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The Social: Cheers and jeers

By Jason CrookOctober 24, 2017, 6:00 pm

Flying golfers attack at the WGC-HSBC Champions, Tiger Woods gets teased by his peers, a Euro Tour player celebrates in the pool and a Bryan Bro is in the doghouse.

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

We've seen some weird pre-tournament photo-calls at events in the past. Wild costumes, awkward club twirling, adorable koala bear holding. We thought we'd seen it all. We were wrong.

Because the scene this week in China at the WGC-HSBC Champions is something else ... yeah, we'll go with that.

Last year's winner Hideki Matsuyama knew he'd be defending his trophy this week, but on Tuesday he was quite literally defending it from Henrik Stenson, Dustin Johnson and Haotong Li as they "flew" overhead while threatening him with golf clubs ... we think?

Don't even know what this means, but we love it.

Tiger Woods hitting golf balls is nothing new around these parts. He's been posting a video a week for about a month now, teasing his comeback as he continues to come back from multiple back surgeries.

This week he dropped his patented "stinger," and while the buzz continued to grow around how good his swing looked and when he may return to competition, a couple of commenters took a different approach.

Return of the Stinger. #starwars

A post shared by Tiger Woods (@tigerwoods) on

Those two commenters - Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler:

Sure these guys are South Florida neighbors and friends, but perhaps the young guns would benefit from a little chat with Stephen Ames about chirping the 14-time major champ.

It's getting harder and harder to tee it up with your favorite PGA Tour pros these days.

If you've got $250K, you can get a quick 18 holes in with Phil Mickelson (lunch included). But believe it or not, a round with Jordan Spieth is even more exclusive.

You just have to be the former leader of the free world or the two-time NBA MVP (or that MVP's little brother).

A post shared by Jordan Spieth (@jordanspieth) on

Spieth took to Instagram on Monday to show off his sixsome, which included president Barack Obama, Stephen and Seth Curry, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and Jonnie West, who caddied for Steph Curry this year at the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship.

Consider yourself on notice, #SB2K bros. Spieth is moving on up.

When he says he's coming home at 7 and it's only 6:23 #icanteven

A post shared by I Can't Even (@icanteven) on

"Wasn't me." - dog.

Jaime Donaldson isn't exactly shy about his "celebrating." A certain clip of a hooded, victorious Donaldson the day after the 2014 Ryder Cup comes to mind.

And he was at it again over the weekend after retaining his European Tour card for next season, and then proceeding to walk directly into the pool - clothes and all.

The 42-year-old also mentioned getting "hammered," and based on his tweet from the next day, we're going to go ahead and assume he kept his word on that one.

Braden Thornberry is the reigning NCAA individual men’s golf champion and part-time field goal ball-whacker guy, as evidenced by his halftime performance at the Ole Miss fort all game on Saturday.

But way more interesting than that is his obsession with folf, a football-golf hybrid that was documented in this incredibly real and not-in-any-way fake documentary about it about the sport.

Braden Thornberry, growing the game one tearful documentary watcher at a time.

Every relationship has their own set of rules, but you have to think written somewhere in every couple’s list in big bold letters is: DON’T POST EMBARRASSING VIDEOS OF YOUR WIFE ON SOCIAL MEDIA FOR THE AMUSEMENT OF YOUR FOLLOWERS.

Web.com Tour player George Bryan got married earlier this year, and he’s been busy ever since making a living playing golf, so perhaps he hasn’t gotten around to reading all the rules.

But perhaps he’ll carve out some extra reading time during his time in the doghouse when his wife comes out of her wisdom teeth surgery-induced stupor and realizes it was broadcast to the world via her husband’s Twitter feed.

Based on the possible fallout, this could be the Bryan Bros' craziest trick yet.

How much time you got, buddy?

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Watch: McIlroy hits spectator on hand

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 26, 2018, 2:58 pm

We never cease to wonder at how close fans crowd in to the intended line of some shots, and just how skilled Tour players are in not hitting someone.

But every once in a while, golf ball and spectator intersect, with painful results. It happened to Rory McIlroy during the third round of the BMW PGA Championship, after he had hit a wayward drive on the sixth hole. Attempting to hack out his second shot from under a bush, McIlroy struck a female spectator on her right hand. There was no official word on her condition, but she was clearly - and understandably - in pain.

McIlroy went on to make double bogey but was able to put the incident behind him, as he promptly birdied the next hole.

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Hataoka leads Minjee Lee by one at LPGA Volvik

By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 12:54 am

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – After losing in a playoff last weekend, Nasa Hataoka is making another bid for her first LPGA Tour victory.

Hataoka shot a 4-under 68 on Friday, and the Japanese teenager led by one stroke over Minjee Lee after the second round of the Volvik Championship. Hataoka, who is coming off the first two top-10 finishes of her LPGA career, made seven birdies at Travis Pointe Country Club. She began her round on No. 10, and her best stretch came toward the end, when she birdied Nos. 4, 5 and 6.

''I'm really comfortable playing the LPGA,'' the 19-year-old Hataoka said through a translator. ''I've really got confidence now.''

Hataoka made the cut nine times in 17 starts as a rookie in 2017, and she has made significant strides of late. She tied for seventh at last month's MEDIHEAL Championship and nearly won a week ago at the Kingsmill Championship in Virginia.

Hataoka finished the second round in Michigan at 9 under. Lee (69) was also solid Friday. Gaby Lopez (68), Jodi Ewart Shadoff (70) and Lindy Duncan (70) were a stroke behind Lee in a tie for third.

Hataoka did not make a single bogey in last week's three-round tournament, and she didn't have any in the first round in Michigan. She finally made a few Friday, but that didn't stop her from taking sole possession of the lead.

''I kind of feel like not really perfect, but I just kind of try to (be) aggressive,'' she said.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


Lee, who lost by one stroke on this course last year, is in contention again.

''I guess the fairways are pretty generous and I think the greens are a little bit on the trickier side to read,'' Lee said. ''As long as your iron shots are pretty solid, I think you're going to be in good position around this golf course.''

Lee birdied the first two holes, and the only blemish on her scorecard Friday came on the par-5 14th. After missing the fairway to the right, she hit an aggressive shot out of the rough that went straight toward a water hazard well in front of the green. She settled for a bogey after taking a drop.

''I thought the ball was sitting OK in the rough, but it must have been a bit funny, or underneath it,'' she said. ''I made a mistake. I thought it was good enough to hit 3-wood there.''

Lee lost last year in Michigan to Shanshan Feng, but Feng will have some ground to make up in her attempt to repeat. She shot 69 on Friday but is still eight strokes behind the leader.

Ariya Jutanugarn was 6 under after a second consecutive 69.

Lopez made only six pars in the second round, tied for the fewest of the day, but her eight birdies and four bogeys put her near the top of the leaderboard.

''It was a little bit of an up and down,'' she said. ''There's so many opportunities out here to make birdie, that the most important thing to do is just to be patient, to be in the moment and not to get ahead of yourself. I think I came back from a couple mistakes that I did.''

In contrast to Lopez, Brittany Lincicome parred all 18 holes Friday and made the cut at 1 under. Paula Creamer (71) triple bogeyed the par-4 13th. She followed that with an eagle on the very next hole but missed the cut by a stroke.

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Childhood rivals share Sr. PGA lead

By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 12:00 am

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – Kevin Sutherland and Scott McCarron have been rivals since their junior golf days around Sacramento, California. The two old friends were back at it Friday at the top of the Senior PGA Championship leaderboard.

''It's honestly, nothing new for us,'' said Sutherland who played in the third-to-last group and birdied his last two holes for a 5-under 66 to match McCarron at 8 under.

McCarron had a 68 in the morning wave to emerge from a championship record group of six tied for the first-round lead.

Sutherland was last year's Charles Schwab Cup winner with his only senior win coming in the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship, while McCarron has six PGA Tour Champions wins, including a major at the 2017 Senior Players Championship.

''We are both (Northern California) guys, played in high school, junior golf, on tour and it seems like a lot on the Champions Tour,'' Sutherland said. ''We were in the last group on Sundays a lot last year. Scott played so well and had an incredible year, and I had a great year, too.''

Sutherland's lone PGA Tour victory came at McCarron's expense in 2002 at La Costa in the Accenture Match Play Championship, when he beat McCarron 1 up in the 36-hole final. As youngsters they played on opposing high school teams located about an hour apart and met often in state tournaments as well as on the California junior circuit.

''It's been happening for 30 years, wait 35 years now, I guess,'' Sutherland said. ''Playing together on a Saturday is a little different. We're both still trying to get in position to win.''

Jerry Kelly shot a 65 to join Tim Petrovic (69), Chris Williams (68) and Joe Durant (67) at 7 under. Durant tied for second last week in the Regions Tradition, also a major championship.


Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship


McCarron feels like he is just starting to warm to the task this year. He had to replace his clubs, including a favored putter damaged beyond repair in air transit two months ago.

''I've been putting with a back-up putter I had, but it just didn't feel quite right,'' he said. ''I changed last Sunday at the Regions Tradition and started putting better on Sunday. So I'm using this one again this week and seem to be putting pretty good with it.''

McCarron said the Harbor Shores course played a little tougher in light winds in the second round. He made six birdies and three bogeys.

''I would just like to have a couple of those bogeys back,'' he said. ''But we're in a good position going into the weekend.''

McCarron came to the press center after his round and walked in on a press conference where course-designer Jack and Barbara Nicklaus were being honored by sponsoring KitchenAid with the establishment of a local college scholarship program in their name.

McCarron, who said he has idolized Nicklaus since his youth, played media and asked Nicklaus what he ate when he was near the lead going into the weekend of a major championship.

Nicklaus said if you play well one day, eat the same thing the next day.

''But no hamburgers, or you will play like hamburger,'' he said.

Stuart Smith, the Reno, Neveda, club pro who was tied for the lead after the first round, missed the 36-hole cut with a second-round 83.

''I'll take the 66, 83 and enjoy the 66 yesterday,'' he said. ''You put this one down to just plain old golf. It's a nasty game we play sometimes. Glad I have a day job.''

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Wise, Simpson both miss cut at Colonial

By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 11:34 pm

The two most recent winners on the PGA Tour, Aaron Wise and Webb Simpson, missed the cut at the Fort Worth Invitational on Friday.

Wise and Simpson both came up short of the 2-over total by a shot following rounds of 70-73.

Wise was safely inside the number before playing his last four holes in 4 over par with two bogeys and a closing double following a trip into the water at the par-4 ninth.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Simpson, making his first start following his Players triumph, similarly struggled coming home, bogeying three of his final six holes.

Other notables who won't be around for the weekend at Colonial include Xander Schauffele (+4), Jason Dufner (+5), Patrick Cantlay (+6), Smylie Kaufman (+13), and Sam Burns (+13).

This is Kaufman's 11th consecutive MC and his 15th in his last 16 starts.