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The Social: Apologies and contract guarantees

By Jason CrookFebruary 27, 2018, 1:30 pm

Justin Thomas wins the Honda Classic despite one fan very loudly wishing he didn't, an NFL player signs an unusual golf contract with his fiancée and Kevin Na doesn't hesitate, no matter what casual golf observers may claim.

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

Well, we’ve officially reached Peak 2018. And it's not even March!

After a week in which a 24-year-old picked up his the eighth win on the PGA Tour and Tiger Woods recorded his best finish in three years, the main takeaway from the week in golf was obviously ... the hoopla surrounding a fan getting booted from the gallery late in the final round.

Justin Thomas was able to win the Honda Classic in a playoff, overcoming an incredibly tough PGA National golf course, a world-class field and one fan who was (gasp!) rooting loudly against him.

JT got the fan ejected from the tournament as they were coming down the stretch on Sunday for yelling – after Thomas had swung – for his shots to find hazards.

The social media backlash to the incident was so fierce, with many saying the reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year needed some thicker skin, that Thomas ended up issuing an apology on Monday:

Hard to argue that the fan wasn't being unsportsmanlike, but should he have been thrown out? Should Thomas have gotten directly involved? Was an apology necessary? That's all debatable.

But it's a slippery slope. One minute you're disagreeing with certain fan behaviors and the next you're losing a fight to Bob Barker on national television. (As you can see in the video title, there's a little bit of profanity in the below clip.)

Happens to the best of them.

Happy birthday babes, you’re amazing.

A post shared by Jeff Heuerman (@jheuerman) on

Some significant others love the golf ... some loathe it. And some tolerate it as long as it comes with a caveat or two.

NFL player Jeff Heuerman's fiancée, Hannah, falls into the latter category, as evidenced by this photo that popped up on Instagram recently.

It appears to be a contract that Heuerman signed, guaranteeing that he will not buy another driver in the next five years because buying new clubs "has not, and will not, make me a better golfer" and because he "loves [his fiancée] more than golf."

To each their own. Every love story is different.

But if Heuerman, a tight end for the Denver Broncos, can't sneak a club purchase past the Missus every now and again, what chance do the rest of us have?

Shred the gnar, brah.

Slow and steady gets you ... second place.

At least that's the moral of the modern day telling of "The Tortoise and the Hare" that played out on the PGA Tour over the last week.

Retired English cricketer Kevin Pietersen called out Kevin Na for what he perceived as slow play during the final round of the Genesis Open, and it was still weighing on his mind so heavily THREE DAYS LATER, that he took it upon himself to teach Na the proper way to make a tap-in.

What a nice guy.

Na, who has dealt with slow play criticism for much of his career, fired right back – to his credit, quickly, albeit on a totally different social media platform – and basically told Pietersen to shove it. The putt that Na was being criticized for taking his time with was worth an extra $300,000 and got him into a T-2 finish behind Bubba Watson.

It's not about what you see, it's about what Kevin Na sees. And Kevin Na sees pride, power and don't take no crap off of nobody. All you fans out there with your stopwatches have been warned.

Speaking of Bubba, anyone doubting his thoughts of retirement before his return to the winner’s circle at Riviera needs to look no further than how he spent his off-week to know he was dead serious.

Watson spent the time with his family, showing off his son Caleb’s fantastic baseball swing and basketball trophy (and he didn't yell "You're welcome!" at the end of a video).

Sure, Watson's attitude on the course may occasionally rub some the wrong way, but he looks plenty happy at home. If he decides to hang it up earlier than later, it shouldn't come as a shock.

Have to respect this guy's style.

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McIlroy 'committed to everything ... ran out of holes'

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 7:08 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy summed it up: “I don’t really feel like it’s a defeat. I feel like it’s a good week.”

McIlroy, in search of his fifth major, tied for the lead at The Open late on Sunday at Carnoustie when he made eagle on the par-5 14th hole. An hour later, he had made five consecutive pars to close out a 1-under 70 and tie for second place with Justin Rose, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele.

That group ended two shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. McIlroy thought it was realistic to squeeze one more shot out of his round, but he never though it was possible to squeeze out two.

“I committed to everything,” he said. “I hit the shots when I needed to. I made good swings on 17 and on 18. I just ran out of holes.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

McIlroy hasn’t played poorly this year, but this hasn't been a year that would rank as a total success. He took the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March and collected a second-place finish at the BMW PGA Championship. He had a legitimate chance to win the Masters before a terrible Sunday round, and then missed the cut at the U.S. Open last month at Shinnecock Hills.

Sunday at Carnoustie, McIlroy bogeyed two of his first five holes and quickly became an afterthought. When others faltered, McIlroy birdies Nos. 9 and 11, then eagled 14 to vault back into the picture.

“I’m happy with how I played,” he said. “I didn’t get off to a great start, but I hung in there, and I battled back.

“So I’ll look back at this week and be very encouraged about what I’ve done and the golf that I played. I feel like that will stand me in good stead for what’s coming up.”

McIlroy is scheduled to play the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks, followed by the PGA Championship and the FedExCup Playoffs.

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Edoardo, other pros congratulate Francesco on Twitter

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 6:54 pm

Francesco Molinari played a bogey-free weekend at Carnoustie to claim Italy's first claret jug.

His rock-solid performance in the final round earned him his share of social media plaudits.

Here's a collection of Twitter hat-tips, and we start off with Frankie's brother, Dodo.

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Woods: Fan who yelled had 'tipped back a few'

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 6:37 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods stood on the 18th tee and thought he needed birdie to have a chance to win The Open. He pulled driver out of his bag, a sign he wanted to boot the ball as far down the fairway as possible.

Woods took a mighty swat and - right in the middle of his downswing - someone yelled. Woods flinched.

Luckily his ball still found a decent spot just off the right of the fairway.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I’ve had things like that happen a lot in my career with people who just tried to time it,” Woods said Sunday at Carnoustie after shooting 71 to tie for sixth place. “They tipped back a few, and it’s late in the day.

“Unfortunately, that’s part of what we have to deal with in today’s game. People are trying to yell out things to try to be on TV or be in social media or whatever it may be. That was too close to the game of play.”

Woods hit his approach to 6 feet and missed the birdie putt. He tapped in for par to shoot even par and finish 5 under for the week, in a tie for sixth.

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Pros melt down on Twitter as they watch Tiger

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 6:30 pm

Tiger Woods mounted a final-round charge and, for a little while, took the outright lead at Carnoustie on Sunday.

His fellow pros were watching and tweeting like your average fans.

We compiled some of their missives below:

Woods would go on to finish in a tie for sixth at 5 under par for the week.