Matt Every's good vibes at Bay Hill, golf's March Madness, cheese discrimination, and the tour's new "it" couple
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we were reminded once again that no sport busts brackets like professional golf. Three weeks after Padraig Harrington won the Honda Classic, Matt Every won the Arnold Palmer Invitational. That's the equivalent of a 14 seed and an 11 seed cutting down the nets in the NCAA Tournament. Sorry, Georgia State and Dayton, we're not as impressed as everyone else.
But there's plenty to talk about aside from the PGA Tour's latest big upset, and we've got every region of the game covered. Let's get started.
Matt Every: With a middle name of King and a daughter whose middle name is Palmer, Every rivals only the King himself when it comes to good vibes at Bay Hill. A final round 66, including a birdie on the difficult 18th, made Every a repeat winner of the event. And he did it after changing his putter before his final round and getting an assist on the read of his winning putt from a fan. Not bad for someone who had one top 10 since his breakthrough win at Bay Hill last year and whose best previous finish was a T-27 in a 34-man field in Hawaii. Congrats, Matt, and we feel the same way about the Oasis song, "Live Forever." We just aren't getting a tattoo of it. Even Arnie looks confused. . .
Albatrosses/Double eagles: Whichever name you prefer for a score of three under par on one hole, they're pretty awesome. Yet two were made in two days at Bay Hill, first by Daniel Berger on the par-5 sixth hole on Saturday and then by Zach Johnson on the par-5 16th hole on Sunday. Considering there have been an average of less than three per year on the PGA Tour since 1970, the double eagle double dip might be even rarer than you think.
Masters "scripting": Yeah, yeah, ogling what golfers are going to be wearing in the year's first major is silly, but it's also fun. Tiger is going to wear a red shirt and red shoes?! Hey, at least for one day, Nike made us focus on something other than TW's recent chipping woes.
54-hole leaders: We're not even going to pick on Henrik Stenson this week (although those three-putts on 15 and 16 weren't good). If you're a 54-hole leader on the PGA Tour these days, you're just not going to win. Stenson became the latest victim of this Saturday night curse to make it nine straight tournaments in which someone has failed to close the deal. Winning is tough.
Rory McIlroy: The World No. 1 wasn't awful in the three events he played on the PGA Tour's Florida Swing, but he didn't look like the World No. 1, either. McIlroy had a missed cut, a T-9 and a T-11, shot in the 60s just once in 10 rounds, and really struggled with his irons. He's still the heavy favorite for the Masters, but he's no Kentucky when it comes to a lock.
Tournaments in Portgual: For a second straight year, bad weather wreaked havoc with the Madeira Islands Open. Last year, the European Tour event was reduced to 36 holes and this time, it was cancelled after only getting in 18. First, it was wind strong enough to blow golf balls into the hole. And then came torrential rain. Note to self: Do NOT visit Portugal in March. You will wind up having to fill time doing things like this golfer.
PGA Tour fun police: PGA Tour caddies are allowed to wear shorts during tournaments, but apparently, salmon-colored ones are a no-no. At least, that's what Kevin Kisner's caddie, Duane Bock, was told at Bay Hill. This is not going to ease the tension between the tour and its caddies. It's also not going to help the tour's relationship with the salmon-colored shorts community. We demand an apology.
The PGA Tour heads to San Antonio for a Texas two-step before the Masters. Up this week, the Valero Texas Open, which is the last chance to play your way into the field at Augusta by way of being in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking. No pressure, guys!
Random tournament fact: The winner of this event gets a pair of cowboy boots. This makes for some great post-tournament photos, especially when it looks like the winner's spouse isn't too thrilled with her husband's newest wardrobe addition. . .
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- There will be THREE double eagles/albatrosses at the Valero: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds
-- Someone will double bogey No. 18 on Saturday just to avoid being the 54-hole leader: 10-to-1 odds
-- If Matt Every and his wife have another son, they will name him Arnold: LOCK
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Paula Creamer's outfit scripting doesn't stop at the golf course.
Just your normal trip to Whole Foods..... Who doesn't wear heels to the grocery store?????? Photo cred. @haypoole ð ð’ðððð
A photo posted by Paula Creamer Heath (@paulacreamer1) on Mar 17, 2015 at 9:02pm PDT
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
I haven't played golf in months, but this video shows my short game -- and my over-the-top-celebrating game -- are in mid-season form:
Excessive celebration from chip&putt runner-up @AlexMyers3? @S_HennesseyGD @kalevins pic.twitter.com/8SaYFfvFCY
— Ben Walton (@benwalton_GD) March 12, 2015
Hmm. Chipping off a tight lie onto lightning-fast greens? Tiger, I'm just a call away.
ARCHIVE VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
In honor of March Madness, a look back at the outtakes from Bobby Knight's old instructional golf videos. Yes, this was a real thing. And yes, The General's language is as NSFW as you might imagine. See you in a few minutes. This is pure gold:
And Morgan one-upping her by doing pull-ups with 45-pound chains draped around his neck. Show-off.
THIS WEEK IN RICKIE FOWLER GRAEME MCDOWELL LIVING THE GOOD LIFE
Quick decompress after the day. Had fun out there. Left several shots behind but happy with where game is going. #keepgrinding
A photo posted by Graeme McDowell (@graeme_mcdowell) on Mar 19, 2015 at 4:35pm PDT
We'll add the obvious observation of the week: The McDowells have a nice pool.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"I told Tiger I'd hold it down for him until he got back." -- Matt Every on winning at Bay Hill for a second straight year with no Tiger Woods in the field. And a bonus one, also from Every, on the tournament's winning putt:
"I walked up to the green and this guy in the crowd kept like coughing like straight putt, straight putt. I was like this guy is a really d*** if he's lying to me because it's a pretty important moment."
If Every is going to spout gems like these, we'd love to see him in contention more.
THIS WEEK IN DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY JIMMY WALKER-ERIN WALKER PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
These two are quickly becoming the PGA Tour's new "it" couple. Here they are posing for photos in Vegas:
In related news, where have you gone, Amanda Dufner?
THIS AND THAT
Hyo Joo Kim won the LPGA Tour's Founders Cup at 19. Apparently, she's a late bloomer. . . . After a PGA Tour career that netted him zero wins in 412 starts, Marco Dawson won in his 21st attempt on the Champions Tour. Maybe he's a late bloomer, too. . . . Retired NBA star Ray Allen will play for Fred Couples and Team USA in the inaugural Icons Cup golf event instead of playing with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the playoffs. Ray Allen must really love golf. . . . A recent study says nearly 10 percent of Japanese amateur golfers use non-conforming clubs. Something tells us those golfers aren't going to obey the anchoring ban. . . . Why is there a photo of a pepperoni pizza with NO cheese here? Because I feel like I can finally be open about my dislike of cheese now that Adam Scott has come out on this important subject and taken a firm stand. Us non-cheesers have been discriminated against for too long, but hopefully, that's going to start changing. Thanks for being a trailblazer, Adam!
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Why do restaurants put cheese on everything?
Can any team beat Kentucky?
Will we ever see Tiger in those red shoes?
-- 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.