The Social: 'Get those party boots on'

By Jason CrookOctober 17, 2017, 7:00 pm

Pat Perez and his wife are ready to celebrate, #SB2K guys hit the college scene, Tour stars vacation all over the place and Sylvester Stallone's model daughter jumps into your dream foursome.

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

After going years without exactly setting the world on fire, Tiger's social media accounts have become must-watch internet television.

As the golf world goes nuts for any little hint that he may be on his way back to competitive golf following several back surgeries that wiped out much of the last few years, Woods dropped a big one on us Sunday – full swing with a driver, and in his traditional red shirt, no less.

It was hard to think he wasn't nearing a return after watching that, and Big Cat went ahead and made it official on Monday, confirming that doctors had given him the go-ahead to resume all golf activities.

Making Progress

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What's more? Woods' former coach, Hank Haney, thinks this swing looks like one the 14-time major champ could return to the winner's circle with.

It's go time!

Hope it works out a little better for Tiger than it did for the Mandelbaums.

The latest chapter in the feel-good story of Perez's career resurgence unfolded over the weekend in Malaysia, as the outspoken 41-year-old won the CIMB Classic – his second PGA Tour win in less than a year.

In typical Perez fashion, it didn't take long after the final putt dropped for him to offer up the quote of the week:

“I’m not going to change anything,” he said. “I’m still not going to work out. I’ll still have a bad diet and I’m going to enjoy myself.

And he's in luck, because his wife, Ashley, immediately took to social media to echo that sentiment, captioning a few pictures of the couple with, "Get those party boots on for when you get home!"

Check out more photos of the couple here.

Pat Perez just picking up wins left and right.

And from the looks of his Instagram feed, he knows it:

Current mood.

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But while Perez's celebration will have to wait, back-to-back European Tour winner Tyrell Hatton got his victory party going shortly after wrapping up the Italian Open on Sunday, wasting no time getting to the nearest ... Burger King?

Burger King may want you to have it your way, but Hatton's way, with a new $1.96 million in the bank, looks pretty delicious.

While Justin Thomas was off "working" in Malaysia, trying to win the CIMB Classic for the third straight year, the other three members of the #SB2K squad were taking some time off and supporting the football teams of the schools where they played their college golf.

Of course, "supporting" means different things to different people.

Jordan Spieth helped his Texas Longhorns with the coin toss and watched from the sidelines during the annual Red River Showdown with Oklahoma:

Rickie Fowler helped lead a parade through town and then pumped up the crowd at the pep rally while serving as the homecoming grand marshal for the Oklahoma State Cowboys:

And Smyle Kaufman, well Smylie passed out Natural Light swag to fans and watched LSU from not-exactly on the field.

Which, if we're being honest, sounds way more fun than being put to work all weekend.

Tigers win! A fun weekend down on the Bayou seeing old friends! #LSU

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Smylie Kaufman - perennial MVP of the spring break bros.

With just a couple months left in the calendar year, it's time to start thinking about how to use those vacation days ... even for those living amongst us who play professional golf and are on sort of a lifelong perm-vacation.

Hence the sudden influx of PGA Tour stars to Italy over the past week or so.

The McIlroys, Horschels, Walkers and Donalds have all been busy posting photos of their trips to Italy, because, well ... it's Italy.

Buongiorno Venezia!

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Great day walking around Milan with @dianedonald #nailedit #tourist @openditaliagolf

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Something about this professional golf thing correlating directly to incredible looking vacations.

We'll have our investigative team dig into it.

Move over, Lamest Person in Your Current Dream Foursome - you've been replaced.

Sylvester Stallone took to Instagram last week to show off his daughter Sistine's golf swing, and let's just say if this modeling thing doesn't work out for her, she could have a solid back-up plan in golf.

Update: This modeling thing is going to work out just fine.

1st MET!!! Thank you @topshop for an incredible night

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drama queen

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Venice Film Festival @twinsetofficial

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Once upon a time, Sergio Garcia was just a kid trying to live up to some gigantic expectations as a professional golfer.

He was reminded of those times last week at the Italian Open, when he was grouped with Austin Connelly 18 years after meeting him for the first time.

Whether he remembered or not, Connelly's mom did, obviously. That's what moms do.

The photo probably meant a little extra to Garcia, 37, in light of recent events. Sergio and his new bride, Angela, recently announced they are expecting a baby next March.

So it could be a new Garcia on the other end of this re-created photo with his/her favorite golfer a couple of decades from now.

After all, time is a flat circle ... or something like that.

Nothing gets past this guy, especially sarcasm.

Ryu, S.H. Park among winners at Rolex awards

By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 5:51 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – The Rolex Player of the Year and Vare Trophy winners won’t be determined until Sunday’s finish of the CME Group Tour Championship, but seven other awards were presented Thursday during the LPGA’s Rolex Awards dinner at the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort.

The awards and winners:

William and Mousie Powell Award – Katherine Kirk won an award given to the player “whose behavior and deeds best exemplify the spirit, ideals and values of the LPGA.” Kirk won the Thornberry Classic this year, her third LPGA title. “Some people ask me if I feel obligated to give back to the game,” Kirk said. “I think it’s a privilege.”

Heather Farr Perseverance Award – Tiffany Joh, who had surgery to remove a malignant melanoma earlier this year, thanked the Farr family and all those who supported Joh through her diagnosis and recovery.

“I found a great quote from Ram Dass, `We are all just walking each other home,’” Joh said. “I’ve really come to understand the value of all my relationships, no matter how fleeting or profound they seem.”

The Commissioner’s Award – Roberta Bowman, outgoing chair of the LPGA Board of Directors, was honored for her service the last six years. LPGA commissioner Mike Whan called her “my friend, my boss and my hero.” Bowman deflected the praise for her back on to the tour, thanking Whan, LPGA staff, players, sponsors, fans and the media.

“The world needs more role models for little girls,” Bowman said. “And they don’t need to look much farther than the LPGA.”

Ellen Griffin Rolex Award and Nancy Lopez Golf Achievement Award – Sandy LaBauve, who founded the LPGA-USGA Girls’ Golf program, was honored as the first person to win both these awards.

The Griffin Award honors golf teachers and the Lopez Award honors an LPGA professional who emulates the values Lopez demonstrated. LaBauve is the daughter of Jack and Sherry Lumpkin, both teachers of the game.

“This program doesn’t belong to me,” LaBauve said of LPGA-Girls’ Golf. “I merely planted the seed. The fruit belongs to all of us.”

Rolex Annika Major Award – So Yeon Ryu won the award, named for Annika Sorenstam, for the best overall performance in women’s major championships this year. She won the ANA Inspiration and tied for third at the U.S. Women’s Open.

“It’s such an honor to win an award named after Annika Sorenstam,” Ryu told Sorenstam during the presentation. “It’s a special award for me.”

Rolex Rookie of the Year Award – Sung Hyun Park won the honor, telling the audience in a message translated from Korean that she was disappointed failing to win the KLPGA’s Rookie of the Year Award and was grateful for a dream come true getting the chance to win it on the LPGA.

Def. champ Fitzpatrick grabs lead at Euro finale

By Associated Press, Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 1:50 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Defending champion Matthew Fitzpatrick shot a second straight 5-under-par 67 to secure a one-stroke lead halfway through the European Tour's season-ending Tour Championship on Friday.

At 10 under after two rounds on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estate, Fitzpatrick leads English compatriot Tyrrell Hatton, whom he beat by one shot to win the title last year.

Hatton moved into contention with a brilliant 9-under 63, a round soured only by a closing bogey on the par-5 18th hole.

In the Race to Dubai, main protagonists Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose experienced contrasting emotions to their opening rounds. Fleetwood boosted his chances by rising into a tie for 11th at 6 under after a 65. Rose endured a three-putt bogey on the 18th to finish with a 70, and dropped on the leaderboard so he's just two shots ahead of Fleetwood.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Order of Merit, stayed in contention by adding a 69 to his opening 70 to be one shot behind Fleetwood.


DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship


Fleetwood needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

Fitzpatrick made two bogeys but eagled the 14th, and five birdies contributed to his 67.

Overnight leader Patrick Reed is now three back following an even-par 72. Reed is in the field thanks to a European Tour regulation that allows the Presidents Cup to count as an official event, thus allowing him to meet his quota of tournaments played.

Fitzpatrick was helped immensely also by the 18th, where Hatton, Rose, and Reed all made bogeys. Fitzpatrick birdied the hole for a second straight day with a 25-foot putt.

''I said to my caddie, we were putting really, really well all week so far,'' Fitzpatrick said.

''The thing is, you get so many fast putts around here, even uphill into the green, they are still running at 12, 13 (on the stimpmeter) even. You've just got to be really sort of careful. Every putt is effectively a two-putt. You've got to control your pace well and limit your mistakes, because it's easy to three-putt out here.''

Rose, hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey, was disappointed with his finish despite playing solid golf from tee to green.

''To make six (on 18) just ends the day on the wrong note, but other than that, I played really well on the back nine,'' Rose said.

''I was aware of the scores and who had done what today. But listen, halfway stage, I'd probably have signed up for that if somebody said on Wednesday you would be in this position after two rounds. It's a position you can build on the weekend.''

Fleetwood resurrected his chances of winning the Order of Merit with a 65, eight shots better than his opening round. His only bogey of the day came on the seventh after an errant drive, but that was the only mistake on a solid day that saw him make eight birdies.

Fleetwood spent hours on the putting green after his first round.

''I needed a low one today for (a tournament win and the Order of Merit),'' he said. ''Luckily, I got a good score.''

Closing eagle gives Kirk 1-shot lead in RSM

By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 12:16 am

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - Chris Kirk holed an 18-foot putt for eagle on his final hole for a 9-under 63 and a one-shot lead Thursday in the RSM Classic.

Kirk played the par 5s on the Plantation Course at Sea Island Golf Club in 5 under.

''I kind of hit my putter on the fringe a little bit and I wasn't sure it was going to get there, but that was just kind of the day that it was,'' Kirk said. ''Even when I thought it wasn't quite going to work out, it still went in the middle of the hole.''

The seven lowest scores of the opening round came on the Plantation Course during a picturesque afternoon on the Golden Isles. Sporting a University of Georgia hat Thursday, Kirk won at Sea Island four years ago for the second of his four PGA Tour victories.

''It's a big Georgia territory out here on St. Simons,'' Kirk said. ''Hopefully, my hat will bring me some luck the rest of the week.''

The tournament is the final PGA Tour event of the calendar year, and Kirk is sorting out equipment changes.

''I'm still trying to get it all worked out and figure out what I want to do going forward,'' Kirk said. ''But keep shooting 9 under, so I won't have to worry about it too much.'

Joel Dahmen had a 64.


RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


''I think it played a little easier today,'' Dahmen said. ''The wind was down, greens were a little softer over here on the Plantation side. But just kept the ball in front of me and made a bunch of 8- to 10-footers.

''I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

Sea Island resident Hudson Swafford was at 65 at the Plantation along with Jason Kokrak and Brian Gay.

''I feel like I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

He played alongside fellow former Georgia players Bubba Watson and Brian Harman.

''We are right in the heart of Dawgs' territory, mine and Harman's backyard, so it's kind of nice,'' Swafford said.

Though, his caddie wore an Auburn shirt.

''We don't need to talk about that,'' said Swafford, not needing to be reminded that Auburn beat Georgia in football last week.

Nick Watney and Brice Garnett each had a 5-under 65 on the Seaside Course, which will be used for the final two rounds.

Brandt Snedeker opened with a 67 in his first return from a sternum injury that sidelined him since the Travelers in June.

Harman shot 69, and Watson had a 71.

Co-leader Smith credits Foley's influence

By Randall MellNovember 16, 2017, 11:33 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sarah Jane Smith is making the most of the devoted efforts of Sean Foley this week.

Foley’s prize pupil, Justin Rose, is in the hunt at the World Tour Championship in the United Arab Emirates, looking to win the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, but Foley isn’t there with him.

Foley promised to help Smith this week, and he’s living up to the pledge, making the trip to Naples.

“At 33, Sarah is in her prime,” Foley told GolfChannel.com. “She is going to hold a trophy at some point. She is too skilled not to win.”

Foley's extra attention is paying off for Smith.


CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


With a 6-under-par 66, Smith moved into early contention to make her first LPGA title memorable at the CME Group Tour Championship. She’s tied for the first-round lead with Taiwan rookie Peiyun Chien.

“I just seem to play my best with him,” Smith said.

Foley, the former coach to Tiger Woods, was No. 10 in Golf Digest’s Top 100 teacher rankings released this fall.

Foley sees a lot coming together in Smith’s game. She is a 12-year veteran building some momentum. She tied for third at the Women’s Australian Open earlier this year and is coming off three consecutive top-15 finishes in Asia. She is sixth on tour in birdies this season. 

“As a coach, you try to get a player to see something in themselves that is already there,” Foley said.

Rose, by the way, opened with a 6-under-par 66 in Dubai and is one shot off the lead.