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Sterling standout Hurley a social butterfly in Twitterverse

Be sweet, please retweet

Published: Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT
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(Philip Marruffo/pmarruffo@saukvalley.com)
Sterling's Ryan Hurley has made a name for himself on the golf course. That reputation is only trumped by the one he has as social media personality on Twitter.

Between most shots, Ryan Hurley can take a few minutes to contemplate his next shot.

Sure there's a lot of moving parts: club selection, the desired path for the ball and how he plans to strike it in order to follow that curve. Or line, if putting.

But it's because of the Sterling junior's quick wit that he's tailor-made for Twitter.

He (@RDotHurley) signed up about a year ago. There were humble beginnings. His first tweet was about the movie "Barbershop 2", which he and some friends watched for about 5 minutes before switching the channel to a game.

"It was weird, but I think it was worth it – to tweet about Barbershop 2 as my first tweet,” Hurley deadpanned during a sitdown at SVM headquarters Thursday evening after earning medalist honors in Sterling's victory in Freeport.

For Sterling coach C.J. Wade, Twitter is a motivational device. He likes to tweet his golfers leading up to matches, using such team slogans as #LetsGo. But he doesn't dare to compare his Twitter prowess to Hurley's.

"Ryan's very creative, and he's a bright kid," Wade said. "Most of it is awesome stuff. I am a little jealous of what he comes up with, whether it's music, sports or in any walk of life.

"I wish I could be more like him."

For Hurley, Twitter is many things. He follows a number of celebrities and news sources and even learns about happenings at his high school.

"It spreads really quick through Twitter," Hurley said. "But mostly, I just like to have fun with it."

Exhibit A: the #SHSHallways tweets.

“We’d walk through the hallways, and we’d be dead silent and wait to hear things that people say and tweet them out of context,” Hurley said, “which just made them absolutely hilarious. That went on for a while.”

Of late, the hashtag #Tour has grown on him. But he doesn't typically use it while tweeting about his mechanical breakthroughs.

“Everyday things can be known as ‘Tour,’” Hurley said. “I just ate this awesome bagel. Hashtag Tour.

“When you play golf, being on the Tour is like the mecca of golf. If everything is up to Tour standards, it kind of makes it funny.”

Of course, Hurley, his teammates and competitors aren't allowed to tweet during events. But during the Rock River Classic, his caddy, Lucas Campbell (@LTC_Kilahbee), took a buzz phrase out of Tiger Woods' book after he made a run at 59 at Bridgestone.

"At breakfast, all we were talking about was 59 Watch," Hurley said. "Awesome pancakes for breakfast. Hashtag 59 Watch."

Hurley shot a 38 on the front nine, prompting this tweet from Campbell: "At the turn @RdotHurley is at 38, he needs a 21 #59Watch"

Hurley hopes to play college golf and is interested in business. He certainly has a grip on the sort of branding that turns good golfers into millionaires. And he's caught the eye of some serious talent scouts.

He was watching The Masters during English class this past April, information he said he's happy to indulge.

"I had my phone tucked into my arm," Hurley said. “Then the fire alarm went off, and it was like the best thing that ever happened to me. We got to go outside and I could actually watch The Masters, and there was like a crowd of people watching The Masters on my phone."

ESPN, promoting its recent launch of the WatchESPN, asked users to tweet their best moment using the app, including the hashtag #clutch.

Hurley obliged, tweeting "@espn watched the masters live from a fire drill today #clutch"

@ESPN followed him and even contacted him.

"They direct messaged me and asked for my phone number. That was a little weird," Hurley said.

ESPN was interested in turning his tweet into an animated commercial but, although he followed through with a 90-second description of his #clutch experience, ESPN didn't follow up.

"But it was kind of cool that somebody big recognized my tweet," Hurley said.

The real bummer came after Hurley's tweet retweeted round the world. He modified a tweet from @UberFacts coming up with this gem.

"@UberFacts: Eminem is among the Top 20 greatest Donkey Kong players in the world." But on the surface he looks calm and ready."

The 8 Mile reference garnered 93 retweets and 144 favorites.

"But it only gained me like three followers. I was kind of bummed about that," Hurley said.

That last quote was likely sarcasm. Hurley says he doesn't care how many followers he has – 394, for those scoring at home. After all, like any good golfer, he remains humble. And like any good tweeter, he understands what makes his humor so effective in the Twitterverse.

Timing.

“The only reason it was so popular was because I was the first responder,” Hurley said. “I pulled down my feed, let it reload, and it was the first tweet that popped up. It was like 0 seconds.”

Brush with Bradley

Tour fixture Keegan Bradley's reply to Hurley's tweet during the John Deere Classic on July 12 in Silvis:

“@RdotHurley: @Keegan_Bradley why did you change between the range and the first tee? #JohnDeereClassic" Pants ripped! #fat

Sterling golfers on Twitter

• Coach C.J. Wade – @cjwade20

• Kyle Sinn – @snoop_sinn

• Trevor Sisson – @sisson_trevor

• Zach Rehmert – @balla22_zach

• Nick "Craig" Abele – affectionately known as @twitterlesscraig

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