Nick Dunlap’s (latest) historic win, Tiger Woods’ (likely) new brand and Aaron Rodgers’ ‘signature’ hole-in-one

Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we’re not sure what Nick Dunlap is waiting for when it comes to turning pro. Forget about the money, I would have left school early just to avoid a few final exams and papers. That being said, I realize Young Nick’s college experience is a bit different than mine. At 6-foot-3, he’s both literally and figuratively a big man on campus at Alabama. And with a fellow Nick (Saban) recently retiring, his star will shine even brighter in Tuscaloosa.

Also unlike me—something I’ve been reminded of by my parents throughout the years—Nick is a finance major. And with all the money that will be headed his way in the future, that kind of a degree could actually come in handy. In any event, let’s talk about this history-making non-history major and everything else happening in the world of golf.

Nick Dunlap: Last August, when he became the only golfer other than Tiger Woods to win both the U.S. Junior and U.S. Amateur, we knew big things were on the way, but this is ridiculous. Dunlap did something at the American Express that even Tiger never did, becoming the first amateur to win on the PGA Tour since Phil Mickelson in 1991.

What a stud. And how cool was the 20-year-old under pressure? The guy was just chatting it up with Justin Thomas on the final hole:

Of course, it didn’t hurt that JT is a fellow Bama guy, not to mention the third in their group, Sam Burns, is a big SEC football guy from LSU. What a comfortable pairing! But sometimes things line up in a funny way for a reason. And Dunlap also happened to win on Jack Nicklaus’ birthday. Is it possible we just witnessed the arrival of the game’s next all-time great? And will this guy turn pro and take advantage of that two-year PGA Tour winner’s exemption? We’ll have to wait for answers to those questions, but in the meantime, we’re pretty sure he won’t be doing much school work this week.

Rory McIlroy: A week after a brutal loss, Rory redeemed himself in Dubai by winning the Hero Dubai Desert Classic for the fourth time in his illustrious career. I got on McIlroy a bit for blowing last week’s tournament, but it was just a bit of tough love. Sure, the guy lets a lot of trophies slip away, but he also wins a lot, and it’s a testament to the fact that he always seems to be in contention on Sunday. To that point, look at Rory’s recent run of results:

That’s downright Scottie Scheffler-esque. Kidding, Rory. It’s McIlroy-esque, too. Unfortunately for Rory at this point in his career, it’s all about the majors. Kinda like how Josh Allen could break every NFL record, but if he can’t beat Patrick Mahomes in the playoffs, it doesn’t matter. Stinks, but that’s the way it is for great athletes sometimes.

Lydia Ko: Remember this former phenom who used to win on the LPGA as an amateur? Well, she got back in the winner’s circle after a 14-month drought at the HGV Tournament of Champions.

She’s also probably wondering what the big deal is about Nick Dunlap. After all, Ko had 14 LPGA Tour titles, including two majors by the time she was 20. Anyway, Ko now has 20 career LPGA victories and is now just one point away from earning Hall-of-Fame status.

Tiger Woods’ new brand: It looks like that next “chapter” Tiger promised in that Nike farewell announcement will be a brand-new brand. Introducing SUNDAY RED, a lifestyle brand TaylorMade has applied for:

Love the name and like the logo. I’d just feel even better about this if it were prime Tiger and I think they’re going to be fighting an uphill battle in a brutal apparel space. But good luck, guys! And, by the way, I’m still a medium. Barely.

 

 

Gideon Canice

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