By Alex Myers
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, the only weekly golf column (that we know of) to provide you with perfect gambling advice for the Super Bowl. We predicted a Seahawks win and a score totaling 51 points (take the over!). OK, so we didn't think it would be such a snoozefest, but if you listened to us, you're probably not complaining. Now if we could only be as accurate with our fantasy golf picks . . .
Kevin Stadler: It took 239 starts, but Stadler finally picked up a first PGA Tour title at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. This despite the fact that watching him putt on Sunday was, well, interesting. Regardless, the guy got it done, even if his team, the Denver Broncos, didn't. Now he'll have the opportunity to join his dad, Craig, at the Masters. Jim Nantz is already preparing his script.
Stephen Gallacher: The forgotten man in the marquee pairing that included Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy wound up defending his title at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. This time, he fired a Saturday 63 in which he played his final 10 holes in 10 under par. (Yep, you read that right.) How does this guy only have three European Tour wins in 18 seasons?
Drivable par 4s: There should be a rule that every PGA Tour course has one. First on Friday, Ben Crane nearly made an ace on No. 17 at TPC Scottsdale. Then on Saturday in Dubai, Rory McIlroy had a great crack at one for $2.5 million. Offering a side purse to encourage players to go for it is a bit much, but putting pro golfers in a position where they have to strategically decide if they should try to drive the green, especially late in a round, adds excitement.
Phil Mickelson's arm: Did you see this guy chucking footballs righty into the stands at TPC Scottsdale's 16th hole on Saturday? What an arm! Arthritis sponsor Enbrel should just run footage of that for its next commercial.
Tiger Woods/Peyton Manning: Many consider these two to be the greatest of all time in their respective sports, but this weekend didn't do anything to enhance their reputations. Manning got trounced in his second attempt to win a second Super Bowl, and Woods wasn't a factor for a second-straight week. In fact, Woods' T-41 in Dubai to go with his T-80 at Torrey Pines is his worst-ever start to a year. By far. At least Manning should have a better time this week as he's a last-minute addition to the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Now that's an audible! In other words, don't feel too sorry for him.
Bubba Watson: For a guy who is approaching two years since his last win, a runner-up showing was a good sign. But Watson's finish was rough. He bogeyed two of his last three holes to lose to Stadler by one shot. Even when he caught a break on No. 18 when his chip hit a TV wire and finished five feet from the hole, he missed the ensuing par putt. Badly. That produced another angry glare (below), which sadly has become a staple of "Bubba Golf" during his struggles. (Side note: What's up with wires coming into play on the final holes of tournaments? First, Jessica Korda had to navigate one to win in the Bahamas and now this. Somehow we don't think this is what people mean when they talk about "modernizing the golf course.")
Fred Couples: We're not criticizing him for his T-54 in Dubai, but the fact he was in Dubai at all. The Seahawks superfan chased an appearance fee rather than watch his favorite team play in the Super Bowl -- this after raising the team's 12th Man banner before a game just a couple months ago. He might have to answer to the Legion of Boom the next time he comes across Richard Sherman and Co.
Rory McIlroy: The 24-year-old was in position for a second win in two months, but stumbled with a final-round 74 that included three bogeys in a four-hole stretch on the back nine. Judging by this photo, fiancee Caroline Wozniacki didn't seem too impressed:
The PGA Tour heads to Pebble Beach for the AT&T Pro-Am, aka that one time a year when Kenny G comes across as being cool.
Random tournament fact: Monterey Peninsula CC, one of three host courses, statistically had the most difficult greens on the PGA Tour in 2013. Rumor has it, even Kenny G struggled on them.
THIS WEEK IN
DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY TIGER WOODS-LINDSEY VONN PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Lindsey described Tiger as a "teddy bear" in an interview with E! Online. That can't be good for his intimidation factor.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"Sure, yeah, it's pretty amazing. As you said, it's 295 million tournaments, however many. It's been a long time. It's been a long time since I won anything. I think it was '05 or '06. It's pretty special." -- Kevin Stadler
PICTURE OF THE WEEK
Man hits golf ball. Golf ball lands on top of gator. Man gets way too close to gator for comfort to have picture taken. Man takes a drop far, far away. We hope.
PICTURE OF THE WEEK (NOT INVOLVING A GATOR)
Arizona Diamondbacks' second baseman Aaron Hill played in the Phoenix Open, and a group of his teammates showed up and were supportive. VERY supportive.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- Bubba Watson hit that TV wire on purpose on the final hole as suggested by CBS' David Feherty: 1 million-to-1 odds
-- Phil Mickelson would have missed the Super Bowl if his beloved San Diego Chargers were in the game: 10 million-to-1 odds
-- The Broncos could have lost by 100 points and it couldn't have wiped the smile off of Kevin Stadler's face on Sunday: LOCK
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
There were no public displays of affection between Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky this week, but Paulina's highly anticipated TaylorMade commercial finally debuted. Don't blink or you'll miss her:
THIS AND THAT
A renovation is planned for TPC Scottsdale by Tom Weiskopf, one of the course's original designers. What, are they installing kegerators on No. 16? . . . Speaking of the Phoenix Open, the tournament announced it broke its attendance record with 563,008 fans for the week. Really? Can I hire the guy who crunches those numbers to figure out how many people read this column? . . . People are still talking about the recent Grammys, but let's discuss the Emmys and how there should be an investigation if Matthew McConaughey (above) doesn't win one for his role on HBO's True Detective. He also happens to be a single-digit handicapper. Man crush alert!
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Who would be the best actor on the PGA Tour?
Does Tiger care about non-majors anymore?
Why didn't I bet more on the Seahawks?