Welcome to another edition of The Grind where we have never been more excited for the Presidents Cup. Great venue? Check. Primetime viewing? Check. Tiger Woods playing the role of participant and captain? Check. Patrick Reed playing the role of villain? Check. Kudos(?) to Captain America for inadvertently adding some SPICE to an event that was a total snoozefest (“The Romp by the Swamp”) last time. Here’s an actual photo I took at Liberty National during Day 3 of the 2017 Presidents Cup:
But seriously, there’s a lot to get to and Reed has a lot to do with it. Bad job by him in that bunker and bad job by me only putting him No. 7 in our PGA Tour Content Kings ranking. Like he famously said, he’s top five in the world.
Henrik Stenson: Talk about taking advantage of an opportunity. Stenson was tossed one of two tournament exemptions by Tiger Woods and the second-lowest ranked and second-oldest player in the field wound up winning the Hero Challenge by a shot over a red-hot Jon Rahm. Hitting the shot of the week late on Sunday helped:
Guess that new 3-wood is working out just fine.
Tiger as a host: Woods didn’t win (how gracious!), but he did just about anything else he wanted during the Hero World Challenge. That included rolling up to the course in a golf cart:
And punking Justin Thomas with this lengthy first-tee introduction:
Rasmus Højgaard: While Woods and Stenson displayed impressive games for 43-year-old golfers, an 18-year-old became the third-youngest winner in European Tour history. And the young Dane did it in style with an eagle of his own in the playoff.
Impressive. Also impressive? His twin brother Nicolai, who finished runner-up to Sergio Garcia at the KLM Open three months ago, might be even better.
Patrick Reed’s explanation: It’s one thing to blatantly break the rules knowingly or not (Reed wound up losing the tournament by those two penalty strokes. . . golf gods!), it’s another to play the victim after being shown clear evidence of such. But that’s what Reed did, blaming the “camera angle” and insisting he gets a raw deal for things like this. As Rory McIlroy pointed out, people do like to pile on Patrick, but don’t you think there’s a reason for that? Rumors have followed Reed since college and shortly after he dug himself to a better lie, someone dug up a clip of Reed doing the same exact thing at Tiger’s tournament four years to the date.
While Reed’s U.S. teammates joke about the incident, golfers elsewhere aren’t laughing. Eddie Pepperell tweeted at Reed, “What the f--- were you thinking?!” Fair question. Marc Leishman said this will provide the Aussie fans at the Presidents Cup with some “pretty good ammo.” Yep. And fellow International Team member Cameron Smith went as far as to call Reed’s explanation “bullshit” and say, “I don’t have any sympathy for anyone who cheats.” It’s an ugly situation all around, but again, it’s not going to hurt TV ratings this week at Royal Melbourne.
Brandel’s bad break: Speaking of hole-in-ones, how about this brutal break Brandel Chamblee got on a near ace during PGA Tour Champions Q school?
Ouch, that’s tough to look at. Chamblee wound up missing out on his senior tour card, but at least it didn’t come down to this. And at least he still has five other holes-in-one. OK, never mind. I don’t feel sorry for him.
This trophy: I mean, seriously. . .
As usual, Eddie Pepperell put it best:
The game’s best players—minus those from Europe and Brooks Koepka—head Down Under for the Presidents Cup, AKA that team event the U.S. wins every other year.
Random tournament fact: Kidding. Sort of. The U.S. has lost the Presidents Cup once. In fact. . .
Hmm. Maybe Tiger should have dipped a bit lower in the ranking when making those captain’s picks.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
—Patrick Reed won't be heckled at Royal Melbourne: 1-MILLION -to-1 odds
—The International Team will win: 2.5-to-1 odds (Actual odds. . . seems low, right?)
—International players are going to be watching Reed like a hawk in the bunkers: LOCK
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Let’s focus on something a little more wholesome, OK? Like Matt Jones taking this adorable photo with his family after winning the Australian Open:
That’s better. Positive vibes only from here on out.
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Tiger Woods outdrove Justin Thomas, who is young enough to be his son. So of course he let him know about it:
Well played. And hit. That’s some sneaky pop for a guy who turns 44 in a couple weeks.
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (INVOLVING A TOUR PRO’S OFFSPRING)
It’s been awhile since we’ve mentioned Alexandra Browne, the daughter of three-time PGA Tour winner Olin Browne and the ex-girlfriend of Rickie Fowler. But this cover of “Hallelujah” was too good not to pass along:
It's getting a bit dusty in here. . .
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (INVOLVING LEGOS)
The Lego master is back with this classic club twirl from Tiger at the 2009 Presidents Cup:
OK, now it's really getting a bit dusty in here. . .
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Where the game of golf has gone in the last 25 years is remarkable—and it could not be what it is today if it wasn’t for Tiger Woods. With all that being said, we’d like to kick their asses this weekend.” —Good thing the Presidents Cup isn’t a bare-knuckled brawl on a private jet or the Internationals would be a lock.
THIS WEEK IN CELEBRITY GOLFERS
Are we sure Ashleigh Barty is playing the right sport? Oh, right. She’s No. 1 in tennis. Guess she chose correctly.
THIS WEEK IN PGA TOUR PRO-WAGS PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
PRESIDENTS CUP GALA TIME!
We love seeing golf’s couples get all fancy. And Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Cantlay, who went solo.
Don’t worry, guys, Rickie Fowler was in your position only three years ago and now he’s married to Allison Stokke. So hang in there!
And while Brooks and Jena sadly couldn’t make the trip, they made it to a Lakers game instead.
Brooks doesn’t look dressed up, but that white t-shirt and ripped denim jacket probably cost more than my entire wardrobe. “It’s fashion, bro.”
THIS AND THAT
The USGA/R&A are loosening the rules regarding amateur status, including hole-in-one prizes. It’s the right move, although, it has no effect on me since I’ll never make one, prize or not. . . . Speaking of my game, I asked Brendon Todd’s yip-fixer Bradley Hughes about my own struggles on the course under pressure and about his experience playing in the inaugural Presidents Cup on this week’s Golf Digest Podcast. Please have a listen:
Congrats to Bernhard Langer and his son, Jason, for winning the PNC Father/Son Challenge. But of course, Little John Daly was the main attraction as usual. . . . And finally, I went to a Wagamama for the first time:
It will not be the last.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
How much does Bradley Hughes charge for a lesson?
What would have happened if Patrick Reed won?
What snacks did Captain Woods bring for that long team flight?