The Grind

Min Woo Lee’s latest cook-off, Phil Mickelson’s never-ending feud, and Tiger Woods’ viral golf lesson

November 28, 2023

Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we promise that I am, in fact, a real person. That’s right, an actual living, breathing human and not some AI-generated persona. Now, there might be some weeks where you might prefer the latter—especially if I’m talking about Costco too much—but at least you know I’m not some algorithm spitting out what it thinks you want to read. When I started writing this column nearly 11 years ago (NBD), such a thing wasn’t even imaginable, but, sadly, that’s where we are these days. I get that AI can be a tremendous tool—heck, I’m toying with an AI putter for next season—but let’s at least draw the line at writing about sports. Please. Anyway, let’s talk some golf before the machines take over everything.

WE’RE BUYING

Min Woo Lee: The “LET HIM COOK” is more like “HE IS COOKING” after a second win in about a month. Lee’s latest victory came at the Australian PGA Championship, where he held off a pretty decent field for professional title No. 4.

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Andy Cheung

The 25-year-old still has a way to go to catch big sister, Minjee, but he’s now up to No. 38 in the Official World Golf Ranking. And when it comes to the game’s best entertainers, he has to be unofficially ranked in the top five.

This house: We’ve seen some spectacular golf pads through the years, but this is up there with the best. An Augusta National-esque clubhouse? With a backyard golf complex? Yes, please.

Wow. In the words of Liz Lemon: “I want to go to there.” Well, when it gets warmer in Ohio, at least.

Free golf lessons: Especially from a PGA Tour winner. At least, that’s what Michael Kim offered while he was waiting for a flight last week. Just one big catch: You had to be at the Istanbul Airport!

Unfortunately, no one was able to take up Michael on his offer. Maybe next time. It also reminded me of the time I stumbled across a CASINO in the Amsterdam Airport. Needless to say, that did NOT end well for me. Moving on ...

WE’RE SELLING

John Senden’s medical luck: Just a few years removed from having his son diagnosed with brain cancer, the Aussie revealed he’s been battling Parkinson’s disease.

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That’s not keeping him off the course, however, as the two-time PGA Tour winner narrowly missed the cut at the Australian PGA Championship. But seriously, whether it’s the golf gods or regular gods, that’s way too much for someone to handle. Let’s just hope he gets through this as well as his son, who is doing great and caddied for him last week.

Adam Scott’s throwing accuracy: We’re not sure how this is possible, but Adam Scott tossed a golf ball toward the crowd last week—and completely missed an entire GRANDSTAND. Seriously, you have to see it to believe it:

If Scott ever returns to Fenway Park with his TGL teammates, it’s probably best to keep him from throwing out the first pitch. He's just lucky he did it too late to be included in this year's Turkeys list.

Paying for pre-round range balls: It’s the ultimate nickel-and-dime move by golf courses who have already collected over $100 from you for a green fee. You can’t toss in a small bucket for that as well? But while us weekend hackers are somewhat used to this treatment, golfers playing in this week’s Asian Tour event will get a taste. Check out this tournament memo shared by Ryan French, AKA Monday Q Info on Twitter:

An off-site public range! Ahead of an event with a $400,000 purse! Pretty wild. To anyone going that route (literally), better make sure you leave enough time to get to your tee time!

ON TAP

One of the great iron players of all time returns to action after a lengthy layoff due to surgery. That’s right, Will Zalatoris is back, everyone! OK, so too is Tiger Woods, who will (once again) make his return to competitive golf at the Hero World Challenge, AKA that Official World Golf Ranking points grab he hosts. We can’t even really call it much of a money grab anymore with an increased purse that's still less than $5 million. That’s sooooo 2002. Not that any of the guys in the Bahamas—especially the ones getting paid PIP bonuses this year—need any cash. But anyway, we’re excited to see Willy Z—and, yes, Big Cat—back in action.

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Andrew Redington

Random tournament fact: Not only has Viktor Hovland won the past two years, but Scottie Scheffler has finished runner-up. Just going to go out on a limb here and guess the difference has come on the greens. Sorry, Scottie.

RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK

—Tiger Woods will win this week: 80-to-1 odds (Worst in the field)

—Viktor Hovland will three-peat this week: 4-to-1 odds (Favorite! Over Scottie.)

—Viktor will eat more Chipotle than Tiger this week: LOCK

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

How about this throwback of young Aussies Min Woo Lee and Curtis Luck?

Aww. They grow up so quick, don’t they?

TWEET OF THE WEEK (FUN DIVISION)

More Min Woo! This time, throwing it back to a brush he had with Jordan Spieth in 2016:

Now Jordan would be awestruck if he were next to this stinger-hitting king on the range:

Let him cook, indeed.

CLUB PRO GUY TWEET OF THE WEEK

And how about Min Woo getting into it with CPG!

Great stuff all around from these two titans of Golf Twitter.

TWEET(S) OF THE WEEK (FEUD DIVISION)

The battle between Phil Mickelson and writer Alan Shipnuck rages on!

This is approaching two years now. Mickelson definitely got the better dig in this time, but deleting the tweet looks weak. And Shipnuck brought some pretty damning receipts:

Phil would have an easier time winning this battle if Alan was one of SI’s AI-generated writers.

And then there’s this bizarre beverage battle between something called Liquid Death and Arnold Palmer’s estate. Apparently, Liquid Death came out with an iced tea-lemonade drink called “Armless Palmer” (Really tasteful!) and when Palmer’s estate threatened legal action they changed it to “Dead Billionaire” (Even more tasteful!):

Disgusting stuff. But it led to this great tweet from our Christopher Powers:

Seriously, imagine? RIP King.

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (GOAT DIVISION)

This video of Tiger Woods surprising college golfers on the range and offering advice is awesome. In particular, because of all the amazing terms Tiger drops in two minutes from “one-degree cut” to “PEELER,” and his incredible “1,000 contacts” theory:

Now that’s a beautiful mind at work.

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (PRO DIVISION)

Adam Scott redeemed himself for his errant golf ball toss with this one:

You are looking at peak athleticism right there.

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (AMATEUR DIVISION)

We all have those stories about ourselves or golf buddies having a chance to shoot their best score and coming up heartbreakingly close. I can think of two friends off the top of my head who had a chance to break 80 for the first time and didn’t even finish the 18th hole. Well, this is part of that painful genre:

Poor guy. That’s tough to watch.

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (FAN DIVISION)

What a great angle of Min Woo Lee’s great hole-out during the final round:

COOK!

THIS WEEK IN PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION

DJ Khaled’s 48th birthday bash featured a ton of musical celebrities—as well as John Daly giving a heartfelt speech:

What a spectacle! JD and DJ seem like they’d be great friends to have.

THIS WEEK IN CELEBRITY GOLFERS (NON-DJ KHALED DIVISION)

With his athletic talent and drive, I’d say Tom has a great shot at the senior tour, but he played football too long! He’s already 46!

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Great line by J.J. Watt about his buddy Jon Rahm here:

Which also doesn’t help the whole “it’s a done deal” narrative . . .

THIS AND THAT

After two years playing LIV Golf, Bernd Wiesberger’s application to return to the DP World Tour was accepted. Now that’s what I call a Thanksgiving pardon! . . . Speaking of LIV golfers, congrats to Dean Burmester for winning the Joburg Open, which gets him into THE Open next year. Talk about a nice early Christmas present. . . . The PGA Tour is implementing a bunch of improvements for players in 2024, including more bathrooms. Jon Rahm is now a hero to tour pros everywhere—but especially to ones with small bladders. . . . And, finally, it looks like we’ve got a chip off the old block when it comes to a love of chain restaurants.

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It would have been nice for her to mention her, you know, parents, but I’m still proud.

RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER

How big is DJ Khaled’s 50th birthday party going to be?

How long has it been since I had a birthday party?

How long until the machines (gulp) take over everything?