November 19, 2002 01:55 PM

It was once a hangout for such regulars as Barbra Streisand and famed dancer Rudolf Nureyev — but now it will be home to an entirely different group of celebrity swingers, more along the lines of Tiger Woods.

The U.S. Golf Association announced Tuesday that it has bought New York’s landmark Russian Tea Room next to Carnegie Hall, with the intention of converting the recently shuttered but long-fabled eatery into a golf museum and history center.

The USGA bid $16 million for the 27,000-square-foot Tea Room, which was first opened in 1926 by former members of the Russian Imperial Ballet. It closed last July after extensive and costly renovations — the victim of the current economy and its overpriced vodka drinks.

The USGA signed the necessary documents on Monday for the official transfer of property, the Associated Press reports. The scheduled opening date of the New York Museum (an existing Far Hills, N.J., main facility will also remain) is meant to coincide with the 2004 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.

“The New York City museum is not going to be simply a collection of artifacts in the traditional sense, but a multimedia, interactive presentation of golf history and future of the game,” said Rand Jerris, director of museum and library for the USGA.

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