Beyond the pale: Cink's head goes viral

By Jason SobelJanuary 11, 2014, 12:01 am

HONOLULU - There was no tactful way of asking the question, so after Stewart Cink finished off his second-round 69 at the Sony Open with a birdie on the final hole, I just spit it out.

“So, do you know that, um, your head is, uh, going viral?”

It may not be the most hard-hitting query I’ve ever posed to a major champion, but at least it was relevant. One day earlier, Cink tapped in a putt on his final hole, then removed his hat and shook hands with playing partners Marc Leishman and Michael Thompson. These few seconds were shown live on Golf Channel’s telecast, revealing an incredible tan line where the back of Cink’s hat had been. While his neck was a deep tan, his bald head was a pasty white.

Within minutes, a screen grab of the moment swept across social media. People who didn’t care anything about the Sony Open or Stewart Cink or even golf in general were marveling at this decided line of demarcation.

By Friday morning, thousands of people around the world had seen it and commented on it. But one question remained: Did Cink even know?


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“I did see the replay last night of one of my shots that they showed and it’s the first thing I noticed, too,” he said Friday. “Like, wow. My head looked like it was glowing. You know, this time of year, when we come out to Hawaii with the strong sun, I just tan really easily everywhere except, obviously, under this hat. I can’t help it. I fight the battle of bad tan line. I don’t know what else to do.”

In case you couldn’t tell from that comment, not only was Cink willing to speak about being the butt of the latest Internet joke, he did so good-naturedly, even laughing at himself.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise. He’s always been a willing participant in some witty banter – and he knows his way around social media. When it comes to Twitter, Cink is the OG (Original Golfer), with more than 1.1 million followers since joining over five years ago.

In fact, maybe the biggest surprise is that other tweeters beat him to the punchline.

“If it was somebody else, I probably would have tweeted about it, too, because it caught my attention and it was funny,” he explained. “And it’s harmless. It’s just an easy thing to sort of laugh at and poke fun at. It’s fine with me. I know it looks silly. But it’s enough of a battle for me.”

The question now is: What happens next?


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As one Twitter user suggested, since we’ve already endured Dufnering, will this be the start to a new craze called Cinking? “Dufnering is a little easier to imitate on the spot,” Cink said. “It’s hard to do this. This takes years. You’ve got to have commitment. If someone treats this like Dufnering, I’ll definitely give them a high five.”

Well, maybe it will catch on in other ways. Kikkor Golf has already introduced the “Cink or Swim Golf Cap” to its online product line. For a mere $15, you, too, can look just like Cink. (Description: “Don’t bother investing in hours and hours of sunbathing when you can have a natural looking ‘golf cap’ of your own. Comes in three colour options to provide the perfect contrast.”) Only problem? It’s already sold out.

Cink, though, is hoping to cash in for himself. He figures the attention from his excessive tan line should be enough to claim an endorsement deal – with a company that produces spray tans.

“For sure, I’m already thinking that way,” he laughed. “I want to go spray tan. I can’t do it on the golf course, because I sweat too much. But I owe it to my wife, Lisa, to not have this stupid looking tan line when we go out on a date and she has to sit and endure that.”

Somewhere amongst these head-related questions, I asked Cink about his golf game. He’s only a month removed from winning the PNC Father/Son Challenge with his son, Connor. And so far this week, he’s posted a pair of under-par rounds, showing glimpses of the player who famously stole the claret jug away from Tom Watson back in 2009.

But it didn’t take long for us to circle back to that unfortunate tan line. I thought it might have been a source of pride – maybe the more palpable the line, the more it shows he’s been grinding away on the practice range –  but sadly, even that isn’t the case.

“It’s not a source of anything,” he said. “When we’re at our lake house in the summer, I can spend two weeks out on the boat with no hat and it gets nice and even. Then 30 minutes on the range and it gets like this. I need to spend time outside without a hat on to get it even, but it’s impossible. I can’t play catch-up when the sun is this strong.”

At that point, we ended the interview. I thanked him for being a good sport while he rubbed the back of his head, as if that would somehow make it all go away.

Before he left, I reminded him that, hey, at least I asked him something about his golf game at one point, too.

“That’s true,” he answered. “I don’t know what it was, but you did. I was just happy to talk about my tan line.”

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


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There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


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“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”