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The turbaned golfer aimed left toward the trees—had he lost his mind?—and smacked a low slice that swept along the tree line and just kept curving. It carried a packed grandstand and a Weetabix billboard and boomeranged back, entering the green from behind. His ball landed on the lower tier and rolled up to a flagstick tucked behind a cavernous sand bunker.
"Unbelievable!" I said.
The Phantom pointed his spectral hand at a holographic leader board. It had T. Woods leading at 28 under and V. Singh in second at 26 1/2 under. "Vijay?" I asked. "He's still around?" Then I noticed another Singh in fourth place and two more in eighth and ninth. The rest of the leaders were named Kim, Lee, Chen and Zhao. "And what's with the 1/2?"
"Vishnu," said the Spirit. It sounded like a muffled sneeze, but it was his answer to my first question. He answered the second by pointing to an old-fashioned pole sign: 16TH HOLE, 502 yards, par-4 1/2.
"Ghost of Golf's Future!" I blurted. "I don't know what to make of these wonders. Where is this strange land? What tournament is this?"
The Phantom said naught, but extended a ghostly digit toward the tented village. A sign over an arched gate proclaimed: OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP.
"You mock me," I scoffed. "Trees? Bluegrass rough? This is no British Open course."
I felt the Spirit's breath, cold as an arctic breeze, on my ear. The wind swirled again and yanked us aloft so violently that I had to squeeze my eyes shut. I did not open them until the turbulence had abated, and when I did I was both beguiled and mystified. Below us, frothy breakers rolled across a rocky island upon which an old lighthouse stood like a candle embedded in wax. The island was just a few hundred yards from a shoreline of broken dunes and sand beaches. A solitary structure stood on a cliff above the waves; as wide as a parade ground, it had a red roof, numerous gables and at least a dozen white chimneys.
The scene struck me as lovely until the Phantom uttered—or rather moaned—a single, dismal word: "Turnberry."
Horrified, I clapped a hand over my mouth. Before I could gather my thoughts, the Spirit gripped my shoulder and spun me like a top. I uttered a strangled cry and covered my eyes with a forearm. When the spinning stopped, I lowered my arm and beheld a row of Edwardian houses steeping in a brackish lagoon. There were gaping holes in the roofs, and water flowed unimpeded over the rotted sills of the ground-floor windows.