Welcome to another edition of The Grind where we have never been prouder to work at Golf Digest following Friday’s Seitz Cup, AKA the coldest company golf outing on record. On a day when the temperature didn’t get above 35 degrees (with 15-mph-plus winds), there were no WDs from the 36-person field. In fact, a 37th, Christian Iooss who is still recovering from a broken leg, showed up at Rock Ridge Country Club just to document the event. Talk about guts. In fact, I’m pretty sure there are more photos from this year’s Seitz Cup than the 2017 Presidents Cup. Here are a couple:
And here’s a photo of the SEVEN-layer getup I wore to survive the elements. Eight if you count hitting the bar early for something to warm my belly.
I sacrificed distance for avoiding hypothermia. Good trade. Forget the scoreboard, everyone was a winner for showing up. Kidding! Only members of the Old Team really won. Let’s have a look at that scoreboard:
Anyway, our little event helped fill the void of a rare off week on the PGA Tour, but that doesn’t mean it was a quiet week in golf. Now that my fingers have thawed, let’s dive in.
Tyrrell Hatton: The fiery Brit emerged a winner in the year’s wildest playoff, a six-man show under the lights at the Turkish Airlines Open.
Adding to the drama was a $2 million winner’s check, while the other five guys wound up “only” earning $480,000 each. Hatton stayed alive on a chip-in birdie on the first playoff hole then finally won when Matthias Schwab needed four shots from the fringe, possibly because it was almost pitch black. Man, the European Tour is awesome.
Jeff Maggert/Scott McCarron: If the European Tour gave us the wildest playoff of the year, the PGA Tour Champions gave us the best playoff ending of 2019 with Jeff Maggert’s eagle hole-out from 123 yards on the third extra hole. Watch the shot—and the reaction from Maggert’s wife, Michelle:
Incredible. Unfortunately for Retief Goosen, it was a double dagger as he not only finished runner-up in the season finale, but it also kept him from claiming the season-long Schwab Cup. Instead, Scott McCarron celebrated from the clubhouse as Maggert’s hole-out heroics earned him the $1 million prize. And then he treated everyone to drinks—“especially for the Maggerts.”
Incredibly, Maggert now has two walk-off hole-outs in two big-time events 20 years apart:
Sneaky-silky swing. Sneaky-good career. And now an open bar tab on Scott McCarron. It’s good to be Jeff Maggert.
Ho-sung Choi: After missing the cut in four PGA Tour starts in 2019, Ho-sung reeled in a third career victory on the Japan Golf Tour. And if you’re wondering if he did it with the same flair golf fans are used to seeing from the viral sensation, well, duh:
If he never becomes a PGA Tour star, at 46, he’s only a few years away from the senior circuit. Hope he likes red wine and winning annuities!
Tiger picking Tiger: We all knew this was coming, but it was still cool to watch Woods announce himself as one of four Presidents Cup captain’s picks. Going third-person to ham it up was a nice touch:
What a boss move.
Tiger not picking Na: Far be it from me to question Captain Woods’ decisions, but I was disappointed Kevin Na didn’t get the call while Woods, Tony Finau, Gary Woodland and Patrick Reed did. A.) Na’s a great putter; B.) He’s won three of his past 30 PGA Tour starts; C.) He’s fun to watch; D.) He’s never played for Team USA. It’s this last point that saddens me the most. If not now at 36, you have to wonder if Na will ever suit up for Team USA. Of course, if Brooks Koepka isn't ready to go, Tiger might have to make another pick ...
Strict scorecard rules: First, Luis Gagne got disqualified from Korn Ferry Tour Q School second stage for forgetting to sign his scorecard following a one-under-par first round. Ouch. But even worse is what happened to Kaitlyn Papp and Emilia Migliaccio at the Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship. The duo made a best-ball birdie, but it was discovered after the round that it was credited to the wrong player. That’s OK, it’s just a slap on the wrist, right? Wrong! They were disqualified from the event, which also disqualified the entire U.S. mixed team that also included two male amateurs. Rough. That being said ... would it kill these players to be just a bit more careful with this stuff? Just saying.
Running out of golf balls: Eddie Pepperell added to his legend by subtracting golf balls from his bag going for a par 5 in two at such a clip his playing partners lost count. Unfortunately, there’s no video of the incident, but we dug up a photo of what we imagine the scene looked like:
Unlike “Tin Cup,” Pepperell didn't eventually hole-out a 3-wood. Instead, he ran out of golf balls and was disqualified. The weirdest part is that he didn't ask playing partner Martin Kaymer to borrow a golf ball (presuming they played the same make and model). After working so hard to find his German friend a girlfriend recently, we're guessing he would have happily handed a sleeve of balls over. Oh well. We look forward to hearing Eddie's explanation.
The PGA Tour heads to Mexico for the Mayakoba Golf Classic, AKA that place where Matt Kuchar won last year with a local caddie on the bag to break a four-year winless drought. What a heartwarming story! I wonder whatever happened to El Tucan? Oh. Right. Actually, Mark Cannizzaro did a great piece on the guy and it turns out he bought a used BMW (after eventually getting more money from Kuchar), but scrapped his plans to start a “Kuchar Laundry.” Too bad.
Random tournament fact: Rickie Fowler, who finished runner-up in this event two years ago, withdrew with an intestinal bacterial infection he says he contracted on his honeymoon. Some people just aren’t cut out for the all-you-can-eat buffet at Sandals. Get well soon, Rick!
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
—There will be a walk-off eagle AND a six-way playoff under the lights in the same week again: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds
—Matt Kuchar will repeat as the winner of the Mayakoba: 14-to-1 odds (Actual odds, favorite)
—Matt Kuchar will pay his caddie better this year: LOCK
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Apologies for my awful screen shot, but this was too good to skip:
Smiles and red wine. Welcome to the PGA Tour Champions.
VIRAL VIDEO(S) OF THE WEEK
And speaking of those fun-loving seniors, this video of several players trying to recreate popular GIFs was surprisingly entertaining:
Of course, if we’re going to talk about “old” golfers, we have to get back to the Seitz Cup. In an epic Duel In The Low Winter Sun, Ryan Herrington drained this winning putt against Jersey boys Stephen Hennessey and Christopher Powers on the final hole:
And you thought Ho-sung Choi had good reactions.
ARCHIVE VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Tiger Woods on the “conversation” he had with Phil Mickelson during their famed final-round duel at the 2001 Masters:
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Martin Kaymer on Eddie Pepperell’s wild DQ:
“Eddie hit his shots to the green, then came over to tell us he had run out of balls. Then he walked off. I thought he lost four or five. We are about 80 percent sure it was five, 20 percent four. He was quick, so it was hard to keep track. He did not ask if he could borrow one from me or George. It did not look like he wanted to play. He did not putt with his putter on the third hole; he putted with a wedge. So there was a lot happening. I have never seen anything like that before. I only watched it on television, in ‘Tin Cup.’ This is the first time I have seen it live.” Perfect.
TWEETS OF THE WEEK
THIS WEEK IN CELEBRITY GOLFERS
This is an oldie, but a goodie. According to Jeremy Roenick, Michael Jordan once drank about 10 Bud Lights during 36 holes with him—and then dropped 52 points that night in a win.
Turns out, it was only 44 points, but still, what a legend. No wonder he scoffs at the "load management" in today's NBA.
THIS AND THAT
I had a great chat with stats guru Justin Ray, who is 15th Club’s head of content, on this week’s Golf Digest Podcast. Among other things, Justin has dug really deep to determine Tiger Woods is really, really good. ... Speaking of stats, Rory McIlroy has now spent 500 weeks inside the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking. He's still 30. Wow. ... A Florida man stole a golf cart and led police on a chase before crashing and being caught. Of course, in Florida, they call this Wednesday. ... And finally, I happened to hear a track in CVS from my man Griffin House, who also has a new documentary out about the making of his latest album, “Rising Star”:
In addition to being a super-talented musician, Griffin is also a scratch golfer. Must be nice.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
What's the most golf balls I've lost in one round?
Who is going to partner with Patrick Reed at the Presidents Cup?
Can we play the Seitz Cup in the summer next year?