A new Open Championship favorite emerges, another green jacket is handed out, and PGA Tour WAGs get very patriotic
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we celebrated the Fourth by toasting a third green jacket. That’s right, after six (LONG) years, I finally captured another HGGA Championship (my annual golf trip). This one was the sweetest since it included the clutchest birdie (moment) of my life and for the first time, I got to savor the winner’s walk up the finishing hole. Here I am getting the green jacket from defending champ (and this year’s runner-up) Josh Thomson:
And here I am getting a hero’s welcome weird looks upon my return to JFK Airport:
OK, enough about me. Let’s get to everything else, including those bikini photos that probably got you to click on this.
Kyle Stanley: A former rising star, Stanley fell out of the top 400 in the Official World Golf Ranking less than three years after winning his first PGA Tour title. But less than two years after that, he picked up win No. 2 in a playoff over Charles Howell III at the Quicken Loans National. Then he gave one of the most emotional interviews of the season.
Danielle Kang: The two-time U.S. Women’s Amateur champ finally broke through for her first LPGA win, and she made it a major no less at the KPMG PGA Championship. And how about this intricate handshake with Michelle Wie?
Tommy Fleetwood: With a win at the HNA Open de France, Fleetwood has moved from darkhorse British Open pick to one of the favorites to win the claret jug. And no, this is not just because he grew up near Royal Birkdale. Since the start of 2017, only Dustin Johnson has earned more Official World Golf Ranking points.
Michael Buttacavoli’s luck: There’s being snake bitten, and there’s whatever this PGA Tour Latinoamerica player is. For the second time in a month, airlines misplaced Buttacavoli’s golf bag ahead of a major qualifier.
This time, Michael got them in time for his round, but didn’t earn a spot into the British Open. What’s even more incredible is that all my group’s golf bags made it to and from Myrtle Beach without a hitch.
David Boote’s close calls: This Welsh amateur had his clubs and played well at both his U.S. and British Open qualifiers. Just not quite well enough. Boote barely missed out on getting into the field at both Erin Hills and Royal Birkdale by losing in a playoff both times. Poor guy.
Weather forecasts: PGA Tour pro Sung Kang got drenched late in the final round of the Quicken Loans National – and lost his chance for a first PGA Tour win -- because he didn’t have any raingear. Bad job by him, although in his defense, Kang said he saw a forecast of ZERO percent rain. Meanwhile, in Myrtle Beach, we faced an 80-percent chance of thunderstorms for five straight days, yet only got rained on for about an hour total. Seriously, what’s the point of even checking the weather?
The PGA Tour heads to West Virginia for the Greenbrier Classic, where the winner also receives a green jacket.
Random tournament fact: The 2016 event was canceled due to heavy flooding so everyone involved is pretty happy that it’s happening at all this year.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- The Greenbrier winner will appreciate his green jacket as much as I do: 100-to-1 odds
-- Bubba Watson will win : 30-to-1 odds (Actual odds)
-- You will see Greenbrier commercials featuring Bubba Watson: LOCK
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
How much do those on our golf trip want to win? Here’s Eric Lebowitz risking life and limb to hit a ball from a hanging lie.
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Watch this moose chasing after a golfer in Sweden:
And I thought some of the gators we saw in Myrtle Beach were scary.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
Zac Blair showed an amazing sense of humor after a tough finish at Quicken Loans National cost him a big payday:
THIS WEEK IN DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY PUBLIC DISPLAYS ~~OF AFFECTION~~
THIS WEEK IN PGA TOUR PROS (AND WAGS) SHOWING THEIR PATRIOTIC SIDES
Paulina wasn’t the only PGA Tour pro or WAG waving the red, white, and blue. Check out Austin Johnson’s girlfriend, Sam Maddox:
And Allison Stokke and Rickie Fowler:
And Rickie and Justin Thomas and a whole crew of American-loving youngsters:
And Stokke and Michelle Wie:
And Brooks Koepka and Jena Sims:
And Erin Walker:
And one more, just for the heck of it:
Happy July Fourth, everyone.
THIS AND THAT
Those hooligans who did extensive damage to the Golf Club of Houston were caught and have promised to repay the club for damage done. That's a start. . . . Several European Tour pros are claiming their golf clubs were tampered with at the French Open. If true, we could be on the brink of a widespread cheating scandal. . . . Speaking of rules controversies, Brandel Chamblee reignited the Bernhard Langer anchoring controversy with this strongly worded tweet:
Something tells us we haven’t heard that last about this. . . . Kenny Perry picked up a fourth major title on the PGA Tour Champions at the U.S. Senior Open. There's no controversy with his putting stroke, although he does that annoying plumb bobbing thing. . . . And finally, in addition to the (other) green jacket, I took home the prestigious “Spirit of the Commissioner” Award, completing a historic double:
And in the spirit of everyone getting a trophy, we have decided to have a full awards banquet on next year’s trip that will include categories like “Gutsiest Performance” and “Best Outburst.” We have problems.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Who would win a PGA Tour hot-dog-eating contest?
Is it time to get our green jacket dry-cleaned?
Would our green jacket disintegrate if dry-cleaned?