The Loop

The Grind: James Hahn's stylish win, Natalie Gulbis' impressive pose, and an Oscars-related nightmare

February 24, 2015

Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we're still groggy from staying up to watch the Oscars. Why does it have to go so late? And why do they jam the four biggest awards into the final 10 minutes? Imagine if all of golf's major championships were held in December? But we can't complain too much -- Mike Davis had it a lot worse. Every time "Birdman" won an award, the USGA executive director must have been having nightmarish flashbacks to the 2012 U.S. Open:


Oscars aside, there were also plenty of award-winning performances in golf this past week, so stick with us as we host our weekly rundown. We'll even promise to keep all of our clothes on.



James Hahn: A big congrats to this former shoe salesman of "Gangnam Style" fame on winning his first PGA Tour title in thrilling fashion. With the victory Hahn jumped from 297th in the Official World Golf Ranking to No. 86, and the timing was especially good with he and his wife expecting their first child in a couple weeks. After, he joked that "Northern Trust Open" is a bit long of a name for his baby daughter, but he'd consider "NTO." Wouldn't Riviera be better?

Lydia Ko: Ko won her sixth LPGA Tour title and ninth professional tournament at the Women's Australian Open at Royal Melbourne. In case you forgot, she's only 17 and she's already World No. 1. There's really not much more to say. What a talent.

Anirban Lahiri: We don't care what the tournaments were. Two victories on the European Tour in three weeks? That's pretty good. The 27-year-old rookie accomplished the feat by winning the Hero Indian Open in a playoff. Even more impressive? He did it without the use of a driver. We hereby dub Lahiri "The Indian Mickelson."


Sergio Garcia: The Spaniard not closing out a tournament isn't anything new, but the way he did it this time was. Always known as a great driver, it was Garcia's big stick that let him down big time on the final two holes with two tee shots that aren't going to make it into any TaylorMade ads. The ensuing back-to-back bogeys caused him to lose his one-shot lead and miss the playoff by one. Speaking of one, that's how many PGA Tour wins Garcia has in nearly seven years.

Old guys: For most of the week at Riviera, older players like Retief Goosen, 46, and Vijay Singh, who turned 52 on Sunday, were in the spotlight. Throw in 44-year-old Jim Furyk getting within a couple shots of the lead on Sunday and there was a great chance of seeing a young whippersnapper like Hahn being beat. But alas, all three of those guys who haven't won a major in more than a decade faded in the final round. Who knows when any of them will have another chance like that. Well, besides Furyk, who seems to give himself a chance to win every time he tees it up.

Riviera's 10th: Can you imagine if this hole was part of a brand new Donald Trump course? It would be labeled the most tricked-up hole in America. But even though it's part of such a classic design, more players like Bubba Watson are expressing their displeasure thanks to recent changes that have made the hole unfair. The best example of this, of course, was Ryan Moore, who lipped out for an ACE, but had to settle for a par when his ball trickled 50 feet from the hole and off the green. Sorry, but that's ridiculous.

James Stewart's "yips" swing: Speaking of ridiculous, the motorcross racer posted this video of him playing golf and people actually thought it was real:

A video posted by James Stewart (@therealjs7) on Feb 19, 2015 at 5:00pm PST

Two days later, Stewart posted a video of him magically swinging smoothly with the caption, "I fixed my swing." James, the yips is not something to joke about.


The PGA Tour heads to Florida for the Honda Classic, aka that event we've all gotten used to Tiger Woods playing in the past few years. However, Woods will not be playing this year despite the tournament's close proximity to his home because, well, it's complicated.

Random tournament fact: NBC picks up the weekend coverage for the Florida Swing, meaning Dan Hicks and Johnny Miller are starting a record 16th year of working together in the booth. Congrats to our favorite TV tandem.


-- James Hahn will give his daughter the middle name "NTO": 1 million-to-1 odds

-- Joe Buck and Greg Norman will break Hicks and Miller's record one day: 1,000-to-1 odds

-- This week's winner at PGA National will have a driver in his bag: LOCK


For a second straight week, we saw a golfer show incredible bravery. Last week, it was a guy risking his life to save his clubs from a burning car and this week, a Boston man scaled a mountain of snow just to take a swing and feel alive again during this brutal winter.


As a fellow Northeasterner, we feel your pain.


San Diego State's women's golf team is only ranked 24th in Golfstat's latest ranking, but they jumped to an unofficial No. 1 in the trick-shot ranking with this slick video:

Last week at Pebble Beach, it looked like Kenny G's golf game has slipped a bit. But his sax game is as strong as ever.


"If I had a losing record in the Ryder Cup, I'd keep my mouth shut." -- Lee Trevino on Phil Mickelson. Looks like the 75-year-old is still the king of the stinger.



What the. . . ? Of course, it's crazy moves like these that probably lead to photos like these:




Even in the depths of winter, you can't keep these two lovebirds from beaming.



Hannah O'Sullivan, 16, became the youngest Symetra Tour champion, breaking Cristie Kerr's record from 1995. Unfortunately for O'Sullivan, it seems a lot less impressive when someone a year older than her is already the best female golfer in the world. . . . Speaking of phenoms, a 12-year-old qualified for the New Zealand Women's Open after using Lydia Ko's old clubs. Yes, we are living in a world where kids getting hand-me-downs from a 17-year-old are already making a name for themselves. . . . Johnny Miller and David Duval called B.S. on Tiger's "new release pattern" causing his short-game woes. We're not arguing. . . . Jack Nicklaus said he thinks Tiger Woods will break his majors record for the 3,872nd time. Jack Nicklaus is now officially the only person in the world who still thinks Tiger is breaking that record. . . . I may not have 18 majors like Jack, but apparently, I have 19 checkered, button-down shirts. If those fashion go-tos ever go out of style, I'm in big trouble.


When will we see our first under-10 winner on the LPGA?

Why isn't Jack Black a bigger star?

Is Jack Nicklaus willing to bet even money on that?

-- Alex Myers is an Associate Editor for Feel free to email him and please follow him on Twitter since he has self-esteem issues.