Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we secretly hope the PGA Tour’s slow-play problem never gets solved. Bryson DeChambeau's dawdling at Liberty National gave us a pair of viral videos, a collection of critical tweets by fellow tour pros, and even a "say it to my face" moment between Bryson and Brooks Koepka, the PGA Tour's self-appointed Sheriff of Slow Play. Of course, things didn't escalate beyond that because this is golf, but still, that's some good content. Thanks, Bryson! Keep up the
good slow work! On the other hand, to anyone playing with or ahead of me, please pick up the freaking pace. Anyway, here's what else has us talking.
Patrick Reed: How about this guy’s timing? For a second time in three years, Reed won his first event of the season at the first FedEx Cup Playoffs event, all but locking up a spot on Team USA for the Presidents Cup in December. Captain America winning in the shadow of Lady Liberty. How PATRIOTIC.
Incredibly, this was also Reed's first victory since winning last year's Masters. His seventh PGA Tour title only moved Mr. Self-proclaimed Top 5 back to No. 15 in the Official World Golf Ranking. But it did vault him to No. 2 (from No. 50) in the FedEx Cup standings. If he claims that $15 million bonus, he'll never have to worry about sitting in the "cheap" seats again.
Scott Harrington: Timing was on this guy’s side, too, as he completed one of the best stories in golf by earning his PGA Tour card for the first time at 38. The accomplishment was made all the more sweeter by having his wife, Jenn, in attendance at Pumpkin Ridge a year after Harrington cut his season short when she was diagnosed with cancer. Now Jenn is doing great and so is Scott.
Congrats also to Bo Hoag on winning the Korn Ferry Tour finale to secure his PGA Tour card as well. As for what happened to Vince India on the final hole, well, we’re not going to talk about that. . . Thoughts and prayers to Vince India. . .
Playing in a pro-am: I had the pleasure of playing in an LPGA Pro-Am four years ago, but as you can imagine, everything is a bit more amplified at a PGA Tour pro-am. The crowds are a lot larger (although, fortunately, my opening tee shot came on No. 10 in front of only a few fans), the SWAG is a lot cooler (I got an early Christmas gift for the wife as well), and odds are (no offense, LPGA), you’re going to get paired with a bigger name. I drew Hideki Matsuyama. You’ve probably heard of him. Decent little player.
What a thrill. At least, while it lasted. . .
Getting rained out in a pro-am: My only task that came with this plum assignment was finding a different angle to write about than the usual “Playing in a Pro-Am is awesome” (but again, to be clear, it is). And Mother Nature provided just that by bringing a lightning storm that chased us off the course after only three holes, an experience I documented here.
Bryson’s pace of play: On one hand, I feel bad for Bryson getting absolutely torched by the rest of the golf world after a pair of videos exposing his plodding pace of play went viral. On the other, if that’s what needs to happen to bring about change, then so be it. First off, here are the two videos in question:
Not good! And here is a sample response from Eddie Pepperell:
Again, content! I’m also selling the fact that the PGA Tour hasn’t penalized an individual player since Glen “All” Day in 1995. That’s 24 years ago! DeChambeau was still using single-length diapers!
The Jason Day-Steve Williams Era: The old New Zealand looper was supposed to toughen up the young Aussie and rejuvenate the former World No. 1’s career. Instead, it resulted in a mostly forgettable T21-T8-T66-MC-T40-MC run over six tournaments. Day called the breakup “mutual” and that it was “a disconnect of old school and new school," which can be summed up perfectly by this photo:
There's no way Stevie stood for Jason wearing that shirt.
The top 70 in the FedEx Cup standings (including, hopefully, Tiger Woods. We're going to forget last week's WD ever happened. . . ) make their way to the BMW Championship at Medinah, AKA that place where Tiger Woods has won two majors and where the Miracle at Medinah happened in 2012. Isn’t it nice when things are so perfectly named? Makes them a lot easy to remember.
Random tournament fact: Medinah is also the site of Sergio Garcia’s running, leaping scissor kick at the 1999 PGA Championship. Sadly, Sergio won’t be here this year because he didn’t advance to the second state of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Sadly to the fans, that is. The course’s superintendent is probably relieved.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
— A player will be called for a slow-play penalty this week: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds (If this does happen, it will be known as the Miracle at Medinah Part II)
— Tiger Woods will win at Medinah this week: 50-to-1 odds (Actual odds, yikes!)
— I will never tell Steve Williams he failed with Jason Day to his face: LOCK
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK
Pick a photo, any photo from Michelle Wie’s wedding to Jonnie West. She Instagrammed 26 (and counting) to be exact:
Then there were other photos posted by guests, including tennis player Genie Bouchard:
And Golf Digest's own Hally Leadbetter:
Anyway, congrats to Michelle and Jonnie on looking fantastic and for coming up with a great wedding couple hashtag. And congrats to THE LOGO, Jerry West!
Think their kids will be any good at sports? LOL.
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Rory McIlroy delivered quite the random dagger at Matt Kuchar during the Wyndham Rewards awards ceremony:
Poor, Matt. He’s never living down that cheap tip.
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (NON-VERBAL DIVISION)
Emiliano Grillo missed a putt to miss the cut and possibly end his season, and flipped off the hole. Delicious!
Fortunately for Grillo, he finished the week at No. 69 in the FedEx Cup standings and advanced to this week’s BMW Championship. We’re calling that a gift from the content gods.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"Yeah, look, it's changed my life a little bit. I'm definitely more recognized now, and even coming over here to events, but if anything when you're like that, it makes you feel more comfortable. That's the way I feel, anyway. They're not calling me Beef or they're not calling me J.B. Holmes out there, anyway. That's a plus." — Shane Lowry on winning the Open Championship. That's a plus, indeed. Beardism is real.
THIS WEEK IN TOUR PRO PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Danielle Kang managed to be at her good friend Michelle Wie’s wedding in LA:
AND in Oregon to see her boyfriend, Maverick McNealy, earn his PGA Tour card for the first time:
THIS WEEK IN PHIL BEING PHIL
First, Phil. . . went for a hike?
Then Phil posted this odd video with Bryson DeChambeau (before the slow-play storm hit):
Then he retold a classic yarn involving himself, Tony Romo, and Tiger Woods in front of Tiger (sort of) in his latest Phireside Chat:
Absolutely brilliant. Both the gamesmanship at Pebble Beach in 2012 and the use of Tiger photos to re-tell the story. It’s too bad Phil didn’t start these little chats last year leading up to THE MATCH. Woods would have been happy to actually come on for real to promote that event.
THIS AND THAT
Congrats to Gabi Ruffels for winning the U.S. Women’s Amateur despite her caddie having to leave for a funeral on the 31st hole of the 36-hole final. Congrats to tour pro Ryan Ruffels as well. To say he was proud of his little sister is an understatement.
Congrats to Amanda Balionis for consistently hitting the gym on the road. That takes serious discipline (the only thing I consistently do on the road is eat fast food) and the results are evident by the GUN SHOW she put on at the Northern Trust:
Congrats to Chris Naegel for making this hole-in-one:
But condolences to Chris for not winning the BMW on display behind the tee. That's messed up. . . . And finally, now that my daughter, Julia, is walking, I presented her with her first set of golf clubs:
We need to work on her form, but most importantly, I’m doing my part to GROW THE GAME.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Will Steve Williams ever caddie on the PGA Tour again?
Will I ever play in a PGA Tour pro-am again?
When should I talk to my daughter about slow play?