The Grind: Ko, Noh win, and Belen Mozo channels her inner Miguel Angel Jimenez
By Alex Myers
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we prefer the days when 17-year-olds were asking us for career advice. But now, Lydia Ko is changing what we thought was possible. Just days after turning 17, she ascended to the No. 2 spot in the Rolex Rankings. Yep, she's the second-best female golfer in the WORLD and she's still four full years from being legally allowed to drink in the U.S. Slow down, Lydia. You're making us all look bad.
Lydia Ko: What a week it was for Ko, who celebrated a birthday, was named to Time magazine's Top 100 Most Influential People list, and then won her third LPGA Tour event and first as an LPGA member. Making her victory at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic (actual name) even better was her clutch birdie on the final hole to top former World No. 1 Stacy Lewis by a shot. Anyone want to bet against Ko getting to the top spot at some point? Didn't think so.
Seung-Yul Noh: If it seems like we've been raving about this guy's swing for years, that's because we -- and everyone else in the golf world -- have. Noh, who was the Rookie of the Year on the Asian Tour at age 17, "finally" won on the PGA Tour a month shy of his 23rd birthday. His win in New Orleans makes him the fourth player under 25 to win on tour this year.
Y.E. Yang celebrations are the best celebrations.
John Peterson: We don't care if Peterson missed the cut for the fifth time in six tries or that his best finish this season is a T-20. Peterson showed more guts on Friday than any PGA Tour winner this year when he moved a gator with a rake so playing partner James Driscoll could hit his next shot. If this golf thing doesn't work out, the Louisiana resident and former LSU standout could be a heck of a swamp tour guide.
LPGA Tour: Speaking of young, promising winners, how about this run by the LPGA? First, Lexi Thompson wins the year's first major, then Michelle Wie ends a long winless drought and now Ko wins again. That's three wins in a row by three potential superstars who are a combined age of 60. No wonder LPGA commissioner Mike Whan looks so happy -- even when he's wearing a skirt.
Keegan Bradley: After pulling into a tie for the lead early in Sunday's round, Bradley struggled the rest of the day. His final-round 75 was two shots worse than anyone else in the top 10. Despite racking up high finishes, Bradley hasn't won since the 2012 Bridgestone Invitational. In a tournament that was conspicuously lacking in star power, this was one guy we were hoping could add some juice to the final round.
Player-caddie experience: What else did Ko and Noh have in common other than their South Korean roots and youth? They both had new caddies on the bag for their wins over the weekend. Ko used local caddie Domingo Jojola (who she worked with two years ago when the U.S. Girls Junior was played at Lake Merced) and Noh had PGA Tour veteran Scott Sajtinac on the bag. So much for needing time to develop a rapport.
Tiger Woods injury "updates": "He is on schedule but we don't know what that schedule means." That's a direct quote from Mark Steinberg, Tiger Woods' agent. Thanks, Mark. Good to know. Way to keep us in the loop.
The PGA Tour heads to Charlotte for the Wells Fargo Championship, aka that tournament where the greens were bad last year. Really bad. The conditions caused an unusually-high amount of players to withdraw from the field and resulted in wacky moments like Sergio Garcia chipping in a six-footer for par.
Random tournament fact: Perhaps, in part due to the bad conditions, Derek Ernst won this event last year when he was No. 1,207 in the world ranking. Considering he hasn't finished in the top 30 at a full-field event since, that might go down as one of the most random golf facts ever.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- Lydia Ko wants to be a golf writer when she grows up: 1 million-to-1 odds
-- Derek Ernst will successfully defend his title this week at Quail Hollow: 10,000-to-1 odds.
-- The greens will be better this year at Quail Hollow: LOCK
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Cheyenne Woods' traditional first pitch at a Tampa Bay Rays game was nice, but how about Michelle Wie and Paula Creamer chipping the first pitch before the San Francisco Giants game on Friday?
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Again, it's all happening on the LPGA Tour right now. Here's Belen Mozo leading Natalie Gulbis and Beatriz Recari in imitating Miguel Angel Jimenez's famous pre-round stretching routine:
"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all." Paulina got really philosophical on Instagram with this post. Then, she posted this:
Phew. Back to normal.
THIS AND THAT
Donald Trump's courses could host all three rotating men's major championships in the near future, writes Geoff Shackelford. We're sure Mr. Trump will be very humble about this if it happens. . . . . Notah Begay III suffered a heart attack, but is expected to make a full recovery. The guy is 41. Scary. . . . John Hawkins reports Anthony Kim, who won at Quail Hollow by five shots six years ago, isn't even playing golf recreationally right now. Sad. That dude was really good. . . . On a happier note, I've never been a huge fan of "chewy" Chips Ahoy!, but these new brownie-filled ones are fantastic. Not fantastic? That bag of, how do you say it? Granola? Is that the right spelling? Apparently, some people actually eat this stuff.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Who winds up with more wins: Ko, Thompson, or Wie?
What has happened to the Indiana Pacers?
Does Anthony Kim still have that huge, sparkly belt buckle?