The Grind

Europe’s royal fan support, Bryson DeChambeau’s bold claim and Charlie Woods’ terrific quote

September 26, 2023

Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we wish Taylor Swift was dating a professional golfer instead of a football player. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had some great celebrity couples to cover through the years—from DJ and Paulina to Tiger and Lindsey to Rickie and Allison—but Taylor is just a whole other level.

Forget about tight end and celebrity golfer Travis Kelce being a lucky guy, it’s the NFL bloggers who are most fortunate. Think of all the #content and pageviews! I’m so jealous. Heck, I was so desperate to get Taylor in the mix that I shared that “I’m feeling 4.2” song about my handicap a couple weeks ago. But I’ll try to, um, shake it off, because this whole couple weeks is a fairytale for golfers, and I have a blank space to fill in talking about it all. Let’s do it.

WE’RE BUYING

Carlota Ciganda: A Spanish golfer clinching the Solheim Cup in her home country by taking down the U.S. team's top player with a stunning birdie on the penultimate hole? It’s almost as if the writer’s strike already had ended Sunday morning with that fitting finish.

Ciganda went a perfect 4-0 for the week to help Europe win retain (more on that in a bit) the Cup. What a performance, although, every time I hear/see her name I can’t help but think of the great Harvey Danger song, “Carlotta Valdez.”

Good lord, that song still slaps. Everyone knows “Flagpole Sitta” ('90s rock forever!) but that entire album is fantastic. You’re welcome. Anyway, back to golf. And bad Taylor Swift references …

European Solheim Cup team: But Ciganda certainly wasn’t alone when it came to clutch performances. Ireland’s Leona Maguire drew comparisons to Ian Poulter with her timely—and spirited—play, and Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall pulled off a heroic comeback by birdieing five of her final six holes. Add it all up, and Europe has now won or retained the cup in three consecutive Solheim Cups for the first time. And captain Suzann Pettersen was happy to let everyone know about the three-peat:

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Stuart Franklin

Oooo could there be some BAD BLOOD, there? Probably not, but we certainly wouldn’t mind. You know, for the #content.

Bryson DeChambeau: This guy felt like a jilted lover after not even receiving a phone call from U.S. Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson last month. But after not making the team he won a second LIV event in spectacular fashion, shooting a final-round 63 that included an easy two-putt birdie after he drove the 384-yard, par-4 10th at Rich Harvest Farms:

After capping an eight-stroke comeback, DeChambeau talked about how it “stings” that he didn’t get more of a Ryder Cup look, and how he “definitely could have racked up some points for Team USA.” Bold! Especially considering how things went down the one Ryder Cup he played in Europe. But we understand where he’s coming from. At least it sounds like Bryson got some great song material out of the experience.

WE’RE SELLING

“Retaining” the Cup: I know this is golf tradition, but imagine if the Super Bowl ended in a tie after regulation and the NFL just declared the team representing the winning conference from the previous year the winner? That would be a crime! Unless, of course, it meant the Kansas City Chiefs winning again and Taylor Swift making her way onto the field, possibly hidden in a giant popcorn machine because she’s so famous.

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Angel Martinez

But seriously, why should a current team get credit for something that squad did two years ago? It’s not even close to the same roster. I don’t care if it’s a Taylor Swift karaoke-off, you’ve got to find a way to break the tie! On the bright side, the Americans won’t have to wait as long to get revenge with the Solheim Cup moving back to even-numbered years beginning in 2024. They just better not tie. Again.

This Lexi/Stacey press conference: First off, kudos to Lexi Thompson for having such passion playing for her country and for playing great most of the week despite being mired in a slump. (That’s a great omen for Justin Thomas and the guys this week, by the way). However, her response to a question about a crucial shot she hit—and U.S. captain Stacey Lewis calling it a “terrible question”—was more of a shank than the shank itself. In case you didn’t see it, here’s the video, along with two tweets from our friends at No Laying Up that I couldn’t agree with more:

In what world is it “terrible” to ask an athlete about the most important part of an entire match/game? If you’re not willing to talk about that, don’t even bother showing up to the press conference!

Smashing a rental car: Fortunately, Rich Beem didn’t do as much damage to this Benz (no, he wasn’t driving a BEEMer) as Taylor does to her boyfriend’s car (with a golf club!) in that one music video, but this still sucks:

And I should know having bumped someone’s rear fender in a rental once while driving to the Players Championship (damn Route 1). Anyway, I’m glad Rich wasn’t hurt, but he’ll be feeling it in a few months when his car insurance goes up.

ON TAP

OMG it’s RYDER CUP week! And while Taylor Swift might not be dating any Ryder Cuppers, the U.S. team has its own famous cheerleader in Michael Jordan. So get ready to see plenty of his Airness, and to hear plenty of “OLE, OLE, OLE, OLE. OLEEEE, OLEEEEE” from the European fans in Italy. But you won’t hear a better Ryder Cup song than the latest effort from Sam Harrop. Here’s “Only Luke”:

So good. Europe by a million. Just kidding. But seriously, I think the Euros pull this one out. Which is great news for the American team.

Random tournament fact: Actually let’s go with a random tournament question, and it’s the most random ever asked at any golf tournament. Of course it comes from the brilliant, but twisted mind of our own Shane Ryan, who asked Luke Donald and Zach Johnson, well, see for yourself:

Unreal. Even crazier is that his post about it didn’t even mention the weird TikTok trend of women asking men about how often they think about the Roman Empire. Wild stuff. And for the record, I’ll go with once a month—but I think about the Tiger Empire on a daily basis.

RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK

—The Ryder Cup will end in a tie: 11-to-1 odds (Actual odds)

—Europe will win the Ryder Cup: 1.4-to-1 odds (Actual odds I bet)

—Taylor Swift won’t be showing up at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club: LOCK (Sigh)

PHOTO/TWEET/INSTAGRAM OF THE WEEK

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Yep, that’s daddy/caddie Tiger Woods getting a yardage for young Charlie. Here are a few more from a fellow dad in the group:

And congrats to Charlie on shooting a career-best 66 and winning the regional 14-15 age division to move onto the finals of the Notah Begay III National Championship. Here’s his winning birdie putt:

And post-round interview with Ryan Burr:

Charlie sounded like a mix of old school Tiger and young athletes with this quote: “Just took it one shot at a time, don’t think too far ahead, and you just gotta keep eating. That’s it.” Love it.

CLUB PRO GUY TWEET OF THE WEEK

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (WILDLIFE DIVISION)

Elephants on the golf course!

With those ears they should be able to hear any “Fore!” calls.

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (WILD-THING DIVISION)

This is truly one of the wildest videos we’ve ever seen:

As Ron Burgundy would say, “That escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand.” Turns out, according to the New York Post, this guy has “an extensive rap sheet.” So probably best to not mess with him if you cross paths on the golf course.

THIS WEEK IN CELEBRITIES PLAYING GOLF

I’m still getting used to how long it takes for magazine stories to come out, but I’m excited to say my Caitlin Clark piece is finally live:

I’m honestly more excited to watch the Iowa women than I am my Wake Forest men or New York Knicks this season. And if you don’t have a Golf Digest+ subscription, well, what are you waiting for?

THIS WEEK IN PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION

How about Carlota Ciganda getting love from Spanish basketball legend Pau Gasol?

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JORGE GUERRERO

Wonder if she rubbed it in that unlike Pau, she’s been on a team that pulled off a three-peat. And then from actual Spanish royalty in King Felipe VI?!

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Stuart Franklin

And, yeah, Spain’s King is pretty tall himself! Wikipedia lists him at 6-foot-6! Bet he's a beast in the post as well.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“I have the utmost respect for Rory—he is one of our great ambassadors of our game. He is obviously one of the best of all time, and he is still going so he can be that. I have tons of respect for Rory and because of that respect, I also want to beat him. I like to think I am better than him, and I want to prove that.” —Wyndham Clark poking the bear for no reason!

THIS AND THAT

Congrats to Norman Xiong on winning the Korn Ferry Tour's Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship to earn his PGA Tour card for the first time. It’s been a bumpy few years for the former can’t-miss prospect, but he’s still only (Googles “Norman Xiong”) 24! … Congrats to Ryo Hisatsune on winning his first DP World Tour title at the French Open. At only 21, he looks to have a bright future ahead of him as well. … Good luck to Sungjae Im and Si Woo Kim, who are playing for medals in this week’s Asian Games to avoid South Korea’s mandatory military service. Talk about pressure. … And, finally, I was part of a lovely foursome with four former child actors at Aspetuck Valley Country Club:

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Unfortunately, only one of us, Domenick Lombardozzi, ever made it big. Happy to report that "Herc" has some serious pop.

RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER

What part could I have played in “The Wire”?

What ever happened to Harvey Danger?

Would Taylor Swift ever date a golfer? (Please, Taylor. Do it.)