The Grind

Jon Rahm’s generous “wedding gift,” a slam dunk walk-off hole-in-one, and the greatest, wildest golf bet ever

November 26, 2019

Welcome to another edition of The Grind where we doubt this year’s Thanksgiving dinner will live up to the continuous feast we enjoyed down South this past week while covering the RSM Classic. My mouth is still watering (and my arteries are still clogging) just thinking about this spread:

Even the media center fried chicken was finger-licking good. But while my stay on St. Simons Island was fun—and filling—I wasn’t quite able to deliver more golf history like the last time I was in Georgia. Unless, you count a guy who hadn’t won a four-day golf tournament since the 2011 Indiana Amateur winning a PGA Tour event. Admittedly, I did not see that coming. But again, I may have been too distracted by all the southern food. Anyway, grab a plate and sit down while we serve up a big helping of everything happening in the golf world.

WE'RE BUYING

Jon Rahm: How on fire is this guy? He took six weeks off, in part to earn some brownie points with fiancée Kelley Cahill, and still claimed the European Tour’s season-long Race to Dubai by winning the season finale. The Spaniard racked up even more good favor with the future Mrs. Rahm with this perfect line to her (55-second mark) after sinking the winning birdie:

Five MILLION dollars is one heckuva wedding gift—even for a Christmas wedding. Even if you're Jon Rahm. I like where your head is at, Jon. But speaking as someone who has been married for more than four years now, you might want to set that bar juuuust a bit lower.

Tyler Duncan: In more than seven years as a pro, Tyler Duncan had never won an event that awards Official World Golf Ranking points. Not on the Latintoamerica Tour, not on the Korn Ferry Tour, and certainly not on the PGA Tour. But after a bizarre Saturday in which he posted 18 pars to lose his 36-hole lead, Duncan fired a final-round 65, including birdies on the final two holes of regulation, before birdieing the second extra hole to beat Webb Simpson at the RSM Classic.

Streeter Lecka

Duncan became the sixth PGA Tour winner this fall to earn a Masters invite next year. Considering the 30-year-old's blank spot on his pro résumé previously, he may be the most unlikely to do so. Next up? The pressure of giving the best-man speech at former Purdue teammate Adam Schenk's wedding next week. After those clutch birdies down the stretch, he should be fine.

Sei Young Kim: While Duncan was well aware of what was at stake before sinking his winning putt, it turns out, this week's LPGA winner wasn't. Thinking she could two-putt the final hole to claim the CME Race to the Globe Championship and the biggest payout in the history of women’s golf ($1.5 million), the 26-year-old South Korean delivered this bending birdie from deep:

Good call by caddie Paul Fusco not telling her the situation! Also, congrats to Jin Young Ko for a dominant season that saw her win basically every year-long award. Just not that record-breaking prize. Slight dagger.

This guy’s luck:

How?! Who makes a bet like that?! Unbelievable. Lucky bastard.

WE'RE SELLING

This guy’s luck:

Poor bastard.

Brendon Todd’s streak ending: No offense to Tyler Duncan, but the golf world was collectively rooting for one of the most remarkable runs in recent history to continue on Sunday. But whether it was the wind, the pressure of winning three consecutive tournaments, or my constant barrage of Presidents Cup questions all week (Sorry, Brendon), the Toddfather’s reign finally came to an end. It was fun while it lasted, Brendon.

Stan Badz

Not that it’s over. Now that this guy has overcome the yips, we’re going to see a lot more of him in 2020. And I promise I won’t ask him about being a Presidents Cup pick anymore. The Ryder Cup might be a different story, though. . .

Tiger’s anniversary: Can you believe it’s been 10 years since the Escalade-fire hydrant crash seen ‘round the world? I’ll never forget that awful Friday after Thanksgiving in 2009. Still in my first year working for Golf Digest, let’s just say it was a rough few days/weeks—both for work and as a fan. Be careful out there this holiday, everyone—especially superstar golfers.

ON TAP

The PGA Tour heads to. . . wait a minute. . . there’s no tournament this week! It’s a Thanksgiving miracle! Even more miraculous is the European Tour also taking a break and there’s no LPGA or Korn Ferry events either. And no THE MATCH this year. Wow. What are we going to do with ourselves?

Random tournament fact Thanksgiving-related story: According to Adam Schriber, Anthony Kim's former swing coach, AK once gave a five-figured tip to a single, pregnant waitress. What a legend. Golf fans are certainly thankful for all that’s happened this past year, but if we’re being greedy, we’d have liked to see an Anthony Kim comeback as well.

RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK

—It’s going to be a rough Thanksgiving for Tyler Duncan: 1.18 MILLION-to-1 odds

—Anthony Kim will play on the PGA Tour again: 10 MILLION-to-1 odds

—I am going to absolutely house some mashed potatoes this week: LOCK

PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK

You couldn’t miss this gigantic capsized cargo ship at the RSM Classic:

Stan Badz
Streeter Lecka

What a sight.

VIRAL VIDEO(S) OF THE WEEK

Remember when the European Tour pranked its star players by having a kid ask them cheeky interview questions? Well, Little Billy is BACK!

What an incredible job by the Euro Tour. Obviously, the idea and execution are awesome. But even more impressive? The discipline showed in waiting more than three years to do this.

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (TRICK SHOT DIVISION)

World Long Drive champion Kyle Berkshire’s hand-eye coordination is ridiculous:

Oh yeah, he’s also got some serious pop.

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (REAL SHOT DIVISION)

Geoff Ogilvy aced a playoff hole to win the Wishbone Brawl, a charity event at Goat Hill Park. More amazing was the fact he slam dunked the shot on the fly. Watch and listen:

Now that is a walk-off.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“I’m French.” —Mike Lorenzo-Vera after dropping an F-bomb on live TV.

Brilliant.

THIS WEEK IN PGA TOUR PROS ARE JUST LIKE US!

The Perez family went to Costco just like my family does every Saturday!

We’ve never racked up a bill like that, though. . . Damn. That’s a lot of toilet paper and soda.

THIS WEEK IN PGA TOUR PRO-WAGS PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION

Congrats to Morgan Hoffmann and Chelsea Colvard for tying the knot:

Wonder if they booked that Bora Bora getaway through Costco. Don’t laugh! Costco has some great travel deals!

THIS AND THAT

Phil Mickelson will serve as the official host of the PGA Tour's Palm Springs stop starting in 2020. Think he's cut out for that role? LOL. . . . Bio Kim, the golfer who had his three-year suspension for flipping off a rude fan reduced to one year by the Korean Tour, could spend that year on the Japan Tour instead after making it through the second stage of Q School. Good for him. . . . The PGA Tour might actually start doing something about its slow-play problem next year. Good for them. It’s about, um, time. . . . Lost in “Toddmania” was the fact Sebastian Munoz played in his third final group on a Sunday this fall. The dude is legit. . . . Also legit? These whoopie cookies in the media center and these chocolate milkshakes from a place called Frosty’s:

Yeah, I had a good week down there.

RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER

Will took so long for Phil to be named a tournament host?

What the heck did Pat Perez buy at Costco?

Can I go back to the RSM Classic next year?


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