News & ToursOctober 15, 2013

The Grind: A sleeper comes through, Lexi turns heads & 'Wozilroy' rumors flow

By Alex Myers

Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we don't get all the fuss about PGA Tour players having such a quick turnaround between seasons. After all, most people only get two weeks of vacation per year. And most people don't spend the rest of the time PLAYING GOLF for a living. Not that we're complaining. It just gives us more to talk about.

WE'RE BUYING

Jimmy Walker: He may have picked up his first PGA Tour title in his 188th event, but it was his first attempt since we named him one of the top sleepers to watch out for this season. Thanks for making us look smart, Jimmy! Woo! With the Frys.com now being part of the FedEx Cup schedule, Walker also locked up a first trip to the Masters. We're pretty sure he's not complaining about the regular season starting when it did.

Related: 11 PGA Tour players ready to break out in 2013-2014

Lexi Thompson: The 18-year-old phenom won by four shots in Malaysia and matched 16-year-old phenom Lydia Ko by winning her second LPGA tournament. Meanwhile, former teen phenom Michelle Wie turned 24 and is still stuck on two wins. Phenom is a fun word to say. ____

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Wait, did Lexi Thompson win a golf tournament or a swim meet?

Vijay Singh: He's second on the PGA Tour money list at 50! OK, so it's just one event, but still, Singh's runner-up at CordeValle showed he isn't ready to start playing on the Champions Tour full time -- especially when the field at the PGA Tour's season opener was about as deep as a senior event.

NBC: The network extended its contract with the PGA of America to televise the Ryder Cup until 2030. It doesn't make up for losing U.S. Open rights to Fox, but it was a move that needed to be done. We hope Johnny Miller is taking his daily vitamins. . .

Related: Our favorite Johnny Millerisms

WE'RE SELLING

The season opener: It still feels weird to say a new PGA Tour season starts in October, right? Apparently all the top players felt it was weird, too. Last week's annual Wake Forest Pro-Am featured more top-30 golfers. True story.

PGA Grand Slam of Golf: As if "Silly Season" events weren't silly enough, now they've been relegated even more worthless since they're mixed in with regular season events. And how the heck is Padraig Harrington in the field? Oh, he's the defending champ? Let me re-phrase the question: How the heck did Padraig Harrington get into this field last year?

Related: The best -- and worst -- shots of the PGA Tour season

Lydia Ko critics: The 16-year-old phenom(!) reportedly plans to turn pro soon and has petitioned the LPGA for a full-time membership. Many are questioning the move. Funny enough, none of those people have forfeited millions in potential earnings like Ko. She's ranked fifth in the world, people. She should be allowed to cash in on that.

Rory McIlroy: First, there were more rumors of a split with Caroline Wozniacki (Not 'Wozilroy'!). Then the news that McIlroy and his former management agency are suing each other. There's a good chance McIlroy didn't do anything wrong in either case, but the non-positive stories about the golf star seem to be piling up of late. In other words, he really needs to start playing well again.

ON TAP

After an exciting, memorable, and fun Week 1, the PGA Tour really hits its stride with the Shriners Hospitals For Children Open in Week 2. Vegas, baby! Vegas!

Related: PGA Tour courses in 2013 by the numbers

Random tournament fact: This event still holds the unofficial record for longest name of a tournament when it was called the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals For Children Open.

THIS WEEK IN DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION

The "Three Amigos," DJ, Paulina and Austin are back! And apparently, they're headed Down Under. "Next stop, Australia!" Paulina said with this picture:

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Those sure look a lot more comfortable than the airplane seats we're used to!

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

It wasn't all bad for McIlroy last week. He played golf with Bill Clinton and dined with the former president and Bono:

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The three had a great time until Bono got bored of hearing hole-by-hole details of the day's match.

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK

Two-time major winner and Ryder Cup hero Tony Jacklin appeared on "Strictly Come Dancing," the UK's version of "Dancing With The Stars." It did not go well. Check out the incredibly cheesy footage here:

RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK

-- Another player from our "Top Sleepers" list will win this week: 10,000-to-1 odds

-- Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky will come back from Australia with a pet kangaroo: 10-to-1 odds

-- Las Vegas casinos like when a large group of professional golfers come to town: LOCK

THIS AND THAT

Erik Compton won the inaugural PGA Tour Courage Award. The guy has come back after two heart transplants. Good luck to anyone topping that next year. . . . Nick Faldo's Champions Tour debut lasted all of 12 holes before withdrawing with an elbow injury. He made Tony Jacklin's stint on that dancing show seem long. . . . Russ Cochran won on the Champions Tour by birdieing his final four holes. But I, a 6-handicap, birdied four of my first five holes (I'd include a link of some kind, but sadly, this accomplishment received no coverage) on Sunday. And then I watched that Jimmy Walker pick come through. Advantage: ME. . . . And finally, this is what Kim the Presidents Cup streaker looks like wearing (some) clothes. She's, um, very, patriotic. . .

RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER

At what age do players lose "phenom" status?

Why does mint chocolate chip ice cream taste so much better when it's green?

Can you imagine how cranky Johnny Miller will be at 83?

-- 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.

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