The Tiger Woods comeback you missed, Jena Sims' unwavering support for Brooks Koepka, and Kevin Na's walk-in walk-off
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we feel it’s only fitting that one of the most inspiring comebacks in golf history happened the week of the Colonial, a place so connected with the King of Comebacks, Ben Hogan. Yes, this tale of overcoming adversity involved Tiger Woods, but it had nothing to do with his golf—or the golf being played at the legendary Fort Worth course. Instead, it involved denim. Yes, denim. After years of taking ribbing on Twitter (and from me) for his jeans, Tiger seems to have found his groove in the denim department:
In your LIFE, have you seen any jean like that?! (On Tiger, that is.) Forget about winning that fifth Masters with a fused back, this might be his most impressive accomplishment yet. Tiger looks great, Erica Herman looks great, and we can put this long national nightmare behind us. OK, let's get to all the other important stuff happening in golf.
Kevin Na: What a performance. What a finish. Not only did Na walk in the winning walk-off putt at the Charles Schwab Challenge, but he immediately turned and told caddie Kenny Harms he was giving him that sweet 1973 Dodge Challenger:
We’ve been big fans of Na since he came on the Golf Digest Podcast following his emotional second PGA Tour title at the Greenbrier last year so we were happy to see him not have to wait nearly as long to get win No. 3. Also, how cute is his daughter, Sophia?
Combining the venue with the margin of victory (four shots), this is clearly the biggest win of Na’s career. It also pushed him over the $30 million mark in career earnings. Yeah, he can afford a new car on his own.
Scottie Scheffler: How about the five-tournament run this Web.com Tour pro is on? Second, fifth, tied for seventh, second, win, the last of which was his maiden win at the Evans Scholars Invitational. In the process, Scottie has jumped from No. 1,640 in the Official World Golf Ranking (Yeah, the OWGR goes that high) to No. 127 in just four months. He turns 23 next month, and will be at the top of the list of everyone's PGA Tour sleepers heading into next season. (Note to self: Remember to include Scottie Scheffler on your annual PGA Tour sleepers list.)
Beer tent tee boxes: The European Tour has come up with some creative places to put tee boxes, but nothing tops what it did for last week’s Made In Denmark. Golfers had to walk through the Heineken Tent to get to the 14th tee, and as you can imagine, it created some great scenes, from Beef being Beef:
To Jamie Donaldson doing his best Michael Jackson imitation:
Great stuff. Your move, Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Jordan Spieth’s putting: In the first round at Colonial, Spieth set a personal best for strokes gained: putting in a round. Through three rounds, he had already made more feet of putts than any other tournament in his career. And this, after he lapped the field in strokes gained: putting at the PGA Championship. The flatstick is red-hot once again. Unfortunately, he couldn’t take full advantage again. . .
Jordan Spieth’s Sundays: How can a guy who won three majors before 25 not be clutch in final rounds? I have no clue, but that’s where we are right now. Even after another mostly positive week, Spieth’s Sunday struggles surfaced again. All of a sudden, that red-hot putter went cold as he made just nine feet worth of putts on the front nine and didn’t make a birdie in the final round until his final hole. That putt salvaged a top 10, but this isn’t a player who gets excited by top 10s. He remains ranked 202nd in final-round scoring average. Out of 211 players. Yikes.
Ben Jared/PGA Tour
Massive WDs: Three golfers earned spots in next month’s U.S. Open through a 33-player qualifier in Japan on Sunday. Congrats to those golfers, but shame on the 18 who didn’t finish the 36-hole tournament. That’s right, more than half of the field withdrew. Unless there was widespread food poisoning due to a bad sushi haul, this is embarrassing. If I can finish rounds and post my terrible scores, then these guys can.
Trees in the center of the fairway: I’m not going to say Wake Forest lost the NCAA Women’s Golf Championship because of a stupid tree in the center of the fairway, but, no, I’m going to say it: Wake Forest lost the NCAA Women’s Golf Championship because of a stupid tree in the center of the fairway. I’ve been talked into it not being quite as stupid as I originally thought (The 15th at Blessings Golf Club is a par 5 and has one of the widest fairways in the northern hemisphere), but still. . . Wake’s Letizia Bagnoli hit a dead straight drive and was blocked by her second. Yes, she could have laid up, and yes, she didn’t have to yank her bold second shot into a hazard, but I still think it was a tough—and unfair—way to lose. Oh, and yes, I’m really just upset my alma mater lost a national title match to Duke. Ugh.
The PGA Tour heads to Muirfield Village for the Memorial Tournament, AKA that event with the amazing-looking milkshakes that Jack Nicklaus hosts.
Ugh, I’m so jealous of Chesson right now. For one, that chocolate milkshake looks incredible. For another, that dude could drink 10 of those a day and still not gain weight.
Random tournament fact: This is one of seven PGA Tour events Tiger Woods has won five or more times. Jack and Sam Snead are second on the list with three such tournaments.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
— There will ever be a beer tent tee at Jack’s place: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds
— Bryson DeChambeau will repeat as champion at the Memorial: 30-to-1 odds (Actual odds. . . value!)
— Bryson DeChambeau has some scientific theory about milkshakes: LOCK
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK
Wow, that's mean. But really freaking funny. And I couldn't find a good photo of this, but Josh Teater held a live snake in his hands during the pro-am at Colonial:
Josh Teater is a wild man.
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Tiger Woods wasn’t wearing jeans the entire weekend in Las Vegas. Here he is giving a golf clinic while giving a couple great takes on the gambler who won $1.2 million on him at the Masters and then promptly lost a big chunk betting on him again to win the Grand Slam (Warning: Some NSFW language from TW):
ARCHIVE VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Kevin Na shared this video on Thursday from the 2012 U.S. Open. Apparently, he’s been walking in putts for a long time:
And it looks like his timing with this funny/cocky move has gotten a lot better.
THIS WEEK IN CELEBRITY GOLFERS
Turns out, Justin Tuck is a big golfer. And I lucked into playing 18 holes with him! (And co-worker Stephen Hennessey. We're the guys who aren't 6-foot-5, 285 pounds.)
The former Giants legend is a lefty on the course. And as you can imagine, he can absolutely crank the ball. And it looked like he almost got as much enjoyment from hitting a golf ball as he did from hitting Tom Brady all those times in the Giants’ two Super Bowl wins. Almost.
THIS WEEK IN BROOKS KOEPKA-JENA SIMS (AND DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY) PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Look at Brooks and Jena supporting each other! Brooks pumping up Jena’s Pageant of Hope charity and Jena wearing a Bethpage Black visor:
Focus on the visor, people.
THIS WEEK IN PROS ARE JUST LIKE US
It's Tiger Woods at a Topgolf!
Again, looking sharp in those jeans! And can you imagine the stripe show he put on? We’re guessing Janet Jackson also put on a pretty good show after being introduced by the host:
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“I don’t know if I can put it into words. To hold this trophy and win it at this venue is a dream come true. It’s unbelievable. It really is.” — Ken Tanigawa after winning the Senior PGA Championship for his first major, and his second PGA Tour Champions win after qualifying for the tour less than two years ago. Talk about the model for all us weekend hackers who entertain senior tour dreams.
THIS AND THAT
Despite not playing the week after a missed cut at the PGA, Tiger Woods managed to move up to No. 5 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in five years. He's actually got a great chance to move back to No. 1 at some point. Well, if Brooks Koepka stops winning majors. . . . Tour pro Eric Steger’s wife had a son on Monday and on Wednesday night he drove to Evans Scholars Invitational as a first alternate. He got in and made the cut. Diaper money! . . . Retired Buffalo Bills defensive lineman Kyle Williams advanced to the Round of 16 at the U.S. Amateur Four-ball. Incredible stuff from the former Pro Bowler, but I’d still rather play with my man Justin Tuck (RINGZ!). . . Jane Seymour will introduce Jan Stephenson at next month's World Golf Hall of Fame ceremony at Pebble Beach. This seems kind of random, but it's a chance to say she was great in Live and Let Die. . . . And finally, a great Memorial Day weekend that included that round with Justin Tuck and a visit from the parents was highlighted by seeing my favorite Broadway show for the first time in nearly 15 years (man, I’m old):
Not quite like seeing Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, but what a freaking show.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
What’s the best musical of all time? (Other than Wicked)
Who is the best Bond girl of all time? (Other than Jane Seymour)
Where does Tiger Woods get his jeans?