The Grind: Pete Carroll's real mistake, Tiger's possible yips, and Freddie Jacobson meets Rihanna
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we still don't know what Pete Carroll was thinking. As recent NFL coaches like Bill Belichick and Jim Harbaugh have shown, the only way to properly get over a devastating loss in the Super Bowl is to play in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Yet Carroll is not listed in next week's field. Again, what is he doing?! Of course, Carroll's Seattle Seahawks missing a three-footer for a major dominated the weekend's headlines, but a lot happened in golf also. Let's just line up in goal-line formation and run straight ahead until we've covered all the ground. Seems simple enough, right?
Brooks Koepka: Technically, Koepka isn't a PGA Tour rookie, but this is his first full season playing with the big boys and he already looks pretty comfortable. Koepka, 24, shot a final-round 66 to win the Waste Management Phoenix Open for his first PGA Tour title. It was a big day for the young golfer and a big day for a young payroll company, Paylocity, that took a chance on signing him to an endorsement deal last year. We know because we have a friend who works for them. Dream big, corporate America. Marketing dreams can come true, too!
Rory McIlroy: The World No. 1 put even more distance between his pursuers in the world rankings with his win in Dubai. It's gotten to the point where when he plays well, he wins easily and when he plays just OK, he only finishes second. The guy is in full "beast mode" right now. And speaking of golfers who could be No. 1 for a long time. . .
Lydia Ko: The 17-year-old phenom didn't come through down the stretch at the LPGA Tour's season opener, but she did do enough to become the youngest World No. 1 in golf history. Yep, a 17-year-old golfer is the best in the world. No one's accomplishments got lost in the shuffle more this weekend, so we'll just go ahead and try to make up for that by yelling her name over and over: LYDIA KO! LYDIA KO! LYDIA KO!
Tiger Woods: If you're a fan of the 14-time major champion, his performance at TPC Scottsdale was tough to watch. Woods struggled in all aspects of the game and his short game looked downright amateurish as he shot the worst round of his pro career (82) and missed back-to-back cuts for the first time. There were blades (starting in Wednesday's pro-am). There were chunks. There were times where he looked too scared to even try to chip or pitch, instead opting for the general hacker's premise of getting the ball rolling on the green as soon as possible. Tiger blamed rust. Tiger blamed his new swing mechanics. Tiger blamed the new grind on his wedges. He is denying he has the, gulp, yips. So far. On the bright side, the man consumed with his "explosiveness" led the field in driving distance!
Patrick Reed situation: This is a bit murky/ugly. On Thursday, Shane Ryan, who is writing a book on the young stars of the PGA Tour, published somewhat of a first draft of his chapter on Patrick Reed. In it, Ryan writes that Reed was caught stealing while at the University of Georgia and was suspended twice for cheating on the golf course during his time in college. Reed responded with a statement on Monday in which he said "My team and my representatives are looking into all aspects of this matter, and we look forward to setting the record straight." Stay tuned.
Martin Laird: Through 16 holes Sunday, the man who entered the day with a three-shot lead hadn't done much on a TPC Scottsdale course that was there for the taking, yet still remained tied for the lead. He did a lot on the final two holes, though, just not in a good way. Laird bogeyed the drivable par-4 17th and then hit his drive on No. 18 into the water and made a double bogey to drop to T-5. We'd say he had the toughest sporting loss in the Phoenix area that day, but, well, you know. . .
The PGA Tour heads to Torrey Pines, the site of eight Tiger Woods pro victories, including his last major title at the 2008 U.S. Open. That was ages ago, when Woods was so good he could even win majors on a broken leg.
Random tournament fact: Tiger Woods hasn't won every time he plays at Torrey Pines. It just seems that way.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- Someone will win at Torrey Pines on a broken leg: 1 million-to-1 odds
-- Tiger Woods will win at Torrey Pines for a ninth time: 50-to-1 odds (actual odds -- the highest ever for Woods as a pro)
-- Anyone not named Tiger Woods would be much higher than 50-to-1 coming off a performance like that: LOCK
TWEET OF THE WEEK
Thank you guys for all the tweets of congrats! Things have changed a little in 6 years!! pic.twitter.com/5XUFQEgXFR
— Rory Mcilroy (@McIlroyRory) February 1, 2015
They sure have, Rory. You've downsized on hair and your dad has upgraded in free golf shirts.
SUPER BOWL-RELATED TWEET OF THE WEEK
— Jason Dufner (@JasonDufner) February 3, 2015
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
This clip of a woman with ALS draining a 78-foot putt on live TV is incredible. Good luck to anyone topping this the rest of the year:
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"I'm just doing this so I don't get fined." -- Tiger Woods providing a moment of levity after his dismal 82 by doing his best Marshawn Lynch imitation. Funny stuff, but it's not a good sign when a media session provides the week's best highlight for a player.
THIS WEEK IN BELEN MOZO AND NATALIE GULBIS MAKING US FEEL BAD WITH THEIR TRAINING
So simple planks indoors aren't enough now? We give up.
THIS WEEK IN DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY FREDDIE JACOBSON-RIHANNA (SEMI) PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
OK, maybe "meets" is a strong word. Judging by Rihanna's reaction, maybe "encounters" is a better term. The Super Bowl is a crazy thing.
THIS AND THAT
Jon Rahm became the second amateur to post a top-five finish on the PGA Tour since 1998. However, his nickname, "Rahmbo," is second-to-none in the amateur ranks. . . . After 59 years, the R&A is switching its TV allegiances from BBC to Sky Sports. Like the USGA's move from NBC to Fox, money seems to be the reason. Duh. . . . Congrats to co-worker Ron Sirak on winning the PGA Lifetime in Journalism Award! Hopefully, Ron has forgotten about that bet I made with him on Tiger Woods breaking Jack Nicklaus' major championship records. . . . This is what my ankle tan lines look like despite the fact I've spent much of the past two weeks snowed in and haven't been outside for an extended period of time in months. Yeah, I play a LOT of golf in the summer.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
What's going to happen to that lion Katy Perry rode in the halftime show?
Why aren't there more holes like TPC Scottsdale's 16th?
Why didn't Seattle just give the ball to Marshawn Lynch?!