Welcome to another edition of The Grind where we wish there was as much public outcry over slow play in golf as there has been over the length of The Irishman. Three hours and 29 minutes is a long flick, but that’s just the front nine if J.B. Holmes is playing a major. Let's focus on what's really important, people! Speaking of which, even a "slow" week produced two PGA Tour weddings, a heroic European Tour effort, and some friendly fire among Ryder Cup teammates. So let's dive in. With all due respect to Marty Scorsese, this director's cut will be a lot easier to digest.
Pablo Larrazabal: The Spaniard won for the first time in more than four years and he did it in heroic fashion at the Alfred Dunhill Championship. After shooting six over on his front nine, Larrazabal responded with three birdies over his final four holes to win the European Tour’s season-opener in South Africa by one. And he did it all with a debilitating ... blister. That’s right, a big ol’ blister on his foot that nearly forced him to withdraw. You laugh, but those things can be really nasty. And in this case, it made for one of the funniest trophy photos ever:
Another funny photo? How about runner-up Joel Sjoholm, AKA Joel Shorts, ditching pants for final round in South Africa, thanks to the European Tour relaxing its pants rule last week in the midst of triple-digit temperature:
Looking good, Joel. You're a true pioneer. But back to Pablo, this is the same guy who had to jump into a lake during the 2014 Malaysian Open because he was being attacked by a swarm of bees. And then birdied that hole! The guy has a knack for the bizarre injury. And grit.
Dave Coupland: Remember the golfer I invested in nearly three years ago? Well, he didn’t win a European Tour event (yet), but he is now a proud member of the circuit after getting through Q School final stage for the first time. And I’m proud to still be one of Dave’s shareholders.
Congrats, Dave. Now get back out there and keep earning! My family’s Christmas gifts aren’t going to pay for themselves!
Tiger’s wedge game: Woods won the inaugural Hero Shot at Baha Mar in walk-off fashion. The contest involved hitting a 130-yard shot over a swimming pool, AKA what you see on the European Tour on a weekly basis. Afterward, Woods joked if this should count as win No. 83.
Obviously, it doesn’t, but it’s not that far off from some of the wins that count toward Sam Snead’s total. In any event, Tiger’s twirl game is also on point as he heads into a busy couple weeks at the Hero and the Presidents Cup:
That is Harding-Park-in-2009-level twirling right there. Vintage stuff.
Very promising, young man. With a swing like that and a name like River Johnson, this kid could go places. Let’s just hope he’s a little more careful than his dad and uncle when it comes to going up and down staircases.
Phil’s dad: First off, thank you for your service, Mr. Mickelson. Second, god bless you for putting up with a son that won’t even let you get a word in:
But ... burning your kids’ Halloween candy? That seems a bit extreme (not to mention, wasteful). Even if your son is a total brat.
Phil’s scheduling decision: Mickelson is the latest big name to commit to the controversial Saudi International, reportedly choosing cash over the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and, well, principles. Sad. Also sad? That we’re approaching the end of the Phil Mickelson Era. He recently fell out of the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in nearly 26 years and now he’s skipping his annual trip to TPC Scottsdale for the first time as a pro. It also sounds like we may have seen him tee it up there for the (gulp) last time.
Phil’s getting old. I’m getting old. We are all getting old. Sucks.
G-Mac’s Ryder Cup chances: Graeme McDowell thought hosting Padraig Harrington for Thanksgiving dinner might curry some favor with the European Ryder Cup captain ahead of next year:
He didn’t get the reply he hoped:
Turkeys of the year: Matt Kuchar and Sergio Garcia lead our annual list of golf gaffes, but I’ve got a lot of problems with you people! From a Florida newspaper to a certain klutzy Masters security guard, see who else made the cut. Also, I just like the goofy-looking turkeys we photoshop on these photos:
The PGA Tour heads to the Bahamas for the Hero World Challenge, AKA that 18-man invitational exhibition that rewards Official World Golf Ranking points like a major championship. In fact ...
Random tournament fact:
How about them apples?
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
—Phil regrets his scheduling decision: However-many-MILLION-he-got-to-1 odds
—Tiger Woods will win the Hero World Challenge: 10-to-1 odds (Actual odds)
—Tiger Woods will be really annoying on that 20-hour team flight if he does win: LOCK
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Here’s Shooter McGavin posing with fans and
possibly probably definitely shooting his shot:
What can you say? The guy still has it.
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (INVOLVING AN ACTUAL TOUR PRO)
Beautifully said, Marcus. You may have had a rough round, but you just picked up a bunch of new fans.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“I just thought, if Tiger can win the U.S. Open on a broken leg, what’s a blister?” —Pablo Larrazabal with some pretty good logic.
THIS WEEK IN CELEBRITY GOLFERS
Apparently, Joe Pesci is really, really serious about his golf:
He also has a knack for appearing in really, really long movies.
THIS WEEK IN PGA TOUR PRO-WAGS PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Another week, another pair of weddings on the PGA Tour! First, Peter Uihlein and Chelsea Gates tied the knot in Boca Raton:
And Max Homa and Lacey Croom got hitched with Max wearing a special jacket:
And eating this, um, special cake:
We're guessing a few of his peers will be calling him Matt for awhile.
THIS AND THAT
CBS announced more shakeups to its golf coverage lineup, most notably the addition of Michelle Wie as a "contributor." Considering this roundtable interview with the CBS crew happened less a year ago, I feel like quite the jinx. ... Speaking of golf analysts, good luck to Brandel Chamblee, who is teeing it up at PGA Tour Champions Tour Q School this week. At least, he has a decent day job to fall back on if he fails. ... Kudos to Royal North Devon Golf Club, England’s oldest course, for banning plastic tees because they aren’t biodegradable and animals and birds are being harmed eating them. The more you know, right? ... Congrats to Anne van Dam for successfully defending her title at the Ladies Spanish Open. That perfect swing of hers isn’t just for show, folks. ... And finally, I’m thankful for so many things this year, but mainly these two desserts my wife made for Thanksgiving:
Chocolate pie AND ice cream cake? I’m a lucky man.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Are Dustin and Paulina ever going to get married?
How many calories did I eat on Thanksgiving?
How many sittings will it take to watch The Irishman?