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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.

Super typhoon Surigae explodes to Cat. 5 intensity

Super Typhoon Surigae seen on satellite imagery Saturday morning east of the Philippines. (CIRA/RAMMB)

Super Typhoon Surigae surged in intensity from a Category 1 storm on Friday to a beastly Category 5 monster on Saturday, with maximum sustained winds estimated at 190 mph with higher gusts.

Why it matters: This storm — known as Typhoon Bising in the Philippines — is just the latest of many tropical cyclones to undergo a process known as rapid intensification, a feat that studies show is becoming more common due to climate change. It weakened slightly, to the equivalent of a strong Category 4 storm, on Sunday.

4 hours ago - World

Biden adviser warns "there will be consequences" for Russia if Navalny dies

The Biden administration warned the Russian government "that there will be consequences" if jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny dies, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN on Sunday.

The big picture: Sullivan also defended President Biden for not mentioning Navalny in a Thursday speech about Russia or in a Tuesday call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying the White House aims to deal with the issue "privately and through diplomatic channels."