Back to reality for the 40-year-old 'bachelor'

By Damon HackSeptember 5, 2012, 2:40 pm

I’m rolling down I-95 South for the second time in a month, doing my best to avoid the speed traps in South Carolina. My two companions – Stu-Stu and Pedro, the family Shi Tzu and King Charles – are asleep in the back. My golf clubs are in the trunk. My month as a 40-year-old bachelor is coming to an end.

On Friday, my wife and 15-month-old triplet sons will join me in Florida and my life will become more colorful but more complicated. Now don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to have my family here. But it has been fun reliving parts of my misspent youth.

Three hours at the Y shooting hoops? A quick 18 at MetroWest? Beef Jerky for dinner? Sometimes you just get the jones.

Davis Love III is spending his Monday mulling over Ryder Cup picks. I’m spending mine behind the wheel of a minivan, thankful for Sirius/XM radio in general and the PGA Tour network in particular. Stu-Stu, Pedro and I will not be alone today. We’ll have Rory, Louis and Tiger keeping us company all the way to St. George.

The Labor Day drive is mostly uneventful, but there are Smokies around almost every bend. Some of them have already pulled over drivers with lead feet. Others are standing on the side of the highway pointing radar guns. I’m keeping my ride around 80, much slower than the flying Impalas.

Rory jumps out quickly, Tiger makes his move, Louis mostly runs in place. Commissioner Tim Finchem and the folks in Ponte Vedra Beach are loving this. The playoffs are not perfect, but they are good.

Rory wins, the sun goes down, and I pull the minivan into the parking lot of a Quality Inn. It’s $59 a night, plus $10 apiece for the pups.

“You’re from New York? I’m from New Jersey,” the woman says from behind the front desk, spying my driver’s license. Her nametag is hard to read. I think it says “Cynthia.”

“What brought you to South Carolina?” I ask.

“It’s a long story,” Cynthia says.

We find our room. Stu-Stu takes his customary spot at the foot of the bed, Pedro on the floor beneath a chair. My body is stiff. It’s lights out.  

At dawn, it’s back in the minivan and the radio is back on the PGA Tour network, where the announcer, Brian Katrek, is making a case for Hunter Mahan as a Ryder Cup captain’s pick. Brian would love to see Hunter get a shot at redemption after his poor chip in Wales and believes he’d play well in Chicago. I like that sentiment, too, but I think Love will look elsewhere.

Sometime around the Georgia-Florida border Davis makes his picks – Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson and Brandt Snedeker. The choices are solid and safe, very Davis.

Around lunchtime, my crew pulls into Orlando. The pups are sniffing everything in sight, trying to get used to their new surroundings. I call my wife back in New York to let her know I’ve made it safely and that I can’t wait for her and the boys to fly down Friday.

“Is the house clean?” she asks. “You’ve been living there for a month.”

We both know the answer to that question. When I moved in I bought Windex and 409, but they have not moved from their original spots on the kitchen counter.

Life is about to change.

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”