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The Grind

Rory McIlroy’s unusual honor, Michael Block’s old commercial bloopers, and an all-time golf fight fail

May 14, 2024

Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we are happy to report we finally made our triumphant return to the golf course after undergoing meniscus surgery in February. Well, it was a return, at least. I struggled on the greens worse than Ernie Els that one year at the Masters and my Whoop treated completing 18 holes in a cart as if I’d just run a marathon. But I’m back, baby! And now I have about eight weeks to get my handicap up improve before my big buddies trip to French Lick. I might reach out to Club Pro Guy for some advice. In the meantime, here’s what else is happening in golf.

WE’RE BUYING

Rory McIlroy: Especially at Quail Hollow. The guy owns this place so much the course once named a bald eagle after the curly-haired Northern Irishman.

Quite an honor. But on Sunday it was a pair of eagles that propelled him to his 26th career PGA Tour win at the Wells Fargo Championship, 14 years after winning his first PGA Tour title there.

McIlroy blitzed the field—really, Xander Schauffele—to win by five even with a closing double bogey. And now he looks poised to end his decade-long major drought this week at a place he won his last one. Talk about good timing. You can end it, Rory. Don’t stop believin’.

Chris Gotterup: It’s only fitting that a guy who grew up on the Jersey Shore would be the inaugural King of Myrtle Beach by winning the inaugural Myrtle Beach Classic. The former MGA POY and Haskins winner at Oklahoma not only won his first PGA Tour title at the opposite-field effect, but won by a touchdown.

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Sam Greenwood

Impressive stuff. And what a snazzy winner’s jacket! Even better? The fact that his family flew in for the final round saved him from a Mother’s Day disaster.

Although, she would have never known if you didn’t say anything! He’ll learn. He’s only 24. But we’ll continue to expect big things from this big hitter.

Rose Zhang: From a Jersey legend to the new Queen of New Jersey, Zhang earned her second career LPGA victory at the Cognizant Founders Cup with both coming in the Garden State after a late birdie barrage at Upper Montclair Country Club.

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Elsa

What a miss by me not betting on this young star. Especially because in my search for Nelly Korda at the Cognizant Founders Cup last week—Nelly arrived late on Tuesday due to a little gathering called the Met Gala—I came across Rose and Lexi Thompson right away:

And it’s Gambling 101 that you always bet on the first golfer(s) you see at a tournament. Sigh. Anyway, congrats to Rose. Now that she’s done with finals at Stanford, watch out. And, congrats to Nelly again on winning five in a row to tie the LPGA record. She’ll get another streak going soon enough.

Blades Brown: Another week, another 16-year-old making the cut on the PGA Tour. Seriously, this is getting crazy. And Blades (What a name!) might be the most entertaining of the bunch. The kid finished T-26!

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Tracy Wilcox

But now it’s back to reality. “I'm definitely not looking forward to the makeup work I have to do the next four days before exams,” Brown said. “But it's all right, I have a sister so she'll be able to help me out with some stuff. It's definitely going to feel a little different.” Good luck with those finals, Blades.

WE’RE SELLING

Xander Schauffele’s drought: It’s absolutely crazy that this guy hasn’t won in nearly two years despite all the great golf he’s played. Up to No. 3 in the Official World Golf Ranking, Schauffele had a chance to go wire to wire at the Wells Fargo, but ran into that Rory buzzsaw on Sunday.

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Andrew Redington

On the bad side, it will go down as another squandered opportunity. On the bright side, with each passing week he puts himself in contention, a win has to be close. Right . . . ?

PGA Tour board drama: The week started with news that Rory wanted back on after quitting and got denied. Then it came out that his pal who helped construct that framework deal, Jimmy Dunne, was resigning. And there are other reports saying Patrick Cantlay is wielding all the power.

The whole thing is a mess. And, frankly, myself and most golf fans are sick of hearing about it.

Chris Gotterup’s wake-up time: As in I’m extremely jealous. “I set my alarm for 9:00,” Gotterup said after winning. “I got up at 6:00. I was a little upset about that one, so I had some time to kill.” On behalf of all the parents out there, LOL at setting your alarm for NINE. Can you imagine? Enjoy it while you can, Chris.

ON TAP

The best players in the world—including Michael Block!—head to Louisville for the 2024 PGA Championship, AKA the one that used to be called “Glory’s Last Shot.” Worlds are colliding this week at Valhalla with a red-hot Rory, a defending champ coming off a win in Brooks Koepka and World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler returning after the birth of his first child.

Aww. Good timing by Scottie (and Meredith) as well! Anyway, CAN’T WAIT! If this tournament produces half the excitement that the wild 2000 or even wilder 2014 did, then we’re in for a real treat. Oh, and to celebrate BlockieSZN, we had the man himself(!) on this week’s podcast:

Random tournament fact: With a win, Brooks Koepka would match Tiger Woods with four PGA Championship titles. You’ve got to have a big trophy room to house that many Wanamaker Trophies.

RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK

—There will be another 5-tournament win streak in 2024: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds

—Scottie Scheffler will win the PGA: 4-to-1 odds (Favorite!)

—Scottie Scheffler will lead the PGA in “tired” dad jokes: LOCK

TWEET OF THE WEEK

CLUB PRO GUY TWEET OF THE WEEK

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK

Some young golfer attacked an older golfer on the course—and it did NOT end well for him! (Go to second slide of this two-part instant classic):

That was more lopsided than the two PGA Tour events this week. I’d advise to pick on someone your own size or age, but that would have been even worse for this guy. How about we just all agree to be nicer out on the course instead?

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (ARCHIVE DIVISION)

We’ve all hopefully seen that old commercial for Arroyo Trabuco starring Michael Block that came out during last year's magical PGA Championship, but turns out there’s a blooper reel of outtakes as well! Enjoy! (Shout-out to reader Dave Ledwig for passing this unearthed gem along.)

Blockie! What a content king.

THIS WEEK IN PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION

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Raj Mehta

Aww. A WIN FOR THE FAMILY! Speaking of Jim Nantz . . .

THIS WEEK IN PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION AMAZINGNESS

Jim Nantz’s backyard: Or, rather, his newest backyard. We’ll have more on the sick setup of the legendary announcer—and our Golf Digest colleague—in print and video form but we have this first from Golfweek’s Adam Schupak:

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Yes, that’s an homage to the 13th hole at Augusta National. And, yes, it’s spectacular.

THIS WEEK IN PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION ANNOYANCE

Alejandro Tosti didn’t get relief for an embedded ball so he posted a video about it that Ryan French, AKA Monday Q Info, saw:

For the record, we’re #TeamTosti on this one as well. But it’s good to see that the rules officials don’t always give PGA Tour pros what they want. These guys are good! They don’t need extra help.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Q. Does this mean the mustache stays?

CHRIS GOTTERUP: I don't want it to, but I don't think I can shave it now.

Q. What's it going to take to shave it?

CHRIS GOTTERUP: I don't know. That's a good question. I assume my mom is probably going to tell me to take it off. But we'll see. It's going to stay for now.

Seems like a smart move, Chris.

THIS AND THAT

Congrats to Doug Barron for winning his first major on the PGA Tour Champions. Now he’ll be known for something other than being the first golfer to get popped for PEDs. . . . Speaking of fame, even after winning his first PGA Tour title, Chris Gotterup still doesn’t have a Wikipedia page. Show this man some respect! . . . Rory McIlroy has filed for divorce from his wife Erica. No smart alec (Alex) remark from me, that's just sad. . . . And, finally, my annual photo of my azaleas blooming in the backyard:

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I know, I know, the rest of the place, including the weeds, looks awful. I’m going to blame my knee surgery on the lack of yard work.

RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER

What’s the proper way to pronounce Louisville?

What happened to Rory’s bald eagle at Quail Hollow?

Does anyone know a good (cheap) gardener?