124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2



The Grind

Xander Schauffele's Wanamaker Trophy celebration, Bryson DeChambeau's crowd heroics, and the finest day in Golf Twitter history

May 21, 2024

Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we were nearly as relieved as Xander Schauffele when that final putt rattled in on Sunday. Yes, I had a few bucks on it, but also I was worried I had mushed his career after declaring him my favorite golfer (non-Tiger Woods and Bill Haas division) three years ago. That’s a distinction I’d only handed out two other times, both in 2008 when Woods was going to be out an extended period following his heroic U.S. Open win. And those two other players, Anthony Kim and Andres Romero, were scarcely heard from again. But not Xander! He isn’t cursed! Phew!

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David Cannon

Just wish I could say the same thing about my decimated New York Knicks. Sigh. In any event, there’s plenty of golf to talk about so let’s get to it.

WE’RE BUYING

Xander Schauffele: AT LONG LAST, Xander Schauffele is a major champ! What a performance. And a clutch one at that. Sometimes a major falls into your lap, but that was certainly not the case at Valhalla, where Schauffele had to stay super aggressive—and sharp—on Sunday to finally knock out some of the game’s heavyweights.

You watch this guy’s complete game—not to mention the fact he can absolutely bomb it now—and you wonder why he doesn’t win more. But this could truly be a “the floodgates are open” situation. Speaking of, what a great story from our Tod Leonard on Xander’s big, burly dad, Stefan, overcome with emotion while (oddly) following his son’s progress from Hawaii. And I also love the saying he texted Xander ahead of the final round: “A steady drip breaks the stone.” Well, the steady drip that finally gave Xander a breakthrough major win was that final six-footer.

And, as always, shout-out to Stefan and Xander’s mom, Ping Yi Chen, for letting their Alexander go with the name Xander instead. I remain incredibly jealous. Anyway, congrats to Xander on hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy—and for avoiding any jail time in Louisville!

Bryson DeChambeau: Say what you will about the guy, but you can’t deny that he is a total thrill to watch. The bombs. The towering approaches. The chip-ins. The fist pumps. Even the bows.

Bryson DeChambeau is a sensational showman. And he’s back to being one of the best players in the world. He kinda snuck up on people with his Masters performance, but that’s not happening again. Unfortunately for him and all the Crushers fans out there, DeChambeau became the first golfer to ever shoot 20 under par in a major and lose. That’s a tough beat, but he handled it with class:

And he’ll be back.

Nelly Korda: I didn’t forget about you, Nelly! The LPGA superstar continued to make history of her own, winning for a sixth time in seven starts, this time the Mizuho Americas Open at Liberty National. Just an insane run she’s on right now. And the only time she didn’t win in that stretch was the week she attended the Met Gala, which a lot of people would happily trade for an LPGA title.

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Sarah Stier

And, yes, there were a bunch of WDs this past week due to an illness going around, but we’re not handing out any Talor Gooch asterisks here. Nelly is basically unbeatable these days.

Harry Higgs: Xander and Bryson weren’t the only guys creating final-hole fireworks on Sunday. Check out what Higgs did at the Korn Ferry Tour’s AdventHealth Championship to get into a playoff he wound up winning:

What a shot and an even better reaction. For Higgs, it was his first win in five years, which also came on the Korn Ferry Tour. And he delivered quite a speech after about waiting a long time to have a cocktail:

Enjoy that drink, Harry. And we look forward to seeing you back on the PGA Tour full-time next year.

WE’RE SELLING

Being arrested during a major: In one of the most shocking and surreal events in golf/sports history, Scottie Scheffler swapped his green jacket for an orange jumpsuit on Friday morning. The World No. 1 was handcuffed, booked, and even took a mug shot following a traffic incident that he claims was just a big misunderstanding while trying to get to Valhalla for his second-round tee time:

Scheffler still has four charges against him pending from Louisville PD, but golf fans were more concerned about the charge he made after finally arriving at the course. Given the crazy circumstances, Scheffler shot an incredible 66 to get into contention before shooting his only bad round of 2024 (literally) on Saturday. We’ll give him a pass for that given all that happened the day prior and the fact that his normal caddie, Ted Scott, was away attending his daughter’s high school graduation. We’ll have to wait and see if he gets a pass on those charges.

Getting the yips on live TV: Or, rather, having them. Three-time PGA Tour winner Johnson Wagner informed Golf Channel viewers of his recently developed short-game affliction before his popular on-course demonstrations, and, boy, he wasn’t kidding. First with this Thursday segment he had to cut short:

And this one on Saturday:

Poor guy. Just another reminder of how cruel this game can be.

Leaving Valhalla: Was it an utter birdie fest? Yes. Would we like to see a major championship venue challenge the world’s best golfers a bit more? Probably. But man, does this place deliver on drama. In what was probably a swan song when it comes to hosting majors, Valhalla made it four for four in hosting fantastic PGA Championships (not to mention the 2008 Ryder Cup). Mark Brooks ripping Kentucky’s own Kenny Perry in a playoff in 1996. Tiger Woods beating Bob May in that epic 2000 duel. Rory McIlroy holding off a star-studded leaderboard in the dark in 2014. And now Xander’s walk-off birdie to beat Bryson.

Goodbye, Valhalla. I will remember you fondly.

ON TAP

The PGA Tour heads back to Texas for the Charles Schwab Invitational, AKA the Colonial, AKA the one where last year’s winner, Emiliano Grillo, received a cool, restored 1973 Ford Bronco.

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Jonathan Bachman

Pretty sweet. And yes, there’s a Scheffler-Bronco evading police joke there somewhere. (This year’s winner will receive a restored 1975 Stingray.) Scheffler will be playing his hometown event, and, presumably, handling new dad duties at night. Which might make for this first time a golfer is at a disadvantage for getting to sleep in his OWN BED during a tournament.

Random tournament fact: Grillo is attempting to become the first back-to-back winner of this event since Ben Hogan. And on cue, we talked to Grillo about trying to do that, the PGA Championship, and his sweet new ride on this week’s The Loop podcast—which also features Stephon Marbury (Go NY, go NY, go!):

RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK

—Scottie Scheffler will get arrested again this week: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds

—Scottie Scheffler will win this week: 3-to-1 odds (Big favorite!)

—Scottie Scheffler’s house won’t be as peaceful as that holding cell: LOCK

TWEET/INSTAGRAM OF THE WEEK

The honor goes to Homa from Sunday. But Friday was the greatest day ever for all of Golf Twitter. The tweets/memes just kept coming! Here’s just a sampling:

Great job by everyone stepping up!

CLUB PRO GUY TWEET OF THE WEEK

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (BAD FAN DIVISION)

The best moment of the week for Bryson at the PGA didn’t involve a golf shot, but rather a golf ball he tossed to a young fan. Apparently some older jabroni intercepted the toss and DeChambeau let him have it, resulting in the ball getting in the right person’s hands:

Great job, Bryson. It’s all about #TheKids.

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (GOOD FAN DIVISION)

There were some snake sightings at Valhalla, but one brave fan certainly wasn’t scared. Check out this dude just dropping one in a water hazard with his bare hands:

Like Bryson, another heroic effort.

VIRAL VIDEO(S) OF THE WEEK (CHEEKY FAN DIVISION)

You had one guy successfully get Patrick Reed to sign a Rules of Golf book:

And another unsuccessfully try to get Phil Mickelson to make a bet with him:

Smart move, Phil.

THIS WEEK IN PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION

Thanks to Xander’s wife, Maya, we have great footage of his Wanamaker Trophy celebration:

That thing can hold a LOT of booze. Or chocolate milk had Bryson won. And, of course, there were the fans at Valhalla wearing shirts with Scottie’s mug shot:

What a wild week.

THIS WEEK IN CELEBRITY GOLFERS

Shout-out to Lakers swingman Austin Reaves for showing off his swing in a Korn Ferry Tour Monday qualifier—and shooting a very respectable score!

Watch out, Steph, he’s comin’ for your crown.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“I did spend some time stretching in a jail cell, that was a first for me.” —Scottie Scheffler. Still can’t believe that happened.

THIS AND THAT

Congrats to Braden Shattuck, the director of golf at Rolling Green Golf Club, for finishing as the low PGA professional at Valhalla, then driving 11-hours through the night to shoot 63 and win a Philly section event. Talk about being married to the game ... Tough finish for Sergio Garcia, who lost a seven-for-six playoff at a U.S. Open qualifier to snap a streak of playing in 24 consecutive U.S. Opens. But hey, unlike a couple big LIV names, at least he tried ... Congrats to Robert Rock on qualifying for the U.S. Open despite the fact he’s been retired from pro golf for nearly two years. It’s not fair that he still plays great golf AND has that great head of hair at 47 ... The PGA Sunday TV ratings were up 10 percent and it would have been more if not for having to go up against Game 7 of Knicks vs. Pacers. Sigh. Let's not talk about that ... And, finally, in happier news, the long-rumored chocolate ice cream has arrived to the Costco food court!

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And the Myers family are big (and little) fans.

RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER

Will we ever see what actually happened with Scheffler and that cop?

How many majors will Xander win in his career?

How many Costco chocolate ice creams will I eat in my life?