By Alex Myers
Welcome to another edition of The Grind where we liked talking about whether Tiger Woods would get to 19 majors a lot more than we like talking about COVID-19. That being said, we are doing our best to deal with this unfortunate situation, including hunkering down with all the essentials:
But seriously, people, stay safe out there. Or, rather, IN there. this is no joke and the sooner we all do our part, the sooner we’ll be able to return to focusing on much sillier stuff like Tiger’s pursuit of Jack, LeBron’s pursuit of MJ, and (gulp) even the Masters. Just listen to the man himself:
There are a lot more important things in life than a golf tournament right now. We need to be safe, smart and do what is best for ourselves, our loved ones and our community.
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) March 16, 2020
Good to hear from him, by the way. It had been a while. Anyway, of course, we’ll still talk about the sillier stuff here. So crank up your Wi-Fi, find a comfy spot to sit, and let’s get to it.
Playing golf (for now): This might already not be an option where you live—as we are reminded constantly this is a “fluid” situation—but there are also many golf courses taking plenty of safety precautions. And if you walk, carry your bag, avoid all handshakes/fist bumps, and Venmo all bets, you should be fine. As our Mike Stachura points out, being outside playing this great game is also a great way to relieve stress. And as someone cooped up with a wife and a two-year-old for the foreseeable future, let me know if you have a spot in your foursome. Please.
Greg Eason: Believe it or not, there was still some golf being played on the All Pro Tour, where Eason claimed the Coke Dr. Pepper Open—instantly my favourite tournament name ever. But as our friend Ryan French points out, the bigger deal here is that this was a guy who just three years ago failed to break 90 for three consecutive (brutally windy) rounds on the Korn Ferry Tour:
Greg Eason once had 3 consecutive rounds in the 90's on the KFT Tour…
Yesterday he won on the APT after making 26 birdies and just 3 bogeys over 72 holes.
His 68-63-66-68 (-23) beats the 170 player field, and he wins 35K #NeverGiveUp
— Monday Q Info (@acaseofthegolf1) March 15, 2020
Now that’s a bounceback.
Padraig Harrington’s backyard: If you’re a tour pro, you may as well take this time as an opportunity to work on your short game:
Padraig Harrington’s home wedge practice area 😍 pic.twitter.com/SRb7rhQhSm
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) March 16, 2020
Nice setup, Paddy. There are certainly a lot worse places to be on lockdown.
Paula Creamer’s pad: As in, I’d love to buy this place and ride out this Coronavirus there if I had an extra $6.35 million. Just look at the fitness center:
OK, I’d still never use that. But how about the game room and the home theatre:
And I wouldn’t even have to do any decorating because that Tiger mural is already up!
Paula Creamer’s timing: What a month to put your mansion on the market, huh? Probably aren’t going to be a lot of open houses for the next few weeks. But again, at least Creamer has plenty of space and amenities during these crazy times.
Hideki Matsuyama’s timing: Poor Hideki. The dude is trending toward returning to the winner’s circle, then opens with a course-record-tying 63 at TPC Sawgrass to take a two-shot lead, and the PGA Tour’s flagship event promptly gets cancelled.
Instead of possibly picking up his biggest win, Matsuyama left with the same $52,083.33 check given to all 144 players who teed it up. Let’s just say the two guys who shot 79, Nick Watney and Patton Kizzire, got a better deal.
COVID-19: It goes without saying that in the seven-year-plus history of The Grind, I have never wanted to sell anything more than this devastating disease. And while sports are certainly at the bottom of the priority list these days, we still miss them—not only for their entertainment, but for the way they connect us. Hang in there, everyone. Again, “in” being the keyword.
The PGA Tour was supposed to finish the Florida Swing this week at the Valspar Championship, but, well, you know. It’s unclear when we’ll see the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, European Tour, Korn Ferry Tour, etc. again and that sucks for fans and players, but it also sucks for those who work so hard all year to put on these events and for the communities and charities that profit from them. To that point, here was a great message from Billy Horschel:
Let’s help out the charities and organizations that are effected by the cancellation of the upcoming tournaments! Thank you! @THEPLAYERSChamp @ValsparChamp @DellMatchPlay @valerotxopen @CoralesChamp pic.twitter.com/8e3hU5BNts
— Billy Horschel (@BillyHo_Golf) March 13, 2020
Let’s hope things get back to normal soon.
Random tournament fact: The Valspar has been sneaky-great the past few years, check out these results (just pay no mind to the top one. . . )
Paul Casey’s three-peat will have to wait until next year.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
—Tiger Woods will win the Masters—at some point this year: 16-to-1 odds (Actual odds)
—Kramer Hickock will win this week’s All Pro Tour event: 7-to-1 odds (Also, actual odds)
—Vegas sports books are going to struggle for the next couple months: LOCK
PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
If you’ve ever been to the Players Championship, you know Friday (and Saturday) afternoon is an absolute party. Well, not this year:
— Brian Wacker (@brianwacker1) March 13, 2020
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
— Matthias Schwab (@schwab_matth) March 16, 2020
Impressive, but Matthias better bar his doors because people are going to come after his toilet paper stash.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
A week ago, things seemed relatively normal in the U.S. Sports were being played, stores were fully stocked with toilet paper, and Rory McIlroy was giving great quotes like this on Pete Dye courses:
“Yeah, going on from there [Whistling Straits], winning at Kiawah, winning at Crooked Stick, winning here, I’ve started to quite like them. But as you said, an acquired taste. They’re like beer when you’re younger. You sort of don’t like it but then you think it’s cool to drink it and then you sort of acquire a taste for it.”
Maybe we can keep the Rory press conferences going even when there aren’t tournaments?
THIS WEEK IN DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
going to be a long break for DJ… pic.twitter.com/luXARuCm8V
— Eric Patterson (@EPatGolf) March 14, 2020
Cute, but yeah. . . Pray for DJ.
THIS WEEK IN PHIL BEING PHIL
After arriving home safely and with a month off, I could sense things were going to go one way or the other. I was either going to use this time to workout, get fit and stronger or I was going to lay in bed, watch shows and eat. After day 1, the latter is in the lead.
— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) March 15, 2020
I’m with you, Phil. The COVID-19 15 is going to become a thing.
THIS WEEK IN OTHER TOUR PROS BEING QUARANTINED
Marc Leishman has even more time to take care of his lawn:
Marc Leishman is wasting no time getting to work prepping his beloved lawn for the spring. What an absolute Dad legend. pic.twitter.com/mYC1ku8ks5
— Outside The Cut (@OutsideTheCut) March 13, 2020
My father-in-law does the same thing. WILD. And Justin Thomas fired a 65 against Rickie Fowler—and lost. By FIVE strokes.
Nice job, Rickie, but maybe save those for the Sundays that really count. . .
THIS AND THAT
In addition to Augusta National postponing the Masters, the club is completely closing down until further notice. We’re guessing the members aren’t getting any refunds on this year’s dues. … Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm joined Rory McIlroy in declaring their allegiance to the PGA Tour. With the top three players in the world saying no to the Premier League, RIP PGL. … As of now, the 2020 HGGA Championship is still set for this summer in Pinehurst. Moving our annual golf trip from June to August has never looked smarter. (Fingers crossed.) … And finally, it took my wife and I—brother-in-law through FaceTime—SIX hours to assemble this kids’ kitchen for my daughter’s second birthday:
We finished at 2 a.m. and I have never been more exhausted, frustrated, and proud in my life. Look at that thing! It might be even nicer than Paula Creamer’s kitchen! I just hope the Father of the Year Awards haven’t been cancelled yet.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Who would have won the Players?
What did people do before TV/the Internet?
How long will my soda supply last?