Welcome to the Social 7, where Tim Reilly or Rachel Bleier of GOLF’s social media team dive into the good, bad, crazy, insane, viral, hilarious — well, you get the picture — of the past week on social media.
This week I’m reflecting on the seven best social moments from 2018 to cap off the year!
1) Saturday at Shinnecock was quite the scene. After two days of challenging play at the U.S. Open, Day 3 turned into a circus, and Phil Mickelson was the ringleader.
Phil, who seems to have a calculation to justify every shot he attempts, might not have thought enough (if at all) prior to the stunt he pulled on the 13th hole. I was standing just off the first green when my phone started going off like an Amber alert with “OMG” and “Did you just see that?!?” messages about Lefty. Reminiscent of Tin Cup, we’ll struggle to remember Brooks Koepka won this U.S. Open 20 years from now . But we’ll all recall Phil’s 10 clear as day.
The most electrifying man in golf today is Choi. I’ll die on that hill. Choi has a flair and a swing unlike any other pro golfer. If you saw his swing at your local driving range there’s no doubt you’d start laughing – until you noticed the results he gets from it. Choi became an overnight sensation once a few of his clips from playing in Asia started making rounds. Since then, he’s become the people’s champ.
My New Year’s resolution is to see Choi play in person.
3) The Tiger effect is BACK. Tiger’s win at the Tour Championship was 2018’s feel-good story on social media. For once, it felt like all of social media was on the same side – cheering for Tiger to pick up career win No. 80.
Crowds surrounded Tiger on the 18th fairway as hordes of people at home rushed to their electronic devices for the most exciting two-screen experience of the year. Unfortunately, we didn’t have social media during Tiger’s prime year. Fortunately, Tiger looks to be in good shape for 2019 and golf fans everywhere are eagerly awaiting more excitement this season.
4) The Match was what it was. It failed to become a spectacle in the same way it failed to live behind a paywall. Despite some lackluster promotion leading up to the event, there was no shortage of conversation during The Match. It was a great day for the social media cynics to come out and have a little fun.
I think between shots Phil and Tiger should’ve had to read their mentions. Now that would’ve brought out some of the reactions and emotions everyone hoped they would display toward each other.
5) A constant trend on social media throughout the early part of 2018 was debating not if Team USA would win the Ryder Cup, but by how much. GOLF’s own Alan Shipnuck became the unofficial flag bearer for American golf fans, having declared the event over before it even started nearly a year in advance. Europe went on to shock the golf world and silenced Shipnuck and an army of social users.
Molinari, Fleetwood, Poulter, elated crowds and champagne celebrations became focal points of social conversations. “Moliwood” became one of the most likable villains in sports history. Europeans will spend the next two years bragging on social media while Americans point fingers.
6) Patrick Reed is a walking headline. The moment he opens his mouth he begins trending on social media. From his brash Masters win with his parents watching nearby to verbally attacking a cameraman to complaining about free tickets to a ball game to throwing his Ryder Cup coaches and teammates under the bus, it was hard to pick just one Reed moment that riled up social media the most.
So, let’s just go with them all! Reed isn’t the villain golf needs; he’s the villain golf deserves. Here’s to hoping he takes that next step in 2019 to become the Tour’s bad boy.
7) Conor Moore emerged as one of golf’s breakout stars in 2018. His impersonations of golf’s best spread like wildfire across social media, and with good reason. Moore’s work is spot-on and supplied some needed fresh air for a sport that can be too stuffy at times.
The sign of a great impressionist is when you’d rather hear them than from the real person. Moore has accomplished just that. I can’t even look at Sergio without hearing Moore’s “heheheheh” go off in my head.