André Tolmé

Golfer in the Rough

For most duffers, losing 509 balls and shooting 290 over par in one round would be a sign to quit the sport. Not for André Tolmé. His epic traverse of the world's longest, most unconventional links—the 2.3-million-yard, par-11,880 country of Mongolia—made him the global spokesman for a nascent sport: extreme golf. In July, the 35-year-old civil engineer from Northfield, New Hampshire, completed his epic 90-day, 1,300-mile golfing expedition across the Mongolian steppes, where he spent most days fighting off fierce Siberian winds as he whacked balls with a 3-iron. What kept Tolmé going were the nomadic Mongolians who welcomed him into their yurts at night and fed him high-calorie (if not haute-cuisine) slabs of mutton fat, fermented mare's milk, and sheep-brain pâé smeared on sliced sheep's liver. Tolmé's efforts landed him a spot on Jay Leno's guest list in August and the coveted title of Golfer of the Year (as proclaimed by venerable New York Times sports columnist Dave Anderson)—beating out country-club champs Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. When asked what could possibly top teeing off across Mongolia, he would only say, enigmatically, "I've got a few ideas."

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