Tony Finau’s fun golf ball strategy, Luke Donald’s dagger to Henrik Stenson and the lovable new PGA Tour member | This is the loop


Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we hope whoever won the Mega Millions jackpot is a golfer. Sadly, I didn’t win the $1.33 billion, but god damn it could pay for a lot of amazing golf trips. And with the mystery person from Illinois, they’re just a short drive from Sand Valley. Although they probably never drive anywhere again. Heck, they could just buy Sand Valley and live there permanently. Or they could just start their own professional golf league! Either way, it should be fun. And if the winner happens to be reading this, call me. I would be happy to help you spend some of that money on the LIV level. In the meantime, here’s what we still have dream while speaking.

Tony Finau: Surprisingly, between Tony and Xander Schauffele, we had two players known for not being able to win who actually won back-to-back starts this summer. The odds of that happening this season would have been almost as high as the odds of winning the Mega Millions! And now these nice guys are absolute killers on Sundays.

After waiting more than five years for his second win, Finau earned wins #3 and #4 in just seven days, capped by a five-stroke victory at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. And he did it in stunning fashion with 47 birdies to just four bogeys while hitting an absurd 79% of his fairways and 88% of his greens. Even Ben Hogan would be impressed by this kind of ball. Well, maybe not Hogan because he hardly ever missed, but you get the idea. Finau certainly dances better than Ben:

How can you not like this guy? And what’s not to love about how the former high school basketball star involves his kids’ basketball team? Hear the strategy behind putting their initials on golf balls and playing hot hand/kid:

Congratulations to Tony and Alayne and the rest of the family on nearly $3 million in prize money over the past two weeks. It’s not quite winning the Mega Millions, but it will be fine. Even with this inflation. And even with five freaky kids.

Joohyung “Tom” Kim: Move over Tiger and Xander, I may have a new favorite golfer. And at 20, he’s so young that his English name was influenced by something my kids watch, “Thomas the Train.” In fact, compared to the alternatives, it’s not that bad. I’m looking at you, “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.” Either way, this guy is a total stud, and I love that he’s another fast food freak:

And after a Sunday 63 in Detroit to finish T-4, he’s locked down his PGA Tour card for next season. Let’s eat a Wendy’s together once in a while, Tom!

Bathrobe: Look, drinking celebratory bubbly on a trophy must be awesome, but I love a prize you can actually put on. And yes, I’m biased because I currently have my golf band’s coveted green jacket hanging at home. But perhaps even cooler than a jacket – and certainly more comfortable – is this bathrobe given to the winner of the Woodstock Open:

Yes, I also wanted to mention my man Mike Miller, who is on a radiator right now after winning the New York State Open by seven strokes. But seriously, this thing is baller.

Cameron Young’s Luck: Speaking of another Met Area legend, it’s absolutely insane that this guy didn’t win during an incredible rookie campaign on the PGA Tour. Just look at this stat:

In fact, I think I may have seen him rolling around Westchester yesterday with new vanity plates:

And how about the fact that he’s the first on tour to finish seven times in the top three without a win since Payne Stewart. In 1993! Crazy stuff. I’m sure he could point to times when he didn’t get the job done on Sunday, but it also takes a bit of bad luck to come close that many times and not win. On the bright side, all he has to do is look to the guy who ended up beating him this week to realize what’s possible. In fact, how about this fantastic quote from Finau: “I’m proud of how I’ve fought through adversity in my career. They say a winner is just a loser who kept trying, and that’s me.”

So hang in there, Cam. Your time has come.

Pat Perez: The PGA Tour defector’s new team, the Aces, have won back-to-back events, but with no help from the guy. Perez finished T-29 and T-31 in his first two LIV events, putting him 35 combined shots off the lead. And yet, he won $1.75 million. It’s just crazy. Perez is like the 12th man for the Golden State Warriors. But to be fair, he might be a great locker room guy:

Golf Gods: I’ve long since decided that these mythical creatures don’t exist, but if they do, they did some of their worst work last week. After Henrik Stenson broke his contract as Ryder Cup captain to join LIV, he immediately won at Trump Bedminster to earn $4 million, plus an additional $375,000 for his new team – PAS Team Europe – finishing second. “I guess we can agree that I played like a captain,” Stenson said after hitting the final putt in what is probably the first bad joke the usually hilarious Swede has ever pulled.

The PGA Tour is heading for the Wyndham Championship, aka the real “last shot of glory.” The latest PGA Tour regular season event is creating some serious drama as it’s the last chance for many to fight their way into the FedEx Cup playoffs and retain their tour cards. And we also have the last major of the year with the (British) Women’s Open at Muirfield. That’s right, women are allowed to play it now! About time!

Tournament Random Fact: North Carolina native Webb Simpson has five top-fives and nine top-10s, including a victory at this event in 13 tries. DECENT. This is why he also named one of his daughters Wyndham. True story.

—Henrik Stenson regrets his current decision to join LIV Golf: odds 4 MILLION to 1

—Webb Simpson to win this week: odds 20 to 1

—Wyndham Simpson will be there on Sunday if he does: LOCK

Well said Benny. And welcome to the PGA Tour next season.

Yes, that could be a whole lot worse than playing for tens of millions on the PGA Tour.

Nice JT to poke fun at young JT here:

Although I liked matching the hat with the shirt!

I guess this guy also putt with his glove.

It turns out that Jason Day is just as swinging as his pal Tiger:

What? As if your conversations with your colleagues were cooler.

“If I got that captaincy, I would keep my word and do it. Let me put it this way. I wouldn’t do a Henrik. —Luc Donald. Wow. Talk about some serious friendly fire over there! And he got the title of captain. Good for you, Luke. Although it’s a tough place with most of the team going on the LIV Tour.

Congratulations to Phil Mickelson for being named Forbes Highest-Paid Athlete for 2022. Of course, Tiger could have crushed him as usual had he accepted his mind-blowing offer from LIV. Congratulations to Ayaka Furue on winning her first LPGA title with a 62 final at the Women’s Scottish Open. Talk about a decisive victory. Congratulations to Wenyi Ding for winning the US Junior and becoming the first Chinese man to win a USGA Championship. Oh, and he also had a great trip to Bandon Dunes. I’m jealous. … Speaking of Asia, Patrick Reed will be making his Asian tour debut in the coming weeks. Apparently, when he said he was joining LIV to spend more time with his family, he really meant that he was planning on taking more family vacations in Asia. And, finally, it’s been over three years since a good friend of mine, Josh Thomson, made his first hole-in-one. And surprisingly, he never reminds anyone. To joke! We probably still hear about it every month. Just look at his office door:

I can’t say I wouldn’t do the same. It’s pretty awesome.

What would I do with $1.33 billion?

What would I do if I punched a hole in one?

Why am I wasting my time thinking that one or the other could happen?


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