The Grind: Rory's new admirer, Tiger throws paper airplanes, and Sergio gets engaged
By Alex Myers
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we are still dizzy from the weekend's events. You had the lingering Dustin Johnson saga. Sergio Garcia of all people putting on a putting display for the ages. Tiger Woods withdrawing and taking the longest golf cart ride ever down an actual road. Phil Mickelson holing wedges and coming out of nowhere to shoot 62. Sergio Garcia breaking an engagement ring with a wild drive. Rory McIlroy going all Rory McIlroy on the field. Jason Day even pulled out due to, you guessed it, dizziness! It was all happening in Akron, but now we must pivot quickly to the year's final major. Here's everything you need to know about everything in golf. We think . . .
Rory McIlroy: This guy is pretty good, right? Well, only if you're impressed by someone routinely hitting 350-yard drives down the middle of tight fairways and firing at flagsticks with wedges on mammoth par 4s. McIlroy added a first WGC title to his three majors by tracking down Sergio Garcia on Sunday at Firestone. He also tracked down Adam Scott and reclaimed the No. 1 ranking -- officially, that is. After watching him at Hoylake, we think it was pretty apparent who is the best golfer in the world. Now if he would just get rid of that hat. That thing looks like a cross between a flat-brim and Michelle Wie's visor . . .
Sergio Garcia: Sure, he didn't get the job done again on Sunday, but it's hard to knock a guy for a third straight runner-up on the PGA Tour. Garcia is all the way up to No. 3 in the world. Oh yeah, he's also newly engaged to Katharina Boehm. You know, the gorgeous young lady and former college golfer who also caddied Garcia to a win in her only time on his bag? Yeah, golf -- and more importantly, life -- is pretty good for Garcia right now.
Geoff Ogilvy: Remember this guy? The 2006 U.S. Open champ hadn't won anywhere since the start of 2010 and was in danger of losing his PGA Tour card. Not anymore. Ogilvy won the Barracuda Championship -- the PGA Tour's other event last week -- for his eighth career tour title. Ogilvy had just written his monthly column for Golf Australia in which he talked about his struggles at length, but concluded by saying "I'll be back. The game will be fun again. So don't worry folks, I'll figure it out." Guess he was right.
Senior shootout: A week after winning the Senior British Open by 13 shots, Bernhard Langer posted rounds of 64-67-63 for a 22-under total at the 3M Championship -- but it wasn't enough! Kenny Perry birdied the final hole Sunday to finish 23 under par. Also of note? Hale Irwin, 69, broke his age all three days, including shooting a Saturday 66 on his way to a T-9. That's pretty boss.
Tiger Woods' back: The eight-time winner at Firestone couldn't even make it through four rounds in Akron this time. Woods withdrew after hitting his tee shot on the ninth hole Sunday and embarked on a painful -- and incredibly long -- cart ride back to his car in the parking lot. It was a sad sight seeing the 14-time major champ struggle to take his shoes off before getting in the passenger seat and throwing a water bottle in frustration. Mount Nicklaus must look more like Mount Everest for Woods with each passing day.
Bubba Watson's attitude: The longest hitter on the PGA Tour had another bad week, but drew more attention for saying he wouldn't participate in the PGA Championship's long drive contest (an "event" brought back this year). We say "event" because it's actually just one drive. During a practice round. Again, it's ONE shot. This isn't like competing in the Slam Dunk Contest, Bubba. Just do it.
Dustin Johnson's absence: The tour's second-longest hitter won't be participating in the long drive contest at the PGA either because he's choosing to take a leave of absence from professional golf. Or is he? Either way, we won't see Johnson playing again for an extended period of time and that's too bad. Get better, Dustin.
__ Jason Dufner's neck:__ On Wednesday, he was diagnosed with bulging discs in his neck. On Saturday he gave away his putter on the 10th hole and finished the round by putting with his 3-wood. That's mighty generous and all, Jason, but isn't that a little unbecoming of a professional golfer to basically quit in the middle of a tournament? (Yes, Jason was my big pick for the week and I'm a little bitter.) In any event, between DJ, Tiger and Dufner this U.S. Ryder Cup team is really taking shape!
The PGA Tour heads to Valhalla for the PGA Championship, aka the major that's ranked No. 4 in stature, but No. 1 in trophy size.
Random tournament fact: Jason Dufner became the first golfer to win a major and grab his wife's butt on the 18th green with his victory at Oak Hill last year.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- This year's winner -- if it's someone other than Jason Dufner -- will grab his wife's butt on the 18th green: 1 million-to-1 odds
-- Rory McIlroy will win the PGA Championship: 5-to-1 odds (actual odds)
-- Rory McIlroy will win the PGA Championship if he plays like he has in his last two starts: LOCK
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"I'm blind as a bat. I go to the bathroom and I wet my shoes." -- Lee Trevino. Funny stuff, Lee, but are you familiar with the phrase "TMI"?
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Sergio Garcia knocked a diamond out of a fan's engagement ring. Yes, this actually happened.
Fortunately, the diamond in the rough was found shortly after. The whole incident was pretty crazy, especially since Garcia recently bought a rock of his own. Have we mentioned his new fiance, Katharina Boehm? Oh, we have?
SHOTS OF THE WEEK THAT UNFORTUNATELY YOU'LL NEVER SEE FOOTAGE OF
On Friday, Brady Schnell holed out from 122 yards on his final hole for eagle and a round of 59 at the PGA Tour Canada's ATB Financial Classic. Unfortunately, there's only this photo of Schnell:
Then Sunday, David Pastore won the Met Amateur with a walk-off-ace on the 17th hole (35th of the final match) at The Creek in Long Island. Again, no video.
Oh well. You'll just have to use your imagination.
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Fortunately, we do have video of Tiger Woods throwing a paper airplane at Bubba Watson. Courtesy of Shane Bacon, we learned Tiger Woods' accuracy issues extend way beyond the driver:
THIS WEEK IN ATTRACTIVE FEMALE GOLF FANS
A happily married man who shall remain nameless sent me this screenshot during Sunday's telecast -- not that I hadn't already noticed the stunning blonde who seemed to really be noticing Rory McIlroy:
If the aforementioned happily married man is reading this, it might be time for a new TV. There's this really cool thing called HD now. Fortunately, everyone else noticed McIlroy's latest admirer, too. Here's a video in which the woman, who turns out to be Cleveland-area model Ashley Bongiavanni (h/t Kyle Porter for "reporting this out"), seems to be doing her best to get Rory's attention:
Brian Stuard's caddie quit mid-round Saturday at the Barracuda Championship. He was replaced by a "woman in a dress wearing flip-flops." Interesting choice, Brian. . . . Tony Finau won the Stonebrae Classic for his first Web.com win and all but wrapped up his PGA Tour card for next season. Move over Gary Woodland, you might have to give up your unofficial title as the tour's best basketball player once the 6-foot-4 former high school hoops star arrives. . . . I had the pleasure of seeing the band LIVE (well, former frontman Ed Kowalczyk, anyway) perform live last week. Remember "Lightning Crashes"? How about "I Alone"? Good times. . . '90s rock is the best.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Who is the best band from the '90s?
Does Tiger choose the music when he rides in the passenger seat?
Could Jason Dufner beat me in a putting contest with a 3-wood?