June 11, 2017 / 6:22 PM / 2 months ago

Golf - Social media offers insight into lives of players, but not all

(Reuters) - The competition and camaraderie that are hallmarks of major golf championships will be on display in the social media posts of the players in this week's U.S. Open, as fans will eagerly "like" and retweet posts by their favourites from the field.

In the age of the Internet, sports fans increasingly expect to have personal insights into the lives of favourite players, especially in individual sports such as golf where competitors cannot hide behind bigger personalities on their team.

Many of the players are as gifted on the links as they are on Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat, where they post often to build their brands, promote their sponsors and charities, and to goof off during downtime.

Bubba Watson may have the most entertaining social media presence at this year's U.S. Open, where he can be expected to bolster his everyman bona fides with his hilarious posts.

When the two-times Masters winner is not fulfilling every kid's childhood dream of buying the famous car from the Dukes of Hazard TV show, he is attending sporting events and geeking out in the same manner as would any fan with great seats.

At the NBA Finals Game Three on Wednesday, Watson used Twitter to remind fellow golfer Jason Day to pick him up at the airport and later posted a fan photo that he took of Cleveland star LeBron James.

After the game he managed to interrupt the Warriors’ Stephen Curry during the point guard's on-court TV interview, prompting the golf-loving Curry to say he would be watching Watson at the Open.

The clip went viral and became social media gold.

Rory McIlroy's active online presence underscores the 28-year-old witty, self-effacing sense of humour.

"I hit a little white ball around a field sometimes," he says dryly in his Twitter account bio.

He also uses his account to promote the Rory Foundation, which supports children's charities, and this week posted a video asking fans to submit their best trick shot videos for a chance to play in the pro-am at the Irish Open in July.

Rickie Fowler's Instagram gives fans a glimpse into the good life of the rich and famous, including photos of private planes, expensive cars and selfies with Tiger Woods.

Fowler and fellow American Jordan Spieth did not look too upset about not winning the Masters this year, posting photos and videos to Snapchat enjoying themselves on a yacht in the Bahamas with fellow golfers Justin Thomas and Smylie Kaufman after the tournament.

Justin Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champion from England, uses his Twitter account to promote his sponsors to his more than 800,000 followers.

Not everyone's personality translates online, of course. Defending champion Dustin Johnson can be electric on the course but his online posts tend to underwhelm.

"Had a good couple of practice rounds at Erin Hills and really like the course," Johnson tweeted on Monday.

"Looking forward to defending next week."

Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Andrew Both

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