USGA bids on former home of Russian Tea Room

Step aside caviar and vodka, Ben Hogan and Babe Zaharias might be moving in.

The U.S. Golf Association Foundation has submitted a $16 million bid to take over the six-story Manhattan building previously occupied by the extravagant Russian Tea Room, which filed for bankruptcy and closed in late July.

"We've thought for a while of establishing some sort of permanent museum," said Marty Parkes, senior director of communications for the USGA.

The organization has a healthy collection of historical items that is being stored in its current museum located at the USGA's offices in Far Hills, N.J.. The collection includes personal items and clubs from the collection of the golfing greats -- Hogan, Zaharias, Byron Nelson, Gene Sarazen, Bobby Jones, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. The USGA also has the "Moonclub," used by astronaut Alan Shepard on his Apollo 14 mission in 1971.

It is not clear how long the USGA will have to wait to see if its bid -- if it is not topped -- will be approved by the bankruptcy court. Although the USGA's current museum is free of charge, Parkes said if the organization gets the building, there would be an admission fee.

Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at darren.rovell@espnpub.com