Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we believe playing any sport other than golf when you're over the age of 25 is reckless (unless you are a pro in that other sport). Yeah, yeah, I'm an old man, but retiring from basketball at 23 has ensured I wouldn't miss playing any golf due to an injury. Well, except the time I threw out my back hitting too many practice putts. . . And the other time I threw out my back picking up my golf bag too quickly. . . Yeah, yeah, I'm pathetic, but imagine how many more times I would have gotten hurt if I still played a pick-up game from time to time? I feel bad for Rory McIlroy, but he could have been more careful. Soccer is a dangerous sport!
Tiger's irons: It's sad that the 14-time major champ has fallen so far we're now getting excited about him finishing T-32 in second-tier events. But there were some serious signs of him turning things around. Really! At least, with his iron play. Woods posted the best proximity mark (23'-11") of his career -- at least, since 2003 when that became an official stat -- and also led the field in strokes gained on his approach shots. The bad news is Woods' iron play was great under Sean Foley as well and, well, you know. But hey, talking about him leading in any stat is a lot better than talking about him being unable to break 80.
Robert Streb's wedge: After damaging his putter tossing it to his caddie on Sunday, Streb was forced to putt with his 56-degree sand wedge on the back nine. He responded by making five birdies (one from 27 feet) and three-putting just once. We know what you're thinking. Here's an instructional article on how to putt with your wedge. Read it at your own risk.
Rory's Open chances: McIlroy's ankle injury is a total bummer. For everyone. Even if Jordan Spieth wins a third major to start the season, he'll face inevitable (unfair) questions about doing it thanks to Rory's injury. And of course, golf fans wanted to see McIlroy defend his Open title and get another crack at St. Andrews after his 63-80-69-68 performance at age 21 in 2010. We'd love to see him topple the Old Course in a walking boot, but there's probably a better chance of Tiger shooting 19 under there and winning by eight shots again.
Kevin Kisner's playoff record: Incredibly, Kisner has lost three playoffs in the past 11 weeks. He is the only active PGA Tour player to lose three tournaments in extra holes in a single season and the first to do so since Horton Smith in 1937. Coincidentally, we hear he's terrible at the card game War and at flipping coins. Hang in there, Kiz. Your luck is bound to change.
Shaq's golf swing: The Big Daddy/Aristotle/Cactus/Diesel provided two big whiffs on his opening tee shot at the Greenbrier Pro-Am. Here's a look at his swing that rivals his free-throw stroke in terms of aesthetics:
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 6, 2015
But Shaq still provided big entertainment. Here he is showing playing partner Keegan Bradley how to shoot a free throw on the golf course.
"I make them when I need them," Shaq joked. Regardless of his golf game, this week proved a pro-am with Shaq is a lot better than a pro-am without him.
The PGA Tour heads to Illinois for the John Deere Classic, aka that event that takes place before the British Open and where Jordan Spieth holed that bunker shot to help him win his first tour title.
Random tournament fact: Speaking of Spieth, in case you didn't hear, he's playing this week. That's right, Spieth is going to try to do the unthinkable by playing some golf and then flying on a chartered jet and only having three days to prepare for playing some more golf. Can he do it?!
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- Shaq will qualify for the Champions Tour when he turns 50: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds
-- Adam Scott will turn to putting with a wedge once the anchoring ban kicks in: 10-to-1 odds
-- People will spend way too much time talking about Jordan Spieth's schedule: LOCK
PHOTO/TWEET OF THE WEEK
We now know golf's Most Interesting Man in the World needs his sleep like the rest of us. Apparently, Miguel Angel Jimenez doesn't nap often, but when he does, he dresses in a suit and attends Wimbledon:
— Not Miguel Ã JimÃ©nez (@miguelajimenez_) July 6, 2015
VIRAL VIDEO(S) OF THE WEEK (NOT INVOLVING SHAQ)
For some reason, a Fox News anchor called Rory McIlroy a "leprechaun" and said she "can't stand him." Talk about adding insult to injury!
— Chris Chaney (@Wrong_Fairway) July 6, 2015
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"It was just amazing. It's phenomenal. It's my fourth time playing here, and I liked it every single year. Only one wish I had was if I had a girlfriend, it wouldn't be as lonely in the room." -- Danny Lee. Hang in there, Danny. That check for $1.2 million certainly won't hurt. For now, though, maybe look away from the following photos. . .
THIS WEEK IN MODELS PLAYING GOLF (SORT OF)
How about Alexis Randock beating boyfriend Rickie Fowler at a game of closest to the pin:
A photo posted by Rickie Fowler (@rickiefowler) on Jul 1, 2015 at 7:37am PDT
Of course, the lovely couple provided other photos from their Fourth of July getaway to Baker's Bay:
A photo posted by Alexis Randock (@alexis.randock) on Jul 2, 2015 at 5:14pm PDT
Aww, so sweet -- especially the matching Red Bull hats!
THIS WEEK IN KEEGAN BRADLEY-JILLIAN STACEY-SHAQ PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
A photo posted by Keegan Bradley (@keeganbradley1) on Jul 1, 2015 at 2:35pm PDT
"Bennifer" may be done, but "Jilligan" and "Ralexis" are going strong in the world of celebrity golf couples. And not to be outdone. . .
THIS WEEK IN DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
A photo posted by Paulina Gretzky (@paulinagretzky) on Jul 5, 2015 at 10:56am PDT
Happy belated Fourth of July, everyone!
THIS AND THAT
ESPN is moving its ESPY charity golf outing from Trump National (L.A.) to Pelican Hill. That's not exactly the PGA Tour moving the Cadillac Championship from Doral, but it's a step in the right direction. . . . Speaking of race issues, Bubba Watson will paint an American flag over the Confederate flag on his General Lee car. Good of Bubba to save his sponsors a few headaches. . . . Bernd Weisberger shot a Sunday 65 to win the French Open for his third European Tour title. You may remember him as "that other guy" contending at last year's PGA Championship at Valhalla. . . . Former NBA star Allan Houston's beautiful Armonk, N.Y., mansion that includes a sick golf practice area in the backyard can be yours for (just) under $20 million! I'm actually looking for a house in the same area, but that property tax of $180,000(!) is just a little too steep. . . . A beloved fake horse (em>pictured) at a mini-golf course was stolen and then returned. The owners cried tears of joy when it was brought back. Tears of joy. True story.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Will Rory McIlroy ever play soccer again?
Will I ever dare touch a basketball again?
Who steals a fake horse from a mini-golf course?