Welcome to another edition of The Grind where we admit, it was tough to get excited to watch golf the week after that Masters. So kudos to Jim Nantz, Nick Faldo and the rest of the CBS crew for carrying on with their jobs. And a big tip of the cap to those who contended at Augusta National and teed it up at Harbour Town. I don’t know how they found the motivation (Well, at least for 63 holes). Brooks Koepka, on the other hand, took a page out of Dustin Johnson’s book (Well, old book since DJ was collapsing on the back nine at Hilton Head) and moved on from a close call in a major by taking his lady to a tropical paradise:
Solid strategy. But there are no in-season off weeks at The Grind—except for a honeymoon to St. Lucia where the wife and I posed for slightly less risqué pics—so we’re ready to
bare discuss it all. Let’s do it.
C.T. Pan: A former World No. 1 amateur winning on the PGA Tour is never a shock, but Pan’s timing was pretty remarkable. His maiden victory comes at the RBC Heritage after posting nothing better than a T-42 in nine previous starts in 2019. And it sounds like his wife, Michelle, deserves a lot of the credit. Pan says the two were watching the Masters last week when she said, " 'Hey, I'm not patient, so you better get me (to Augusta) as soon as possible.' "
Keep in mind, this is the same woman whose value as a caddie was knocked by Pan when he nearly won the Wyndham Championship last year. C.T., you’re lucky Michelle puts up with you. And now she’s going to get to caddie for you at the Masters Par 3 Contest next April. "Just listen to your wife," Pan said. "And you will have a good life. She's right, always." Funny, I say the same thing about my Michelle.
Matt Kuchar: Imagine at this time last year telling someone that Matt Kuchar would be leading the FedEx Cup standings AND have been involved in two of the biggest golf controversies of 2019? Crazy stuff, but here we are. Say what you will about Gimmegate and the El Tucan tip (Even Phil Mickelson continues to talk about it), but there’s not much to knock when it comes to Kuchar’s golf. After not making last year’s Ryder Cup team, he’s back to his ATM ways, including a runner-up at Harbour Town over the weekend, and has locked up a spot on Team Tiger at this year’s Presidents Cup.
This guy’s memory: Meet Jonnie Motomochi, a golf coach from British Columbia, who can tell you who won the Masters in every year since the tournament started in 1934. And not just in chronological order like my grandpa used to.
Impressive stuff. Although his parents clearly saw that video and thought, "Why didn’t our son become a doctor?"
This guy’s license plate: If you’re going to fork over the extra $75 to get a vanity plate, shouldn’t you go with something that’s sure to last? Regardless, someone is in desperate need of an update now:
Although if this person had this license plate in the first place, we’re guessing he/she is a Tiger fan and won’t mind changing.
Jordan Spieth on weekends: Even crazier than the Kuchar hypothetical, imagine telling someone after Jordan Spieth won the Open in July 2017 that by April 2019 he’d be a run-of-the-mill player and Tiger Woods would be arguably the best in the world? Golf is wild. And so are Spieth’s weekday/weekend splits. After entering the third round in contention yet again, Spieth shot 74-75 to finish T-54. He currently ranks 43rd and third in first- and second-round scoring average on the PGA Tour, respectively, but a dismal 196th and 204th in the third and fourth rounds.
Spieth has fallen to 35th in the Official World Golf Ranking and 142nd in the FedEx Cup standings. On the bright side, he probably won’t have as much pressure on him when he again attempts to complete the career Grand Slam at next month’s PGA Championship.
DJ’s back nine: Again, props to DJ for even playing this week after finishing one shot behind Tiger Woods at the Masters (That RBC logo on his shirt probably had something to do with it). But the World No. 1’s Sunday performance was stunningly horrid. The 54-hole leader still had a share of first as he made the turn before going seven over in a five-hole stretch. DJ’s tumble was so severe he needed to birdie the 18th hole just to finish in the top 30. As usual, Club Pro Guy put things in proper perspective:
But seriously, that’s now two brutal Sundays (This 77 and a 74 at the Valspar) in the past month for a guy who is supposedly cool under pressure. Just a hunch, but Johnson won’t be dwelling on the finish for too long:
The PGA Tour heads to New Orleans for the Zurich Classic, AKA that event with walk-up music where guys team up with their buddies (Or brothers, in Brooks Koepka’s case).
Random tournament fact: Billy Horschel is the only player to win this event in both the individual at team formats. Sadly, he'll probably need more than that to get into the World Golf Hall of Fame someday.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
— Brooks Koepka regrets skipping the RBC Heritage: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds
— Brooks Koepka/Chase Koepka will win this week: 40-to-1 odds (Actual odds)
— Dustin Johnson will have more fun this week: LOCK
PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
Tiger Woods made his first public appearance with his new green jacket at his Jupiter restaurant, and let’s just say he kept it pretty casual.
Good for him.
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (ANIMATED DIVISION)
Check out this version of Tiger’s winning Masters hugs 22 years apart:
Even the drawings of those moments hit you right in the feels. Speaking of which, I went deep on why Woods' win meant so much to me. Please check it out. OK, let's move on before we all get sappy again …
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (TRICK SHOT DIVISION)
Josh Kelley is an absolute wizard:
If I could have served like that with a racket, I might not have quit playing tennis.
THIS WEEK IN CELEBRITY GOLFERS
Tiger Woods continues to grow the game. By the way, MBJ is building a legendary resume. Wallace from “The Wire,” Vince from “Friday Night Lights,” and now a huge movie star? What a stud.
THIS WEEK IN TOUR PRO-WAGS PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION (OTHER THAN BROOKS & JENA)
Lanto Griffin and his girlfriend Maya celebrated his second career Web.com Tour win by chugging beer from the crystal trophy. Maya wasn’t happy about spilling on her dress, though …
At least it wasn't a victory red wine.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“As soon as the ball dropped, I said to [CBS golf producer] Lance [Barrow] on the talk-back switch, ‘I’m not saying anything for a long time.’ Lance and I wanted to make sure that since that none of us were together, the next time somebody spoke it was going to be me," Jim Nantz told Sports Business Journal about calling Woods' win from Butler Cabin. "We were going to ride this thing out and sit back and enjoy it. I never would have jumped on a moment that was that big. It was just so big. There was nothing you could do to add to it. You could only ruin it.”
Well played, Jim. And glad to hear he felt the same way many of us in the media center did.
THIS AND THAT
Tiger Woods’ winning putt has already been viewed more than eight million times on the Masters twitter feed in one week. That’s 20 times more than Patrick Reed’s winning putt has been viewed in total. Let's give it a few more, shall we!
Speaking of big numbers, a South Carolina man has more than 15,000 golf balls displayed museum-style in his house. Thank you, sir. The next time my wife complains about there being “too much golf stuff” in our house, I’m showing her this. … No offense to Tiger and Phil, but the next THE MATCH has to be between Jeopardy legends James Holzhauer and Ken Jennings. I might actually pay $19.99 to watch that. … And finally, a few weeks ago I decided I’d save my final original formula Coke Zero for celebrating Tiger’s next win. Well, I didn’t have to wait long.
Julia and I really enjoyed it. Kidding, mom. Just original formula for her.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
What does Tiger think of the new Coke Zero?
Does Tiger Woods have vanity license plates?
Is "19 TIGER" taken in the state of New York?