseng, Lorena Ochoa and Annika Sorenstam.

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"She's leading golf’s youth movement," says Annika Sorenstam, who wrote the item on Ko. "She is responsible for sparking increased interest in our sport not just in her native South Korea and adopted homeland of New Zealand but also among juniors across the globe."

Related: My Shot: Lydia Ko

Ko, who coincidentally turned 17 on the same day the list was released, rocketed into the spotlight after consecutive wins as an amateur at the LPGA's CN Canadian Women's Open in 2012 and 2013. A month before turning pro last October, Ko also finished T-2 in the 2013 Evian Championship -- the final major of the 2013 LPGA season.

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Style

Game improvement: Bring on the rain with this waterproof bucket

By Alex Holmes

No matter who you are, chances are you've got some gear in your game that could use an update. While we don't advise retooling everything at once, trading up a few staples at a time is the ticket to solid style. Each week we'll pull a dud from the dark depths of every man's collection and suggest a simple substitute. Check your nostalgia at the door -- it's time for your tune up.


After such a long, brutal winter we're not about to let a few April showers keep us off the course. Yet while the market is a plenty with rain gear from manufacturers A to Z, the inclement headgear game is a little soft. Sure, you'll find buckets hats from classic golf brands but big logos and chin drawstrings make the look a bit limited (i.e fine around the course but look a little strange on the street on a rainy workday).

So, as we endeavor to slim down your wardrobe and give you pieces that look good on and off the course, might we suggest a hat made by a hat company? A hat company steeped in style and tradition and made in Italy for over the last 150 years.
loop-game-improvement-borsalino-hat-518.jpgBorsalino -- $105
borsalino.com

The simple, sophisticated Borslino rain bucket is 100 percent waterproof and rolls up smaller than a hand towel. Stick it in your bag or your brief case if the weather looks dicey and get on your way in style.  
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News & Tours

The Zurich Classic and its impact on the community

By John Strege

The charitable funds raised on behalf of local communities from their associations with PGA Tour events is substantial, as the tour frequently reminds us — $2 billion and counting. What generally is less known is the actual impact these funds can have.

Another Zurich Classic of New Orleans begins today, in the city that was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, a regional disaster with national implications. On Wednesday, Zurich and its Z Zurich Foundation provided a timely example of the impact.

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(Getty Images photo)

It announced that it had made a $3 million grant to St. Bernard Project, a non-profit organization that assists with communities impacted by disasters. The grant is to help create a Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lab for the purpose of sharing information on disaster preparedness.

Zurich’s relationship with the St. Bernard Project, incidentally, began five years ago as a result of its title sponsorship of the PGA Tour event.

The tournament was important, say, to Billy Horschel’s career. Horschel (shown above) won for the first time on the PGA Tour in the tournament last year. But, on a larger scale, it has proven at least as important to communities, too.

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Travel

Unofficial Guide: Po' boy sandwiches, hurricane drinks and partying in the streets of New Orleans

By Matthew Rudy

New Orleans' French Quarter is something everybody should see at least once. They've been partying in these streets since the late 18th Century, and you'll lose your tourist card if you don't reserve a couple of hours for a stroll and a hurricane (rum, passion fruit juice, orange juice, lime juice, simple syrup and grenadine) from Pat O'Brien's on Bourbon Street.

But to get the full New Orleans experience, get out of the quarter and visit three places where you'll by outnumbered by locals 10 to 1.

The po' boy sandwich is synonymous with New Orleans, but the version served in many restaurants is homogenized by "French" bread and machine-processed shrimp or beef. Have the sandwich the way it was intended -- with fresh New Orleans French bread and crispy fried shrimp or simmered roast beef dressed with lettuce, pickles and mayo. Why contribute to the shrimp-vs.-beef argument when you can try both? 

The Parkway Bakery and Tavern has operated in the same rugged neighborhood northwest of the Quarter since 1911. It used to feed the workers at the American Can Company. Now, locals line up for the large fried shrimp sandwich, chili and turkey & alligator sausage gumbo. Take your sandwich and Abita lager and sit at one of the picnic tables on the patio. 

South of the Quarter, near the U-shaped bend in the Mississippi River, is Domilise's -- another po' boy institution. Set in a little shack with a small, hand-painted sign, it looks like a place you'd never go into by yourself. Swallow your fear and be rewarded with giant, no-frills beef, shrimp and sausage sandwiches heartily endorsed by noted calorie-counter Mario Batali just last weekend. 

Take a number, order from the board and take your sandwich and root beer to go in the likely event there aren't any open tables. Don't bother to order the small sandwich. The larges are a few bucks more and almost double the size. Get two different kinds and share with a friend.  

The Tour players will be teeing it up at TPC Lousiana in suburban Avondale, a lovely, orderly track through the wetlands designed by Pete Dye with help from Steve Elkington and Kelly Gibson. For golf with a lot more charm and soul, take the St. Charles Line streetcar to Audubon Park and play its historic par-62 course, built just after the 1884 World's Fair was held on the site. For $35, you can zip around in three hours and have plenty of time to explore the rest of the day. 

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