By Alex Myers
Welcome to a special year-end edition of The Grind, where we promise to provide you with a break from Christmas music. At this point in the year, the stuff is everywhere -- kind of like professional golf (now that's a transition!). From Thailand to South Africa, from Father/Son to alternate-shot events, the halls were decked (sorry) with tournaments. We'll put a bow on it all and get you ready for the holidays.
Sergio Garcia: It was a relatively quiet year -- on the course -- for Garcia, but like Rory McIlroy a couple weeks ago, he'll end his season on an encouraging note. Garcia had a hole-in-one on Friday and shot a Sunday 68 to pull away from Henrik Stenson at the Thailand Golf Championship. Yep, he stopped Hank the Tank. And then there was. . .
Sergio Garcia's girlfriend: Katharina Boehm was the lovely lady carrying Garcia's bag, winning in her debut as a professional caddie. Watch out, Steve Williams! But Boehm isn't just eye candy, having spent four years on the College of Charleston's women's golf team. We're not sure how long she'll last as either Garcia's caddie or girlfriend, but we hope she sticks around. We like kissy-face Sergio better than sourpuss Sergio.
Harris English: The rising star was a late replacement for Brandt Snedeker at the Franklin Templeton Shootout, but wound up teaming up with Matt Kuchar for a dominant win. English will enter 2014 at No. 2 on the FedEx Cup points list (wraparound season!) after winning the OHL Classic last month. How long does momentum last when you're carrying it over from the same season, but into a new year?
Unofficial 59s: The European Tour decided not to officially count the 59s by Jorge Campillo and Colin Nel at the Nelson Mandela Championship on Friday due to the golfers playing preferred lies and on a par-71 course that had been shortened to a par 70. We can see the tour's side (though two of the PGA Tour's sub-60 rounds came using preferred lies), but that's quite a dagger for a couple of lesser-known players who could have seen their names in the record book. Even worse, neither golfer won the rain-shortened tournament, with Nel finishing way down at T-40. How is that possible?!
Golf course shootings: A Reno man received five years probation for firing a shotgun at a golfer who had broken a window in his house with a stray golf shot. We've witnessed a lot of bad golf shots carom off houses over the years. You cringe and listen, hoping not to hear any broken glass, but who knew this was a possible consequence for causing damage? Scary stuff.
Michael Jordan's Chicago mansion: At least, Michael Jordan hopes it is selling. The spectacular layout that includes a full-sized indoor basketball court and an outdoor practice chipping and putting area is finally heading to auction. Jordan originally listed the property for $29 million in February 2012 and then lowered the ask to $21 million before pulling it off the market. The lesson? Don't personalize real estate. Not everyone wears No. 23, Michael.
There is nothing of note on the schedule and do you know what? We're OK with that.
Random fact: Jim Furyk has never beaten an NFL mascot in a closest-to-the-pin competition. Well, that's not an official stat, but he did lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars' mascot, Jaxson de Ville, this past Sunday. The only possible explanation? Jags kicker and plus-3 handicap Josh Scobee was actually the person in that costume.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Paula Creamer is engaged. Yes, the same Paula Creamer with whom I had a romantic lunch this summer (six other people were there) and who sent me a couple hearts and a smiley face on Twitter (when I complimented her on her new calendar) just last week. Paula, I thought we had something special! But seriously, congrats. I'm. So. Happy. For. You. Two.
THIS WEEK IN DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Nothing new from these lovebirds this week, but Paula's engagement reminded us Paulina and DJ are getting engaged back in August.
Wow, Paulina and Paula, two of The Grind's favorites, getting engaged in a span of three months? Man, it's been a
tough heartbreaking devastating great year in golf.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- Colin Nel will shoot another 59 on the European Tour: 1 Million-to-1 odds
-- Katharina Boehm will be Sergio Garcia's full-time caddie in 2014: 100-to-1 odds
-- Katharina Boehm will be better looking than whoever else caddies for Garcia in 2014: LOCK
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
PGA Tour pros are human! Jason Dufner proves that with this gaffe at the Franklin Templeton Shootout:
Dufner accidentally hits his ball when he's lining up a birdie putt. Fortunately, since it was the Franklin Templeton Shootout and not the U.S. Open, Dufner just picked up his ball and a good laugh was had by all.
THIS AND THAT
Stewart and Connor Cink captured the Father/Son Challenge. The younger Cink is a freshman at Clemson, but isn't on the school team and doesn't play much golf in general. We're very jealous. . . . On Thursday, Tiger Woods' half-brother, Earl Woods Jr., called in a false bomb threat in the government building where he works. And you thought 2013 couldn't get any weirder for Tiger. . . . Congrats to Peyton Manning (above) for winning Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year. We're glad to see the award go to a golfer. Well, sort of.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Will Tiger Woods make a New Year's rules resolution?
Is there any musician who hasn't recorded a Christmas song?
I will remember you (Paula). Will you remember me?