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The US Open tees off Thursday at Winged Foot, but there was a time in the pandemic-disrupted year that plans for the 120th edition were looking significantly different.

© JAMIE SQUIRE US Open contenders walk the ninth hole during a practice round at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, New York

"To be very transparent with you, we thought we were going to be playing the US Open in December in Los Angeles," US Golf Association chief executive Mike Davis said Wednesday of the turmoil created by the deadly coronavirus pandemic. "We were that close."

Winged Foot, in Mamaroneck, New York, was originally scheduled to host the Open June 18-21.

But the global golfing calendar was thrown into turmoil in March.

The US PGA Tour, the European Tour and organizers of golf's major championships struggled to put together a cohesive response.

And it was not until the R&A announced in June that the British Open would be cancelled -- not postponed -- that the USGA realized they would have a window for the US Open in September.

"It really wasn't until the day before we went public with the schedule that we realized that the R&A's Open across the pond couldn't be played in September," Davis said, "which gave us an opportunity to play in September at this wonderful, storied golf course."

Staging the championship in New York, however, was looking problematic when the state emerged as a virus hotspot early in the year.

"We had some wonderful medical advisors who said: 'Be patient, because what is a hotspot now may not be a hotspot later in the year," said John Bodenhamer, the USGA's senior manager of championships.

"And we followed that, and it paid off."

Until late July the USGA had hoped to welcome at least a limited number of spectators to the course, finally abandoning that plan after consultation with local and state health officials.

"Listen, at the end of it, while we want spectators here, it's the millions of people around the world that have an opportunity to watch this, but it's also those 144 players getting to play for that coveted trophy and that Jack Nicklaus Gold Medal, that's what really counts and that's what history is going to remember," Davis said.


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Super Mario 64’s ‘Gay Bowser’ is gone on Nintendo Switch

Every Bowser level in Super Mario 64 ends in a boss battle where you fling the giant Koopa onto spikes for massive damage. During this heroic act, it sounds like Mario says, “So long, gay Bowser” — but that iconic misheard line is no longer present in the version of the game that appears in Super Mario 3D All-Stars on Nintendo Switch.

To be clear, Mario never actually calls Bowser gay. Most people know that the actual line is likely “so long, King Bowser.” But nobody really cares, because it’s funnier to imagine that the Nintendo 64 compression isn’t mangling Charles Martinet’s voice acting. There is a lot of fan nostalgia and love for the “gay Bowser” line that it’s pretty much a meme. This might explain why everyone seemed to recoil in horror and disappointment when Nintendo shared new Super Mario 64 footage on social media hailing from its new collection. Here, Mario can be heard saying “buh-bye!” instead:

As Kotaku explains, this tweak is likely because the emulated version of Super Mario 64 in Super Mario 3D All-Stars is based on Super Mario 64 Shindou Pak Taiou Version, an updated version of the game released in Japan in 1997. In Japan, Bowser isn’t known as King Koopa, so it doesn’t make sense for Mario to bid him adieu that way.

The internet, in turn, is heartbroken. The top responses to the tweet are proverbially pouring one out for the revisionist take on one of gaming’s most adored lines.

Those who aren’t lamenting this sacrilegious change say that we should cheer up, because actually, Mario’s new line means Bowser is now bisexual.

Former gay icon Bowser did not respond in time for press. Presumably, he is as torn up about this as we are.

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