The Grind

Brendon Todd’s odd trend, Tiger Woods’ possible hint about his future, and an MLB All-Star’s driving-range bomb

November 19, 2019

Welcome to another edition of The Grind where we are glad no one was injured during Sergio Garcia’s baby gender reveal. Seriously, these things have become dangerous, but the Garcias kept it (relatively) simple with an exploding blue golf ball that also allowed Sergio to groove his driver swing during this soft spot in the schedule. How efficient!

Of course, there were plenty of other golf balls hit over the past week—both on purpose and accidentally—that also drew attention. Here's what else has the golf world talking.

WE'RE BUYING

Brendon Todd: Calling this one of the most remarkable turnarounds in sports history isn’t an exaggeration. Todd’s case of the full-swing yips caused him to miss 37 of 41 cuts at one point and fall out of the top 2,000 in the Official World Golf Ranking. But now The Toddfather is the toast of the PGA Tour after winning a second consecutive start. He also has a thing for ... wooden trophies?

Todd’s only other PGA Tour win came at the 2014 Byron Nelson and ...

Tom Pennington

There’s definitely a lot of wood there as well. Hmm. You almost wonder why he didn't win the Safeway Open and that giant wine barrel. Todd's win also has many wondering if Tiger Woods would consider adding him to the U.S. Presidents Cup team should Brooks Koepka's knee not feel up to the task next month. Todd's coach, Bradley Hughes, thinks it would be a good idea ...

Tommy Fleetwood: It’s about time, Tommy! Seriously, for such an elite player, the guy doesn’t win a lot. He’s almost a British Rickie Fowler minus the motorcross and Sunday orange. But Fleetwood saw plenty of green on Sunday by claiming the whopping $2.5 million (Yep, $2.5 million) first-place check at the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

Jan Kruger/Getty Images

It was the 28-year-old’s first win in 22 months and his fifth career Euro Tour title. Now it’s time for Tommy the Flusher to earn his maiden win on the PGA Tour.

Brandon Matthews: We’ve heard tales of this young man’s legendary length in recent years, but on Sunday, everyone was talking about his commendable compassion. Needing to make an eight-footer to extend a playoff on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica, Matthews missed as someone in the crowd blurted something out. Initially upset for obvious reasons, when word got back to Matthews that no malice was intended and that the man in question had Down Syndrome, Matthews wanted to meet him and make sure he was OK.

Nicely done, Brandon. Hopefully, the golf gods—and Santa—were watching.

Long-distance friendships: Apparently, Harold Varner III and Carlos Ortiz play so much Call of Duty with a young man named Arturo that Varner flew him up to actually meet and hang with them at the Mayakoba Golf Classic:

Cue Dionne Warwick!

“For good times ... and bad times ... I’ll be on your siiiiiide (in a video game) forever more. That’s what friends are for!”

WE'RE SELLING

Russell Henley’s penalty: First of all, kudos to Henley for reporting his odd rules violation. Henley only noticed he had accidentally played a (very slightly) different ball when digging a few out after his round to sign autographs. What a guy. But EIGHT strokes?! TWO strokes for each hole he used a different ProV1x model?! That seems a bit harsh. Look, I get the purpose of the rule is to prevent players from using different kinds of balls depending on wind or to putt (not that it would make much of a difference with today’s equipment), but c’mon. Anyway, Russell reported it, took the penalty, and gave up a paycheck by missing the cut. Golfers are a special breed, huh? Well ... Um ...

Billy Mayfair: As Golf.com’s Michael Bamberger reported, the longtime tour pro had two questionable rules situations in a seven-hole stretch that led to him being disqualified from a PGA Tour Champions event earlier this month. Not good!

At the very least, Mayfair was careless. At the worst, the Houston Astros weren’t the only athletes trying to break the rules this fall. We always point out how much fun players have on the senior tour, but this isn’t a laughing matter. Mayfair has some serious explaining to do to his peers before next season. And not just about the fact that like Ron Swanson, he has two wives named Tammy.

Falling down at a golf tournament: Tour pros aren’t the only ones who can lose their dignity during an event. Check out this poor guy who was just trying to get out of the way and fell off a ledge at the Nedbank:

Luckily, the guy was OK. And he wasn’t bitten by any of Sun City’s wildlife. (More on that later ... )

ON TAP

The PGA Tour heads to Sea Island Golf Club for the RSM Classic, AKA the Davis Love III Invitational, which is the last official PGA Tour stroke-play event of 2019. Meanwhile, the European Tour season concludes with the DP World Tour Championship, where Danny Willett is the defending champ, but three-time winner Rory McIlroy is a huge 4-to-1 favorite. While you wait for all the action to unfold, listen to this week’s Golf Digest Podcast (Now sponsored by Whoop! Woo!) with DL3:

Random tournament fact: I will be covering the RSM Classic in person from St. Simons Island this week. I mention this mainly because the last time I went to Georgia, Tiger Woods won the Masters. Do with that info what you like.

RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK

—This year’s RSM Classic will equal this year’s Masters: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds

—Brendon Todd will win the RSM Classic: 40-to-1 odds (Actual odds)

—Brendon Todd would win if the RSM Classic had a wooden trophy: LOCK

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

VIRAL VIDEO(S) OF THE WEEK

A tradition unlike any other ... the Nedbank Golf Challenge:

Mongoose? Check.

Baboons? Check. You gotta love it. Just not the snakes. We’ll refrain from showing those.

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (NON-WILDLIFE DIVISION)

This is fantastic:

My only complaint is that this marshal trying to silence a train at Chambers Bay didn’t make the cut, although that was probably due to a U.S. Open rights issue.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“I think the golden carrot of getting out there when you’re 50 is you get a cart, right? So that would be nice." — Tiger Woods appearing on the “Hot Breakfast” radio show in Australia. Hmm. Is Tiger hinting at playing on the PGA Tour Champions when he hits the big five-oh? The Scott McCarrons of the world better enjoy their fun while they can!

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Brilliant! Also, look at that wooden trophy. Tiger is lucky Brendon Todd wasn’t in the Zozo field.

THIS WEEK IN CELEBRITY GOLFERS

Nelson Cruz has some serious pop:

Has he thought about the World Long Drive circuit when his baseball career is over?

THIS WEEK IN CREATIVE MARKETING

Fresh off her impressive win at LPGA Q School, Muni He got a fresh manicure on Nike:

What will these brands think of next?

THIS AND THAT

Brendon Todd’s back-to-back PGA Tour titles have moved him up to No. 83 in the Official World Golf Ranking. The fact that he’s only No. 83 after such a hot run might be the best way to show just how far he had fallen. ... Matt Kuchar made a hole-in-one at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. The Grey Goose must have been flowing after—that is, if that’s still one of Kuchar’s sponsors. ... And finally, I was mesmerized by seeing a man wearing this spectacular M&Ms jacket in the grocery:

We might have to switch our green jacket for that before next year’s golf trip.

RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER

Will Sergio's baby boy get a Masters-themed name?

How long can Nelson Cruz hit a golf ball?

Are there any Chili’s on St. Simons Island?


WATCH MORE VIDEOS FROM THE LOOP

MORE FROM THE LOOP
This year's stuff that mattered

9 'things' that tell the story of the year in golf in 2019

December 11, 2019