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Matt Hamilton uses Olympic curling gold medal as golf ball marker

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Matt Hamilton is squeezing every bit of value out of his Olympic curling gold medal.

Hamilton, while playing in this week’s Web.com Tour pro-am event, pulled out the medal to mark his golf ball on a green. Not only that, Hamilton was wearing a Team USA cap and clad in red, white and blue stars up and down his shirt and pants.

Also Thursday, Hamilton hit an errant ball that was returned to him by a local resident. Hamilton let the man hold his gold medal as he held a large soda cup but was adamant that he wouldn’t take his eyes off of it.

“I wouldn’t give this [medal] to my mom,” Hamilton said.

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MORE: Top moments from Team USA’s run to curling gold

Tyler George steps away from curling after Olympic gold medal

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The U.S. Olympic champion men’s curling team will not look the same next season. It may have thrown its final stone together.

Tyler George, the vice skip for John Shuster‘s rink, said he is stepping away from elite competitive curling for “a little bit,” according to USA Curling.

“It’s been a long road of a long season, and when you play as much as we have, it takes a lot of time and wear and tear on the body,” George, a 35-year-old liquor store manager whose first bed was a roasting pan at the Duluth Curling Club in Minnesota, said in a press release. “I’ve played down for 20 straight years with one minor break. It just seems like the right time to step away for a little bit and recharge the battery, let my body heal. Maybe I’ll come back stronger down the road – only time will tell.

“I don’t plan on disappearing from the game. I can fill in for the guys whenever they need me.”

George will be replaced on Shuster’s team next season by Chris Plys, known best to Olympic followers as the alternate who briefly replaced a struggling Shuster as skip at the 2010 Vancouver Games. The team also has its PyeongChang alternate, Joe Polo, who will miss the first half of next season due to shoulder surgery.

George, who led his own rinks at the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Trials, joined Shuster’s new team of curlers rejected from USA Curling’s high performance program after Shuster’s 2-7 finish at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Together, Shuster, George, Matt Hamilton and John Landsteiner finished third, fourth and fifth at the world championships before breaking through in PyeongChang. On the brink of elimination, they won their last five games to take the first U.S. Olympic curling title.

George was magnificent in PyeongChang, where The New York Times noticed he competed in ragged, eight-year-old Skechers and bought him new shoes. He led the U.S. quartet by shooting 88 percent against Sweden in the final.

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MORE: U.S. men’s curling team’s dream run falls short at worlds

U.S. men’s curling team’s dream run falls short at worlds

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The U.S. men’s curling team won five straight games, just like at the Olympics. But this time, at the world championship, they needed six straight to make the medal round.

A rink led by Greg Persinger finished sixth at worlds in Las Vegas over the weekend. The Americans overcame a 1-6 start to sneak into the playoffs, where they lost to eventual silver medalist Canada with a semifinal spot at stake on Saturday.

Sweden, skipped by Niklas Edin, took gold after being upset by the U.S. Olympic team skipped by John Shuster in the PyeongChang final. It marked Edin’s third world title to go with two Olympic medals.

Shuster’s team missed nationals last month as it promoted the sport nationwide following its Olympic stunner. In their absence, Persinger’s rink claimed the U.S. title to earn the world spot.

Persinger, a 40-year-old father of three, owns a Cold Stone Creamery franchise with his wife in Fairbanks, Alaska.

“We played every team that’s in the playoffs to the end. I mean you got your money’s worth with us. I think every game but against Edin, we went to the last rock,” team member Rich Ruohonen said, according to USA Curling. “We’ve got nothing to be ashamed of, and everyone knows we can play with the best in the world.”

Persinger’s team played just over 20 games together before worlds, according to USA Curling. Their five-game winning streak included a victory over Canada’s Brad Gushue, the defending world champion, but Gushue’s rink topped the Americans 6-4 in the playoffs.

Persinger and team members Colin Hufman and Philip Tilker played for skip Brady Clark at November’s Olympic Trials and finished in last place out of five teams, going 1-7 in round-robin play.

Ruohonen, 47, was an alternate for Heath McCormick‘s team that was runner-up to Shuster at trials.

Shuster’s team was fourth, third and fifth at the previous three worlds, the best string of U.S. men’s or women’s results at that level in a decade.

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VIDEO: U.S. men’s curling team fails with ceremonial first pitches