The Grind
March 24, 2020

Brooks Koepka's lefty bombs, the PGA Tour’s fiercest (and sweatiest) rivalry, and a golfer turned guitarist?

Welcome to another edition of The Grind where we underestimated how difficult working from home would be during these unprecedented times. As someone who does it fairly often, I figured it would be easier than Ernie Els' swing, but I didn’t factor in having a wife working from home at the same time—and, most importantly, having a two-year-old at home doing everything except work. I'm extremely proud of her morning grazing skills, though.

To be fair to her, most grown people don't know what time of day it is or even what day of the week it is anymore. Heck, part of the reason why I'm still writing The Grind is just so I can keep track of when it's Tuesday. Anyway, here's the latest rundown of what's (still) happening in golf.

WE'RE BUYING

Lefty Brooks/DJ: Inspired by a left-handed match between Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas (Rickie won with a 94 so maybe “inspired” is a bit strong), Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson showed off their switch-hitting—and made those guys look like amateurs. Apparently, Koepka can carry an 8-iron 194(!) yards:

And a driver 293(!) yards:

And here’s DJ nipping his bud with a 294(!!) carry:

These guys are good (as lefties). Even Phil Mickelson must be impressed.

Erik van Rooyen: The South African continues to impress while under quarantine as well—albeit with a skill that’s a bit more useful. Check out his latest shred sessions:

Talk about some ELECTRIC content. By the time this is all over, EVR might be on tour and go on tour.

Seamus Golf: Kudos to this golf company for stepping up during these frightening times. Instead of making their famed headcovers, Seamus is mass producing masks to be distributed to healthcare workers around the country. “We are not charging for the kits,” founders Akbar and Megan Chisti wrote in an email to customers. “This is our way of saying thank you for serving at this time.” Great stuff. Please email masks@seamusgolf.com for more information.

Matt Wallace: Had a nice chat with this four-time European Tour winner who is hunkered down at a rental home in Florida during the coronavirus craziness for this week’s Golf Digest Podcast. Among other things, we talked about that bizarre Thursday at the Players, a caddie incident that went viral, and the title he hopes (not) to defend at the Masters. Matt is up in my book for A.) doing the interview and B.) being a good sport about my daughter interrupting said interview. Please have a listen:

WE'RE SELLING

More postponements/cancellations: The PGA Tour has canceled all events until late May. The PGA Championship has been postponed. The U.S. Open is in jeopardy of not taking place in June. The Olympics are moving to 2021. You get the point. There’s not a lot of golf—or anything else—going on in our country for at least the next two months. Here’s our updated list. On (potentially) the bright side, the first major of the women’s golf season, the ANA Inspiration, has been rescheduled for September. And some fishy hotel action in Augusta seems to indicate the Masters is eying an October tournament. Fingers crossed. And stay safe out/in there, everyone.

Phil Mickelson: Everyone’s favorite follow on social media has gone quiet with no “Phireside” videos and just one tweet in the past week. What gives, Phil?! This is when we need you most! Do something! Anything!

Not betting on the Cactus Tour: I knew Anna Nordqvist was a lock to win on the Cactus Tour last week!

Sigh.

ON TAP

The PGA Tour was supposed to be at the WGC-Match Play this week, AKA that event where Miguel Angel Jimenez, Keegan Bradley, and Keegan Bradley’s caddie nearly came to blows once. What a great tournament! And in honor of that, here’s a look back at 13 memorable moments from the WGC-Match Play, including Roger Maltbie being involved in one of the greatest snowball fights of all time. Rog also provided one of the all-time great reactions to a Tiger Woods shot last year:

Man, I miss watching golf.

Random tournament fact: As mentioned in that list, Tiger Woods won 13 consecutive matches in this event from 2003-2005. I’m not sure what’s more amazing, that, or the fact that Nick O’Hern, who snapped the streak, also beat Woods again in 2007 to become the only player to beat Tiger as a pro in match play twice. Well, not counting the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup. There are few Europeans who can claim that. . .

RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK

—Nick O’Hern won’t bring that fact up this week: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds

—Haley Moore will win this week’s Cactus Tour event: 4-to-1 odds (Actual odds)

—Roger Maltbie misses watching golf, too: LOCK

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK

Check out this remarkable LEGO replica of the iconic 12th hole at Augusta National built by self-professed “golf nut” and “data nerd” Lou Stagner and his nine-year-old daughter Abby:

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Beautiful. There’s also a video of how this engineering marvel, which the two hope to sell for charity, came to be:

Well done. And I thought that kids kitchen I put together last week for my daughter’s second birthday was some project.

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK

Don’t think tour pros are creatures of habit? Check out Brandon Hagy going through his full pre-shot routine, including a waggle, before hitting an exploding golf ball announcing he and his wife are expecting a girl:

Congrats, guys. Just hope you don’t ever have to work from home with her for an extended period of time.

THIS WEEK IN PGA TOUR PRO GOLF WRITER PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION (FOR GOLF)

This is how Golf Digest does Zoom meetings:

Expect anything different?

THIS WEEK IN OTHER TOUR PROS BEING QUARANTINED

Byeong Hun An, who is a sneaky-entertaining follow on Twitter, is starting a YouTube channel, ANmazing Golf (get it?), where he’s open to talking about anything golf-related. Well, anything except offering putting tips. Here he is showing off his incredible collection of Scotty Cameron putters:

Meanwhile, Andrew “Beef” Johnston is hitting the gym hard:

And Rory McIlroy and Billy Horschel are hitting the bike hard. Through their Peloton battles, they’ve created the fiercest—and sweatiest—rivalry currently on the PGA Tour. Just look at a drenched Rory after an intense 45-minute session that saw him burn more than 1,200(!) calories:

Actually, I’m not sure “rivalry” is the right word since Rory always wins. Anyway, I haven’t seen an athlete sweat like that since Patrick Ewing in his prime.

THIS WEEK IN CELEBRITY GOLFERS

This week, a pair of former NFL running backs stood out. First, how about Danny Woodhead’s backyard golf setup—and silky smooth short game?!

And O.J. Simpson has some takes on the country’s golf courses potentially closing:

“If you do close them, you better open up some insane asylum, get me a bed,” he says in the video. “Because I know if I can’t play golf for the next month, I’m a go crazy.” Hmm. That doesn’t sound good for anyone. . .

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Love a good “chief” reference. Between this, his left-handed pop, and raising/donating money for the COVID-19 Response Fund, Brooks Koepka was clearly golf’s MVP of the week.

THIS AND THAT

If you have the time (LOL like you don’t have the time these days), you should check out Joel Beall’s deep dive into why members of a Rhode Island golf club are suing Brad Faxon. Just a bizarre and sad story. . . . More reading assignments for you! Check out our Masters Rewatch series as we count down the past 23 Masters each day leading up to the original starting date (tear) of this year’s event. I did the 2001 tournament so far, and it was nice to watch golf again. Even if it was a tournament from nearly two decades ago. . . . The USGA is relaxing its rules regarding holing out due to coronavirus concerns and still accepting scores at this time. I can only hope this lowers the handicaps of those going on our annual golf trip in August. . . . And finally, shout-out to my wife for fixing me some delicious BLTs since I haven’t been able to get them at our work cafeteria:

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Not quite the same as the BLTs my man Alberto whips up, but they got the job done.

RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER

How many BLTs have I eaten in my life?

Which PGA Tour pro would shoot the best score lefty?

When can I go back to the office?


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