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The Social: From Ludacris to the ridiculous

By Jason CrookSeptember 19, 2017, 5:00 pm

PGA Tour stars walk the red carpet before the Tour Championship (and look good doing it), Rory McIlroy shows off his soccer skills without tearing a ligament and some of the wildest swings you've ever seen are on full display.

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

Welcome to Atlanta, where Ludacris serenaded the top 30 in the FedExCup rankings for making it to the playoff finale at East Lake.

The players were shown plenty of southern hospitality as they walked the red carpet at the kickoff concert, posing with the rapper and "The Fast and the Furious" actor.

Stand up #tourchampionship #fedexcupplayoffs

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If the choice of music for the event seems like an odd pairing, you haven't been paying much attention to golf this year.

Snoop Dogg kicked off major season by headlining "Augusta Jam" on the night before the opening round of the Masters at the Country Club Dance Hall and Saloon, just a couple miles down the road from Augusta National.

Live rap music from guys 40-and-over. The hottest trend in golf. You heard it here first.

McIlroy and soccer kind of go together like lamb and tuna fish. He may like it – a lot – but you can't blame golf fans if they cringe a little while viewing this next clip considering he tore an ankle ligament playing the sport in 2015 and missed his Open title defense while nursing the injury.

Responding to international soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo’s #CR7Challenge, McIlroy posted a video to his Instagram on Tuesday showing off some pretty impressive juggling skills.

Of course, McIlroy wasn't the only one getting back on the horse this week. Greg Norman, who once almost severed his left hand with a chainsaw, posted this photo of him on clean-up duty in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma at his home in Jupiter, Fla.

Once you get over the fact that he is indeed wearing a shirt, you will see The Shark is once again wielding a chainsaw.

Clean up time. Thanks Irma. And to everyone else in its path I hope any damage was minimal.

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Ever hear that joke about women living longer than men? Insert it here.

Much was made about the LPGA’s decision to shorten their fifth major, the Evian Championship from 72 to 54 holes and wipe out the scores of those who had begun their rounds on Thursday after weather made the course unplayable.

No matter where you stand on the issue, and many thought the credibility of the event took a major hit, you had to feel for those players who had gone out and put up some early birdies only to see them taken off the board before play started on Friday.

One of those players was co-leader Jessica Korda, who wasn’t shy about sharing her opinion on Twitter.

Replying to a Golf Channel story about the decision, Korda said she was "super pumped" about it, but we have a sneaky suspicion that she wasn't actually super pumped about it and quite possibly wasn't happy about it at all.

Cheering on their favorite human #HockeyDog @spittinchiclets

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"Who's winning the match?" - This good dog, probably.

Kids say the darndest things … and they aren’t too shabby on the golf course these days, either.

At this past week’s KLM Open, 11-year-old Mattias Henke came closest to the pin in a "Beat the Pro" competition against Chris Wood and Max Albertus and winning a free flight to anywhere in Europe in the process. You read that right, an 11-year-old beat a European Ryder Cupper in a closest-to-the-pin contest.

At least some pros still beat the 8-year-old who gave it a try, although it's a pretty good bet you may be hearing Tom Hendricks' name in the future after this drive.

Not to be outdone, over on the PGA Tour 6-year-old one-armed golfer Tommy Morrissey hung out at the BMW Championship with Paige Spiranac and ... you guessed it ... beat her at a closest-to-the-pin contest ... by hitting the pin on his second shot.

Live look at Tommy:

Technically there’s no wrong way to play golf, but there are some methods that seem to work better than others. These next three swings that were floating around on social media this week certainly wouldn’t be taught in your local group lessons, but hey, to each their own.

The two drives, one from Steve Wheatcroft’s pro-am partner at the Albertsons Boise Open, are pretty impressive just to make contact, let alone go over 200 yards, as Wheatcroft claimed.

Grip it & rip it @foreplaypod

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This chip though, could probably use just a little less follow-through. Just one man's personal opinion.

That follow through though... (ht @jaclynvinciguerra)

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Accurate.

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.