Brooks Koepka snubs Tiger Woods, a new worst celebrity golfer emerges & Jena Sims turns heads at the ESPYS
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we have come to the realization that we need more physical activity. According to my iPhone, I walked 8.9 miles on Sunday. Not bad, right?
But consider this: 8.1 of those miles came from carrying my own bag (Grit!) that morning for a 6:20 tee time (More grit!). So I managed to move less than one mile over the next 12 hours! It’s basically impossible. Anyway, golf is literally saving my life, but with a major championship on tap, I’m going to be putting in LONG hours on the couch. Keep me in your thoughts this week, and in the meantime, here’s what else is going on in golf.
Dylan Frittelli: No longer just “that guy who was teammates with Jordan Spieth at Texas,” Frittelli finally broke through for his first PGA Tour win at the John Deere Classic. OK, so maybe finally is a bit of a stretch for a 29-year-old PGA Tour rookie who has methodically worked his way up the rungs of pro golf with wins on the European Challenge Tour and then the European Tour.
Regardless, this had to feel good—especially because he came into the week without as much as a top-15 finish this season. Golf!
The Haas family: It was great to see Jay and Bill back on leader boards this week. My fellow Demon Deacons finished runner-up at the Senior Players and T-10 at the John Deere, respectively. For Jay, only Retief Goosen’s maiden senior major victory at Firestone kept him from becoming the oldest-ever Champions Tour winner. For Bill, it was a disappointing Sunday, but a late birdie gave him his first top 10 (also a T-10) at the opening event of the season in October. Go Deacs!
BEEF: Bernd Wiesberger won the Scottish Open a week after finishing runner-up at the Irish Open (sleeper alert for the British Open!), but Andrew (Beef) Johnston was the best story of the week. The affable Brit who recently opened up about his mental health struggles fired a final-round 61 to finish T-4 and snag one of the final spots in the field at Royal Portrush this week. Great stuff. Watch his emotional post-round interview:
All the FEELS.
Major-week Brooks: Koepka finally admitted what everyone else has suspected for a long time: He really doesn’t care about the non-majors. “I just practice before the majors,” Koepka said on Tuesday. "Regular tournaments, I don’t practice. When you see me on TV, that’s when I play golf.” Hey, at least he’s honest. Also, Tiger Woods said he reached out to Brooks to tag along for a practice round at Royal Portrush (Koepka’s caddie, Ricky Elliot, grew up right down the road, and. . . heard. . . crickets. That’s why he’s No. 1. Dude is so locked in. And now that Vegas made Rory McIlroy the favorite over him, he’s got even more ammo. Good luck, everyone else.
The Open Qualifying Series: I understand the premise, but the selection of tournaments used to determine spots in the Open Championship is a bit arbitrary. Nate Lashley wins the Rocket Mortgage Classic and he’s in. Two weeks later, same for Dylan Frittelli at the John Deere Classic. But Matthew Wolff, the winner the week in between? Nope! He’ll be watching the action from the couch like the rest of us (only, I’m guessing he’ll keep more active than me). Golf fans may also be surprised to learn Wolff’s fellow stud rookies, Collin Morikawa and Viktor Hovland, won’t be at Royal Portrush, either. But four(!) players got in through their performance at the Singapore Open in January.
DeMarcus Ware: Move over, Charles Barkley, there’s a new worst celebrity/athlete golfer in the world! While Barkley finished -66 (It’s modified stableford so being minus anything is bad), Ware managed to post -75. Lucky for him, this is the only photo of him from the week on Getty Images:
NBC’s Dylan Dreyer finished dead last at -84, but we’ll give her a pass since she’s not a Hall of Fame-caliber athlete. Guess DeMarcus didn’t learn too much from being teammates with Tony Romo (more on him later). . .
Jon Rahm’s Wimbledon outfit: Good lord, what was Jon thinking when he put this on?
He had to have lost a bet. . . right? However, if he didn’t lose a bet and he actually chose to wear that, you have to be pretty confident about yourself to rock that look. Jon Rahm might win by 15 shots this week.
The world’s best golfers (Other than Matthew Wolff, Collin Morikawa, and Viktor Hovland) head to Royal Portrush for the Open Championship, AKA (the new) GLORY’S LAST SHOT! The forecast looks pretty dismal so since I’m not there, c’mon, rain and wind! Let’s make this a true British Open!
Random tournament fact: Actually, technically, this isn’t a true British Open because it’s not being played in Great Britain. Confused? Our Scottish colleague and the world’s foremost anti-“British Open” curmudgeon, John Huggan, will tell you all about it.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
— Jon Rahm will wear that outfit in public again: 1 Million-to-1 odds
—Jon Rahm will win the 2019 Open Championship : 16-to-1 odds (Actual odds)
— 99% of Americans will still call it the British Open this week: LOCK
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
This is incredible. Matthew Wolff’s golf swing looks like the Iron Throne:
VIRAL VIDEO(S) OF THE WEEK
Ho-sung Choi didn’t make the cut at the John Deere, but he sure gave the fans at TPC Deere Run their money’s worth:
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (NOT INVOLVING HO-SUNG CHOI)
Gary Player dancing:
Gary Player singing:
GP with the pipes! Not surprising considering he used to make records—when there were actually records, of course.
Need to get Gary into the office for my next Podcast Karaoke. What a legend.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
You’re going to need to watch this one from Viktor Hovland, a rising star both on the course and in the media center:
THIS WEEK IN CELEBRITY GOLFERS
Where do we begin? First off, congrats to Tony Romo for successfully defending his title at the American Century Championship:
Impressive. T.J. Oshie funneled a beer on his way to a 51st-place (out of 90) finish:
Also impressive. And New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton accomplished something that not even Phil Mickelson (we don’t think) can say. He hit a recovery shot off a boat:
Speaking of Phil. . .
THIS WEEK IN PHIL BEING PHIL
Instead of a "Phireside with Phil" we got a Phasting with Phil as Mickelson said he went to a diet of water and a coffee mixture to lose 15 pounds in 10 days. See (the results) for yourself:
Is that even safe? Anyway, good luck with that, Phil. Long live golf’s Content King.
THIS WEEK IN DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY BROOKS KOEPKA-JENA SIMS PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Presented without comment, here’s what Jena (and Brooks) wore to the ESPYS two-night event:
And here was Jena’s Instagram about it:
Jena’s got jokes! Don't worry, Brooks. I noticed the tux.
THIS WEEK IN OTHER TOUR PROS PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Enough of the WAGS, how about the HABS?! Congrats to Belen Mozo’s boyfriend, Robert Farah, on winning the Wimbledon men’s doubles title and ascending to the top spot in the world ranking!
THIS WEEK IN AMERICAN ADVENTURES OVERSEAS
Kevin Kisner rolled into Royal Portrush wearing a “1776” hat:
Aggressive. And Jordan Spieth took on Xander Schauffele’s caddie, Austin Kaiser, in a contest to see who could shotgun a can of water (yes, water) faster:
Hopefully Spieth will put up a better fight on the course this week.
THIS AND THAT
A person who shall remain nameless carded a 194(!) at a U.S. Amateur qualifier. Yes, for 18 holes. No, it was not DeMarcus Ware. . . . Congrats to Hally Leadbetter and Chris Powers for winning the third annual Golf Digest Train Wreck. Here’s Hally getting the green (bomber) jacket slipped on her by one of last year’s champs, Mason Leverington (Chris couldn't stick around for the ceremony because apparently, driving to the Jersey Shore is more important than golf history SMH):
Also of note in that event, a special shout-out to Chris Reynolds, who eagled both par 5s on the front nine at Manhattan Woods and is the longest hitter I’ve ever played with. Joel Beall and I still won the match, though. Drive for show and putt for dough, am I right? . . . And finally, I finally caved and bought a case of Coca-Cola in the glass bottles at Costco:
Might be the best decision I’ve ever made. I'm going to be guzzling those all week with these early wake-up calls.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
What will Phil eat/drink next?
Has anyone chugged water from the claret jug?
Is it time for a “hard reset” myself?