Rory KOs the field, Miguel/Keegan nearly come to blows, Tiger/Lindsey split, and Anna gets her MBA
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we never expected the most entertaining fight of the week would come from the golf course. We joked about the WGC-Cadillac Match Play taking on title-bout hype last week and on Friday, two players -- and a caddie -- almost came to blows. In this corner, wearing Aviators, Miguel "The Mechanic" Angel Jimenez! And in this corner, wearing Jordans, Keegan "Stink-eye" Bradley! The best part? This dustup happened during a meaningless match. On second thought, the best part was that it was free to watch. Hey, Floyd, Manny, any chance we can get a refund on that $89.95?
But there was no money back needed for another wild week in golf. Here's all that went down:
Rory McIlroy: Perhaps, we should hold off on that Jordan Spieth Era talk. McIlroy answered Spieth's Masters win with a victory at the WGC-Cadillac Match Play, which joined him with Tiger and Jack as just the third player to win 10 PGA Tour titles before turning 26. Incredibly, he trailed heading to the 17th hole in three of five elimination matches before switching into, well, McIlroy mode. What a week for Rory -- even if he had to give his Mayweather/Pacquiao tickets to Lee Westwood and watch in the media center. Here's sad Rory:
But he wound up watching it on a really big screen and in good company. Here's happy Rory:
Inbee Park: WINBEE seems back to her winning ways by pulling away from Lexi Thompson and others at the North Texas Shootout. The bad news for the rest of the LPGA? Park says she's re-found the putting stroke that led her to three straight major titles during the 2013 season.
Lydia Ko: Even in a rare off week, Ko impressed everyone by announcing before the tournament that she'd donate all of her winnings to Nepal earthquake relief. Unfortunately, the golf gods didn't go along with the plan. Ko had a flop shot get stuck in a tree on Thursday, which led to a triple bogey, and she had to rally just to make the cut on the number (She's now made 51 of 51 cuts in her career). The $6,241 for finishing T-41 wasn't what Ko, 18, was hoping to send to Nepal, but it was still a generous gesture.
Ian Woosnam: The 5-foot-4, 57-year-old Woosnam averaged 275 yards off the tee in winning the Insperity Invitational, his first Champions Tour title. Yes, even the Champions Tour can have late bloomers. And yes, you should probably be a little depressed that a 5-foot-4, 57-year-old golfer can hit the ball a lot longer than you can.
Match-play complainers: Last week, everyone seemed on board with the new group play stage that was incorporated into this year's event. Then on Friday, whiners came out of the woodwork to complain. "Ohhh, but there are so many meaningless matches today!" Actually, 24 of the 32 matches that day still had tournament implications. "Ohhh, but you can't have golfers come all the way to California, play three matches, and go home!" How is this any different than someone missing the three-day cut at Pebble Beach? Could some tweaks still be made to make this event even better? Sure, but it's still really good as is.
Keegan Bradley: Overshadowed by the dust-up with Miguel Angel Jimenez -- Bradley freaked out pretty quickly and looked silly getting in the face of a guy nearly twice his age -- was Bradley's 0-3 performance at TPC Harding Park. That drops him to a dismal 1-9 career record in match play singles as a pro. That's ONE win and nine losses. If he were an actual pro fighter and he had that record, he'd be dead.
Big breakups: First it was the Dufners and now, "Tigsey"? Or was it "Woodsonn"? Hmm, guess we never came up with a good couples name for Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn. In any event the two are splitting up just weeks after that happy day at the Masters Par 3 contest. Sad stuff, especially for Woods' kids. Apparently, it was a lot easier for Woods and Vonn to spend time together when they were injured. We wish them both the best going forward.
PGA Tour cologne: The PGA Tour is releasing its own fragrance for men. This is actually happening. You know, because of all the people out there who have thought, "Man, I really want to smell like a PGA Tour player." Mom, please don't get me this as a stocking stuffer.
The PGA Tour heads to TPC Sawgrass for the Players, aka "the fifth major," aka "that tournament with the island hole."
Random tournament fact: The winning score has been -13 in each of the past four years. Freaky! In each of those past four years, I've also gone to the local Chili's for all five nights I've been in Ponte Vedra Beach to cover the tournament. For you non-math majors out there, that's 20 straight dinners at Chili's during the Players.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- A PGA Tour player will wear PGA Tour cologne on "date night": 1 MILLION-to-1 odds
-- Rory McIlroy will watch Grey's Anatomy in the TPC Sawgrass media room: 10-to-1 odds
-- There's a better chance of me going to Chili's every night than the winning score being -13 again: LOCK
PHOTO/TWEET OF THE WEEK
Lee Westwood looked like he had a good time in Vegas at the fight. European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke looked like he had too much of a good time:
It's all been a bit too much for the skipper! pic.twitter.com/2dSm2hPQ9J
— Lee Westwood (@WestwoodLee) May 3, 2015
Think Team USA is going to use that as locker room material at Hazeltine next year?
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
When your boss used eight different caddies during her rookie season, it's probably wise to put in some extra effort. That's what Jason Hamilton did when Lydia Ko's ball got stuck in a tree on Thursday:
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"More than 50 years since I was born," then he points a finger southward, "but I'm only 20 down there." -- Miguel Angel Jimenez in an interview with Sports Illustrated's Alan Shipnuck.
We're pretty sure the phrase, "He's a lover, not a fighter," was coined with this guy in mind.
THIS WEEK IN BUBBA BEING BUBBA
Watson posted this video of him lip syncing "Tip-toeing In My Jordans" to get in Keegan Bradley's head before their match on Thursday:
— bubba watson (@bubbawatson) April 30, 2015
Be careful, Bubba. It turns out Keegan's actual theme song is "Going toe-to-toe in my Jordans."
THIS WEEK IN RICKIE FOWLER-ALEXIS RANDOCK JUSTIN ROSE-STEPHEN CURRY PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
These two admirers randomly bumped into each other in San Francisco, which wound up being the highlight of Rose's week at the Match Play:
A photo posted by Justin Rose (@justinprose99) on Apr 29, 2015 at 10:33pm PDT
Can't you just feel the love? What a sweet photo amid such a testy week.
THIS WEEK IN NATALIE GULBIS ANNA RAWSON MAKING US FEEL BAD WITH HER TRAINING WORK ETHIC
Anna Rawson is a pro golfer, a model, a TV analyst, and a former host of Golf Digest's "Sexiest Shots" video series:
And now, she's an official businesswoman:
A photo posted by Anna Rawson (@annarawson) on Apr 30, 2015 at 9:40am PDT
THIS AND THAT
Less than a decade after winning the U.S. Open, Michael Campbell is retiring from professional golf. Because, well, golf. . . . An SI Golf+ survey found that 73 percent of PGA Tour golfers don't believe Dustin Johnson's six-month leave of absence from the tour was "voluntary" like he claims. Only seven percent said they thought it was actually voluntary. Shocking! . . . The PGA Tour is unveiling a cool new fantasy golf game beginning at this week's Players. Yay! Another way to lose at fantasy golf! . . . Defending Players champ Martin Kaymer kindly left these delicious-looking chocolate-covered pretzels in the press room at TPC Sawgrass. Since I don't arrive until Wednesday afternoon, could someone set aside one two 10 of these for me? Thanks.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Who would be the best boxer on tour?
How many "Fights of the Century" have there been?
What did Lee Westwood give Rory for those tickets?