Welcome to another edition of the Grind, where we were feeling pretty low about our sports mushing abilities after attending a first New York Knicks game of the season and promptly seeing the Orange and Blue snapping a nine-game winning streak against the lowly Charlotte Hornets. Not that it was all bad since I got to catch up with childhood hero and (one-time) golf partner John Starks:
But then I was reminded that I work with someone who is a walking hex in Christopher Powers. He’s left many team’s seasons and players’ careers in his wake, but his Players performance might top it all. First, he promoted betting on a hole-in-one not happening, and then an ace was made in the second group of the week that got to the famed 17th hole. Two more would be made there, including a final one on Sunday, which happened seconds after Chris left the hole and missed out on all the fun. You can’t make it up. Anyway, I pledge to stay away from Madison Square Garden in the playoffs—and, hopefully, for both the sake of the Knicks and Rangers, Chris will too. OK, here’s what else has us talking from a big week in golf.
Scottie Scheffler: What an absolute monster this guy has become. After taking 71 starts to win on the PGA Tour, he’s now won six of his last 28 over the past 13 months, including picking up a green jacket and now a golden trophy.
It’s been an incredible run by the man who is back at World No. 1, and his latest victory at the 2023 Players Championship was arguably the most impressive. While everyone else ran into disasters at TPC Sawgrass, Scheffler never carded anything worse than a 5 on his way to a five-shot win.
Is he the most exciting player in the game? Nope. But he’s the best player on the planet. And sometimes, “boring” in golf is a blessing.
Scottie Scheffler’s grandmother: How about Mary DeLorenzo, Scheffler’s 88-year-old grandma who walked all 72 holes of his triumph at TPC Sawgrass?
Nicely done, Mary. And we see that Masters pullover. If anyone—including Brooks Koepka—forgets who the defending Masters champ is, she’ll let them know. Also, it sounds like she was going to host one heckuva a victory party:
That reminds me of Bryson DeChambeau drinking celebratory chocolate milk after winning the U.S. Open. And Mary reminds me of my spunky 92-year-old grandma, who I visited earlier this month. And that reminds me of this photo I took at her nursing home of a packed lobby watching Golf Channel:
Min Woo Lee: It was a tough Sunday for the 24-year-old Aussie, but what a show he put on throughout the week. The impressive stingers, crazy up-and-downs, the cool interactions with the fans, and even this fun arrival to the course on Sunday:
You rock, Min Woo. Not to mention, the way he handled that leg cramp on Thursday, mocking himself and going as far as to change his Twitter profile pic to that screenshot.
What an entertainer. And what a talent—even if his older sister Minjee still has bragging rights at family dinners.
Keith Mitchell: Move over, Max Homa! Golf Twitter has a new King! OK, maybe not, but certainly a new hero after what Mitchell did on Sunday. After the PGA Tour took down a fan-posted video of Mitchell hitting a tee shot into the water as a weather horn sounded—prompting a juicy club slam—Mitchell himself reposted it and poked fun of the entire situation:
You gotta love a guy who doesn’t take himself too seriously. Golf Twitter certainly does. And that won’t hurt Cashmere Keith’s PIP status, either.
Scottie Scheffler’s coffee habit: This is a weird one. Scottie Scheffler is a big coffee drinker. Heck, we have video of him going with his wife to get coffee.
But apparently, he goes cold turkey on tournament days because he’s scared it will make him “jittery.” Look, I don’t drink coffee, but I count on a caffeinated soda around noon every day. So this seems like a wild move. But again, I’m not the World No. 1 golfer and I certainly didn’t earn $4.5 million last week. So who am I—or any of us—to question Scottie?
Rory McIlroy’s driver: You can (possibly) debate who should be World No. 1 between Scheffler and Jon Rahm, but McIlroy has dropped to a distant third after his latest lackluster performance in which he missed the cut at TPC Sawgrass. McIlroy owned up to his poor play, but also placed some blame on his new driver. TaylorMade execs had to be cringing, but to be clear, McIlroy just misses his old driver, which had to be taken out of play because the face got too thin or too “hot.” Anyway, it’s the latest example of how one little thing can have such huge ripple effects in golf. And it sounds like Rory needs to find one of those “Iron Byron” machines to beat golf balls with that club until it’s more worn in by next month’s Masters.
The LIV Combine: During the Friday of the PGA Tour’s signature event, the tour’s rival announced a season-long combine meant to test players’ “mental and physical abilities.” Then they promptly deleted said announcement. But not before I captured some evidence:
Anyway, this has a lot of potential. A skills competition among some of the best golfers in the world? I’ve been wishing the PGA Tour would do this for years. But getting away from golf-related skills and doing stuff like the Reaction Wall sounds like a miss:
The PGA Tour concludes its Florida Swing with the Valspar Championship, AKA the one that used to be called the PODS Championship, AKA that one at Innisbrook, AKA that one with the SNAKE PIT. In terms of fields, it”s not quite the Players, but Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth are among the headliners, and there promises to be more carnage.
Random tournament fact: Sam Burns is the two-time defending champ at Innisbrook. Which led to the latest jaw-dropping Tiger Woods stat, courtesy of Justin Ray:
Tiger had a Scottie Scheffler-like run—for about 14 consecutive years. Crazy.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
—Scottie Scheffler will win as many PGA Tour events as Tiger: 4.5 MILLION-to-1 odds
—Sam Burns will three-peat this week: 18-to-1 odds (Actual odds)
—I will not be giving up soda on any day anytime soon: LOCK
Tom Hoge, man of the people:
Dig your style, Tom. All that matters to a golfer is getting from Point A to Point B—and getting your golf clubs there as well. And splurging for first class won’t help that anyway.
CLUB PRO GUY TWEET OF THE WEEK
Seriously, Scottie. Take it easy, pal.
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (ECSTASY DIVISION)
Is this the greatest shot in golf history?
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (AGONY DIVISION)
Colt Knost was NOT happy about Tom Hoge breaking his (shared) course record at TPC Sawgrass:
At least he was being honest and not pretending to be happy for someone else like all these other athletes do.
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (HORRIFYING DIVISION)
What in the world is going on at Pebble Beach?
Imagine plunking down $595 for that green fee and getting swallowed up by a sinkhole? Nightmare stuff.
THIS WEEK IN CELEBRITY GOLFERS
Congrats to J.J. Watt on making his first-ever hole-in-one*:
Of course, if I ever saw this hulking NFL legend in person, I would remove the asterisk.
THIS WEEK IN PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
“They’re too high if you’re trying to buy a house. A $500,000 house two years ago was a little bit more affordable and it’s probably double the cost now on a monthly payment. Yeah, I picked a good time to get out of the mortgage industry, and I don’t know how, but people think I’m a wizard for timing it so perfectly.” —Ben Griffin, a former mortgage loan officer on the current mortgage rates. If Ben keeps picking up six-figure tournament checks, he’s going to be buying his next house in cash.
Congrats to Peter Wilson, a 45-year-old Australian tour pro, who shot back-to-back(!) 59s over the weekend:
Wilson is No. 881 in the Official World Golf Ranking proving again how many sick golfers there are out there. And yes, it was a 6,000-yard course, but c’mon, that’s still ridiculous. . . . Congrats to a gambler who plunked $300K down (MBN to have money like that just laying around) on Scottie Scheffler to win the Players and wound up winning nearly as much as Scheffler himself with a $3.3 million haul. Tyrrell Hatton hit the golf shot of his life on No. 18 and didn’t make that much. . . . Kudos to the USGA and R&A for putting forth a proposal to roll back the golf ball for ELITE players (not for pea-shooters like me). Then again, it took long enough, and this won’t take effect until January. Of 2026. We might need a roll back on the roll out time for this. . . . And, finally, took the girls for the first time to the birthday hibachi spot, Edo, I’ve been going to for three decades. And it was a big success!
Maybe they’ll actually eat something there besides chicken tenders and ice cream by the time that golf ball roll back goes into effect.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Are Nieslen golf ratings properly taking into account nursing homes?
Who wagered that much money on Scottie Scheffler?
Who does that person like next month at the Masters?