The Social: Good returns, bad ideas

By Jason CrookJune 6, 2017, 7:30 pm

The fallout from Tiger Woods’ DUI arrest gets all kinds of reaction from both sides, Jason Dufner poses with his newest trophy (and girlfriend) and a Paige Spiranac trick shot goes oh-so wrong for her volunteer. All that and more in this edition of The Social.

Tiger Woods dominated the golf news cycle last week after getting busted for DUI near his home in Jupiter, Fla.

By now, you know the details, have seen the videos and digested the takes. Oh the takes.

But perhaps the most telling opinions came from Tiger’s peers. Much like the average fan, they idolized this guy, he inspired them, and they just want to see him get batter and back on the golf course.

Hard to argue that having a mentally and physically healthy Woods back on the course wouldn’t be best for everyone. What a story of redemption it would be.

Once upon a time (four years ago), Jason Dufner was one of golf’s dullest stars, and we mean that in the most complimentary way. He was fresh off a major win, part of golf’s “IT” couple and using his wide-range of emotions to star in hilarious Funny or Die videos.

Over the weekend he got some of that mojo back, looking very much like his old self, with a Memorial trophy in hand, a new girl on his arm and even something resembling a smile on his face.

So who is this mystery women? Well, they once attended a Cleveland Cavaliers game together and according to CBS broadcaster Jim Nantz, her name is Jessica and … that’s all we know.

So since our investigation has hit a roadblock, now seems like as good a time as any to look back on some of Duf Daddy’s finest moments, like, Vacation Duf. (Click here for more photos)

Ever find yourself tossing and turning at night wondering what ever happened to that adorable dog Dufner used to parent.

Yeah, he’s still living a pretty decent life.

Sitting pretty #bullylife #frenchbulldog #ineedsunglasses

A post shared by Prince Louie (@louiedufner) on

Adam Scott has politely asked the USGA to lighten up when it comes to setting up Erin Hills for next week’s U.S Open, saying "maybe it's time to do away with the even-par target."

While the USGA hasn’t verbally responded, some recent photos and videos that have surfaced speak volumes.

Quick look at @usga @erinhillsgolf today. This is the 18th tee shot. Par 5 670 yards from back tee!

A post shared by Graeme McDowell (@graeme_mcdowell) on

Yeah, 2-feet tall rough, nearly 700-yard holes. Good luck with that, guys.

Maybe Phil Mickleson has the best strategy after all.

Smoothest dude in the game. Try not to watch that more than once. You can’t.

This just in. The President of the United States likes to play golf, a lot.

And he’s not big on getting after it alone.

In his short time in office, Donald Trump has played with the likes of Ernie Els, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, and over the weekend, he added two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Peyton Manning to the list of partners.

You’re not going to believe this, but people were not happy. And then other people were not happy that those people weren’t happy.

And all of these people met up at this awful place called Twitter to air their grievances.

Here’s a sampling:

Just a reminder that this won’t end until somebody pins Frank Costanza.

Your semi-weekly reminder to not volunteer to be a tee, even for a professional golfer.

Paige Spiranac teamed up with Barstool Sports and attempted a trick shot off of Barstool Trent’s backside.

From the looks of the “after” photo, we’re guessing things didn’t go exactly as planned:

This same guy volunteered his face for Spiranac last year, so all things considered, things could be worse, much worse.

Thanks @barstool_sports for a fun day! Don't try at home! #trustexercise

A post shared by Paige Spiranac (@_paige.renee) on

Genius! Sabatoge your best chance to win an event in over three years so that you can get more face time on TV, because contending and winning wouldn't have done that. Our readers are onto you, Paula. On. To. You.

Getty Images

Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

Getty Images

Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

@tommyfleetwood_1

A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

"It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

"This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."

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Rahm (62) shoots career low round at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 10:33 pm

After a banner year in 2017, Jon Rahm found a way to add yet another accolade to his growing list of accomplishments during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Rahm got off to a fast start at La Quinta Country Club, playing his first seven holes in 6 under en route to a 10-under 62. The score marked his career low on the PGA Tour by two shots and gave him an early lead in an event that utilizes a three-course rotation.

La Quinta was the site of Adam Hadwin's 59 during last year's event, and Rahm knew full well that a quick start opened the door to a memorably low score.

"Any time you have that going for you, you get thoughts come in your head, 60, maybe 59," Rahm told reporters. "I knew that if I kept playing good I was going to have more birdie opportunities, and I tried not to get ahead of myself and I was able to do it."


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Rahm birdied his first two holes before an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole sparked him to an outward 30. He added four more birdies on the inward half without dropping a shot.

The Spaniard is the highest-ranked player in the field this week, and while many players opted for a two-week stint in Hawaii he instead came home for some practice after opening the new year with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. That decision appears to have paid some early dividends as Rahm gets set to defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Low scores were plentiful on all three courses during the opening round, and Rahm remained pleased with his effort even though he fell short of matching Hadwin's sub-60 score from a year ago.

"That's golf. You're not going to make every single putt, you're not going to hit every shot perfect," he said. "Overall, you've got to look at the bigger picture. I birdied the last hole, had a couple of great sand saves coming in, shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for."