By Alex Myers
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we're still trying to figure out what happened on the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. Martin Kaymer's tee shot went from looking good to bad to really bad to really unlucky to lucky. After a scruffy chip, though, he holed an unlikely bending 30-footer to emerge from the scariest hole in golf unscathed. How do you say "craziest freaking par of all time" in German? Martin, please get back to us. In the meantime, here's what else has us talking.
It would have been even better if his caddie didn't botch the high-five.
Martin Kaymer: The former World No. 1 looked in top form once again after a few down years. He opened with a course-record-tying 63 and did just enough on Sunday to earn his first PGA Tour win since the 2010 PGA Championship. With the victory, Kaymer is just the fourth golfer to win a major, a Players and a WGC event, joining Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott. Throw in having been ranked No. 1, and only he and Tiger remain in that group. Oh yeah, you may remember he also made the putt that won the 2012 Ryder Cup. Not even Tiger can say that. At 29, the German has already put together quite a career.
Jim Furyk: The Grinder's new formula seems to be to go really low on Sunday and then sweat it out in the clubhouse. It hasn't quite worked out yet, but it beats blowing 54-hole leads. Furyk's final-round 66 nearly caught Kaymer a week after he almost tracked down J.B. Holmes at Quail Hollow with a Sunday 65. Furyk still hasn't won on the PGA Tour since the 2010 Tour Championship, but it's hard to feel bad for the Monday birthday boy (Happy 44th!). He made more than $1 million for losing.
With the win, Kaymer got $1.8 million and a new locker!
The Golf Gods: Mother Nature almost ruined the final round at the Players, but thank goodness the powers that be allowed us to avoid a Monday finish. They also thought better of letting Kaymer's ball go in the water on No. 17. Very nice of you guys. But why did you let John Senden find the water there? I had him at 20/1 for low "rest of the world" finisher!
Jordan Spieth: No, he didn't get it done on Sunday at a big tournament again, but how can we knock a 20-year-old who went 58 holes without a bogey to start his first Players? You could have placed a ball on TPC Sawgrass' clubhouse roof and Spieth would have found a way to get up-and-down those first two days.
Golf's big guns: Tiger Woods and Jason Day didn't play, Phil Mickelson missed the cut, and none of the four guys chasing Tiger for the top spot in the OWGR could manage better than a T-17. The Players delivered another exciting finish, but it wasn't enough to overcome the absence of so many big names from TPC Sawgrass' leader board . . .
Players TV ratings: These were down 54 percent from last year's tournament. Fifty-four percent! In other words, Jordan Spieth is great, but he's no Tiger when it comes to closing tournaments (yet), or moving the needle. Heck, even adding Josh Elliott to its golf coverage over the weekend couldn't help NBC.
Rory McIlroy: No one had a weirder week than McIlroy, whose 17 under on the back nine broke the tournament record by FOUR shots (How did he not win?!). His 38 average on the front nine, though, never made him a threat as he picked up another back-door top 10 (How did he finish T-6?!).
The "HD Rule": So . . . Justin Rose's ball did move, but he wound up not getting penalized? Interesting. So . . . officials can check a "sophisticated technology" replay to see if a ball moved and then, after determining it did, determine that they wouldn't have been able to determine it moved if not for looking at a "sophisticated technology" replay? And therefore, the "sophisticated technology" replay doesn't matter any more? Wait, what? Rose's ball potentially moving wasn't pointed out by a fan watching at home. It was pointed out by Rose. And if he didn't get penalized after replays confirmed the ball moved, then what was the point of even looking at the replay?
The PGA Tour heads to Dallas for the HP Byron Nelson Classic, aka that tournament where Jordan Spieth once contended when he was 16. You know, before he was a such grizzled tour veteran.
Random tournament fact: Johnny Manziel will NOT play in the pro-am after previously committing to the field. This is important because Johnny Football is EVERYTHING these days. Also, Jason Dufner will be devastated.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- Jordan Spieth will go 58 holes without a bogey at next month's U.S. Open: 1 million-to-1 odds.
-- Spieth will get to No. 1 in the OWGR before he can legally have a drink to celebrate: 5-to-1 odds
-- There will be a lot more balls hit into the water on No. 17 at TPC Sawgrass this week: LOCK
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
I thought my photo of Kevin Na going through airport security would take the cake (He moved surprisingly fast, by the way), but it wound up not even being the best stalkerish photo of a golfer at Jacksonville International Airport on Monday. That honor goes to a photo of Martin Kaymer in his own little world, shot by Stephanie Wei.
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Like Kaymer, Richard H. Lee also flirted with the water's edge on TPC Sawgrass' 17th during the final round. Unlike Kaymer, he did not escape with a par.
THIS WEEK IN
DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION TINY BIKINIS
In related news, Paulina and my paths finally crossed at a tournament. Literally. She was whizzing out to see Dustin play, and I was moving just as fast to get back to the media center. Stupid work. Until next time, Paulina, until next time . . . At least, I got a chance to talk to Amanda Dufner. You can read my groundbreaking Q&A with the lovely tour wife, here.
THIS AND THAT
Adam Scott revealed he got married in secret last month and that there wasn't a proposal or a honeymoon. Ladies, I know he's dreamy, but don't you need more romance than that? Oh, not when it's Adam Scott? Got it. . . . The R&A is considering allowing proxy votes on the female membership issue. Whatever it takes to get this done! . . . Elin Nordegren earned a bachelors in psychology from Rollins College with a 3.96 GPA and delivered a commencement speech. Psychology, you say? Maybe we'll see her back on the PGA Tour after all. . . . Speaking of impressive numbers, I extended my epic streak of eating at the same Jacksonville-area Chili's during the Players to 20 this past week. Congratulations to me on a job . . . done. Actually, J.R. Smith's 21 straight days (and counting) of playing golf is even more impressive. That's me with the New York Knicks star (I'm the guy who isn't 6-foot-6). You know, just a couple of players at the Players.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Why have I never seen a PGA Tour player at Chili's?
Does anyone on tour really understand the "HD rule"?
Did Martin Kaymer at least upgrade his flight to first class?