Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we hope the rest of this season's World Golf Championships are half as exciting as what happened in Shanghai over the weekend. Big names. Big drama. But unfortunately, a big time difference. Waking up in a haze from Saturday night's activities and watching a highlight on a small phone screen just isn't the same as watching the action live. So save something for 2015, will you guys?!
Bubba Watson: The lefty managed a double bogey, a bogey, a par, a birdie, and an eagle over his final five holes at the HSBC Champions. Bubba Golf! What an incredible finish, highlighted by him holing a 60-yard bunker shot for eagle and then draining a 20-foot birdie putt to beat Tim Clark in the playoff and earn his first WGC title. Watson said he screamed so loud after making eagle that he lost his voice. Wraparound season! Catch the fever!
Canadian golf: Back in the U.S., Nick Taylor won the PGA Tour's other event, the Sanderson Farms Championship, becoming the first Canadian-born winner on tour since Mike Weir in 2007. And Taylor isn't alone. As I chronicled in this well-written and informative article, Canadian golf is on the rise. So is Taylor's tax bracket. His winning prize money ($720,000) was half of what Watson earned in Shanghai, but it was also about 20 times bigger than any paycheck the former top-ranked amateur golfer has ever earned. He also got this awesome rooster trophy:
Charlie Sifford: A pioneer for African-American golfers, in 1961, Sifford became the first black player to earn a PGA Tour card. Now, he's receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor a U.S. civilian can get. After hearing the news, Tiger Woods took to Twitter to congratulate one of his heroes: "You're the grandpa I never had. Your past sacrifices allow me to play golf today. I'm so happy for you Charlie." We are too.
Matt Every: Speaking of honoring one of the game's legends, Every announced that he will name his first daughter Quinn Palmer (due around Thanksgiving) after Arnie -- not after journeyman Fran Quinn in case you were confused. Every, of course, won for his first tour title last March at Arnold Palmer's event. If honoring the site of a first tour win becomes a trend, we can expect a lot of PGA Tour kids to be named after corporate sponsors.
Patrick Reed: It's one thing to be cocky ("Top five") or brash (shushing a hostile Ryder Cup crowd), but Reed went way over the line when microphones caught him muttering a gay slur to himself after three-putting on Thursday. Microphones or not, there's no place for that word. Anywhere.
American women: Weren't they supposed to be taking over the LPGA Tour? With Mi Hyang Lee's victory over the weekend at the Mizuno Classic, Americans are now winless in the last eight tournaments and 12 of the past 13. C'mon, USA! Let's pick up the pace! Speaking of needing to pick up the pace. . .
Slow play: It may be a new season, but slow play is still (surprise!) a big problem on the PGA Tour. As Geoff Shackelford pointed out, an elite field of just 76 golfers played at a pace of five and a half hours on Saturday at the HSBC Champions. Imagine how long these guys would take if they weren't good at golf?
The PGA Tour concludes the fall portion of the wraparound season with the OHL Mayakoba Classic, aka that annual tour event in Mexico. Meanwhile, the LPGA Tour will also be in Mexico for the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.
Random tournament fact: The men will be playing for more money.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- Another player will hole a 60-yard bunker shot to get into a playoff and win: 1 million-to-1 odds
-- Nick Taylor will name his first son Sanderson Rooster: 100-to-1 odds
-- Mexican PGA Tour Carlos Ortiz rookie will have a decent crowd following him: LOCK
PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
This is what it looks like to make a 30-foot putt on the final hole of a big Seitz Cup match (Ashley Mayo) vs. what it looks like to just miss a similar putt to halve the match moments later (me).
This stung more than losing the spring office putting contest in a playoff earlier this year. I'm beginning to think I'm really cursed. Like Sergio. On the bright side, that loss didn't keep Golf Digest from thrashing Golf World in the team competition. Here's the victorious captain, Jeff Patterson, wearing our team hat and posing with the trophy:
Jeff is also responsible for the above photos and he may have had an even better week than Bubba. Jeff cleaned up in the company Calcutta at The Editor's Putter a few days later.
__ INSTAGRAM/TWITTER PHOTO OF THE WEEK __
OK, so Natalie Gulbis really needs to work on her selfie-taking skills, but the woman she included here is the key part. Meet Meredith Kirk, an LPGA teaching pro who also just happens to be Mrs. South Carolina 2014. Here are a couple of photos of Mrs. Kirk so you can get a better idea of what she looks like:
Models as golf teachers? Now that's how you grow the game.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"I don't think it's going to be a waste of time at all. . . . If I have to sit in on a few meetings for us to win back the cup, I'm happy to do it." -- Rickie Fowler on being part of the Ryder Cup task force team. We like the attitude, Rickie.
THIS WEEK IN LINDSEY VONN MAKING US LOOK BAD WITH HER TRAINING
Lindsey hashtagged this one "#gunshow." Can't argue with that.
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
THIS WEEK IN RICKIE FOWLER-
ALEXIS RANDOCK BUBBA WATSON PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
THIS AND THAT
Phil Mickelson has been named Arizona State University's new interim assistant golf coach just in time for recruiting season. Somehow, we don't think people ever had this in mind when asking, "What will Phil do next?" . . . Justin Timberlake sold his Memphis-area golf course (after spending as much as $16 million for renovations) for just $500,000. The moral of the story? Golf courses are a dicey investment . . . Rory McIlroy's model friend/fling Nadia Forde will be on the upcoming season of the reality TV show "I'm A Celebrity. . . Get Me Out Of Here!" Apparently, she wanted a contract provision that ensures she doesn't have to talk about Rory. Sorry, gossip lovers! . . . This year's leftover Halloween office candy offered me a chance to expand my horizons and try something I've never had before: Nerds Rope. Delicious Nerds covering a sweet (oh, so sweet) gummy middle? Candy innovation at its finest.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
What ASU recruit could ever say "No" to Phil?
How much does Meredith Kirk charge for a lesson? (UPDATE: Apparently, only $60/hour! What a deal!)
What does the Surgeon General think of Nerd Ropes?