The Loop

The Grind

Dwyane Wade's courtside golf lesson, Phil Mickelson's wild week, and the craziest ending to a tournament ever

October 26, 2021

Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we’re still recovering from the family’s first trip to Disney World. The 20,000-plus-step days. The 40-minute ride waits in the Florida heat and humidity. The $40 mac-and-cheese kids meals at character dining. The cranky kids. The crankier parents. Truly a magical place! All kidding aside, wait until your kids are at least 5. Trust me. Oh, and hope that your entire family doesn’t come down with hand, foot, and mouth disease for some extra fun. OK, now that we have that important life lesson out of the way, let’s talk some golf. Or, rather, try to talk some golf. The blisters on my hands hurt when I type. Man, I’m a mess.

WE'RE BUYING

Hideki Matsuyama: Outside of the Japanese star winning the Olympics—where he gave a valiant effort—this Zozo Championship win is the most fitting victory of the season. The Masters champ capped a life-changing year by winning only the second official PGA Tour event played in his home country.

Atsushi Tomura

And he did it in his usual seemingly unsatisfied style:

Classic. Did I mention he won by five shots?

Bernhard Langer: More history for this ageless wonder as he became the oldest winner in PGA Tour Champions history at 64, besting Scott Hoch’s win at 63 in 2019. Langer claimed the Dominion Energy Charity Classic in a playoff over Doug Barron for his 42nd career victory on the senior circuit to move within three of Hale Irwin’s record total.

Ben Jared

It had been an unusually long winless drought for the German, whose last victory came last March. But Bernhard still racked up four runner-up finishes in between, and again, he’s SIXTY-FOUR! He has to slow down some time. Right?

This Vermont Airbnb: First of all, look at this beautiful mansion:

Spectacular. But the best part of this amazing 575-acre property in Middletown Springs? It comes with its own golf course. Yep, it’s own 18-hole golf course:

Absolutely wild. And when you split the $2,856 price per night among the 16 guests it accommodates, it’s a steal! If you know of any golfers getting married, talk about the perfect place to go for a bachelor/bachelorette party. So go ahead and book it. And then please invite me.

WE'RE SELLING

Phil Mickelson’s weekend: Obviously, the guy can’t win every time he tees it up against the geezers, but this was something else. Mickelson made a pair of 9s on his way to a T-47 at the same event he picked up his second senior circuit win at last year. Of course, it’s not like anything can ruin his year after becoming the oldest major champ in May. And by Monday, things were already turning around for him:

Never a dull moment with this guy.

Charley Hoffman’s quote: Or, rather, Charley Hoffman’s quote during an appearance in the Golf Channel booth during Friday’s second round of the Zozo being taken a bit out of context. Here’s what got everybody into frenzy: ​​I expect him to be out there sometime soon and hopefully competing to win golf tournaments.” Sounds great, but it’s a bit different when you see the entire quote: “There’s a lot of things to go through, and I, obviously, hope for the best for him and everybody’s pulling for Tiger Woods. This game is definitely a lot better with him in it, and I expect him to be out there sometime soon and hopefully competing to win golf tournaments.”

And this quote as well: “I haven’t had any conversation with him, but he’s obviously kicked my butt my whole life and I was fortunate to play a lot of golf growing up with him,” Hoffman said on Golf Channel. “But he’s an inspiration to everybody, and that if there’s one guy that can come back and get his feet literally back on the ground, it’s going to be that guy and I’m never going to count him out.”

We aren’t going to count him out, either. But we’re also not going to start planning the parade for his 83rd PGA Tour win just yet, either.

Getting locked in a bathroom: Especially if you have somewhere important to be. Such was the case for Jeff Winther, who was leading the European Tour’s Mallorca Golf Open on Sunday when his hotel door stuck with him and his wife inside the bathroom. If you have your phone, getting stuck somewhere these days isn’t that bad, but Jeff had the most important tee time of his life to get to. And luckily, he had the whole family with him on the trip. Winther’s six-year-old daughter Nora wound up saving the day by tracking someone down to break down the door. Daddy made it to his tee time and wound up winning his first European Tour title!

What a story. I’m not sure our 3-year-old would have done the same for us after we didn’t let her go swimming past her bedtime on the last night in Disney.

ON TAP

The PGA Tour heads to Bermuda for the Butterfield Bermuda Championship (love a good alliterative tournament title), AKA that one where the defending champ was booted from his flight because the plane was too heavy. True story! Several people had to get off the flight, including Brian Gay. Good for him for not pulling a, “Do you know who I am?!” fit. Or maybe he did and no one knew who he was. Anyway, others reported similar travel issues. Rough. Then again, it’s better than getting lost in the Bermuda Triangle.

Random tournament fact: For the first time, the Bermuda Championship will count as a full-field event with the WGC-HSBC Champions in China being canceled. So there’s a Masters invite at stake this week—for those who get there in time.

RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK

—Bernhard Langer is done breaking that oldest winner mark: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds

—Brian Gay will successfully defend his title in Bermuda: 100-to-1 odds (actual odds)

—Patrick Reed would have pulled a “Do you know who I am?” fit: LOCK

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

It’s not that great of a photo, but it’s the best we have to capture one of the most incredible endings ever to a sporting event because there’s no video of the miraculous shot by Christopher Feldborg Nielsen:

In case you don’t speak Swedish, this dude made a freaking albatross on the final hole to tie a Nordic Golf League tournament and then won in a playoff. Even better? He earned his Challenge Tour card for next season as a result. Actually, there’s video of him plucking the ball out of the hole, but he looks like he just tapped in for a double bogey:

What a wild scene.

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (OLD LEGENDS DIVISION)

How about Dwyane Wade taking advantage of sitting next to Tony Finau at a Miami Heat game by getting some golf tips?

You love to see it. Of course, Wade also filmed a playing lesson with Tiger Woods earlier this year and he’s also been seen working with George Gankus. The great athletes are always trying to get better!

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (YOUNG LEGENDS DIVISION)

I didn’t think it was possible to find a junior golfer with more swagger than Little John Daly. I was wrong. Check out Hunter William’s putting—and fist-pumping—clinic:

Eat your heart out, Kevin Na. This kid is a walk-in putting prodigy. Absolutely electric stuff, Hunter. Keep having fun out there, young man.

THIS WEEK IN PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION

Congrats to Hayden Buckley earning his PGA Tour card and getting engaged just a few weeks apart!

Wonder which experience was more nerve wracking.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“It was one of my biggest goals to win in front of the Japanese fans here in this country as well. So happy that I'll be able to accomplish that. Also, in 2019 Tiger won the Masters and went on to win the ZOZO Championship, so I'm glad that I would be able to emulate that as well.” —Hideki Matsuyama after pulling off the “historic” Masters-Zozo double.

THIS AND THAT

Congrats to Jin Young Ko on yet another LPGA Tour victory, her fourth of the season and the 11th of her short career. It also marked the 200th LPGA win by a South Korean and it came in South Korea. OK, so maybe this was just as fitting as Hideki’s win. . . . In other LPGA news, Patty Tavatanakit wrapped up the tour’s rookie of the year award despite there being two events left this season. Then again, Ja’Marr Chase has already wrapped up the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year despite there being more than half the season left. . . . The starting five of the Georgia Tech men’s golf team last week had an average height of 6 feet, 4 ½ inches. That has to be the most intimidating golf team in history. . . . And, finally, the trip still had its highlights:

But, yeah, it’s good to be back home.

RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER

How much weight does a standard plane support?

How much does Disney World make a year?

When Will we go to Disney World again?