Hello, friends, and happy Monday! I am writing to you all from the media center at the Players Championship, where I’ll be posted up all week. I’m excited to be at my third designated event of the year, and even more excited to be working alongside my pals Darren, Dylan and James this week. But before I go out and explore all that TPC Sawgrass, we’ve got a few things to catch up on.
So this SportsCenter commercial isn’t technically new (it’s from 2016), but with all the chatter about Jordan Spieth and Michael Greller over the weekend, I couldn’t help but bring it up. This 30-something-second interaction between Spieth and his caddie perfectly represents how they’ve been on the course together since 2011. Only here, they’re talking about mac ‘n’ cheese instead of approach shots.
I’d be remiss not to include the ESPN commercial of all ESPN commercials in this segment. Please enjoy the following, even if you’ve seen it thousands of times already.
Wholesome family moments
Not only did the Arnold Palmer Invitational have a superb Sunday-afternoon stretch as five (!) players were tied for the lead, but it also offered some superb family moments that, thanks to social media, we can experience second-hand.
Let’s start with Rickie Fowler and his daughter, Maya. The 1-year-old was out watching her dad tee it up during a practice round at Bay Hill when she decided she’d had enough (relatable).
Maya ran up to Fowler (on the tee!), who then brought her over to his wife, Allison. I’m personally a big fan of distracting your dad at work, so huge props to Maya for this. Any time something good, average or unfortunate happens in my life, the first thing I do is call my dad. And if he doesn’t answer? I’ll call him 10 more times. At 28, this habit is probably more annoying than cute.
Maya wasn’t the only PGA Tour toddler who shined at Arnie’s place last week. Step aside, Jordan. Sammy is the new Spieth on the block, and he’s quickly becoming a PGA Tour social-media favorite. Sammy met up with his dad on Sunday afternoon at Bay Hill. Jordan had posted a final-round 70, but Sammy had collected a cool stick. Hunter, meet gatherer.
Not only did Sammy have a stick for his dad upon being reunited, but he then put Greller to work by dropping the ball Jordan handed him. Like father, like son. That one must’ve made the three-time major winner proud. And finally, the Spieths met up with Justin Thomas, where Sammy was once again a hit.
This isn’t the first time Sammy has shined in the limelight. We mustn’t forget his Simba moment at the 2022 Presidents Cup.
Even the best fall down sometimes, folks. I’m sure Howie Day wasn’t thinking of Rory McIlroy when he released his hit-song Collide in 2003, but nonetheless, it still applies.
To be fair, I’m willing to bet the greens at Bay Hill are pretty slippery. As a yoga novice, I tend to go down in the exact same way when I attempt chair pose. And to be fair, I’d probably trip a lot if I were playing golf in front of thousands of people with more watching at home.
Worry not, McIlroy’s fall is now behind us. We can instead focus on Kurt Kitayama’s win and McIlroy congratulating the first-time PGA Tour champion.
Speaking of Kitayama, how did his birdie putt on the 72nd hole not drop? My only (working) theory is so that he could hilariously mark his putt from…a few centimeters away.
I know, I know. Kitayama employed the ball-marking move so he could set the stage for his first victory. But from a logistics standpoint, it was pretty funny to see. And I have a lot of respect for Kitayama for this move.
And shout-out to my coworker, Sean Zak, for sharing these photos of Kirt Kitayama from high school. His bio can now read: Varsity basketball (2009-11), PGA Tour winner (2023).
As an (extremely average) high school basketball player myself, those photos inspired me to dig a little deeper. What could I find from Kitayama‘s high school glory days? Honestly, a lot more than I thought.
After crunching the numbers here for a few hours, here’s what I’ve gathered: Kitayama’s high school team was pretty good!
A Smash GC outing
Some photos are worth a thousand words. I’m not sure I have quite that many for this Smash GC team outing to a Florida Panthers game, but I did want to at least share this image with all of you.
That’s all for now, friends. I’ll be typing daily write-ups from the grounds at TPC Sawgrass, so I’m hoping for an eventful week.