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The Social: Yo soy fiesta!

By Jason CrookMarch 6, 2018, 4:00 pm

A golfer with no hands makes a hole-in-one, Steph Curry trashes his hotel room and skips out on work in an attempt to play Augusta National, and the Spanish language takes over the PGA Tour.

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

Before we get into the fun stuff, let's look at golf's hot topic. As the debate over driving distance heats up, one former major winner decided to put his opinion out there. And it wasn’t exactly complimentary of the game's governing bodies.

After the USGA and R&A released a joint study Monday calling increased driving distance "unusual and concerning," which could result in rule changes down the road, Jimmy Walker didn't hold back on social media.

Walker attacked the USGA on behalf of the average golfer, who he (correctly) assumed don't want to hit the ball 20 percent shorter. He also called out their decision to ban the anchored putter, saying "What I do know is the USGA does not have their fingers on the pulse of the game ... Changing golf for the masses because a small few who play it a different level is wrong."

Based on a quick look at his comments, Walker has plenty of support from the weekend hackers. Whether or not that translates to support from those making the rules remains to be seen.

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention Phil Mickelson after what was quite possibly the most quintessential Phil Mickelson week of all time.

Somehow, someway, ending up back in the winner's circle for the first time since 2013 at 47 years old might have been the least entertaining part of his week.

There's just so much much to work with.

Phil mistaking a fellow player for a media member.

Phil morphing into a rules official to help his playing partner mid-round.

Phil commenting that he may have been a bumblebee in a past life.

But for our money, this one takes the cake. Phil telling fans - in pretty good Spanish - that he would be signing autographs after his round on Sunday, while trying to pick up his 43rd PGA Tour win.

For the record, and because it never gets old, here's another professional athlete attempting to speak in a foreign language AFTER his game ended:

This has been your reminder to appreciate Mickelson while we still have him in our lives on a weekly basis. He's truly one of a kind.

Before criticizing Stephen Curry, let’s just get this out of the way. Every one of us would skip some work to play Augusta National.

But, none of us happen to be a two-time NBA MVP in the thick of our schedule, which is what makes this story so delightful.

Not only did the Golden State Warriors guard accidentally shatter a hotel room table preparing for his round at the home of the Masters:

He also missed most of the second half against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday after injuring his ankle in the first quarter. Which is only a little bit suspicious/understandable when you consider the plans he already had on the books the next day with backcourt running mate Klay Thompson.

The time off was apparently the perfect amount of rest needed to be able to tee it up on Saturday after driving down Magnolia Lane. What a coincidence.

Question Curry's inclusion in professional golf events if you want (although there are much worse candidates *cough, cough* Tony Romo *cough, cough*), but you can't question the man's dedication to the sport.

This week's video intermission would've made the Oscars watchable. Instead, everyone will have to come find it here ... in a golf blog ... two days later.

There’s plenty of disagreements and arguing when it comes to the biggest stage in golf. It’s nice to have finally have something we can all agree on.

Spanish-language golf announcers are incredible and it’s a shame the viewing public only gets to hear them a couple times a year. There’s really no debate. Even if you can’t understand a word, take a listen to these two calls from the WGC-Mexico Championship and try not to get goosebumps. It’s impossible.

This just doesn’t get old.

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Ross Fisher’s INCREDIBLE ace with a touch of native flair (Sound)

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There are three universal truths in broadcasting.

1) “Doc” Emrick is the greatest, 2) All big-time golf shots should be called in Spanish and 3) The song from “Titanic” makes every sports moment better.

Mickelson and Michelle Wie returned to the winner’s circle on Sunday, but as great as those stories are, they’ve got nothing on the week’s breakout social media star Brandon Canesi.

Canesi was born without hands, but that hasn’t kept him from playing – and excelling – at plenty of sports, including golf. It seems hard to believe until you see it for yourself. Here, start with this recent viral video of a hole-in-one (warning: profanity in video):

Hole in one!!!!! 150 yards 7 iron. Only thing better than Hole High is in the bottom of the cup! Goes to show you can do anything you set your mind on! If you repost, please tag this account! #holeinone #golf #golfaddict #adaptiveathlete #adaptivesports #adaptivegolf #adaptivegolfer #holehigh #inspire #nikegolf #golflife #gaaforlife #golfacademyofamerica @lucky_fin_project @nikegolf @callawaygolf @titleist @taylormadegolf @golf-digest @bubbawatson @rorymcilroy @jordanspieth @totalgolfmove @foreplaypod @golfacademyamer @golfchannel @golf_gods @abcnews @news12nj @thetodayshow @ellen @tigerwoods @rickiefowler @justinthomas34 #inspiredgolf @inspiredgolf @gcmorningdrive #brobible @golf.obsession @pgatour @pga @dirtyheads @duddyb #sctop10 @brobible @fallontonight @colbertlateshow @latenightseth @jimmykimmel #golfvideo #golfstyle #adapting #golfchannel #sctop10 (PLEASE EXCUSE THE PROFANITY)

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Canesi uses a special set of modified clubs and often posts scores in the 70s and 80s on his Instagram page. But he's got more on his mind than just going low.

He is now attending The Golf Academy of America with the hopes of eventually teaching the sport, and he started the nonprofit organization Hole High, which "aims to inspire golfers of all levels to overcome their physical limitations and to educate the public about alternative golfing styles," according to their website.

Click here for more information on Hole High or to donate to a worthy cause. And enjoy a couple more videos of this swing, in case you weren't feeling bad enough about your golf game, which more than likely features two fully-functioning hands.

There’s overcoming the odds, and then there’s Eddie Pepperell’s journey to be considered a nominee for the European Tour’s February Hilton Honors Golfer of the Month.

The 27-year-old broke through with his first win last month at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, but that’s not even half the story, according to Pepperell himself.

Talk about an all-times sales job. This guy's stories rival the Astonishing Tales of George Costanza.

Just go ahead and give the man the award already. And make sure the cameras are rolling for the acceptance speech.

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Senden playing first event since son's brain tumor

By Will GrayMarch 21, 2018, 3:03 pm

John Senden is back inside the ropes for the first time in nearly a year at this week's Chitimacha Louisiana Open on the Tour.

Senden took a leave of absence from professional golf in April, when his teenage son, Jacob, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He didn't touch a club for nearly four months as Jacob endured six rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, a gauntlet that stretched from April until mid-November.

But Senden told that his son's tumor has shrunk from the size of a thumbnail to the size of a pinky nail, and after a promising MRI in January he decided to plan his comeback.

"I haven't really played in 12 months, but in that time Jacob has really, really hung tough," Senden said. "His whole body was getting slammed with all these treatments, and he was so strong in his whole attitude and his whole body. Just really getting through the whole thing. He was tough."

Senden was granted a family crisis exemption by the Tour, and he'll have 13 starts to earn 310 FedExCup points to retain his playing privileges for the 2018-19 season. He is allowed five "rehabilitation" starts as part of the exemption, but will reportedly only make one this week before returning to the PGA Tour at the RBC Heritage, followed by starts in San Antonio, Charlotte and Dallas.

Senden, 46, has won twice on Tour, most recently the 2014 Valspar Championship.

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Added videos shed light on Reed rules controversy

By Will GrayMarch 21, 2018, 2:39 pm

Additional fan videos shed some light on a rules controversy involving Patrick Reed during the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, when Reed suggested that Jordan Spieth would have gotten free relief after he was denied a favorable ruling.

Reed had sailed the green with his approach on the 11th hole Sunday at Bay Hill, coming to rest under a palm tree. As the below thread of videos from fan Tyler Soughers illustrates, Reed wanted a free drop because he believed a nearby television tower was in the way of the shot he planned to play.

The initial rules official didn't "see" the shot Reed planned to attempt given the tight confines, and his decision to deny Reed a free drop was upheld by a second rules official. Reed eventually tried to play the ball, moving it a few feet, before being granted relief from the tower from the ball's new position. He ultimately made double bogey on the hole and tied for seventh.

After finally taking his free drop away from the tower, Reed was heard muttering to nearby fans, "What a crock of s---."

Reed and Spieth will have plenty of time to discuss their favorite rulings Friday, when the two players face off on the final day of round-robin play in Group 4 during the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin.

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Callaway’s $1 Million FanBeat Challenge

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 21, 2018, 2:30 pm

Callaway’s $1 Million FanBeat Challenge is a new live-action game presented by Golf Channel, where golf fans answer trivia and predictive-play questions during tournament coverage for a chance to win $1 million and dozens of other Callaway-sponsored prizes.

Click here or on the image below to play now!

Here's how to play:

  • Two pre-round questions are available to answer anytime.
  • Additional questions are posted during breaks in the action of each round of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play (previously contested at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Valspar Championship, WGC-Mexico Championship).
  • Users will earn points for every correct answer to move up the prize leaderboard during each round.
  • Players earn chances to win additional “instant win” and tournament prizes just by playing along and answering questions.

Callaway’s $1 Million FanBeat Challenge is a play-along game that makes watching golf coverage on Golf Channel and NBC more interesting and entertaining. Answer fun questions like “Where did Phil Mickelson play his college golf?” or “How many birdies will Sergio Garcia have on the back nine?”.

The start times to play during this week's API are:

  • Group play, Wednesday: 5 p.m. ET
  • Group play, Thursday: 5 p.m ET
  • Group play, Friday: 5 p.m. ET
  • Round of 16, Saturday: 11:30 a.m. ET
  • Quarterfinals, Saturday: 3 p.m. ET
  • Semifinals, Sunday: 11:30 a.m. ET
  • Finals, Sunday: 4 p.m. ET

Ace all questions during any of the up to 19 rounds (over the course of the four events) for a chance to win $1 million. Or, compete for a chance to win one of dozens of other prizes offered by Callaway, including full sets of clubs with custom fittings at the Callaway Performance Center in Carlsbad, Calif.; Rogue drivers; Toulon-design putters; MD4 wedges and much more. Click here for full details of the official rules.

Disclaimer: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited. Legal residents of the 50 U.S. or DC who are 18 or older. Begins February 27, 2018 at 12:01 a.m. ET and ends March 25, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Limit 1 entry per person. To enter, and for official rules, odds, and prize details, visit Sponsor: FanBeat, Inc. The $1 million grand prize may be awarded in an annuity or lesser lump sum. Should there be multiple winners, the grand prize will be divided evenly among qualifying winners.

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Group standings at WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 21, 2018, 1:00 pm

Here are the group standings for pool play at the 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship in Austin, Texas. The player with the most points in each pool advanced to Saturday's Round of 16 in Austin, Texas. Click here for scoring and click here for the bracket.

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4
(1) D. Johnson (2) J. Thomas (3) J. Rahm (4) J. Spieth
(32) K. Kisner (21) F. Molinari (28) K. Aphibarnrat (19) P. Reed
(38) A. Hadwin
(48) P. Kizzire (43) C. Reavie (34) H. Li
(52) B. Wiesberger
(60) L. List (63) K. Bradley (49) C. Schwartzel
Group 5 Group 6 Group 7 Group 8
(5) H. Matsuyama (6) R. McIlroy (7) S. Garcia (8) J. Day
(30) P. Cantlay
(18) B. Harman (20) X. Schauffele (25) L. Oosthuizen
(46) C. Smith (44) J. Vegas (41) D. Frittelli (42) J. Dufner
(53) Y. Miyazato (51) P. Uihlein (62) S. Sharma (56) J. Hahn
Group 9 Group 10 Group 11 Group 12
(9) T. Fleetwood (10) P. Casey (11) M. Leishman (12) T. Hatton
(26) D. Berger (31) M. Fitzpatrick (23) B. Grace (22) C. Hoffman
(33) K. Chappell (45) K. Stanley (35) B. Watson (36) B. Steele
(58) I. Poulter (51) R. Henley (64) J. Suri (55) A. Levy
Group 13 Group 14 Group 15 Group 16
(13) A. Noren (14) P. Mickelson (15) P. Perez (16) M. Kuchar
(29) T. Finau (17) R. Cabrera Bello (24) G. Woodland (27) R. Fisher
(39) T. Pieters (40) S. Kodaira (37) W. Simpson (47) Y. Ikeda
(61) K. Na (59) C. Howell III (50) S.W. Kim (54) Z. Johnson