Jimmy Walker vs. Chuck Norris, Goliath the gator vs. a turtle, "Price is Right" clutch putts, and Rickie hangs with the Randocks
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we've come to realize Jimmy Walker is the Kentucky of the PGA Tour. He might not be 38-0 like the Wildcats, but in his past 37 starts he's won five titles -- a career total in this era. His most recent domination made him the only two-time winner this season and ended that nasty nine-event stretch of 54-hole leaders failing to close the deal. And yes, the San Antonio resident won in his hometown and collected a pair of cowboy boots so we can really start calling him:
Wait, there were six seasons of that show? (Checks Google) There were EIGHT seasons?!
That's Jimmy driving home in his own car after his latest conquest. What a badass. The Boogeyman might check his closet at night for Chuck Norris before he goes to sleep, but the Bogey Man fears Jimmy Walker more than anyone these days.
Jimmy Walker: Seriously, what took this guy so long? After a decade of being a solid tour pro, Walker has morphed into an elite player in the past 17 months. He's won two more tournaments than anyone on tour since the start of last season and he should basically change his middle name to "FedEx Cup points leader."
Jordan Spieth: If it weren't for this guy, Walker would have won by seven shots at the Valero Texas Open. Spieth didn't have his best on Sunday, but he rallied late to almost make things interesting. More importantly, his runner-up finish moved him to No. 4 in the OWGR and he now has eight finishes of seventh or better in his last 10 starts, with three wins. In other words, Nos. 1 and 2 on the leader board in San Antonio might be the top two threats at Augusta National.
Jack Nicklaus: The 18-time major winner received a different type of honor when he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal last week. Nicklaus received the country's highest honor for a civilian at the Capital Rotunda in Washington, D.C., for his "excellence," "philanthropy," and dedication to his family. Speaking of the fam, the Nicklaus clan, including all five of his kids and 22 grandchildren, was out in full force. Impressive!
Aaron Baddeley's birdie: Speaking of impressive, it's not often you can definitively call something the "craziest in history," but that's what we've done with Baddeley's first-round birdie. After yanking his tee shot into the woods and having to take an unplayable penalty, the Aussie returned to the tee and knocked in his second attempt from 336 yards on the par 4. Unfortunately, there was no video because it was so late in the day (lazy Golf Channel), so we have to settle for this screenshot of what it looked like on PGA Tour Shot Tracker:
Tiger ranking tweets: Now that he's fallen out of the top 100, can we stop with these mass weekly updates on Twitter? Every week it's "Tiger falls to (blank) for the first time since 1996!" Yeah, we get it. He turned pro in 1996 and he's been really, really good since then, but now he's not really good and he never plays. If he ever makes an Andre Agassi-like return to No. 1, it will be a fantastic story. Until then, we don't need the weekly reminders of how far he's fallen.
Equipment malfunctions: Even getting custom equipment and special attention, these can still happen to the pros. The head of Phil Mickelson's 8-iron snapped off in a fairway bunker and this happened to Troy Merritt's 2-iron:
Of course, the difference is these guys were rushed replacement clubs, whereas you or I would have to wait until we have time to go to the store and then probably have to haggle over getting a full refund.
Stupid penalties: Especially when they happen late in a tournament. David Frost dropped his ball on his mark on the 17th hole Sunday and received a one-shot penalty even though he knew exactly where to move his mark back to. Fortunately, Frost, who was surprised by the penalty, made a clutch par putt on No. 18 to win his sixth Champions Tour title. Let this be a lesson to us all: BE CAREFUL WHEN MARKING YOUR BALL.
The PGA Tour stays in Texas for the Shell Houston Open, aka that last event before the Masters.
Random tournament fact: Still basking in the glow of being a Ryder Cup star, Anthony Kim won this tournament just five years ago. OK, so this is probably the last time we can say it was "just" (fill in the blank) years ago. AK has been MIA for awhile now.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- Anthony Kim will star in the 2016 Ryder Cup: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds
-- Tiger will break Jack's mark of 22 grandchildren: 100-to-1 odds
-- Jimmy Walker would be a better actor than Chuck Norris: LOCK
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
This is NFL star Larry Fitzgerald teeing off at Legend Golf & Safari Resort's Extreme 19th hole:
GATOR PHOTO OF THE WEEK
That giant one in Florida returned last week to snack on a turtle:
Oh yeah, he's also been named "Goliath" by the Myakka Pines Golf Club. How great is that? "I'm sooooooo over gators," my boss said. Too bad. Goliath is awesome and he should have a weekly spot in this column as far as I'm concerned. Goliath!
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
All due respect to Jimmy Walker, but no one hit a more clutch putt last week than 84-year-old Margaret, a contestant on The Price is Right.
THIS WEEK IN SUPERMODELS PLAYING GOLF
How about Adam Levine's wife, Brihati Prinsloo, teeing it up while her husband was away?
A video posted by Behati Prinsloo (@behatiprinsloo) on Mar 25, 2015 at 6:56pm PDT
Nice swing, but more impressive, how about that backyard driving range?!
THIS WEEK IN RORY MCILROY MAKING US FEEL BAD WITH HIS TRAINING
This Nike video is two full minutes of Rory doing ridiculous things in the gym. What a sicko:
Oh, no big deal. Just relaxing in the Bahamas and playing golf and basketball with Michael Jordan and Tom Brady. In related news, here's Bradley's girlfriend, Jillian Stacey (right), and Donald's wife, Diane (left), hanging out on the beach:
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"That's not something I hear a lot." -- President Barack Obama when told by Claude Harmon to "lean to the left" to fix his slice.
THIS WEEK IN DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY RICKIE FOWLER-ALEXIS RANDOCK-NICOLE RANDOCK PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Rickie and the Randocks would be a great band name. And here's another one of the lovely sisters:
THIS AND THAT
Cristie Kerr birdied four of the final five holes to win the Kia Classic. It was the 17th LPGA Tour title of her career, but her first in 43 starts and her first as a mom. . . . Tiger Woods reportedly is getting $16.5 million for a couple of design projects in China. It's still good to be Tiger Woods. . . . Dustin Johnson set another course record, this time at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas. Man, do pro golfers play a lot of golf. . . . English pro Thomas Curtis won the Grey Goose World Par 3 Championship and its $20,000 prize in Bermuda while on his honeymoon. Thomas Curtis is a hero. . . . A happy/sad work announcement as Luke Kerr-Dineen (pictured) is leaving Golf Digest to go to USA Today/For The Win. Luke has been a great colleague the past two years, but more importantly, he's been a great swing coach -- even if his methods are a bit unconventional at times.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Will Tiger make another $16.5 million in on-course earnings?
How is Jimmy Walker only ranked 10th in the world?
Is there any room for me in Butch Harmon's stable?