By Alex Myers
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we are pleased that Rory McIlroy used the same target words, "spot" and "process," en route to his latest major triumph that we use around here. Confused? Let us explain. First, we "spot" the golf week's most interesting happenings (Yes, this entails more than clicking refresh on Paulina Gretzky's Instagram account). Then, we go through the "process" of putting them all together in a hopefully somewhat entertaining format so you don't have to search for these things yourself and . . . voila! It sounds so simple, right? Well, it's not. Pros like Rory and us just make it look that way. So sit back, relax, and let us do our thing.
Rory McIlroy: With his two-shot win (it felt like more, right?) at the British Open, McIlroy joined Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only golfers to win three majors by age 25. Bet you've heard that one, but you probably didn't hear about the big 500-to-1 bet his dad placed on him when he was 15 . . . oh, you have? Fine. What else is there to say? This guy is insanely good when he's on and he's on pace to be one of the all-time greats. Oh yeah, and he won me the Golf Digest British Open Fantasy Draft, meaning I've now won the "career Grand Slam" in our office pools in less than two full seasons of majors. Try to keep up, Rory!
When Rory wins big, his family wins big. Literally.
Sergio Garcia: At least this close call will be easier to shake off than others since Garcia made a spirited run with a Sunday 66. Plus, he gained a lot of respect for how he graciously handled defeat. "It looks like I'm finally growing up," he said after. It only took 34 years.
Rickie Fowler: We laughed when he said he gears his game up for the majors at the U.S. Open -- this is a guy with just ONE PGA Tour win to his credit -- but apparently, he wasn't kidding. With his T-2 at Hoylake, Fowler became the first player since Tiger Woods in 2005 to finish in the top five in each of the year's first three majors. Incredibly, those are his only top-five finishes in 19 stroke-play events this season. But hey, if you're going to have three great weeks a year, those are the three weeks you want to have them.
Lydia Ko: Rory wasn't the only phenom to win Sunday. Ko, 17, picked up her fourth LPGA title and became the youngest female golfer to bank more than the $1 million in career earnings, breaking Lexi Thompson's record by 17 months. And that doesn't even include the two wins and other high finishes she picked up while she was still an amateur. Is it too late to get a 500-to-1 bet on her winning a major?
Tiger Woods: He really teased us with that opening 69, didn't he? Overall, making the cut at a major in his second start since having back surgery less than four months ago should probably be viewed as a positive step. But finishing T-69 -- Woods' career-worst 72-hole position at a major by far -- doesn't leave us expecting much the rest of the year and even leaves his position on the U.S. Ryder Cup team doubtful. After all, he and captain Tom Watson don't appear to be too chummy these days.
Dustin Johnson: Rory's closest challenger entering the weekend only managed a T-12. We've been waiting on Johnson to break through at a major for awhile. Now 30, it's really time for DJ to get going.
Bubba Watson: Speaking of long hitters coming up short, Watson, after winning the year's first major has now missed the cut in the last two. More so, he came off as whiny when he complained about "negative comments" in the press after Friday's round. "Bubba Golf" isn't as fun when things aren't going his way, is it?
Jagermeister: In the claret jug? Really, Rory? You're 25 now. But McIlroy can't seem to shake the disgusting dark drink (sorry, bad memories). In fact, he has a long history with it. Don't worry, we broke it all down in our latest piece of hard-hitting journalism. Maybe Rory really meant to say his target words were "shot" and process.
The PGA Tour heads to Canada for the RBC Canadian Open, aka that tournament Hunter Mahan left when he was leading after 36 holes to be with his wife for the birth of their first child. Well played, Hunter.
Random tournament fact: This year's event is at Royal Montreal Golf Club, the site of the Americans romp at the 2007 Presidents Cup. Or, if you're Canadian, the site of Mike Weir's singles win over Tiger Woods in 2007.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- Ben Hogan drank Jagermeister from the claret jug: 1 million-to-1 odds
-- Rory McIlroy will complete the career Grand Slam at some point: 1-to-2 odds
-- Between Rory and Phil, you'll get sick of hearing about career Grand Slams at some point next year: LOCK
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"I've really found my passion again for golf. Not that it ever dwindled, but it's what I think about when I get up in the morning, it's what I think about when I go to bed. I just want to be the best golfer I can be." -- Rory McIlroy. That doesn't bode well for other golfers.
THIS WEEK IN PAULINA GRETZKY-DUSTIN JOHNSON PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
"Good luck today baby!! Love you" Paulina posted before Sunday's final round. Unfortunately, her well wishes didn't do DJ much good:
Mmm. Are those giant . . . Oreos? And for some reason, DJ waited until Saturday to post this pic of the couple celebrating his birthday that happened nearly a month ago. We didn't miss it, though. "Spot" and "process"!!!
THIS WEEK IN AWFUL GOLF BY CHARLES BARKLEY
The Chuckster competed in the American Century Championship, the biggest celebrity golf tournament. It did not go well. Here's a look at his scorecard from the three days:
Over the course of 54 holes, the best Barkley could do was five bogeys. Amazing. Oh, and the reason for all the double bogeys is that is the maximum score you can take in the modified Stableford system. Paul Azinger offered Barkley free golf lessons on Twitter and said he'd shave his head if he couldn't fix the former Hank Haney student in 20 minutes. Please take him up on that, Charles. It's a win-win for everyone.
VIRAL VIDEO(S) OF THE WEEK
It's one thing to let John Daly hit a golf ball that's teed up on your face. It's another to let some random dude hit one off your crotch. Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars did just that at a charity golf event:
OK, so he later said the guy was a "pro." We hope so. He also yelled that it "tickled." Interesting.
And then there's Lee Westwood's singing, courtesy of Stephanie Wei.
Who says this guy doesn't have a lot of guts?
THIS AND THAT
Mark Rypien won the American Century Championship for the first time since the inaugural event in 1990. That's a long time to wait for another major. This guy is the Ernie Els of celebrity golf! . . . Caroline Wozniacki won her first tournament in nine months on the same day Rory captured the claret jug. What are the odds? . . . Speaking of odds, did I mention that I won our office pool and a small, legal wager on Rory McIlroy (18-to-1!) winning the British Open? Cashing in a bet is always nice, but collecting in pounds makes it feel so much more sophisticated.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Why doesn't Rickie Fowler play better in regular tour events?
How many majors will Rory McIlroy win?
Did Gerry McIlroy bet on that too?