The Social: Speaking the language of love

By Nick MentaFebruary 20, 2017, 6:45 pm

Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky get a dog (and another kid!), Tiger Woods continues to be social media fodder, Jordan Spieth tries to speak Japanese, John Daly violates one of two standing orders in this platoon, and someone genuinely doesn't know who Phil Collins is. All that and more in this week's edition of The Social. 

Congratulations are in order for the rapidly growing Gretzky-Johnson clan. The new world No. 1 and his fiancée announced the addition of two new family members this week. 

Up first, Perla the French bulldog:

Puppy Love @sunkissedtraveler

A post shared by Paulina Gretzky (@paulinagretzky) on

In with our new Perla @djohnsonpga

A post shared by Paulina Gretzky (@paulinagretzky) on

Of course, Perla’s introduction was a mere prelude to the news that DJ and Paulina have Baby No. 2 on the way:

coming soon...

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Reminder that Tatum and Baby Johnson No. 2’s dad is this guy:

And their grandfather is this guy:

How good does your life have to be to not willingly switch places with the unborn child? Now, how about with the dog?

Tiger Woods not only proved unable to play the Genesis Open, but also unable to sit down for a news conference or even attend the trophy presentation.

With guys like DJ, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and even our friend Hideki Matsuyama rising in status and popularity, the perpetually injured Woods is becoming increasingly irrelevant to golf’s larger narrative. No longer the main event, Woods feels like a sideshow.

Scrolling through Twitter for Tiger updates is getting to be like John McEnroe and Larry David flipping through the freak book (Google it with caution). "Saturday Night Live" should have Melissa McCarthy doing quick-changes from Sean Spicer to Mark Steinberg.

Luckily, one loyal Tiger Tracker follower seems to have a lead on Woods’ whereabouts:

Not that we need much motivation to bring it back, but here’s Woods as Mac Daddy Santa from exactly two months ago.

Oh man, those halcyon days of late Dec. 2016. Tiger was coming off an encouraging performance at the Hero, Ben Affleck was still directing "The Batman", not enough time had passed for it to be apparently OK to spoil the plot of "Arrival", DeMarcus Cousins was still a King, and Jahlil Okafor was still a 76er (crap, still waiting).

The point is, we were all so young and optimistic!

Alas, now we’re trying resurrect Tiger a la Tupac:

#AllEyezOnT.

You can take the boy out of Texas ...

Jordan Spieth recently visited Tokyo, Japan to promote the release of his first signature golf shoe, the Spieth One by Under Armour.

And as this video uploaded two days ago to Instagram shows, he also tried his hand at speaking the language with, let's say, mixed results:

Well done, Jordan. Want to try a whiskey ad next?

To the chagrin of countless millions around the world, Rickie Fowler did not have a Valentine this year.

So, he claimed his sister instead:

As we contemplate the multitude of ways Rickie Fowler being “alone” is different from the rest of us being “alone,” let’s also contemplate the apparently fabulous life of musician Kelley James, who was shouted out in that Instagram caption and evidently spent his week hanging with Bubba Watson:

Beverly Hills, CA -- @gfore Valentines Day party

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Playing Brentwood Country Club:

Dining with Beef:

Hollywood, CA -- this vegetarian's birthday @beefgolf

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And chilling at Riv:

Pacific Palisades, CA -- Riviera. Genesis Open. Watching @djohnsonpga slam dunk this.

A post shared by Kelley James (@kelleyjamesmusic) on

While we're discussing Brentwood and Riv, this Aug. 1995 article from the Orlando Sentinel’s coverage of the PGA Championship claims that while O.J. Simpson was in imprisoned and in the midst of the Trial of the Century, the members at Riviera put fake scores into the computer system lowering Simpson from a 12 to a 4 handicap.

You may remember John Daly’s putter somehow finding its way into a lake shortly before he withdrew from the Allianz Championship last week:

Daly would later claim that the drowned flatstick was was the accidental result of him trying to toss the club to his caddie. ''If I throw a putter, it's going to be in two pieces, not one,'' Daly told the Associated Press. ''And it's going to be 50 yards in the lake, not 5.''

However it happened, Daly found himself in a water hazard this weekend at the Chubb Classic and decided with two holes remaining not to take off his shoes and socks.

Lieutenant Dan would like a word, John:

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.