An embarrassing PGA Tour video, a leaked European Tour list, and a caddie steals the show on the first tee
Welcome to another edition of The Grind where we never thought we’d see an accurate portrayal of what it was like trying to follow Tiger Woods on Sunday at the 2019 Masters. But the people behind HBO’s Game of Thrones gave us just that with the "Battle of Winterfell.” Kudos. OK, so there was a little less blood and guts at Augusta National, but it was the same level of visibility. And thus, this was my favorite tweet of the millions fired off about the wildly overrated (Yeah, I said it) episode:
Seriously, I thought there was something wrong with my TV. Anyway, I'm glad golf's current King is back on his throne and that the golf gods gave us plenty to talk about once again. Let's dive in.
Ryan Palmer (and Jon Rahm): Who knew all Palmer had to do to win this event was dump that dead weight Jordan Spieth? Kidding. Sort of. After disappointing results playing with his buddy the first two years at the Zurich, Spieth sat this one out. In turn, Palmer latched onto Rahm (whose normal partner, Wesley Bryan, is injured), and boom, three-shot win. Easy as that. The victory was particularly sweet for Palmer, whose last win came in 2010. During that span, the 42-year-old Texan posted 40 top-10s (the most on tour without a win) and went through a breast-cancer scare with his wife, Jennifer. So when she and the couple’s son ran onto the 18th green at TPC Louisiana, there weren’t too many dry eyes watching. “There’s nothing I can say that can top that,” Rahm told CBS’ Peter Kostis.
Well said, Jon.
Scott Hoch (and Tom Pernice Jr.): Another tour, another team tournament. Hoch’s (and Pernice’s) win at the Bass Legends of Golf isn’t quite the fuzzy, feel-good story of Palmer (and Rahm), but it’s still pretty impressive. At 63 years and eight months, Hoch became the oldest winner in PGA Tour Champions history. At least, until Bernhard Langer starts blowing that record out of the water in a couple years.
Aaron Flener’s pipes: The Zurich Classic’s walk-up songs were much-improved this year, in particular, because they actually served as walk-up songs. It also produced some interesting results like Billy Hurley III and Peter Malnati’s “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands,” a current favorite with our 1-year-old daughter. But caddie Aaron Flener stole the first-tee show by singing his team’s song—and singing it quite well:
Good stuff, Aaron. Call me if you ever want to do a duet …
Power lines on a golf course: These things are always unsightly, but even worse, they can be dangerous. Check out what happened during the PGA Tour Latinoamerica event in Argentina:
Fortunately, no one was hurt, and play wasn’t affected.
Slow players on tour: I have no clue what Avengers is all about, but there’s no way any of the characters in that movie are as big of a superhero as Edoardo Molinari. After some Twitter chatter with a fellow European Tour pro about how bad golf’s slow-play problem has gotten, the Italian outed the tour’s slowest players by posting a confidential list of offenders this season:
Perhaps the craziest thing about the whole situation is that only three players have been fined a total of $9,000 over six months for not keeping up proper pace. Not good! In any event, keep up the good fight, Edoardo!
Aussie golfers running: Or should we say “running”? Adam Scott and Jason Day were part of this viral video of a foursome (Jhonattan Vegas and Abraham Ancer in their cute matching team uniforms were the other two) scampering to try to beat the darkness on a weather-delayed first day in New Orleans. Let’s just say it doesn’t help the whole “Golfers are athletes!” argument. Although Ancer’s bizarre arm flapping also deserves notice, Scott and Day’s lack of speed didn’t bolster their NFL Draft stock:
Let’s just hope Day didn’t pull a hammy.
The PGA Tour heads to Charlotte for the Wells Fargo Championship, AKA that event at Quail Hollow that Tiger Woods usually plays in except he’s not playing in it this year because he’s still recovering from/celebrating the Masters. Between that early Masters Sunday and this, poor CBS just can’t catch a break.
Random tournament fact: This is our yearly reminder that Anthony Kim won his first PGA Tour title here in 2008. Sadly, Golf.com reported last week that his golf game is “non-existent right now.” One of the great “what could have been” stories in sports. Sigh.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
— Anthony Kim will win again on the PGA Tour: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds
— J.T. Poston will make the U.S. Presidents Cup team this year: 50-to-1 odds
— Aaron Flener will sing the national anthem there if he does: LOCK
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Tiger Woods’ recent Masters victory has inspired a lot of great art, but none better than this piece that was shared on Reddit:
OK, so that’s really a photo of a painting of a photo, but it counts.
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (LITTLE KIDS DIVISION)
Check out Danny Willett’s chip off the old block:
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (BIG KIDS DIVISION)
And how about this celebratory “drink” by Rahm and Palmer?
Somewhere, Marshawn Lynch is smiling.
THIS WEEK IN CELEBRITY GOLFERS
This might be the greatest week in the history of celebrity golfers. Among the highlights, former MLB player Eric Byrnes broke a record by playing 420 holes in ONE day. The guy once stole 50 bases in a season, but c’mon, that’s ridiculous.
But even Byrnes isn’t as dedicated to the game as Alabama football coach Nick Saban, who scheduled his hip surgery around a round of golf. And after the procedure, his surgeon’s statement said, “He should be able to return to work in the very near future, and we’ll have him back out on the golf course, with hopefully a few more yards off the tee, as soon as possible.” Good to see his priorities are in order.
It wasn’t all celeb golf highlights, though. Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster found out there’s really no such thing as a gimme:
And Kid Rock hit a shank off a woman’s beverage that was fortunately captured on camera:
THIS WEEK IN DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Hey, even WAGS have to recharge their batteries after a close call in a major.
THIS WEEK IN GOOD SUMARITANS
What a week of golf angels! First, there was the story of a New Hampshire police officer named Justin Maguire who promised to play golf with a man he kept having to arrest if the guy got sober. He did, and after helping him secure a set of clubs, the two plan to tee it up later this summer.
Manchester Ink Link
And then there's Chris Harris, a Kansas City man who made good on another promise, this time to bulldoze his house to complete a golf course for neighborhood kids.
Amazing. You can donate to Harris' cause here.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
This entire Tiger Woods interview with GOLFTV’s Henni Zuel is fantastic. So pick a quote, any quote.
THIS AND THAT
The USGA granted Stacy Lewis, who had her first kid in October, a special exemption into the U.S. Women’s Open and says it is changing its maternity policy regarding qualifying. The USGA takes a lot of hits so it’s only fair to point out when golf’s governing body does something right. Good job, USGA! … The USGA also gave Ernie Els a special exemption into the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Considering he’s a two-time winner of the event and has a runner-up and a third the last two times it was held at Pebble, this is well-deserved. Good job again, USGA! … Tyler Neff shot a front-nine 27 at a Web.com Tour Monday qualifier, finished with a 65, and didn't earn a spot into the event. Pro golf is tough, kids. … Jeopardy! sensation James Holzhauer won by $18 to extend his winning streak to 18. Has Alex Trebek tried stumping this dude with a golf category yet? … And finally, I’ve been thinking about what my first tee walk-up song would be and I’ve come to a decision: “Rockin’ the Suburbs” by Ben Folds:
Now I’m fired up to play again. Too bad it rains every day here.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
When is good weather going to get here?
When will Jeopardy! James' streak be snapped?
What would Tiger Woods’ walk-up song be?