Jordan Spieth’s brutal break, Brooks Koepka’s milestone birthday, and the greatest courtroom sketch ever
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we wish cutting our hair was as easy as cutting our lawn. Not that the latter is a snap of the fingers for a bumbling homeowner like myself, but I finally took care of that for the first time this year. You know, before the neighbors started shooting me nasty glances. Well, nastier glances than normal. Let’s just say the USGA will have a difficult time getting nearby Winged Foot’s rough to be that juicy for a September U.S. Open. And let's just hope I'm able to get an actual haircut by then. In any event, here's what else is (still) happening in the world of golf.
TaylorMade Driving Relief: See what they did with the name there? That play on words? Clever. All kidding aside, we’re pumped for the charity event involving Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson vs. Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff. And unlike The Match: Champions for Charity, this one actually has a date (May 17), a format (best-ball skins), and a venue (Seminole Golf Club)!
Seriously, what is going on with The Match? Can these four not find a time to tee it up? Peyton Manning can’t be filming that many commercials right now. Anyway, this should be fun. And forget about the teams being lopsided with one side boasting 38 PGA Tour titles and five majors and the other having six and zero. It’s a skins game. And as fellow Oklahoma State products, Rickie and Matthew will be fired up to play together. This one may be an exhibition, but it's going to feel like a major after more than two months with no PGA Tour golf.
Nick Price’s Masters 63: Despite all the fireworks we’ve come to expect at Augusta National—and all the advances in equipment—the 63s shot by Price in 1986 and Greg Norman in 1986 remain the lowest scores ever shot there. Well, if you’re not including Jeff Knox playing from the members tees. What a legend. But Price’s performance was even more impressive than originally thought after hearing this tale from caddie Dave McNeilly,
So a hungover/drunk McNeilly cost his player a bogey on No. 1, should have put him in the water on 15 and gave him bad advice on 18. And Price still shot 63! It’s a great story, but it also doesn’t do much for the “Caddies are an invaluable part of the team” proponents.
Rory McIlroy’s long game: Good to see that swinging a driver is like riding a bicycle for the PGA Tour’s Peloton King:
Looking forward to seeing Rory launching some for real in a couple weeks.
Shane Lowry’s short game: While Rory looks like he could roll out of bed and be in mid-season form, even the world’s best players can get rusty:
Shane certainly wouldn’t have claimed a claret jug chipping like that. At least he didn’t do damage to his own house, though, like Thomas Bjorn:
Two words, Thomas: foam balls.
Playing behind this guy: This might be the worst display of hand-eye coordination in human history:
Playing with “Slim” Bouler: As we learned in “The Wire,” it’s best to stay away from people nicknamed “Slim.” To be fair to Michael Jordan, “The Wire” was a long way from coming out when he played golf with James “Slim” Bouler, but he probably should have known better. Anyway, as we learned in the sixth episode of “The Last Dance” this week, when Slim was busted by the feds, they found a check from Jordan for $57,000 that Jordan admitted in court was to cover gambling losses. Apparently, Slim was quite the hustler on the golf course.
And it all led to the greatest courtroom sketch of all time:
Did this dude actually show up to court with his golf clubs?! Amazing. And if I had my choice, I’d rather play with the guy who can’t make contact with the ball. You’re going to waste a lot more time overall with Slim when you factor in court appearances. Not to mention, he’ll probably own your house by the time the round is over.
This week would have been the AT&T Byron Nelson, AKA that tournament played at a golf course that opened a decade after Byron Nelson died. Make that formerly played. Trinity Forest Golf Club is no longer the host after a three-year (really two-year with this year’s tournament cancelled) run. That’s sad news for Tony Romo, who will now lose his home-course advantage when he plays in the event.
Random tournament fact: The two winners at Trinity Forest, Aaron Wise and Sung Kang, each shot 23 under for the week, a tournament-record by four shots. Like Romo, they will miss this course, too.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
—That 57 grand was the only money MJ lost to Slim Bouler: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds
—Rory/DJ will win the TaylorMade Driving Relief event: 1-to-2 odds (Actual odds)
—Rickie/Matt will wear orange that day: LOCK
PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
Jordan Spieth has gone from seemingly getting every good break on the golf course to never getting one anymore. Check out what happened to him while playing in a charity event with Tony Romo:
This will 100% happen to me if I play while this pandemic is going on. And unlike Jordan who has made previous holes-in-one and said after he's counting it as an ace, I wouldn’t be able to count it as one. Actually, Jordan really shouldn’t be able to count it either, but what the heck. He’s had a rough couple seasons and we could all use a little pick-me-up during these times, right?
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (KIDS DIVISION)
Presenting a baby gender reveal with the ol’ exploding golf ball in which no one got hurt. Well, no one got physically hurt. This boy was devastated to learn he will be getting another sister.
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (NATURE DIVISION)
In what has serious potential to be the next big event to raise money for charity, presenting “Man vs. Turkey on a golf course”:
I don't know what exactly is going on there, but I bet Slim Bouler would have found a way to make money betting on it.
THIS WEEK IN TOUR PRO-WAGS PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Happy 30th birthday to Brooks Koepka!
Good to see Brooks and Jena are still going strong after that brutal haircut last week. Although, I'm waiting for Bryson DeChambeau to chime in on Koepka's abs at any moment. In any event, it looks like Brooks and Jena had quite a shindig! Or, at least, pretended to have one. On the bright side, think of all the money they saved on the festivities! And on the flip side, Rory's 31st birthday seemed a bit more chill. . .
And if that doesn't perfectly encapsulate how birthdays feel after you turn 30, I don't know what does.
THIS WEEK IN OTHER TOUR PROS BEING QUARANTINED
Mark Calcavecchia finally dusted off the clubs:
And finally opened up a bottle of wine. . . that wasn’t his.
OK, so that probably got him in more trouble than Thomas Bjorn breaking that glass door.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Are we not going to be allowed to touch pins, or flags? I putt with the flag out, so if we all of a sudden are going to be forced to putt with it in to not touch a flag, I’m going to have issues with that, and that might make me honestly rethink playing, because it changes everything.” —Adam Hadwin doing his best to ensure golfers are seen as soft for generations to come.
THIS AND THAT
TPC Harding Park re-opened on Monday, just in time for next week’s PGA Championship! Wait, never mind. Well, hopefully if will still be open in August. . . . The European Tour announced a series of tournaments played on indoor simulators. These are very bizarre times. . . . John Smoltz says he once trailed Braves teammate Jeff Francoeur by five shots with one hole to play and won by five when the player nicknamed “Frenchy” made a 14. Insert your Jean van de Velde jokes here. . . . And finally, I was going through some old things and I came across this scorecard from August of 2009. Although the course was 6,000 yards tipped out and I played it hundreds of times, this is proof that at one point, I was at least a decent player:
Nowadays? I’m not even a player. As in, I literally haven’t touched a golf club this year. Well, unless you count my daughter’s plastic ones.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Will I ever break 70 80 90 again?
What’s the worst score I’ve ever made on a hole?
Are Rory and Brooks still considered "YOUNG GUNZ"?