A missed sign from the golf gods, a new master in ping-pong, and Jordan Spieth's kiss seen around the world
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where I'm kicking myself for not taking advantage of a sign from the golf gods. On the eve of the Masters, I was locked out of our Golf Digest rental home in Augusta until a housecleaner with the name "J. Speth" saved me. Seriously. OK, so it was a woman (Jennifer) and no, she didn't have an "i" in her last name, but still, what are the odds? And what are the odds I could have gotten placing a wager on Jordan Spieth? It was a huge opportunity missed, but you can bet I'll be paying attention to the names of people I encounter during U.S. Open week. And if I happen across a waiter named Ronnie McElroy, I'll be sure to let you know.
Jordan Spieth: As if winning the Masters at 21 wasn't impressive enough, Spieth did it in dominant fashion, never leading by fewer than three shots after firing an opening 64. He also used the word "majestic" and the phrase "unlike any other" in his green jacket acceptance speech. This guy is good.
Phil Mickelson: It can't be a coincidence that Lefty has only two top 10s in the past two seasons, but they're both runner-up finishes at the last two major championships. The guy can still get up for the big events. Unfortunately, the man who will be looking to complete the career Grand Slam at the U.S. Open completed the runner-up slam with his T-2. He now has 10 second-place finishes at majors to go with his five wins. Only 10 more to go to break Jack Nicklaus' mark of 19!
Tiger Woods: A brilliant short game. Some big fist pumps. Shouting expletives on the course. Tell us this guy isn't back! OK, not exactly, but how many people thought they'd see his name that high on the leader board at any point on Sunday? How many people thought we'd even see him on Sunday? Overall, this was an encouraging week for Woods, who played pretty well and made it through all four rounds -- barely. He was also the leader in the clubhouse in terms of hugs given out until Jordan Spieth won.
Tiger Woods' injury: A root in the pine straw? This guy just can't catch a break. Well, unless you count him hurting a part of his body that he could fix on the course. Fortunately, the injury doesn't seem too serious, which is why we can joke about it. Get better Tiger, and good luck with your career as a budding chiropractor.
Impatient pundits: In a matter of months, the Rory McIlroy Era has already morphed into the Jordan Spieth Period. How quickly we forget Rory's run of winning three straight big events last year, including a pair of majors. In any event, the top two players in the world are a combined age of 46. Let's just enjoy it.
Jim Nantz: Despite our helpful suggestions, there wasn't the normal grand/cheesy punctuation to the tournament from the CBS announcer. We think Spieth missing that short putt for the scoring record on No. 18 threw Nantz, but that's no excuse. "Heir Jordan!" or "The Jordan Rules!" or even "A young Master!" would have worked just fine. We know it's a long week with the NCAA Championship on Monday night, but c'mon, Jim. You're lucky "Gentle Jordan" picked up the slack for you at the ceremony.
The PGA Tour heads to the RBC Heritage, aka that event after the Masters. Most of the big names take this week off, especially those who have just won the year's first major. That is, unless your name is Jordan Spieth.
Random tournament fact: No one has ever hit that lighthouse behind the 18th hole at Harbour Town Golf Links.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- Jordan Spieth will wear his green jacket to the first tee: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds
-- Tiger Woods will perform an appendectomy on himself: 10-to-1 odds
-- Under Armour is pleased that in February it signed a deal with Spieth through 2025: LOCK
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Jack Nicklaus, at 75, making his first-ever hole-in-one at Augusta National. Ridiculous.
Unfortunately, Arnold Palmer's shoulder kept him out of the marquee par-3 group. But don't worry, Arnie, as this photo from a couple years ago proves, you're still the King.
THIS WEEK IN JORDAN SPIETH LIVING THE LIFE
On Monday morning, Spieth flew to New York with his new favorite item of clothing for a whirlwind media tour:
This came after a dream week in which he rented two houses (one for hanging out and one for sleeping) to accommodate his friends and family. He also just recently bought this $2.2 million house in Dallas:
Considering all the money he's poised to earn after winning the Masters, it might already be time for an upgrade. Or maybe Spieth will buy a second house and keep that one as his sleeping quarters.
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
The Masters is pretty serious about cracking down on people using its footage or taking their own video at the tournament, so we present this instead. All due respect to Jordan Spieth, but this might have been the shot of the week in Augusta:
A video posted by @alexmyers3 on Apr 14, 2015 at 5:07am PDT
That's me roping a rare shot past human backboard Jaime Diaz during one of the week's many intense matches at the Golf Digest rental house. We heard Jordan Spieth was also playing a lot of of ping-pong (in his "hanging out" house). Funny, though, he didn't dare show his face in our hood.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"There's a reason I have a hairline like this . . . It's stressful what we do." -- Jordan Spieth. That's OK, Jordan. There isn't a male golfer in the world who wouldn't trade his hair for a green jacket.
THIS WEEK IN TIGER WOODS-LINDSEY VONN-AND OTHERS PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Tiger surprised everyone by playing in the Par-3 Contest. Hopefully, it's the first of many with his kids:
And if you're a fan of tour WAGS, the Par 3 is like Christmas. Here's Alexis Randock with Rickie Fowler and Erin Walker, who did a tour wife diary for us all week, with Jimmy:
And of course, there was Jordan Spieth and Annie Verret sharing a victory kiss that broke the heart of many young ladies around the country:
THIS AND THAT
Hideki Matsuyama finished fifth place at the Masters, tying him with Jordan Spieth for the most top fives (five) on the PGA Tour this season. At 23, he's practically an old man, though. . . . James Hahn called a penalty on himself and missed the cut by one shot. On the bright side, it gave him more time to peruse the Masters merchandise store (true story). . . . An entry named "brettmarino" won $1 million on DraftKings with a team of Spieth, Rose, Mickelson, Hoffman, Henley, and Na. Must be nice. My team finished 39,819 out of 125,950 and made me nothing. . . . By ignoring what the universe was telling me about Jordan Spieth, I finished out of the money, but at least, I was rich in press room food. In addition to being reunited with the Masters chicken sandwiches, I discovered these chocolate chunk cookies. Man, I really can't wait for next year's tournament.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
How many calories are in those cookies?
How many green jackets will Jordan Spieth win?
Is destroying your boss in ping-pong a good career move?