The Social: It takes two to tango

By Jason CrookApril 25, 2017, 8:45 pm

Rory McIlroy gets married (we're pretty sure), Rickie Fowler finally finds himself a girl (at least for a couple photos), and Dustin Johnson (thankfully) isn't going anywhere near Paulina Gretzky's social media accounts. All that and plenty more in this edition of The Social.

Rory McIlroy and Erica Stoll were married in extravagant fashion over the weekend, tying the knot at Ashford Castle in Ireland with all sorts of celebrities and golf superstars in attendance.

According to reports, both Stevie Wonder and Ed Sheeran performed at the event for the 200-plus guests in attendance. Of course, with a wedding of this size and notoriety, you may be wondering how no photos have leaked out on social media?

Well, it was reported that the world No. 2 hired anti-drone technology to keep the big day under wraps. That being said, the Internet was blessed with images these images of Rory's parents and Padraig Harrington in their cars. Artistically speaking, they may not be what you’re looking for in wedding photos, but hey, who are you to judge art?

The couple has since taken off for a Caribbean honeymoon expected to last 10 days. Much like the wedding photos, we got you an exclusive first look at their trip:

Not a bad little set up.

Rickie Fowler has been notoriously single at both the most recent Ryder Cup and at this month’s #SB2K17. But he found himself a lady, at least to take a couple pictures with, this weekend at the MotoGP Grand Prix of the Americas.

Fowler’s day with pole vaulter, model and Internet sensation Allison Stokke fueled dating rumors throughout social media, because what is social media for if not for random users to make baseless claims about the personal lives of professional athletes?

I won!

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We tied?

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If the two turn out to be dating, well, good for them.

Of course, it’s hard to read too much into the photos because it is, after all, Rickie Fowler. Allison isn’t even the most famous person he hung out with last week:

PGA Tour events are often packed with stars, but they’ve got nothing on Derek Jeter’s Celebrity Invitational that went down over the weekend in Las Vegas.

Everyone from the former Yankee captain’s old teammates to Hollywood A-list actors to golf social media starlets showed up for the outing at which Jeter famously made a fake hole-in-one last year.

Today. Derek Jeter Celebrity Invitational @jeterturn2 #Finalround

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Last Night #Vegas #Glam @arialv Derek Jeter Celebrity Invitational #gala #DJCI #ootn #Turn2 #DJCI2017

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A few practice swings before @_paige.renee tees off at #DJCI. #Turn2 #DJCI2017 #ShadowCreek

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They even got rapper T.I. to entertain at the event which benefits Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation, making him the first rapper to perform at a golf tournament since, oddly enough, the Masters.

Incredible performance by T.I. at the #DJCI Gala! Thanks, T.I., for your support of #Turn2. #DJCI2017

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Hard not to feel for this kid. He could learn a thing or two from George Costanza's mistakes. Just take a peek after a poke.

This just in: Flying private is better than not flying private.

Case in point, Smylie Kaufman, who took a Southwest Airlines flight to this week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans, but was questioned about his age when he sat in the exit row. Even worse (better?), this wasn't the first time.

For the record, Kaufman is 25 and is sponsored by a beer company. The minimum age to sit in an exit row is 15.

But hey, small price to pay for hanging out with the Saints and Pelicans once he actually got to New Orleans.

Kaufman may have been a little annoyed with his commercial flight experience, but he’s got nothing on Mathew Goggin, who got off his United Airlines (shocker!) flight to find his clubs looking lie this:

The Aussie pro with five Tour titles to his name chose to avoid a physical confrontation with the airline, wisely opting instead for the subtle Twitter jab and the graphic photo of his driver and a couple of other fairway woods.

Dustin Johnson said in an interview last week that he has no input on what his fiancée, Paulina Gretzky, posts to social media.

"Absolutely not," Johnson responded when asked if he has any input into Gretzky's posts. "She doesn't ask me! . . . Like I would know what would be good to post or not. I'm terrible with that."

Hey Dustin, let's keep it that way. Paulina's pretty good at this whole social media thing:

Slay, All Day @casamigos @jeremyc0hen #casamigoshalloween

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Bae Watch

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Happy Valentines Day

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Caddie channel. Now there's an idea.

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.