The Social: Masters of celebration

By Jason CrookApril 11, 2017, 5:30 pm

New Masters champion Sergio Garcia embarks on a whirlwind media tour after nabbing his long-awaited first major, the week-long party in Augusta, Ga., finally comes to an end and the #SB2K17 crew officially embarks on their second annual Bahamas vacation. All that and plenty more in this Masters edition of The Social.

Sergio Garcia finally got that major he's been after for almost two decades, outdueling Justin Rose in a Masters playoff and slipping on a green jacket in a magical moment on Sunday.

And then ... he immediately took off for New York City to start his tour with various media outlets that all want a piece of the Masters champion about this time every year.

He posed on top of the Empire State Building (which was later lit up green in his honor) with his fiancée, Angela Akins, walked around the city in his new duds and stopped by the New York Stock Exchange and CNBC.

So yeah, hope you're not holding your breath, Luke Donald, Sergio is taking his time on this well-earned victory lap.

Sergio Garcia got congratulatory tweets from all over the place on Sunday night, including one from the guy he beat in a playoff to earn his green jacket, Rose.

But none were better than the ones from Hall of Fame NFL running back Emmitt Smith.

Smith took to Twitter to congratulate Garcia on overcoming "a varsity" to get his first Masters title. A VARSITY. Like adversity, only not at all.

Perhaps it was just a typo, because the tweet was eventually deleted, and replaced with this.

Not much better. That tweet was also deleted and Smith got it right on his third try, but screenshots don't forget.

The golf world descended on Augusta, Ga., last week and anybody who is anybody in the sport enjoyed some time in and around the hallowed grounds of Augusta National.

That includes social media starlets like Paige Spiranac, Chelsea Pezzola and Elise Lobb, who got to experience the Masters in person while they weren't "working out" with Gary Player.

Masters Sunday Whos going to walk away with the Green Jacket? #Masters #Golf

A post shared by Chelsea Lynn Pezzola (@clpezzola) on

Tough gig, if you can get it.

Oh, and Snoop Dogg was there, so I guess you can say the year's first major delivered.

#Repost @snoopdogg with @repostapp ・・・

A post shared by Augusta Jam (@theaugustajam) on

Bubba Watson had himself an interesting Masters week.

The two-time champ shot 74-78 to miss the cut, then had this to say to the press, “Golf is tough; I don’t know if you’ve ever played it. But writing articles is easy.”

Watson took to Twitter shortly afterwards to apologize and explained that his comments were a bad joke.

If you want a lesson on comedy Bubba, take one from legendary golf writer Dan Jenkins, who fired off this zinger as the Masters was wrapping up.

UPDATE: April 11, 2:15 PM

All of the he said-he said aside, #SB2K17 is officially on. The rest is just semantics.

Check out the best images from the Bahamas vacation here.


Life comes at you fast. Just ask Smylie Kaufman.

Last year, he teed off in the final group on Sunday at the Masters. But after a final-round 81, Kaufman watched this year's Masters from the "Natty Shack," a beer-sponsored event down the street from Augusta National.

So Kaufman had some time to talk during the season's first major, and Golf Digest caught up with him to ask him the important questions, like what's up with the most anticipated golf vacation of the season, #SB2K17?

"We've talked, but I doubt we can get anything on paper," Kaufman said. "Everybody's got such busy schedules."

Major buzzkill. But, was Smylie just throwing everyone off the scent? It's possible. Tim Rosaforte reported Tuesday on Morning Drive that the spring break shenanigans will go on, especially with Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth possibly needing a vacation after finishing the Masters with a couple of tough rounds.

So you're telling me there's a chance. Guess all there is to do now is wait, and check Snapchat, of course.

Ah ... Twitter. The great place where fans can let professional athletes know all the ways they've let them down, from personal reasons to gambling losses. Such is the case with this fine fellow, who chirped Ryan Palmer for blowing his bet by only finishing ninth at the Masters, and now he can't afford a fence.

Only problem is, Palmer didn't finish ninth at the Masters this year, because he wasn't in the field. That would be Ryan Moore, a fact not lost on Palmer, who responded as nicely as he could.

In conclusion, Ryan Palmer and Ryan Moore are two completely different dudes. Also, don't gamble away your fence money.

Got an extra grand lying around and want to own the least satisfying piece of golf memorabilia in existence? Then head over to Ebay where you can buy a egg salad sandwich wrapper from the 1997 Masters, when Tiger Woods won his first green jacket.

Yes, you're seeing that correctly. Someone has carried around a piece of trash for 20 years and decided this week to try and sell it for $999.

Gotta respect that hustle.

Grayson Murray hasn't made very many friends on Twitter in his young PGA Tour career, but this move ought to score him some points.

Twitter user @indianagolfpro tweeted at the pro, asking him for some help buying a dependable car to get his wife to and from the hospital for medical trips after a recent brain surgery.

Murray responded and offered to pay for the whole car, provided he got 10,000 retweets. Well, it didn't take long, and now the 23-year-old says he will hold up his end of the bargain, tweeting that he "can't wait" to provide a vehicle for couple.

Perhaps this "#1 Rory McIlroy Fan" might consider updating his Twitter name.

Yeah, because the type of sandwich was the issue here.

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

Getty Images

Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.