The Social: Staying grounded

By Jason CrookNovember 7, 2017, 8:00 pm

Visual evidence of President Donald Trump's golf game comes to light, LPGA players go the safe route on a photocall and Tiger Woods leads Raider Nation against the Miami Dolphins.

All that and more in this week's edition of The Social.

We’ve heard a lot about Trump’s golf game since he was elected President of the United States, but we haven’t seen much – good or bad – after he took office.

That all changed in the past week, when we got not one, but two glimpses of him in action.

Trump tweeted a video of himself hitting a shot while playing golf with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and world No. 4 Hideki Matsuyama during his trip to Asia over the weekend.

This came on the heels of NBC News cameras catching him picking up a putt while it was still rolling about a week earlier.

The reasons for that putt being picked up are debatable, but with well-struck irons and lengthy "gimmes" on tape, we're suddenly getting a much better picture of that 73 Senator Lindsey Graham insists he saw Trump shoot last month.

Woods hasn't played a sport professionally in almost a year, but he's certainly watched his fair share in person while he's been out injured.

Woods, who will be back next month at his Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, was at it again on Sunday, taking in the Oakland Raiders game against the Miami Dolphins.

The 14-time major champ enjoyed the action from box seats while wearing a Jim Plunkett jersey. Plunkett quarterbacked the Raiders to two Super Bowl titles during Woods' childhood.

‪There’s only ONE Nation, #RaiderNation‬

A post shared by Tiger Woods (@tigerwoods) on

A quick side note – can we talk about this guy's jersey collection for a second? Flashing a Plunkett and Jackie Robinson in back-to-back weeks?

We sure Tiger isn't moonlighting as a '90s rapper? Because if he is, MC Beef may be available for a collaboration.

#tbt to @beefgolf rocking his new shades, SnapBack and spitting some bars at the uspga #stateside #legend

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Henrik Stenson has withdrawn from the final two events in the European Tour's Race to Dubai, citing a rib injury that many thought he sustained during a promotional photo shoot at the WGC-HSBC Champions last month in which he was hoisted in the air by a harness while donning a cape.

"I'm not Superman even though certain people thought I was Superman," Stenson said Sunday after finishing T-35 at the Turkish Airlines Open.

What a nice view! #Repost @europeantour High above Shanghai (literally) #HSBCChampions

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Although he later disputed that quote was about the photo shoot, the ladies at the Blue Bay LPGA in China seemed to heed his warning anyway. Michelle Wie, Jessica Korda and Sandra Gal participated in an interesting photo shoot of their own this week but opted not to fly too close to the sun on the wings of pastrami.

Take it from Hennie Stennie, kids. No matter where life takes you, always stay grounded.

What scorpion dreams are made of... #scorpionking #nosemanual #jrscorp via @lachlann_ricketts

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Birthday presents are weird.

Sometimes you get that fancy toy you've not-so secretly wanted or a shiny new piece of jewelry you've been dropping hints about for months.

Other years you get something a little more practical, like a vacuum cleaner or ... in Angie Watson's case, surgery.

Bubba Watson showed off the present he got for his wife on social media Monday, and it looked a little unpleasant.

Bubba posted an x-ray of his wife's knee with four screws in it and alluded to the fact that it was a basketball-related injury. Angie played basketball at the University of Georgia where she met her husband.

The Watsons. Just the latest example that love isn't dead - but sometimes it's very painful.

We've all been there. Even those of us with a gold jacket to their name have wanted to launch their club into outer space when things don't go your way.

Well, Australian pro Terry Pilkadaris gave into temptation during a first-round 73 at the Asian Tour’s Panasonic Open India, throwing his putter into the woods after missing a putt on the 17th hole.

Hard to think of a more satisfying feeling in golf ... at least until the inevitable walk of shame.

Club throwing advice with Ron. Think we have a new segment on our hands.

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."