Dustin Johnson's big 40th birthday bash, Cam Young's bonehead move and the filthiest club twirl ever (2024)

Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we are doing everything to get ready for our yearly major. That’s right, the 2024 HGGA Championship, AKA my annual buddies trip, is here and we’re headed to French Lick, Ind., for the first time. So if you have any tips for me as I attempt a historic three-peat, feel free to reach out. In the meantime, I'm so dedicated to trying to win that I actually put myself through this challenging new Peloton golf program by Selena Samuela. Twice.

Dustin Johnson's big 40th birthday bash, Cam Young's bonehead move and the filthiest club twirl ever (1)

Great timing! And don’t act like you’re not impressed. Anyway, I’m fired up and ready to go—although, I’m disappointed there’s no local Chili’s to hold the Champions Dinner—but there’s still plenty of other golf stuff to get to. Let’s do this while I have a moment of not feeling so sore.

WE’RE BUYING

Cam Davis: The Aussie known for being able to swing the golf club from both sides (insane stuff) is now a two-time winner of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. And he did it with a pair of nifty up-and-downs on the final two holes while everyone else around him crumbled. After claiming the title, he got emotional with CBS’ Amanda Balionis because of the struggles he had gone through previously this year:

But the guy got hooked up with a hypnotherapist and now watch him go. Ah, golf. What a crazy sport.

Richard Bland: This Brit didn’t win on the DP World Tour until he was 48, but now he’s turned into an absolute terror on the senior circuit. Well, he’s not actually allowed to be on the PGA Tour Champions due to his LIV Golf connections, but Bland still managed to get into two senior majors—and he’s now won both after capturing the U.S. Senior Open in a playoff. And along with the trophy (not to mention the $800K!) he’ll have this highlight to watch for the rest of his life:

This guy might be the greatest late-bloomer in golf history.

Melanie Green: A big congrats to this fellow New Yorker for becoming the first American in 28 years (Shout-out Kelli Kuehne!) to win the British Women's Amateur Championship. But the way she did it was even more impressive. The recent University of South Florida graduate didn’t use a caddie, walking and carrying her bag for the entire tournament:

Well done, Melanie. I’ve said this before and I’m not kidding: I’d like to see more of this in tournament golf. These tour pros have it so easy with caddies. Call me crazy, but I’d love to see who would be the best without one!

WE’RE SELLING

Will Zalatoris’ hip: My fellow Wake Forest Demon Deacon has had awful luck with injuries early in his career and after seemingly coming back from back surgery, he had to WD in Detroit. This after an opening 66. Ugh. At least he got to meet Calvin Johnson earlier in the week.

Dustin Johnson's big 40th birthday bash, Cam Young's bonehead move and the filthiest club twirl ever (2)

Now, it’s supposedly Will's hip and not that back, but as the old kids song goes: “The backbone’s connected to the hip bone" … or something like that. In any event, fingers crossed for a speedy recovery by Will.

Snapping your driver: Doing this at any point would be awful, but late in the final round? When you have a chance to (finally) win your first PGA Tour title?

Young is another fellow Demon Deacon, but, c’mon, Cam. You're too smart to do that! Again, you went to Wake! Also, if I were him, I would have snapped the putter.

Losing a golf ball in the fairway: It’s easy enough to lose a golf ball, but it should never, EVER happen when you hit one down the middle. Especially if you’re a PGA Tour pro playing in a PGA Tour event! But that’s what happened to Akshay Bhatia during the second round at Detroit Golf Club when his golf ball disappeared down a drain:

Fortunately, Bhatia was able to identify his ball so he got a free drop. And the 22-year-old handled the bizarre situation well just like he handled his 72nd-hole three-putt (more on that later) well. But still, this just shouldn’t be a possibility. Donald Ross must have been rolling over in his grave.

ON TAP

The PGA Tour stays in the Midwest for the John Deere Classic, AKA that one with the mini-tractors as tee markers. There’s also the BMW International on the DP World Tour, but if I’m being honest, the only event I care about is the 2024 HGGA Championship. I’ll be attempting to pull off the first three-peat of the tour’s modern era—less than five months after undergoing knee surgery. So you can put me in the Ben Hogan-Tiger Woods comeback category if it happens. You can also expect to hear more handicap bitching than during that last Presidential debate if that happens. Anyway, wish me luck!

Random tournament fact: Bryson DeChambeau won his first PGA Tour title at the 2017 John Deere Classic. That was also the year I won my third green jacket at Myrtle Beach. Great year.

RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK

—There will be a “LIVE FROM” the HGGA Championship: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds

—Sungjae Im will win the John Deere Classic: 14-to-1 odds (Favorite!)

—Sungjae Im’s caddie, Willy Wilcox, will post something cool to social media: LOCK

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Mark Calcavecchia shared an all-time exchange he had with a shoe salesman in Newport ahead of the U.S. Senior Open:

Apparently, being a one-time major champ from another millennium doesn’t get you much street cred these days.

CLUB PRO GUY TWEET OF THE WEEK

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Crazy stuff for a 15-year-old. Miles Russell missed the cut in his PGA Tour debut, but he’ll be back. Oh, he’ll be back.

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK

Charley Hull’s viral heater continued, and this time, she didn't even need to light up a heater:

Filthy stuff right there. And just like that, she reinvented the club twirl. Well done, Charley.

THIS WEEK IN PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION (HUSBAND-WIFE DIVISION)

Dustin Johnson turned the big four-oh. And Paulina and the gang put on quite a shindig:

Looks like a good time. My invite must have gotten lost in the mail. Either that, or Dustin didn’t like me calling him Dustbin. Sorry, Dustin.

THIS WEEK IN PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION (BFFL DIVISION)

Longtime NBC golf favorites Roger Maltbie and Gary Koch reconnected at the U.S. Senior Open and shared a special moment:

You love to see it, indeed.

THIS WEEK IN PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION ANIMOSITY

Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad, who Brooks Koepka once called a “traffic cone” for his poor defense, called out the five-time major champ during Florida’s Stanley Cup parade:

Amazing. The funniest part is that Brooks is a huge Ps fan! Anyway, just a reminder that the great athletes never forget a slight.

THIS WEEK IN PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION ALCOHOL

How about this for deception just to sneak a little booze on the course?

Don’t try this at home. Or do, if you don’t care about people at your club thinking you’re a convicted felon.

THIS WEEK IN CELEBRITY GOLFERS

Sauce Gardner may be on the Jets, but he’s my new favorite NFL player after his recent Twitter display. For one, the guy is HOOKED on golf, and he’s getting pretty good really fast!

For another, he has fully embraced—and been embraced by—the Golf Twitter community:

Now that’s a young man who “gets it.” Good stuff, Sauce. Keep it up and you’ll be dominating the celebrity golf circuit in no time!

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"Yeah, just a little bit of nerves, honestly. I'm human.” —Akshay Bhatia facing the music after that missed putt on the 72nd hole. And now we like this young man even more.

THIS AND THAT

Congrats to Ruoning Yin and Atthaya Thitikul on winning the LPGA's Dow Championship together:

Aww, sweet video. But beating your buddies is also pretty awesome. … Congrats to Frank Bensel on making back-to-back holes-in-one at the U.S. Senior Open:

Dustin Johnson's big 40th birthday bash, Cam Young's bonehead move and the filthiest club twirl ever (3)

That’s insane. Of course, it’s also pretty insane he still shot 74—especially since we used to call him “Mr. 74” when I worked at The Journal News and covered him in Met-area tournaments. Anyway, hope the bar tab at Newport Country Club wasn’t too high—especially because Bensel missed the cut. … Speaking of holes-in-one, yep, I made it this far without mentioning mine at Oak Hill a few weeks back! But shout-out to former Oklahoma men’s basketball athletic trainer Alex Brown for sending me this beautiful sketch of the course’s clubhouse:

Dustin Johnson's big 40th birthday bash, Cam Young's bonehead move and the filthiest club twirl ever (4)

Well, I think it’s beautiful. My wife isn’t quite as into it.

RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER

Where am I going to (be allowed to) hang that?

Which presidential candidate has the biggest vanity handicap?

Did I train enough for French Lick?

Dustin Johnson's big 40th birthday bash, Cam Young's bonehead move and the filthiest club twirl ever (2024)
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