The Grind: Kuchar gets a jacket, hornets terrorize, and Jimenez shows his youth
By Alex Myers
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we never thought the week after the Masters could be so exciting. The guy who could have won at Augusta and the girl who once upon a time thought she would compete there both ended winless droughts in thrilling fashion. Plus, there was everybody's favorite cigar-smoking, wine-swigging senior making a flashy debut on the Champions Tour, and a swarm of hornets wreaking havoc on the European Tour. So apply some extra bug spray and settle in for a rundown of a surprisingly bzzzy (Sorry, couldn't resist) week in golf.
It's not green, but at least Matt Kuchar wound up winning a jacket.
Matt Kuchar: Apparently, Kuchar's recent final-round problems stemmed from being too close to the 54-hole lead. After finding himself on our naughty list three weeks in a row for letting Sunday opportunities slip through his fingers, Kuchar closed out a much-needed victory at Harbour Town with the shot of year. A holed bunker shot on the final hole capped a 64 and erased a horrific three-putt on No. 17. Last year, we established the Matt Kuchar Rule, which stated Kuchar never plays poorly in back-to-back weeks. We might have to update it to just say he never plays poorly.
Michelle Wie: Kuchar's victory might have felt like it was a long time in the making, but Wie's win really was. A Sunday 67 allowed her to erase a four-shot deficit and win in her home state of Hawaii, her first title in nearly four years. Don't expect her to go another 79 tournaments without winning. Wie has been the best golfer on the LPGA Tour in 2014.
Miguel Angel Jimenez: Gee, we didn't see this coming. One week after finishing fourth at the Masters, Jimenez made his debut on the Champions Tour and won. Luckily for other senior golfers, Jimenez's focus is still on playing European and PGA Tour events in an effort to qualify for the Ryder Cup team. Well, that and finding a good cigar-wine combo to celebrate all the money he's been raking in of late.
Lee Westwood: Adding to the impressive roster of winners this week was the former World No. 1, who cruised to a seven-shot victory at the Malaysian Open. At 40, Westwood hinted he thinks his best golf could still be ahead of him. Throw in guys like Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia and Dustin Johnson along with Matt Kuchar and this current crop of "best player without a major" candidates might be the strongest it's ever been.
Hornets: Did you see what happened to Pablo Larrazabal at the Malaysian Open?! A swarm of these buggers attacked him on Friday, leading him to jump into a lake to escape them. We just looked up hornets and unlike bees, they can sting you more than once. In other words, they're the worst. "I've never been so scared," said Larrazabal, who was stung by 30 to 40 hornets. Amazingly, with his pants still wet, he managed to birdie that hole on his way to a 68. The European Tour should have given him its Comeback Player of the Year Award on the spot.
Josh Broadaway: The Web.com Tour player voiced his displeasure that Nick Faldo was taking a spot in the field at Hilton Head. While there is a growing problem of guys not getting into tournaments -- particularly because of pros exploiting medical exemptions -- it's silly for someone to focus on a player who hadn't played in a PGA Tour event in the U.S. since 2006. Plus, the player in question won SIX majors. Hey, Josh, show some respect. And play better.
Luke Donald's luck: This guy just can't win at Harbour Town no matter what he does. Three runner-ups and two third-place finishes in the past six years? Being that close and not winning at least once might be tougher than winning the same tournament five of six years. Speaking of close calls. . .
Losing "majors": How did this putt for the win not drop for me?!
It's been a few days and I still can't get over losing Golf Digest's Spring Opener, one of two annual official office putting contests, in extra holes to Steve Hennessey (I could have won a jacket like Kuchar!). It makes me wonder how the pros ever get over losing actual majors. Seriously, Sergio/Lee/Luke/etc., do you have any tips?
The PGA Tour heads to Louisiana for the Zurich Classic, aka that tournament played in the quiet little town of New Orleans.
Random tournament fact: There have been a bunch of events won this year at single digits under par, but don't expect that this week. That's only happened once in the past 40 years despite three different courses hosting the tournament in that span.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- A PGA Tour pro will jump in a lake at TPC Louisiana to avoid hornets: 1 million-to-1 odds (Remember this guy from last year?
-- Miguel Angel Jimenez is smoking a cigar as you read this: Even odds
-- Matt Kuchar will have his least stressful Sunday in more than a month: LOCK
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Thanks to Twitter user @d_malkiewicz for capturing this magical moment. What are the odds?!
THIS WEEK IN DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Our favorite Golf Digest cover couple is back!
"Loving Cabo with my babe @djohnsonpga," Paulina wrote on Instagram.
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
In case you missed it, John Daly is still hitting golf balls teed up in people's mouths. It's amazing and absolutely terrifying at once.
THIS AND THAT
Fox appears to have settled on Joe Buck and Greg Norman to lead its golf coverage, which starts with next year's U.S. Open. We can't talk about this anymore. The thought of no more Johnny Miller in the booth that week is too sad. . . . Speaking of the U.S. Open, Mike Davis says Pinehurst is ready to host both the men and women this year on back-to-back weeks. Never has a man so hoped there won't be a playoff. . . . Ted Scott, Bubba Watson's caddie, shot a 1-under-par 71 in a Monday qualifier for the Zurich Classic, but didn't get into the tournament. He'll have to settle for a week off. . . . For all the people who complain about me posting too many pictures of scantily-clad females, here's a picture of a shirtless Rickie Fowler playing golf. Now that's what we call fair coverage.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Has Rickie been doing more crunches lately?
Will Westwood or Kuchar ever win a major?
How did that putt not fall for me?!