Tour pros reenact Seinfeld, Tiger Woods twists the knife on his ex (coach), and the longest golf course yet
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we suddenly have a lot more room on the old DVR after James Holzhauer’s stunning—and yes, devastating—loss on *Jeopardy*. Seriously, it’s going to be tough to watch Jeopardy for awhile after witnessing the game being revolutionized by this grinning sports gambler. You can understand why it was so hard for golf fans to say goodbye to Tiger Woods when he appeared on his way to the game show graveyard. Parting with true greatness is sad because you never know when you’ll see it again. The Tiger-James comp also works because even though neither quite caught the men they were chasing (Jack Nicklaus and Ken Jennings) in the record books, we can safely say that they played their respective games at the highest level in history.
Anyway, at least we still have Woods to watch. And the 15-time major was in action this past week as part of a dizzying few days of golf. Let this Alex be your host as we run through everything that’s happening like Jeopardy James runs through ran through sports-related categories. Sigh. Miss you already, James.
Patrick Cantlay: Let’s start with Feel-good stories for $1,000. Cantlay long ago completed an incredible comeback to the PGA Tour from a serious back injury and a personal tragedy, but now he’s announced himself as one of the game’s elite golfers. As if top 10s in the season’s first two majors weren’t enough, Cantlay picked up the biggest win of his career at the Memorial to vault into the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time and earn a particularly special embrace with host Jack Nicklaus.
Congrats, Patrick. But if you keep this up for much longer people will stop wondering, “How does this guy only have one PGA Tour title?!” and start asking, “How does this guy not have a major?!”
Jeongeun Lee6: Or should we say, Jeongeun Lee6under? That final score at the Country Club of Charleston gave the 23-year-old a maiden LPGA Tour win at the U.S. Women’s Open.
The USGA got the firm and fast conditions it craves and the high scores followed—except from Lee6under who was 1 under on Sunday while the rest of the final five pairings combined to shoot 30 over. Lee’s putting on crusty greens was reminiscent of Retief Goosen at Shinnecock in 2004, but she—and her manager—showed a lot more emotion in victory:
I also loved that when Lee6, who smoothly goes by "Six" like Jason Street in Friday Night Lights, asked what she would do with the $1 million winner’s check, her first response was ramen. To my college economics professor who once labeled the tasty noodles as an “inferior product,” take that.
Tiger Woods: OK, that’s more like it. After missing the cut at Bethpage Black, Woods flashed more of the form at the Memorial that won him a 15th major in April. All aspects of Tiger’s game looked to be rounding into form as he fired at flagsticks from everywhere during the final round, including this laser fairway wood:
And check out the smirk when he tells CBS’ Amanda Balionis, “I played well this week.”
That looks like a man ready to make more memories at Pebble Beach next week.
Hank Haney: As if Haney’s original controversial comments on his PGA Tour Radio show weren’t bad enough, the famed swing instructor created his own version of Double Jeopardy by digging himself into an even deeper hole following Lee6’s victory. Instead of letting other people make his flawed and hurtful case for him, Haney declared himself The Great Predictor and needed three attempts to spell Jeongeun’s name right in congratulatory tweets. So heartfelt. And if for some reason you still think Haney said nothing wrong, Jeehaeda Lee sums it up perfectly here:
One guy who got it was Haney’s former prized pupil Woods, who said this when asked about Haney’s radio show suspension. “He deserved it. Just can't look at life like that. And he obviously said what he meant, and he got what he deserved." Boom. Of course, there’s no love lost between the two after Hank’s book about their time together following a breakup in 2010. Tiger had waited nearly a decade for some revenge so he wasn’t going to let this opportunity to twist the knife past. Still, in an era where PGA Tour pros often shy away from taking a stance on controversial issues, it was good to see Woods weigh in like this.
Sucking on lemon wedges: It sounds like something a strict mom would make Hank do as punishment for his dirty mouth, but that’s exactly what LPGA pro Nanna Koerstz Madsen does to try to control her emotions and nerves on the golf course:
Yuck. Whatever gum Tiger Woods is chewing on the course these days seems like a much more appealing option.
8,000-yard courses: My current swing combined with a wet spring makes all golf courses feel this long, but that’s actually how long the Royal Golf Club in Ibaraki played at the Japan Tour’s Mizuno Classic. Yep, 8,016 yards, including a 705-yard par 5. Fun!
It’s believed to be the longest golf course to ever host a tournament at sea level. Congrats to Yuta Ikeda for conquering this monster and winning his 21st career Japan Tour title. But let’s hope this yardage won’t become the new normal on tours around the world.
The PGA Tour heads to the Great White North for the RBC Canadian Open, AKA that event where Tiger Woods hit that incredible fairway bunker shot in 2000. We probably point it out every year, but who cares? It’s that good.
Random tournament fact: Woods held off Grant Waite that year by two shots. Waite never came close at his national championship again, nor did he ever win again on the PGA Tour, but he did become a successful swing coach. We’re guessing he’d give a much better answer than his colleague if asked about women’s golf.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
— James Holzhauer is as upset about his Jeopardy loss as I am: 2.5 MILLION-to-1 odds
— Brooks Koepka will win this week's Canadian Open: 6-to-1 odds (Actual odds)
— Brooks Koepka won't win this week because it's not a major: LOCK
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Fortunately, no one was hurt, including Golf Digest's Christopher Powers. Although, I'd be lying if I wasn't thinking about raiding his golf shirt collection for a few moments. . .
VIRAL VIDEO(S) OF THE WEEK
How about the Web.com Tour recreating one of the most famous scenes in Seinfeld history—and doing it well!
Great stuff, Harry Higgs (as George), Lanto Griffin (as Kramer), Austin Smotherman (as Jerry), and Haley Wittenberg (as Elaine).
And it may not be viral yet, but it should be. This is Golf Digest’s new hole-by-hole tour of Pebble Beach narrated by Pebble Beach resident Jim Nantz. Yes, Nantz uses the word “GLORIOUS” in the video, and yes, that’s exactly what it is.
If that doesn’t get you fired up to watch the U.S. Open next week, nothing will.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“I’ve played, what, 29 U.S. Opens. One hundred percent of the time they have messed it up if it doesn’t rain. Rain is the governor. That’s the only governor they have. If they don’t have a governor, they don’t know how to control themselves.” — Phil Mickelson. OK, now I’m really fired up to watch the U.S. Open next week.
THIS WEEK IN DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY (AND AUSTIN JOHNSON) PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Happy birthday, Austin! Now back to work caddying at the Canadian Open. Your RBC-sponsored boss is in the field.
THIS WEEK IN CELEBRITY GOLFERS
How about shirtless Tom Brady playing Baker’s Bay and asking for advice from the #SB2K crew?
And then there was Peyton Manning playing with Tiger Woods in the Memorial pro-am for a second straight year.
It’s good to be a quarterback, huh?
THIS AND THAT
Congrats to all those who made it through U.S. Open sectionals, but a special shout-out to Andy Pope. The journeyman hasn’t ever been able to earn his PGA Tour card, but he’s managed to make it through qualifying four of the past five years. . . . Congrats are also in order for Sebastian Cappelen on winning his second Web.com Tour title at the Rex Hospital Open. However, I'm still more impressed with the trio of players who were in that "Seinfeld" video. . . . Phil Mickelson used two drivers at the Memorial and. . . missed the cut. And got daggered by Nick Faldo:
I take it Nick thinks his lead over Mickelson in majors is safe next week at Pebble. . . . And finally, apparently new New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate has been taking money off Eli Manning on the golf course. Sounds to me like another example of Eli The Great being a great teammate and leader of men.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Why is my morning train always running late when I’m on time?
Why is my morning train always on time when I’m running late?
How would Tiger Woods do on Jeopardy?