GR PGA running diary: Merchandise, HOF on Day 3

By Jason CrookAugust 10, 2014, 12:35 am

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – I don’t know how I haven’t mentioned it yet, but this week the media center has bombarded us with the new Rory McIlroy Omega commercial featuring the song "Hall of Fame," written and recorded by Irish alternative rockers The Script. If you haven’t seen it, you can watch it here. I would advise against it. It really wasn’t that bad a song, on Tuesday. Today, after hearing it for the 3,764th time, it’s the song I imagine is on repeat in hell. As hard as I've tried, I can't not hear it. 


10:30 a.m. ET – Alarm clock doesn’t go off. My eyes open. I want to sing "It's a Beautiful Morning," but instead the only song my brain can recall at the moment is ... you know.

11:15 – Don't make it down in time to take the media shuttle to Valhalla, but who cares, I’m not missing anything. I take the next one about a half hour later. Our bus driver informs us that he was an extra in the 1996 classic film “A Time to Kill” featuring Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock and Samuel L. Jackson Just thought I’d pass along. Do with that information as you wish.

12:15 p.m. ET – I open the door to the media center, and you guessed it, the sound of evil that is the Omega commercial starts to emanate out of the open space in front of me. I close the door and pace around like a crazy person. That should buy me a good five minutes or so before I have to hear it again.

12:37 – In case you were wondering, here’s what goes on before the leaders tee off on a major championship Saturday.


12: 53


1:15 – Decide I’m tired of typing ellipses. Head to the merchandise tent. The holidays are right around the corner, and Jesus’ birthday just wouldn’t be the same without a shot glass from Valhalla.

1:36 – Pick up a sweatshirt. See the price is $75. Slowly place it down and step away from the sweatshirt.

1:37 – Pick up a T-shirt. $35. Repeat.

1:39 – Find a pair of socks. $9. Still ridiculous, but at least you get two of them. PGA Championship socks for the whole family it is.


2:04 – Make it back to the media center in time to resume doing nothing. Overhear two women ogling Adam Scott on my way. He is apparently playing the hole I’m walking past. I didn’t break the news to them, but there’s a very good chance it’s not a mutual sentiment between the two parties. Hope he lets 'em down easy.

3:05 – Head out to follow the final pairing of McIlroy and Jason Day. The heat is intense. I can feel it in the form of sweat running down my brow and I can hear it in the form of crying children and an older, bickering couple. Nothing brings families together quite like Moving Day at the final major championship of the year. They should hire me to write their slogan next year. This is Argument.

3:15 – Day hits his drive way, way left on No. 2. Guy next to me quips, “He ain’t gonna beat Rory playing like that.” Someone, get this man a microphone and a TV camera, stat.

3:18 – Day takes his shoes off. He would later say he was "too lazy" to put them back on. It's a good thing he's good at golf because i'm pretty sure being too lazy to put shoes on is the first step to living on the street.

4:05 – Spot Rory’s dad in the crowd. He poses for pictures a little differently than most people. Instead of standing still and facing the camera, he runs in the opposite direction. To each his own I guess.


4:12 – Day sails another drive left on No. 6. The Mobile Device Policy Enforcement team is the first on the scene. “No pictures, please! Out of respect for the players!”

4:17 – Day hits his shot. Someone screams out, “bloomin’ onion!” Just so I have this clear, yelling out terrible appetizers from chain restaurants at players is respectful, but taking their picture is not? Got it.

5:22 – Overhear a couple of fans concocting a plan to get hit by a golf ball in hopes that they can score a signed glove out of the deal. Do a quick eBay search on signed golf gloves. A McIlroy glove sold in June for $32. Totally worth it.

5:34 – Fan shouts out to David Feherty telling him what a great job he’s doing. Fan giggles about it. He’s got a story to tell his future grandkids. Those poor, poor grandkids.

6:01 – Come across this bachelor party (below). They’ve been boozing. I didn’t ask or anything, but what other explanation would one have for wearing a Harris English T-shirt jersey? Not like he's ever going to be in the hall of fame. Damn it. I'm going to go beat my head against a wall. Can't wait for Sunday.


Tune in tomorrow for more of Grill Room's exclusive PGA Championship coverage. Click here for a link to today's gallery, and check out yesterday's running diary here.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

"It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

"This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."