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The Social: X-treme Tour makeover

By Jason CrookJanuary 30, 2018, 7:00 pm

Slow play on the PGA Tour once again rears its ugly head, Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky sweat out the possibility of losing the world No. 1 ranking, LPGAers enjoy their time on and off the course at their season-opener, and a golf version of the XFL? Hey, never say never.

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

We begin where we always do, by congratulating the weekly PGA Tour winner and wishing only good things for him going forward this year discussing whatever controversy engulfed the golf world this week on the game’s biggest stage. For something new and exciting, the hot topic at the Farmers Insurance Open became slow play, when a near six-hour final round came to a screeching halt in the middle of the 18th fairway as J.B. Holmes took more than four minutes to decide on a club with the co-leader of the tournament waiting on him.

Holmes stood by his decision after the round, saying he "was still trying to win," but there weren't many standing out there on that ledge with him.

On a Tour where players generally try to give each other the benefit of the doubt, several prominent names took to Twitter to voice their frustration with Holmes and the entire process in general:

No matter what you think about the slow-play issue, it's probably a good general rule of thumb to not alienate everyone you work with, no matter your profession.

Just a thought.

Up until the final round at Torrey Pines, Jon Rahm was threatening to win the Farmers Insurance Open and take over the No. 1 ranking from Dustin Johnson in the process, not that DJ would’ve minded … or even noticed.

Johnson and fiancée Paulina spent the week in Aspen, Colorado, with friends and family enjoying the slopes and taking really, really, really, ridiculously good looking photos of themselves – a standard we’ve come to expect from any Johnson-Gretzky vacation.

Another successful aspen trip with the best crew

A post shared by Jeremy Cohen (@jeremyc0hen) on

Say what you will about DJ’s ability to overpower courses or other players, but this is the part of his game that doesn’t get enough credit.

It’s easy to make jokes, but not everyone is wired to just shut their brain off and go on vacation when meaningful golf is being played. Johnson is far and away the Tour’s best at this and go figure, the world rankings still reflect that.

The LPGA saw the PGA Tour’s season-opener in Hawaii and raised them a trip to the Bahamas.

While you could debate which vacation spot is better, the LPGA ladies didn’t seem to have any complaints about their time spent in the tropical paradise last week at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic.

Brittany Lincicome had the best week, we're assuming, because you know, she won the tournament.

But from a quick look around social media, it appears all the losers had a decent time, too.

Back in paradise @puresilkbahamaslpga

A post shared by Cheyenne Woods (@cheyenne_woods) on

Not a bad place for a selfie #puresilkbahamas #lpga

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In conclusion, the beginning of the season on the PGA and LPGA tours looks pretty amazing. Rest of the season appears to be OK, too.

If you're not working a solid 9-5 job, you should definitely look into it.

This guy is the real MVP.

Sneaks onto the court during an NBA game during warmups, does some light stretching and even gets a shot up before anyone notices he's not actually a player on the team.

As for that security guard. Boo this man!

Phil Mickelson has a penchant for dad jokes, which makes sense, considering he’s 47 years old and has been a dad for 18 years.

But he took it to another level last week at Torrey Pines after hitting a fan with a wayward drive.

Obviously the fan knew a signed glove was coming hisr way (that’s kind of Phil’s thing), but this one came with a little something extra.

Yes, you're reading that right. He signed it - "Next time, duck!"

If we're being totally honest ... not terrible advice.

And if this is any indication of how the twilight of Mickelson's career is going to go down, let's all hope he plays until he's got grandpa jokes.

With Torrey Pines in the books, it's suddenly Waste Management Phoenix Open week ... AKA the biggest party of the year on the PGA Tour.

That visual of the par-3 16th hole on the Stadium Course filled with crazy fans is enough to scare some Tour pros, but not Bubba Watson, who was there over the weekend getting some early practice in.

With the help of his adorably loud son Caleb, of course.

If Bubba wins this week, here's to hoping he gets a giant, "you're welcome!" from his son.

He deserves the credit.

Despite flaming out on the first go-around, an XFL reboot was announced by WWE owner Vince McMahon last week in an attempt to give football fans an alternative option to the NFL by 2020.

Whether it will work or not remains to be seen, but it did get one Tour pro asking the question on Twitter ... "When will there be an XFL for golf?"

John Peterson laid out a few initial rules (which would certainly solve a few problems we saw just last week) - mid-round fights, no practice swings, have to play in under 2 hours, no tees, carry bags and swimsuits.

But that just got the ball rolling.

Plenty of others on social media chimed in with their ideas for the new XTour, which Peterson was all for:

Sure it'll never happen, because players - and fans - still get bent out of shape over when exactly a fan can yell, "Get in the hole!"

It sure is fun to think about though. And it goes without saying, but you know you'd watch.

@bubbawatson on Instagram

Bubba gets inked by Brooks, meets Tebow

By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 5:40 pm

Bubba Watson missed the cut at Shinnecock Hills following rounds of 77-74, but that didn't stop him from enjoying his weekend.

Watson played alongside Jason Day and eventual champion Brooks Koepka in Rounds 1 and 2, and somehow this body ink slipped by us on Thursday.

Got autographed by defending @usopengolf Champ @bkoepka!! #NeverShoweringAgain

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And while we're sure Bubba would have rather been in contention over the weekend, we're also sure that taking your son to meet the second most famous minor-league baseball player who ever lived was a lot more fun than getting your teeth kicked in by Shinnecock Hills over the weekend, as just about everyone not named Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood did.

Already in Hartford, Watson will be going for his third Travelers Championship trophy this week, following wins in 2010 and 2015.

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Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it

By Nick MentaJune 18, 2018, 3:09 pm

There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.

The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."

Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:

If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.

“The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”

The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.

Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).

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Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in

By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:34 pm

There's a new man at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup race following the U.S. Open, and there's also a familiar name now on the outside looking in.

Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.

While Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9, Phil Mickelson dropped two spots to No. 10. Tony Finau, who finished alone in fifth, went from 16th to 13th, while Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 37.

Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

1. Brooks Koepka

2. Dustin Johnson

3. Patrick Reed

4. Justin Thomas

5. Jordan Spieth

6. Rickie Fowler

7. Bubba Watson

8. Webb Simpson

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9. Bryson DeChambeau

10. Phil Mickelson

11. Matt Kuchar

12. Brian Harman

On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.

Here's a look at the updated Euro standings, with the top four from both points lists joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National:

European Points

1. Tyrrell Hatton

2. Justin Rose

3. Tommy Fleetwood

4. Francesco Molinari

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5. Thorbjorn Olesen

6. Ross Fisher

World Points

1. Jon Rahm

2. Rory McIlroy

3. Alex Noren

4. Matthew Fitzpatrick

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5. Ian Poulter

6. Rafael Cabrera-Bello

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Koepka autographs local kids' 'Go Brooks' sign after win

By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 2:30 pm

Brooks Koepka is a two-time U.S. Open winner, but that doesn't mean he's now too big to go sign a couple pieces of cardboard in somebody's front yard in the middle of the night.

Koepka's girlfriend, Jena Sims, posted two pictures to her Instagram story on Sunday of "Go Brooks" signs she says were put up by some local kids in the area where Koepka was staying for the week.

The first is dated prior to Koepka's final-round tee time.



The second is from Sunday night.



And here, separately, for no reason in particular (other than the fact that she posted it) is a video of Sims running over a parking cone at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

Speaking of kids, just feels those two are gonna make it.