Finau’s celebration, McIlroy throws (more) shade and Judge Freeman’s decision | Rogers Report
Layna Finau, S. Todd Rogers, Stuart Kerr
Hello, friends — and happy Wednesday! I want this week’s Rogers Report to serve as somewhat of a palate cleanser after days of legal documents and court proceedings. That’s not to say I won’t dive into pro golf’s battle at all, but for the most part this will be a LIV vs. PGA Tour safe space!
Let’s first give credit where credit is due: Ashleigh Buhai rallied to a victory on the fourth playoff hole at The Women’s Open on Sunday after giving up a five-shot lead. Her bunker game was immaculate and her husband’s support was as wholesome as it gets.
Finau family updates
To the surprise of absolutely no one, we were given yet another video of Tony Finau throwing down another performance of the “Dougie” over the weekend.
Is this overplayed? Perhaps! Will I ever get sick of these videos? Absolutely not! It’s refreshing to see a golfer having such a great time off the course … although Finau may have been in the dog house after dropping his wife’s phone in the pool at their daughter’s first birthday party. (Kidding. Finau confirmed in his presser in Memphis that the phone survived.)
Making a hole-in-one, attending the Masters and maybe a Ryder Cup are on just about every golfer’s bucket list. Not mine, though. I want to:
1. Attend the TaylorMade holiday shoot and
2. Attend a birthday party thrown by a professional golfer
Why? Because they go all out. Finau’s youngest, Sienna-Vee, turned one over the weekend and the party was top-notch. I’m talking hundreds of balloons, ice cream, cup cakes and perhaps the biggest bouncy house I’ve ever seen. Check it out.
Layna and Tony also went to an Imagine Dragons and Macklemore concert recently and despite Macklemore’s less-than-enthusiastic smile below, seemed like a grand old time.
Maya Fowler’s on-course debut
Charlie Woods. Sammy Spieth. Poppy McIlroy. Lots of PGA Tour children have had their “big moment” showing up to the course, but we hadn’t caught a glimpse of eight-month-old Maya at her father’s place of work until this past weekend.
Adorable! And huge shoutout to my lovely pal Ali Kerns for capturing this heartwarming content.
Heads up to all you thirty-somethings: the kids have arrived. Joohyung “Tom” Kim earned his first PGA Tour victory on Sunday at the ripe age of … 20. And furthermore, he’s the first guy born in the 2000s to win on Tour. Nothing makes me feel older than realizing today’s star athletes are younger than me and that my window to be a Disney Channel star has passed.
Anyway, let’s take a look at some moments in pop culture and sports that happened before Mr. Kim was even born.
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was the No. 1 movie, followed by Shrek and Monsters, Inc.
- Destiny’s Child Survivor topped the charts
- Friends was the most popular show on television
- The Playstation 2 was released
- Tiger Woods completed the Grand Slam
Feel old yet? Same. Joohyung Kim actually goes by “Tom” because of his love for Thomas the Train as a kid.
Seriously, he loved it. Check out the 60-degree wedge he had in play at the Wyndham Championship last week.
One of my very favorite things to do after we get a new Tour winner is to give their social media profiles a proper look-through. I couldn’t find Kim on Facebook, which wasn’t surprising because, once again, he was born in 2002. The following video from his Instagram profile, which appears to be a FootJoy ad, did not disappoint.
Faldo signs off one last time
By now, you are very aware that Sunday was Nick Faldo’s last day with the CBS crew. I don’t even know Nick Faldo personally, but I always find myself getting sad when people end a significant chapter of their lives — even when I don’t know them. While I think more about why that is, check out this awesome behind-the-scenes video we got from Faldo and Jim Nantz during a rain delay on Saturday:
Of course these guys have a good time on air, but it was really cool to see them off the air, not all buttoned up. Just hangin out! I’m hoping for more of this type of content going forward.
If you’re a golfer who has been to Europe lately, I’m willing to bet you lost your clubs for a few days. Losing them when you have no idea where they are is scary. Losing them when you know exactly where they are is infuriating. And that’s almost what happened to Collin Morikawa the other day. Can you imagine the feeling of helplessness that would come over you in this moment? You can see your clubs, you can see that they fell off the luggage cart, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. Tough!
Luckily for Morikawa, things got sorted out. Also I’m a big fan of the fact that he’s sporting his Ryder Cup travel bag these days.
Golf’s biggest breakup
The biggest breakup in golf right now is Rickie Fowler and his longtime caddie, Joe Skovron. But enough about that. Let’s focus on this video that had so much potential. It could’ve been great if the players had gone along with the bit.
Someone asked Tour players how they felt about Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson’s breakup, and I was let down by every single pro in the video. Joel Dahmen – I know you are better than this! What we really needed for this video to come to life was a certain Max Homa. I bet he would’ve talked about the break up, because he mentioned it on Twitter the other day.
Rory throws (more) shade
Before I dive into what Petty Rory (and I mean this in the best way possible) had to say in his presser in Memphis this week, I’d like to applaud him for not going to the gym, playing golf or eating a vegetable for two weeks following The Open. If the guy who came this close to a victory at St. Andrews can do nothing for two weeks, then so can we.
Back to the topic at hand. We all remember McIlroy making this remark, a shot at 20-time PGA Tour winner Greg Norman) after his victory at the Canadian Open in June: “Twenty-first PGA Tour win, one more than someone else. That gave me a little extra incentive today.”
Well Rory-with-an-edge is BACK, and here’s what he had to say on Wednesday morning.
In order to fully appreciate this, you need to know what was said in the LIV court hearing on Tuesday afternoon.
Bold move by Rory! I have to respect the fact that he a) is always paying attention and b) isn’t always petty, but when he is, it’s at the perfect time and it’s delivered perfectly.
I saved the best for last today, friends. Let’s all get to know Judge Beth Labson Freeman, the woman who decided the Playoff fate of Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford on Tuesday.
Here’s what we know: She pronounced “LIV” as “L-I-V” throughout the hearing yesterday, even after the lawyers named it correctly. This is a power move. It says, “I don’t really care what it’s called.” Next, she asked the lawyers if the Plaintiffs “would be in actual contention to win” the Playoffs. I’ve never been to court before (subtle flex that I’ve gotten out of my speeding tickets), but the fact that “are these guys even that good?” was a legitimate question is hilarious to me. But enough about that and more about who Freeman is.
The 68-year-old judge, who’s a member of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, was born in Washington, D.C. and attended UC Berkeley before taking her talents to Harvard Law School. In December of 2020, Judge Freeman blocked the enforcement of President Donald Trump’s executive order barring federal contractors from training employees on various concepts rooted in critical race theory (Wikipedia is a heck of a place, friends!). And for all you golfers out there, Freeman is a 32.9 Handicap and plays out of Peninsula Golf & Country Club. And oh yeah, she’s a total boss. I’d watch her court hearings all day.