By Alex Myers
Welcome to another edition of The Grind where we haven’t seen that much drama in Minnesota since Fargo came out. What a wild finish in the Twin Cities (PGA Tour) sandwiched in between torrid finishes in Ireland (European Tour) and Green Bay (LPGA Tour). It’s a good thing Megan Rapinoe (congrats, by the way) doesn’t play golf, because she wouldn’t approve of so much action happening on one day in one sport! But jam-packed Sundays are what golf fans live for, and what the Grind counts on. Will we be able to get to it all? You’re darn tooting’ we will.
Matthew Wolff: That didn’t take long, huh? Less than three weeks after hitting his first tee shot as a pro, Wolff won his first PGA Tour title at the 3M Open. And he did it in spectacular fashion with a back-nine 31 capped by a walk-off eagle on No. 18:
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 8, 2019
I’m not sure what was better. The eagle itself or the fact Wolff didn’t even watch the ball go into the hole before starting to celebrate (watch it again, closely).
He knew it was good before it went in. 💯
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 8, 2019
The reaction from his swing coach, George Gankas, who was watching from his pool with some buddies, was also pretty good:
The weather was awful a couple of weeks ago when I went to the first round of the Travelers Championship. But I braved the elements and the mud pit I had to park my car in (can I expense a car wash?) for the sole reason of being able to say brag one day that I saw Wolff’s pro debut. Incredibly, that day is already here. The Matthew Wolff Era is officially upon us. And I can say I was there from way back on Day 1 . . . a couple of weeks ago.
Collin Morikawa: OK, so it wasn’t technically a walk-off eagle by Wolff because this fellow newbie had a crack of his own to tie Wolff moments later. Morikawa missed, but his two-putt birdie gave him a T-2 and a decent consolation prize in a special temporary PGA Tour membership. Since making his debut at the Canadian Open last month, the Cal product has a scoring average of 68.792. Snazzy.
Jon Rahm: Remember when this guy was all the rage for winning his first PGA Tour title with an eagle from the fringe on 18? Seems like ages ago, and yet Rahm is still only 24. And still really, really good. Over the weekend he offered arguably his most impressive performance yet, firing rounds of 64 and 62 at Lahinch to claim the Irish Open for the second time in three years.
Oh yeah, I’m buying Lahinch, too.
This any good or nah? pic.twitter.com/CLoWs8X0Ri
— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) July 5, 2019
That place looks absolutely spectacular.
The Bob Vokey Tour Experience: Earlier this year, I had the honour and pleasure of going through a fitting with this wedge wizard at Titleist’s beautiful facility in Oceanside, Calif. And now I’m reaping the rewards with clubs hand-crafted by the legendary club maker himself. Tough assignment, I know. For those interested, click here for more on this unforgettable experience that can also be yours. It will just cost you. . . (gulp) $2,400. Here’s a pic of Mr. 60 (What I call myself around the office) and the real Mr. 60, who turns 80 next week:
Happy birthday, Bob! And if I win my upcoming major (the 2019 HGGA Championship), I will be sure to thank you in my victory speech.
John Daly’s week: The two-time major champ made two big announcements in the past week. First, that the R&A was denying him the use of a golf cart at next week’s Open Championship at Portrush. Then that he had undergone surgery after being bitten by a spider while vacationing in England with his family.
Thankfully, Daly is OK, but not feeling well enough to play in the year’s final major. Instead, he’ll play at the Barbasol Championship, where he will likely be allowed to use a cart. In a related note, I’m buying these things being called “buggies” like they are in the UK. And yes, I’m selling spider bites that send you into surgery. Terrifying stuff.
Tiger Woods’ early wake-up calls: Apparently, the 15-time major champ is setting his alarm clock for 1 a.m. to try to get on Northern Ireland time ahead of next week’s Open Championship in Royal Portrush:
I dig Tiger’s enthusiasm, but that seems a bit much. Also, wouldn’t he be better served by heading across the pond and waking up at a normal time in Northern Ireland to get used to the time difference? And, you know, actually playing some golf over there? Just a thought, Tiger. . .
Shooting 28 under. . . and losing: That’s exactly what Ariya Jutanugarn did at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic. Despite a final-round 64 to get to that absurd number, Jutanugarn came up one shot short to Shanshan Feng, who shot a Sunday 63 to get to an even more absurd total of 29 under par. Congrats to Shanshan on winning for the first time in nearly two years, and condolences to Ariya.
The PGA Tour heads (At least, those not playing in this week’s Scottish Open on the Euro Tour) to TPC Deere Run for the John Deere Classic, AKA the Steve Stricker Open. Sadly, the Strick Show has chosen to play the Senior Players Championship instead. He will be missed—especially since this field might not have the star power of the Senior Players. On the bright side, a guy with an ELECTRIC swing that has taken the golf world by storm is playing!
Oh, yeah. Matthew Wolff will be there, too.
Random tournament fact: Defending John Deere champ Michael Kim won by eight shots last year. He returns having missed 20 (yes, TWENTY because I’m not counting Kapalua where there wasn’t a cut) consecutive cuts. Freaking golf, am I right?
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
—Michael Kim will win the John Deere Classic by eight shots again: 1 Million-to-1 odds
— Matthew Wolff will win the John Deere Classic: 15-to-1 odds (Actual odds)
— George Gankas’ lesson schedule is booked up for a while: LOCK
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Not only did Bryson DeChambeau have his own 18th-hole heroics topped by Matthew Wolff, but he also became a meme. Introducing “Brysoning”:
Bryson's face when Matthew Wolff made his eagle putt on 18 😂😭😭😂 pic.twitter.com/hakzXEThqt
— Amanda Rose (@amandagolf59) July 7, 2019
Credit where credit's due: when the camera is rolling, Bryson plays the best frat-house-comedy villain in golf. Wolff makes a putt behind him, and our man delivers pure "my father, the DEAN, will hear about this!" incredulity. pic.twitter.com/HykarBtDEL
— Garrett Morrison (@gfordgolf) July 7, 2019
looking through email after a long holiday weekend pic.twitter.com/tSNMTE6dK6
— Brendan Porath (@BrendanPorath) July 8, 2019
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
The European Tour’s latest stroke of genius involved surprising fans by putting them in the TV booth to call the action. And the results were fantastic:
What happens when unsuspecting Irish golf fans end up on 'live TV'?
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) July 8, 2019
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Maybe a virgin pina colada.” — Matthew Wolff when asked how he planned to celebrate. The kid’s got jokes as well.
THIS WEEK IN CELEBRITY GOLFERS
Will Smith showed off an interesting way of setting off fireworks:
Is this a scene from the next Independence Day?
THIS WEEK IN
DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY BROOKS KOEPKA-JENA SIMS PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Does Brooks Koepka play in between majors just to miss weddings?
THIS WEEK IN OTHER TOUR PROS PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
And Maverick McNealy and Danielle Kang continue to be golf’s new “it” couple:
The @daniellekang bump is real… 2nd in Sarasota, 15th in Greenville, 9th at Peek’n Peak. -54 to par, 67.0 scoring average, and my three best finishes of the year the three events my “wag” shows up 😊 see you in Portland #🌽🧚♀️
— Maverick McNealy (@MavMcNealy) July 7, 2019
Love the use of WAG, Mav.
THIS AND THAT
We had George Gankas on the Golf Digest Podcast to discuss Matthew Wolff and also try to get some tips to increase my pathetic swing speed. He didn’t disappoint.
Speaking of increases, the R&A announced a 40-per cent spike in the purse for next month’s Women’s British Open. That deserves a big golf clap. . . . Phil Mickelson managed to take seven(!) penalty strokes during an opening 74 at the 3M Open, including dumping two balls into the water on No. 18. Hopefully, he dives into some of his craziest rounds in the next “Fireside with Phil” episode. . . . Congrats to Air Force captain Kyle Westmoreland for making his second consecutive cut on the Korn Ferry Tour. It took a pilot’s focus to make it to the weekend this past week in particular with Golf Digest photo editor/Grind producer Michael Sneeden subbing in as his caddie. . . . And finally, I have no clue whose lawn this is, but it always catches my eye when I play the Links at Union Vale:
If Golf Digest ranked America’s greatest lawns, this would have to be on the top of the list.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
How many majors will Matt Wolff win?
How many times have I watched Fargo?
How do I mow my lawn like that?