Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we were among the few golf industry peeps not at last week’s PGA Show—but our presence was still felt. Check out this advertisement a couple co-workers spotted on the convention center floor.
Look, mom! I made it! OK, so it’s not quite as cool as my boss being one of the blurbs on the back of the Tiger Woods bio, but I’ll take it. I’d also take one of those fancy indoor putting greens in my basement. . . In any event, here’s what else in golf has us talking this week.
Justin Rose: So much for the worries about him switching equipment. Rose beat a great field at Torrey Pines by two shots and it felt like even more as he left little doubt who the world’s best golfer is right now. He’s even got celebrity groupies following him around.
Rose also did it without his normal caddie, Mark Fulcher, who is recovering after undergoing successful heart surgery. While we’re happy to hear Mark is doing well, for his repaired heart’s sake, he probably shouldn’t think about the big payday he missed out on for carrying his boss’ golf clubs around a beautiful seaside track over four glorious days of weather (Henrik Stenson’s ex-caddie Gareth Lord got the sweet substitute gig). Definitely don’t think about that, Mark.
Bryson DeChambeau: Another week, another win for the man who seems like he’s destined to be the next World No. 1. Bryson blew away the field by seven shots at the Dubai Desert Classic on the European Tour, picking up a ridiculous fourth worldwide win in his past nine starts, and picking up his largest trophy to date:
However, not everyone was pleased with how the 25-year-old went about doing it.
Sure, there were numerous times DeChambeau took too much time to play a shot, but if the major tours aren’t going to call penalties, what’s to get him to stop? Also, he’s not nearly the only player dawdling (I swear Justin Rose gets slower as he gets better). At least, Bryson is factoring in stuff like air density. What excuse do these other guys have?
The Spieth-Reed bro hug: Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed were paired together for the first time since their messy Ryder Cup breakup, but the two handled what could have been an awkward situation well:
You certainly didn’t see Tiger hugging Stevie like that at the 2011 Presidents Cup! A wise man once said this is a smart thing to do:
What a beautiful sentiment. That being said, Spieth and Reed claiming they’re friends? Yeahhh, we’re selling that.
Tiger’s shirt: This was like that dress debate on Twitter a couple years ago, except it was actually important. Was Tiger Woods really not wearing (gulp) a red shirt on a Sunday?
Fortunately, Notah Begay III cleared up the confusion:
“Gym Red”? Nike is just making up colors now, huh? Regardless, the shirt is red. And it’s spectacular. And my birthday is coming up, so if my wife is reading this, LOL, she is definitely not reading this. But, mom? Maybe? I'm still a medium.
Rickie’s shirt: On the flip side, this was bad. And the sloppy untucked look had to be cleared by the PGA Tour:
Woof. It doesn’t help that Rickie has more sponsor logos than a NASCAR driver. And a couple days later, he announced another.
Let’s just hope Fowler’s next fashion ask isn’t to wear those in place of pants.
Haotong Li’s penalty: I’m a big fan of the new rule forbidding caddies from lining up their players on the greens. It’s something that had become fairly common on the LPGA in particular and it’s ridiculous. That being said, this costly (about $100,000) penalty called on Haotong Li in Dubai was absurd:
Now pace of play is going to get even slower because golfers are going to make sure their caddies are off the green before setting up to putt. Great.
Johnny’s goodbye: Miller will mic up for an NBC Golf broadcast one final time this Saturday and then give his seat to his replacement, Paul Azinger. There have been/will be many takes on this and his nearly three-decade run in the booth, but there's only one correct opinion: He will be missed. Especially with all these new rules to talk about!
The PGA Tour heads to TPC Scottsdale for the Waste Management Phoenix Open, AKA that golf tournament that angers golf purists because fans are having too much fun. Hopefully, they’ll serenade Johnny up in the booth. Just not with anything from The Book of Mormon. . .
Random tournament fact: Johnny won this tournament in 1975. By 14 shots. FOURTEEN! What a legend.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
— Johnny Miller won’t cry in the booth on Saturday: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds
— Johnny Miller will mention that 14-shot win: LOCK
— I’ll be crying with Johnny: Also a LOCK
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Ho-sung is here, people. Try to remain calm!
The guy is getting adjusted to Pacific time well ahead of next week’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Smart.
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Remember last week’s brilliant European Tour video titled, “The Content Committee”? Well, wouldn’t you know it, but they actually filmed a pilot for one of their ideas, “Monty’s Pythons.”
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK YOU CAN’T SEE ANYMORE
For some reason, the PGA Tour had Twitter take down that video from KUSI’s Brandon Stone of Tiger Woods being denied a slice of pizza during the Farmers Insurance Pro-Am. Here's a screengrab:
But you can still see it on KUSI's site. Anyway, check it out, because it was funny. And Tiger handled the situation better than most hungry golfers would have.
THIS WEEK IN CELEBRITY GOLFERS
Patrick Mahomes has DECENT hand-eye coordination:
Too bad his defensive players don't know how to line up properly or we'd get to watch him in the Super Bowl this week. Sigh.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“I’m not a politician. I’m a pro golfer.” — Justin Rose’s justification for teeing it up in Saudi Arabia this week was a rare (double) bogey for him.
THIS WEEK IN "PROS ARE JUST LIKE US!"
Adam Scott played great at Torrey Pines, but the end of this clip. . .
Woof. ShotLink listed that putt as 1 foot, 10 inches. ShotLink was being very generous. In related news, I’m still feeling really good about taking Adam Scott in the third round of my fantasy draft. Of course, the season starts this week, though, so Adam is sitting out (as usual) and the Smokewagons get no credit for his runner-up.
THIS WEEK IN DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY AND BROOKS KOEPKA-JENA SIMS PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Brooks and DJ do the Maldives, Part II!
I think we can safely say DJ and Paulina are officially over their Instagram break.
THIS WEEK IN OTHER TOUR PRO PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Michelle Wie is getting closer to making a return to competition, but before she does, she let everyone know she’s off the market:
Who is the lucky guy? None other than Jonnie West, Steph Curry’s caddie at last year’s Ellie Mae Classic on the Web.com Tour! OK, so he’s known for being a little more than that. West is the the Golden State Warriors’ director of basketball operations and the son of NBA legend Jerry West, AKA “The Logo.” Congrats to the happy couple. And look out, sports world, if they ever have kids.
THIS AND THAT
Justin Rose and Adam Scott both crossed the $50 million mark in career PGA Tour earnings at Torrey Pines. I was thinking it would be nice if Rose gave the Aussie the surfboard he won, but he can afford his own. . . . The Players Championship remains golf’s unofficial fifth major, but it’s back to having the game’s biggest purse after an increase to $12.5 million. . . . After that scheduling conflict with Pinehurst, the HGGA Championship (My annual golf trip) has officially been moved to Turning Stone in Verona, N.Y. The purse of this prestigious event will not be $12.5 million. . . . And finally, my daughter is finally old enough to realize that when Tiger is playing, daddy is busy:
Sorry, Julia. But you'll be happy to know he plans on playing a more limited schedule this year. And anyway, don't listen to mommy. Golf is really fun to watch! Plus, it helps you take naps!
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
How much did Justin Rose pay Gareth Lord?
How much did Brooks and DJ’s epic vacation cost?
What’s Ho-sung up to this week? (And does he need any company?)