The Grind: King Henrik's millions, Lyle's return, and golf's true shot of the year
By Alex Myers
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we can only imagine what the Stenson family Christmas tree will look like. Papa Henrik's got a brand new bag -- and it's filled with cash. Including bonuses, Stenson ran his 2013 total to nearly $20 million in on-course earnings with his latest triumph in Dubai. Not bad for someone who couldn't win his local club championship a couple years ago. In other words, we should all keep practicing! Before we get too carried away, here's what else has us talking this week.
Henrik Stenson: No one is more happy that golf has copied other sports by implementing playoffs. First, Hank The Tank (we're still waiting for that name to catch on!) won the FedEx Cup and now he's won the Race to Dubai. We're making him the overwhelming favorite to capture the Champions Tour's Charles Schwab Cup in 2026.
Harris English: We sat near each other in the back of the plane on our flight home from the British Open in July. But something tells us Mr. English will be seated way up in the front on future flights. The 24-year-old pulled away for a four-shot victory at the OHL Classic. That means there are currently two golfers under 25 with multiple PGA Tour victories: Rory McIlroy and Harris English.
Jarrod Lyle: After 20 months off battling leukemia, Lyle returned to competitive golf at the Australian Masters and mustered arguably the best T-57 you'll ever see. Check out the scene from his opening tee shot on Thursday. Oh yeah, Adam Scott won the tournament in his home country. Again.
Lexi Thompson: The 18-year-old won for a second time in four starts. Something tells us the LPGA isn't upset. So on a quiet, fall weekend, we saw Stenson, Scott, English and Lexi win all over the globe. Golf is going to need it's own version of the NFL's RedZone channel soon to keep up with all the action.
Liang Wen-chong: The Chinese golfer won the Manila Masters and promptly donated half of his winnings to victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. In a related note, our thoughts are with Jason Day and his family after the storm claimed the lives of eight of his relatives.
Henrik Stenson for POY: Has Stenson been the best player on the planet since July? Of course. But people are going overboard saying he's the real player of the year now that he's pulled off his self-described "double-double." The first-time feat is impressive, but keep in mind he didn't win ONE full-field event in 2013, didn't win a major and technically had fewer European Tour wins than Tiger Woods this year. Sorry, but it's tough to place him higher than fourth based on the accomplishments of Woods, Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson.
USGA drama: Our Ron Sirak had the exclusive scoop on a failed coup within American golf's ruling body. Fascinating stuff, but we'll be more excited when the organization figures out a way to solve slow play and other problems affecting the game. At least, it appears as if the "golf guys" in the organization won this power struggle. Wait, shouldn't everyone in the USGA be a "golf guy"?
Robert Karlsson: The Swede had a great chance to pick up an elusive first PGA Tour win on the same day as countryman Stenson's latest triumph, but a Sunday 72 at Mayakoba dropped him to T-6. Can you imagine the reaction in Sweden if he could have come through?! OK, so it probably wouldn't have been that crazy.
Crocodiles: These creatures can really ruin a round of golf. Just ask the guy who was attacked by a 12-foot one in Mexico. We're going to be extra careful the next time we enter a waste area.
The PGA Tour finally takes a break, at least, with its FedEx Cup schedule. There is, however, the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf at Royal Melbourne, which will feature big names from all over the globe. This time around, there will also be an individual contest for a $7 million purse and world ranking points. Unfortunately for everyone else in the field, Adam Scott is playing.
Random tournament fact: Tiger Woods hit the greatest clutch shot no one ever remembers at this event in 2001. Yep, that's a fact.
THIS WEEK IN DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Is DJ wearing dress loafers to a football game? CLASS!
PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
While golf's second- and third-ranked players were winning tournaments, the world's No. 1 player was watching the world's No. 1 quarterback, Peyton Manning, from the sideline. Tiger Woods and girlfriend Lindsey Vonn attended the Denver Broncos-Kansas City Chiefs game on Sunday night and in this photo, they hung out with Broncos president/legend John Elway before kickoff. From the looks of things, it doesn't appear as if Tiger has been investing any of his 2013 winnings into his jeans collection.
Then there was this photo of Tiger's niece, Cheyenne, which was tweeted by Gary Player with the caption: "Even our monkeys were thanked by @Cheyenne_Woods. What a super young woman." Agreed. She's a fellow Wake Forest grad, after all. But, apparently, they never covered the dangers of feeding wild animals in any of her classes.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- Henrik Stenson is swimming in an actual pool made out of money right now: 50-to-1 odds
-- Lindsey Vonn will take Tiger shopping for jeans: 2-to-1 odds
-- Rory McIlroy is glad the 2013 season is finally over: LOCK
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Chi Chi Rodriguez hits himself in the you-know-what with a golf ball. This might just end the competition for best golf blooper ever for good.
Step aside 2013 major winners, there's a new front-runner for golf shot of the year. And yes, that's yours truly with the call/screaming like a hooligan. I'll spare you the extended clip that includes me yelling, "It's bedlam at Rock Ridge Golf Club!"
THIS AND THAT
The USGA announced that high-definition cameras won't be used anymore to determine if a ball moved. This decision came a couple months too late for Tiger Woods. . . . Jason Dufner was honored at halftime of Auburn's football game on Saturday, getting a street named after him. We hope drivers don't start #Dufnering when going down it. . . . Dewey Arnette, a former PGA Tour player, is behind a campaign to bring out-of-work quarterback Tim Tebow to his hometown Jacksonville Jaguars. Now that's a hardcore fan. . . . How am I just discovering gummy vitamins?! These things are amazing. Now I just have to figure out how to limit myself to just one a day.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
What were Tiger Woods and John Elway talking about?
Will Lexi or Lydia wind up with more LPGA wins?
Is Fox Sports still looking for a golf play-by-play guy?