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The Grind: DJ puts a ring on it, the PGA Tour’s best team and FedEx Cup Playoffs

By Alex Myers

Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we’re wondering why everyone keeps coming by to ask if we’re OK with the news of Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky getting engaged. Why wouldn’t we be? They look like they make a great couple! And we just want the best for Paulina. So stop asking. Please. Now, if you’ll excuse us. . . (puts sunglasses on and goes back to listening to Boyz II Men’s “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday”)

WE’RE BUYING

Patrick Reed: If you haven’t seen the shot he hit to win the Wyndham Championship, check it out. Picking up a first PGA Tour title would have been memorable anyway, but to do it like that in a playoff over a red-hot Jordan Spieth certainly made the accomplishment even sweeter. And don’t think this was just a guy having a career week. The 23-year-old rookie who led Augusta State to a NCAA title two years ago now has three top 10s in a row.

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Justine Reed: DJ and Paulina weren’t the only tour couple grabbing headlines over the weekend. Justine caddied her husband Patrick to that first tour win. Just look at the picture of her dutifully putting the pin in (above) before celebrating her hubby’s winning birdie putt. What a pro! What a team! Of course, tour wives everywhere are worried they are going to be pressed into duty now.

Related: Photos of PGA Tour wives and girlfriends

Caroline Hedwall: The entire European Solheim Cup squad had a good week, but certainly Hedwall’s perfect 5-0 performance stood out. Not that there was much drama on Sunday, but the Swede even scored her team’s clinching point. Tough to have a better week on the golf course.

Matt Fitzpatrick: A month ago, this 18-year-old who looks like he’s 12 was being mistaken for a ball boy at the British Open practice range. Now he’s the U.S. Amateur champ. Fitzpatrick became the first English player to win the event since 1911. He’ll follow the career path of fellow countryman Luke Donald and take his talents to Northwestern in the fall. It would probably be a good idea for Fitzpatrick to keep his student I.D. out at all times.

WE’RE SELLING

U.S. team golf: 18-10? The U.S., made a heavy favorite by Las Vegas sports books, lost to Europe by the score of 18-10? Wow. The men’s struggles in recent Ryder Cups has been well documented, but now the women, after a first-ever loss on home soil, have lost two straight in the biennial competition. On the bright side, we’re still the best when it comes to face and nail painting.

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Paula Creamer. Sad face.

Related: The PGA Tour’s surprising winners of 2013

The PGA Tour being uptight: When we first heard the tour was banning the caddie races at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, we thought it was a joke. It wasn’t. Caddies have two times to really shine all year: they hit shots on TPC Sawgrass’ 17th hole during Wednesday’s practice round; and they get to show off their athletic prowess while thousands of drunk fans cheer them on at TPC Scottsdale’s 16th hole. And you’re going to take one of those away from these hard-working people? For shame, Tim Finchem. For shame.

ON TAP

The PGA Tour heads to the Barclays at Liberty National for the first of four postseason events that make up the FedEx Cup Playoffs. How do they work? It’s simple (grabs PGA Tour media guide). Wait, never mind. . .

Related: The best moments in FedEx Cup history

Random tournament fact: PGA Tour players are NOT big fans of this course. Man, we haven’t seen reviews that bad since “Snakes on a Plane” came out in theaters.

WEEKLY YAHOO! FANTASY LINEUP

Starters — (A-List): Brandt Snedeker: The reigning FedEx Cup champ seems to do well every time we play him.

(B-List): Steve Stricker: A runner-up here to Heath Slocum, yes, Heath Slocum, in 2009.

Related: Who is the best current player without a major?

(B-List): Zach Johnson: No reason to stop playing the hot hand. With five straight top 10s, he’s our pick to win.

(C-List): Henrik Stenson: Arguably playing better than anyone in the world after a runner-up at the British Open and a third at the PGA Championship.

Bench: Rory McIlroy, Graham DeLaet, Dustin Johnson and Adam Scott.

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK

In case you missed it, there is a wedding day music video featuring Jason and Amanda Dufner. It’s mesmerizing.

RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK

— Phil Mickelson will win with wife Amy on the bag: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds

— Beleaguered Yankees star Alex Rodriguez will show up to watch some golf: 10-to-1 odds

— If A-Rod shows up, he’ll be booed: LOCK

THIS WEEK IN DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION

After a long season of keeping tabs on these lovebirds (and some golf), the Grind is pleased to present a special, special public display of affection this week:

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“Never been happier,” Paulina wrote after posting this pic of her wearing her engagement ring on Instagram. Wow. The Great One’s daughter is marrying golf’s Could-be Great One. We hope everyone is ready for another ROYAL WEDDING.

THIS AND THAT

blog-michael-mcdonald-0820.jpgThe U.S. finalized its Walker Cup team by naming the final five players. Wait, they’re playing Europe? Then it doesn’t matter who the U.S. has competing. . . . Bart Bryant held off Corey Pavin and Russ Cochran to win the 1,000 all-time event in Champions Tour history. That’s a lot of extra retirement money earned. . . . What do you do when Michael McDonald (above)) comes to your city to perform “Takin’ it to the streets” and other classics like that song Warren G and Nate Dogg sampled for their classic “Regulate”? You take to the streets to see him.

RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER

Should the U.S. go back to just playing Great Britain in team competitions?

Where will the royal wedding take place? Canada? L.A.? Myrtle Beach? Suspense!

Will there be a wedding day music video and can we please help with it?

– Alex Myers is an Associate Editor for GolfDigest.com. Feel free to email him and please follow him on Twitter since he has self-esteem issues.

Read the original: The Grind: DJ puts a ring on it, the PGA Tour’s best team and FedEx Cup Playoffs

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The Grind: Jason Dufner’s world, USGA/PGA jousting and Tiger Woods’ troubles

By Alex Myers

Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we regret not taking our grandfather’s advice and incorporating a waggle into our pre-shot routine. Ben Hogan did it and now a guy who hit a golf ball like Hogan for four days at the season’s final major does. Sigh. Why don’t I waggle? Why don’t we ALL waggle?

WE’RE BUYING

Jason Dufner: We’ll forget about those closing bogeys and focus on the ball-striking clinic Dufner put on all week at Oak Hill. How do you win your first major when everyone can practically see you shaking when you stand over your putts on Sunday? Simple. By hitting approach shots so close that even his wife could knock them in. Speaking of Amanda Dufner, between her, a Wanamaker Trophy and an appearance on the Howard Stern Show, this guy is doing pretty well for himself.

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Yes, honey. That’s your name on the trophy.

Henrik Stenson: How good has Stenson’s last month been? Two thirds and two runner-ups, including one of each at the season’s final two majors. “Hank the Tank” is here to stay.

Related: The Defining Shots Of The PGA Championship

Oak Hill: We only got glimpses of how the Rochester, N.Y. track could play in firmer conditions, but so what? A softer Oak Hill made for a lot of close approach shots and at the same time, the historic track still had enough teeth to bite back — most notably with its extra-juicy rough. Last November, Jason Dufner tweeted that Oak Hill was one of his five favorite courses. Maybe others could have benefited from similar positive thinking.

Adam Scott: The critics will say he could have won three majors this year. We say he’s still the first golfer since Padraig Harrington in 2008 to finish in the top five of three majors in the same season. And with with a swing that Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee described as “maybe the greatest ever,” the Aussie isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Scott entered 2013 as arguably the best golfer to have never won a major. He’ll exit as arguably the game’s best player.

WE’RE SELLING

Tiger Woods: A week after blowing away the field at Firestone, Woods looked like a different player — that guy who dresses like the 14-time major champion but doesn’t play like him in majors anymore. Woods continued his conservative strategy in golf’s big events, even with a soft Oak Hill there for the taking. He made just 10 birdies for the week and finished T-40 to match his worst performance in a major where he’s made the cut. The wait until next year’s Masters could be the longest eight months of his life.

Related: The winners and losers from Oak Hill

Matt Kuchar: Others who had worse weeks, , but the world No. 6 deserves to be singled out for how he handled a weekend in which he had a chance to win major No. 1. Kuchar birdied the first hole on Saturday to pull within a shot of the lead, but played his next 19 holes in 10 over to end his title chances.

People complaining about a lack of drivers: This has been a common complaint this year, especially in the majors. Well, guess what? No one is stopping ANYONE from hitting the big stick and those who do it well can still gain an edge. Look no further than Jason Dufner, who pulled driver time-after-time on Sunday. Dufner spun a wedge into the cup for an eagle on Friday and nearly did it three times during the final round. Why did he have such a short club in his hands for those approach shots? You do the math.

Related: Our favorite Johnny Millerisms

USGA/Fox Sports deal: Starting in 2015, the U.S. Open will feature no Johnny?! And no Yanni?! It’s enough to make a grown-man cry. Geoff Shackelford called out the USGA’s timing, Ron Sirak broke down the stunning deal and Tim Rosaforte reported Greg Norman might be Fox Sports’ answer to Johnny Miller in the booth. OK, I’m starting to lose it again. Where did I put those tissues?

ON TAP

The PGA Tour heads to the Greensboro for the Wyndham Championship, aka “Glory’s Last Shot,” if you want a shot at the end-of-the-season money grab known as the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Only the top 125 players in points after this week will be allowed to tee it up at next week’s Barclays, the first of four postseason events.

Related: The PGA Tour’s surprising winners of 2013

Random tournament fact: Since this event moved to Sedgfield CC in 2008, the average winning score is 19-under par. In other words, don’t expect a grindfest out there.

WEEKLY YAHOO! FANTASY LINEUP

Think no one won two majors this year? Think again. With my brilliant pick of Jason Dufner in the second round, I won our PGA Championship pool, adding to the Masters pool I won thanks to Adam Scott. I should probably quit while I’m ahead, but I’d be doing you a disservice.

Starters — (A-List): Bill Haas: A disappointing weekend at the PGA Championship doesn’t change the fact that the North Carolina native has gone T-4, win, T-9, T-7 in his last four non-major starts.

(B-List): Webb Simpson: We’ll keep the Wake Forest/good guy vibes going with the 2011 champ fresh off a week in which he tied Oak Hill’s course record on Friday — at least, until Jason Dufner broke it a few hours later.

Related: Who is the best current player without a major?

(B-List): Zach Johnson: After a rough start to the season, ZJ has been on a tear, with four straight top 10s, including two in major championships and a runner-up at the John Deere. We say he gets his first win of 2013 here.

(C-List): Hideki Matsuyama: His three major championships this year resulted in a T-10 at Merion, a T-6 at Muirfield and a T-19 at Oak Hill. Oh yeah, he’s only 21.

Bench: Brandt Snedeker, Graham DeLaet, David Hearn and Roberto Castro.

VIRAL PHOTO OF THE WEEK

A no-brainer this week:

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#DufSqueeze #Dufnering, #DufTown, #DufDaddy, #Dufsanity. You get the point. It’s Jason Dufner’s world right now.

RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK

— A struggling pro will approach Jason Dufner and ask him for a lesson in waggling: 5-to-1 odds

— Jason Dufner won’t be given a lot of short putts at the Presidents Cup: LOCK

THIS WEEK IN DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION

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The two lovebirds are back in mid-season form (DJ looks to be back in form as well, with a T-8 at the PGA) when it comes to posting pictures. Here are two that caught our eye. Of the second one, Paulina writes: “Burger Barn w. My Baby.” Hmm. We wouldn’t have pegged her as the burger-eating type. . .

THIS AND THAT
Sunday TV ratings for the PGA Championship were up 13 percent from last year. The lesson learned? We need more final pairings of Jason Dufner and Jim Furyk! . . . Andrew Svoboda, a PGA Tour member this year, won his first Web.com tournament. My first big golf assignment was shadowing him at the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, where he was a member. Good times. . . The PGA of America announced news that Bethpage Black will host the 2019 PGA and 2024 Ryder Cup during the U.S. Amateur, but said the timing wasn’t done as a retaliation for the USGA announcing its TV deal with Fox Sports on the eve of the PGA. Sure it wasn’t. . . .

RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER

Does Jason Dufner play poker?

Does Jason Dufner have a dip sponsor?

Is it too late to learn to waggle?

– Alex Myers is an Associate Editor for GolfDigest.com. Feel free to email him and please follow him on Twitter since he has self-esteem issues.

Read the original here: The Grind: Jason Dufner’s world, USGA/PGA jousting and Tiger Woods’ troubles

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Media: Tiger stumbled, but at least we saw it

By John Strege

The PGA Championship might rank fourth in major championship prestige, but if common sense were the barometer, it would rank ahead of the Masters and Augusta National.

Recall that Tiger Woods entered the Masters having won consecutive starts and anticipation was at a zenith. Yet only the final few holes of his first round were televised and Augusta National did not include his group in its featured pairing that it showed on its website, choosing instead to show the group of Peter Hanson, Charl Schwartzel and Webb Simpson.

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Woods came into the PGA Championship off a landslide victory in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, his fifth victory of the season, amping up the anticipation again. The PGA of America chose to have his group be the featured pairing on its website, enabling those with access to a computer to watch his entire round, as flawed as it turned out to be.

Too much risk, no reward

It began with a tee shot right of the fairway. Stymied by a tree, Woods still attempted to slash a hard slice around it (see photo) and failed, putting him in more of a bind.

On TNT, Ian Baker-Finch criticized Woods’ course management. “David, I often wonder with Tiger, he tries to make that spectacular recovery shot, why doesn’t he just pitch it out in the fairway and pitch it from 60 yards close?” Baker-Finch said. “It would have been easier.”

“It’s not in his nature, Feherty replied.

Related: Media: No TV for Tiger on Thursday

Broadcast rookie of the year

Notah Begay, a winner of four PGA Tour events and Woods’ teammate at Stanford, is a Golf Channel rookie who was hired when Dottie Pepper left NBC and the Golf Channel. It was a prudent hire, too:

– On Tiger and his propensity for hitting the wayward shot: “He is by far the best range player I’ve ever seen. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him miss a shot on the range, all through the bag, the driver included. But then when he takes that to the golf course, he does get a little bit out of sync. When it speeds up too much with adrenaline it’s just kind of this convergence of all the things you don’t want to happen, the sequence gets off and you see a few errant shots.”

– On Woods’ instructor Sean Foley, who revealed in a Golf Channel interview with Golf Digest and Golf World senior writer Tim Rosaforte that he used to tell associates that he would teach Woods one day: “Sean’s renowned for giving a $10 answer to a 10-cent question. And it’s because he has a wealth of information based upon science, based upon philosophy and based upon his own personal experiences. I truly feel that the people that do go through a bit of a tough time in their life — and he went to an all-black college [Tennessee State], he was the white kid, he was in the minority at that particular place — has to develop a sense of who they are and a perspective on what they feel is important, and the goals that they want to set in their life. He felt that he wanted to be an instructor. And I can’t think of a better way to motivate one’s self than to say, ‘I’m going to teach Tiger Woods.'”

Twitter thrust and parry

The unapologetically acerbic Steve Elkington engaged in a brief Twitter set-to with a PGA of America professional, Ryan Szydlowski, head pro at Desert Willow Golf Resort in Palm Desert, Calif.

On TNT’s telecast Michael Breed, who had provided commentary of the featured group at PGA.com, was introduced as the PGA Teacher of the Year.

Elkington: “Michael Breeds teacher of the year?…..Who’s he teach?”

Szydlowski: “@elkpga not about teaching tour players. Michael gets new golfers excited and encourages lifelong players to keep having fun.”

Elkington: “Oh…I thought I heard teacher of the year….U want fun hire a clown”

Szydlowski: “clowns draw cartoons and love to draw attention to themselves too! Sound familiar?”

Advantage Szydlowski. Elkington is a cartoonist who draws caricatures that he ties to the golf news of the day and calls it Cartoon Corner.

Overheard

It wasn’t the best start for Phil Mickelson on Thursday. Moments before his tee time, TNT caught him asking no one in particular, “How do you get to number one?”

(Getty Images photo)

Follow @JohnStrege

Excerpt from: Media: Tiger stumbled, but at least we saw it

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