The Social: Turning the page

By Jason CrookJune 27, 2017, 6:00 pm

Jordan Spieth momentarily saved golf from the epidemic of bad celebrations, Phil Mickelson competes without longtime caddie "Bones" for the first time, and we have some golf suggestions for ESPN the Magazine's "Body Issue." All that and more in The Social.

It may be two days later, but we can't stop talking about that epic ending to the Travelers Championship, where Jordan Spieth won his 10th PGA Tour title with a playoff hole-out from a greenside bunker.

The shot was something out of a Hollywood movie, but it was actually just the undercard to one of the great celebrations in golf history.

Lets take another look, in slow motion, because everything is better in slow motion.

History. This guy is good.

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Spieth's club throw. Michael Greller's rake launch. The impromptu jump into each other. It was a beautiful thing.

So appreciate this moment for as long as you want, because considering most professional golfers' inability to land a simple high-five, it won't be long before we have another celebration fail on our hands.

Mickelson's first event since splitting with longtime caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay was a mixed bag. While he did nab his first win in almost four years, he also got a little too cocky and screwed up his signature shot.

Somewhere, Dave Pelz is breathing a sigh of relief.

Lefty, who on Monday opened up a little bit about the breakup that rattled the golf world last week, took on some of the LPGA's best in a skills competition before the KPMG PGA Championship.

Watch the whole competition below, in which Mickelson rebounded to claim a victory in the glass-breaking competition.

Justin Thomas had a pretty big week on social media.

Not only did he look into his crystal ball and call Jordan Spieth's hole-out before it happened, but he was fresh off demolishing a Twitter troll.

It started out innocently enough, when JT tweeted this after missing the Travelers cut a week after shooting a record 63 and contending at the U.S. Open.

One tweeter didn't appreciate that "excuse" and he made sure to let Thomas know about it.

What a stat line: Sunburnt.10 beers. Five over par through three holes ... and still finding time to chirp at random athletes on Twitter.

You sir, Mr. @hockeyfoamer, are a regular jack-of-all-trades. Must be a real hit with your fellow playing partners.

JT wasn't having it.

Needless to say, the Internets sided with Thomas on this one.

If this gorilla doesn't put a smile on your face today, just pack it in. Nothing will.

The list of athletes who will be stripping their clothes off for this year's ESPN the Magazine's "Body Issue" has been released, and while it is certainly an impressive group, headlined by Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot, who will grace the cover, we couldn't help but notice there were no golfers included.

So we decided to get a head start on next year's edition, just throwing some ideas out there, spit-balling, putting the wheels in motion, however you want to put it. Here's some golfers who would make a fine edition to the cast and don't mind showing a little skin.

Paige Spiranac:

Happy first day of summer! It's only 117 degrees here in AZ...but it's a dry heat

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Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky:

I got 99 problems but you won't be one @djohnsonpga

A post shared by Paulina Gretzky (@paulinagretzky) on

Rory McIlroy:

Delighted to be on the cover of @menshealthmag! Check out behind-the-scenes footage from my shoot.

A post shared by Rory McIlroy (@rorymcilroy) on

Lexi Thompson:

Morning cardio done time to chill by the pool for a bit

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

Belen Mozo:

Beef:

Got asked for a photo and this guy said lift ur top up so I said yeah y not

A post shared by Andrew 'Beef' Johnston (@beefgolf) on

This list could go on forever, but that last visual seems like a good place to end.

If you thought Donald Trump driving a golf cart on or near the green was bad etiquette, and it was, despite what Billy Horschel says, that's got nothing on what's been going on at the Golf Club of Houston, home of the Shell Houston Open.

Vandals returned for a third time since last year and used ATVs to tear up the greens.

This time, at least, they were caught on camera, sort of. Hopefully, this will be one of those rare instances where something good comes from the power of social media, and these vandals will be brought to justice.

Well, there you have it. "Jordon" Spieth, officially not exciting.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.