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#pounditMonday, July 4, 2022

Golf

Phil Mickelson completely bombed with four-putt at US Open

Phil Mickelson putts

Phil Mickelson had a brutal front nine during his first round at the US Open on Thursday that included some terrible putting.

Lefty shot a 5-over 40 on the front nine at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. He was in position to birdie the sixth hole, but he barely missed his putt. What ensued was a disaster.

Mickelson needed three more putts in order to finally get the ball in the hole. He ended up taking a 5 on the par-3.

That was hard to watch.

It wasn’t until the 11th hole that Mickelson finally picked up his first birdie. But he gave it right back with a 2-over six on the very next hole.

Mickelson shot 10 over and finished tied for 33rd last week in the LIV London event. He putted poorly during that event as well.

Golfer wears Celtics gear at US Open

A Celtics logo on the back of a shirt

Companies usually have to pay big money to get their logos on the clothing of golfers who are competing in majors. But the Boston Celtics’ logo some airtime for free on Thursday.

Golfer Shane Lowry, who is from Ireland but lives in Florida, had a Celtics logo on the back of his shirt while playing in the first round of the US Open on Thursday.

Lowry on Wednesday teased his outfit that featured the logo.

Then he went out and wore it on Thursday at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.

Brookline is just southwest of Boston, so Lowry’s shirt played to the fans in the area. His timing worked perfectly too since Boston was hosting Game 6 of the NBA Finals between the Celtics and Golden State Warriors later that evening.

Lowry is looking to extend his streak of consecutive cuts made at a major to 13.

Rory McIlroy loses his cool after terrible break at US Open

Rory McIlroy hits a shot at the US Open

The US Open is known for being the most challenging event in golf, and Rory McIlroy got an unfriendly reminder of that during the first round on Thursday.

McIlroy caught a terrible break with his tee shot on the 5th hole at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. The ball ended up in some long fescue just at the end of a bunker. McIlroy tried to pop it on the green, but he ended up advancing it about 20 feet into another bunker. He was not happy.

Though he slammed his club twice, McIlroy was able to quickly regain his composure. He put his third shot on the green about 12 feet from the hole and made a huge par save.

McIlroy will not be the only golfer to lose his cool at the US Open. The USGA intentionally sets courses up to be extremely difficult for the event, which is why we have seen players have even worse temper tantrums in the past.

Jon Rahm gives must-see defense of PGA Tour

Jon Rahm looks ahead

May 6, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Jon Rahm walks off 12 during the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Multiple golfers have left the PGA Tour to participate in the new LIV Golf Series, but Jon Rahm isn’t going anywhere.

The 27-year-old golfer remains dedicated to the PGA Tour. He spoke about the LIV series at a press conference on Tuesday ahead of the US Open. While he said he could understand why some golfers left for the Saudi-backed series, Rahm detailed his reasons for remaining committed to the PGA Tour and turning down the LIV money.

“Part of the format is not really appealing to me. Shotgun, three days, to me is not a golf tournament. No cut. I want to play against the best in the world in a format that’s been going on for hundreds of years. That’s what I want to see,” Rahm began.

Then he explained why the money isn’t convincing for him.

“Yeah, money is great … but would [my] lifestyle change if I got $400 million? No, it would not change one bit … I could retire right now with what I’ve made and live a very happy life and not play golf again.”

Rahm also touched on the one big thing the PGA Tour has compared to anything else: history.

“I’ve never really played the game of golf for monetary reasons. I play for the love of the game, and I want to play against the best in the world. I’ve always been interested in history and legacy. And right now the PGA Tour has that. … there’s some meaning when you win.”

Rahm’s explanation makes plenty of sense for him. For other golfers who maybe aren’t going to be winning tournaments as often as him or ranking as the No. 1 golfer in the world, the money might be a lot more appealing.

Each player is in a different situation. But Rahm articulated many reasons why players are remaining with the PGA Tour.

Brooks Koepka rips reporters over LIV Golf questions

Brooks Koepka on the golf course

Feb 25, 2022; Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA; Brooks Koepka watches after completing the sixth hole during the second round of The Honda Classic golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The recent launch of the LIV Golf series has dominated the conversation leading up to the 2022 US Open, and Brooks Koepka made it clear on Tuesday that he is tired of hearing about the new league.

Koepka became irritated during his press conference at The Country Club in Brookline when he was asked a LIV Golf question. He accused the media of creating a “black cloud” over one of the most important golf events of the year.

Some of the biggest names in golf have signed with LIV and been suspended from the PGA Tour, so the story is quite significant. Still, there are many other players and fans who feel similarly to Koepka and want to get back to focusing on the major tournament that is about to be played.

Questions about the LIV Golf series led to an extremely awkward press conference for Phil Mickelson on Monday (video here). It is hardly a surprise that Koepka, a two-time US Open champion, is aggravated by all the attention the new league is receiving.

Rory McIlroy’s US Open spikes have hilarious local flare

Rory McIlroy on the course

May 30, 2019; Dublin, OH, USA; Rory McIlroy looks on during the first round of the 2019 Memorial golf tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

The US Open is being held in Massachusetts this year for the first time in over 30 years, and Rory McIlroy has found a subtle way to pay tribute to the local fans.

McIlroy wore some hilarious custom spikes during his practice round at The Country Club in Brookline on Tuesday. The underside of the red and white shoes featured a Nike swoosh that looked like a crustacean and the word “LOBSTAH.”

If you couldn’t figure out what Rory was going for just by the design, the spelling of the word “lobster” probably gave it away. That, of course, is a reference to the famous Boston-area accent. Lobster is also one of the most well known local New England delicacies.

McIlroy will likely hear plenty of cheers from the Brookline crowd, even if he is poking fun at the locals. Those who are against the LIV Golf series will love what the four-time major champion had to say after his big win on Sunday.

Phil Mickelson addressed LIV criticism in awkward press conference

Phil Mickelson in golf gear

May 22, 2021; Kiawah Island, South Carolina, USA; Phil Mickelson reacts on the first green during the third round of the PGA Championship golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

Phil Mickelson spoke with reporters on Monday in advance of the US Open, and the six-time major champion faced a barrage of questions about his decision to sign with the LIV Golf league. He did not exactly handle them with poise.

Mickelson told reporters he has heard a lot of strong opinions about his affiliation with the LIV series and that he respects all of them. He was asked more than once about the letter 9/11 families wrote accusing him of being a “partner” with the Saudi Arabian government. He became irritated with one question and basically told the reporter to get to the point.

Mickelson, who is known for his quirky sense of humor, seemed noticeably uncomfortable. You can hear some more of his comments below:

Mickelson drew negative attention earlier this year when he blasted the PGA Tour. He acknowledged that he is willing to work with some “scary motherf—-ers” in Saudi Arabia because he is so disgusted with the Tour. Mickelson received so much backlash that he had to step away from golf and skip the Masters. He has since officially signed with LIV.

Golfers who have signed with the LIV series are permitted to play in the US Open, as it is governed by the USGA and not the PGA Tour. There will be a definite “us vs. them” mentality for some people at The Country Club in Brookline this week.

Paulina Gretzky shares how Wayne reacted after meeting DJ for first time

Wayne Gretzky looks ahead

Jun 21, 2019; Vancouver, BC, Canada; Wayne Gretzky on stage as Philip Broberg is selected as the number eight overall pick to the Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Paulina Gretzky recently got married to Dustin Johnson after nearly a decade of being in a relationship together. Apparently her parents were big supporters of the wedding.

Gretzky answered fan questions over her Instagram Story on Sunday. She was asked by a fan how her father Wayne recated to meeting Johnson for the first time.

“He told me I should marry him …” Paulina responded.

That’s a pretty nice reception from her father.

Marrying into the Gretzky family can’t be easy. Imagine going to meet your girlfriend’s father, and it’s the greatest hockey player ever. There has to be some intimidation going on. But apparently Wayne liked Johnson.

There seemed to be a ton of family support for the relationship between Paulina and Dustin. You may recall that it was Paulina’s mom Janet who initially set up the couple.

Gretzky and Johnson got engaged in 2013, though they did not marry until this year. They have two sons together.

H/T The Spun

Justin Thomas sends message to LIV Golf defectors

Justin Thomas reads a putt

Jun 21, 2020; Hilton Head, South Carolina, USA; Justin Thomas lines up his putt on the 17th green during the final round of the RBC Heritage golf tournament at Harbour Town Golf Links. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Thomas has been outspoken in his support for the PGA Tour amid the Saudi-backed LIV Golf league’s efforts to court players. On Sunday, he offered additional backing of the Tour following his third-place finish at the RBC Canadian Open.

Thomas seemed to send a message via Twitter for players who left the Tour to play in the LIV league.

“What a week,” Thomas wrote. “That’s why we play, and that’s why we play on the @PGATOUR. Got to battle against one of the best today and got out dueled, but not without a fight. Congrats to @McIlroyRory on his 21st win and an amazing finish. Can’t wait for @usopengolf!”

Aside from his support for the Tour, the winking face emoji that Thomas used in his tweet seemed to pay homage to Rory McIlroy’s shot at LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman after winning the tournament. McIlroy’s win at the RBC Canadian Open was his 21st PGA Tour victory, which is one more than Norman had during his career on the Tour.

Thomas, who was paired with McIlroy and Tony Finau in Sunday’s final round, shot 6-under par to finish the tournament at 15-under par. The 29-year-old finished four strokes behind McIlroy (-19), who finished the day at 8-under par. Like Thomas, Finau shot 6-under par on Sunday, and finished in second place (-17).

Both Thomas and McIlroy have made their allegiance to the Tour known, while others have not.

Rory McIlroy takes shot at Greg Norman after latest win

Rory McIlroy on the course

May 30, 2019; Dublin, OH, USA; Rory McIlroy looks on during the first round of the 2019 Memorial golf tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Rory McIlroy on Sunday captured his 21st career PGA Tour win, and he took the opportunity to take a shot at Greg Norman.

McIlroy shot 19-under to win the RBC Canadian Open for the second time in his career. He finished ahead of Tony Finau by two strokes to win the event.

The win moves McIlroy up to tied for 31st on the all-time PGA Tour wins list. The victory also breaks him out of a tie with four others for 35th. The most notable golfer with whom he was previously tied was Norman.

During his post-event interview with CBS’ Amanda Balionis, McIlroy seemed to note that he had broken the tie with Norman.

“This is a day I’ll remember for a long, long time. 21st PGA Tour win. One more than someone else. That gave me a little bit of extra incentive today,” McIlroy told Balionis.

What does McIlroy have against Norman?

Norman is the CEO of the upstart rival LIV Golf league. McIlroy has pledged his allegiance to the PGA Tour while simultaneously treating the golfers who have left for the Saudi-backed league harshly. For McIlroy, besting Norman was personal.