Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we're happy to say we're coming live from St. Andrews for the first time. This is definitely the kind of golf writing Old Tom Morris would have enjoyed. Well, maybe it'd be more of Young Tom's thing. Either way, we're excited to be at the Old Course and happy we never had to spend any substantial time in the nearby dungeons of Edinburgh Castle. Speaking of royalty, one man has clearly taken golf's throne for the time being. Let's discuss the new king and everything else going on during this exciting week.
Jordan Spieth: This is getting ridiculous. We actually thought Spieth might mail it in at the John Deere Classic and after an opening 71, he looked poised to be heading to St. Andrews early for extra prep work after all. Whoops. Spieth shot 64-61-68 over the final three days and beat Tom Gillis in a playoff. On top of that, he told everyone he reeled in a 300-pound shark that had eaten a tuna he had originally hooked. Yeah, it's all fun and games for this guy right now:
Rickie Fowler: As if the hype for a British Open at St. Andrews with one of the game's biggest names having a shot at the calendar Grand Slam wasn't going to be enough, another one of golf's young stars won the Scottish Open to remind everyone he's also a serious threat at the Old Course. The reigning Players champ looks like he's finally starting to close the door at tournaments.
In Gee Chun: Speaking of young talent, this 20-year-old just made her first LPGA Tour win the U.S. Women's Open. That's impressive. The LPGA Tour's depth is starting to rival that of the PGA Tour. Speaking of that. . .
Tom Gillis: Losing in a playoff always stings, but Gillis' Sunday 63 and seemingly random runner-up finish goes a long way to help his standing on tour. The 46-year-old journeyman now has just 10 career top 10s on the PGA Tour and like me, he's making his first trip to St. Andrews this week. Hey Tom, let me know if you find a Chili's.
PGA Tour's drug testing: While we applaud Scott Stallings for turning himself in for using a banned substance by accident, the tour's testing has to be called into question considering Stallings wasn't caught during a screening. Stallings received a three-month ban, but only because he policed himself. Lance Armstrong would have loved this level of testing.
Zach Johnson: It's tough to be disappointed about shooting 19-under par for a tournament, but ZJ has to be after only managing to par the final seven holes at a course he absolutely owns. Of course, he got a couple of tough breaks, including a loud noise going off as he was about to putt on No. 16. It's hard to knock a guy who was practicing at St. Andrews and spending 25 minutes grinding on No. 17 less than 16 hours after missing out on a playoff by one shot on the other side of the Atlantic. What a machine.
World Golf Hall of Fame scheduling: If you're going to have this ceremony once every two years and only four living people are going to get the nod, wouldn't it make sense to make sure all of them could be in attendance? Sadly, Laura Davies was unable to make it to the ceremony to be honored after making the cut at the U.S. Women's Open and having a flight delayed (even if the flight wasn't delayed, she would have been scrambling to make the Monday event). Davies made it to the reception, but her having to miss what is literally a once-in-a-lifetime moment is inexcusable.
Paul Fusco: Speaking of inexcusable, Sei Young Kim's caddie (formerly a bag man for Vijay Singh among others) was banned from the U.S. Women's Open before it started for being caught taking a cellphone photo of the week's course setup. That's a pretty bold move.
The PGA Tour heads to the Open Championship at St. Andrews, aka the Old Course, aka the Home of Golf, aka, well, there's really not much else to say when you're called the Home of Golf.
Random tournament fact: Not sure if you've heard, but Jordan Spieth is looking to win the third leg of the calendar Grand Slam.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- Rory McIlroy is playing soccer this week: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds
-- Tom Gillis will make more money in his St. Andrews debut than I will (In other words, Tom Gillis will make the cut): Even odds
-- Serena Williams has a better chance of completing the calendar Grand Slam than Jordan Spieth: LOCK
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
We're going to throw it back two decades to this fantastic photo of John Daly winning the Open at St. Andrews because we recently just saw it for the first time and because no photo from this past week could possibly top it.
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Check out the golf swing by Keegan Bradley's girlfriend, Jillian Stacey:
A video posted by Jillian Stacey (@jillianfstacey) on Jul 8, 2015 at 11:04am PDT
Not bad! Of course, she's got to practice a bit more to reach the form of Erin Walker, who posted this photo:
A photo posted by Erin Walker (@tourwifetravels) on Jul 6, 2015 at 8:59pm PDT
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"I know some of you think I'm buried and done, but I'm still right here in front of you." -- Tiger Woods at his pre-tournament press conference.
THIS WEEK IN MODELS PLAYING GOLF
We introduced you to Paige Spiranac a few weeks ago and her social media popularity is taking off. And since graduating from San Diego State, her golf game has stayed sharp. Here she is posing with the trophy after winning the Colorado State Match Play.
A photo posted by @_paige.renee on Jul 9, 2015 at 1:27pm PDT
And here she is not dominating on a golf course:
A photo posted by @_paige.renee on Jul 11, 2015 at 2:15pm PDT
We might need a weekly Paige Spiranac update from now on.
THIS WEEK IN
DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY RICKIE FOWLER-ALEXIS RANDOCK PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
These photos are even better when a trophy is involved.
THIS AND THAT
The Fox Business host who called Rory McIlroy "a leprechaun" made a follow-up on-air statement saying she wanted to call him something "much worse" for what he did to Caroline Wozniacki. So at least one person is openly glad the World No. 1 isn't playing this week. We can think of 155 golfers who secretly don't mind, either. . . . While John Deere Classic TV ratings were up 133 percent, ratings for the U.S. Women's Open were the lowest they've been since at least 1996. Guess we shouldn't be too surprised Jordan Spieth is a much bigger draw than In Gee Chun. . . . Martin Piller won the Web.com Tour's Boise Open by six shots with a 28-under-par total. Not much else to say other than that's some good shooting. . . . Speaking of taking shots, you get all of that, plus a cheap beer in that pub crawl? Seven nights a week? Edinburgh seems like a really fun city. Too bad Rory couldn't make it for the Jager bombs.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Is Jordan Spieth really human?
Who is the best Tour WAG golfer?
What would Old Tom Morris think of flat brims?