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The Social: $tre$$ful time of year

By Jason CrookAugust 29, 2017, 6:30 pm

Several PGA Tour superstars, including last week's Northern Trust winner Dustin Johnson, live it up at a pro-am, Floyd Mayweather joined an exclusive club over the weekend with Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan, and some pros voice their displeasure with real and fantasy golf on social media because it's 2017, so of course they did.

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

The stress of the FedExCup Playoffs seems to be really wearing on the PGA Tour's biggest stars. You can tell because just a day after the first playoff event, DJ, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas were among those in attendance at the Silo Ridge Pro-Am, about two hours north of New York City.

The players hung out with, and enjoyed the musical stylings of Kelley James as they teed off. Tough gig, but those pro-ams don't just play themselves.

There's nobody like @kelleyjamesmusic! Great day at Silo

A post shared by Justin Thomas (@justinthomas34) on

The pro-am came the day after one of the best finishes this season on the PGA Tour, the final round of The Northern Trust, where Johnson and Spieth traded jabs down the stretch until DJ landed the knockout punch, a monster 341-yard drive on a ridiculous line over water that put him in the driver’s seat on the first playoff hole.

But, of course, there’s a reason we can’t have nice things. That reason is Twitter. A couple of pros - Ian Poulter and Wesley Bryan - took to the social media platform to crush the tournament’s decision to use the 18th hole for the playoff, which they felt gave Johnson a distinct advantage.

We'll let Jason Dufner have the last word on this debate.

Well OK then, moving on.

Whether or not the Conor McGregor-Floyd Mayweather superfight lived up to the ridiculous hype depends on who you ask, but several pros were up late watching and tweeting about the boxing match which was, at the very least, more interesting than many thought it would be. Ultimately Mayweather won by TKO in the 10th Round, improving his record to 50-0.

One pro's tweet made more noise than others, though, as Kyle Thompson compared what Mayweather stood to earn from the fight compared to how much money Woods has made on the course in his career. It's about triple. You read that correctly. Triple.

Now, the comparison is a little unfair considering that number reflects Mayweather's total take after sponsorship money and pay-per-views are added to his $100 million in guaranteed money. Both men are members of the rare billionaire sports figure club after counting endorsement deals, along with Jordan.

However, it's hard to argue with Thompson's larger point which was basically, "that's a lot of freakin' money for a night's work."

Golf is hard @fromdome24

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Important PSA with fantasy football season right around the corner: No one cares about your fantasy team outside of your fantasy league, and even that's a stretch. Not one single person. That includes the guys you have on your fantasy team.

So next time you think it would be a good idea to open your mouth and begin speaking about your fantasy team, heed this warning from Graham DeLaet and ... don't do it.

DeLaet had to put a couple of Twitter users in their place after they complained that he withdrew from last week's Northern Trust during the second round with an injury.

Fantasy sports is a fun game for you to play. So play with yourself.

There's much debate as to who exactly will make up the U.S. Presidents Cup roster, especially when it comes to Phil Mickelson. But as for another biennial team match, the Ryder Cup, one guy who won't be around, at least in 2018, is Andrew Hughes.

Who, you may asking? Exactly.

Hughes is just some guy who posted a smart-alack response to a European Tour's Facebook post asking how to qualify for the Ryder Cup. And he got an official reply.

Unfortunately for Hughes, he's a 16 handicap so 2018 isn't looking so good for him, but Thomas Bjorn chimed in with a promise to put in a good word in 2020 if he can bring that handicap down a few more strokes.

This Hughes character sounds like a real wildcard. The U.S. squad may want to start scouting him now.

The tone of The Social is generally pretty lighthearted, but there's nothing funny about what's happening in southeast Texas right now.

Hurricane Harvey has caused unprecedented flooding in the area, and while people's safety is the top priority, the golf courses have also taken a hit, and from the looks of things, they may never be the same.

Several photos were shared on Twitter Monday of the Champions Golf Club and the Golf Club of Houston, which hosts the PGA Tour's Houston Open, and the damage is mind-blowing.

The people that have had their lives turned upside down by this storm over the last several days could use all the help they can get. A couple ways you can help out is by donating to the Red Cross here or the Salvation Army here.

No one does, yentrog31. No one does.

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Faldo: Woods told fellow Masters champ 'I'm done' in '17

By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 7:42 pm

Fresh off his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship, it's easy to get caught up in the recent success and ebullient optimism surrounding Tiger Woods. But it was not that long ago that Woods even hitting another competitive shot was very much in doubt.

Six-time major champ Sir Nick Faldo shed light on those darker times during a recent appearance on the Dan Patrick Show when he relayed a story from the 2017 Masters champions' dinner. The annual meal is one of golf's most exclusive fraternities, as only the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club is allowed to dine with the men who have each donned a green jacket.

Last spring Woods had not yet undergone spinal fusion surgery, and Faldo explained that Woods at one point turned to an unnamed Masters champ and grimly assessed his future playing chances.


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"I know he whispered to another Masters champion, two Masters dinners ago, 'I'm done. I won't play golf again,'" Faldo said. "He said, 'I'm done. I'm done, my back is done.' He was in agony. He was in pain. His leg, the pain down his legs, there was nothing enjoyable. He couldn't move. If you watched footage of him, he couldn't even get in and out of the golf cart at the (2016) Ryder Cup when he was a vice captain."

But Woods opted for fusion surgery a few weeks later, and after a lengthy rehab process he returned to competition in December. His 2018 campaign has been nothing short of remarkable, with a pair of runner-up finishes to go along with a T-6 result at The Open when he held the outright lead on the back nine on Sunday.

After apparently even counting himself out, Woods is back up to 26th in the latest world rankings and appears in line to be added as a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup next month.

"What he's been able to do is unbelievable," Faldo said. "To turn this aruond, to get this spine fusion, it's completely taken away the pain. To have this mobility is absolutely amazing. Great on him, and great for golf."

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McDowell needs Wyndham result to maintain status

By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 5:56 pm

For the first time in nearly three years, Graeme McDowell heads into an event with his PGA Tour status hanging in the balance.

The Ulsterman joined the Tour in 2006, and he has had nearly uninterrupted status since winning the 2010 U.S. Open. But McDowell's two-season exemption for winning the 2015 OHL Classic at Mayakoba only extends through this week, where he will start the Wyndham Championship at No. 143 in the season-long points race.

McDowell tied for fifth at Sedgefield Country Club in 2016, and he will likely need a similar result to crack the top 125 in the standings and retain his fully exempt status for the 2019 season. While he finished T-10 in Las Vegas in November, that remains his lone top-10 finish of the Tour season. The veteran's best results this year have come in Europe, where he tied for fifth at the Italian Open and finished T-12 at the BMW PGA Championship.


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"I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I feel like it's not a do-or-die scenario for me," McDowell told reporters earlier this month at the Barracuda Championship. "I feel if I was 25 years old without a European Tour card to fall back on, it would be a do-or-die scenario. Certainly trying to put the pressure off, if I don't get myself into the top 125 it's not the end of the world for me. I still feel like I can play a great schedule next season."

By finishing Nos. 126-150 in points after this week, McDowell would retain conditional status that would likely ensure him at least 12-15 starts next season. He would also still have privileges as a past tournament champion.

But he's not the only winner from the 2015-16 season whose two-year exemption is on the verge of running out. Fabian Gomez (160th), Peter Malnati (164th) and Billy Hurley III (202nd) all need big results in Greensboro to keep their cards, while Shane Lowry, David Lingmerth and Matt Every all earned three-year exemptions for victories in 2015 but currently sit Nos. 139, 140 and 184 in points, respectively.

Last year four players moved into the top 125 thanks to strong play at Wyndham, with the biggest jump coming from Rory Sabbatini, who went from No. 148 to No. 122 after tying for fourth place.

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Vogel Monday qualifies for eighth time this season

By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 5:27 pm

The PGA Tour's regular season ended with another tally for the Monday King.

While Monday qualifiers are a notoriously difficult puzzle to solve, with dozens of decorated professionals vying for no more than four spots in a given tournament field, T.J. Vogel has turned them into his personal playground this season. That trend continued this week when he earned a spot into the season-ending Wyndham Championship, shooting a 5-under 66 and surviving a 4-for-3 playoff for the final spots.

It marks Vogel's eighth successful Monday qualification this season, extending the unofficial record he set when he earned start No. 7 last month at The Greenbrier. Patrick Reed earned the nickname "Mr. Monday" when he successfully qualified six different times during the 2012 season before securing full-time status.

There have been 24 different Monday qualifiers throughout the season, with Vogel impressively turning 19 qualifier starts into eight tournament appearances.

Vogel started the year with only conditional Web.com Tour status, and explained at the AT&T Byron Nelson in May that he devised his summer schedule based on his belief that it's easier to Monday qualify for a PGA Tour event than a Web.com tournament.


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"The courses that the PGA Tour sets the qualifiers up, they're more difficult and sometimes they're not a full field whereas the Web, since there's no pre-qualifier, you have two full fields for six spots each and the courses aren't as tough," Vogel said. "So I feel like if you take a look at the numbers, a lot of the Web qualifiers you have to shoot 8-under."

Vogel has made three cuts in his previous seven starts this year, topping out with a T-16 finish at the Valspar Championship in March. The 27-year-old also played the weekend at the Nelson and the Wells Fargo Championship, missing the cut at The Greenbrier in addition to the RSM Classic, Honda Classic and FedEx St. Jude Classic.

While Vogel won't have another Monday qualifier opportunity until October, he has a chance to secure some 2019 status this week in Greensboro. His 51 non-member FedExCup points would currently slot him 205th in the season-long race, 13 points behind Rod Pampling at No. 200. If Vogel earns enough points to reach the equivalent of No. 200 after this week, he'd clinch a spot in the upcoming Web.com Tour Finals where he would have a chance to compete for a full PGA Tour card for the 2018-19 season.

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Woods adds BMW Championship to playoff schedule

By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 5:01 pm

Tiger Woods is adding a trip to Philadelphia to his growing playoff itinerary.

Having already committed to both The Northern Trust and the Dell Technologies Championship, Woods' agent confirmed to GolfChannel.com that the 14-time major champ will also make an appearance next month at the BMW Championship. It will mark Woods' first start in the third leg of the FedExCup playoffs since 2013 when he tied for 11th at Conway Farms Golf Club outside of Chicago.

This year the Sept. 6-9 event is shifting to Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pa., which is hosting the BMW for the first time. The course previously hosted the Quicken Loans National in both 2010 and 2011. Woods won the BMW en route to FedExCup titles in both 2007 and 2009 when it was held at Cog Hill in Illinois.


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Woods was already in good position to make the 70-man BMW field, but his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship vaulted him from 49th to 20th in the season-long points race and assured that he'll make it to Aronimink regardless of his performance in the first two postseason events.

Woods' commitment also means a packed schedule will only get busier leading into the Ryder Cup, where he is expected to be added as a captain's pick. Woods' appearance at the BMW will cap a run of five events in six weeks, and should he tee it up in Paris it could be his seventh start in a nine-week stretch if he also qualifies for the 30-player Tour Championship.