The Grind: Bentley golf carts, elephant rides, and the most unlikely golf feat of 2014
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we are really sad to see fall golf go. And no, we're not talking about the early portion of the PGA Tour's wraparound season. We're referring to the brutal cold front that is blanketing the U.S. and has millions of weekend hackers putting their clubs back in their garages. Yep, it's a dark time for the average golfer, but perhaps this photo of Jason Dufner lounging on a hammock in Thailand will cheer us all up.
Never mind. That only made it worse.
Charley Hoffman: Hoffman rallied to win the OHL Classic at Mayakoba for his third career PGA Tour title. More importantly, it was widely acclaimed as Hoffman's first non-mullet victory. We're happy for you, Charlie. Now don't change anything -- especially your hair.
Brooks Koepka: Koepka fired a final-round 65 to win the Turkish Airlines Open and pick up his first win on the European Tour. We hate to brag that we saw this coming, but we saw this coming. Koepka, 24, has used success on the European Challenge Tour in 2013 and in PGA and European Tour starts in 2014 to work his way up to No. 35 in the Official World Golf Ranking. With this win and two top 10s in two fall starts on the PGA Tour, expect to see him playing in the big leagues for awhile.
Christina Kim: The most popular win of the week came on the LPGA Tour, where Kim picked up her first title in nine years at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational. It's been a tough road back to the winner's circle for Kim, who opened up about her battle with depression and suicidal thoughts in this great Golf Digest profile by Stina Sternberg from two years ago. "I can't put into words how I'm feeling right now. I'm still riding so many emotions. It feels surreal. I can't explain. I'm so overwhelmed right now," an emotional Kim said after.
Brent Grant: After his playing partner, Bill Walbert, had to bail on him -- we guess being called into surgery is a legit excuse -- this Hawaii teen was left no other option but to compete in the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball qualifier by himself. Incredibly, Grant responded by shooting 63, the lowest competitive round of his life by FIVE strokes, and winning the event at Honolulu Country Club. Grant did the heavy lifting last week, but at least Walbert will pick up the travel expenses when the two compete in the championship at the Olympic Club next May.
Jason Bohn: Last week, the PGA Tour started a hashtag on Twitter asking for tour player band names, and we came up with "Bohn Temple Pilots." Genius, right? Well, we thought our guy was going to come through with a win after averaging 66 for three days in Mexico to grab the 54-hole lead. But he was bad to the Bohn on Sunday -- and not in a good way. His 74 was the third-worst score of the day and dropped him to T-7.
Shooting a 144: Speaking of bad amateur golf, Augusta National's newest member, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty posted a 144 for her handicap in December 2012. We're happy Rometty, currently listed as a 35.4 handicapper, is Augusta National's third female member and we applaud her honesty, but we've never seen an official score that high. With the rating (74.0) and slope (135) of the course she played that day, it came out to a 58.6 differential! We're not sure what differential that score would be at Augusta National since the course has never been officially rated, but something tells us shooting 144 among the azaleas would be more pleasant than anywhere else.
Tight tee-time intervals: It turns out that this is affecting slow play in your weekend foursome more than those bozos in front of you who always seem to be lining up putts with the deliberation of someone trying to win the U.S. Open. Now that we know this, thanks to the LPGA and the USGA, which hosted its second Pace of Play Symposium last week, the next step is for courses to space out their tee times a little more. And while they're at it, we could all afford to stop looking at our bogey attempts from both sides of the cup.
Bentley golf carts: Or specifically, the one (are there any others?) boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather bought for his son on his 15th birthday.
On second thought, more of those could probably help speed up pace of play. Did anyone bring this up at that USGA symposium?
The PGA Tour is (gasp) off this week. But the European Tour wraps up its season with the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. The sixth edition of the event is once again taking place on the Earth Course at the Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Random tournament fact: Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy, the previous two winners of the event, shot a combined 48 under par in their wins. Apparently, the Earth Course is pretty easy.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- (Before last week) A Hawaii teen will shoot the lowest score of his life by five shots and win a USGA four-ball qualifier by himself: 1 million-to-1 odds
-- Ginni Rometty will play as a noncompeting marker at this year's Masters: 10 million-to-1 odds
-- Brooks Koepka will be a hot "sleeper" pick at the Masters: LOCK
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
I gotta be honest, it's nice being his Boss for a while. #checkmate #asu pic.twitter.com/gmdy06dSCI
— Tim Mickelson (@goodwalkspoiled) November 17, 2014
In case you missed it last week, Phil Mickelson is moonlighting as his brother's assistant coach for the Arizona State men's golf team. Now we know why. Free gear.
BABY PLAYING GOLF PHOTO OF THE WEEK
This comes courtesy of former New York Giants great Tiki Barber:
"LPGA dreams begin! #Brooklyn #basementputtputt," Barber captioned on Instagram. Cute photo, Tiki. And great-looking basement!
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"Golf's more stressful than combat." -- Rob O'Neill, the Navy SEAL who shot Osama Bin Laden. And he didn't even compete in Golf Digest's Seitz Cup!
THIS WEEK IN LINDSEY VONN MAKING US LOOK BAD WITH HER TRAINING
How is this even possible?!
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
THIS WEEK IN AMANDA DUFNER-JASON DUFNER RANDOM ELEPHANT PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
It's fitting since Amanda is a huge fan of her alma mater, Alabama, whose mascot is an elephant and whose football team had a big win Saturday over Mississippi State. Oh, and Jason also seemed to enjoy his time with these large mammals. Sort of.
THIS AND THAT
Rory McIlroy wrapped up his second Race to Dubai title in three years. McIlroy is the Bernhard Langer of the European Tour. . . . Satoshi Kodaira won by 13 shots at his second-stage Web.com Tour qualifier. Kodaira is the Rory McIlroy of Web.com Tour qualifiers. . . . Glyn Davis, a member of British Parliament who represents northeastern Wales, was caught playing golf after getting out of campaigning for a party member because of a bad back. He went with the "but I use a golf cart" excuse. Nice try. . . . Dustin Johnson is eying an early February (just over six months from him withdrawing at the WGC-Bridgestone) return from his "leave of absence." Yeah, we think we'll leave "leave of absence" in quotes. . . . Speaking of returns, two decades after seeing a movie that changed my life, I was incredibly excited to see its sequel, "Dumb and Dumber To." Turns out, I was way too excited. It's not "Caddyshack 2" bad, but it's not good, either.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Will there ever be a great comedy sequel?
What will Phil do next (as a college assistant golf coach)?
When will I play golf again?
-- Alex Myers is an Associate Editor for GolfDigest.com. Feel free to email him and please follow him on Twitter since he has self-esteem issues.