The Grind: Tiger limps off, the Shark turns 60, golfers invade the modeling world, and 'Woz' wows in a swimsuit
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we're less pleased with how last week went than Kanye West was with the end of the Grammys. In five days, the golf world lost two legends and saw its possible greatest player ever go from rock bottom to being the butt of bottom jokes (which, come to think of it, is *really *rock bottom). Sad times, indeed, but we'll do our best Taylor Swift and try to shake it off.
The kids look worried about the old man.
Jason Day: We'll start with the positives. The Aussie came up clutch at Torrey Pines to win the Farmers Insurance Open in a four-man playoff and announce himself (again) as a Masters favorite. Last year, Day was streaking toward the top of the golf world with a February win at the WGC Match Play before having his momentum derailed by a thumb injury. Perhaps after claiming his third PGA Tour title, this is the year he finally delivers a complete campaign worthy of his top-five ranking. He's certainly No. 1 in our book after delivering this win as we predicted. Who says fantasy golf is hard?
When Jason Day wins, we all win.
Billy Casper: The 51-time PGA Tour winner and three-time major champion died Saturday at 83. Casper had a history of being overlooked, so perhaps it was only fitting that shortly after his tributes started pouring in, the sports world's attention shifted to the passing of basketball coach Dean Smith. But we won't forget you, Billy. As impressive as his on-course accomplishments were, more people seemed to want to talk about what a great person Casper was off the course.
Charlie Sifford: Sadly, it was a busy week for writing obituaries of golf legends. Sifford, the pioneer who bravely broke the color barrier on the PGA Tour, passed away at 92 just four days before Casper. Like Billy, Charlie isn't just defined by how much he won. Instead, it was his courage above all that made him a Hall of Famer and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Rory's settlement: It appeared like McIlroy might have to spend a lot of time in court leading up to the Masters, but that won't be the case after reaching a settlement with his former management company, Horizon Sports. So much for legal distractions slowing the World No. 1 down! Sure, that reported $25 million is a big chunk of change, but now the matter is behind him. Speaking of behinds . . .
Tiger Woods' glutes: Truth be told, we'd sell just about everything involved with Woods' golf game right now, but his now famous post-half-round quote has everyone fixated on his backside. For a second straight week, Tiger looked terrible on the course, but his beeline to the parking lot after 11 holes makes his situation more dire and has some wondering if this is the end for the 14-time major champ. Woods' WD was his third in his last eight starts, and he's fallen to No. 62 in the Official World Golf Ranking, the lowest he's been since the year he turned pro. In the unofficial world golf rankings, he's a lot lower than that.
J.B. Holmes' decision-making: A week after Pete Carroll rightly was ripped for being too aggressive, Holmes made a wrong decision by being too conservative. Needing a birdie on the final hole of regulation to win, arguably the longest hitter on the PGA Tour pumped a drive down the fairway of Torrey Pines' closing par 5 and . . . laid up. Holmes wound up making par and losing in a playoff. Apparently, J.B. stood for "just bunt" this week.
Phil Mickelson's putting: Mickelson missed the cut for a second straight week and it didn't take him long to identify the main culprit following Friday's second round. "My putting is beyond pathetic," he said following a tournament-high five three-putts in two days. After getting in great shape during the off-season, Phil's poor play to start 2015 isn't going to inspire a wave of golfers to start hitting the gym.
The PGA Tour heads to Pebble Beach for the AT&T Pro-am, aka that tournament where celebrities like Bill Murray and Ray Romano get more air time than the PGA Tour pros competing.
Random tournament fact: Kenny G is a yearly participant and a very good golfer (+.6 handicap as of 2014), who won this event in 2001. It also came out recently that he helped come up with Starbucks' popular Frappuccino. Kenny G is an American hero.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will ever be ranked 1-2 again at the same time: 1 million-to-1 odds
-- Jason Day will win the Masters: 15-to-1 odds (actual odds, making him tied for the second favorite behind Rory McIlroy)
-- Jim Nantz already has his best "Day" pun planned if that happens: LOCK
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK
Courtesy of Sports Illustrated's new swimsuit issue, we present Kelly Rohrbach and Nina Agdal. Why? Well, both happen to be avid golfers. Here's Nina (left) and Kelly (right):
And before you get all skeptical about their skills on the course, just know that Kelly, who is appearing in the swimsuit issue for the first time, played on the Georgetown golf team. We're not sure if there's been a more talented rookie golfer since Tiger Woods.
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Usually, we don't highlight shots by tour pros, but this came from the pro-am day of an Australasia PGA Tour event and involved the golfer using a pull cart. Oh yeah, it also involved an ace on a par 4 that only occurred after the ball miraculously bounced out of a bunker and into the hole. Enjoy:
THIS AND THAT
Think Paul Goydos is happy to be on the Champions Tour after winning for the second time in 12 starts? He won twice in 507 starts on the PGA Tour. . . . Sei Young Kim captured her first LPGA Tour title by winning a three-woman playoff in the Bahamas. New No. 1 Lydia Ko really slacked off and only finished seventh. . . . A Florida man hoped to get new golf clubs from his wife by reporting his clubs stolen, but he wound up going to jail for filing a false report after police found his clubs in his trunk. What's the opposite of a criminal mastermind? . . . The USGA announced the creation of the U.S. Senior Women's Open in 2018. Will Joe Buck and Greg Norman be on the call for that event too? . . . Speaking of Norman, happy 60th birthday to The Shark, who offered a list of life advice ahead of the big day. He also posted this photo of his last day with his self-described "50+" body. Very impressive, Greg. Maybe someone will get you a selfie stick as a present.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
What the heck is wrong with Kanye West?
What the heck is wrong with Tiger Woods?
What else has Kenny G invented?