Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we’re thankful that baseball has taken golf off the hook as the sport with the lowest Hall of Fame standards. Harold Baines?! Sure, he'd belong in a Hall of Harolds, but Cooperstown?! Really?! This would be like if the World Golf Hall of Fame opened its doors for the guy who finished sixth on the money list a couple of times in the '80s Anyway, here's what golf topics have us fired up this week.
Cody Blick: A wild story began with a total nightmare. Blick found out his golf clubs had been stolen the morning of the final round of Web.com Tour Q School, prompting him to offer this reward:
But after no one responded, he used a set quickly cobbled together from his friends at Titleist that included the course superintendent’s irons and wedges from the pro shop. And he shot 63 to earn his Web.com Tour card for next season. Amazing.
"This is the weirdest week of my life, Hands down,” Blick said after signing his scorecard. "But a great week. The best week.” And all things considered, it might just be the best round of the year."
Louis Oosthuizen: Oosthuizen won the South African Open for his first victory in more than two years (Although, that probably wouldn't make a top-100 list of droughts ended in 2018) and showed more emotion than when he won the British Open in 2010:
Actually, it was similar to his lone major triumph in that it was a total rout, in this case a six-shot win. Good for Louis, although, every time we see his perfect swing, we wonder how he doesn’t win more.
Brian Harman: A late replacement for Davis Love III at the QBE Shootout, Harman paired with Patton Kizzire to win the event. It also led to Kizzire firing off this fantastic old photo of the two:
Just a guess, but DL3 is going to need to find a new partner next year.
Ian Poulter’s trolling: It’s been more than two months since Europe won the Ryder Cup, but that is well within Poulter’s statute of limitations on trolling. First, Poulter posed in a “BEAT EUROPE” t-shirt:
And then he, um, customized it:
And this isn’t even Poulter’s best Ryder Cup-related jab. That came a couple years back when he showed off the fact he’d purchased the infamous cop car Rory McIlroy took to Sunday of the 2012 event:
Say what you will about the guy, but you have to admit he’s golf’s master troll.
Putting into the water: For every happy Q School story, there's a tale of woe, but what happened to Patrick Sullivan takes the cake. And he knew it after a bizarre occurrence on the 14th hole:
Putting into the water? Ouch. And here’s the close birdie miss on 18:
Ouch again. Speaking of looking for work. . .
Christmas season firings: Any longtime player-caddie breakup is sad, but at this time of the year? That’s rough. Then again, this is also the only break in the PGA Tour wraparound season so, the timing kinda makes sense. “Zach said, ‘I think we need to take a break. It’s not a firing. We’re too good friends for that,’” Green said. “I just think he didn’t want to say the word ‘fire.’ I was shocked.” Sorry, Damon, but that sounds like a firing to us. We’re guessing he’ll be doing his patented birdie flap for another player in 2019.
SI's Sportsperson of the Year: First of all, giving this award to a team is lame, even if it is arguably the greatest team of all time. But picking the Golden State Warriors in a year when Tiger Woods made arguably the greatest comeback in sports history? Yeah, yeah, Tiger’s already the only two-time winner of the award, but he’s the winner again in our book. At least it’s not as bad as putting Harold freaking Baines in the Hall of Fame.
The PGA Tour is truly off this week, but pro golf carries on around the world. Reigning FedEx Cup champ Justin Rose, looking to finish the year at No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, headlines the field at the Indonesian Masters, while Oosthuizen tries to keep rolling at the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
Random tournament fact: The Alfred Dunhill Championship is not to be confused with the Alfred Dunhill LINKS Championship played at St. Andrews. But yeah, they probably could have differentiated the tournament names a bit more.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
— Justin Rose is going to Indonesia solely to grow the game: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds
— Justin Rose will win the Indonesian Masters: 7-to-4 odds (Actual odds)
— It's going to be an extra Merry Chri$tma$ at the Ro$e hou$e thi$ year: LOCK
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Arnold Palmer used to intentionally buzz golf courses as a pilot, but a NYC teacher needed to make an emergency landing on the ninth hole of Paramus (N.J.) Golf Course on Sunday:
Fortunately, no one, either on the plane or on the course was seriously hurt. In fact, no golfers were near the hole yet because of, wait for it, a frost delay! Talk about divine intervention.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK ACTUALLY INVOLVING GOLFERS
Golf had strong representation at President George H.W. Bush’s funeral:
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
This comes from Golf Digest co-worker Claire Rogers, who may have actually created a monster:
Who says THE MATCH didn’t help grow the game?
THIS WEEK IN CELEBRITY GOLFERS
Toby Keith met Clint Eastwood through playing the Pebble Beach Pro-Am and now their friendship has produced a song for Eastwood’s latest film, The Mule:
The song sounds good. The movie looks incredible. If I ever went to see movies in the theater anymore, I’d be all over that one.
And then there's Dan Marino, who apparently has become quite the trick-shot artist. Here he is smoking a tee shot Happy Gilmore style:
And then there's this:
Dan never won a Super Bowl, but if you can do that and say you had a cameo in Ace Ventura, well, that's a heck of an accomplishment.
THIS WEEK IN PROS ARE JUST LIKE US
Even 18-time major champs sitting in luxury boxes leave games early to beat the traffic — and sometimes, wind up regretting such decisions. I hate to say it, but shame on Jack Nicklaus for missing the MIRACLE IN MIAMI (second photo):
Then again, Miami sports fans are infamous for this.
THIS WEEK IN DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Aww, that’s sweet. But eight years? In August, the couple celebrated five years together. . .
(Insert “thinking” emoji. . . )
THIS WEEK IN OTHER TOUR PROS PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Congrats to Andrew “Beef” Johnston on finding a Mrs. Beef!
We should have known they were made for the long run together after this recent photo:
THIS AND THAT
Tiger Woods texted Bubba Watson to ask him how many times Lexi Thompson outdrove Harold Varner III at the QBE Shootout. Lexi never quite poked it past Varner, but she did nip Charley Hoffman. More importantly, where was this kind of needling from Tiger during THE MATCH? . . . Kevin Na said QBE Shootout partner Bryson DeChambeau tried to convince him to float his golf balls in epsom salt, but Na declined. We’re guessing Mrs. Na was happy about that decision. . . . Congrats to Michael Miller, who I used to cover when he was a high schooler, for shooting a bogey-free 66 in the final round of Q School to finish T-16 and earn Web.com Tour status for the first time. I wrote this about catching up with Mike at this year’s U.S. Open. . . . And finally, I’ll be back with a couple more Grind-themed projects, but this is the last regular column of 2018. Thanks again for
reading putting up with another year (No. 6!) of The Grind. And this was a special one because I found a new photo assistant:
See you in 2019!
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Where are Cody Blick’s golf clubs?
Who is the least-worthy World Golf Hall-of-Famer?
Will Phil get Tiger a Christmas present this year?