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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

With the Masters' first-ever November start just three days away, it's a great time to look back on 2020's golf boom.

Why it matters: Golf was a physical and mental safe haven for millions of Americans with cabin fever this year, and even moderate retention of the sport's newcomers could help buoy an entire industry for years to come.

By the numbers:

  • More rounds: September saw a 25.5% increase in the number of rounds played year-over-year — the fifth straight month to surpass last year's totals.
  • More sales: Equipment sales increased 42% year-over-year in the third quarter to just over $1 billion. It was the industry's second-best quarter ever.

The backdrop: When everything shut down in March, major golf organizations formed Back2Golf and began lobbying governors to allow courses to reopen.

  • By May, they'd worked with the CDC to devise return-to-play guidelines for the socially-distant sport (i.e. no rakes in bunkers, raised cups).
  • In June, the PGA Tour became one of the first professional sports to resume in the U.S.

The big picture: This boom was great for the golf industry in a year when so many businesses were lucky to even tread water, but it should also help grow the sport beyond the pandemic's lifespan.

  • The National Golf Foundation estimates the number of junior golfers could increase by 20% (500,000) by year's end, and new or lapsed golfers also increased 20% in H1, per WashPost.

Go deeper

Cyber Monday sets record for biggest online shopping day in U.S. history

Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Americans spent $10.8 billion on Cyber Monday this year, making it the largest online shopping day in U.S. history, according to Adobe Analytics data reported by CNBC.

Why it matters: The surge in online shopping comes as the pandemic has accelerated the decline of Black Friday shopping at traditional brick-and-mortar stores, which saw in-store traffic plunge by roughly 50% compared with last year, according to data from RetailNext and Sensormatic Solutions.

Cuomo: "I am not going to resign"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo apologized Wednesday for acting in a way that made women feel "uncomfortable," but insisted that he has "never touched anyone inappropriately" and said he will not resign.

Driving the news: Cuomo reiterated in his first public appearance since sexual harassment allegations surfaced that he will fully cooperate with a team of independent investigators appointed by New York Attorney General Letitia James, but suggested that demands for his resignation from were simply "politics."

Facebook to lift political ad ban imposed after November election

Photo Illustration by Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook will finally allow advertisers to resume running political and social issue ads in the U.S. on Thursday, according to a company update.

The big picture: Facebook and rival Google instituted political ad bans to slow the spread of misinformation and curb confusion around the presidential election and its aftermath.