Green Bay Packers lineman David Bakhtiari welcomed quarterback Aaron Rodgers back to training camp this week with a new set of wheels: the Aston Martin Vanquish Rodgers always wanted and the pink fuzzy steering wheel cover he never knew he needed.
More accurately, it was Bakhtiari’s version of the luxury British sports car. In reality, it was just an Onward golf cart he had customized to look the part — but with impressive attention to detail, we must say.
He proudly pointed out all the little extras to Rodgers during the gift reveal outside Lambeau Field in a video he shared Friday on Instagram. He had No. 12 stitched into the driver’s seat, had his three MVP years stenciled on, included an Aston Martin emblem and, the pièce de résistance, a vanity license plate.
A post shared by David Bakhtiari (@davidbakhtiari)
It has been a running joke during Rodgers’ appearances on “The Pat McAfee Show” that Bakhtiari gives him crummy presents, and he hoped his buddy would take his gift-giving game up a notch and get him something he actually wants, like a new Aston Martin Vanquish.
Last Christmas, Bakhtiari came through with a model of one, but Rodgers complained it was “100% used,” was all smudgy and looked like something off eBay.
“I have to contractually tell you guys he is supposedly getting me a golf cart … I don’t know if it’s an Aston Martin golf cart, but I will say that I am excited about that,” Rodgers told McAfee in December.
He can’t say Bakhtiari didn’t make good on that promise.
“My man finally got that #Ashtonmartin he always wanted. This is the real reason Aaron came back,” Bakhtiari wrote in the caption. “Enjoy it 3x MVP. No more shaming @patmcafeeshow.”
Of course, Rodgers will likely put the cart to good use. He has had a busy summer on the course, including a victory in the most recent edition of the Match, when he teamed with Bryson DeChambeau to beat Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady.
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A dichotomy presents itself in Olympic golf. Players are part of a "team" but it's still an individual competition.
KAWAGOE, Japan — As Collin Morikawa and Rory McIlroy, grouped together for the first two rounds of the men’s Olympic golf stroke play tournament, walked the final fairways during Friday’s second round, they were chatting.
The topic of conversation revolved around the Olympic sports they watched growing up.
Morikawa took to the prime-time events of swimming and gymnastics during his youth. Even though he watches equestrian only every few years, McIlroy couldn’t hold back his excitement for the first night of individual and team dressage.
“It’s mesmerizing,” McIlroy said.
The Olympics were never much of a professional goal for the golfers, because golf wasn’t on the Olympic program from 1904 until 2016.
“I think it’ll probably hit me once the tournament is over,” Morikawa said of being an Olympian. “No one can take that away from you.
“Whether it changes our career or not, put that aside,” he added. “It just changes who you are.”
Heading into the Games, McIlroy had been largely indifferent in his comments. He’s quickly changed his tune. Being part of an event that’s completely different and bigger than McIlroy and golf in general has been “a pretty cool thing.”
“I didn’t know if this going to (be) my only Olympics I play,” he said, “and I’m already looking forward to Paris.”
So is Morikawa, even if Paris 2024 feels distant. If he qualifies, “I’ll definitely be going.”
Embracing the Olympic experience
Great Britain’s Paul Casey became contemplative when asked about his experience at the Games. He’s staying in the Olympic Village and is “absolutely loving it.” He said the Village has been so wonderful to him he convinced Norway’s Viktor Hovland to move in.
Paul Casey of Great Britain plays his shot from the first tee during the third round of the Men’s Individual Stroke Play on day eight of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Kasumigaseki Country Club on July 31, 2021 in Kawagoe, Saitama, Japan. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
“It couldn’t be any better. For me, it’s hard to describe. Our tournament’s only just begun. Yeah, I’m going to have to digest it and probably talk about it afterwards, but it’s just been amazing,” Casey said.
He’s one of a few from Great Britain sleeping in a suite, not exactly similar to the accommodations he’s accustomed to on the PGA Tour. A group of rowdy partiers in the building next to him were at it deep into the night before the tournament. Instead of complaining, he took videos on his phone.
“I don’t even own a (clothing) iron this week,” he said. “Doing laundry that’s out on the balcony, all these things, it’s great.”
At the course, there is disappointment that no fans are permitted to attend, especially after 32,000 fans per day attended Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, England, for a “proper” Open Championship, as Ireland’s Shane Lowry put it.
“As far as the magnitude of the event, it feels big. It’s hard,” said Lowry. “It just feels like another tournament to me. I’m out there trying to shoot the best score I can. I don’t know whether that’s me playing it down in my own head or trying to do that. I do think if I did manage to win a medal, it would be a really big deal back home.”
Casey said the jovialness that could be felt in a playing group at another tournament, even a major, was absent. Caddies aren’t handing bags to players other than their own, for example. The entire field is “all-in” and they’re all aware of what the gold medal means to 2016 Olympic champion Justin Rose, Casey’s compatriot.
“This is being an athlete, being a global athlete,” he said. “What an honor to sort of have a chance to win a gold. This might be the only chance I get. I’ll have other chances at majors.”
Would format change be good for Olympic golf?
A dichotomy presents itself in Olympic golf. Players are part of a “team” — they wear the same uniform and compete under the same flag — but it’s still an individual competition. Only one person receives a spot on each of the three podiums.
“It’s tough, because it is a team sport, but we’re here as individuals,” Morikawa said. “There’s no ‘team, A-plus job’ here.”
If the International Golf Federation shifted to a different format that relied on team play, the body would have to change current qualifying rules that dictate the top 60 in the Olympic qualifying rankings earn spots, with a maximum of two per country. The U.S. sent four because it has several players in the top-15; if a country has four players in the top-15, it can send that many.
Morikawa is down for team play at the Olympics. He’s not sure how it would work, though.
“You look at the top 15 guys in the world, there’s a lot of us (Americans),” he said. “How do you decide two guys versus four? Or how do you decided whatever the numbers are for other countries?”
Match play has been mentioned as an alternative. That would be good for television ratings, Morikawa said, but there’s also a chance a chunk of the top players in the world could be sent home after the first day of play. Stroke play gives everyone the best chance to medal, he said.
“You can’t put us in one-day qualifiers and hope all the best get through, like swimming,” he said.
A team aspect already exists in some form, Lowry said, in the effort to produce medals for Team Ireland between he and McIlroy. They’ve dined together every night, played practice rounds as pairs and travel to the course in tandem.
But it’s not like they were helping each other out too much while paired together for the third round.
“We’ll be out there competing against each other, but it’d be nice to be playing with a friend and a really good golfer,” he said.
“I’ve always said it would have been nice if it was a team event,” Lowry added, “particularly because I would have got to play with Rory.”
How about a combination of stroke and match?
“It’d be too many rounds,” Lowry said. “I don’t know, I think it’s good the way it is. Four-round stroke I think is the proper form of golf. Let’s be honest, it generally determines the best golfer of the week.”
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