The Grind: Patrick Reed's new nickname, Donald Trump's big week, and Tiger's bad back
By Alex Myers
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we are still trying to figure out why Patrick Reed's comments caused such an uproar. A guy who has played as well as anyone since last summer thinks he's currently one of the five best golfers in the world? How dare he! A guy who is great at what he does has the goal of being the best at his profession? The nerve! A guy not named Tiger Woods is bold enough to wear a red shirt on Sunday? Oh, no, he didn't! Seriously, this wouldn't be a big deal in any other sport. Chill out, golf.
Even Ivanka Trump seemed very impressed with Patrick Reed.
Patrick Reed: The 23-year-old became the youngest to win a World Golf Championship and the only golfer currently under 25 with at least three PGA Tour wins. I once covered a bold basketball player nicknamed Kareem "Big Game" Reid, which is why that label "Big Game" kept popping into my head over the weekend. Patrick "Big Game" Reed has a nice ring to it and is kind of fitting, no? Yep, we're going with that. Patrick, you've been dubbed.
Chesson Hadley: The rookie picked up his first PGA Tour win at the Puerto Rico Open. Plus, he was on our list of sleepers to watch in 2014 and he already has a win, a T-5, and a T-10. What's that sound you hear? Oh, it's just us patting ourselves on the back.
The 'New' Doral: Call us crazy, but seeing someone win a golf tournament at four under is fun. And how about the 113 balls in the water from 68 players on Friday? Donald Trump declared he was a "plus-10" handicap when it comes to building. Apparently, he's a master of creating carnage on the golf course as well as in the boardroom. Is the USGA taking note?
J.R. Smith: Maybe we should start a new category called, "This week in random NBA-golf connections." Last week, LeBron James made a golf analogy after scoring 61 points and this week it was the much-maligned New York Knicks guard's turn. When asked what he thought about the speculation surrounding his team's interest in retired coach Phil Jackson, Smith responded: "I've been watching the Golf Channel." And just like that we like J.R. Smith again -- at least, until he chucks up another awful shot.
Tiger Woods: His third-round 66 made Sunday the most anticipated PGA Tour final round this year, but he was completely out of contention by the time he got to the back nine. Injured back or not, blowing up on Sunday two weeks in a row after playing so well on Saturday makes for an especially tough week. Plus, he bloodied fans with errant drives and hit two sleeves of balls into the water. That might explain this look, in what is possibly the saddest Tiger Woods photo ever taken:
Other big names on Sunday: While Reed pulled away early, none of the big names who started right on his heels made any move. Hunter Mahan and Zach Johnson got wet. Dustin Johnson couldn't make a putt and Jason Dufner couldn't make a three-footer. Bubba Watson shot a final-round 68, but came up one shot short. He has a win and two runner-ups in his last three stroke-play events. Oh yeah, we're 'buying' him, too.
Hideki Matsuyama and Ian Poulter: One guy carelessly damaged a golf course by taking out his frustration. The other guy took to Twitter to call him out instead of talking to him first. Not good all around. To Hideki's credit, he sought out Twitter tough guy Poulter the next day on the range to apologize. He would have gotten more credit, though, if he had just tried to fix what he'd done instead of an official having to do it moments later.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat: There are no cuts at World Golf Championships, so golfers playing bad have nowhere to hide on the weekend. As a result, Aphibarnrat finished 26 over(!) for four days at Doral. We probably shouldn't be too surprised. After all, he is known as "Asia's John Daly."
The PGA Tour's frightening Florida Swing continues with a trip to Innisbrook's Copperhead Course and "The Snake Pit" for the Valspar Championship. We're not making that nickname up. We've played it and it's not nice. Oh, and we're not making that tournament name up, either. The event formerly known as the Transitions has transitioned yet again.
Random tournament fact: How about a random PGA Tour fact? Patrick Reed and Jimmy Walker have won six of the past 21 official tour events. Amazing. Also amazing? That clip of two players' combined hot streaks is just slightly better than Tiger Woods' career winning percentage. Yeah, he's pretty decent.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- "The Snake Pit" will be talked about as much as "The Bear Trap" and the "New Blue Monster": 1 million-to-1 odds
-- Hideki Matsuyama will be more careful with his golf course etiquette the next time Ian Poulter is watching: LOCK
-- J.R. Smith is a Holly Sonders fan: LOCK
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"This is what you dream of as a 6-year-old out in the bunker, hitting bunker shots on the range." -- Chesson Hadley. Man, I wish I had started working on my bunker play at that age.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Tiger Woods showed up for the ribbon cutting for the Tiger Woods Villa at Trump Doral Miami with the Trump family. No wonder he played last week. He had to be there for such a historic occasion.
There's Ivanka again! And speaking of the Tiger Woods Villa, apparently, Rory McIlroy was one of its first inhabitants. "There's photos of him all over . . . I can't get away from him," McIlroy said. Hey, Rory, just keep winning majors and maybe someday you'll have a villa named after you at a Trump property. Don't be afraid to dream big!
THIS WEEK IN PAULINA GRETZKY-DUSTIN JOHNSON PRO GOLFER-DOG PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Via Amanda Dufner on Instagram: "Louie consoling his dad after a rough day on the course. #teamdufner #dufner #puppylove"
We love #teamdufner, but we hope someone on the team is working with Jason on short putts.
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
On Friday, a female fan came across Luke Donald's errant tee shot, picked up his ball and walked off. Fortunately, a cameraman tracked her down and told her to put it back.
Top-ranked Inbee Park won her first tournament of 2014, beating No. 2 Suzann Pettersen by five shots in a Ladies European Tour event. Yep, that's about the difference between Park and everyone else on the LPGA these days. . . . Adam Hadwin won the Chile Classic to become the 13th Canadian to win on the Web.com Tour. Wait, there have been that many good Canadian golfers? . . . Torrey Pines is close to being named the site of the 2021 U.S. Open. Tiger Woods will be 45. Yeah, let that sink in. . . . Speaking of getting older, pictured are the chocolate-covered strawberries my fiancee, Michelle, made me for my birthday on Monday. Yep, you've got to start eating healthier when you get to be my age.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
How will the world go on without anymore of HBO's True Detective this year?
Is Patrick Reed actually a top-five golfer?
Am I a plus-handicap at anything?