By Alex Myers
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we think we've gotten to the bottom of why Rory McIlroy has chosen to play for Ireland at the 2016 Olympics: Nadia Forde. The up-and-coming Irish model has been linked to the newly-single links star, with their most recent rendezvous coming in Dublin. Yep, that Rory is a BIG fan of the green, white, and orange:
But there's plenty besides golf
gossip politics to discuss this week. Here's what else has us talking.
Angel Cabrera: The Argentine's timing is obviously off since for once he peaked during the week of a non-major. At least he picked up his first "regular" PGA Tour title at the Greenbrier Classic by routinely pumping 330-yard drives down the middle and firing at pins, including a hole-out on an uphill 175-yard approach with a 7-iron. With game like that, how has Cabrera not won more?
Graeme McDowell: With a final round 67 and some help (more on that later), G-Mac came back from eight shots to defend his title at the French Open. Afterward, he celebrated with his parents. Aww.
Paying fans: Imagine you're lucky enough to be at a PGA Tour event watching great golf on a glorious day and you see a hole-in-one. Now imagine that a few minutes later you get even luckier when someone hands you a crisp $100 bill. That's what happened Sunday as Greenbrier owner Jim Justice gave out money to all the fans in the stands for Bud Cauley's Sunday ace on the 18th hole. Talk about being in the right place at the right time.
John Singleton: Looking for an uplifting story to help get you through the week after July 4th? Singleton, a factory worker in Liverpool qualified for next week's British Open and now his boss has given everyone at the factory a day off and a ticket if they want to watch the resin plant mixer tee it up at golf's oldest major championship. We think Disney is already in pre-production for the movie.
Kevin Stadler: I had the headline "An American In Paris" all ready for Sunday until Stadler shot a 76 to blow a four-shot lead. Thanks, Kevin. Seriously, the French Open might not seem like a big deal, but for a player with just one career PGA Tour win and whose only win on the European Tour win came more than eight years ago, it is. On the bright side, Stadler is still enjoying the best year of his career -- even if his continued putting woes have him considering going lefty.
Martin Kaymer: After wire-to-wire wins at the Players and U.S. Open, Kaymer has struggled in his two starts since. He missed the cut at an event in Germany and shot a 77 on Sunday to tumble to T-12 at the French Open. This is probably just a blip, but it is interesting the German has only really played well in this year's big events. Is he the new Angel Cabrera?
Trying To Impress Tom Watson: Everyone who plays with the U.S. Ryder Cup captain gets asked about this, as if playing with Watson up close is really going to make a difference in a two-year qualifying process. Then there are articles saying Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson, who Watson played with the first two days, made a "great impression" on Watson. Meanwhile, the 64-year-old beat Bradley for those 36 holes and was tied with Simpson heading into the final round! Maybe he'll pick Bud Cauley for the team because he saw him make a hole-in-one! Please. I'd like the Ryder Cup a lot more if everything about it wasn't so overblown.
The PGA Tour heads to Illinois for the John Deere Classic, aka that tournament where it seems like Steve Stricker or Zach Johnson wins every year.
Random tournament fact: Neither Stricker or Johnson won last year, instead letting 19-year-old Jordan Spieth become the youngest winner on tour in 82 years.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- A teenager will win this year's John Deere Classic: 1 million-to-1 odds
-- Steve Stricker or Zach Johnson will win the John Deere Classic: Even odds
-- Donald Trump wishes he'd thought of handing out money at Doral: LOCK
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"Golf doesn't mean a whole lot sometimes." -- An emotional George McNeill after shooting the round of his life (61) and then finding out his older sister had died of cancer. Our thoughts are with his family.
THIS WEEK IN
PAULINA GRETZKY-DUSTIN JOHNSON AMANDA DUFNER-JASON DUFNER PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Sorry, Paulina-DJ, Lindsey-Tiger, Rory-Nadine, etc. These two are golf's "it" couple right now.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Thought we were done with the Dufners? Think again. In fact, Amanda posted so many photos from her July 4th Bahamas vacation with hubby Jason that we could have created a separate post. Wait a minute, we did! But here are two of our favorites:
Apparently, Jason hasn't taught her the Vardon grip yet . . .
VIRAL VIDEO(S) OF THE WEEK
Remember the "Ice Bucket Challenge" in which a player dumps a bucket of ice water on his or her head and then calls out another person to do the same? That thing that just won't go away? Well, we were completely over it, too, until we watched a very, um, patriotic Holly Sonders gives it a go.
I.K. Kim won the Ladies European Masters. Unfortunately for her, she'll still be known as the player who missed a one-foot putt to win a major. . . . A minor league baseball team, the Toledo Mud Hens, will turn its stadium into a mini-golf course. Following the season, that is. Although watching a shortstop try to throw around a windmill would be entertaining. . . . Fred Couples withdrew from the U.S. Senior Open. Having a bad back sucks. . . . The pros weren't the only ones going low last week as I fired a career-best 32 on the back nine at Rye Golf Club. Afterward, I celebrated by drinking this appropriately-labeled Coke Zero. Of course, if I were actually a legend, I wouldn't have shot a front-nine 41 or an 83 my next time out. One of these days I'll put two great nines together. One of these days. . .
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Will I ever put two great nines together?
Again, why doesn't Angel Cabrera win more?
Has anyone challenged Paulina Gretzky to do the Ice Bucket Challenge yet?