The Grind

Justin Bieber's random PGA Tour shout-out, a new (NSFW) Phil Mickelson tale, and Tiger's style blast from the past

April 2, 2019

Welcome to another addition of The Grind, where we already have our fist pump of the year involving Tiger Woods. And it doesn’t actually involve Tiger Woods. Instead, the honor goes to NBC/Golf Channel’s Roger Maltbie, who really enjoyed having a front row view of Woods’ hole-out eagle on Friday.

The Rog viral videos have been piling up the past year. This fist pump goes perfectly with that fist bump he gave Tiger at the Tour Championship, and of course, the emotional goodbye he offered Johnny Miller at TPC Scottsdale. As someone who has seen Rog in action through the years (I had the pleasure of riding a golf cart with him for nine holes at the 2015 Players), I believe the excitement over Tiger’s shot was more him interacting with the crowd, but regardless, it was awesome. And it’s just the tip of a wild week to discuss. Let’s fire it up.

WE'RE BUYING

Kevin Kisner: Straight-shooter. Late-bloomer. Gamer. There are plenty of descriptions that make the Kiz easy to root for, but there’s one that hasn’t been thrown around enough yet: elite golfer. With two previous PGA Tour titles and close calls in two of the past five majors, Kisner has been on the threshold of being called this, but a first World Golf Championship makes it unavoidable.

Tracy Wilcox/PGA Tour

Congrats to Kevin, both on the victory, and for ensuring he won’t be left off anymore U.S. teams in the near future. When you knock off Francesco Molinari in match play, you're pretty much a dragon slayer. Speaking of which. . .

Lucas Bjeergaard: How about this guy bursting onto the worldwide scene by beating Henrik Stenson and Tiger Woods in the same day to get to the Final Four. Dude is like a Danish version of Auburn knocking off blue bloods left and right.

Ezra Shaw

And he’s got a great sense of humor about his relatively unknown status:

Beer Garden(!) wound up losing twice on Sunday, but the fourth-place finish moved him into the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking, getting him into the Masters next week. After his win over Tiger that had Denmark dancing in the streets and NBC executives crying over Sunday ratings, he said, “When I was 10 years old I used to imagine I had a putt to beat Tiger when practicing.” Pretty cool. He probably never envisioned Tiger missing a four-footer to lose, but he'll take it.

Graeme McDowell: Wait a minute, does the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship count toward the European victory streak on the PGA Tour? I thought that was over with Kevin Kisner’s win in the match play, but I forgot about this opposite-field event won by McDowell. Good for him. And if anyone else is looking to revitalize their golf careers, do what G-Mac and Tiger did: Open a restaurant in Florida.

Stephen Gallacher: Another European winner emerged at the Hero Indian Open, and it came with a cool story. Not only did the 44-year-old Gallacher win for the first time in more than five years, but he did it with his son on the bag:

Awww. No, seriously, that’s really sweet. Now that I’m a dad, I’m such a softie.

WE'RE SELLING

Sergio Garcia AND Matt Kuchar: But mostly Matt. Did Sergio screw up by raking away his four-inch putt? Sure. But Kuchar could have kept the rules official from getting involved and privately told Garcia to be more careful on the next tee. NO one would have noticed and the seventh hole during their Saturday quarterfinal would have been halved, sorry, TIED. As it should have been. And most players and caddies seem to agree:

Yes, rules are rules, but isn’t sportsmanship also supposed to be paramount in this gentlemen’s game? It was a freaking 4-inch putt! Use some common sense, people!

Also, we learned a valuable lesson that you should never rake a putt: Just pick it up! And if your opponent tries to pull a Kuchar (Or a Suzanne Pettersen or Erica Shepherd, etc.), you get to replace it without penalty and putt out. The more you know.

Sergio and Matt’s PR teams: From getting tossed for damaging greens to stiffing a local caddie, it's been quite a year for these two! So in theory, having the two players get together to shoot a make-up video a couple days later was a good idea. However, it wound up looking like a bad April Fools’ Day joke.

Although, they claim to be “all good,” both seem to still think the other is to blame. They also totally leave out the fact that their (heated) discussions kept going for a couple holes after the incident. It wasn’t quite Keegan Bradley-Miguel Angel Jimenez, but it was pretty darn close.

Tony Romo: With rounds of 79-80, Romo carded the exact same 36-hole total he did at this event last year. Not including local pro George Riley, the former Dallas Cowboys QB once again finished six shots behind the next worst player, but this time finished one shot farther (17 strokes) off the cut line than last year so we’re giving this work-in-progress a failing grade for not making enough progress.

Mike Ehrmann

Then again, the CBS analyst has had his mind on that reported $10 million-per-year deal he’s seeking. That would come out to about $500,000 per week. Wonder what Jim Nantz would think of that. . . ? Speaking of Nantz (Shameless plug coming!), the legendary broadcaster joined us on this week’s Golf Digest Podcast. Check it out! While you keep reading, of course. . .

ON TAP

The PGA Tour heads to the Valero Texas Open, AKA that final Masters tuneup that replaced an actual Masters tuneup (the Houston Open) on the schedule. This takes place at TPC San Antonio, which is featured on a commercial for the TPC (Tournament Players Course) collection that says, “Imagine playing TPC San Antonio.” I’m sure it’s a lovely course, but I don’t think anyone has ever imagined that as a kid. Not even Beer Garden.

Random tournament fact: Sergio Garcia is a co-designer of the track with Greg Norman and he’s NOT playing, while his frenemy Matt Kuchar is. Hmm. . . OK, so this has nothing to do with their incident, but I just wanted to stoke the flames a little.

RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK

— Matt Kuchar and Sergio Garcia will play a Masters practice round together: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds

— Lucas Bjerregaard will win the Valero Texas Open: 50-to-1 odds (Actual odds)

— Everyone in Texas will still call him “BEER GARDEN": LOCK

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Kevin Kisner may have won the WGC-Dell Match Play, but the biggest winner at Austin Country Club may have been this lone dude on a packed party boat:

Impressive. Speaking of shirtless dudes. . .

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK

Kevin Dougherty made what’s believed to be the first shirtless eagle in the history of professional golf. Competitive professional golf, that is. I’m sure John Daly has made plenty of shirtless eagles in his day.

It’s certainly a lot better than his last highlight that went viral—his chip shot to earn a PGA Tour card missing by an inch. Literally. So good for him.

THIS WEEK IN DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION

It doesn’t look like DJ beat himself up too much over not advancing past the group stage at the Match Play.

THIS WEEK IN PHIL BEING PHIL

You have to hear the (NSFW) story Jake Owen told on Barstool’s Foreplay Podcast that involves Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth's wedding, and a wad of cash to believe it:

Amazing.

THIS WEEK IN CELEBRITY GOLFERS

How about Justin Bieber giving Kevin Na a shout-out?! That's going to do a lot for Na's street cred.

And how about the Biebs showing off a sweet putting setup? Not to mention that shirt/shorts combo. Bold.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“I'm the cheapest guy in the world. I hoard that money like crazy, because I don't know when it's going to run out, and I don't want it to run out and I don't know how long I'm going to be able to make 10-footers.” Kevin Kisner is awesome.

THIS AND THAT

Wikipedia predicted Kevin Kisner’s 3-and-2 win over Matt Kuchar hours before it happened. The machines are really taking over, huh? . . . Dan McCarthy won the Web.com Tour’s Savannah Golf Championship for his first victory in his 13th year as a pro. We’ve heard a lot of these stories lately and they’re just as cool each time. . . . Apparently, the USGA took the word “dormie” out of the rulebook. Shouldn’t golf fans have at least been warned the USGA was dormie in its match with dormie before it disappeared? . . . Tiger Woods will be going back to the mock look at this year’s Masters:

I’m not a fan. However, that’s what he was wearing for his last Masters win in 2005 so. . . whatever he needs to find some good mojo. . . . And speaking of Masters scripting, I had the pleasure of going to Adidas Golf headquarters to be outfitted for my annual buddies trip and tournament, the HGGA Championship. Here’s what I’ll be rocking this summer:

Pretty official, huh?

RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER

How much of that money from THE MATCH has Phil spent?

How long would it take Kevin Kisner to go through $9 million?

How does light blue go with our green jacket?


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