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The Grind

Phil Mickelson’s big Christmas bonus, Tiger Woods’ hilarious sweatshirt, and a new golf course terror emerges

January 04, 2022

Welcome to another edition year of The Grind where we are back from a quarantined Christmas break with the kids that has us knowing every word of “Encanto.” Every. Single. Word. I’m also proud to say I nearly made it to midnight on New Year’s Eve. Although, if I’m being honest, that’s only because I didn’t realize the documentary I was watching was so long. Man, am I old. But I’m back for another year of this (hopefully) fun weekly rundown. And although there wasn’t much going on these past two weeks, let’s give it a shot anyway. We don’t talk about Bruno (No, no), but we certainly talk about golf.

WE'RE BUYING

Phil’s Christmas bonus: In what many considered a bit of an upset, Phil Mickelson revealed he won the inaugural PGA Tour Player Impact Program (AKA “PIP”) bonus over Tiger Woods. And not surprisingly, he was happy to let everyone know about it:

Nice job, Phil. There’s a reason why I declared you the PGA Tour’s Content King a few years ago and why I put together this list of 101 things that happened to you just last year (By the way, thanks for reading, Phil!):

Long live the Content King! There’s just one caveat before he collects the $8 million: Phil has to tee it up in a tournament he hasn’t played in the past three years to claim the second half of the money. And he’s going to do that by playing in this week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions. So, yeah, technically, he’s getting an even fatter bonus for agreeing to go play some golf in Hawaii. Must be nice!

Being Xander’s caddie: It also must be nice to be Austin Kaiser. In addition to getting the bag of a young star when Schauffele turned pro, he also received this cool gift from his boss for Christmas:

Great stuff, Xander, but now Austin might expect you to sew a tiny green jacket after you win the Masters in April.

Tiger’s sweatshirt: Tiger looked surprisingly sharp at last month's PNC Championship (Shout-out to Charlie for his amazing performance as well) and the GOAT was still looking good after being spotted in L.A. recently:

Classic. You know someone’s feeling good when they start making physical rehab jokes about themselves.

Making a “1” on 1/1: Obviously, making a hole-in-one anytime is nice. Not that I’d know. But there’s something about starting your year by making one that seems particularly appealing. Enter Danielle Kang:

Then again, maybe it’s all downhill from here. Just kidding, it’s going to be a big year for this recent Golf Digest cover star. And, seriously, golf gods, I’m not picky. I’ll take an ace anytime. Please.

WE'RE SELLING

Collin Morikawa’s PIP snub: OK, so it’s not so much a snub, but just a tough break. The young star had another stellar season, winning his second major and nearly tracking down Jon Rahm for the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking. But in the PIP ranking, he is believed to have finished in the dreaded No. 11 spot and out of the money.

Ouch. Not that he needs it, but the drop from $3 million to bubkis is pretty rough. And again, the two guys at the top who earned $14 million are a combined 97 years old and had exactly one top-10 finish last year. That being said, I’m also selling the people complaining about two of the game’s all-time greats finally getting rewarded for putting an entire generation of fans in the seats.

Googling peoples’ net worth: Admittedly, I’m guilty of doing this for various celebrities, but one former PGA Tour pro-turned-swing coach proved how inaccurate the numbers can be.

Although Bradley Hughes probably deserves to be a billionaire for turning Brendon Todd’s career around, he definitely isn’t one. Nor am I, for the record, in case you were wondering. Although, if you try to look me up, you’ll learn there is an Alex Meyers, who is a YouTube millionaire. Again, must be nice.

This giant crab: Remind me not to go play golf on Christmas Island because apparently there are giant golf club-snapping crabs there. Check this bad boy out:

Absolutely terrifying. Not exactly Sebastian from “The Little Mermaid,” am I right? Sorry, again, it’s been a long couple weeks cooped up with the kids.

ON TAP

The PGA Tour returns with the Sentry Tournament of Champions, AKA that one where (most of) last season’s winners go to Kapalua for a (very) limited-field event. And if you’re a golf fan, buckle up. Because after a couple weeks off, there will be a PGA Tour event every week for the next nine months. Well, assuming we don’t have another global shutdown.

Random tournament fact: Defending champ Harris English is the only non-champion to win the Tournament of Champions. He only got in the field last year because the event expanded it to anyone who had qualified for the previous Tour Championship given the shortened schedule due to COVID. Talk about an unlikely winner.

RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK

—This is the year I finally make a hole-in-one: 1 MILLION BILLION-to-1 odds

—Justin Thomas and Kevin Kisner have action on the Alabama-Georgia: LOCK

—Phil has even more action on it thanks to his PIP money: Bigger LOCK

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (LITTLE-KID DIVISION)

This cute video of yearly clips of a growing boy’s golf swing puts the movie “Boyhood” (More like Bore-hood IMO) to shame:

I might have to copy that. If my girls ever get into golf, that is …

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (BIG-KID DIVISION)

Great stuff from 25-year-old Robert MacIntyre, who is understandably very excited to be getting another invite to Augusta National after finishing T-12 in his Masters debut last year:

This could also serve as a tourism video for Oban, Scotland. What a gorgeous-looking place!

THIS WEEK IN PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION

The still-engaged Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky posed during Paulina’s latest birthday bash:

Looking good, guys! New year, same "It" couple.

THIS WEEK IN PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF FUR

And DJ showed off a much different coat than his green jacket during a trip to Aspen:

That’s a confident man right there. I don’t think I could pull that off.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Fingers crossed that we even see Tiger tee it up in a major this year, but love the enthusiasm.

THIS AND THAT

Nelly Korda has now held the top spot in the Rolex Women's World Rankings for a total of 26 weeks, longer than any other American woman. OK, so the ranking has only been around for 15 years, but that’s still impressive. … Augusta National won a College Gameday poll to determine the most iconic sports venue in the country. Duh. … Congrats to Ian Poulter for being the PGA Tour pro with the most social-media engagement in 2021! What does he get? Nothing! (Sorry, Ian). … And, finally, I got quite the stuffed stocking for Christmas from my wife. These are the contents of a chocolate lover addict:

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Let’s just say, there’s not much left …

RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER

When the heck is this DJ-Paulina wedding happening?

How many PGA Tour pros will be invited when it does?

How many times will I watch “Encanto” this year?