The Social: Double the fun after the PGA

By Jason CrookAugust 15, 2017, 10:40 pm

Justin Thomas breaks through for his first major victory and celebrates it in style, Rory McIlroy gets an outstanding application from a guy eager to be his new caddie, Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky head out on vacation and in case you weren't sure it was Solheim Cup week, Michelle Wie and Danielle Kang are here to remind you. All that and more in this edition of The Social.

It would be hard to start anywhere but Justin Thomas' victory at the PGA Championship, as the golf world hasn't stopped buzzing about it since he lifted the Wanamaker Trophy.

Social media lit up with congratulatory messages for one of the most well-liked guys on the PGA Tour, and one of his first orders of business when he got home to Jupiter, Fla., was dinner with Tiger Woods at the 14-time major champion's nearby restaurant, The Woods.

This photo of Woods, Thomas and the Wanamaker began circulating around the Internet, but perhaps the best version came from the Snapchat account of Rickie Fowler - who was also in attendance - with the caption "14-1-0 ... 0 not pictured," referencing the trio's major haul.

Say what you will about Fowler, he's got a great sense of humor about this whole third-wheeling thing.

The Rory McIlroy caddie opening is currently one of the most sought-after jobs in the golf world - he confirmed there's been plenty of interest ahead of last week's PGA Championship at Quail Hollow.

Now that he's considering shutting it down until next year with an injury, he'll have plenty of time to consider all of his possible options, including PGA Tour pro Joel Dahmen’s caddie, Geno Bonnalie, who tweeted out his de facto résumé which was equal parts hilarious and informative.

There's a lot there to read (in very small print), so here are some of the highlights:

- Please don’t think I’m sneaking around behind Joel’s back trying to get another job. I think Joel himself may also be applying for the position.

- If you hire me it wouldn’t be awkward at all because we already know each other. We played in front of you on Saturday at the Travelers and during the wait on 4 tee box I asked you if you wanted a water (which you politely declined). So we’re pretty much best friends already.

- Once upon a time I was one of the best Archers in the world (as a youth). so I have a weird ability to know exactly how far you are from the pin just by looking at it (inside 70 yards). So if I don’t step anything off, and tell you it’s 58 yards … it’s 58 yards.

- If we agree on a club, then you chunk the sh** out of it and yell at me for “giving you a bad club” I’ll probably eat it and say “sorry pro”, but please know that in my head I will be thinking something about how you should hit a better shot.

- If you make me keep our playing partners score, I sometimes lose track of what they made on a hole because I’m so focused on what we’re doing (see what I did there? Turned a negative in to a positive)

Click here to read Bonnalie's full qualifications, which may or may not exactly line up with what McIlroy is looking for, according to this incredible voice-over impersonation from Golf Central Daily.

It's been a long season for Dustin Johnson.

Three wins - including two WGCs, that slip and fall down the stairs before the start of the Masters that led to his withdrawal, the weight of the world No. 1 ranking as he searched for his second major title, becoming a new father for the second time.

Add it all up, and the end of the major season seems like the perfect time for a vacation. What a coincidence that he and his fiancée, Paulina Gretzky, are two of the best vacationers on earth.

So it wasn't a shock to see the two of them lounging in a pool at Baker's Bay in the Bahamas shortly after the PGA Championship wrapped up.

my one & only

A post shared by Paulina Gretzky (@paulinagretzky) on

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Also, apparently in some crazy little scheme to actually turn a profit, Baker's Bay is open more than once a year during spring break when the #SB2K boys come to town. Who knew?

Virtual Reality isn't for everyone

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Just when you thought video games were safe.

Picking winners at a 75 percent success rate is unheard of in the gambling world, especially when it comes to golf. Unfortunately for one man who picked three of the four major winners this year, that accomplishment led to a payout of $0.

Jordan Baker's dream of a $2.5 million payout for a parlay of all four major champs officially died at The Open, where he picked Rickie Fowler instead of Jordan Spieth. But his heart was ripped out once again on Sunday at the PGA Championship while watching Justin Thomas outlast the field and hoist his first major championship trophy.

Baker tried to make light of the situation on Sunday, telling Fowler he could make it up to him with a round at Augusta National, but take a look at his Twitter timeline. That there is a broken man.

Something about the PGA Championship that inspires everyone to get a little slap happy.

Obviously it's going to be hard to top the GOAT - Jason Dufner after his win at Oak Hill in 2013, who became a viral sensation for this "celebration" with then-wife, Amanda.

But Jordan Spieth gave it a try after his good friend Justin Thomas won the PGA on Sunday. The three-time major winner welcomed his buddy to the club with a big old pat on the rear end.

Attaboy JT, you earned it.

It's not how you play, it's how you look while you're playing ... or something like that.

Well the USA Solheim Cup squad is looking rather red, white and blue early this week, especially Michelle Wie.

Wie has gone full USA braids and Swarovski crystal shoes, as well as matching American flag onesies with BFF Danielle Kang.

A post shared by Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) on

Not sure what this means for U.S. team, but it's a strategy so crazy, it might just work.

It's a tough call, but have to go with Robert on this one.

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Schauffele just fine being the underdog

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

“All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Jordan Spieth: 7/4

Xander Schauffele: 5/1

Kevin Kisner: 11/2

Tiger Woods: 14/1

Francesco Molinari: 14/1

Rory McIlroy: 14/1

Kevin Chappell: 20/1

Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

Alex Noren: 25/1

Zach Johnson: 30/1

Justin Rose: 30/1

Matt Kuchar: 40/1

Webb Simpson: 50/1

Adam Scott: 80/1

Tony Finau: 80/1

Charley Hoffman: 100/1

Austin Cook: 100/1

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Spieth stands on brink of Open repeat

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 7:49 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth described Monday’s “ceremony” to return the claret jug to the keepers of the game’s oldest championship as anything but enjoyable.

For the last 12 months the silver chalice has been a ready reminder of what he was able to overcome and accomplish in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, a beacon of hope during a year that’s been infinitely forgettable.

By comparison, the relative pillow fight this week at Carnoustie has been a welcome distraction, a happy-go-lucky stroll through a wispy field. Unlike last year’s edition, when Spieth traveled from the depths of defeat to the heights of victory within a 30-minute window, the defending champion has made this Open seem stress-free, easy even, by comparison.

But then those who remain at Carnoustie know it’s little more than a temporary sleight of hand.

As carefree as things appeared on Saturday when 13 players, including Spieth, posted rounds of 67 or lower, as tame as Carnoustie, which stands alone as The Open’s undisputed bully, has been through 54 holes there was a foreboding tension among the rank and file as they readied for a final trip around Royal Brown & Bouncy.

“This kind of southeast or east/southeast wind we had is probably the easiest wind this golf course can have, but when it goes off the left side, which I think is forecasted, that's when you start getting more into the wind versus that kind of cross downwind,” said Spieth, who is tied for the lead with Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner at 9 under par after a 6-under 65. “It won't be the case tomorrow. It's going to be a meaty start, not to mention, obviously, the last few holes to finish.”

Carnoustie only gives so much and with winds predicted to gust to 25 mph there was a distinct feeling that playtime was over.

As melancholy as Spieth was about giving back the claret jug, and make no mistake, he wasn’t happy, not even his status among the leading contenders with a lap remaining was enough for him to ignore the sleeping giant.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


But then he’s come by his anxiousness honestly. Spieth has spent far too much time answering questions about an inexplicably balky putter the last few weeks and he hasn’t finished better than 21st since his “show” finish in April at the Masters.

After a refreshingly solid start to his week on Thursday imploded with a double bogey-bogey-par-bogey finish he appeared closer to an early ride home on Friday than he did another victory lap, but he slowly clawed his way back into the conversation as only he can with one clutch putt after the next.

“I'm playing golf for me now. I've kind of got a cleared mind. I've made a lot of progress over the year that's been kind of an off year, a building year,” said Spieth, who is bogey-free over his last 36 holes. “And I've got an opportunity to make it a very memorable one with a round, but it's not necessary for me to prove anything for any reason.”

But if an awakened Carnoustie has Spieth’s attention, the collection of would-be champions assembled around and behind him adds another layer of intrigue.

Kisner, Spieth’s housemate this week on Angus coast, has led or shared the lead after each round this week and hasn’t shown any signs of fading like he did at last year’s PGA Championship, when he started the final round with a one-stroke lead only to close with a 74 to tie for seventh place.

“I haven't played it in that much wind. So I think it's going to be a true test, and we'll get to see really who's hitting it the best and playing the best tomorrow,” said Kisner, who added a 68 to his total on Day 3.

There’s no shortage of potential party crashers, from Justin Rose at 4 under after a round-of-the-week 64 to 2015 champion Zach Johnson, who also made himself at home with Spieth and Kisner in the annual Open frat house and is at 5 under.

Rory McIlroy, who is four years removed from winning his last major championship, looked like a player poised to get off the Grand Slam schneid for much of the day, moving to 7 under with a birdie at the 15th hole, but he played the last three holes in 2 over par and is tied with Johnson at 5 under par. 

And then there’s Tiger Woods. For three magical hours the three-time Open champion played like he’d never drifted into the dark competitive hole that’s defined his last few years. Like he’d never been sidelined by an endless collection of injuries and eventually sought relief under the surgeon’s knife.

As quietly as Woods can do anything, he turned in 3 under par for the day and added two more birdies at Nos. 10 and 11. His birdie putt at the 14th hole lifted him temporarily into a share of the lead at 6 under par.

“We knew there were going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win on Sunday, and it's turning out to be that,” said Woods, who is four strokes off the lead. “I didn't want to be too far back if the guys got to 10 [under] today. Five [shots back] is certainly doable, and especially if we get the forecast tomorrow.”

Woods held his round of 66 together with a gritty par save at the 18th hole after hitting what he said was his only clunker of the day off the final tee.

Even that episode seemed like foreshadowing.

The 18th hole has rough, bunkers, out of bounds and a burn named Barry that weaves its way through the hole like a drunken soccer fan. It’s the Grand Slam of hazardous living and appears certain to play a leading role in Sunday’s outcome.

Perhaps none of the leading men will go full Jean Van de Velde, the star-crossed Frenchman who could still be standing in that burn if not for a rising tide back at the 1999 championship, but if the 499 yards of dusty turf is an uninvited guest, it’s a guest nonetheless.

It may not create the same joyless feelings that he had when he returned the claret jug, but given the hole’s history and Spieth’s penchant for late-inning histrionics (see Open Championship, 2017), the 18th hole is certain to produce more than a few uncomfortable moments.

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Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

“I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”