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"Oh, Ghost!" I wailed. "I fear you more than any specter I have seen. What is this terrible place?"
The answer came as a single, resonant peal of doom: "Trooooooon."
My dismay was so great that I turned away. "Spirit, do I dare ask the fate of golf in America?"
With a grunt of either boredom or annoyance, the Phantom swept his arm in a grand arc. The sky darkened, stars appeared and clouds raced by at supersonic speed. Without warning, we plunged toward Earth as if dropped from a plane, and suddenly we were standing in an office behind a little knot of businessmen. A man with chin whiskers was holding up a flexible canvas for comment.
"Is it too green?" asked a fat man with a monstrous chin. "Will anybody believe a golf course can be that green?"
"They've seen the Masters on Archaicgolf.edu," said another. "What they won't believe is spectator mounds covered with people."
I craned my neck to view the canvas. It showed thousands of fans sitting on a curving berm above a small, round green upon which two players and two caddies were lining up putts. The green was supported by mossy timbers and encircled by an ugly moat of mud, cattails and marsh grass.
I turned to the Phantom. "That looks like"—I felt my chin begin to quiver—"but surely that is not...."
The folds of the Phantom's hood moved as if he had inclined his head. I finished in a whisper, saying, "... the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass?" As if on cue, the fat man touched the canvas and text appeared: THE PLAYERS: RICH ENOUGH TO MATTER. Down at the bottom were the familiar PGA Tour logo and five more words: THE EUROPEAN TOUR'S DEVELOPMENTAL TOUR.
"Spirit!" I said, shuddering from head to foot. "I know your purpose is to do me good, but surely this is not Time's portent. Is there no sustainable golf in the World Yet to Come?"