The Grind: Holmes' comeback, Jimenez's wedding, and the Dufners at the Derby
By Alex Myers
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where hearing about golfers trying to come back from back surgery is sooo yesterday. Nope, recovering from brain surgery is where it's at these days, and J.B. Holmes' story is going to be pretty tough to top on the PGA Tour. Well, unless someone is able to win after having two heart transplants (Erik Compton, we're looking at you). But until that happens, we're focused on Holmes and dissecting a (mostly) feel-good week in golf.
J.B. Holmes: His recovery from brain surgery aside, Holmes' recovery skills on the course were on full display at Quail Hollow. When the powerful hitter missed fairways, he muscled approach shots onto greens to maintain his lead while others, most notably Jim Furyk, made back-nine charges. Holmes had a shaky finishing hole, but he earned the biggest win of his career as well as a big smooch from his wife, Sara, who showed off some serious hops.
Stacy Lewis: The LPGA Tour's incredible run continued with another one its marquee players winning. This time, Lewis cruised to a six-shot victory to move back to No. 2 in the Rolex Rankings. Between Lewis, the three previous wins by Lexi Thompson, Michelle Wie, and Lydia Ko, and World No. 1 Inbee Park, the LPGA could be entering a golden age.
Donald Trump: Golf Digest's Ron Whitten dubbed Trump the New Master of the Golf Universe and it seems appropriate after the week Trump just had. First, Trump bought the famed Turnberry Resort in Scotland, almost guaranteeing he'll have a course host a British Open, and then the PGA of America guaranteed he will have a course (Trump National Bedminster in N.J.) host a men's major, the 2022 PGA Championship. Is it too early to be talking about a possible Trump Slam?
Miguel Angel Jimenez: "The Most Interesting Golfer In The World" is now "The Most Interesting Married Golfer In The World." Jimenez and girlfriend Susanna Styblo got hitched at the Miguel Angel Jimenez Golf Club in Spain. Getting married at your own golf club is about as boss as it gets. And judging by the picture, everything looked beautiful -- especially those greens! What are those running at on the Stimpmeter these days, Miguel?
Phil Mickelson: Lefty became the latest big name to not get the job done on a Sunday. After a Saturday 63 put him two shots behind Holmes going into the final round, Mickelson stumbled to a 76 to finish a disappointing T-11. Mickelson hasn't played that poorly, but he's still without a top 10 on the PGA Tour in 2014. Can you imagine the odds you could have gotten on Phil and Tiger not having a single top 10 by May? Speaking of Tiger. . .
Tiger Woods Design: The company announced a new golf course in Houston that's scheduled to open in the fall of 2015. After a couple of other failed projects, we'll believe it when we see it. Woods had unfortunate timing in getting into the golf course design business just before the recession hit, but maybe business is about to pick up. Considering the company still touts Woods' backyard practice facility on its website, it seems things can only get better.
"Putting for dough": J.B. Holmes became the fourth player in 17 full-field, stroke-play events this year on the PGA Tour to win during a week in which he also led the field in driving distance. By contrast, that didn't happen once in 2013. Overall, winners on tour in 2014 have averaged being ranked 16.7 in driving distance vs. just 33.3 in those same 17 events last year. Maybe it's time we change that saying to "driving for dough." It sounds better, anyway.
The PGA Tour heads to TPC Sawgrass for the Players Championship. Whether you subscribe to the notion that it's a "fifth major" or not, there are 10 million reasons that prove this is one of the biggest events of the year.
Random tournament fact: This will be my fourth consecutive year at the Players. For those of you unaware, I have one of the great random streaks ever going, having eaten at the same Jacksonville area Chili's each of the past 15 nights I've been in town. Yes, I've been advised to seek professional help -- and a cardiologist.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- Phil Mickelson will finish the year without a top 10: 1 million-to-1 odds.
-- Miguel Angel Jimenez broke his own course's record in between the ceremony and the reception: 2-to-1 odds
-- I will be eating a lot at Chili's this week: LOCK
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
In our never-ending pursuit to please all of our readers, we present a photo of another shirtless male playing golf. This time, it's 18-time gold medalist swimmer Michael Phelps:
We should probably expect one of the greatest athletes of all time to look like this playing golf shirtless, but that doesn't make it any less impressive.
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
PGA Tour rookie Chesson Hadley had a tough time at Quail Hollow, missing the cut with scores of 75 and 78. But his caddie, Josh Svendsen, probably wants to forget about the week even more after this regrettable fall:
THIS WEEK IN DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY JASON DUFNER-AMANDA DUFNER PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
The Dufners looked like they enjoyed their time at the Kentucky Derby. Well, at least, Amanda did. It's always tough to tell with Jason.
THIS AND THAT
Bernhard Langer beat Fred Couples by one on the Champions Tour. Both guys were lucky Miguel Angel Jimenez was busy getting married. . . . Brendon de Jonge shot an opening 80 at Quail Hollow and then fired rounds of 62-68-69 to finish T-6. Any other week and we'd probably be focused on that comeback story. . . . TPC Sawgrass' greens have been getting bad reviews and a few had to be closed on Monday. No big deal. There's only the biggest purse in golf on the line. . . . What happens when you get golfers drunk and then test them on the driving range for an upcoming article? Shenanigans like what you see in the above picture.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
What was J.B. Holmes thinking hitting driver on the last hole?
Will Chili's ever bring the "unhealthy" Awesome Blossom back?
Does the Miguel Angel Jimenez Golf Club have any open wedding dates for next summer?