(2 p.m. Grey Goatee Mean Time)
Which was better: Jordan Spieth’s four-hole, 5-under spree on the back nine to retake the lead? Or Henrik Stenson making everything he looked at last year at The Open because he had to, just because Mickelson was nearly as good? I’d hate to choose, and the good thing is we don’t have to.
It’s an argument without a loser.
The Champion Golfer of the Year was a contender all weekend, in his Under Armour kits, for Champion Dresser of the Year, but he has an anatomical anomaly that will really be an issue, sartorially speaking, by the time he turns 40: he’s got no butt.
Perennial contender Rickie Fowler has, in the past, been dissed by the famously savvy Grey Goatee Fashion Committee for trying too hard; this year, he didn’t try hard enough. It’s royally hard to make it look effortless, don’t you know. Stenson does it, and therefore he earns the committee’s nod as the ’17 Champion Dresser. Plus, he has a butt, not that I was paying THAT close attention.
Hey, stat geeks: A new category
(July 22, 5:07 p.m. Grey Goatee Mean Time)
In golf terms, “save” means a “par save,” an up-and-down that saves a player from dropping a shot to par and the field.
Jordan Spieth had a moment Saturday where a par save wouldn’t have been enough. It’s a measure of the level at which his playing partner, Matt Kuchar, was executing that a new category of save — the “birdie save” — was created on the spot on No. 15 at Royal Birkdale.
The two men, doing lovely battle in the final group in the third round of The Open Championship, both hit it on the green in two on the par-5 15th. Kuchar knocked his eagle putt close enough to tap in for birdie, while Spieth, leading Kuchar by a stroke at the time, uncharacteristically misread his eagle putt and left himself a twisty 15-foot comebacker for birdie to hold the lead.
You don’t have to read ahead to know he made it, and the birdie save might have won him the championship. When Kuchar double-bogeyed 16, the handwriting glowed on the wall. There’s still a Sunday to be played, but Spieth’s three-stroke lead looks large.
No one in the sporting public is unhappy to see these two paired again in the final group Sunday. You know they’re not saying “boo,” right? Kooooch is one of world golf’s most popular figures, and Spieth, when he putts like he has this week, is maybe the world’s best player.
You’re reading it here first: Spieth will win. If he doesn’t, it won’t be Kuchar who gets him. It won’t be 14-year-old Austin Connelly, who might actually be 20. It will be Brooks Koepka, the cold-blooded Koepka who won the U.S. Open, who will reel him in.
The final group doesn’t tee off ’til 0630, Grey Goatee Mean Time, but if you’re like me, you’ll want all the time you can have with Royal Birkdale and these amazing players, so it’s coffee and muffins at 4 a.m., and if you slip out to play actual golf, say, at the Golf Course in the Valley of the Shadow of the Brewery, the DVR won’t miss a minute.