Welcome to another edition of The Grind where we wish someday to have a kid with a golf swing good enough that other people want to film it. So far, my 22-month-old daughter only likes to throw her plastic clubs on the ground—Thomas Pieters would be proud—and walk away. Although, she does have a knack for tossing those little whiffle balls into the most unreachable places possible. Is there a professional tour for that? Anyway, we've got plenty of golfers of all ages to talk about this week. Let's get to it.
Cameron Smith: In a week where Australian golfers donated money and raised awareness for the tragic ongoing fires in their homeland, the 26-year-old managed to deliver a small victory to golf fans Down Under. It marked the first individual PGA Tour title (he previously won the 2017 Zurich Classic with Jonas Blixt), and we’re guessing it won’t be the last for this former phenom.
But it might be the last time he accomplishes this statistical oddity:
When you lead the field in strokes gained putting, you can get away with a lot.
Kyle Berkshire’s hand-eye coordination: Golf fans know how far the World Long Drive champ can hit a golf ball, both with his golf and baseball swings:
But how about from his knees?!
Or with a putter?!
Very impressive. Kyle's definitely not a one-trick pony.
Adam Scott’s backhand: Speaking of Aussie golfers, the 2013 Masters champ got to show off his tennis skills against Roger Federer. Turns out, he has a sweet swing on the court as well.
Golf. Tennis. Surfing. Modeling. Is there anything this guy can't do? Well, other than consistently make putts from 5-10 feet, but you get the point. He's a stud.
Charlie Woods’ swing: Before Golf Twitter comes after me with pitchforks, all I’m saying is what everyone was saying when this video went viral: Charlie Woods has one heckuva a swing for a 10-year-old. I’m not going to feel bad for saying that no matter who tries to shame me. Look at this action! It’s beautiful!
And no, after Charlie finished T-9 and runner-up in two junior events over the weekend I’m not going to place unfair expectations on the kid by predicting he’s going to win 20 majors or saying he’s going to be bigger than Gandhi. That being said, I have wondered what I’m going to do with myself on weekend afternoons when Tiger isn’t teeing it up anymore. . . so fingers crossed Chucky Woods is the Bronny James of golf. And if he turns out to be, Tiger's got a promising second career as a caddie.
Alex Ovechkin’s swing: Um. . .
I thought hockey players were supposed to be good golfers?
Needing more than 40 minutes to play a hole: Such was the case for Brendan Steele on the 72nd hole of the Sony Open. Making matters even worse was the fact he held a one-shot lead and was coming off a bogey on the previous hole. After waiting nearly 15 minutes, Steele smoked his drive, but his approach after another long wait went way left. His par following a fortunate drop left the door open for Smith’s tying birdie and he bogeyed the first playoff hole minutes later. Tough way to lose. Then again, Smith made birdie while faced with the same delays. On the bright side, Steele earned his first top 10 in nearly two years. But he remained stuck on three PGA Tour titles, meaning those “Nerves of Steele” headlines will have to wait.
Not playing a provisional after you’ve hit a shot off the planet: I loved Ryan Palmer going for broke and the win with a fairway wood from a bunker on the final hole when many players would play it safe to protect their paycheck. I didn’t love him not taking a provisional after hitting a wild shot that ricocheted off a giant scoreboard and created scenes like this:
Pretty good tweet IMO. Of course, Palmer was just one of many factors causing the final-hole backup, but he could have saved everyone a little time—and allowed me a few more minutes of shuteye—had he hit a second ball just in case.
The PGA Tour returns to the mainland for the American Express. . . wait, that’s it. That’s the entire name of the tournament. “The American Express.” You may know this one as the Bob Hope. Or the Humana Challenge. Or the one they play in Palm Springs every year.
Random tournament fact: Adam “Longshot” Long beat Phil Mickelson by a stroke here last year. What a sport, am I right?
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
—That’s the last time we’ll see video of Charlie Woods’ swings: 1-MILLION -to-1 odds
—Adam Long will win again in Palm Springs: 90-to-1 odds (Actual odds)
—Joe Burrow will be the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft: LOCK (Dude just finished a 2000 Tiger type season. Amazing.)
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Trevor Immelman shared a photo of his elliptical and people went nuts over his golf club collection:
The 2008 Masters champ later said that’s only about a quarter of his pro shop.
VIRAL VIDEO(S) OF THE WEEK (NOT INVOLVING CHARLIE WOODS)
Wow. That makes I.K. Kim’s infamous missed tap-in look pretty.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Considering how far I’m hitting, I don’t think that will be a problem anymore.” —Bryson DeChambeau on the issue of slow play. No self-confidence problems here! Also, say what?
THIS WEEK IN CELEBRITY GOLFERS
Max Homa is still roasting golf swings, and this reply to Christian Yelich might be his best one yet:
THIS WEEK IN PHIL BEING PHIL
Phil Mickelson is a beast!
Very impressive. Also, how about this random dagger at Justin Rose after the Brit shared the Masters invite he received in the mail?
Phil’s best playing days are past him, but he’s just entering his PEAK trolling years.
THIS WEEK IN PGA TOUR PRO-WAGS PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Turns out, golf’s top power couple of PGA Tour rookie Maverick McNealy and LPGA star Danielle Kang take group lessons from Butch Harmon:
How cute! And economically sensible!
THIS AND THAT
Congrats to Branden Grace for winning the South African Open, his first victory in more than two years. It’s just too bad we didn’t get the Branden-Brendan double with Steele not closing the deal in Hawaii. . . . Louis Oosthuizen made this hole-in-one (does any tour pro make more aces than this guy?) to take the lead during the final round in South Africa, but could only finish runner-up:
It reminds me of the time he made that albatross on Sunday at Augusta to take the lead, but lost to Bubba Watson. Which reminds me of the fact I would have won $900 for Louis winning. OK, moving on. . . . Congrats to Michelle Wie and Jonnie West on expecting a baby girl! As we learned this weekend, they should also be expecting people to take video of their daughter's swing if she starts playing in tournaments. . . . Matt Kuchar keeps his Olympic bronze medal wrapped in a sock in a backpack and travels with it everywhere. I swear this is a true story. . . . And finally, thanks to a Christmas gift from the wife, I had the opportunity to see Jerry Seinfeld up close in person at the Beacon. Emphasis on up close:
I must be a pretty good husband to deserve those seats, huh? Forgive my blurry photo (Yeah, I zoomed a little) and trust me: Jerry looked great and his show was fantastic. What a legend.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
What else does Matt Kuchar keep in his backpack?
What’s the best episode of Seinfeld ever?
What’s Butch Harmons’s group lesson rate?