The Social: Make Tiger great again?

By Jason CrookOctober 10, 2017, 5:45 pm

Tiger Woods is back hitting full iron shots for his social media followers, Donald Trump is somehow getting even better at golf and Lexi Thompson looks like she's preparing for a role in the sequel to "Top Gun."

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

Plenty of things have “broken the internet” over the last few years. Kim Kardashian’s anything, that white and gold blue and black dress and, oh yeah, just about anything Tiger Woods related.

Well, folks, this weekend Woods went and did it again, posting a slow-motion video of himself on social media hitting “Smooth iron shots.”

Smooth iron shots

A post shared by Tiger Woods (@tigerwoods) on

And while we can confirm the internet is, in fact, not broken, it was at least mildly sprained for a while on Saturday as Tiger fans geeked out over the 14-time major champ's latest step on his journey back toward competitive golf.

It's anyone's guess when Woods tees it up in a professional event next as he has played only seven competitive rounds in the last two years because of multiple back surgeries. But when he does, don't be surprised if the internet goes out ... maybe, for good.

Agree or disagree on his political positions, President Donald Trump has a lot on his plate.

Anthem protests, natural disaster relief, international relations and foreign policy, border security ... just to name a few.

And even with all that, somehow the man is keeping his golf game intact. In fact, according to his Monday playing partner, he may even be getting better.

Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator from South Carolina, tweeted that Trump carded a 1-over 73 in windy and wet conditions on Columbus Day at Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia.

Imagine how good the president could be with a little practice. Perhaps when he's done being in charge of the country he'll really buckle down and go after that PGA Tour card. Hey, crazier things have happened.

For the most part, Phil Mickelson stays away from social media. For crying out loud, the man took (and nearly cropped himself out of) his first selfie just a couple of weeks ago at the Presidents Cup.

But leave it up to Phil to be the talk of Twitter without ever hitting “send.”

Mickelson’s tie for third at the season-opening Safeway Open was his best finish in more than a year, but it was his sense of self-deprecating humor that stole the show on Sunday. After finding the 16th fairway – only his 15th tee ball to find the short grass all week – he turned to the crowd and delivered this terrific zinger:

He's a joke maker. Tell 'em Phil.

Sound: On.

Found our first drunk announcer of the day

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Usually, 81-year-old Gary Player is busy reminding us that he’s not exactly longing for the old days, proving that age is just a number seemly on a daily basis. It was just last week he was breaking it down on the dance floor at one of his charity events.

But over the weekend, the nine-time major winner took to social media after Ross Fisher’s record breaking 11-under 61 at the Old Course at St. Andrews to say he was “sad” to see the course was no longer much of a match for today’s technology.

This, of course, isn’t exactly a new take, as plenty of older and younger players have called for some sort of scaling back of the clubs and/or balls for years now.

But it was Player's follow-up tweet in which he called himself an "old poop" that should've gotten more attention than the original, only because someone calling themselves "old poop" will never not be funny.

Gary, you may be an old poop, but you're our old poop. Never change.

Fact: Everybody loved Tom Petty.

We really shouldn't need any more proof of this besides the legendary musician's hits standing the test of time, but we got it in the wake of the Rock in Roll Hall of Famer's sudden death.

Not only did basically his entire hometown of Gainesville, Fla., honor him with their rendition of "I Won't Back Down" during the Florida Gators football game on Saturday, but golf's own larger-than-life figure, John Daly, also gave it his best shot at on Thursday at the Safeway Open.

Considering how well the tribute went, Daly might want to think about permanently adding this to his set list, which currently includes "Knocking on Heaven's Door," and only "Knocking on Heaven's Door."

According to her social media accounts, Lexi Thompson really like working out and playing golf. But a third hobby has emerged lately, and with all due respect to both working out and golf, it looks a tad bit more exciting.

The third-ranked women in the world posted a video to her Instagram on Monday from inside a jet, doing all sorts of flips and tricks with The Flying Bulls over the friendly skies of Austria, as part of her partnership with Red Bull.

So it appears the sky is literally the limit for Lexi, both on and off the course.

Add this to the list questions that keep you up at night - Why did Jim Hi switch from an Infiniti to a Lexus? Some things we'll just never know.

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.''