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USGA buys New York site for museum

The U.S. Golf Association bought the seven-story townhouse that held New York's Russian Tea Room restaurant for $16 million and will convert it into a museum and interactive history center.

The organization bought the building, located next to Carnegie Hall at 150 West 57th Street in Manhattan, from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

It hopes to open the museum around the time of the 2004 U.S. Open, which will be held at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York, about 90 miles to the east on Long Island. Three of the next seven U.S. Open tournaments will be held in the New York area.

The U.S. Golf Association was based in New York from its beginning in the 1894 through 1972, when it moved to Far Hills, New Jersey. Its museum there draws around 25,000 people annually.

``The New York City museum is not going to be simply a collection of artifacts in the traditional sense, but a multimedia interactive presentation of golf history and the future of the game,'' USGA museum and library director Rand Jerris said in a press release. ``This museum will appeal to many more visitors of all ages.''

The Russian Tea Room shut down in July and filed for bankruptcy after a $21 million renovation done three years ago by late owner Warner LeRoy failed to draw enough customers. It originally opened in 1926 by former members of the Russian Imperial Ballet who'd emigrated to the U.S.

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