The Grind

Rory McIlroy breaks hearts, Stephen Curry blows minds, and the creepiest view in all of golf

July 18, 2023

Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we start with some bittersweet personal news. I had a chance to shoot the round of my life. And I let it slip through my shaky hands. Yep, I found myself in an unfamiliar position at two under through 13 holes and promptly bogeyed four of the final five holes to shoot two over. Sigh. So despite my fact I shot my lowest score as a dad, I spent every waking minute over the weekend analyzing what went wrong down the stretch. What a sick game. In any event, I promise to try to move on as we discuss everything else going on in golf, including one of the wildest Sundays in recent memory. Ugh, but what was I thinking with that club choice on 16 . . . sorry! Starting . . . now!


Rory McIlroy: Talk about not choking. McIlroy may be a four-time major winner, but this was arguably the most impressive finish of his career with a pair of closing birdies to win the Genesis Scottish Open—including on 18 when he faced a 60-yard wind in punching this remarkable 2-iron to 10 feet and then converting the putt:

Here's a look at the incredible approach shot:

And we need another angle because it was so good:

What a stud. How is it possible he hasn’t won a major in nine years?! Wait, sorry. That’s like me rueing my great score. Again, what a sick game. But seriously, what a performance. And what class in apologizing to Robert MacIntyre for dashing his dreams and breaking all of Scotland’s heart:

Well, not all of Scotland. At least one fan there was happy McIlroy won because it made him 300 pounds richer. And Rory had a classic response:

Good stuff, Rory. Now go win the real Open this week, will ya?

Stephen Curry: A few hours after McIlroy’s dramatics, the NBA star used to knocking down buzzer-beating jumpers sunk a walk-off putt of his own to win the American Century Championship, AKA the Super Bowl of Celebrity Golf. And it wasn’t just any putt that gave the four-time NBA champ his first Lake Tahoe title, but an eagle one—fittingly from about three-point range—to beat Mardy Fish:

Amazing stuff from Steph, who became the first active athlete to win the event since Al Del Greco. And, no offense to Al, but he was a kicker, so does that really count? Regardless, Curry’s clutch putt capped one of the greatest golf weekends in history considering he also made a hole-in-one on Saturday:

Must be nice. What an athlete. And what an ambassador for golf. Now that’s growing the game.

Linn Grant: Rose Zhang has gotten a lot of attention lately and rightly so, but don’t forget about this sweet-swinging star from Sweden. Grant claimed her maiden LPGA Tour title (she has five LET titles) at the Dana Open, and it wasn’t particularly close as she shot a Saturday 62 to open up a big lead before winning by three shots.



And again, just look at this swing:

Yeah, she’s going to be a problem for a long time. Even for Rose.


Lydia Ko’s penalty: Another week, another brutal, dumb, and, yes, avoidable penalty in the women’s game. Last week, it was Natthakittra Vongtaveelap’s caddie using a rangefinder that got her DQ’d from the U.S. Women’s Open after only five holes. And this week, it was a SEVEN-shot addition to Ko’s scorecard at the Dana Open for not following directions regarding preferred lies at the Dana Open.

We’ve seen this happen before, but this is a weird one because lift, clean, and place was in place for only TWO of the holes. But you had to play it as it lies on the other 16. Again, Ko messed up and she knows it, but that seems a bit wonky.

Donald Trump’s “2.5” handicap: Maybe back in his prime, but at 77? And after seeing this shank?

Yikes. Sorry, not buying it.

This “Giant Eye”: The first few times I scrolled past this on Twitter I didn’t think it was real, but apparently it is. And it’s horrifying.

The source is Vegas’ new The Sphere at The Venetian, which, among other things, can apparently light up to look like a giant human eyeball. That’s the freakiest thing I’ve ever seen. And it appears pretty unavoidable to see if you’re playing at the Wynn Golf Club these days.

Good luck with that, Josh.


Set those alarms! The fourth and final men’s major of the year is here with the Open Championship, AKA the British Open, AKA the Open, AKA the one that everyone and their mother (no, really, my mom loves his chances this week) is picking Rory McIlroy to win. And for good reason. Rory is red-hot and he won the Open the last time it was held at Royal Liverpool in 2014. Meanwhile, the Barracuda Championship will be taking place in California. But Chez Reavie’s attempt to successfully defend his title is drawing slightly less buzz. Sorry, Chez.

Random tournament fact: As part of my research for a “Biggest British Open rules controversies” piece, I discovered that Harry Bradshaw probably cost himself the claret jug in 1949 by playing a shot from a broken bottle during the second round at Royal St. George’s:


Bradshaw, who didn’t call in a rules official because there wasn’t one nearby (yet somehow there was a photographer), made double bogey and wound up tied with Bobby Locke in regulation before losing to the South African by 12 shots in a 36-hole playoff. Talk about a tough way to lose.


—Someone will play a shot from a broken bottle at Royal Liverpool: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds

—Someone will make a walk-off eagle at Royal Liverpool: 100-to-1 odds (Hey, it’s a par 5!)

—Rory McIlroy won’t win now that I bet on him: LOCK


Well, it was actually a series of tweets, but thanks to Geno Bonnalie for live-tweeting his epic birdie fest against his boss, Joel Dahmen:

As you can see, even with a 64 Geno came up one shot short, so he’s probably been racking his brain about it ever since like me with my round. Cheer up, Geno. At least you broke par. Easily.



The Brooks-Bryson feud is officially dead.

RIP the Brooks-Bryson feud.


Having comedian/professional greeter Troy Hawke greeting players as they arrived at the Scottish Open was a stroke of genius:

I need to start using “A flaming skillet of sporting prowess.” That’s a keeper.


Reigning World Long Drive champ Martin Borgmeier hit one 327 yards. With a putter.

I’ve hit some long putts, including a recent one at Pine Needles that went off the green into a bunker, but this is something else.


We’ve got a couple of really cute waves this week at the Scottish Open. First, Rory McIlroy waving to his daughter Poppy:

Aww. And then Rickie Fowler waving to his buddy Justin Thomas:

Aww again.


Jordan Spieth using a pushcart during his round at North Berwick:

You love to see it. Well, at least, I do. Cut out caddies and make these guys do this all the time and you’d end the dumb “Are golfers athletes?” debate for good.


How about Travis Kelce beating Steph (and everyone else) in the American Century Championship Long Drive Contest with a poke that went 362 yards. In the AIR!

That’s one talented dude right there. Give him a few more years of practice and watch out. Then again, he doesn’t seem like he’s playing golf for trophies:

Well played, Travis.


“I’ve been saying to all my mates, It’ll only be a week and we’ll be drinking out of it again.”—Cameron Smith, who admitted to shedding a few tears upon returning the claret jug. Good luck, Cam. If I could defend my HGGA title and keep our green jacket, then you can definitely do it.


Congrats to Vincent Norrman on winning his maiden PGA Tour victory at the opposite-field Barbasol Championship. No offense to the Barbasol, but we're pretty sure the Swede would rather be in Scotland next year instead of defending his title. . . . Jon Rahm and Callaway have extended their equipment deal with Rahm even receiving some equity in the company:

Yeah, probably a smart move to lock that guy up long term. . . . Kudos to Allisen Corpuz for not only playing days after claiming the U.S. Women’s Open at the Dana Open (which has a total purse less than the $2 million first-place check she received), but for finishing runner-up. It’s not quite Bernhard Langer winning at Hilton Head in 1985 after winning the Masters, but that’s pretty darn impressive. . . . And, finally, my friends and family know how much I love Doritos so this is difficult to write, but Frito-Lay really struck out with the new “Hot Mustard” flavor. Just look at this display at Costco, where they gave out multiple samples and now are basically trying to give them away:


The .97 means it’s been discounted and the * means an item is leaving soon (yep, I know my Costco). I thought they were going to taste like Snyder’s mustard & onion pieces (maybe the GOAT snack), but nope. No thanks. Disappointing.


What will the next (great) Doritos flavor be?

When will I ever have another (great) chance to break par?

Is it finally time to purchase a pushcart?