Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we’ve never felt more like a dad than last Saturday. There was a wake up before 6 a.m. with no alarm, a trip to the stove, a quick run, a shower, and unloading the dishwasher before the kids woke up at 8 a.m. (Yeah, I know I am lucky that my children sleep this late). Then he took them to the theater, to football, to the doctor, for a walk, to a spooky carnival, etc. Good times, but I don’t think I’ve ever been so exhausted. Anyway, after a few days of recuperation, I’m back and ready to talk some golf. And I need all the energy I can muster because from a major championship to a major wedding to the potential end of professional golf as we know it, there’s a lot to talk about. Let’s go.
Minjee Lee: We recently shared Lee’s superb ball-striking stats (essentially, she leads the LPGA Tour in all of them), so it makes sense that if she had a great putting week, she would dominate. And that’s exactly what happened at Pine Needles, as the Aussie drilled almost half of her putts from 10-20ft and secured a four-hit win that looked like an even bigger rout. as she broke the 72-hole score at the US Women’s Open. registration.
What a performance. And what a golf swing. Seriously, check out this stuff:
The answer to the question is “PERFECT!” How does she ever lose with that silky smooth action? I must have spent about an hour watching this on repeat over the weekend. The 26-year-old now has eight LPGA Tour titles and two majors. And after getting plenty of extra distance through an off-season fitness regimen, those numbers are only going up for the best ball-striker on the planet right now. And speaking of numbers, Lee picked up a great week to turn in his best performance ever, earning a record-breaking $1.8 million in salary. Great stuff, though it may have only been the booze budget for Brooks Koepka’s wedding. More on that in a bit…
Billy Horschel: Few people seem to play golf better than Billy Ho, who is in great shape, has a great swing and is a stylish dresser. And now there are almost as few who are better at the game as Horschel rises to 11th in the Official World Golf Rankings after his seventh career PGA Tour victory at the Memorial. It is also his third world victory in the last 15 months, and especially for him, his first with all his family present.
Aww. You like to see it. He also referred to tournament host Jack Nicklaus as “Big Man” and “Buddy” after the victory. He’s a confident man right there.
Pine needles: What a spectacular venue set in an incredible part of the country. As Jaime Diaz, a resident of the Sandhills area, told me recently, “The holes look like perfect postcards. I was lucky enough to play Pine Needles a few years ago and am already pushing hard to return to the area next year. Between Pine Needles, Mid Pines, the newly restored Southern Pines (they love their pines there) and Mike Strantz’s legendary Tobacco Road, it’s one hell of a golf trip.
Oh yes, Pinehurst is nearby too. What an amazing region.
Aaron Rodgers: How about the legendary QB draining a walk-in birdie in the sixth iteration of ‘The Match’? Who said this guy wasn’t clutch? !
Thanks also to the four NFL stars for putting on a great show. These made-for-TV shows all had their moments, but there was something about watching a quartet of regular golfers.
Well, regulars, if you forget for a moment who they are.
Resignations from the PGA Tour: It was rumored that guys like Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Louis Oosthuizen and Kevin Na were going to partner with LIV Golf for a while, but it was still a shock to the system to hear them ‘resign’ from the PGA Tour. . I understand there’s probably a legal reason for that and it involves giving them the best chance to continue competing in major championships, but what if the courts allow players to make a living on both tours? What if LIV folds quickly? What if these guys ever wanted to play on the senior circuit? Anyway, Grayson Murray was there for a goodbye shot to Na.
If it’s any consolation, Kevin, we’ll miss you on the PGA Tour. Oh, and let Max Homa lighten the mood perfectly:
To be a golf course superintendent: Especially the week after the PGA Tour came to town. Look at the damage these guys have done to the Muirfield Village driving range!
These seats: I thought this was supposed to be an April Fool’s joke delayed at first by RBC, but no! It’s true! Fans can actually watch this week’s PGA Tour event while hanging from a crane:
As someone who once climbed the NBC Crane above the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass, no thanks. Let’s actually pray for whoever is trying this.
The PGA Tour heads to the Far North for the RBC Canadian Open for the first time in three years, while LIV Golf heads to England for the first time ever. RIP Rory’s “dead in the water” statement regarding LIV. This thing is happening, and the PGA Tour has a big problem on its hands. Oh, and LOL to anyone surprised that Phil Mickelson didn’t bail out. There was a higher chance that Bryson would be invited to Brooks’ wedding.
Tournament Random Fact: For the LIV event? There are not any. There is no history. And the PGA Tour hopes that will be enough to overcome the mountains of money thrown at its members. Good luck.
RANDOM PARIS PROP OF THE WEEK
—The winner of this week’s LIV will regret participating in the event: odds of 4 MILLION to 1
—Bryson sent a wedding gift to Brooks: 1 MILLION to 1
—Phil Mickelson’s Tuesday (big) money games won’t stop: LOCK
PICTURE OF THE WEEK
OH MY GOD! What’s happening to the Par 3 course at Augusta National?!
Quite shocking. Of course, golf lovers have nothing to worry about because anyway, the place will be even better by next April.
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (ON THE COURSE DIVISION)
With more talk of money in golf than ever before, it was nice to be reminded during the US Open final qualifier that there are golfers who play for more than that. Heck, even rich players like Rickie Fowler were there to try and do it. He didn’t, but a guy like Keith Greene did. And watch this emotional video:
How about a 57 year old qualifying on the same site as a 17 year old?! What a sport. Good luck to Keith and all the qualifiers next week at the Country Club.
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (OFF COURSE DIVISION)
A few days before the start of the NBA Finals, Steph Curry was spotted leaving a sporting goods store after having his golf clubs spruced up:
And I’ve never loved Steph Curry so much. Then again, this is the same guy who posted scores to GHIN in the NBA Finals, so I’m not surprised.
THIS WEEK IN PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
The PGA Tour Player of the Year race is no race at all thanks to Scottie Scheffler, but we may have a dead end when it comes to the PGA Tour Wedding of the Year race. I didn’t think anything could rival Dustin and Paulina’s royal golf wedding, but Brooks Koepka and Jena Sims had their own party in Turks and Caicos. Or rather “Turks and Koepkas”:
To find? Hey, judging by their wedding budget, they probably could have afforded their own island chain instead. The strong points? Outfits adorned with images of each other:
This twinkling fireworks on the beach:
And having Ludacris as entertainment:
Seems like everyone was getting really jiggy with it. Sorry, I’m a very old millennial. I also prefer the alliance we hired, but to each his own. Anyway, congratulations to the beautiful couple. And to all the other golfers planning a wedding this year, good luck too.
THIS WEEK AT JOHN DALY BEING JOHN DALY
Daly literally risked his life to teach a guy an important life lesson. In a flat stomach:
Like we said a few weeks ago, never change, JD. Not that we have to say. No one has ever been more unlikely to change than John Daly.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“I’m the black Loren Roberts.” —Charles Barkley on his putting prowess. Chuck must be really rolling rock lately!
THIS AND THAT
According to Greg Norman, Tiger Woods turned down a “breathtakingly huge high nine-figure” figure from the Saudi golf league. Sure, it helps when you’re already a 10-figure guy, but still, wow. … Speaking of big bucks, in this record-breaking US Women’s Open purse, runner-up Mina Harigae won more than $1 million. OK, time to really push the golf on my little girls. … According to Justin Ray, CT Pan became the first player in 25 years on the PGA Tour to record a 10 on a hole in the first or second round of a tournament and still make the cut. Now CT stands for Course Toughness. …And, finally, I can report that the COVID golf boom has not slowed down in my part of the country. I tried to get a foursome seven days before next Sunday and this is what came up:
It’s 0 hours of departure. ZERO! A week in advance! At six different public courses! I think it’s time to stop developing the game. Just kidding. Kind of.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO THINK
Will DJ and Phil ever play the PGA Tour again?
Did either of them send Brooks a wedding present?
Anyone looking for a fourth this weekend?