The Social: Decisions, decisions ...

By Jason CrookMay 2, 2017, 6:00 pm

Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky ditch the beach for a family vacation, a social media starlet will get an LPGA shot thanks to the help of Twitter, and Andrew "Beef" Johnston gets a new best friend in New Orleans. All that and more in this edition of The Social.

With a kid in tow, sometimes you have to switch up your routine. Packing extra diapers, seeing the animated movie instead of the R-rated thriller, pointing your private jet in the direction of a more kid-friendly vacation spot - those kinds of normal-people things.

That was the case this past week for totally regular parents Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky, who passed on the typical tropical vacation they’ve been known to take in favor of a trip to Disney World with their son, Tatum.

Once upon a time...

A post shared by Paulina Gretzky (@paulinagretzky) on

Happiest Place on Earth w. Our Tatum @djohnsonpga

A post shared by Paulina Gretzky (@paulinagretzky) on

The pictures lacked a certain sizzle we've become accustomed to seeing from the world No. 1 and his fiancée, but hey, we got DJ on the "Dumbo" ride instead. What more can you really ask for?

A strong social media presence can get you a lot these days ... clothes from potential sponsors, protein powder, more nasty comments than you can count, and apparently a spot in an LPGA event.

Next month's ShopRite Classic launched a Twitter poll Monday, leaving its final sponsor exemption up to votes from the general public.

Golf Channel’s Blair O’Neal, India’s Sharmila Nicollet, Scotland’s Carly Booth and Bolivia’s Susan Benavides were the four ladies chosen for the poll after being identified by MVP Index, a sports social media tracking firm, as the top candidates not named Paige Spiranac, who opted not to participate.

Not exactly sure what the MVP Index formula is, but there’s a good chance it starts with a regular old set of eyeballs.

#tbt #instagood #photoftheday #happy #me #picoftheday #selfie #girl #instadaily #instagram

A post shared by Blair O'Neal (@blaironealgolf) on

Propriety won't allow it.

A post shared by Sharmila Nicollet (@sharmilanicollet) on

Love this outfit by @pumagolf can't wait to get wearing it in the sunshine soon

A post shared by Carly Booth (@carlyabooth) on

Looking through old pics like #lovetheleggings #sportsbratoo #photoshoot #Idontgolflikethat

A post shared by Susana Benavides (@mumita_b) on

We're just glad there's no write-in option. If the Internet has taught us anything, it's that Golfy McGolfface would run away with this thing if given the opportunity.

Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith probably had the most fun as partners at last week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans, considering they came away with the victory, and winning is fun. But right behind them had to be the 1-2 punch of Andrew “Beef” Johnston and Kyle Reifers, who finished T-29 and may have become best friends in the process.

The duo gave themselves a cool nickname, ate beef jerky out of each other’s mouths, Photoshopped weird pictures together for Instagram. They did basically everything short of sword fighting their way through a fancy gala wearing orange and blue tuxedos.

Beauty & the Beef! #zurichclassic #pgatour #livelucky @beefgolf

A post shared by Kyle Reifers (@kylereiferspga) on

Then again, their evolution into Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne appears well on its way:

So this is how my partner this week gets to the course. No courtesy cars needed@kylereiferspga

A post shared by Andrew 'Beef' Johnston (@beefgolf) on

Heard that baby gets 70 miles to the gallon.

Shoulda yelled two!

Slow play dominated the weekend in golf, with both the PGA and European Tours handing out penalties. But it was no more noticeable than during the final round of the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout, where Cristie Kerr and Haru Nomura went to SIX painfully-slow sudden death playoff holes before a winner was decided.

Golf Twitter, uh, noticed:

Kerr, who ended up (eventually) losing the playoff, was aware of the glacial pace, because she took to Twitter herself to apologize the next day.

A noble gesture from the LPGA veteran and someone with an entire nation on their side

The Zurich Classic wasn’t the only team event that went down last week in New Orleans.

Before the tournament started, several players competed in a "Family Feud" knockoff at the Zurich pro-am party that looked like a lot of fun.

From the looks of things, the team of Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, Keegan Bradley and Billy Horschel defeated Jaime Donaldson, Lexi Thompson, Ben Crane and Justin Rose.

We’re not sure which side answered this question, but they nailed it.

While there’s no actual video of the event, this is probably close enough:

Seriously, don't know why anyone leaves their computer with such good money-making opportunities right at their fingertips. Real jobs are for suckers.

Getty Images

Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

“The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

“I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

“The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

“I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”

Getty Images

Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 1:55 am

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.

The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.

''I like winning. I like challenging myself,'' Kerr said. ''Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, 'Man, why does my hamstring hurt?' From working around this hilly golf course. The golf ball doesn't know an age. I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.''

She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.

''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''

Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.

''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.

Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.

Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.

Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.

''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''

She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.

''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''

Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.

Getty Images

DJ hits 489-yard drive, but it doesn't count for history

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 12:22 am

AUSTIN, Texas – Dustin Johnson is no stranger to big drives, but even for DJ this one was impressive.

Trailing in his Day 3 match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson launched a drive at the par-5 12th hole that traveled 489 yards, but that number comes with an asterisk.

“He got lucky it hit the road,” smiled Kevin Kisner, who was leading the world No. 1, 3 up, at the time. “I thought he would make an eagle for sure, he only had 80 yards [to the hole]. He didn’t hit a very good putt.”

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

Johnson’s drive, which was 139 yards past Kisner’s tee shot, is the longest recorded on the PGA Tour in the ShotLink era, surpassing Davis Love III’s drive of 476 yards in 2004 at the Tournament of Champions.

The drive will not go into the record books, however, because the Tour doesn’t count statistics from the Match Play.

It should also be noted, Kisner halved the 12th hole with a birdie and won the match, 4 and 3, to advance to the round of 16.

Getty Images

Durant leads Champions event in Mississippi

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 12:21 am

BILOXI, Miss. - Joe Durant had three straight birdies in a back-nine burst and a shot 6-under 66 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Rapiscan Systems Classic.

Durant birdied the par-4 11th and 12th and par-5 13th in the bogey-free round at breezy and rain-softened Fallen Oak. Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway.

''It just sets up nice to my eye,'' Durant said. ''It's a beautiful golf course and it's very challenging. The tee shots seem to set up well for me, but the greens are maybe as quick as I've ever seen them here. You really have to put the ball in the right spots. I played very nice today. With the wind swirling like it was, I'm really happy.''

He won the Chubb Classic last month in Naples, Florida, for his third victory on the 50-and-over tour.

Full-field scores from the Rapiscan Systems Classic

''Done this long enough, Friday's just one day,'' Durant said. ''Especially in a three-day tournament, you've got to go out and shoot three good numbers. Fortunate to put one on the board, but I know I have to back it up with a couple of good days because you can get passed very quickly out here.''

Mark Calcavecchia was a stroke back. He won last month in Boca Raton, Florida

''It's probably my best round I've ever had here and it was a tough day to play,'' Calcavecchia said. ''The greens are just lightning fast. They're pretty slopey greens, so very difficult to putt.''

Steve Stricker was third at 68. He took the Tucson, Arizona, event three weeks ago for his first senior victory.

''Just getting it around and managing my game I think like I always do,'' Stricker said. ''You get in the wrong position here with the greens being so fast and you're going to be in trouble. I did that a couple times today.''

Billy Mayfair, Billy Andrade and David McKenzie shot 69. Jerry Kelly, the winner of the season-opening event in Hawaii, was at 70 with Wes Short Jr., Glen Day, Gene Sauers and Jesper Parnevik.

Bernhard Langer opened with a 71, and two-time defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 72.

Vijay Singh, coming off his first senior victory two weeks ago in Newport Beach, California, had a 73.