The Social: Double the fun after the PGA

By Jason CrookAugust 15, 2017, 10:40 pm

Justin Thomas breaks through for his first major victory and celebrates it in style, Rory McIlroy gets an outstanding application from a guy eager to be his new caddie, Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky head out on vacation and in case you weren't sure it was Solheim Cup week, Michelle Wie and Danielle Kang are here to remind you. All that and more in this edition of The Social.

It would be hard to start anywhere but Justin Thomas' victory at the PGA Championship, as the golf world hasn't stopped buzzing about it since he lifted the Wanamaker Trophy.

Social media lit up with congratulatory messages for one of the most well-liked guys on the PGA Tour, and one of his first orders of business when he got home to Jupiter, Fla., was dinner with Tiger Woods at the 14-time major champion's nearby restaurant, The Woods.

This photo of Woods, Thomas and the Wanamaker began circulating around the Internet, but perhaps the best version came from the Snapchat account of Rickie Fowler - who was also in attendance - with the caption "14-1-0 ... 0 not pictured," referencing the trio's major haul.

Say what you will about Fowler, he's got a great sense of humor about this whole third-wheeling thing.

The Rory McIlroy caddie opening is currently one of the most sought-after jobs in the golf world - he confirmed there's been plenty of interest ahead of last week's PGA Championship at Quail Hollow.

Now that he's considering shutting it down until next year with an injury, he'll have plenty of time to consider all of his possible options, including PGA Tour pro Joel Dahmen’s caddie, Geno Bonnalie, who tweeted out his de facto résumé which was equal parts hilarious and informative.

There's a lot there to read (in very small print), so here are some of the highlights:

- Please don’t think I’m sneaking around behind Joel’s back trying to get another job. I think Joel himself may also be applying for the position.

- If you hire me it wouldn’t be awkward at all because we already know each other. We played in front of you on Saturday at the Travelers and during the wait on 4 tee box I asked you if you wanted a water (which you politely declined). So we’re pretty much best friends already.

- Once upon a time I was one of the best Archers in the world (as a youth). so I have a weird ability to know exactly how far you are from the pin just by looking at it (inside 70 yards). So if I don’t step anything off, and tell you it’s 58 yards … it’s 58 yards.

- If we agree on a club, then you chunk the sh** out of it and yell at me for “giving you a bad club” I’ll probably eat it and say “sorry pro”, but please know that in my head I will be thinking something about how you should hit a better shot.

- If you make me keep our playing partners score, I sometimes lose track of what they made on a hole because I’m so focused on what we’re doing (see what I did there? Turned a negative in to a positive)

Click here to read Bonnalie's full qualifications, which may or may not exactly line up with what McIlroy is looking for, according to this incredible voice-over impersonation from Golf Central Daily.

It's been a long season for Dustin Johnson.

Three wins - including two WGCs, that slip and fall down the stairs before the start of the Masters that led to his withdrawal, the weight of the world No. 1 ranking as he searched for his second major title, becoming a new father for the second time.

Add it all up, and the end of the major season seems like the perfect time for a vacation. What a coincidence that he and his fiancée, Paulina Gretzky, are two of the best vacationers on earth.

So it wasn't a shock to see the two of them lounging in a pool at Baker's Bay in the Bahamas shortly after the PGA Championship wrapped up.

my one & only

A post shared by Paulina Gretzky (@paulinagretzky) on

A post shared by Paulina Gretzky (@paulinagretzky) on

Also, apparently in some crazy little scheme to actually turn a profit, Baker's Bay is open more than once a year during spring break when the #SB2K boys come to town. Who knew?

Virtual Reality isn't for everyone

A post shared by Barstool Gametime (@barstoolgametime) on

Just when you thought video games were safe.

Picking winners at a 75 percent success rate is unheard of in the gambling world, especially when it comes to golf. Unfortunately for one man who picked three of the four major winners this year, that accomplishment led to a payout of $0.

Jordan Baker's dream of a $2.5 million payout for a parlay of all four major champs officially died at The Open, where he picked Rickie Fowler instead of Jordan Spieth. But his heart was ripped out once again on Sunday at the PGA Championship while watching Justin Thomas outlast the field and hoist his first major championship trophy.

Baker tried to make light of the situation on Sunday, telling Fowler he could make it up to him with a round at Augusta National, but take a look at his Twitter timeline. That there is a broken man.

Something about the PGA Championship that inspires everyone to get a little slap happy.

Obviously it's going to be hard to top the GOAT - Jason Dufner after his win at Oak Hill in 2013, who became a viral sensation for this "celebration" with then-wife, Amanda.

But Jordan Spieth gave it a try after his good friend Justin Thomas won the PGA on Sunday. The three-time major winner welcomed his buddy to the club with a big old pat on the rear end.

Attaboy JT, you earned it.

It's not how you play, it's how you look while you're playing ... or something like that.

Well the USA Solheim Cup squad is looking rather red, white and blue early this week, especially Michelle Wie.

Wie has gone full USA braids and Swarovski crystal shoes, as well as matching American flag onesies with BFF Danielle Kang.

A post shared by Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) on

Not sure what this means for U.S. team, but it's a strategy so crazy, it might just work.

It's a tough call, but have to go with Robert on this one.

Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

“I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.


CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


“I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

“We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

How does she feel?

“I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

“I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.


CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

“Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

“I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”

You Oughta Know: LPGA's Sunday scenarios

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:17 am

NAPLES, Fla. – The CME Group Tour Championship is loaded with pressure-packed subplots Sunday at Tiburon Golf Club.

Here’s what You Oughta Know about the prizes at stake:

Race to the CME Globe

Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park are 1-2 in CME Globe points. They are best positioned Sunday to take home the $1 million jackpot in the season-long competition.

Thompson and Park are tied for fifth in the tournament, one shot off the lead. If either of them wins, she will take home the jackpot.

The way it’s unfolding Thompson is a good bet to take home the jackpot by merely finishing ahead of Park, unless they both stumble badly on Sunday.

Ariya Jutanugarn is tied for the lead. She must win to take home the jackpot, but she would also need Thompson to finish ninth or worse and Park to finish eighth or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points to make a bold Sunday charge.

Stacy Lewis is one shot off the lead with a longshot chance at the jackpot. She must win the tournament while Thompson finishes 26th or worse, Park finishes 12th or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points makes a bold Sunday charge.

So Yeon Ryu, Shanshan Feng and Brooke Henderson are among others who still have a shot at the $1 million prize, but they have fallen back in the pack and need bold Sunday charges to take home the jackpot.

Rolex Player of the Year

The Rolex Player of the Year Award remains a four-player race.

Ryu (162), Feng (159), Park (157) and Thompson (147) all have a chance to win the award.

Park and Thompson are best positioned to make Sunday moves to overtake Ryu.

Park needs to finish sixth or better to win the award outright; Thompson needs to win the tournament to win the award.

It’s simple math.

The top 10 in the tournament will be awarded points.

1st - 30 points

2nd – 12 points

3rd – 9 points

4th – 7 points

5th – 6 points

6th – 5 points

7rd – 4 points

8th – 3 points

9th – 2 points

10th – 1 point

Vare Trophy

Thompson took a 69.147 scoring average to Naples. Park needs to finish nine shots ahead of Thompson to have a shot at the trophy.

Money-winning title

Park leads the tour in money winnings with $2,262,472. Ryu is the only player who can pass her Sunday, and Ryu must win the tournament to do so. Ryu is tied for 32nd, five shots off the lead. If Ryu wins the tournament, she also needs Park to finish worse than solo second.

Rolex world No. 1 ranking

World No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Park and No. 3 Ryu are separated by just three hundredths of a point.

Because they are so close, the scenarios for overtaking Feng are head spinning.

At No. 4, Thompson is a full average ranking point behind Feng, but she could become the sixth different player this season to move to No. 1. Thompson, however, has to win Sunday to have a chance to do so, and then it will depend on what Feng, Park and Ryu do. Again, the scenarios are complex.

Cook leads RSM Classic by three at Sea Island

By Associated PressNovember 19, 2017, 12:28 am

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to increase his lead to three strokes in the RSM Classic.

Cook, a shot ahead after a second-round 62, had five birdies and a bogey - his first of the week - to reach 18-under 194 with a round left at Sea Island Golf Club's Seaside Course.

''Putting is key right now,'' Cook said. ''Been able to make a lot of clutch putts for the pars to save no bogeys. Hitting the ball pretty much where we're looking and giving ourselves good opportunities on every hole.''

Former University of Georgia player Chris Kirk was second after a 64.

''I'm really comfortable here,'' Kirk said. ''I love Sea Island. I lived here for 6 1/2 years, so I played the golf course a lot, SEC Championships and come down here for the RSM Classic. My family and I, we come down here a few other times a year as well.''

Brian Gay was another stroke back at 14 under after a 69.

''I love the course,'' Gay said. ''We keep getting different wind directions so it's keeping us on our toes. Supposed to be another completely different wind direction tomorrow, so we're getting a new course every day.''


RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


J.J. Spaun had a 62 to get to 13 under.

''I just kind of played stress-free golf out there and kept the golf ball in front of me,'' Spaun said. ''I had a lot of looks and scrambled pretty well, even though it was only a handful of times, but pretty overall pleased with how I played today.''

Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour.

''I think with an extra year on the Web this past year, I really grew mentally and with my game, just kind of more confidence,'' Cook said. ''I was able to put myself in contention on the Web.com more this year than I have in the past. I think I've just, you know, learned from experiences on the Web to help me grow out here.''

He planned to keep it simple Saturday night.

''I've got my parents here and my in-laws are both here as well as my wife,'' Cook said. ''Go home and just have a good home-cooked meal and just kind of enjoy the time and embrace the moment.''

Kirk won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2015 at Colonial.

''It's nice to be back in contention again,'' Kirk said. ''It's been a little while for me. But I felt great out there today, I felt really comfortable, and so hopefully it will be the same way tomorrow and I'll keep my foot on the pedal and stay aggressive, try to make some birdies.''