Ludvig Aberg’s stunning stats, Tiger Woods’ tumultuous week and Mike Weir marries a ‘Bachelor’ contestant
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we are formally applying for the open position of Tiger Woods’ caddie. You get to work closely with the GOAT, go to only the best golf events and get about 40-45 weeks of vacation per year? Sign me up! Although, it looks like I have to get in line, because even world-class players want a piece:
In any event, we’re excited about Tiger announcing his latest return to competitive golf, and we’re putting together some sample videos of me showing off my caddieing skills to send to his team. And if that doesn’t work out? Well, we’ll be back here next week still talking golf. Now let’s get to everything else going on in the game.
Ludvig Aberg: Good lord, this kid is good. Already with a DP World Tour win and a Ryder Cup appearance under his belt, Aberg matched Justin Thomas’ 72-hole scoring record to secure PGA Tour win No. 1 at the RSM Classic. He also did something no one has done before with a pair of 61s on the weekend to finish at a staggering 29 under par and win by four shots.
Imagine shooting 19 under and losing by TEN shots? That’s tough. Aberg also crossed the 50-round threshold for the season on the PGA Tour meaning his stats officially count. And they’re pretty staggering as well:
This dude isn’t going to be a problem, he IS a problem. And the 24-year-old was still worried about getting to class on time just five months ago!
Nicolai Hojgaard: This young man has officially arrived as well. Only 22, this fellow Ryder Cupper picked up his third career DP World Tour title at the season finale to take down a star-studded field in Dubai:
Just a reminder that these two were considered the last guys taken for the European team that played in Rome. No wonder they won.
Amy Yang: The 34-year-old South Korean picked a good time to win for the first time in more than four years, claiming the LPGA CME Group Tour Championship and the $2 million prize that comes with it. That’s right, Amy won more money than even Ludvig last week. And if Yang likes Chipotle even half as much as he does (doubtful), then she’s set for life there. Surprisingly, it’s also the first victory on American soil for the 16-year LPGA vet, but she wasn’t the only winner in Naples:
Congrats as well to Lilia Vu on winning Rolex Player of the Year (the first American to do so since Stacy Lewis in 2014) and to Atthaya Thitikul on claiming the Vare Trophy for best scoring average. Neither of those two walked away with TWO MILLION bucks, though. After, Yang said she doesn’t know what she’s going to do with the money. Amy, let me know if you need any help with that.
NBC’s budget cuts: I’ll be the first to admit I won’t be shedding any tears over Paul Azinger not having his contract renewed. And neither will Golf Twitter, where he got roasted more than Patrick Reed. But according to a report from Sports Illustrated, this move is just one of many cost-cutting measures being taken by NBC.
That means that golf broadcasts on the network aren’t getting any better no matter who they put in that chair. But that didn't keep us from making some suggestions for who it should be. Although, Steve Hennessey's Rocco Mediate answer on this week's pod is the best. Rocco would be fantastic.
TGL’s first season: What a wild week for Tiger. On the bright side, he announced he’s returning to pro golf at the end of the month and he got to watch Charlie help his high school team win a state title. On the bad side, TGL, the new tech-infused golf league that he’s a co-founder of, is now delaying its start until 2025 after the venue’s roof collapsed. Jeez, that’s rough. Even Aaron Rodgers’ first season with the Jets lasted longer than TGL’s first year. Anyway, we’ll have to wait until 2025 to watch Tiger’s debut with Jupiter Links GC.
Joost Luiten’s problem-solving skills: The Dutch tour pro’s anger management could use some work, too, after flinging a driver into a tree in Dubai. But from there, things got comically worse, as he got not one, but TWO more clubs stuck in the same tree while trying to retrieve his 1-wood from some actual wood. Have a look:
What a scene. Seriously, don't try this at home. Well, at your home course.
While the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour are off for Thanksgiving, the DP World Tour has not one, but two tournaments in the Australian PGA and the Joburg Open. This after wrapping up its 2022-23 season last week. Jeez, no rest for the weary. Cameron Smith and Min Woo Lee are the favorites Down Under while Dean Burmester and Christian Bezuidenhout are the favorites in South Africa. Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone. And don’t forget to load up on our Turkeys of the Year first!
Random tournament fact: Cameron Smith is the defending champ of the Aussie PGA. OK, so that was a lot more of an obvious fact than a random one.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
—Greg Norman will caddie for Tiger in the Bahamas: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds
—Ludvig Aberg will eat Chipotle for Thanksgiving: Even odds
—Joost Luiten won’t throw anymore golf clubs into trees: LOCK
PHOTO OF THE WEEK (DEFLATING DIVISION)
At least no one was hurt.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK (INSPIRATIONAL DIVISION)
Look at that scorecard! And I thought I was really cooking when I was a couple under par through 12 holes last week! (Yes, I shared Matt’s card just so I could mention my hot start to what’s likely my final round of 2023. And, no, I won’t get into the details of what happened over those final six holes.)
INSTAGRAM COMMENTS OF THE WEEK
Brooks getting feisty! And that’s not all!
All the five-time major champ wants for Christmas is a LIV Golf schedule. And I don’t blame him, especially with Brooks being a new dad. Talk about a hectic time!
CLUB PRO GUY TWEET OF THE WEEK
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (PRO DIVISION)
Blayne Barber opened up about his struggles during a first-round 82 at PGA Tour Q School second stage, and golf fans praised him for his candidness.
I’m also praising Blayne for bouncing back with rounds of 71, 70, and 64! It wasn’t enough to advance and extend his career, but what a great effort. And what a great guest on this week’s podcast, which also featured college basketball coaching legend Lon Kruger. It’s a Thanksgiving feast—for the ears!
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (AMATEUR DIVISION)
We mentioned Charlie Woods helping his team win the state title (Woods finished T-26 individually) and no shot was better than this chip in:
That fist pump looks awfully familiar, huh?
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (FAN DIVISION)
Congrats to this Baylor fan for draining a full-court putt to win $5,000:
Even better? He didn't get hurt like that Lakers fan attempting the half-court shot.
That's why golf—and not basketball—is a lifetime sport, folks.
THIS WEEK IN CELEBRITY GOLFERS
Shout-out to MLB Hall-of-Famer John Smoltz for advancing to the final stage of PGA Tour Champions Q School:
What an impressive two-sport athlete! And then there was NFL rookie sensation C.J. Stroud using an orange whip to warm up on the sidelines:
Not sure if the Texans QB is a golfer, but if he is, we’re guessing he’s got some serious pop.
THIS WEEK IN PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION (BROTHERS DIVISION)
Who was there when Nicolai Hojgaard won the biggest tournament (so far) of his life? Twin brother Rasmus, of course:
Aww. You love to see it.
THIS WEEK IN PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION (COUPLES DIVISION)
Congrats to 2003 Masters champ Mike Weir on tying the knot with longtime girlfriend and former “Bachelor” contestant and actress Michelle Money:
That’s a nice suit, but a green jacket would have looked even sharper. Augusta National should make a special exception to its rules when a former champ is getting hitched. Anyway, according to People (Yes, Mike Weir is getting written up in People Magazine), the couple had a very small ceremony in Hawaii and the celebration included a golf day with the kids. So he’s getting married while growing the game! Impressive.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Nothing, not necessarily materialistic, but I took my mom on a nice trip to Malta and we went there hung out and ate good food and checked out some places and sightsee'd a little bit so that’s the stuff that’s cool.” —Viktor Hovland on what he’s done with his $35 million in earnings this year. Aww. Congrats to Viktor on being both the FedEx Champ and the Champion Son of the Year in golf.
THIS AND THAT
Congrats to Mark Hubbard for setting a PGA Tour record that will probably never be broken (thanks to all those extra fall events) with 39 starts. Even Sungjae Im is impressed. … Jordan Spieth will replace Rory McIlroy on the PGA Tour Policy Board after the four-time major champ stepped down. Between that and TGL not happening, Rory suddenly has a lot of free time in 2024. … Sam Snead’s winning trophy from the 1949 Masters sold at auction for $766,433, which is more than five times what it sold for 10 years ago. So, basically, old golf trophies have been affected by inflation as much as everything else. … And, speaking of money, I found a $50 bill on the seat of the train:
So I’m feeling extra thankful this Thanksgiving.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Who winds up with more wins: Ludvig or Nicolai?
Who winds up in Paul Azinger’s chair?
What should I bet on with that $50?