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2019-02-01 Golf Digest

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Contents 02/19
? Tree removal and re-establishing the naturalistic rough at pine valley, No. 1 on our 100 Greatest, has transformed the 12th hole. 56
Features
46
cover story :
the tiger
comeback
Tiger?s New Game
We talked to all his
teachers: Here?s why
they think a major
is now realistic.
Play Your Best
74
79
BY MATTHEW RUDY
50
Tiger?s Entourage
The most trusted members
of his inner circle.
13
WITH GUY YOCOM
16
82
Big Cat: By The Numbers
Eleven stats that prove
Tiger?s career dominance.
Field & Screen
Indoor golf is an alternative
to the ?real thing? in
South Korea. Join us
as we give it a try.
54
18
?You Only Live Once?
So Yeon Ryu wants to win
the Grand Slam, but
there?s also music,
ballet, being a foodie
and much more.
94
The Best of Johnny Miller
As he prepares to sign o?
for the last time, Miller?s
words still resonate.
21
22
Swing Sequence:
Xander Schau?ele
Crush the ball with ease
like this rising star.
10
Undercover Tour Pro
Why I don?t love
taking my wife to work.
WITH MAX ADLER
36
Golf Made Simple
The game?s toughest shot.
Gimme One Thing
Putting on slower greens.
Not a Laughing Matter
Comedian Alfonso Ribeiro
takes golf seriously.
38
The Digest
Can?t say something nice
about a course? Say this
40
The Core
?When you step up to the
ball, pretend you are the
person you need to be.?
Sneaky Trick Shots
to Save Par
Pitch it stone dead.
BY MAX ADLER
BY JON RAHM
24
BY MIKE O?MALLEY
42
The Leading Edge
Control the hybrid chip
to knock it tight.
Journeys:
Joaquin Niemann
The unlikely road from
Chile to becoming elite.
WITH KEELY LEVINS
BY MICHAEL BREED
44
26
BY STEPHEN HENNESSEY
AND RON WHITTEN
dom furore
The Golf Life
BY ADAM KOLLOFF
Facts of the 100 Greatest
30
8 Editor?s Letter
Johnny Miller: He Called the Shots.
BY JERRY TARDE
Cover by Nigel Buchanan
What?s In My Bag
Cameron Smith
BY PETER FINCH
20
BY KEELY LEVINS
BY RON WHITTEN
69
Tee to Green
How to cover the ball and
make better iron contact.
BY DAVID LEADBETTER
BY MIKE O?MALLEY
56
34
WITH KEELY LEVINS
BY MAX ADLER
It?s Not Over at 43
Key achievements in golf
of the post-43 set.
america?s
100 greatest
golf courses
Golf?s Most Debated List
When sand is grand:
Many of our 100 Greatest
Courses display terrain
that ?lies at the heart
and soul of the game.?
BY MIKE STACHURA
Rein in Your Driver
Minor swing adjustments
to hit more fairways.
BY BUTCH HARMON
BY ALEX MYERS
88
New Looks: 8 New Drivers
BY KYLE STANLEY
Hit It (Bernhard) Longer
Keys to consistency?and
competing into your 60s.
WITH MATTHEW RUDY
BY DAVE SHEDLOSKI
53
Built From Bricks
Miracle man Bernhard
Langer on overcoming
the shanks, the yips
and a bout with bugs.
32
Tour Technique
How Moriya Jutanugarn
maxes out her full swings.
The View From Pebble
A farewell to 41.
BY JIM NANTZ
Ask Golf Digest
Are you getting the proper
amount of strokes?
BY KEELY LEVINS
45
Golf Digest Schools
Make center-clubface
contact your strength.
100 Closeout
BY JESSICA CARAFIELLO
America?s Greatest Guest
february 2019 | golfdigest.com
7
Editor?s Letter
Johnny Miller:
He Called the Shots
BY JERRY TARDE
Chairman and Editor-in-Chief
NE OF THE LUCKY THINGS about our job
as editors at Golf Digest is that we get to
see genius up close. As we bid farewell this
winter to the retiring Johnny Miller, the greatest
golf analyst in television history, I?d like to share a
few stories about his real genius.
When I ?rst came to Golf Digest in 1977 as an
intern, I was assigned to help our editor, Nick Seitz,
research a book that would be called Superstars of
Golf. Each chapter pro?led a di?erent player.
O
I talked to their coaches,
caddies and parents for added
color. One day I had a long
interview with the late John
Geertsen, then the teaching pro
at San Francisco Golf Club, who
worked with Miller for decades.
Johnny?s father started him
hitting balls o? a mat in their
garage at age 5, and Geertsen
took over a couple of years later,
coaching Johnny 15 minutes
to an hour three or four times
a week. I remember the old pro
telling me he always kept a ball
in his pocket, and at the end of
every lesson, for the ?nal shot,
he?d throw it on the ground
and say, ?John, this is for the
U.S. Open. You have to hit that
75-yard sign out there.? The kid
would bear down, get dead serious, as Geertsen recalled, ?and
it?s amazing how close he?d
come to the sign every time.?
Another story Geertsen
told me that has resonated all
these years later occurred in
the 1966 U.S. Open at Olympic
when Johnny was 19 and a
sophomore at Brigham Young.
He planned to caddie in the
tournament until he quali?ed
for it. On the last day, in contention, Johnny overshot the
par-3 15th green and was in the
thick USGA rough. As Geertsen
collar up, johnny miller
Nobody strutted his stu? better.
told it, from my notes: ?His
ball was two feet in front of a
gallery rope, and the marshals
laid down the rope so he could
play the shot. But on his backswing, somebody accidentally
pulled the rope, and it came
up and caught Johnny?s club.
He hit the ball only six inches.
He just walked away from the
ball calmly, looked at the shot
again?and splashed the ball
out of the rough and into the
hole for a par! That clinched
low amateur for him.?
Hitting ?agsticks became
his thing. Once at a Golf Digest
outing at Spanish Bay, Miller
gave an exhibition with stupefying accuracy. At one point, he
stopped and said to the crowd:
?I told my caddie, ?Don?t tell me
the yardage is 162 or 163. When
8 golfdigest.com | february 2019
I?m holding my 7-iron, I want to
know if it?s 162 and a half, because I can hit it 162 and a half.? ?
Then later: ?I was the best
putter in the world at age 10.
Nobody would putt me.?
But my favorite story was
told recently by Senior Writer
Guy Yocom, who ghost-wrote
Miller?s aptly named book,
I Call the Shots. (Yocom writes
the splendid My Shot series,
which this month takes on
Bernhard Langer, on page 74.)
Here?s a memory from Guy:
?One of my early assignments was to cover a Spalding
outing in which they were
rolling out a two-piece golfball successor to the famous
Top-Flite, which traveled for
miles but didn?t spin much
and felt like hard ceramic
at impact. The Tour Edition
was purported to feel soft and
spin nicely.
?To prove the new ball?s
bona?des, Spalding held an
outing at Pelham Country Club
outside New York City and invited about 50 media to observe
its three best sta? players: Greg
Norman, Craig Stadler and
Miller. It was announced that
each player would in turn hit
25 balls, aiming at a green 155
yards away. Stadler went ?rst
and played ?call shot? in impressive fashion, predicting how
each ball would curve and how
it would behave after hitting
the green. All of the shots hit
the green and several stopped
within six feet of the ?agstick.
Cheers followed.
?Next up was Norman, who
was in the prime of his career
and much more impressive
than Stadler. The Shark hit
towering fades, draws and
straight balls with astonishing
accuracy, causing the ball to
spin to the left, right or straight
backward after landing, each
one dancing exactly as he predicted. A few shots stopped
within three feet of the hole.
The onlookers were wild with
their applause.
?Last to hit was Johnny. He?d
been chatting with someone in
the crowd and blithely ignoring
what Norman and Stadler were
doing. The way he strode past
Stadler and Norman, seated
in their collapsible chairs, was
memorable. He looked at them
dismissively, if not downright
arrogantly, walking that imperious walk of his, kicking
his feet out with each step, his
legs straightening before they
reached the ground.
?Miller asked for the distance?then he proceeded to
show Stadler, Norman and the
rest of us what serious ballstriking really was about. He hit
low, crewcut-high screamers
that made a divine noise you
don?t hear in golf balls anymore. He hit three low ones like
that, each tearing out a deep
chunk on the green, skidding
to a halt inches from the hole.
?I can hit it high with this Tour
Edition, too,? he said, and hit
a series of high ?oaters that
didn?t spin at all but plopped
dead next to the stick. Then
he curved shots both ways,
hit a couple of thin ones on
purpose?they still braked to a
halt?and hit some huge, looping, silly shots, as if he were
bending them around a tree.
He took almost no divot on any
shot, shaving only the top of
the grass. The crowd, instead
of cheering, fell mostly silent,
mesmerized as Johnny explained what he was doing.
?Two of Miller?s shots hit the
?agstick. Another lipped out.
After one of the ?agstick-rattlers, he turned to Stadler and
Norman and said in that supercon?dent tone we eventually
got used to hearing on TV, ?How
would you guys like to do this
for money?? Their reaction was
extraordinary. Stadler and Norman slunk back in their chairs.
Years later, Miller would tell me
how the dominant animal in
the jungle holds its head higher
than the lesser ones.?
Whether hitting ?agsticks or
announcing golf, Johnny Miller
will retire with the title as golf?s
dominant animal.
miller: golf digest resource center ? illustration: ron barrett
?The crowd, instead of cheering,
fell mostly silent, mesmerized.?
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Why I don?t love taking my wife to work
f I play 30 tournaments in a year, my wife comes to no more
than 10. It?s taken some time to ?gure out, but this is the right
balance for us. We don?t have children, so school schedules
and other family factors aren?t part of the consideration like they are
for many players. The only thing at stake is my sanity. I love my wife
deeply, but golf is my job, and her presence on tour can be a distraction. She?s come to understand this, but you better believe it was an
awkward conversation the ?rst time I asked her to stay away.
I
?Is it another woman??
Immediately she went there.
?No, babe,? I said. ?It?s
just golf.?
When I play a tournament,
I like to be in total control of my
time. If I ?nish a round poorly
and want to hit range balls afterward for an hour or maybe
two, I don?t want an impending
dinner reservation at that city?s
hottest restaurant weighing
on my decision. Can we switch
to a later reservation? Is there
another couple joining us, and
how would their plans be a?ected? How upset will my wife be
if we cancel? How late do I want
to stay out if I have an early tee
time the next morning? Is my
shaft going across the line at
the top because of that move
that snuck into my takeaway
three weeks ago in Charlotte?
It all sounds very egocentric,
I?m sure, but anyone who?s
played competitive golf can
appreciate how this game ties
your head in knots. When I?m
trying to get it sorted, the last
thing I need are the complications that inevitably arise from
having your romantic partner
around. I want the freedom to
putt on the practice green until
dusk, grab Chipotle on the way
back to the hotel room to crash,
and not hurt anyone?s feelings
in the process. In other words,
I don?t want to think about anyone but myself.
Fact is, I?m in the bottom
10 golfdigest.com | february 2019
quartile out here as far as talent. But I?ve made a lot more
money than tons of guys who
can hit shots I can?t. My career
has lasted over two decades
because I work hard at it every
week. I can?t say exactly when,
but I stopped loving golf a long
time ago. I haven?t played a
casual round?as in, not for a
tournament and not to ful?ll
a sponsor obligation?in years.
The day I retire will be the last
time I ever touch a club. Our
dream is to get a house on a
cli? overlooking a beach, with
a bank account fat enough to
keep us living in luxury deep
into old age.
Of course, as John Lennon
said, life is what happens to you
while you?re busy making other
plans. So for the weeks my wife
does join me, I always suggest
she come for the no-cut World
Golf Championship events (although I?m often on the bubble
of making it into these ?elds).
The guaranteed check helps
me relax, and it?s easier to make
plans to do things together
because we know we?ll be there
through the weekend. Otherwise, you can probably guess
the tournaments she likes to
attend: New York, Los Angeles,
Europe and anything tropical.
I don?t believe she?s ever missed
a Hawaiian or Puerto Rico Open.
Typically, she?ll follow me for
nine holes once or twice during
the week, then spend the rest of
her time exploring the area, and
then we?ll meet up in the evenings. This suits me ?ne. I don?t
want lunch plans.
I?ve played great tournaments with her there, but I?ve
also looked at the statistics. It?s
plainly?though she might say
painfully?apparent that I perform better the weeks she?s not
with me. Every athlete needs to
?nd out what works best, and
the answers won?t always please
those around them. So as much
as I love my beautiful wife, you
won?t see her at majors.
?WITH MAX ADLER
Illustration by First Lastname
matt king/stringer/getty images
I want the freedom
to practice until dusk.
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Rein in Your Driver
Two fairways over is no
place for a second shot
BY KYLE STANLEY
M
it consistently in play. ? WITH KEELY LEVIN S
Photographs by Dom Furore
Play Your Best Tour Technique
moving away from your torso.
Don?t let your lead arm fold too
much as you reach the top. You
should feel a stretch in that
shoulder. Now all you have to do
is maintain that feeling as you
swing down. Remember, it?s not
an iron. You?re not looking to
trap the ball. The club should be
moving a lot closer to level with
the ground as it hits the ball.
first move down:
shift your weight
? Before I start swinging the
club down, maintaining that
width I created in the backswing, my first move is to get
my weight off my back foot. If
you?re slicing it, I?m guessing
some?or most?of your weight
is still on that foot when you hit
the ball. One way to make sure
you make a good weight shift
is to pay less attention to what
start with the right
mind-set: dial it back
? I used to swing 100 percent on
every drive, but now I?m more
focused on control. My swing
speed is down 5 or 6 miles per
hour compared to when I was
hitting it my hardest, but I?m fine
with that because I?m not hitting my next shot from the deep
rough as much. So when you
stand over the ball at address,
get into a more relaxed mindset. Remember, going at it hard
tightens you up and restricts
your swing. How hard is too
hard? If you feel any tension as
you get ready to swing, back off,
loosen up and reset.
create some space
in the backswing
? Though accuracy is the goal,
you don?t want to give up a lot
of yardage by making a narrowand-steep swing. It?s important
that your driver?s path into the
ball is on a wide and shallow
arc. To make that happen, start
the backswing with your arms
14 golfdigest.com | february 2019
?Practice tip: Change your target for every drive.?
your hands and arms are doing
and more to getting your body
turning toward the target as it
pivots around your front leg.
want consistency?
try the low cut
? Every amateur I play with?
and a lot of pros, too?are
trying to hit towering draws.
They?re nice to look at, and
the ball travels far, but if you
struggle to draw it, it?s time to
give that shot up. I did;
I almost exclusively hit a low
cut (a shot that curves a little
left to right). By doing that,
I?ve eliminated the left side of
the course, which simplifies
my thought process on the
tee box. And I?m finding the
fairway a lot more. I bet a lot
of you could benefit from this
shot. To hit the low cut, aim
slightly left of where you want
the ball to end up and favor
your front foot just a little at
address. This will help you
swing on a slight out-to-in
path with the club moving
a touch downward at impact.
These adjustments produce
a more penetrating ball flight
that works the ball back into
the fairway.
get more out of
your driver practice
? I?m not much of a range guy
anymore. Instead of mindlessly
hitting a lot of balls, I grab a
cart and go around to open
holes and hit a bunch of tee
shots. Each shot I hit is different, and my practice is more
purposeful. If you don?t have
the freedom to zip around a
course, maybe hit a few balls
on each tee when you?re playing on an empty course. Or
worst case, pretend you?re
teeing it up on a course when
you?re on the range. Change
your target after every swing.
This will help you gain confidence that you can put the ball
in play no matter how intimidating a tee shot might seem.
Play Your Best Tee to Green by Butch Harmon
?Feel like your chest is
on top of the ball at impact.?
OR A LOT OF GOLFERS, I know when I say
don?t swing all-out with the driver, it?s a
lost cause. They want to bust that thing
as far down the fairway as they can. But with
irons, there?s no excuse for swinging out of control, because you almost always can use a longer
club. If you grab an iron you have to hit perfectly
to get to the green, go back and take the next longer iron. Not using enough club on approach
shots is the silliest fault I see. With the right club
in your hands, you?ll swing within yourself,
make better contact and hit more greens. It?s
even a good idea to make a three-quarter swing,
because you?ll tend to hit it ?ush and not lose
any distance. I can forgive the power obsession
o? the tee, but with the irons, you have to think
contact and control. Let?s go over a few keys.
F
16 golfdigest.com | february 2019
First, consider the lie. From
the fairway, position the ball in
line with the logo on your shirt.
But if you?re in the rough, play
it back an inch or two, and put
more weight on your front foot
at address. That?ll naturally
make your swing steeper and
promote ball-?rst contact.
Next, make sure you start
your downswing with a little
bump of your hips toward the
target. You?ll feel more on top of
the ball at impact. I like the feeling of the chest ?covering? the
ball as you swing down (above).
Finally, drive your whole trail
side?the shoulder, hip, knee?
through the shot. The trail hand
should feel like it?s moving toward the target. That?s how great
iron players squash the ball o?
the turf and send it to the green.
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full-length clinics in the program, and two more on the way. It?s
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all the time. Check out golfdigest.com/allaccess for details.
Photograph by J.D. Cuban
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Play Your Best Swing Sequence
L
sometimes outdrive?tour
pros who are a lot bigger and
stronger. Turns out, it?s not because he?s trying to swing as
hard as he can.
?We don?t want him swinging any faster; that?s been
optimized,? says his father
Stefan, who has been Xander?s
Xander Schau?ele
Proof that you should
never judge long drivers
by their shoe size
18 golfdigest.com | february 2019
only swing coach. ?The key to
his power is the width of his
swing arc. The wider the arc,
the more time he has to gather
clubhead speed into the ball.?
Another important factor,
Xander says, is that he puts all
his energy into the strike.
?Some guys talk about
swinging through the ball,
but I think about impact like
hammering a nail,? Xander
says. ?My dad actually had me
hammer nails to understand
this concept. You hit that nail
as hard as you can. I store my
power right up until it?s time to
hit the ball.? ? KEELY LEVINS
STICK TO THE SCRIPT
GO WIDE OR GO HOME
INVISIBLE SHIFT
Xander is set up to
hit his stock drive?a
high-to-mid trajectory
?ight with a slight draw.
?Setup is designed to be
simple and repetitive,?
explains his father and
coach, Stefan. ?The
idea is to minimize the
number of moving parts
in the swing before he
takes the club back. And
balance is important.?
You can see here how
far Xander?s arms move
away from his body.
?Remember that the
task is to accelerate an
object on an arc,? Stefan
says. ?That means the
greater the arc, the
greater the progressive
acceleration potential.
In other words, a big arc
makes up for a lack in
lever size.?
?Three quarters of
the way back, notice
that Xander shifts
his weight merely by
rotating around his spine
anchors?the neck and
tailbone,? Stefan says.
And though he loads into
his right side, ?there?s
almost no recognizable
lateral shift.? His hips
haven?t drifted away
from the target.
illustration: ron barrett
ooking at Xander
Schau?ele?s driving
stats, you probably
wouldn?t guess his size (5-10,
175 pounds). Schau?ele averaged 305 yards o? the tee on
the PGA Tour in 2018, which
prompts the question of how
he?s able to keep up with?and
?I think about impact like hammering a nail.?
A DASH OF CLASSIC
KNOCKOUT BLOW
SAVING THE SPINE
THE BIG FINISH
PRO-FILE
At the top of the swing,
Xander has completed
a full shoulder turn and
the shaft is parallel to
the ground. ?Although
this is a modern swing
position, we?re not
opposed to classical
elements,? Stefan says.
?For example, Xander
will raise his left heel o?
the ground for additional
power when needed.?
As the club approaches
the ball, ?it?s time to
cash in on that wide
arc,? Stefan says.
Xander?s swing features
a signi?cant squat as
the club move down. He
uses his thigh and butt
muscles to push into the
ground to add power to
the strike. ?It?s like when
a boxer throws a punch,?
Xander says.
?Through impact,
Xander?s right heel is
signi?cantly rising o?
the ground,? Stefan
says. ?Xander is pushing
hard o? his right side for
more power.? This move
also takes some strain
o? his back and ?allows
him to clear his left side
and post up on his left
leg without obstruction,?
Stefan says.
?Note the maximum
extension down the
target line and the full
supination of his left
forearm,? Stefan says.
?Those are additional
power indicators. His
swing is going from big
to small, then back to
big.? The ?nishing image
in Xander?s mind is that
of a pointer dog after
spotting the prey.
xander schauffele
25 / 5-10 / 175 pounds
La Jolla, Calif.
driver
Callaway Rogue
Sub Zero
(9.5 degrees)
ball
Callaway
Chrome Soft X
Photographs by Dom Furore
Play Your Best Golf Made Simple by David Leadbetter
Get it There
Change your club
for longer bunker shots
ong greenside bunker
shots, more than 20
yards, can prove troublesome if you try to play them
similar to a shorter bunker shot.
Simply taking your regular
sand club?a 60- or 56-degree
wedge?and making a harder
swing is not the way to go. The
extra e?ort often leads to the
club digging deeper into the
sand, which causes the ball to
come up way short, sometimes
still in the bunker. If you want
L
your shot to cover the distance
to the hole, it?s important to
take a shallow divot of sand. But
before I give you a tip on how to
do that, let?s talk club selection.
My advice is to use a club
with less loft?perhaps a gap
wedge or a pitching wedge?so
you can make a swing with
the same e?ort you would on
a shorter bunker shot, but the
ball will travel farther than
if you used more loft. Just
remember that the design of
20 golfdigest.com | february 2019
these clubs di?ers slightly from
a lob or sand wedge. They don?t
skim through the sand as easily,
so you have to compensate at
address by opening the clubface a few degrees and then taking your grip. Having the face a
little open will help prevent the
club from gouging into the sand
with the sharper leading edge.
A couple more points:
(1) Strike the sand a touch closer
to the ball, perhaps an inch
away. (2) Make certain you have
a full backswing and a full ?nish?no quitting at impact!
Put a little practice in, and it
won?t be long before you don?t
fear these lengthy bunker shots.
?WITH RON KASPRISKE
add a little loop into your sand swing
? regardless of the length of a bunker shot, swinging too
deeply into the sand is a common mistake. The problem is, the
time-honored advice of setting up open to the target and then
swinging along your body line promotes a steeper, digging action. Though you should set up a little open and take the club
back along your body line, you?ll take far less sand if the club is
moving along the target line rather than cutting across it. Try
to make a divot mark that points toward where you want the ball
to go. Also, allow for it to roll a little once it lands on the green.
adam sl ama/courtesy of ted baker
?You don?t have to swing harder
to hit a sand shot farther.?
Gimme One Thing
Slow, Bumpy Greens?
It?s that time of year?
don?t let ?em get to you
BY ADAM KOLLOFF
sam snead at augusta national/getty images * illustration: ron barrett
I
N MOST PARTS of the United States,
if you don?t put your clubs away in the
winter, you have to make some adjustments to how you play the game. One acclimation is coping with slower, bumpier greens. First
thing you should do to adjust? Smile. You?re
playing golf in February, and your superintendent doesn?t have you putting on a big circle in
the fairway in front of the green. Second, you?ve
got to forget whatever you do for your pre-putt
routine and stroke in mid-July. It?s a di?erent
game when you go to pull the ?ag and there?s
frozen water at the bottom of the cup.
Let?s start with how to read
a slower green. You know how
you have to practically line up
with your back to the target to
play enough break on 14? Don?t
do that now. It?s OK to visualize
that mid-summer break, but
gravity has less of an impact
on a slower, fuzzier surface. So
along with picturing the most
amount of break your putt
could have, picture the least
amount, too. That?s the one
you?re going to play for. The
reason the ball is going to break
less is because you have to hit
the putt harder to get it to roll
the same distance it normally
would roll. The speed will keep
the putt rolling straight longer.
Now comes the stroke. And
Play Your Best
this might take a little getting
used to, but at setup play the
ball forward in your stance and
then lean the shaft toward the
target. The ball position, which
should be a little closer to the
target than your left eye (right
eye for left-handers), will promote a stroke that?s moving upward. And pressing your hands
forward will reduce loft at impact, which optimizes forward
roll. You don?t want the ball to
skid too much in the initial part
of the putt, or it probably won?t
get to the hole.
So when you?re out there
freezing your tail o?, and you
run one up a patch of tundra
onto the green within striking distance of a birdie, just
remember: ball forward, hands
forward. Then ram one into the
back of the cup.
?WITH RON KASPRISKE
kolloff, a Golf Digest Best
Young Teacher, is located at Pure
Drive Golf in Woburn, Mass.
february 2019 | golfdigest.com
21
Play Your Best Tour Technique
KEEP MY TECHNIQUE around
the greens as simple as possible.
Maybe that?s why I ?nished second
on the PGA Tour in 2018 in scrambling
from the rough?though I?m not so sure
being in greenside rough more than 100
times last year was a good thing. Still, it?s
nice to know that missing a green doesn?t
mean I?ve taken par?or even birdie?out
of play. While you?re working on your
game this winter, my advice is to spend a
little more time on your pitch shots. It?s going to pay o? when your golf season is in
full swing. Every time your opponents
think they?re going to win a hole because
they?re on the green and you?re not, you?re
going to pitch it stone dead and tap in for
at least a halve. It will drive them nuts.
Here?s how I play these shots.
I
?WITH RON KASPRISKE
22 golfdigest.com | february 2019
h ow mu ch hi ng e?
? It really doesn?t matter.
Don?t think about it, and
just let wrist hinge happen
naturally as you take the club
back with your shoulders.
?Get your hands out of this shot and your
consistency will improve.?
get in position
? Always assess your lie first.
There are times when you can?t
play a stock pitch, and you have
to manufacture a shot with your
imagination and some touch. But
when you can pitch it, pay attention to ball position and how you
set up. Never play the ball too
far forward, because you won?t
get crisp contact. I like it center
to slightly back of center in my
stance and my clubface?usually my lob wedge?open slightly
and leaning just a hair toward
the target. Also, set your feet
and hips open in relation to your
target, and take a narrow stance.
For consistently good contact,
you want very little movement
in your legs when you swing, so
you have to pre-set your finish
position with the lower body.
The narrow stance reminds you
to keep the lower body quiet for
this finesse shot.
use your body
? The swing is all about rotating
my shoulders back and my chest
through. I don?t think about my
hands. It?s a short shot, obviously, so the tendency here is
to slow the club down through
impact in fear of hitting it too
far. But you have to trust that
a smooth acceleration of the
chest down and toward the
target is going to let that wedge
glide along the turf, bottoming
out just ahead of the ball. When
you?re practicing, pay attention
to shaft lean. You want it to be
fairly vertical when it strikes the
ball. That way, you?re making full
use of the wedge?s design and
loft. If you keep your hands soft,
weight forward and chest moving in the through-swing, your
scrambling will rule the day.
Photographs by Giovanni Reda
Play Your Best The Leading Edge by Michael Breed
?Through the fringe, bouncing
beats rolling?less friction.?
Putt with a Hybrid M
You?ll ?nally stop
leaving the ball short
AYBE YOU?VE GOTTEN wise and are putting in-
stead of chipping these little shots from just o?
the green. Great! The problem is, you?re probably
using your putter. If you have only ?ve or six feet of fringe
to get through, the putter makes sense. But as you get
farther out, putting with a hybrid is the better play.
Think about it: How often do you feel like you smash
a putt from o? the green and it still comes up short? That?s
because when you use a putter, which has only a few
degrees of loft, you roll the ball over all that grass between you and the green. That creates friction between
the ball and the ground, taking energy o? the shot. With a
hybrid, which has about 20 degrees of loft, you bounce the
ball through the fringe, producing less friction (below).
It?s much easier to get to the hole. Simple physics.
The technique with the hybrid is the same as
a normal putt. Take your putting grip choking down a
few inches for control, play the ball in the middle of your
stance, set your weight 50-50, and make a simple armsand-shoulders stroke back and through. If the club still
feels long, ?ex your wrists at address, standing up the
shaft as much as feels comfortable. (Bonus: That will
minimize wrist action to stabilize the stroke.)
One point of caution: The ball comes o? the clubface
hotter with a hybrid than it does with a putter. So when
you?re gauging how hard to hit the shot, think of the fringe
as if it were the green and just play it like a long putt. That?s
a good technique for getting the speed right.
michael breed operates his academy at Trump Golf Links
at Ferry Point in New York City.
get ready for your weekend game Every Thursday, I do my instruction show
?The Leading Edge? on the Golf Digest Schools digital platform. It?s a chance for you to get
some tips you can put into action for the weekend ahead, things like making better contact,
controlling your driver and avoiding common swing faults. We even take live questions
from viewers, so you can join the conversation. And for a chance to have me analyze your
swing during an upcoming show, email me a video at Michael.Breed@golfdigest.com. To
learn more about the Golf Digest Schools program, go to golfdigest.com/allaccess.
24 golfdigest.com | february 2019
Photograph by Walter Iooss Jr.
T
One of Moriya?s favorite drills
to hit it higher and farther is as
simple as it gets.
Take any full-swing club and
set up to the ball normally. Now
adjust your feet so they are several
inches wider apart, and then start
hitting shots.
?We call it the flat-feet drill,?
26 golfdigest.com | february 2019
Moriya says. ?It helps shallow
out your angle of attack, which is
going to help you hit it more solidly using the club?s proper loft.?
Moriya also uses this drill
to slow hip rotation, which improves her swing?s timing. And
a wider stance has a benefit for
amateurs: It helps prevent the
common fault of swinging with
weight on your back foot to try to
?help? the ball up. Your weight
should shift into your lead foot
in the downswing.
To improve this drill, alternate
hitting 10 balls with the wider
stance and then 10 with your
normal stance. ?K E E LY L E V I NS
Photograph by Dom Furore
illustration: ron barrett
he Jutanugarn sisters
had one heck of a 2018.
Moriya (above) picked
up her first LPGA Tour victory,
and sister Ariya moved to the top
of the Rolex Women?s World Golf
Rankings. So when they give advice on better ball-striking, it?s
wise to listen.
Not all The New Yorker?s
award-winning writing
can be found in the magazine.
The New Yorker Today app is the best way to stay on top of
news and culture every day, as well as the magazine each week.
Download at newyorker.com/go/app
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Play Your Best
GD Schools
here are few things more gratifying
in golf than the feeling of striking
the ball in the center of the clubface.
For a lot of golfers it happens so infrequently, they get this feeling of surprised excitement when they pure one. Others do it so
often, they seem puzzled when they miss.
The former group is mainly populated by
those who tend to hit shots high on the
clubface near the toe. The latter group
will miss low on the heel. No matter
which category you?re in, I have a way
to ?x your problem quickly so you can
get back to enjoying that feeling of
sweet-spot golf. Turn the page to ?nd
out how. ?WITH RON KASPRISKE
T
Photographs by Chris Shonting
?Can?t find the center of the clubface?
Try swinging slower.?
if you push the ball to the right . . .
rotate around your heel
? If you see a lot of ball marks low and toward the heel
of the clubface, it?s likely that your weight is moving toward the ball on the downswing. It?s an instinctive power
move, but it leads to shots that fly dead right of the target. Instead, feel like your hips are moving away from the
ball, almost squatting, as you transition into the downswing. Then rotate your body around your lead heel. Try
this drill to help: Make three-quarter swings holding this
follow-through position (below). The clubhead should be
in line with the lead heel, not swung past this point.
if you hit low, slicing shots . . .
hold off your trunk rotation
? Players who hit low slices swing down too steeply, with
the right hand pushing the clubshaft across the target
line on an out-to-in path. To fix the high-toe miss, hold
off the rotation of the upper body toward the target.
A great feel when you start the downswing is to have the
upper body face away from the target as the lower body
moves toward it. This will shallow the downswing and get
the club moving on a more in-to-out path. A good drill to
help groove this move is to drop your trail foot back at
address and hit shots like you see me doing (above).
jessica carafiello, a Golf Digest Best Young Teacher,
is based at Innis Arden Golf Club in Greenwich, Conn.
february 2019 | golfdigest.com
31
Play Your Best Equipment
The Power of Forgiveness
The newest drivers are all about
improving your mis-hits
BY MIKE STACHURA
w i ls on
c orte x
pi n g
g4 10 p lu s
? The winner
of Golf Channel?s ?Driver
vs. Driver 2?
trumpets adjustability, thanks to
a design where
nearly half the
head is made of
lightweight carbon fiber. There
are heel and toe
weights and a
long central sliding track that
controls launch
and spin. $500
? The company?s drivers are known for stability on
off-center hits, but now Ping offers a clubhead that
combines stability with a movable weight. The 16-gram
tungsten chip fits in three spots (heel, center and toe)
to better control your mis-hits. $500
mi z u no
st1 9 0 g
? The high-strength titanium alloy in the face is even more effective than in last year?s model because of a variable-thickness
design that expands the area where you get the hottest hits.
Parallel sliding-weight tracks let you tweak the weight to correct
your hook, slice or the spin you need for optimal distance. $500
pxg
o8 1 1 x g e n2
? The carbon-fiber crown?s thicker section toward the
front provides stability, almost like a brace, so the face
can flex more. The crown?s light weight means more
mass is redistributed low for extremely low spin. $575
L MO ST NO B O DY on the PGA Tour hits short drives anymore, which
should encourage all of us who don?t play on TV. In 2010, almost 40
percent of drives on tour traveled less than 280 yards. In 2018, it was less
than 25 percent. One key reason is advances in driver design. Faces are selectively thinner than they used to be, internal weighting is lower, and clubheads
stay steady on mis-hits so more energy is transferred to the ball. This means good
hits launch higher more easily, and mis-hits don?t ?y as short or as o? line as they
once did. Regular golfers can bene?t just as much or more from modern drivers
than those who get paid to play. ?I think it?s a new era for average golfers,? says
TaylorMade?s Tomo Bystedt, senior director of product creation. For example,
he says he has seen improvements in mis-hits on its latest drivers that are three
or four times better than the gains from center strikes. That trend is exciting news
for those of us who don?t practice much. Here are eight new drivers to consider.
A
Off-center strikes go farther and straighter
than they used to.
taylo r m ad e
m5
? The face is initially made so flexible it would be nonconforming. But an injection of resin gets it just under
the legal limit. Why this process? TaylorMade says it
doubles the size of the hottest area of the face. $550
c a l l away
epic flash
? Callaway uses artificial intelligence and machine
learning for its face-design process. The variablethickness face has a back full of rolls and ridges
like a desert dunescape. Those ripples help
increase ball speed over a larger area. $530
t i tle ist
ts 3
? Titleist?s new driver speed project starts with a thinner-than-ever, more-flexible face. A thin crown leads
to lower spin and improved perimeter weighting for
more stability (and distance) on off-center shots. $500
co b r a
kin g f 9
sp e e d b ac k
? Aerodynamic drivers like this don?t
always have low
centers of gravity.
But here the light
carbon crown wraps
around the perimeter. Less weight
on top and more on
the bottom mean
high ball speed and
low spin. $450
Photograph by Je?rey Westbrook
Play Your Best Equipment
age 25
lives Jacksonville
from Brisbane,
Australia
driver
story Won 2017
Zurich Classic with
partner Jonas Blixt,
and the Australian
PGA Championship
in 2017 and 2018.
? This driver went in the bag right away.
It spins a little less for me but launches
at the same angle as my previous driver.
The ?ight apex is lower, but it?s carrying
farther and giving me more roll after it lands.
specs Titleist TS2, 9.5?, 45 inches, UST Elements
Platinum 6 shaft, D-3 swingweight
fairway wood
career shot
My eagle on
the ?nal hole of the
2015 U.S. Open
to ?nish T-4 was a
turning point in
my career. To do it
under pressure was
incredible.
? with e. michael
johnson
club
yards*
driver
285
3-wood
251
3-iron
233
4-iron
219
5-iron
208
6-iron
196
7-iron
180
8-iron
165
9-iron
153
pw
138
52?
120
56?
106
60?
92
* carry distance
Photographs by Ivory Serra
specs Titleist TS2, 15?, UST Elements
Platinum 8 shaft, D-3.75 swingweight
? I?ve always struggled to ?nd a 3-wood
I could hit consistently. Last year at the
Fort Worth Invitational, at Colonial Country
Club, I shortened the shaft length by half
an inch. Since then, I?ve become a lot more
consistent with the 3-wood.
? There?s an Australian rugby legend
named Cameron
Smith. Some people
mistake me for him
just on the name. I
met him when I was
younger and again
last year. We threw
the ball around. That
was awesome.
irons
specs Titleist 718 T-MB (3-iron), True Temper
Dynamic Gold AMT X100 shaft; Titleist 718 AP2
(4-iron through 9-iron), True Temper Dynamic
Gold Onyx X100 shafts, Golf Pride Super Tack 58
round grips
? The black shafts on my irons is a look I
like. Sometimes I?ll carry a T-MB 2-iron, but
that?s mostly for courses in Australia and the
United Kingdom where I can get some run.
wedges
specs Titleist Vokey SM7 (46?, 52?, 56?, 60?),
True Temper Dynamic Gold Onyx X100 shaft in
46?, KBS Tour in 52?, 56?, 60?
serviceable coin
? I mark my ball with
this Australian dollar
coin that commemorates the 100-year
anniversary of Australia?s involvement
in World War I. It
honors the service
and sacri?ce of
those who served.
? I alternate between a pair of 60-degree
wedges with two grinds, one with more heel
grind for versatility. The names of my three
dogs are stamped on my three highest-lofted
wedges. Two of my dogs live in Australia
with my mum. The other is here with me.
putter
specs Scotty Cameron by Titleist Futura T5W, 35
inches, 3.5? loft
? I?m always trying new putters. I used
another Cameron from 2017, and it somehow
made it all the way to last August. But then
I lost my distance control and feel, so I
went with this putter. It has a heavier head,
and that felt good to me. But I can?t see
it staying in the bag very long.
birdie ball
? I?m already in the
new Titleist Pro
V1x. I?ve played the
V1x since I was 15
years old. I?ll switch
balls when I make a
birdie. I once made
nine and nearly ran
out of balls.
smith: chris hyde/stringer/getty images ? smith (rugby): michael dodge/stringer/getty images
asian influence
First time I went to
Q school, I missed
my tee time and got
DQ?d. I played in
Asia and Australia
instead. The experience was invaluable.
body double
?Golf can be so brittle to your psyche,
but I?m a resilient guy.?
golfdigest.com
35
edited by peter finch
Not a Laughing Matter
When comedian Alfonso Ribeiro
tees it up, he?s all business
E HAS BUILT A CAREER out of making people laugh, starting
as a child actor on TV?s ?Silver Spoons? and ?The Fresh Prince
of Bel-Air? and now as host of ?America?s Funniest Home
Videos.? But there?s one thing you won?t catch Alfonso Ribeiro joking
about: golf. ? Ribeiro takes the game seriously. He plays three times
a week and sets aside ?ve to six hours on a fourth day just for practice.
? ?I?m a very technical player,? says Ribeiro, who won TV?s ?Dancing
with the Stars? competition in 2014. ?Before I step on the ?rst tee,
I know what club I?m going to hit, the angle of my second shot.
H
and Porter Valley Country Club
in Northridge. He often plays
with Justin Timberlake (also
a member at Lakeside) and a
handful of former pro athletes,
including baseball stars Mark
Mulder and David Justice and
footballers Mark Rypien and
Sterling Sharpe.
His favorite course? He has
long had a soft spot for El Dorado, the Jack Nicklaus-designed
course in Los Cabos, Mexico.
?I just love the way you have to
play the golf course,? he says.
?There are hole positions where
it?s better to miss the green
than be on the green and in the
wrong spot.?
Lately he?s been feeling pretty
great about Pebble Beach, too.
He played in the Pure Insurance
Championship?s pro-am on his
birthday last year alongside
Woody Austin and shot 75.
Best round? That?s the 65 in
a practice round before the 2017
BMW Charity Pro-Am in Greenville, S.C. The round included
one of his three career aces.
For the past few years,
Ribeiro has been a PGA Tour
36 golfdigest.com | february 2019
Champions ?brand ambassador,? appearing in TV ads promoting the tour and attending
three or four tournaments a
year. He donates his pay from
that assignment to a favorite
charity, Fresh Start Surgical
Gifts, which o?ers free reconstructive surgery for kids who
wouldn?t otherwise be able
to a?ord it.
He?s working on a couple of
side projects as well, including
a television talk show and a radio show featuring music from
the 1990s. But his main job is
hosting ?America?s Funniest
Home Videos,? which he calls
?the best gig ever?I only have
to work 20 days a year!?
That leaves a lot of time for
hanging out with his wife, Angela, and three kids. Oh, yeah,
and for golf. ?PF
gutter credit tk
I have a game plan for every
hole. That?s how I live my life.
I reverse-engineer everything.?
Ribeiro?s Handicap Index has
been as low as +2.0, though it
has crept up to 2.4. Now 47, he
has been reworking his swing to
accommodate his middle-age
body. ?I could hit it 350 yards,?
he says. ?I could absolutely
smash it. But I can?t do that
anymore. I have to look out for
my lower back.?
?He?s one of the more dedicated guys I?ve worked with,?
says Drew Steckel, Las Vegasbased swing coach to tour
pros such as Ryan Moore, Pat
Perez and Brandt Snedeker.
?He wants to know everything
about the swing. He?s not going
to leave any stone unturned.?
In California, Ribeiro belongs to
Lakeside Golf Club in Burbank
?
I?LL GIVE YOU
A WINTER PREDICTION:
IT?S GONNA BE COLD,
IT?S GONNA BE GRAY, AND IT?S
GONNA LAST YOU
FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.?
?BILL MURRAY IN ?GROUNDHOG DAY?
?
golf valentine
messages
CAN?T SAY SOMETHING NICE ABOUT A COURSE? SAY THIS
COLD-BREW
MARGARITA
? I love the way you pronate
? You make me want to be
a better bunker player
? Need a twist on
an old recipe
for National
Margarita Day,
Feb. 22? Just add
smoky mezcal and
a splash of cold
brew for backbone,
and you?ll have a
little taste of June
in your winter.
?C O L E M A N B E N T L E Y
? I want to play the
forward tees with you
? You are the power draw
to my weak slice
? I?d putt your greens
even if they were aerated
?
cocktail of
the month
2 oz mezcal
(or a馿jo tequila)
?HAVE NEVER PLAYED
ANYTHING LIKE IT?
?TEE MARKERS REMIND ME
OF WINGED FOOT?
?SCORECARD PENCILS WERE
VERY SHARP?
?WELL, MY LEGS SURE GOT
A GOOD WORKOUT?
� oz cold-brew
concentrate
?LET?S PLAY 9 NEXT TIME!?
Dash of grenadine
?HOLES WERE CLEARLY
MARKED?
?MIGHT PLAY HERE AGAIN!?
?THE CART HAD MORE ZIP
THAN I EXPECTED?
?INSPIRED ME TO SPEND
?THE BATHROOMS ARE
MORE TIME WITH MY FAMILY? BEAUTIFUL!?
1 oz freshly
squeezed lime juice
� oz simple syrup
? Combine all
ingredients in ice?lled shaker. Shake
and strain over
fresh ice. Garnish
with lime wedge
and serve with
sugar-and-salt rim.
murray: columbia pictures/courtesy everett collection ? valentine: heritage images/getty images ? faldo: ross kinnaird/empics/getty images ? margarita: pl ainview/getty images
The Golf Life The Digest
by sam weinman & alex myers
by the numbers
the super bowl vs.
the waste management
phoenix open
super bowl lii
67,612
64,273*
103.4 million
4.1 million*
$950-$5,000
$45-$60
$11-$17
$7-$8
local charitable
donation
$5.5 million
$12.2 million
local economic
impact
$450 million
$389 million
attendance
tv viewership
price of a beer
1. president
dwight
eisenhower?s
golf obsession
was so strong
that he . . .
A. Had domestic-policy ideas approved by
Arnold Palmer ?rst
B. Had a hitting net
installed in the
Lincoln Bedroom
C. Had a putting
green installed on the
White House lawn
2. which of these
is not from a
course description in donald
trump?s marketing materials?
A. ?Incredible yet
challenging?
B. ?An exquisite 101foot waterfall?
C. ?Features a goldplated snack bar?
3. barack obama
frequently plays
golf in:
A. Cargo shorts
B. A Rickie Fowler
orange out?t
C. A ?Haterz Gonna
Hate? bathrobe
* sunday only
groundhog day
moments in golf
? your course wants to
cut down a bunch of trees,
and it?s driving wedges
between families.
? the purchase of a new driver/set of irons/putter elicits
feeling of invincibility that
lasts roughly seven minutes.
? the biggest golf event
of the year conflicts with a
big anniversary, work trip or
long-scheduled medical
procedure.
4. which of these
is true?
A. Woodrow Wilson
had golf balls painted
black so he could ?nd
them in the snow
B. Richard Nixon
quit golf after ?nally
reaching his goal
of breaking 80
C. If JFK didn?t make
at least one birdie
per round, he got a
migraine
? phil mickelson says he?s
finally figured out how
to play u.s. open courses.
? a playing partner says,
?that?s one!? after a ball falls
off a tee.
? you hit a provisional shot
that overcompensates for
what went wrong on the
first ball.
answers:
1.c, 2.c, 3.a., 4.b
obama: gluekit ? reed: kevin c. cox/getty images ? oscar: frank trapper/getty images ? ball: mark ulriksen ? miller: eddie guy ? groundhog: ron barrett
face value
of a ticket
PRESIDENTS? DAY GOLF QUIZ
2018 wmpo
? you?re absolutely sure
you?ll suck because you
haven?t played in forever
. . . but you play great.
THE GOLF OSCAR GOES TO . . .
best original screenplay
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU
best animated feature
TYRRELL HATTON
millerisms we?ll
miss, ranked
5. choke
4. trap draw
3. flip wedge
2. green-light
special
1. chunk-and-run
? the group in front of you is
painfully slow.
? the group behind you is four
scratch players who push you
all day.
best foreign film
? you?re stuck playing behind
that guy at the club who uses
a green-reading book.
best buddies film
? fred couples ?turns back the
clock? at the masters (in the
first two rounds).
HO-SUNG CHOI
MOLIWOOD
best villain
PATRICK REED
february 2019 | golfdigest.com
39
The Golf Life The Core
Data on multiple personalities
might lead to lower scores.
Which ?You? Is Playing Today?
There?s a little Jekyll & Hyde in us all
HAT GOLFER HASN?T at some point self-diagnosed as
schizophrenic? ?I played great on Saturday, but on Sunday
it was like I?d never held a club before.? ?I?ll stripe it on the
range, but on the course it?s like I?m a di?erent person.? Severe
cases of multiple-personality disorder, popularized in works such
as The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or pretty much any
movie starring Jim Carrey, are rare. But there?s growing research
that suggests we all, to a degree, live with various selves. How we
behave around our kids, our coworkers, our friends, strangers?after a triple bogey?indicates we are not always the same person.
W
40 golfdigest.com | february 2019
In Subpersonalities: The People Inside Us,
the late Dr. John Rowan wrote that certain
states of being are better than others depending on the situation, and when life is running well, we shift among our various selves.
Though we are mostly oblivious to these transitions, they can be quite recognizable to a scientist who measures and maps brain activity.
Could a golfer harness this insight to shoot
lower scores? Absolutely, according to Dr. Debbie Crews, adjunct faculty and sport psychology consultant at Arizona State University, and
Christopher Smith, PGA director of instruction at Eugene (Ore.) Country Club. Together,
they?re exploring the notion that who you are
when you step up to hit a golf ball contributes
greatly toward determining the outcome.
?Golf is about a transfer of energy, and so
the state of being that begins that sequence
of events, from mind to body to club to ball,
is paramount,? Crews says. If that all sounds
a bit woo, remember, what matters to her is
data. Crews will patiently stand on the practice range and listen to you talk about your
feelings, but she?d prefer your brain is hooked
up to an Opti Brain, which, at the risk of
oversimplifying, is a headband with sensors
Crews has developed and made commercially
available. The device can be adjusted to play
music when certain brain-wave patterns are
reached, so that users can train themselves to
enter a desired mental space. It works better
with putting and chipping than full swings,
because the violent shock of striking a ball at
high speed can overwhelm the system.
Crews and Smith have found that most
golfers, when lightly pressed, can rattle off
five or six ?people? who regularly inhabit
their mind on the course. Crews and Smith
encourage clients to give these people names:
The Worrier, The Perfectionist, The Mute, The
Showo?, The Victim, The Cheerleader and so
on. Sometimes the names can be quite personal. One middle-handicapper cited Karate Guy,
or the speci?c mental space he experiences in
his other recreational pursuit. Another golfer
summons Trial Lawyer?the capable and con?dent person he is at work.
The challenge is to identify which ?person?
makes you hit the best golf shots. Aggression
works great for some golfers but is disastrous
for others. Fear can enhance or inhibit muscular coordination, depending on your personality. Same goes for technical thinking and so
on. The beautiful part, according to Crews, is
that most people are naturally great actors.
She recalls a college golfer struggling with fullswing yips, who was instantly cured when he
pretended he was another player on his team
whose swing he admired. Says Crews: ?When
you step up to the ball, literally pretend you
are the person you need to be.? ?MAX ADLER
Illustration by Tim Lahan
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The Golf Life Journeys
one of the best decisions
i made on tour was hiring
an english-speaking caddie. Learning English has been
di?cult, but talking to my caddie in English helps a lot. If I
had hired a caddie who spoke
Spanish, I would never get to
practice my English.
Joaquin Niemann
?I didn?t think I?d make it as
a professional this fast?
???
I
my parents are great
athletes. My mom played
?eld hockey for Chile?s national
team. It?s really popular in
Chile. She jokes that she?s why
I?m good at golf. My dad was a
basketball player in college.
???
i used to do track and
field, but i didn?t like it.
I did it because the school asked
me to. I also played soccer. I
was in a normal school but then
changed to a school for athletes.
I was in class from 8 to 11 and
then went to the golf course to
practice. Because of that school,
I was able to ?y around the
world. I did classes online and
traveled and played.
???
academics were never my
thing. I was a troublemaker
as a kid, but every teacher
loved me. I never did anything
really bad. I?d be taken out of
class because I was talking too
much, things like that. I liked
sports and being outside better. In Chile, you can go to the
mountains and the beach in the
same day. Everything is close.
There are lots of lakes, and the
weather is like California.
???
my favorite trip was going to japan. I was there with
four teammates and a coach,
playing in the Junior World
Cup. That was one of the best
experiences I had as an ama-
teur. The people are really nice,
the courses are good, and it was
a cool culture. The only thing
I didn?t like was the food, but I
got through it. I went to Korea
as a pro this year, thinking the
food would be similar. But it was
some of the best I?ve had. When
you?re a pro, you get better stu?.
???
i used to not let my siblings or parents follow
me in tournaments.
I felt like I needed to focus because I?d get nervous and feel a
lot of pressure when I played.
???
when i was 14, i wasn?t
playing very good because i was caring about
what people thought
and what they would say.
Every time I played for my
country, I struggled. I started
working with my coach, Eduardo Miquel, and he helped me.
He?s taught me to care about
me, what I do, and to trust it.
When I have a tough shot on a
Sunday to get a good ?nish, I try
to forget that I?m at the tournament, pretend I?m at the range
and hit it with a normal swing.
Now, I don?t care who follows
me or who?s watching.
???
i was going to play at
the university of south
florida, but i wanted to
turn pro. I knew I was going
to be there for only one year.
42 golfdigest.com | february 2019
The school asked me to take
the English test. I really didn?t
study. I did it fast and ?nished
before anyone else. I was playing the U.S. Open when I got
the results. I was with Claudio
Correa. He?s from Chile, too.
We were looking at the scores,
and we couldn?t stop laughing.
He was like, ?How are you so
stupid?? My score was low, so I
couldn?t go to school. Honestly,
I was happy. I just wanted to
play golf.
???
i qualified for the masters last year because
i won the latin america
amateur. When I played the
Masters, I didn?t know what
to expect. I played a practice
round with Sergio and some
other guys, and they were really
chill and supportive. Every
time I play with those guys, I
feel more like one of them.
???
after the masters, i
turned pro. My agent and
Sergio helped a lot in that decision. I thought it was going to
be di?erent, that I was going to
feel more pressure. But I feel
the same. I played some of my
best golf and got three top-10
?nishes. A month later, after another top 10 at The Greenbrier,
I earned my PGA Tour card. It
was the best moment of my life.
I felt . . . relief. I thought, The job
is done. Now it?s time to enjoy.
of the things in my life
that have changed, one
is my instagram?i?ve gotten a lot more followers.
I follow all the golfers on Instagram: Rickie, Sergio, Tiger.
I love cars, so I follow a lot of car
pages. I like every type of car.
I?m not mechanical or anything.
I just love how they look. A goal
of mine is to win on tour and
buy a sports car.
???
on the course, i?m just
thinking about what?s going to happen on the next
shot. Sometimes I don?t know
where I am. I try to feel like I
don?t care, but I actually care a
lot. I guess sometimes I look like
I?m not happy, but that?s just
me?that?s how I look. Believe
me, I?m really happy out here.
???
i?d like to see how i?d
do playing with tiger.
I think I?d learn a lot. I?ve played
one group behind him?at his
tournament in Potomac, Md.
It was crazy how many people
were following him. Crazy. They
say it?s hard to play in front of
him because the fans try to get
in front of Tiger. But playing behind him, you hear everything.
The cheers were so loud. I?ve
never heard anything like that
on a golf course.
???
i?m really excited for this
year. I don?t like to set goals
for the future. I like to just go
out, play and see what happens.
But, eventually, I would like to
win a major.
???
i didn?t think i?d make it as
a professional this fast.
I knew I?d get here. Even if it
took to my last day of life, I
wanted to get to the PGA Tour.
?WITH KEELY LEVINS
Photograph by Dom Furore
illustration: ron barrett
COME FROM A BIG FAMILY . I have three brothers and
two sisters, but I?m the only golfer. They all tried, but they
got bored. They like soccer. ? There?s a picture of me before I could walk, and I was holding a plastic golf club. I started
playing golf because of my dad. He just plays for fun. We lived
inside a golf community in Santiago, Chile. Every day after
school, I went and played. Now I?m 20, and I?ve never stopped.
The Golf Life The View from Pebble Beach
Jim Nantz
A farewell to 41,
and a round to remember
OR MORE THAN a quarter century, I was fortunate
to play golf with President George H.W. Bush dozens
of times, usually while visiting the Bush compound
in Kennebunkport, Maine. With the passing of this great
man and mentor, I feel at least one story can be told that
pretty much encapsulates the man who carried the virtues
of life?and golf?with every breath.
F
In 2005, President Bush served as co-chair
with President Bill Clinton for tsunami-relief
e?orts in Southeast Asia. It was a partnership that raised $1.5 billion in aid. During
this time a friendship developed between
the former political rivals, and together they
decided to secretly get together on a social
basis that summer. Somehow, they chose me
to be their ?intermediary??as they called
it?for their two-day, two-night mini-vacation in Maine. Usually when I visited 41 it
entailed not just golf but playing horseshoes,
going out on his boat, cruising over to the little seaport of Ogunquit for lobster rolls and
ice cream at Barnacle Billy?s, and long chats
at the main house. Each stay was like going
to summer camp. Every day was ?eld day.
But for this particular stay, President Bush
explained that I?d make an easy companion
for the two of them as they played their ?rst
round of golf together since the two of them,
along with President Gerald Ford, teed it up
at the Bob Hope Classic in 1995. Presidents
Bush and Clinton played golf together three
times after that, and I?m proud to say I was
there for all of them.
The venue was Cape Arundel Golf Club,
a storied Walter Travis course where President Bush had learned to play golf and where
his father, Prescott Bush?a former USGA
president?had won the club championship
eight times. President Bush also was a Cape
Arundel club champ, having beaten a postal
worker named Chad Brown, 8 and 7, in the
?nal in 1947.
The round between the two former leaders of the free world began nicely, both rooting each other on. President Clinton birdied
two of the ?rst three holes. On the par-4 ?fth,
which is only 315 yards, President Bush drove
into trouble in a small hollow left of the fairway. He had just 125 yards to the green, but
it was a tough shot. As he was contemplating
44 golfdigest.com | february 2019
how to play it, President Clinton rushed over
to o?er help. ?No need to go at the green,? he
said. ?Just look at your lie. It?s too risky.? With
that, President Clinton walked up the slope
to the safe part of the fairway and waved his
arms like a football o?cial calling a timeout.
?Aim right at me, George!? he hollered.
President Bush murmured to me, ?What
do you think I should do?? He clearly wanted to go for the green. I said, ?Sir, how old
were you the first time you played here??
President Bush said, ?I was 10.? I said, ?How
many times do you ?gure you?ve played this
hole? Fifty times a year on average? Maybe
thousands all told? I?m just saying, President
Clinton has never played here.?
President Bush reached for the iron that
would get him home, but then hesitated.
?Jimmy, he?s making such an e?ort,? he said.
?Look at him up there, waving his arms. He?s
my guest. I want him to be happy.? And with
that, he pitched back into the fairway. He
played his next shot?still 120 out?onto the
green and faced a 20-footer for par.
Now, President Bush was a terrible putter. He?d battled the yips for a long time and
eventually found some solace in an extralong putter known as the Pole-Kat. I don?t
think he ever saw a putt he liked. But this
time he knocked it right into the center of the
cup for his par. Everyone whooped. President Clinton came over, high-fived President Bush and said, ?See, George? That was
the right way to play it!? Forty-one agreed,
and the two of them walked to the sixth tee
arm in arm. Truly bonded like never before.
American patriots, now friends forever. It
was a beautiful moment.
George H.W. Bush had perhaps the greatest r閟um� in American history: director of
the CIA, ambassador to the U.N., envoy to
China, vice president of the United States
and then, of course, president. It?s staggering to contemplate one person achieving so
much. But to me and many others, our lives
were highlighted by having George H.W.
Bush as a great and loyal friend. What I saw
in President Bush?s behavior was respect,
civility, deference and decency. These traits
were central to who he was. And they melded
perfectly with the game he loved.
? a be autiful day Presidents Bush and Clinton with Jim Nantz at Cape Arundel Golf Club in 2005.
Ask Golf Digest
The Golf Life
Luckily, foam counts as a
Q
A
When spraying fertilizer or weed killer at my club,
the machine drops a white foam in the fairway
to mark the boundary. If my ball lands in the foam,
am I allowed to move the ball? ED O?CONNOR, CA NTON, GA.
It?s weird running
into that stu? on a
golf course, isn?t it?
Always makes us think someone tipped over a bottle of Mr.
Bubble. Luckily, that foam quali?es as a movable obstruction
(Rule 24.1). This means you
may get it out of the way without penalty. Use your foot, club,
hat, towel, whatever. And don?t
sweat it if the ball moves while
you?re cleaning up. As long as
you put it back exactly where it
was, there is no penalty.
My buddies carry course
handicaps in the 4 to 12
range. I have the highest
at 19. I don?t get any strokes
on par-3 holes for our skins
game or our ?par-3 aggregate
four-hole score? wager.
They claim par 3s are shorter, easier holes, so a golfer
of my skill can compete
equally with low-handicappers. Am I a sucker if I play
in this game?
JOHN CASASSA ,
ABITA SPRINGS, LA .
? Sounds like it, John. In a fair
match, you should get strokes
based on the di?erence between your handicap and the
player with the lowest handi-
cap. So if the low guy in your
group is a 4-handicap and
you?re a 19, you?d get strokes on
15 holes. The holes listed on
your scorecard as handicap
holes 16, 17 and 18 are the only
ones where you won?t get a
stroke against the low-handicapper. Perhaps those three are
par 3s at your course?it often
works out that way. But even if
they are, you should de?nitely
be getting a stroke on that
fourth par 3 when playing a
4-handicapper.
update
man waits
12 years
to see wife,
49 to play
golf
? By now you?ve probably
heard of Valentino Dixon,
the golfscape artist who
spent 27 years in prison for
a murder he didn?t commit
before being exonerated in
September 2018. The tragic errors that led to his
conviction?not Dixon?s
romantic life?have dominated the media attention.
However, there is a woman,
and theirs might be the
longest-distance relationship in the world. Louise is
an Australian who happened upon Dixon?s art on
the Internet. Initially unaware he was in jail, she
reached out, and through
letters, the two fell in love
before knowing what the
other looked like. They
got married in 2002, and
Louise spent the next four
years living near Attica
Correctional Facility in
New York and visited as
often as allowed. But she
overstayed her visa and
was forced to leave the
United States. For the past
12 years, the two have talked by phone daily. Now
that Valentino is free, a
felony charge still prevents
him from entering Australia. For a neutral place to
reunite, they went to Punta
Mita, Mexico. There, the
other object of Valentino?s
fantasy upgraded to physical reality: For the ?rst time
ever, he played golf. View
our documentary of this
long-awaited trip at
golfdigest.com/go/dixon.
?max adler
Illustration by Rami Niemi
HEEEE?S
a major is now realistic
BACK!!!
his former coaches think
46 golfdigest.com | february 2019
Photographs by J.D. Cuban
S E A N FO L E Y : WO O D S CA N P R O D U C E M O R E SW I N G S P E E D W I T H T H I S W I D E R BAC K SW I N G.
1996: j.d. cuban/allsport ? 1997: timothy a . cl ary/afp/getty images ? 1998: golf digest resource center ? 2001: mark lyons/allsport/getty images ? 2002: stuart franklin/getty images ? 2003: j.d. cuban
YOU
by matthew rudy
?VE SEEN THE MADE-FOR-TV-MOVIE.
Tiger Woods ?ghts through personal
demons and spinal-fusion surgery
to make a triumphant return to tournament golf. He not only swings the
club almost as fast as he did before he got hurt, but he?s a softer,
calmer, more relatable character. He even wins the last event
of the season after a couple of near misses on the biggest stage.
If it wasn?t real, you?d probably swear it was made up. But
it happened. A collection of
players and coaches?including, for the ?rst time in one
place, all four of the teachers
who have worked with Woods
during his professional career?
are about to describe what they
saw as it was happening, and
what they think he?ll do in 2019,
and beyond.
As for why Woods was able
to reemerge after four years
of professional and personal
struggle, and what this unlikely
second act in his career will ultimately mean in terms of tournaments won, former coach
Hank Haney might as well be
speaking for the group.
?No matter how unlikely it
looks, I don?t ever rule anything
out with him,? says Haney,
who taught Woods from 2004
to 2010. ?Because he?s Tiger
Woods.?
???
In October 2017, the progress
Woods had been making from
anterior lumbar interbody fusion in his lower back had been
? 1996
? 1997
leaking out from a band of
tour-pro buddies he joined for
matches at the Medalist Golf
Club in Hobe Sound, Fla.
Mike Adams teaches at
Medalist in the winter, and he
watched Woods work his body
and game to the point where he
was consistently shooting 65 or
66 on one of the ?ercest layouts
in Florida, while generating a
robust 180 miles per hour of
ball speed with his driver.
?He was like a boxer, sparring with Rickie [Fowler], Rory
[McIlroy] and Justin [Thomas]?players he thought were
the best in the world,? Adams
says. ?He knew that if he could
beat them on a hard 7,600-yard
course, he was ready to get back
out there.?
Fowler says Woods routinely
blew it by him in those games,
and Fowler added semi-seriously that he ramped up his prep
for the November 2017 Hero
World Challenge because he
was convinced a reinvigorated
Woods was going to be a force.
?He got me thinking I needed to work on my game more,?
? 1998
Fowler says. ?He looked great,
and the thing I noticed that was
di?erent from previous years is
that he was going out and playing an extra nine for fun. He
was enjoying the game.?
Fowler would go on to shoot
61 in the ?nal round at Hero to
win by four, but most people
weren?t tuning in to see him
win. Woods made his return to
the game at that tournament after seven months away, and the
world was watching to see what
version of Tiger would show up
when the shots counted.
It didn?t take long to see that
he wasn?t going to play like a
junk-ball pitcher surviving on
guile and o?-speed stu?.
Golf Digest 50 Best Teacher
Sean Foley worked with Woods
in the four years immediately
preceding his ?rst back surgery
in 2014. They parted as friends,
and Foley was back at the Hero
in the Bahamas this past November working with Justin
Rose. From his spot on the patio
behind the Albany golf-course
clubhouse, Foley pointed to
the ninth fairway, 400 yards
? 2001
? 2002
away across a pond. ?When did
I know it was real? It was right
over there,? Foley says. ?He had
3-wood from what, 280? He hit
that thing, and it landed on the
green like a shot put. I said to
myself, There you go. Not feeling pain is everything.?
Driver technology and the
miracle of modern shafts can
turn a small-statured player
into a tee-ball-bombing machine. But hoisting a 3-wood
o? a tight lie to a pin cut just
across the water requires more
than great equipment. It takes
a whole lot of con?dence?and
raw speed.
Henrik Stenson was playing
with Woods when he hit the
shot Foley described, and Stenson agrees that the most striking thing about the day wasn?t
what Woods shot?he made
four birdies, an eagle and two
bogeys for a 68?but that he
looked completely comfortable
swinging aggressively.
?I thought he was going after
the ball very strongly, and he
hit it a long, long way,? says
Stenson, whose score was three
? 2003
february 2019 | golfdigest.com
49
JOE La CAVA
? TIGER WOODS EMPLOYS a dozens of people to
help with his company TGR Ventures and charity
initiatives, but when it comes to his on-site
support at a tournament, the Woods entourage is
surprisingly modest. He hasn?t said he?s working
with a swing coach since parting with Chris Como
in 2017. His mother, Kultida, and his two children
are likely in his gallery at big events, but there?s
no personal assistant, and his physical trainer
doesn?t hang around, nor do his closest friends?
an occasional exception being childhood buddy
Bryon Bell, who serves as president of Woods? golfcourse design company. If Woods stays in private
housing, he?ll likely bring his personal chef, who
is paid to cook, not watch him play golf. Oh, and
he?ll have man?s best friend in tow when he travels.
That would be his bodyguard, the big dude walking
nearby who you shouldn?t mess with. But, yes,
that also means taking one of his three dogs along
on most trips. There?s Taz, Yogi and Bugs. Only a
handful of trusted individuals occupy the Woods
orbit regularly as he competes. By now, it?s largely
a recognizable group. ?dave shedloski
50 golfdigest.com | february 2019
Woods? most trusted
con?dant, and he usually
can be seen walking
in lockstep with Tiger
at a tournament site.
McNamara is a scratch
golfer who worked at
IMG from 2000-?05
before joining Tiger.
He knows Woods? swing
and serves as a second
set of eyes now that
Woods has chosen to go
without an instructor.
ROB McNAMARA
ERICA HERMAN
? A contemporary who
has known Woods since
their junior-golf days
in Southern California,
McNamara is a vice
president of Woods? TGR
Ventures. A graduate of
Santa Clara University,
McNamara, 43, is
? Herman made her
?rst public appearance
with Woods at the 2017
Presidents Cup, where
Woods was a captain?s
assistant to Steve
Stricker. Herman, 34,
was a manager at Woods?
restaurant in Florida,
The Woods Jupiter,
and now lives with Tiger.
GLENN GREENSPAN
? Greenspan has been
Woods? spokesman
since 2008 after leaving
another high-pro?le job,
that of the ?rst director
of communications
at Augusta National
Golf Club and the
Masters Tournament.
A graduate of Florida
State University, where
he covered golf for the
sports information
department, Greenspan,
60, came to Augusta
National in 1996.
Previously, the New
York native worked for
the PGA Tour and Gary
Player Design.
gutter credit tk
HIS ENTOURAGE
attended the University
of Illinois and made
the basketball team as
a walk-on. In a 2016
interview, he said of his
relationship with Woods:
?We are unwavering in
our commitment to each
other.? Steinberg?s client
list includes the likes of
Justin Thomas, Justin
Rose and Matt Kuchar.
? LaCava has been on
Woods? bag since 2011,
after working for Dustin
Johnson for about four
months. LaCava, 55, is
a native of Newtown,
Conn. His cousin, Ken
Green, a former PGA
Tour player, got him
started in the ?eld when
he asked LaCava to
replace his sister Shelley
as his caddie starting in
1987. After three years
with Green, LaCava
began a 20-plus-year
run with Fred Couples.
with herman: carr/getty images ? with l acava: jamie squire/getty images ? 2005: j.d. cuban ? 2006: matthew harris ? 2007: mike ehrmann/pga/getty images ? 2008, 2009 and 2010: robyn beck/afp/getty images
shots worse than Tiger?s that
round. ?I didn?t really imagine
him being able to go ?at-out
like that. He was ready to play.?
Woods returned to competition two months later at the
Farmers Insurance Open. He
hovered around par all four
days to tie for 23rd, but more
important, his back gave him
no trouble. After a missed cut
at the Genesis Open and a
12th-place ?nish at the Honda
Classic, Woods decided to add
another event to his playing
schedule to get more earlyseason reps.
In his debut at the Valspar
Championship, Woods got his
?rst taste of genuine contention
since ?nishing T-10 at the 2015
Wyndham Championship. At
the Valspar, Paul Casey shot 65
on Sunday to beat Tiger by one
stroke and squash what would
have been the feel-good hit of
the early season, but it was now
perfectly clear that Woods was
capable of winning again.
Rose was paired with Woods
at the Arnold Palmer Invitational the next week and said he
knew right away that Tiger?s T-2
?nish at Valspar wasn?t a ?uke.
?The way he was striking the
ball, it was as good as anybody
out there,? Rose says. ?He was
looking like the real deal again.?
It didn?t take Haney even
that long to make his assessment: ?When he posted that
?rst slow swing on Instagram
in October [2017], I thought it
was a swing he could win with.
It looked a lot closer to how he
swung when he was incredibly
successful.?
And it wasn?t just what
Haney saw?it was what he
didn?t see. ?When he gets his
left arm low across his chest
and the club across the line at
the top, he struggles,? Haney
? 2005
? 2006
? when i saw his short game was back and
his swing was 100 percent, i knew it was only a matter
of time before he won. ? ?justin rose
says. ?But that was gone.?
Chris Como was Woods? last
o?cial coach, from 2014 to 2017,
and the two spent hundreds of
hours trying to ?nd an e?ective swing?a ?neutral swing,?
Como says?that Tiger could
repeat despite the doubledigit list of injuries (knee, back,
Achilles, etc.) he had endured
over his career. Como said he
was pleased with the progress
? 2007
they made leading up to the fusion surgery in 2017, and Woods
continued evolving in the same
direction when he started his
most recent rehab.
?Last year, you could see
that he had a lot of the general shape of the swing back to
when he played his best golf,
in the early 2000s,? Como says.
?You could tell that he was reconnected with his hands and
? 2008
? 2009
W O O D S M A D E PA R
OR BETTER 64
PERCENT OF THE
TIME HE MISSED
THE GREEN IN
R E G U L AT I O N O N T H E
P GA TOUR IN 2018,
RANKING FOURTH.
? 2010
february 2019 | golfdigest.com
51
? 2011
longer his backswing looks,?
he says. ?I like how there?s less
forward bend from the top. The
extra length gives him so much
more time to produce speed in
the downswing.?
Most of Woods? commentary
about his comeback has a consistent theme?taking what his
body gives him and putting
himself in position to win
again. ?I don?t train anywhere
near like I used to,? he said in
November. ?I just physically
can?t do it anymore. It?s a di?erent feeling as an older athlete.
There are some days you just
don?t feel very good. Those are
the days I just shut it down. In
years past, if I didn?t feel good,
I?d go on a ?ve-mile run and
unfamiliar with how to move all
that mass. And he didn?t need
to do it to get longer. How far
did he hit it at 138 pounds when
he was at Stanford??
Late last season, Woods says
he switched to a driver head
with 1.5 degrees more loft?he
was using a 9.5-degree head at
the Tour Championship?and
changed to a slightly lighter
shaft so he could produce more
height, more spin and a more
consistent fade?at the cost of
losing what he calls ?the hot
ones.? He started swinging a
comfortable 118 to 120 miles per
hour and didn?t hesitate to opt
for fairway woods and irons o?
the tee, playing to his historical
strength as a formidable mid-
ies, he just wouldn?t be able to
hit all those 3-woods and irons
o? the tee. He has the speed,
but he just uses it a di?erent
way than Brooks Koepka and
Rory McIlroy do.?
At the Tour Championship
in September, Woods closed
out his ?rst win since the 2013
WGC-Bridgestone Invitational
with one of his classic game
plans?refusing to beat himself
while playing from ahead.
?He looked like the old Tiger,? says Butch Harmon, who
was his coach from 1993 to
2003, when Woods won eight
majors and 34 PGA Tour events.
?With the lead, he was playing a
little fade o? the tee and hitting
the middle of the green?clas-
? i don?t train anywhere near like i used to.
i just physically can?t do it anymore. it?s a different feeling
as an older athlete. ?
make myself feel better. Well,
that?s not happening anymore.?
If it?s possible, Woods? body
has been even more a subject
of conversation than his swing.
At the peak of his heavy-training era, Woods was pushing
200 pounds and ?lling out his
shirt like an NFL free safety.
But even that kind of muscle
mass couldn?t stabilize his body
against the constant punishment of thousands of full-bore
swings. But by the end of the
2018 season, he looked a lot
di?erent.
?He looks like he?s been
more responsible,? Foley says.
?He looks really good at 175
or 180. When you see a guy at
200 pounds, with wrists and a
waist like this [Foley holds up
his thumb and fore?nger in a
circle], from a proprioception
standpoint, your brain becomes
? 2012
52 golfdigest.com | february 2019
? 2014
dle- and long-iron player.
Woods led the tour in strokes
gained/approach shots in 2018
and was seventh in strokes
gained/tee to green. His average clubhead speed was 120.24
mph?faster than Jon Rahm,
Justin Thomas and Jason Day.
And keep in mind, guys such as
Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson
and Francesco Molinari have
won majors swinging slower
than 115.
?When he ?rst came back,
the speed was him showing o?,
testing his body out,? Haney
says. ?I know the radar said he
was at 124 or 125 mph, but he
?nished the year 34th in driving distance. It?s one thing to
have speed, but you have to be
able to use it. What the speed
does is let him play around his
de?ciencies with the driver. If
he lost a lot after those surger-
? 2015
? 2016
sic Tiger. He really had complete control over his whole
game. He appeared to get away
from trying to hit the driver so
far and instead got it in the fairway. When you think about it,
he could have won two majors
in a row earlier in the summer,
at the Open Championship and
the PGA, so what he did at East
Lake was coming.?
Koepka kept Woods from
winning the PGA Championship at Bellerive. Afterward,
Koepka said that going toeto-toe with one of the all-time
bests was one of the biggest
thrills of his career?and it was
serendipitous. Koepka?s coach,
Claude Harmon III, closely
watched his father, Butch, work
with Tiger in the early years of
their partnership. Claude says
he used what he learned from
that experience to help develop
? 2017
2011: karim sahib/afp/getty images ? 2012: roslan rahman/afp/getty images ? 2014: sam greenwood/getty images ? 2015: scott halleran/getty images ? 2016: ramsey cardy/sportsfile/getty images ? 2017: donald miralle/getty images
the release of the club, and he
was moving his body in a way
that was safe.?
Watch Woods swing in pro?le, and it still looks like Tiger
Woods. He still makes what is
one of the most recognizable
moves on tour. Yet, several
swing coaches agree that his
swing looks less ?violent? and
noticeably di?erent than it was
in his prime.
?I?ve studied him pretty hard
since the ?rst time he came to
the Doral resort in 1997, and I
went out to watch him in person at the beginning of 2018,?
says Golf Digest 50 Best Teacher Jim McLean. ?It was shocking how far he was driving it.
He used to have too much lag,
and his shoulders were too
vertical in the downswing. Now
he?s releasing the club. He has
to, because he can?t lean on his
back anymore.?
McLean describes the swing
Earl Woods taught Tiger as a
boy as the ?Sam Snead style,?
with more smooth body ?ow
and clubhead throw. Woods
spent two decades trying to get
tighter and more controlled,
but the last surgery has prompted him to go back to the future,
McLean says.
?He?s letting the club go
more,? McLean says. ?It?s like
he?s throwing the ball nicely
down the fairway with his
driver. There?s no hang-on
move. He?s moving o? his right
side and opening up nicely, and
he has room on his downswing.
The guys who drive it well are
sweeping the ball, and he?s
starting to do that more.?
Foley says the most striking
improvement he has seen is
how much more space Woods
creates in his backswing, especially with the driver.
?I really like how much
1995: j.d. cuban/allsport/getty images ? 2000: adrian dennis/afp/getty images ? 2008: walter iooss jr. ? 2018: matt winkelmeyer/getty images for ?the match?
Koepka into one of the game?s
best players. Claude also went
through the same fusion surgery as Woods, which gives him
a multifaceted perspective on
Tiger?s comeback and his place
in the game today.
?Tiger used to be Darth
Vader, and I mean that in the
nicest possible way,? Claude
says. ?He had the theme music.
He had the storm troopers, and
everybody knew he was coming. But in the last few years,
he?s been more like Obi-Wan
Kenobi?mentoring people.
There are still players who
idolize Tiger. Brooks does. But
I don?t think there are players
who are overawed by him now.
He?s been away for a long time.
But when he got to the Tour
Championship, the speed was
back, the swagger was back, the
friends-and-family stu? wasn?t
there anymore. And I like that.?
Almost lost in all the euphoria
over Woods? driver readings on
the speed gun was the dramatic
improvement in his short game
since his disastrous previous
comeback, in early 2015. Where
he used to skull basic pitch shots
over the green, he?s back to using his wedges as weapons.
?There was one [at the Memorial] where he was short of
the ninth green on a downslope
that was a wet, super-tight lie
to a front pin, water hazard
everywhere,? Rose says. ?He
clipped a beautiful shot. That
was something maybe he would
have struggled with 12 or 18
months prior. When I saw his
short game was back and his
swing was 100 percent, I knew
it was only a matter of time before he won.?
Woods hit thousands of balls
in early 2015 trying to iron out
those short-game kinks?which
Woods says stemmed mostly
from shallowing his full-swing
path much more with Como
than it had been with Foley?
but nerve stingers in his back
made settling over the ball
comfortably a challenge.
?He did so much work leading up to the Masters in 2015,?
Como says. ?People remember
that incredible shot from 2005
that trickled in on 16, but there
was a pitch shot he hit on 12 in
95
BY THE NUMBERS
BY ALEX MYERS
00
08
18
? TIGER WENT 142 CONSECUTIVE
PGA TOUR EVENTS WITHOUT MISSING A CUT
FROM 1998 TO 2005, WHICH BROKE BYRON
NELSON?S PREVIOUS RECORD OF 113.
? TIGER POSTED ONE SCORE HIGHER THAN
73 DURING HIS HISTORIC 2000 CAMPAIGN.
THAT WAS AN OPENING 75 AT THE MASTERS
ON HIS WAY TO A T-5, THE ONLY MAJOR
CHAMPIONSHIP HE DIDN?T WIN THAT YEAR.
? TIGER HAS WON 11 PGA PLAYER
OF THE YEAR AWARDS IN THE 70 YEARS
OF ITS EXISTENCE. TOM WATSON
IS SECOND WITH SIX.
? TIGER IS THE ONLY PLAYER TO
WIN THE U.S. OPEN, THE U.S. AMATEUR
AND THE U.S. JUNIOR.
HE HAS WON EACH THREE TIMES.
? TIGER LOST ?THE MATCH? TO PHIL
MICKELSON, BUT HIS BIGGEST STATEMENT
AS A PRO IN THAT FORMAT LIVES ON:
A 9-AND-8 THRASHING OF STEPHEN AMES
AT THE 2006 WGC-MATCH PLAY AFTER AMES
QUESTIONED THE STATE OF WOODS? GAME.
? TIGER HAS THREE WINNING STREAKS
OF FIVE OR MORE ON THE PGA TOUR.
NO OTHER PLAYER IN THE PAST 65 YEARS
HAS EVEN WON FOUR STRAIGHT EVENTS.
? TIGER AVERAGED MAKING MORE
THAN $120 MILLION PER YEAR FROM 2007
TO 2009 BEFORE DROPPING TO $74.2
MILLION IN 2010 AFTER FACETS
OF HIS PERSONAL LIFE WERE REVEALED.
? TIGER HAS LOST A PLAYOFF ON
THE PGA TOUR OR EUROPEAN TOUR JUST
ONCE IN HIS CAREER, FALLING TO
BILLY MAYFAIR AT THE 1998 NISSAN OPEN.
HE HAS WON THE OTHER 14 TIMES
HE HAS GONE TO EXTRA HOLES.
? TIGER HAS BEEN THE OUTRIGHT 54-HOLE
LEADER AT A PGA TOUR EVENT 45 TIMES.
HE HAS WON ON 43 OF THOSE OCCASIONS.
? TIGER?S 52 CONSECUTIVE ROUNDS
OF PAR OR BETTER FROM 2000 TO 2001
IS A PGA TOUR RECORD.
? TIGER IS STILL CHASING JACK NICKLAUS?
18 PRO MAJOR TITLES, BUT HIS 18 WGC
WINS ARE 13 MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE
AND 15 MORE THAN ANYONE NOT NAMED
DUSTIN JOHNSON.
2015, over water, that showed
him his short game was going
to be on an upward trajectory.
He knew that if he was able to
get out of pain, it was going to
go back to the strength it always had been?and last year,
he had an incredible shortgame year.?
To a man, every coach in
this story says that what Tiger
showed last year establishes?
health willing?that he can
still win more majors.
?In other sports, they say
players lose a step. Tiger
hasn?t,? Como says. ?His window for winning majors is still
pretty big. Tiger has so many
tools in his box that even if his
speed drops from where it is,
he?s still going to compete.?
Butch Harmon says it looks
like Woods has rediscovered
his passion for the game and
?the sky?s the limit.?
Haney says Woods can return to world No. 1, a spot he
hasn?t occupied since 2013.
Foley says that Woods?
swing knowledge will let him
pick and choose from what he
has learned from all his teachers and succeed on his own, no
longer needing a formal relationship with an instructor.
?And let?s be honest,? Haney
says, ?he?s not the easiest to
teach, as these young guys
found out. He does things his
own way, which means he?s
exactly where he should be,
doing it on his own. He?s going to keep it simple, because
that?s where he?s going to have
the best success in the shortest
amount of time?because he
doesn?t have unlimited time.?
A sense of urgency isn?t lost
on Woods, but he said he?s
entering this season with more
optimism?and even better?
his best health in at least a
decade.
?There?s a precedent for
guys having a lot of success in
their 40s,? says Woods, who
turned 43 on December 30.
?To give myself a legitimate
chance to win the last two major championships?to put myself back in position?I know
that if I can put myself there,
I can win it.
?Now I just have to do it.?
54 golfdigest.com | february 2019
IT?S NOT OVER AT 43
BY MIKE O?MALLEY
? Tiger Woods turned 43
at the end of 2018, which
might be retirement age in
most sports, but not golf.
Key achievements of the
post-43 set:
Oldest golfers to win
a major championship
48
Julius Boros
1968 PGA Championship
46
Old Tom Morris
1867 Open Championship
Jack Nicklaus
1986 Masters
45
Jerry Barber
1961 PGA Championship
Hale Irwin
1990 U.S. Open
44
Lee Trevino
1984 PGA Championship
Roberto De Vicenzo
1967 Open Championship
Harry Vardon
1914 Open Championship
43
Raymond Floyd
1986 U.S. Open
Ted Ray
1920 U.S. Open
Old Tom Morris
1864 Open Championship
Julius Boros
1963 U.S. Open
Ben Crenshaw
1995 Masters
Phil Mickelson
2013 Open Championship
Oldest golfers
to almost win a major
Oldest golfers
to win on the PGA Tour
59
52
Tom Watson had an eightfoot putt to win the 2009
Open Championship at
Turnberry, only to lose in a
playo? with Stewart Cink.
Watson was laboring on
Friday before getting a pep
talk from Sergio Garcia.
?Sergio came over and
said, ?C?mon, old man??in a
nice way?right when I was
struggling,? Watson told
Golf Digest. ?That helped
get me going.?
Sam Snead 1965
(Snead was 67 in 1979,
when he set the tour record
for being the oldest player
to make a cut, and he was
62 when he tied for third
in the 1974 PGA, three
strokes behind Lee Trevino.)
58
50
Playing in his 40th Masters,
Jack Nicklaus birdied
four of the ?rst seven holes
on Sunday in 1998 to get
within two strokes of the
lead and shot a 68 to ?nish
T-6, four strokes behind
winner Mark O?Meara,
who was 41.
Fred Funk 2007
Craig Stadler 2003
53
17
Greg Norman led the
2008 Open through 54
holes at Birkdale before
shooting a ?nal-round
77 to tie for third behind
winner Padraig Harrington.
Sam Snead
50
Harry Vardon led the
1920 U.S. Open by ?ve
strokes with ?ve holes to
play before three-putting
three consecutive holes
and double-bogeying the
17th to lose by a stroke to
Ted Ray.
49
Raymond Floyd ?nished
a stroke behind Fred
Couples in the 1992
Masters and was 47 when
he lost to Nick Faldo on
the second playo? hole at
Augusta in 1990.
51
Art Wall 1975
Davis Love III 2015
Jim Barnes 1937
John Barnum 1962
Most PGA Tour
victories after 40
22
Vijay Singh
Age at most recent
major-championship
win (selected players)
46 Jack Nicklaus
44 Harry Vardon,
Lee Trevino
43 Ben Crenshaw,
Phil Mickelson
42 Gary Player, Ernie
Els, Darren Clarke
41 Sam Snead, Vijay Singh
40 Ben Hogan
38 Nick Faldo,
Greg Norman
36 Walter Hagen
34 Arnold Palmer
33 Gene Sarazen,
Byron Nelson, Tom Watson
32 Tiger Woods
31 Seve Ballesteros
28 Bobby Jones
T H A N K S T O H I S S W I N G S P E E D , W O O D S C A N S T I L L G O T O I R O N S A N D FA I R WAY W O O D S F O R C O N T R O L O F F T H E T E E .
?
A L O T I A N
R E S O R T
?
:
A R C A D I A
B A N D O N
B L U F F S
D U N E S
?
B O S T O N
G O L F
C L U B
?
C H I C A G O
G O L F
C L U B
N A T I O N A L
?
?
?
GARDEN
?
K I T T A N S E T T
M U I R F I E L D
T R E E
B E A C H
?
?
P E T E
?
T H E
?
S CIO T O
P R E S E R V E
?
S O U T H E R N
N A T I O N A L
?
T H E
L . A .
?
Q U A K E R
?
W A D E
56 golfdigest.com | february 2019
?
D O U B L E
C L U B
?
?
H U N T
?
?
R I D G E
S P R I N G
H A M P T O N
H I L L
?
O L D
?
?
E A G L E
?
?
?
E R I N
?
?
N A T I O N A L
O L D
S A N D W I C H
H O N O R S
?
M E D I N A H
G O L F
?
?
H I L L
P I N E S
?
L I N K S
O L D
T O W N
?
Q U I N TA
C R E E K
S P Y G L A S S
W H I S P E R I N G
L A
C L U B
H I L L S
N A T I O N A L
AT
/
P I N E S
C O U N T R Y
M A Y A C A M A
S H A D OW
?
M A C D O N A L D
R A N C H
Q U A R R Y
N A T I O N A L
C A L U S A
T H E
P I K E W O O D
?
SEMINOLE
/
G O Z Z E R
M A I D S T O N E
C L U B
A U G U S T A
N A T I O N A L
C O U R S E
G O L F
?
?
M Y O P I A
O C E A N
S E B O N AC K
H I L L S
C R E E K
?
T R A I L S
C O N G R E S S I O N A L
N O R T H
D Y E
?
B U T L E R
?
?
A R O N I M I N K
B A N D O N
G O L F
V I L L A G E
N A T I O N A L
?
?
D I A M O N D
CIT Y
/
?
P I N E
?
R I C H
SHINNECOCK
?
T P C
S A W
W H I S T L I N G
?
B A L L Y N E A L
P A C I F I C
?
D U N E S
C A M A R G O
?
?
?
C R O O K E D
E S S E X
?
?
?
B E T H P A G E
:
L O W E R
B L A C K
C A N Y A T A
?
?
C R Y S T A L
C O U N T Y
?
E S T A N C I A
N A T I O N A L
?
?
M I L W A U K E E
?
/
D O W N S
?
U P P E R
B L A C K
C A S T L E
S T I C K
H U D S O N
M E R I O N
?
B A L T U S R O L
R O C K
?
M O N T E R E Y
?
C H E R R Y
P O I N T
I S L A N D
?
:
?
?
R U N
H I L L S
D A L L A S
F R I A R ? S
I N V E R N E S S
P E N I N S U L A
D U N E S
B L A C K W O L F
?
C Y P R E S S
F I S H E R S
B A N D O N
?
P I N E S
I N T E R L A C H E N
?
?
H E A D
K I N L O C H
D U N E S
/
S H O R E
G O L F D I G E S T A M E R I C A? S 1 0 0 G R E AT E S T 2 0 1 9 / 2 0 2 0
O F
?
A M E R I C A
O L Y M P I A
H U R S T
?
O A K
F I E L D S
N O .
2
?
H I L L
?
V A L L E Y
H A R V E S T
?
H I L L S
?
S H O R E A C R E S
G R A S S
?
S T R A I T S
V A L H A L L A
?
W I N G E D
?
?
O A K L A N D
O L Y M P I C
P I N E
R I V I E R A
?
S A N D
?
F O O T
C L U B
?
S L E E P Y
:
?
?
?
O F
/
?
?
?
G O L F
?
?
O A K
P E B B L E
S O M E R S E T
M O N T E C I T O
W E S T
?
P R A I R I E
F R A N C I S C O
H O L L O W
C L U B
E A S T
S A N
O A K M O N T
P E A C H T R E E
P L A I N F I E L D
H I L L S
V A L L E Y
H I L L S
D U N E S
C L U B
H I L L S
V I C T O R I A
Y E A M A N S
H A L L
2013, George Waters,
then an aspiring golfcourse architect and
now the manager for the
United States Golf Association?s Green Section
Education, wrote a book
titled Sand and Golf:
How Terrain Shapes the
Game. It?s marvelously
instructive, one of many
books on our recommended reading list
for Golf Digest?s nearly
1,500 course-rating
panelists. ?Waters starts
with the premise that
?sandy terrain lies at
the heart and soul of
the game,? a simple declaration that explains
the ascension of many
of the courses listed on
the 2019 renewal of Golf
Digest?s biennial ranking of America?s 100
Greatest Golf Courses.
58 golfdigest.com | february 2019
N O . 1 : P I N E VA L L E Y : 1 2 T H H O L E
Photograph by Dom Furore
It starts at the top of the list, with No. 1
pine valley in New Jersey, where irregular
fairways framed by acres of exposed sand
present a compelling 18 holes of challenge
and reward. Fifty-three years ago, when
Golf Digest ?rst introduced the concept of
course rankings, Pine Valley was considered
the ultimate in penal golf-course architecture. These days, it?s considered highly
strategic, a change in attitude brought about
in part by experts like Waters, who writes
that Pine Valley ?was the ?rst course in
America constructed in a truly naturalistic
style? and celebrates its sandy wastelands
as superior to ?anking ?elds of ankle-deep
manicured rough.
?Golf is a game of recovery,? Waters
says, and points out that the low-nutrient
content of sand results in sparsely grassed
rough that gives even below-average golfers
a chance of ?nding their way home.
But even in sand, something will eventually grow, be it weeds or trees. Considerable
e?ort has been made to re-establish Pine
Valley?s naturalistic rough. Just last year,
consulting architect Tom Fazio had a crew
chop away a brushy hillside of overgrown
trees along the left side of the short, splendid
par-4 12th (previous pages), reintroducing a
daunting canyon of sand scars and pits.
In 2010, Waters had been part of the reconstruction crew that, under the direction
of architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw,
pulled out all the Bermuda-grass rough
from pinehurst no. 2, now ranked 29th, to
expose the sand beneath. The goal was to
restore what they believe original architect
Donald Ross intended, a rough of sandy
hardpan dotted with wiregrass. Waters calls
today?s Pinehurst ?an interesting twist on
playable rough . . . the perfect balance between penalty and playability.? That rough
also provides distinctive visuals that many
panelists favor with good scores in our Aesthetics category.
The concept of sandy rough is now a
characteristic of several America?s 100
Greatest courses. Coore and Crenshaw
have recently implemented it in their
remodeling of No. 12 seminole in South
Florida and No. 67 maidstone on the
Atlantic shoreline of Long Island in New
York. It?s also a primary feature at the
Grand Slam of layouts at Oregon?s Bandon
Dunes Resort: No. 17 pacific dunes , No. 36
bandon dunes , No. 50 old macdonald
and No. 69 bandon trails .
W H E N S A N D I S G R A N D : M A N Y O F G O L F D I G E S T ? S 1 0 0 G R E AT E S T C O U R S E S
N O . 8 9 : S L E E P Y H O L L OW : 1 6 T H H O L E
GOLF DIGEST / AMERICA?S 100 GREATEST GOLF COU
NO. 9 :
SAND HILLS : 18TH HOLE
1-10
RANK (2017 RANK IN PARENTHESES)
11-20
YARDS
PAR
POINTS
RANK
21-30
YARDS PAR
POINTS
1 (1) PINE VALLEY G.C.
7,181 70 72.0078
Pine Valley, N.J.
George Crump & H.S. Colt (1918) / Tom Fazio (2017)
2 (2) AUGUSTA NATIONAL G.C.
7,435 72 71.5810
Augusta, Ga.
Alister MacKenzie & Bobby Jones (1933) / Tom Fazio (2018)
3 (3) CYPRESS POINT CLUB
6,524 72 69.6830
Pebble Beach
Alister MacKenzie & Robert Hunter (1928) / Je? Markow (2004)
4 (4) SHINNECOCK HILLS G.C.
7,445 70 69.2526
Southampton, N.Y.
William Flynn (1931) / Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (2012)
5 (5) OAKMONT C.C.
7,255 71 68.9218
Oakmont, Pa.
Henry Fownes (1903) / Tom Fazio (2014)
6 (6) MERION G.C. (East)
6,996 70 67.8860
Ardmore, Pa. / Hugh Wilson (1912) / Gil Hanse (2018)
7 (7) PEBBLE BEACH G. LINKS
6,828 72 67.5261
Pebble Beach
Jack Neville & Douglas Grant (1919) / Arnold Palmer & Thad Layton (2016)
8 (8) NATIONAL G. LINKS OF AMERICA
6,935 72 67.3855
Southampton, N.Y. / C.B. Macdonald (1911) / Karl Olson (1994)
9 (9) SAND HILLS G.C.
7,089 71 66.3549
Mullen, Neb. / Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (1995)
10 (11) FISHERS ISLAND CLUB
6,615 70 66.1937
Fishers Island, N.Y. / Seth Raynor & Charles Banks (1926) / Gil Hanse (2000)
11 (10) WINGED FOOT G.C. (West)
7,426 72 66.1885
Mamaroneck, N.Y. / A.W. Tillinghast (1923) / Gil Hanse (2017)
12 (13) SEMINOLE G.C.
6,836 72 65.9329
Juno Beach, Fla.
Donald Ross (1929) / Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (2017)
13 (12) CRYSTAL DOWNS C.C.
6,560 70 65.6377
Frankfort, Mich. / Alister MacKenzie & Perry Maxwell (1931) / Tom Doak (2018)
14 (14) CHICAGO G.C.
6,877 70 65.5659
Wheaton, Ill.
C.B. Macdonald (1894) / Seth Raynor (1923) / Tom Doak (2002)
15 (19) FRIAR?S HEAD G.C.
7,071 71 65.2092
Baiting Hollow, N.Y. / Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (2002)
16 (15) MUIRFIELD VILLAGE G.C.
7,392 72 65.2030
Dublin, Ohio
Jack Nicklaus & Desmond Muirhead (1974) / Jack Nicklaus (2015)
17 (18) PACIFIC DUNES
6,633 71 64.9775
Bandon, Ore. / Tom Doak (2001)
18 (16) THE COUNTRY CLUB (Clyde / Squirrel)
6,753 70 64.9361
Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Willie Campbell (1895) / Alex Campbell (1902) / Gil Hanse (2012)
19 (23) LOS ANGELES C.C. (North)
7,530 71 64.7659
Los Angeles
George C. Thomas Jr. (1921) / Gil Hanse, Geo? Shackelford & Jim Wagner (2010)
20 (17) OAKLAND HILLS C.C. (South)
7,445 72 64.7535
Bloom?eld Hills, Mich. / Donald Ross (1918) / Rees Jones (2006)
51-60
61-70
RANK
PAR
POINTS
RANK
YARDS
PAR
PAR
21 (22) WHISTLING STRAITS (Straits)
7,790 72
Haven, Wis. / Pete Dye (1998)
22 (20) OAK HILL C.C. (East)
7,152 70
Rochester, N.Y.
Donald Ross (1925) / Tom Fazio (2010)
23 (24) RIVIERA C.C.
7,040 71
Paci?c Palisades, Calif.
George C. Thomas Jr. & W.P. Bell (1926) / Tom Fazio (2012)
24 (21) THE OCEAN COURSE
7,356 72
Kiawah Island, S.C.
Pete Dye & Alice Dye (1991) / Pete Dye (2011)
25 (25) WADE HAMPTON G.C.
7,395 72
Cashiers, N.C. / Tom Fazio (1987) / Tom Fazio (2018)
26 (26) SHADOW CREEK
7,560 72
North Las Vegas, Nev.
Tom Fazio & Steve Wynn (1990) / Tom Fazio (2008)
27 (29) PRAIRIE DUNES C.C.
6,947 70
Hutchinson, Kan.
Perry Maxwell (1937) / Press Maxwell (1957) / Dave Axland (2014)
28 (32) THE HONORS COURSE
7,450 72
Ooltewah, Tenn. / Pete Dye (1983) / Pete Dye (2008)
29 (30) PINEHURST RESORT (No. 2)
7,588 72
Pinehurst, N.C. / Donald Ross (1935) / Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (2010)
30 (33) PEACHTREE G.C.
7,414 72
Atlanta / Robert Trent Jones & Bobby Jones (1947) / Bob Cupp (2005)
POINTS
RANK
51 (46) GARDEN CITY G.C.
6,922
Garden City, N.Y.
Devereux Emmet (1899) / Walter Travis (1913) / Tom Doak (2015)
73
62.4125
61 (61) BALTUSROL G.C. (Upper)
7,348
Spring?eld, N.J. / A.W. Tillinghast (1922) / Rees Jones (2014)
72
62.0814
71
52 (62) WINGED FOOT G.C. (East)
Mamaroneck, N.Y.
A.W. Tillinghast (1923) / Gil Hanse (2012)
6,808
72
62.3774
62 (63) CANYATA G.C.
Marshall, Ill. / Bob Lohmann & Mike Benkusky (2004)
7,266
72
62.0771
63 (64) SOMERSET HILLS C.C.
Bernardsville, N.J.
A.W. Tillinghast (1918) / Tom Doak (2018)
6,784
71
62.0366
53 (48) MEDINAH C.C. (No. 3)
Medinah, Ill.
Tom Bendelow (1928) / Rees Jones (2009)
7,657
62.3690
64 (60) PETE DYE G.C.
Bridgeport, W.Va. / Pete Dye (1994)
7,308
72
62.0220
54 (55) WHISPERING PINES G.C.
Trinity, Texas / Chet Williams (2000)
7,473
72
62.2766
65 (59) DALLAS NATIONAL G.C.
Dallas / Tom Fazio (2002)
7,372
72
61.9804
55 (66) SHOREACRES
Lake Blu?, Ill. / Seth Raynor (1921) / Tom Doak (2013)
6,729
70
62.2752
66 (53) KINLOCH G.C.
7,203
Manakin-Sabot, Va. / Lester George & Vinny Giles (2001)
72
61.9740
56 (65) MONTEREY PENINSULA C.C. (Shore)
Pebble Beach / Mike Strantz (2004)
6,873
72
62.2081
57 (57) SCIOTO C.C.
7,140
Columbus, Ohio
Donald Ross (1916) / Michael Hurdzan & Jack Nicklaus (2008)
70
62.1702
58 (54) INTERLACHEN C.C.
Edina, Minn. / Willie Watson (1911) / Brian Silva (2006)
6,981
72
62.1545
59 (56) OLD SANDWICH G.C.
Plymouth, Mass. / Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (2005)
6,908
71
60 (58) OAK TREE NATIONAL
7,410
Edmond, Okla. / Pete Dye & Alice Dye (1976) / Tripp Davis (2012)
71
72
73
74
68 (68) ARCADIA BLUFFS G.C. (Blu?s)
Arcadia, Mich.
Rick Smith & Warren Henderson (2000)
7,300
62.1544
69 (70) BANDON TRAILS
Bandon, Ore. / Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (2005)
6,788
71
61.8574
62.1249
70 (74) THE ESTANCIA CLUB
7,314
Scottsdale / Tom Fazio (1995) / Kevin Sutherland (2012)
72
61.8021
72
61.9264
YARDS
PAR
(76) QUAKER RIDGE G.C.
7,008
Scarsdale, N.Y.
A.W. Tillinghast (1918) / Gil Hanse (2011)
(73) CHERRY HILLS C.C.
7,348
Cherry Hills Village, Colo.
William Flynn (1923) / Tom Doak (2009)
(91) ESSEX COUNTY CLUB
6,555
Manchester, Mass. / Donald Ross (1917) / Tom Doak (2008)
70
72
70
(71) MILWAUKEE C.C.
7,097
River Hills, Wis. / H.S. Colt & C.H. Alison (1929) / Tom Doak (2015)
(79) OLYMPIA FIELDS C.C. (North)
7,190
Olympia Fields, Ill. / Willie Park Jr. (1922) / Mark Mungeam (2014)
(New) MYOPIA HUNT CLUB
6,539
South Hamilton, Mass. / H.C. Leeds (1898) / Gil Hanse (2013)
72
(83) THE QUARRY AT LA QUINTA
7,083
La Quinta, Calif. / Tom Fazio (1994)
78 (67) KITTANSETT CLUB
6,811
Marion, Mass.
William Flynn & Frederic Hood (1922) / Gil Hanse (2012)
79 (New) MONTEREY PENINSULA C.C. (Dunes)
7,090
Pebble Beach
Seth Raynor (1924) / Tom Fazio, Tim Jackson & David Kahn (2015)
80 (75) CONGRESSIONAL C.C. (Blue)
7,570
Bethesda, Md. / Robert Trent Jones (1962) / Rees Jones (2010)
72
75
76
77
67 (72) MAIDSTONE CLUB
6,665 72 61.9365
East Hampton, N.Y.
Willie Park Jr. & Jack Park (1924) / Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (2013)
T H E G A M E ? S O L D E S T R A N K I N G / E S TA B L I S H E D I N 1 9 6 6
YARDS
71-80
YARDS
72
RANK
70
72
71
72
72
P
URSES / 2019 / 2020
GO
N O. 5 5 : S H O R E AC R E S : N I N T H A N D 1 8 T H H O L E S
41-50
RANK
YARDS
PAR
64.6465
31 (27) THE ALOTIAN CLUB
7,500
Roland, Ark. / Tom Fazio (2004)
32 (28) GOZZER RANCH G. & LAKE CLUB
7,317
Harrison, Idaho / Tom Fazio (2007)
33 (31) THE OLYMPIC CLUB (Lake)
6,934
San Francisco
Sam Whiting (1924) / Bill Love (2016)
34 (35) SOUTHERN HILLS C.C.
7,184
Tulsa
Perry Maxwell (1936) / Gil Hanse (2018)
35 (37) SAN FRANCISCO G.C.
6,836
San Francisco
A.W. Tillinghast (1924) / Tom Doak (2017)
36 (36) BANDON DUNES
6,732
Bandon, Ore. / David McLay Kidd (1999)
37 (38) BETHPAGE STATE PARK (Black)
7,465
Farmingdale, N.Y.
Joseph H. Burbeck & A.W. Tillinghast (1936) / Rees Jones (2015)
38 (34) THE GOLF CLUB
7,439
New Albany, Ohio
Pete Dye (1967) / P.B. Dye (2014)
39 (41) SEBONACK G.C.
7,512
Southampton, N.Y. / Jack Nicklaus & Tom Doak (2006)
40 (40) PIKEWOOD NATIONAL G.C.
7,649
Morgantown, W.Va. / J. Robert Gwynne & John Raese (2009)
72
63.7310
72
63.7068
71
63.6777
71
63.4031
64.6417
64.5878
64.5348
64.4646
64.2344
64.0759
63.9746
63.8172
63.7396
71
POINTS
63.3742
72
63.3655
71
63.2976
72
63.1712
72
63.1402
72
63.0881
81-90
RANK
61.7439
81 (85) HUDSON NATIONAL G.C.
7,151
Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. / Tom Fazio (1996) / Tom Fazio (2015)
82 (77) PLAINFIELD C.C.
7,091
Edison, N.J. / Donald Ross (1921) / Gil Hanse (2010)
83 (96) CALUSA PINES G.C.
7,203
Naples, Fla. / Michael Hurdzan & Dana Fry (2001)
84 (81) VALHALLA G.C.
7,540
Louisville / Jack Nicklaus (1986) / Jack Nicklaus (2012)
85 (78) ARONIMINK G.C.
7,267
Newtown Square, Pa.
Donald Ross (1928) / Gil Hanse (2017)
86 (80) THE VALLEY CLUB OF MONTECITO
6,610
Montecito, Calif.
Alister MacKenzie & Robert Hunter (1929) / Todd Eckenrode (2013)
87 (82) BOSTON G.C.
7,062
Hingham, Mass. / Gil Hanse (2004)
88 (89) INVERNESS CLUB
7,323
Toledo, Ohio / Donald Ross (1919) / Andrew Green (2018)
89 (101) SLEEPY HOLLOW C.C.
6,902
Scarsborough-on-Hudson, N.Y.
C.B. Macdonald (1915) / A.W. Tillinghast (1928) / Gil Hanse (2017)
90 (90) DIAMOND CREEK G.C.
7,175
Banner Elk, N.C. / Tom Fazio (2003)
61.6472
61.6431
61.6376
61.5754
61.5487
61.5483
61.5296
61.5115
101-110
YARDS
PAR
41 (39) BALTUSROL G.C. (Lower)
7,400 72
Spring?eld, N.J.
A.W. Tillinghast (1922) / Rees Jones (2014)
42 (44) ERIN HILLS G. CSE.
7,800 72
Erin, Wis.
Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry & Ron Whitten (2006) / Dana Fry (2013)
43 (43) VICTORIA NATIONAL G.C.
7,242 72
Newburgh, Ind. / Tom Fazio (1998)
44 (52) CAMARGO CLUB
6,659 70
Indian Hill, Ohio
Seth Raynor & Charles Banks (1927) / Tom Doak (2000)
45 (49) SPYGLASS HILL G. CSE.
6,960 72
Pebble Beach / Robert Trent Jones (1966) / Tom Fazio (1996)
46 (50) BALLYNEAL G.C.
7,147 71
Holyoke, Colo. / Tom Doak (2006)
47 (45) BUTLER NATIONAL G.C.
7,523 71
Oak Brook, Ill. / George Fazio & Tom Fazio (1974) / Tom Fazio (2012)
48 (42) CASTLE PINES G.C.
7,701 72
Castle Rock, Colo.
Jack Nicklaus (1981) / Jack Nicklaus & Jim Lipe (2015)
49 (51) TPC SAWGRASS (Players Stadium)
7,245 72
Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. / Pete Dye & Alice Dye (1980) / Steve Wenzlo? (2016)
50 (47) OLD MACDONALD
6,944 71
Bandon, Ore. / Tom Doak & Jim Urbina (2010)
POINTS
RANK (2017 RANK IN PARENTHESES)
63.0290
101 (100) EAGLE POINT G.C.
Wilmington, N.C. / Tom Fazio (2000)
102 (120) THE OLDE FARM
Bristol, Va. / Bobby Weed (2000)
103 (113) ROCK CREEK CATTLE CO.
Deer Lodge, Mont. / Tom Doak (2008)
104 (115) PHILADELPHIA CRICKET C. (Wissahickon)
Flourtown, Pa.
A.W. Tillinghast (1922) / Keith Foster (2014)
105 (95) LAUREL VALLEY G.C.
Ligonier, Pa.
Dick Wilson (1959) / Arnold Palmer & Thad Layton (2011)
106 (103) PASATIEMPO G.C.
Santa Cruz, Calif.
Alister MacKenzie (1929) / Tom Doak (2006)
107 (104) THE PETE DYE CSE. AT FRENCH LICK
French Lick, Ind. / Pete Dye (2009)
108 (105) MOUNTAINTOP G. & LAKE CLUB
Cashiers, N.C. / Tom Fazio (2006)
109 (110) CALIFORNIA G.C. OF SAN FRANCISCO
South San Francisco
A. Vernon Macan (1926) / Kyle Phillips (2007)
110 (New) SAND VALLEY
Nekoosa, Wis. / Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (2017)
62.7609
62.7167
62.7111
62.6761
62.6718
62.5935
62.5820
62.4413
62.4135
91-100
POINTS
61.7080
RANK
YARDS
PAR
POINTS
RANK
70
61.4845
72
61.4727
72
61.4559
72
61.3786
70
61.3607
91 (84) THE G.C. AT BLACK ROCK
7,130
Coeur d?Alene, Idaho / Jim Engh (2003)
92 (86) DOUBLE EAGLE CLUB
7,175
Galena, Ohio / Jay Morrish & Tom Weiskopf (1992)
93 (69) SPRING HILL G.C.
7,035
Wayzata, Minn. / Tom Fazio (1999)
94 (88) RICH HARVEST LINKS
7,704
Sugar Grove, Ill.
Jerry Rich & Greg Martin (1999) / Jerry Rich (2012)
95 (87) YEAMANS HALL CLUB
6,808
Charleston, S.C.
Seth Raynor & Charles Banks (1926) / Jim Urbina (2016)
96 (93) THE PRESERVE G.C.
7,138
Carmel, Calif.
Tom Fazio, J. Michael Poellot & Sandy Tatum (2000) / Tom Fazio (2015)
97 (92) BLACKWOLF RUN (River)
7,404
Kohler, Wis. / Pete Dye (1990) / Pete Dye (2010)
98 (New) OLD TOWN CLUB
7,038
Winston-Salem, N.C.
Perry Maxwell (1939) / Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (2013)
99 (94) CROOKED STICK G.C.
7,516
Carmel, Ind. / Pete Dye (1967) / Pete Dye (2008)
100 (99) MAYACAMA G.C.
6,761
Santa Rosa, Calif. / Jack Nicklaus (2001)
72
61.3551
71
61.3515
71
61.3320
70
61.3308
70
61.2075
YARDS PAR
POINTS
72
61.2020
72
61.1950
72
61.1569
72
61.1128
70
61.0890
72
61.0619
72
61.0451
70
61.0033
72
60.9908
71
60.9746
SAND HILLS AND SHORE ACRES: ANDY JOHNSON ? OLD TOWN: CO URTESY OF CLUB/L ARRY L AMBRECHT
31-40
POINTS
151-160
RANK
Y
151 (149) THE HIGHLAND CSE. AT PRIMLAND
Meadows of Dan, Va. / Donald Steel (2006)
152 (140) CAVES VALLEY G.C.
Owings Mills, Md. / Tom Fazio (1991) / Tom Fazio (2000)
153 (154) EASTWARD HO! C.C.
Chatham, Mass.
Herbert Fowler (1922) / Keith Foster (2007)
154 (145) MARTIS CAMP G.C.
Truckee, Calif. / Tom Fazio (2008)
155 (146) COLONIAL C.C.
Fort Worth
Perry Maxwell (1936) / Keith Foster (2008)
156 (150) THE STANWICH CLUB
Greenwich, Conn.
William Gordon & David Gordon (1962) / Tom Fazio (2017)
157 (New) ST. LOUIS C.C.
St. Louis / C.B. Macdonald (1914) / Brian Silva (2004)
158 (153) ALDARRA G.C.
Sammamish, Wash. / Tom Fazio (2001)
159 (128) EUGENE C.C.
Eugene, Ore. / Robert Trent Jones (1967) / John Harbottle (2
160 (147) FOX CHAPEL G.C.
Pittsburgh
Seth Raynor & Charles Banks (1925) / Brian Silva (1997)
OLF DIGEST / AMERICA?S SECOND 100 GREA
NO. 98 : OLD TOWN : SECOND HOLE
111-120
YARDS
PAR
POINTS
RANK
7,471
72
60.9562
7,119
71
60.9030
7,466
71
60.8775
7,119
70
60.8556
111 (New) STONE EAGLE G.C.
Palm Desert, Calif. / Tom Doak (2005)
112 (102) STREAMSONG (Red)
Streamsong, Fla.
Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (2012)
113 (97) FLINT HILLS NATIONAL G.C.
Andover, Kan. / Tom Fazio (1997)
114 (New) BLUEJACK NATIONAL
Montgomery, Texas
Tiger Woods & Beau Welling (2016)
115 (New) QUAIL HOLLOW CLUB
Charlotte / George Cobb (1961) / Tom Fazio (2016)
116 (New) BALTIMORE C.C. (East)
Lutherville, Md.
A.W. Tillinghast (1926) / Keith Foster (2015)
117 (98) SAHALEE C.C. (South / North)
Sammamish, Wash.
Ted Robinson (1969) / Rees Jones (1996)
118 (106) SHOAL CREEK
Shoal Creek, Ala.
Jack Nicklaus (1977) / Jack Nicklaus & Jim Lipe (2016)
119 (New) PIPING ROCK CLUB
Locust Valley, N.Y.
C.B. Macdonald (1913) / Bruce Hepner (2015)
120 (108) THE MADISON CLUB
La Quinta, Calif. / Tom Fazio (2006)
7,366
72
60.8498
6,500
70
60.8314
8,102
72
60.7588
7,127
70
60.7503
7,216
72
60.7124
6,938
72
60.6571
121-130
YARDS
PAR
POINTS
RANK
7,012
71
60.6468
7,148
72
60.6435
7,080
71
60.6018
7,552
72
60.5812
7,635
71
60.5776
7,181
70
60.5478
7,003
72
60.5305
121 (126) KINGSLEY CLUB
6,956
Kingsley, Mich. / Mike DeVries (2001)
122 (107) HAZELTINE NATIONAL G.C.
7,674
Chaska, Minn.
Robert Trent Jones (1962) / Rees Jones (2010)
123 (114) FOREST HIGHLANDS G.C. (Canyon)
7,001
Flagsta?, Ariz. / Jay Morrish & Tom Weiskopf (1988)
124 (111) COLORADO G.C.
7,604
Parker, Colo. / Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (2007)
125 (130) JUPITER HILLS CLUB (Hills)
7,344
Tequesta, Fla.
George Fazio (1970) / Tom Fazio (2014)
126 (123) SHOOTING STAR G.C.
7,550
Teton Village, Wyo. / Tom Fazio (2009)
127 (117) GALLOWAY NATIONAL G.C.
7,111
Galloway, N.J. / Tom Fazio (1994) / Tom Fazio (2013)
128 (121) GRANDFATHER G. & C.C.
7,010
Linville, N.C.
Ellis Maples (1967) / Bobby Weed (2015)
129 (129) CHAMBERS BAY
7,585
University Place, Wash.
Robert Trent Jones Jr. & Bruce Charlton (2007)
130 (112) KAPALUA (Plantation)
7,411
Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii
Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (1991) / Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (2014)
7,400
6,852
72
71
7,426
72
60.5160
60.4779
60.4760
161-170
PAR
POINTS
RANK
YARDS
PAR
7,053
72
59.6503
7,006
71
59.6317
6,437
71
59.6284
7,766
72
59.6223
7,209
70
59.5945
161 (141) LOST DUNES G.C.
6,905
Bridgman, Mich. / Tom Doak (1999)
162 (138) OCEAN FOREST G.C.
7,321
Sea Island, Ga. / Rees Jones (1995) / Rees Jones (2007)
163 (158) THE G.C. OF TENNESSEE
7,184
Kingston Springs, Tenn.
Tom Fazio (1991) / Tom Fazio (2008)
164 (167) WHISPER ROCK G.C. (Upper)
7,550
Scottsdale / Tom Fazio (2005)
165 (162) SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS G.C.
7,510
Las Vegas / Robert Trent Jones Jr. (2000)
166 (155) THE STONE CANYON CLUB
7,317
Oro Valley, Ariz. / Jay Morrish (2000)
167 (165) SECESSION G.C.
7,068
Beaufort, S.C. / Bruce Devlin (1992) / Billy Fuller (2012)
168 (148) LONG COVE CLUB
7,094
Hilton Head Island
Pete Dye & Alice Dye (1982) / Bobby Weed (2018)
169 (New) STREAMSONG (Black)
7,331
Streamsong, Fla. / Gil Hanse (2017)
170 (157) BEL-AIR C.C.
6,800
Los Angeles
George C. Thomas Jr. & William F. Bell (1926) / Tom Doak (2018)
72
59.5882
6,534
71
59.5669
6,885
71
59.5364
7,015
2010)
72
59.5321
6,657
70
59.4835
PAR
POINTS
71
60.4331
72
60.4116
71
60.3769
72
60.3416
70
60.3127
72
60.2647
71
60.2407
72
60.1933
72
60.1567
73
60.1423
171-180
YARDS
7,445
YARDS
POINTS
RANK
71
59.4283
72
59.4177
71
59.4165
72
59.4111
72
59.3629
72
59.3554
72
59.2733
71
59.2720
73
59.2552
70
59.1943
171 (164) SPRING CREEK RANCH G.C.
Collierville, Tenn. / Jack Nicklaus (2000)
172 (160) SEA ISLAND G.C. (Seaside)
St. Simons Island, Ga. / Tom Fazio (1999)
173 (159) THE GREENBRIER (Old White TPC)
White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.
C.B. Macdonald (1915) / Keith Foster (2016)
174 (New) MOUNTAIN LAKE C.C.
Lake Wales, Fla.
Seth Raynor (1921) / Ron Prichard (2017)
175 (152) SANCTUARY
Sedalia, Colo. / Jim Engh (1997)
176 (New) TRADITION G.C.
La Quinta, Calif.
Arnold Palmer, Ed Seay & Harrison Minchew (1998)
177 (New) SHELTER HARBOR G.C.
Charlestown, R.I.
Michael Hurdzan & Dana Fry (2005)
178 (156) TRUMP INTERNATIONAL (Championship)
West Palm Beach / Jim Fazio (1999)
179 (161) CHARLOTTE C.C.
Charlotte
Donald Ross (1925) / Ron Prichard (2007)
180 (New) GAMBLE SANDS G.C.
Brewster, Wash. / David McLay Kidd (2014)
YARDS
PAR
POINTS
7,426
72
59.1755
6,657
70
59.1646
7,292
70
59.1471
6,685
70
59.1239
7,044
72
59.1153
6,889
72
59.0793
7,032
71
59.0733
7,326
72
59.0646
7,335
71
59.0477
7,169
72
59.0075
GREATEST GOLF COURSES / 2019 / 2020
131-140
PAR
141-150
POINTS
RANK
71
60.4331
72
60.4116
131 (119) EAST LAKE G.C.
7,374 72
Atlanta / Donald Ross (1915) / Rees Jones (2015)
132 (125) ATLANTA ATHLETIC CLUB (Highlands)
7,613 72
Johns Creek, Ga.
Robert Trent Jones (1967) / Joseph S. Finger (1971) / Rees Jones (2016)
133 (132) ROBERT TRENT JONES G.C.
7,500 72
Gainesville, Va.
Robert Trent Jones (1991) / Kyle Phillips (2014)
134 (116) NEWPORT C.C.
7,075 70
Newport, R.I.
William F. Davis (1899) / A.W. Tillinghast (1924) / Ron Forse (2005)
135 (133) THE CONCESSION G.C.
7,474 72
Bradenton, Fla. / Jack Nicklaus & Tony Jacklin (2006)
136 (127) HARBOUR TOWN G. LINKS
7,099 71
Hilton Head Island
Pete Dye & Jack Nicklaus (1969) / Pete Dye (2011)
137 (131) DISMAL RIVER Club (Red)
6,994 71
Mullen, Neb. / Tom Doak (2013)
138 (124) STREAMSONG (Blue)
7,176 72
Streamsong, Fla. / Tom Doak (2012)
139 (New) RIDGEWOOD C.C. (East / West)
6,578 71
Paramus, N.J.
A.W. Tillinghast (1929) / Gil Hanse (2016)
140 (142) OMNI HOMESTEAD (Cascades)
6,873 70
Hot Springs, Va.
William Flynn (1923) / Wayne Morrison & Tom Paul (2005)
71
60.3769
72
60.3416
70
60.3127
72
60.2647
71
60.2407
72
60.1933
72
60.1567
73
60.1423
(2014)
YARDS
PAR
POINTS
RANK
60.1349
141 (151) MAUNA KEA G. CSE.
7,370 72
Kohala Coast, Hawaii
Robert Trent Jones (1964) / Rees Jones (2008)
142 (143) BAYONNE G.C.
7,120 71
Bayonne, N.J. / Eric Bergstol (2006)
143 (136) THE CREEK
6,459 70
Locust Valley, N.Y.
C.B. Macdonald & Seth Raynor (1923) / Gil Hanse & George Bahto (2011)
144 (118) BELLERIVE C.C.
7,460 72
St. Louis
Robert Trent Jones (1960) / Rees Jones (2014)
145 (New) MAMMOTH DUNES
6,935 73
Nekoosa, Wis. / David McLay Kidd (2018)
146 (135) FOREST DUNES G.C.
7,116 72
Roscommon, Mich. / Tom Weiskopf (2002)
147 (139) SYCAMORE HILLS G.C.
7,319 72
Fort Wayne, Ind.
Jack Nicklaus (1989) / Jack Nicklaus (2014)
148 (137) KIAWAH ISLAND CLUB (Cassique)
7,050 72
Kiawah Island, S.C.
Tom Watson & Bob Gibbons (2000)
149 (144) WANNAMOISETT C.C.
6,732 69
Rumford, R.I.
Donald Ross (1916) / Ron Forse (2008)
150 (134) HUNTSMAN SPRINGS G.C.
7,613 72
Driggs, Idaho / David McLay Kidd (2009)
60.1070
60.0686
60.0493
59.9646
59.9613
59.9407
59.9404
59.9187
59.8476
181-190
PAR
RANK
YARDS
PAR
72
59.1755
70
59.1646
181 (163) BLACK DIAMOND RANCH (Quarry)
7,159
Lecanto, Fla.
Tom Fazio (1987) / David Whelchel (2012)
182 (New) THE RIDGE AT BACK BROOK
7,215
Ringoes, N.J. / Tom Fazio (2002)
183 (New) WESTCHESTER C.C. (West)
6.980
Rye, N.Y.
Walter Travis (1922) / Tom Fazio (2015)
184 (176) MCARTHUR G.C.
7,205
Hobe Sound, Fla. / Tom Fazio & Nick Price (2002)
185 (170) ATLANTA C.C.
7,139
Marietta, Ga.
Willard Byrd & Joseph S. Finger (1965) / Mike Riley (2001)
186 (166) TORREY PINES G. CSE. (South)
7,707
La Jolla, Calif.
William F. Bell (1957) / Rees Jones (2006)
187 (173) C.C. OF BIRMINGHAM (West)
7,226
Birmingham, Ala.
Donald Ross (1929) / Pete Dye (2009)
188 (168) GLENWILD G.C.
7,564
Park City, Utah / Tom Fazio (2001)
189 (171) PRONGHORN CLUB (Nicklaus)
7,239
Bend, Ore. / Jack Nicklaus (2003)
190 (New) THE VINTAGE CLUB (Mountain)
7,138
Indian Wells, Calif.
George Fazio & Tom Fazio (1981) / Tom Fazio & Logan Fazio (2014)
70
59.1471
59.1239
72
59.1153
72
59.0793
71
72
71
72
59.0733
59.0646
59.0477
59.0075
PAR
POINTS
59.8403
59.8330
59.8293
59.8283
59.7189
59.7170
59.7118
59.7001
59.6754
59.6598
191-200
POINTS
70
YARDS
POINTS
RANK
72
59.0012
72
58.9714
71
58.9532
72
58.9506
72
58.9450
191 (183) BALLYHACK G.C.
7,294 72
Roanoke, Va. / Lester George (2009)
192 (New) LIBERTY NATIONAL G.C.
7,387 72
Jersey City, N.J.
Bob Cupp & Tom Kite (2006) / Bob Cupp, Tom Kite & Steve Wenzlo? (2011)
193 (New) CANTERBURY G.C.
7,005 72
Beachwood, Ohio
Herbert Strong (1922) / Bruce Hepner (2016)
194 (New) C.C. OF FAIRFIELD
6,442 70
Fair?eld, Conn.
Seth Raynor (1921) / Bruce Hepner (2016)
195 (New) SHERWOOD C.C.
7,098 72
Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Jack Nicklaus (1989) / Jack Nicklaus (2015)
196 (New) MORAINE C.C.
7,270 72
Dayton, Ohio / Alex Campbell (1930) / Keith Foster (2015)
197 (New) FOREST CREEK G.C. (North)
7,184 72
Pinehurst, N.C. / Tom Fazio (2005)
198 (175) KIAWAH ISLAND CLUB (River)
7,019 72
Kiawah Island, S.C. / Tom Fazio (1995)
199 (169) THE BROADMOOR G.C. (East)
7,355 72
Colorado Springs, Colo.
Donald Ross (1918) / Robert Trent Jones (1952) / Ron Forse (2016)
200 (172) WHISPER ROCK G.C. (Lower)
7,390 72
Scottsdale / Phil Mickelson & Gary Stephenson (2001)
72
58.9361
71
58.9229
71
58.9037
72
58.8952
72
58.8863
YARDS PAR
POINTS
58.8694
58.8645
58.8568
58.8142
58.7933
58.7576
58.7386
58.7277
58.7171
57.6728
FO R SC O R I N G BY CAT EG O R I E S A N D C O M P L E T E A RC H I T EC T C R E D I TS , V I S I T G O L F D I G E S T.C O M /G O / 1 0 0 G R E AT E S T.
NO. 7 9 : MONTERE Y PENINSUL A (DUNES) : 14TH HOLE
MOST DESIGNS
AMONG 200 GREATEST
33 Tom Fazio
14 Donald Ross
12 Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus
11 A.W. Tillinghast
9 Tom Doak, Robert Trent
Jones, Seth Raynor
8 Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw
7 C.B. Macdonald
MOST CURRENT
REDESIGNS AMONG
100 GREATEST
13 Gil Hanse
10 Tom Doak
6 Tom Fazio, Rees Jones
5 Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw
MOST CURRENT
REDESIGNS AMONG
200 GREATEST
15 Gil Hanse
13 Rees Jones
12 Tom Doak
11 Tom Fazio
6 Keith Foster
5 Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw
NEW TO 100 GREATEST
76 Myopia Hunt Club,
Massachusetts
79 Monterey Peninsula C.C.
(Dunes), California
89 Sleepy Hollow C.C.,
New York
98 Old Town Club, North
Carolina
DROPPING TO SECOND
100 GREATEST
101 Eagle Point G.C., North
Carolina
105 Laurel Valley G.C.,
Pennsylvania
113 Flint Hills National G.C.,
Kansas
117 Sahalee C.C. (South/North),
Washington
monterey peninsul a: jon cavalier
NEW TO SECOND
100 GREATEST
110 Sand Valley, Wisconsin
111 Stone Eagle, California
114 Bluejack National, Texas
115 Quail Hollow,
North Carolina
116 Baltimore C.C. (East),
Maryland
119 Piping Rock, New York
139 Ridgewood (East/West),
New Jersey
145 Mammoth Dunes,
Wisconsin
157 St. Louis C.C.
169 Streamsong (Black), Florida
174 Mountain Lake, Florida
176 Tradition, California
177 Shelter Harbor, Rhode
Island
180 Gamble Sands, Washington
182 The Ridge at Back Brook,
New Jersey
183 Westchester (West),
New York
190 The Vintage Club
(Mountain), California
192 Liberty National,
New Jersey
193 Canterbury, Ohio
194 C.C. of Fair?eld,
Connecticut
195 Sherwood, California
196 Moraine, Ohio
197 Forest Creek (North),
North Carolina
HOTTEST COURSES
Among 100 Greatest Courses
ranked for at least ?ve survey
periods, only two have risen in
our rankings every two years.
Ballyneal in Colorado went
from No. 95 in 2011 to 46th this
year. Friar?s Head in New York
started at No. 34 in 2011 and is
now 15th.
THE 22 COURSES THAT
HAVE MADE EVERY LIST
Only 22 courses have been
members of our top national
ranking every year since 1966:
Augusta National, Baltusrol
(Lower), Congressional (Blue),
Cypress Point, Inverness,
Los Angeles C.C. (North),
Medinah (No. 3), Merion (East),
Oak Hill (East), Oakland Hills
(South), Oakmont, Olympia
Fields (North), Olympic Club
(Lake), Peachtree, Pebble
Beach, Pine Valley, Pinehurst
(No. 2), Riviera, Scioto,
Seminole, Southern Hills and
Winged Foot (West).
MOST DESIGNS
AMONG 100 GREATEST
13 Tom Fazio
9 Pete Dye, Donald Ross
8 A.W. Tillinghast
5 Jack Nicklaus, Seth Raynor
4 Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw,
Tom Doak, Alister MacKenzie,
Perry Maxwell
100 GREATEST COURSES
BY DECADE
1890-1900 4
1901-1910 1
1911-1920 12
1921-1930 25
1931-1940 8
1941-1950 1
1951-1960 0
1961-1970 4
1971-1980 4
1981-1990 6
1991-2000 16
2001-2010 19
2011-2018 0
SHORTEST 100
GREATEST COURSES
6,524 Cypress Point Club
6,539 Myopia Hunt Club
6,555 Essex County Club
6,560 Crystal Downs C.C.
6,610 The Valley Club of
Montecito
LONGEST 100
GREATEST COURSES
7,800 Erin Hills
7,790 Whistling Straits (Straits)
7,704 Rich Harvest Links
7,701 Castle Pines Golf Club
7,657 Medinah Country Club
(No. 3)
?STEPHEN HENNESSEY
AND RON WHITTEN
february 2019 | golfdigest.com
69
include No. 27 prairie dunes in Kansas,
No. 33 olympic club (lake) in San Francisco, No. 42 erin hills near Milwaukee,
No. 51 garden city on Long Island,
No. 68 arcadia bluffs (bluffs) in
Michigan, No. 83 calusa pines and
No. 125 jupiter hills (hills) in Florida,
No. 137 dismal river (red) in Nebraska
and No. 162 ocean forest in Georgia.
T
ADAPTING TO CONDITIONS
here is still an abundance of
courses on our 100 Greatest and
Second 100 Greatest conceived
from less-than-ideal topographic and subsoil conditions, and yet they?re
highly regarded and highly ranked. Some
of those, Waters argues, exist because architects adapted design elements of sandbased courses, particularly the famed links
layouts of Great Britain.
No. 2 augusta national was scraped
from tall hills of red Georgia clay, but,
Waters writes, original architect Alister
MacKenzie intended it to be ?an inland
course that embodies the best principles
of links golf.? It wasn?t until after
MacKenzie?s death that low-lying greens
on the seventh and 10th holes, originally
receptive to bouncing, rolling approach
shots, were relocated atop hills, and the
narrow, nearly dry creek beds guarding
the 11th, 12th, 15th and 16th greens became
ominous water hazards.
The old pasture upon which No. 5
oakmont was constructed lacked sand
content to provide ample drainage, so its
architects improvised, canting and slanting
its greens for surface drainage and digging
ditches along many fairways to direct rainwater away from areas of play. Those greens
and ditches now provide Oakmont its singular character.
A similar solution was implemented
HOW WE RANK THE COURSES
/
by A.W. Tillinghast in his creation of No. 11
winged foot (west) and No. 52 winged
foot (east) , masterpieces chiseled from
the granite rock of Westchester County
in New York. In the past seven years, Gil
Hanse has recaptured all the glory of Tillinghast?s tilted, folded-edge green complexes that shuttle rainwater?and golf
balls?o? to the sides.
Perhaps the antithesis of the naturalistic style of sand-based beauties like Pine
Valley and Sand Hills are the works of early
20th-century golf architect C.B. Macdonald
and his understudy Seth Raynor. Their
designs were indubitably manufactured,
with lots of precise angles and parallel
lines. Though Macdonald began his career
on sandy soil, creating National Golf Links
in 1911 and then an early version of Shinnecock Hills, his ego drew him to take assignments elsewhere, from the hills of the
Hudson Valley to the hills of West Virginia
to the hills of St. Louis, at each stop hammering out the same template of favorite
holes using mule teams and steam shovels.
Raynor, less outspoken but no less con?dent, was even more productive on a wider
range of destinations.
Collectively, their works are represented
prominently on our rankings. The latest
Macdonald creation to join our 100 Greatest is No. 89 sleepy hollow , north of
New York City, its inclusion aided greatly
by recent work by Hanse, who converted
seven holes built by Tillinghast in the late
1920s into Macdonald?s distinctive style to
match the original 1915 architecture of the
other holes.
Macdonald is also represented at No. 119
piping rock and No. 143 the creek , both
in the eastern suburbs of New York City;
No. 157 st. louis country club ; and
No. 173 the greenbrier (old white tpc) ,
a PGA Tour stop expertly reclaimed by archi-
tect Keith Foster after a destructive ?ood
in 2016.
Raynor?s courses are equally as impressive, starting with the Pebble Beach of the
East Coast, No. 10 fishers island on the
New York island of the same name, and
No. 14 chicago golf club , a recon?guration of his mentor Macdonald?s original
design, which had been the ?rst 18-hole
course in America. Raynor also did No. 44
camargo outside Cincinnati; No. 55
shoreacres north of Chicago; No. 95
yeamans hall in Charleston, S.C.;
No. 160 fox chapel in Pittsburgh; No. 174
mountain lake club in central Florida
and No. 194 country club of fairfield
in Connecticut. Yeamans, Mountain Lake
and Fair?eld are sand-based sites, but you
wouldn?t know that from their architecture
of steeply sloped hazards, pedestal greens
and geometric bunkers.
For those curious as to what Macdonald
and Raynor might have done had they ever
attempted to emulate the exposed-sand
virtues of Pine Valley, look at two other 100
Greatest Courses: Old Macdonald at Bandon
Dunes, a softly molded, sand-splashed homage to Macdonald by Doak and co-designer
Jim Urbina, and the Dunes Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club, a design
started by Raynor, completed after his death
by others and reimagined a few years back
by Tom Fazio and former associates Tim
Jackson and David Kahn. Both re?ect the
?MacRaynor? philosophy of angularity without the rigidity of their originals.
MORE RANKINGS TO COME
? Golf Digest will continue our
celebration of great golf architecture
in May, when we announce Best in State
rankings, and June, when we reveal
America?s 100 Greatest Public Courses.
Our panelists play and score courses on seven criteria
2. resistance
to scoring
1. shot values
How well do the holes
pose a variety of
risks and rewards
and equally test
length, accuracy
and ?nesse?
70 golfdigest.com | february 2019
How di?cult, while
still being fair, is the
course for a scratch
player from the back
tees?
???
3. design
variet y
How varied are the
holes in di?ering
lengths, con?gurations, hazard placements, green shapes
and green contours?
4. memorabilit y
How well do the
design features
provide individuality
to each hole yet a
collective continuity
to the entire 18?
???
5. aesthetics
How well do the
scenic values of the
course add to the
pleasure of a round?
6. conditioning
How ?rm, fast and
rolling were the fairways, how ?rm yet
receptive were the
greens and how true
were the roll of putts
on the day you played
the course?
???
7. ambience
How well does the
overall feel and atmosphere of the course
re?ect or uphold
the traditional
values of the game?
? To arrive at
a course?s ?nal
score, we total
its averages in the
seven categories,
doubling Shot
Values. A course
needs 45 evaluations
over the past eight
years to be eligible
for America?s
100 Greatest
and the Second
100 Greatest.
The card that
takes you there.
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Built
Miracle man Bernhard
Langer on overcoming
the shanks, the yips + A
bout with bugs in port
ugal/
/With Guy Yocom/
/
vavavavavavavavavavavavavavavava
HOW COULD SO MUCH GOOD happen to one person? My father was a bricklayer. He worked 12hour days in a post-war Germany that was very
di?cult. Our small town of Anhausen was in a
farming region and was not a target of the Allied bombing, but life was hard and uncertain.
My father built our house. When I was a boy, he
would call on me to help him lay bricks. I would
shovel the material for the mortar into a small
mixing machine, then join him in laying the
bricks, setting them carefully, one by one, using string to make sure everything was straight.
I consider it a miracle to have come this far. ? ? ?
vavavavavavavavavavavavavav
from
bricks
74 golfdigest.com | february 2019
MY SHOT/61
BOCA RATON/FLORIDA
Photograph by Walter Iooss Jr.
FINDING SUCCESS ON THE EUROPEAN
TOUR AND WINNING IN 1980.
thing, and I would be ?red. So
I kept it to myself. I never did get
the Blue Goose back. I?ve spent
the past 50 years looking for a
putter that suits me as well.
a 75. Yet for some reason the
pro, Heinz Fehring, hired me.
Another miracle.
???
game with some members from
my club. My monthly income
was a very meager 150 Deutsche
marks, about $50. The game
happened to be for $50, a fortune to me. Warming up on
the range, I shanked every iron
shot, about 35 in a row. From
wedges through the 2-iron,
every ball went sideways. I was
in a panic and tried unsuccessfully to have the stakes lowered.
Fortunately for me, the ?rst
hole was a par 5 that required
two good wood shots. You cannot shank a wood, and just seeing the ball go straight settled
me down. I shot 68, not shanking once, and won much more
than 150 Deutsche marks.
in the fifth grade , I was
transferred to a better school
than the one I was in, where
four grades shared one classroom. The new school had a
three-month academic probationary period. The train ride
there and back meant I didn?t
get home until 4 p.m., followed
by homework until 9. There
was no time for caddieing.
This would not do. I immediately failed math and English?
maybe on purpose?and was
expelled. I went right back to
caddieing and was happy again.
???
at 15 , after I ?nished my man-
datory nine years of schooling,
I went with my parents to what
was known as the Institute of
Job Placement. I told the man
I wanted to be a golf professional. He said, ?What?s that?? He
had never heard of golf, except
possibly miniature golf, which,
oddly enough, was quite popular. I told him it was a profes-
? one time, i four-putted from three feet.
several times, i double-hit putts, which is much harder
to do than you might think. ?
i began caddieing at age 8 at
a course eight miles from our
house. I rode my bicycle there.
I remember waiting in a small
shed with the other caddies,
sitting on a bench and staring
for hours at the only thing on
the wall, a swing sequence of
Jack Nicklaus. For years I didn?t
know who Jack, Arnold Palmer
or Ben Hogan even were. There
was almost no golf on TV, no
golf books and a very small
number of golf magazines.
Golf was such a small sport.
There were only a hundred or
so courses in all of Germany.
???
we caddies were given four
time I was 12, I saved enough
money to buy a new set of Kroydon irons. They weren?t top of
the line, but they were shiny,
new and all mine. I added a
Blue Goose model putter that
had a small indentation in the
head. It was a magical putter,
and I quickly became the best
putter at the course, Golfclub
Augsburg, and possibly all of
Germany. One day the putter
went missing. I frantically went
through the members? bags, and
sure enough, found my Blue
Goose with the indentation. But
I was in a terrible situation. I
couldn?t confront the member?
he surely would deny every-
hand-me-down clubs to share.
There was a 2-wood, 3-iron and
7-iron, all with bamboo shafts,
and a putter with a shaft bent
like an archer?s bow. By the
76 golfdigest.com | february 2019
sion similar to that of a tennis
professional, in which you give
lessons. He was puzzled and
excused himself to look it up
in a book. When he came back,
he told me no such recognized
profession existed in Germany.
He said, quite sternly with my
parents sitting there, ?I would
recommend you choose a more
decent profession.? Sadly, my
parents agreed with him. I left
with my dream in pieces.
???
only a few days later , I got
a job o?er to be an assistant pro
at the Munich Country Club.
I had no experience except for
caddieing. As a golfer, I learned
by keeping score when I played
alone that I was close to scratch.
But I had played in only one
competition, a one-day caddie
tournament, which I won with
???
one day there was a money
???
jack nicklaus , the man pictured on the wall of the caddie
shack, played an exhibition at
Munich Country Club in about
1973. I was one of three German
players invited to join him?the
other two were amateurs. There
was great pressure not to embarrass myself. The way Jack hit
the golf ball was almost beyond
my comprehension. He ?ew the
ball over the corners of the doglegs and hit the ball so high. The
day was a blur. I recall hitting
a shank on one hole that just
missed tearing a member?s head
o?. On another hole, I pulled
a 3-iron and actually did hit a
lady member, leaving a purple
bruise on her shoulder. The ball
de?ected onto the green, and
after apologizing profusely,
I made the putt for eagle. Jack
laughed and shook his head.
After the round, a reporter
asked him what he thought
of the young German pro.
?He?s got a big heart,? Jack said,
?but he?s got a long way to go.?
???
i built my swing similar to
how my father built our house:
brick by brick, trying to make
sure everything was straight.
brauner/ullstein/getty images
L ANGER SLEP T IN HIS CAR BEFORE
Many players in those days had
very unusual swings?Eamonn
Darcy, Miller Barber and Hubert Green are good examples.
But my swing, other than a
strong grip, was fairly ordinary.
I guess that?s a miracle, too.
???
when I ventured out on
the European Tour at age 18,
I slept in my car many times
because I couldn?t a?ord a
hotel. The seats in my Ford
Escort wouldn?t recline ?at,
and the temperature during
the night sometimes would fall
30 degrees. I would wake up
shivering. But it beat some of
the dollar-a-night lodgings in
Spain and Portugal, which were
infested with bugs. I ate poorly.
I didn?t feel like a professional
athlete, that?s for sure. It was demoralizing, but I stayed with it.
???
i tell my four children
these stories of hardship to
inspire them, to let them know
that things don?t come easily.
They listen appreciatively, but
I can tell by the looks on their
faces that they just can?t relate.
not sure if it?s physical or mental. I?m not sure anyone else has
?gured it out, either.
???
if you and i went to the prac-
tice green and had a contest
putting conventionally, I probably would beat you. I?m not
saying you?re a bad putter, just
that I have good touch, great
hand-eye coordination and
sound technique. But if we were
playing against each other in
a tournament, there is a good
chance you would beat me
badly. The yips are a tournament disease, and they show
up at the worst time.
???
you know that Seve Ballesteros
loved beating the Americans
in the Ryder Cup, but truth is,
he liked to beat everybody. He
was a good fellow and a great
competitor. At the European
Open at Walton Heath, 1980, I
was on the putting green and
struggling. Seve came over,
watched me putt for a minute,
then asked to try my Bulls Eye
putter. He made a couple of
strokes and said, ?This putter
is too light and does not have
enough loft.? I walked straight
into the pro shop, but nothing
like that was for sale. The assistant pro directed me to a bag
of old clubs. There I found another Bulls Eye, a heavy ?ange
model, which I took to the putting green and liked. I tied for
?fth that week, and less than
a month later won the Dunlop
Masters for my ?rst European
Tour victory. Many rounds after
that I would have a better score
than Seve, and I always seemed
to putt well against him. He
would look at my putter with an
expression that said, I should
have kept my mouth shut.
???
in 1981 , no one in America
knew who I was. I was invited
to play in the World Series of
Golf, and the week before, I was
playing in the Benson & Hedges
International in England and
hit my ball into a tree. I climbed
the tree and played the shot,
L A N G E R , S H O W N AT T H E 1 9 8 9
???
M AS T E R S , WO N G R E E N JAC K E T S
the best ball-striker
IN 1985 AND 1993.
something fans had never seen
before. The ?lm found its way
to America, and all week at the
World Series, I kept hearing
shouts of, ?Look, it?s the man in
the tree!? On the ?rst day, the
fans sang ?Happy Birthday? to
me on the ?rst tee. I had never
had a reception quite like that.
I instantly became very fond of
America.
???
i love america and live here
but have not yet become a citizen. I have a green card.
???
president trump for some
reason thought I had tried to
vote in the 2016 election, talked
about me being turned away.
I have no idea how he got that
idea. It probably was a situation
where one person says something, it is spread to another
person and then another, and
by the time it reaches the sixth
person?in this case the president?it is completely twisted.
To assume I would even try to
vote is quite ridiculous. But
President Trump, to his credit,
called me and apologized.
I appreciated that.
?
I?ve seen in my 47 years as a
professional? Jack Nicklaus,
Tiger Woods and Greg Norman
at their peaks were incredible, but my choice would be
Johnny Miller. I played with
him in the 1974 Italian Open,
and I still have never seen anything quite like it. There was
a stretch of nine consecutive
holes where he very nearly tore
the cup out with every iron
shot. The sound, the trajectory,
the distance control was quite
breathtaking. Strangely, he did
not win the tournament. He
?nished second behind Peter
Oosterhuis. But his golf that
day is the golf I see when I close
my eyes and dream.
augusta national/getty images
???
speaking of johnny , he had
the yips, too. I actually had
them four times. One time,
I four-putted from three feet.
Several times I double-hit
putts, which is much harder
to do than you might think.
I overcame them with di?erent
putting methods and lots of
willpower, but to this day I?m
? the day [playing with jack nicklaus
for the first time] was a blur. i recall hitting a shank on one hole
that just missed tearing a member?s head off. ?
i never changed my swing
drastically, all at once. Nick
Faldo did it successfully, but
it cost him two years. My grip
was very strong, and it needed
changing, but my coach, Willy
Ho?man, suggested I weaken
it an eighth of an inch at a
time, over the course of years.
The upside?and I?m proud of
this?is that I never had a career drop-o?. I was always able
to keep winning.
???
at kiawah in the 1991 Ryder
Cup, I missed a six-foot putt
on the ?nal green to clinch the
victory. It was devastating because I let my teammates down.
The next week was the German
Masters, a tournament
I helped found. On the ?nal
hole, I faced a 15-footer to
get into a playo?. Two voices
were in my head. One said,
You missed a six-footer last
those days there was a single,
small mound short of the creek.
My ball hit the center of the
mound, jumped into the air like
a little ski jumper, ?ew over the
creek and settled on the green,
50 feet from the hole. I made
the putt for eagle, birdied two
more holes coming in, and shot
68. I was only two shots out of
the lead and shot another 68 on
Sunday to win by two over Seve,
Raymond Floyd and Curtis
Strange. It?s incredible breaks
like this that often decide tournaments, and alter careers.
???
i?m very sentimental.
Not so much about material
things, as I didn?t save the red
out?t I wore when I won the
1985 Masters, or the old Kroydon irons, or any of the balls
I holed out to win 112 tournaments on six continents. But
I cry during movies all the time.
???
human nature that we target
those who are having the most
success.
i have won 38 times on the
???
is the most important facet of
my life, and I will never change.
PGA Tour Champions, second
only to Hale Irwin, who has
won 45 times. I have won 10
senior majors, which is very
good. I am still improving. My
putting, chipping and bunker
play are better than when I was
50. I am much wiser. But I am
not ageless. My energy level
is not quite the same, and my
strength and ?exibility have decreased. I must address them.
You say I look to be in great
shape, but I weigh 165 pounds.
I wouldn?t mind losing 10
pounds.
???
there are those who insist
I anchor with my putter. I am
the only one who would truthfully know, because I can feel
when my uppermost hand is
? there are those who insist i anchor
???
the third round of the 1985
Masters, I was six strokes
behind playing the 13th hole
and going nowhere. The night
before, I?d changed the shafts
in all my irons, trying to ?nd
a spark, but it wasn?t looking
good. My drive on 13 went too
far right and wound up on
bare ground near the pines,
my ball sitting down. I had 220
to the green, a very long way
back then. The odds of getting
a 3-wood over the creek were
small, but I was a little fed up
and desperate to get in contention. The shot was awful, didn?t
get more than two feet o? the
ground. The tournament was
over for me. Except that in
Just last week, I watched the
movie ?Instant Family,? about
a couple that adopts three troubled young children, siblings.
I didn?t even try to stop the tears.
???
i won the 1993 masters
by four, and it wasn?t quite as
dramatic, though my lead at
one point dwindled to one.
The big moment was during
the interview in Butler Cabin.
In 1985, during my interview
with Hord Hardin, I took the
Lord?s name in vain. Two days
later at Hilton Head, I became
a born-again Christian. I always
regretted my comment in 1985,
and in 1993, I got my chance.
Jim Nantz asked me how it
felt to win a second time, and I
said, ?It?s always very special to
win the greatest tournament in
the world, especially on Easter
Sunday, when my Lord was resurrected.? I realize many people
dislike hearing a religious note
from athletes, and most aren?t
sure exactly why. But my faith
78 golfdigest.com | february 2019
on-course decisions, but I?ve
made a few that are world-class
dumb. I was leading a European
Open on a Sunday one year and
hit a shot into tall heather 20
yards short of the green. To my
shock, I ?nd the ball perched
perfectly atop the heather, at
knee height. What a great break!
I promptly whi? with my next
swing, and the ball sinks six
inches lower, borderline unplayable but worth having a go at
it. I whi? that one, too, and the
ball now dives to the bottom of
the heather. I gouge that one out
and eventually make 7. I lose.
That was more painful than the
10 I made in Hawaii once, botching a series of shots o? lava,
or the ?ve thrashes I made at
Cypress Point trying to dislodge
my ball from ice plant.
???
with my putter. . . . i couldn?t live with myself
if i knew i were breaking a rule. ?
week; what makes you think
you can make a 15-footer now?
The other voice said, The past
is irrelevant; you will make
this putt. The second voice
must have been louder, because I made the putt and
then defeated Rodger Davis
in the playo?. Since that
time, I?ve managed to quiet the
?rst voice.
i am known for making good
while serving my compulsory
touching my chest and when
it isn?t. And I assure you, it is
not touching. Part of the issue
is my shirt, which billows away
from my chest when I bend
over at address. As I draw my
hand close at address, the shirt
bunches and wrinkles, which
suggests one of my knuckles
is against my chest. I wish the
people who made these accusations against me and Scott
McCarron would have come to
us ?rst instead of speculating.
There is an issue of honesty and
integrity, and in that respect
I can only say, I couldn?t live
with myself if I knew I were
breaking a rule.
???
there is a third issue
at work here: jealousy. There are
many players who use a long
putter and similar style, but the
suspicion was directed at only
Scott McCarron and me because we were at the top of the
money list. A number of other
long-putter users have not been
scrutinized as closely, because
for now they aren?t at the very
top. It?s an unfortunate part of
military service in the German
Air Force, I injured my back.
Stress fracture and bulging
disk, so severe I couldn?t move
from my bed for weeks. At 19,
I thought my golf was ?nished.
The doctors approached me
several times, wanting to operate, but something told me not
to go through with it. And then
the injury healed itself. Another
blessing, but it frightened me.
To this day, I do one-arm planks
practically every day, making
small adjustments to make sure
it strengthens my core.
???
could i still win the Masters?
We all say we can, but I confess
it is doubtful. I average 282
yards with my driver?pretty
impressive, except when I play
against guys who drive it 330.
I could have a great week and
wedge the par 5s to death like
Zach Johnson did, but while
I?m putting for birdie, the kids
are putting for eagle. I also
have much longer clubs into
the par 4s. We should change
the subject, because I?m beginning to talk myself out of it.
HIT ITSOLID
NOW+FOREVER
BY BERNHARD LANGER
avavavavavavavavavavavavavavavavav
WHEREVER YOU PLAY GOLF, some people are stronger, more athletic and more
?exible than others. That?s the way it goes. You can be discouraged by that if you?re the shortest one in the
fairway, or you can decide to become as good as you can be with the tools you have. I?ve never been the longest hitter on any tour, and I?m not as strong and ?exible as I was in 2007 when I started on the PGA Tour
Champions. But I?ve committed to staying ?t, being e?cient with my swing and improving all the parts of
my game where strength?and age?aren?t as important. The results speak for themselves. I?ve won 38 times
on the senior tour, and I?ve stayed competitive into my 60s?winning my ?fth Charles Schwab Cup this past
season at age 61. I?ve also led the tour in scoring average ?ve straight years. I play my best by focusing on
hitting solid shots and making fewer and smaller mistakes?not by trying to keep up with longer players.
That strategy will work for you, too, whether you?re 20 or 70. Read on for my advice. ?WITH MATTHEW RUDY
Photographs by Dom Furore
avavavavavavavavava
ONE GOLFER , ONE SWING
? Because drivers, hybrids and short irons look very different, you might try to swing differently depending on which
club you?re holding. This is unnecessary. I don?t swing my
5-iron any differently than I do my driver. And I don?t swing
my hybrids any differently than my wedges. I set my posture
the same for every shot, with a consistent distance between
my arms and body (left). The only things that change are
how far I stand from the ball?the length of the club determines that?and where I play the ball (above). My ball position changes based on where each club will naturally bottom
out when I make a swing. With a short club, the ball is centered between my feet. When I?m swinging driver, it?s played
much more forward because the club makes contact when
it?s moving upward. The message here is that if you stick to
one swing and pay attention to fundamentals like stance and
ball position, the quality of your average shots will improve
and your misses will become much more predictable.
? on full shots, i don?t change my swing from club to club. this helps my consistency. ?
MAINTAIN THE ANGLE
? Any mistake you make with your swing path or club is much
worse when you don?t hit the ball in the center of the face.
So focus on improving impact. The most common reason for
mis-hitting a shot is, at the moment the club meets the ball,
the angle between the shaft and the ground changed from
what it was at address. The fault is usually failing to maintain
your posture. Notice that when I keep the spine angle I created at setup, my hands stay close to the body (right) and
the shaft comes through in roughly the same angle as when
I first stood over the ball. Now look at the affect to my hands
when I straighten the body during the swing (above). When
that happens, the tendency is to hit the ball off the toe of
the club, unless you get lucky and can save the shot with
a last-second flip of the hands. Remember that if you
improve contact by keeping your posture, your misses won?t
be as severe. And that will lead to lower scores, which is a lot
better than finding 15 extra yards off the tee.
80 golfdigest.com | february 2019
avavavavavavavavava
eatbasically.com
A BON APP蒚IT BRAND
can?t cook. no problem.
FIE
82 golfdigest.com | february 2019
INDOOR GOLF IS
AN ALTERNATIVE
TO THE ?REAL? THING
IN SOUTH KOREA.
JOIN US AS
WE GIVE IT A TRY
By Max Adler
Photograph by Greg Samborski
THE
WORLD?S BIGGEST GOLFER doesn?t reside in Florida or California
or Scotland, but in the tech-city of Daejeon, South Korea. Gleaming stainless steel and 69 feet
tall, ?The Golfer? by artists Ji Yong Ho and Park Dae Gyu has androgynous curves through
the hips and chest and is a monument to a player of the future, not the past. Re?ecting the
noon sun with nearly as much pop is the swooping seven-story structure adjacent, the
company headquarters of Golfzon. (English speakers: Mentally tack on an ?e? for the correct
pronunciation.) Founded by a former Samsung executive, the company operates courses
and retail shops, but the most important part of its business is its simulators, which last year
totaled 56 million rounds across 46 countries, as well as Antarctica. Maybe you?ve taken indoor swings in a club?tting studio or a wealthy buddy?s basement, but prepare to encounter
something else entirely at the top of this building?s ?rst escalator. When you come back outside, you?ll wonder if it really was a simulation, or the emergence of a new sport altogether.
SCREEN GOLF
VERSUS
FIELD GOLF
S
outh Koreans di?erentiate between ?screen
golf? and ??eld golf?
with no sense of irony.
Recently, the republic became
the only country where more
rounds are played annually on
the former than the latter. Golfzon locations (5,756) outnumber
Starbucks by 5-to-1. New-course
construction has halted, so for
a golf-passionate nation where
few children grow up with
yards, screen golf has provided
a rising middle-class with a
sense of recreational green
space. An hour of play, which
is more than enough time for
a single golfer to complete 18
holes, generally starts around
$25 with small upcharges for
better courses.
Screen baseball is also
popular, as is screen ?shing.
Yes, you cast a line-less rod,
and a projection of a hook and
sinker penetrates the surface
of an idyllic digital lake. Just
the right amount of auditory
hints, like lapping water and
birdsong, sift through speakers. Algorithms decide when
and if a ?sh will bite and how
big, and gyroscopes inside the
pole shudder to provide a sensation of ?ght. Your forearms
will burn as you work the reel,
and without proper ?nesse, you
might lose the ?sh. Outdoorsmen from Montana can spit out
their co?ee and stammer?Is
nothing sacred anymore??but
84 golfdigest.com | february 2019
practices like catch-and-release
aren?t without attendant philosophical questions, too. When
it comes to what humans do for
fun, let?s agree we?re all a little
nutty sometimes.
So although a traditional golf
tournament?you know, like, on
a course with 18 physical holes?
has a limit of about 150 players
per day, screen golf knows no
such restraint. Golfzon conducts
up to 350 tournaments daily
with top quali?ers regularly
earning the chance to compete
in weekend events at the head-
when gtour is in session, panels on bays are removed to create
stadium seating for spectators. the 10-tournament series,
broadcast on tv, offered a season purse of $1.3 million in 2018.
T E N -Y E A R - O L D K U D O Y U K I N O ( B E L O W ) O F J A PA N I S S U C C E S S F U L C O M P E T I N G A G A I N S T M E N I N S C R E E N G O L F.
quarters store, which, along
with its supporting restaurants
and retail shops, is also known
as Zoimaru (Joy-mah-roo).
There, 27 simulator bays occupy
three ?oors for a playing capacity of 108 players. When GTour
is in session, panels on certain
bays are removed to create stadium seating for spectators.
What, you haven?t heard of
GTour? The 10-tournament series, broadcast on television by
suited commentators, o?ered a
season purse of $1.3 million in
2018. WGTour o?ers the same
prize money, though it could be
argued Korean women should
earn more, given they?ve so far
outscored their countrymen,
14-1, in regular major championships. (Inbee Park is the
leader with seven, and the male
singularity is Y.E. Yang besting
Tiger Woods head-to-head at
the 2009 PGA Championship.)
Depending on schedule and
status, some rising pros will
split time between GTour and
traditional ??eld? events on the
Korean PGA Tour.
Hong-taek Kim was struggling to revive his playing
career after ful?lling his mandatory military service, but
he got his con?dence back by
winning simulator tournaments. In 2017, he won on the
GTour and the Korean PGA
Tour. Though a strong ?nish
in screen golf doesn?t award
World Ranking points (yet), the
checks cash just the same, and
you don?t have to walk, employ
a caddie or carry an umbrella.
If this seems an inadequate
physical test for a professional
athlete, consider the growing
popularity of e-gaming, where
top competitors have earned
millions from the repose of a
chair. Screen golf?s preservation of the essential physical act
is a hybrid model that future
endeavors rooted in arti?cial
reality?or augmented reality?
would do well to follow.
WHAT IT?S LIKE
TO PLAY
O
f course, a land
where screen golf
reigns is a distant
fantasy until you
see it in person. My visit to
Zoimaru, on my way to the
PGA Tour?s CJ Cup in Jeju
Island that would be won by
Brooks Koepka, coincided
with the third edition of the
International Golfzon Tournament. Qualifying at their local
Golfzon locations, 18 amateurs
from 11 countries won airfare
and a spot in the ?eld for a gold
bar worth about $3,000. It?s a
trophy, not a paycheck, so technically not a violation of amateur status. And the weight of
the bar, 50 grams, is just shy of
the limit of what may be transported through Customs by a
civilian without hassle.
Though the standard for an
indoor hitting bay is some sort
of cube with a turf mat and dark
drapes, at Zoimaru the line with
reality is more blurred. When
it?s your turn to hit, you ascend
a few stone steps to a terraced
tee box bordered with ?owers.
february 2019 | golfdigest.com
85
section devoted to this form of
putting. Though I couldn?t ?nd
an English translation.
?It?s a constant battle for
feel,? says Kyle Martin of South
Africa. For the International
Golfzon Tournament, with the
click of a mouse, the greens have
been sped to 14 on the Stimpmeter. As the round progresses,
Martin works to tune his stroke
to his mental calculation of
what 14 means. In screen golf,
he?s a scratch, and in the ?eld
he?s a 7-handicap. The 28-yearold market analyst has played
only ?ve rounds of ?real golf?
in the past two years. Besides
the convenience, the simulated
of County Anseong Q, which
is also a real course owned by
Golfzon. Indonesia?s Euiro
Lim was the champion with a
one-under-par 71, though not
without a little controversy. One
competitor was psychologically
derailed when he hit a beautiful
approach to tap-in-birdie range,
but then was forced to replay
the shot after a spectator allegedly bumped the keyboard to
trigger a mulligan. He ?ared his
next out-of-bounds. After committee review, the player was
awarded the original birdie instead of his subsequent double
bogey, but for a spell it seemed
the classic science-?ction hor-
if you believe the world is inexorably hurtling toward
a single, global culture, you can glimpse the golf club of
the future by sneaking onto the other floors of zoimaru.
A W I N N E R ? S C H E C K I N S I M U L AT E D G O L F W O R T H A B O U T $ 1 3 , 4 0 0 .
the leave distances of your approaches to determine a speci?c
course to putt afterward on an
indoor green, arriving at an actual score for a round has always
felt disjointed and unsatisfying.
Golfzon?s solution is a tilting
upslope of green carpet directly
in front of the tee. A perfectly
struck putt might just get to
the top of the slope before toppling o? the edge; a putt with
inadequate pace stops short and
humiliatingly rolls back to your
feet, inciting very real self-loathing. If you continue to struggle,
there?s an instruction book,
Screen Golf Master, with a long
game suits his strength as a consistent ball-striker. ?Alignment
has always been an issue for me,
but in here the mats help me
be perfect every time,? Martin
says. ?There?s never a bad lie,
and the wind you adjust for on
the screen rather than it being
something that messes with
your swing.?
But screen golf isn?t just
a power game, evidenced by
Kudo Yukino, a 10-year-old girl
whose mother is a franchise
owner in Tokyo. She shot 81
to ?nish in the middle of the
pack, not bad considering the
simulation was all 7,100 yards
86 golfdigest.com | february 2019
ror where the computer won?t
be overruled. Just as the USGA
and R&A are still developing its
Rules after more than a century,
so, too, will screen golf continue
to face such learning moments.
The next day, American John
Bouldin, a high school football
and golf coach from Rosenberg,
Texas, was medalist in the ?eldgolf portion with a 78 on the
actual County Anseong Q.
The sale of simulators to
private individuals is a healthy
business in the Western world,
but so far Golfzon has 17 public
locations in the United States
after opening o?ces here in
2017, and the next two are
scheduled to open in Brooklyn,
N.Y., and Stamford, Conn., this
spring. The 12,000-square-foot
Stamford facility will introduce
?a light version? of the interconnected tournament capability
that is so popular in Korea, says
Tommy Lim, CEO of Golfzon
America. Though the success
of Topgolf and the entrance of
newcomers like Drive Shack
demonstrate the demand for
driving ranges that deliver
modern technology mixed with
entertainment, these are quite
?American? venues in that
they?re outdoors, take up a lot of
space, and can get as boisterous
and alcohol-fueled as nightclubs. More in keeping with
Korean culture, and perhaps the
original spirit of the game, Golfzon bays provide private enclosures for intimate groups who
are more likely to enjoy gourmet
co?ee while playing. An average
location with six or seven simulators might see 10,000 visitors
a year. Whether the Golfzon
way gains traction in the United
States remains to be seen.
But if you believe the world
is inexorably hurtling toward
a single, global culture, you
can glimpse the golf club of the
future by sneaking onto the
other ?oors at Zoimaru. The
gym occupies an entire level,
the member?s lounge another,
and the top ?oors are strictly for
the elite academy. Nearly every
day, 60 promising juniors, including those on the national
team, come to train on simulators, monitor their strength and
?exibility with every modern
diagnostic device imaginable,
and take classes in academic
disciplines related to sport.
Their coach, Si woo Sung,
summarizes his philosophy:
?Indoors, we focus on the
swing, and when we go outdoors, we focus on the ball.?
Might Korea?s next great
champion be a boy or girl who
?rst fell in love with the game
on a simulator? When you go
onto the roof at Zoimaru, you
can see the top of the sculpture
at the top of its backswing. The
massive steel club wavers ever
so slightly in the wind, like it?s
about to start down.
previous pages (from left): greg samborski ? courtesy of golfzon ? this page: courtesy of golfzon
After your drive, the teeing area
tilts to match the slope of the
approach shot. The ceilings are
high?airy even?and the potted trees are a continuation of
the same variety depicted in the
landscape of the wall murals
?anking the screen. There?s
piped audio of wind rustling
leaves. If you soften your gaze
and want to believe you?re playing golf in the Taebaek Mountains?not above the parking
garage?you can.
The drawback of simulated
golf has always been short game,
and in particular, putting.
From rolling balls directly into
a screen, to a computer saving
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SHE WANTS TO WIN
THE GRAND SLAM,
BUT THERE?S ALSO MUSIC,
BALLET, BEING A FOODIE
AND MUCH MORE:
? YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE?
february 2019 | golfdigest.com
89
HE LIST OF SO YEON RYU?S ACCOMPLISHMENTS IS LONG.
The 28-year-old from South Korea has reached World No. 1 and has made
more than $10 million since joining the LPGA Tour in 2012. She has six
wins, including two major championships, and was named Rookie of the
Year in 2012 and co-Player of the Year in 2017. ? Athletes with a r閟um� like
Ryu?s could be di?cult to relate to, but talking to her is easy. Conversation
?ows easily on a variety of topics, including being brave when dining and
learning to bridge two cultures to acquire an American sense of humor.
She?s a golfer who says golf isn?t the only thing in her life, and she means it.
how did you learn to play
golf? A lot of girls in Korea
learn to play through their
parents, but my parents don?t
play golf. I just learned through
school, starting in the second
grade because of my best
friend. She chose golf as her
after-school activity. She was
saying, ?We have to do something together,? and then she
was like, ?Let?s do golf.? I didn?t
know what golf was?I just
wanted to spend time with
my friend.
???
did she attempt to play
professionally? She stopped
is it hard to be friends
with the people you?re
competing against?
I turned pro when I was 17
and won my ?rst event on the
Korean LPGA right away.
Because of that, I got more attention. I think people were
jealous. When we see someone
win right away, we?re happy for
her, but it?s also like, Oh, she just
turned pro and won? I felt early
on that if you?re a competitor,
you can?t also be a friend. But
when I joined the LPGA Tour, I
felt like the players really cared
about each other. They decorate lockers on your birthday;
in sixth grade. Golf wasn?t her
thing. But now, she?s like,
?Maybe I should have kept playing; your life looks so cool.?
I tell her it is really cool,
but parts of it are tough, too.
???
what are some of the harder things? It?s loneliness. It?s
not because we don?t hang out
with other players?we do. But
it?s an independent sport, so
when we want to do something
together, we worry about asking because we?re afraid it will
interrupt someone?s schedule
or something. We just think
too much, decide not to bother
someone, and then you?re
having dinner by yourself. I
thought I was the only one who
felt that way, but apparently a
lot of players are thinking the
same. We have an agreement
now to feel free to ask whatever
you want to do together but not
feel bad when someone says
she can?t do it.
90 golfdigest.com | february 2019
they?re having so much fun.
Even when we?re competing,
we?re quick to thumbs-up a
great shot and clap. I?ve learned
that my fellow-competitor can
be my best friend. If you?re not
a golfer, you?re not going to understand how I feel, but these
people can understand all that
I?m thinking. I started to feel
really comfortable hanging out
with them and learned what
real sportsmanship was like.
???
do you play any other
sports? I started ballet in
2016, o?season. I started because everything we do is based
on trying to perform better. Because of that, a lot of our training is really athletic. I wanted
to try something a little more
girly, and I thought ballet could
be fun.
???
have you seen any benefits
for golf? Ballet actually does
connect to golf. In golf, it?s really important to use the ground
force when you swing. It?s the
same in ballet. If you want to
jump well, you have to know
how to use ground force.
No matter what I?m doing,
I ?nd the connection to golf.
I was like, Oh my God, maybe
I?m a golf addict.
???
if you weren?t a golfer,
what would you be?
I started piano when I was 4
years old and violin when I was
5. My elementary school required at least one after-school
activity. In ?rst grade, I did
?ute. So I was playing three
instruments. When I ?rst started playing violin, I thought,
I?m going to become a violinist.
I just loved it so much. Even
when I started playing golf,
I always thought I?d become
a musician.
???
how did you end up
choosing golf? When I
turned 14, my mom asked me,
?What do you want to be??
At ?rst I thought it was a silly
question. Music was my everything. But then the more I
thought about it, I realized
I was happier on the golf course
than I was playing the violin.
was that a hard choice?
It was kind of easy because
I was young, and my personality is that I do whatever I want
to do. If I don?t want to play golf
tomorrow morning, I?ll quit.
That?s my life motto: You only
live once, so you can?t spend
your time doing things you
don?t want to do. So I always
just do the things that I want.
???
do you still play violin?
Music has become my hobby.
My sister played through undergrad. It was her major. So
she still teaches me a bit. She
always pokes me: ?You have
a good violin; you?re playing,
right?? It?s like golf, though:
If I don?t play, I?m not good.
And my expectations are so
high, it gets frustrating.
???
what was it like when
you started playing golf?
The ?rst time I played 18 holes,
I shot 132. I was expecting 99
or something. You don?t know
how tough it is to break 100 as
a beginner.
???
what are the biggest
differences between golf
in korea and the united
states? It?s expensive in Korea.
You have to have around $200
to play one round. They don?t
have as many bene?ts for the junior players. Your family has to
support you a lot. But women?s
golf is really strong, and it?s getting more popular, so it?s getting
better. Golfzon, the simulator
company (see page 82), has affected the golf population a lot.
My generation has started to
play golf more because Golfzon
is so much cheaper. It?s like going to a karaoke bar.
game is all feel. I can?t really
explain it. All of the feel that
I pick up from the ground
when I?m playing, that?s lost.
I struggled chipping and
putting on the machine.
???
???
do you ever play simulator
golf when you?re home?
have you been recognized
while you?re playing in
that setting? If I?m going to
how does playing lpga
events in korea compare
to the events you play in
the united states? I get more
play golf, a lot of people recognize me, but when I don?t have
a golf out?t on, a lot of people
don?t know it?s me. They say I
look really di?erent on TV. But
if I?m with Inbee [Park], people
will recognize me. It?s really
great?a lot of people support
me. I receive so much love from
them. But when I?m in an awkward position, like out with my
attention in Korea, and on the
course, the culture is di?erent.
Korean players don?t show their
emotions, especially when
they?re happy. I played on the
Korean LPGA for four years
before coming to the LPGA, and
the ?rst thing they taught me
was after a bad shot, you can?t
hit your club on the ground,
you cannot throw a club, you
Sometimes I go and play because my friends have ?nally
started to play golf. I wasn?t
really good at it, but I?ve been
playing more and more, so I?m
getting better.
???
you weren?t good at simulator golf? how is that possible? It?s a little di?erent from
normal golf. The long game
is mostly the same. But short
? to not burn out, you have to
have your own life. . . . having new experiences
is how i make my mind fresh. ?
friends or at a party, that?s the
only situation I feel uncomfortable when fans approach me.
Other than that, it?s really fun to
meet fans. It?s a lucky thing.
???
can?t yell. If you win a tournament, it?s OK to do a ?st bump
with your caddie or a hug, but
don?t show your emotions really big because your competitor could be feeling really bad.
Because of that, I feel like when
I?m in Korea I try to be more
calm when I play. It could be
di?erent on the KLPGA now,
but that?s how I was taught.
???
that?s pretty different
from how players behave
on-course in the united
states. Completely. In the U.S.,
the Americans love to see how
we feel on the golf course. Players use the F word or throw a
club. And the happy emotions,
too?like what Tiger does, the
february 2019 | golfdigest.com
91
Americans really love it. I feel
comfortable playing golf in the
U.S. because I feel more freedom. There?s good and bad to
both styles?I try to smooth my
game into all di?erent cultures.
???
why do you think you acclimated so quickly to the
american style of play?
I think I was born more
Westernized. I really quickly
switched to American mode
when I moved here when I was
22. I think it?s because I?m a
very independent person. In
America, when you?re 18 and
people go to university, they become independent right away.
Of course parents still care, but
I feel like a lot of people start
to make their own decisions
and live on their own. In Korea,
until we marry, a lot of people
live with their parents. So our
culture isn?t as much about
independence. I was always
independent. Like if my mom
asked me to do my homework,
I wouldn?t do it; if she didn?t
ask, I?d do it. But they realized
it and let me do whatever I
wanted to do. And I realized if
I want to be more independent,
I get more responsibility. It?s
made me want to be good at
everything I do, because I?m
responsible for it. Even when
I was young, whatever I decided
that tastes really similar to
normal pasta. I put a lot of vegetables in and pick a protein.
I don?t eat chicken, pork and
beef during tournaments because it makes my body feel
really heavy. It?s normally seafood and mushrooms.
???
do you try different diets?
I did a vegan diet for two weeks
to see how it?d go. I really liked
it. I?m such a foodie, so I don?t
think I can be completely vegan.
But I want to do it once every
few months.
???
what?s the weirdest food
you?ve eaten? Compared
do you watch the pga tour?
I do. I like watching Rory.
I played with him at the CVS
Classic. His swing was awesome. His power was really
great, and he used ground force
really well. I was impressed?
he knows so much about the
LPGA. He picked up my style
of golf really quickly. He?s a
golf nerd. He likes everything
about golf. I thought I was a golf
nerd, but maybe not compared
to him.
???
what are the best and
worst parts of pro-ams?
what do you like to do when
you?re not on the golf
course? I physically feel tired
compared to 10 years ago, so
I?m always thinking about how
I can make my body feel better
all the time. That?s how I got
into cooking. If you?re cooking,
you know what?s in there, even
the smallest ingredients. I?m really into pasta. Everyone knows
pasta?s not really the best for
you, but I found this rice pasta
it seems like inbee is your
older sister on tour. She?s
my best friend and my mentor.
Inbee?s been through everything
I?ve been through, and more.
She?s really good at simplifying
things, and she?s very direct.
She?s not going to lie to me to
make me feel better. She always
gives good advice.
pete all the time. It?s not to say
I don?t like competition, but
when you compete, you know
you have to be great, so you?re
grinding all the time. To not
burn out, you have to have your
own life. Golf is not my everything. I feel no hesitation to
try something new because of
golf?as long as it won?t injure
me. Having new experiences is
how I make my mind fresh all
the time.
???
???
???
what?s the best swing
tip you?ve ever gotten?
do you splurge when you
win? I like to treat myself. I
how are major wins different from normal tour
wins? At majors, you feel like
A few months ago, my coach,
Cameron McCormick, was like,
?You know you have to com-
know I practice hard, so I think
I deserve it. When I was young,
I would buy nice purses. But
now I?m into bigger things. Getting so into cooking has led me
to buy more stu? to make the
food better, which makes me
want to make the kitchen better, and then I want to make the
whole house better.
to Americans, we eat a lot of
weird things, like live octopus.
But one time in China, my
friend told me to take a bite of
something and told me it was
chicken. I was like, Wow, this
is really yummy. It turns out it
was a donkey. I couldn?t handle
it. And I heard they eat monkey
brain in China. I asked Shanshan [Feng], and she con?rmed
it, but she doesn?t eat that. You
have to be brave when you?re
eating in China. You have to be
in that challenger mood to try
something new.
morning, i?ll quit. . . . you can?t spend your
time doing things you don?t want to do. ?
???
???
The worst part is when people
are really into winning, like
we have to make birdies all
the time. That annoys me. The
best part is what I learn about
American culture. I learned
American humor through
pro-ams. The sense of humor
in Korea is di?erent. When I
was in high school, we?d watch
?Friends,? and the recorded
audience was always laughing,
but I didn?t understand why it
was funny. But now I understand American humor, so I
watched every episode again.
? if i don?t want to play golf tomorrow
to do, whatever I chose, I had
to do my best. Because my
parents let me be myself when
I was young, I became more
Westernized.
when she completed the Grand
Slam in 2015. I used to think the
Grand Slammers lived in a different universe, but when you
see your best friend do it, you
realize you can, too.
you have to manage everything
di?erently. But really, it?s still
just a tournament. We?re just
making the major mentality
tough on ourselves. If you have
experience winning tournaments, it makes it easier to deal
with. Major setups are more
di?cult than normal setups,
so if you win a major, it gives
you more con?dence for other
events. When you?re a major
champion, people think of you
di?erently, too. I think after
the U.S. Women?s Open, people
treated me di?erent. Especially
Americans?they know me as
the U.S. Open winner. It?s like
you?re a star right away.
92 golfdigest.com | february 2019
plete your backswing before
you start your downswing,
right?? But I hadn?t thought
about it like that. I always
thought about the swing as one
motion. It?s always been an automatic thing for me. It?s a good
tip for amateur golfers, too. If
you?re so rushed to hit the ball,
the tempo can get o?. If you
think about completing your
backswing, it?s hard to not have
good tempo.
???
what?s your biggest goal
in golf? It?s not really real to
me right now, but I want to be a
Grand Slammer. I?ve seen how
Inbee did it?I was with her
???
how do you avoid burning
out? It?s really tough to com-
???
what?s the worst shot
you?ve ever hit? This year,
KPMG, 17th-hole tee shot. I put
it in the water and blew my
chance to win another major.
???
the best? At the 2011 U.S.
Women?s Open, 72nd hole, second shot. It was a tough hole,
and a really tough pin position.
I hit a 6-iron to eight feet, and
I made the putt. That?s how I
got into the playo?, and then
I won. If I didn?t win that tournament, who knows where I?d
be. I might be on the KLPGA or
I?d have quit golf?I don?t know.
That shot changed my life.
good food. good health. good vibes.
behealthyish.com
A BON APP蒚IT BRAND
N
NNY
MILLER?S
WORDS STILL RESONATE
C L A S S I C J O H N N Y : M I L L E R I N T H E 1 9 7 4 U . S . O P E N AT W I N G E D F O O T, A Y E A R A F T E R W I N N I N G AT O A K M O N T.
M I L L E R AT R O YA L LY T H A M I N 1 9 7 4 , O N E O F H I S F I V E C O N S E C U T I V E T O P - 1 0 F I N I S H E S I N T H E O P E N C H A M P I O N S H I P.
previous pages: john d. hanlon/sports illustrated/getty images
J
OHNNY MILLER is saying his farewells as a
TV announcer, and to be sure, he has never been
at a loss for words. The voice of golf at NBC for
almost 30 years, Miller will make his ?nal call Feb. 3
at Scottsdale, and he?ll be missed. As a longtime
contributor to Golf World and Golf Digest, Miller
provided candid and provocative commentary,
perhaps never more so than in these excerpts. Over
the years, he opened up about the toll of tour golf
and o?ered insights into his approach to announcing. Miller has never been afraid to praise himself,
but he?s also brutally forthright about shortcomings in himself and others. ?Honesty and truth,?
he says, ?will always prevail.? ?MIKE O?MALLEY
?I HAD SORT OF
DONE ALL THE
THINGS I WANTED TO
DO IN THE GAME.
I WAS JUST CONTENT.
AND WHEN YOU?RE
CONTENT, YOU?RE
BASICALLY DONE.?
putting day of my life. I threeputted so many times?seven
in all?that when the show was
edited for TV, they mercifully
eliminated ?ve of them. It was
worse than embarrassing. From
tee to green, I played as well as
Jack, but on the greens it was
like I was holding a snake in my
hands. I couldn?t make a threefooter. There is no worse feeling
than standing over a short putt,
knowing you?ve got no chance
to make it.
???
when i was in my prime ,
i wasn?t consistent. I want
to point that out. I was not a guy
you could bank on every week.
But when I was on and playing
my best, I might have played
as good golf as most anybody.
I don?t want to be the one to
say it, but some of my golf at
the time was pretty unusual.
Let?s leave it at that.
???
in many ways, i?m a softy.
I?m pretty street smart, growing
up in San Francisco. I?m not a
nerd, but I am sort of an easygoing guy. But I?m also sort of
a semi-confrontational person.
I don?t like getting in arguments
with people?I like to peacemake?but I can get in there
and mix it up if I need to. I just
prefer not to.
???
i was never a phenomenal
i won the british open
by six strokes, won at Phoenix
by 14, won at Tucson by nine,
and won other tournaments
by eight, seven, six and ?ve.
I wasn?t winning tournaments
by accident. This was going
out and saying to the guys,
This thing is history early.
above: WA LT ER
IO OSS J R.
???
some of the guys almost
took it as an a?ront, like a
basketball team that lost by
40 points: Why are you making
us look bad?
???
my theory in golf was that
when you?re on, keep it on,
because you never know what
tomorrow will bring.
putter. I was a very good putter
from about 12 feet in, but I was
always mediocre from outside
15 feet. My 61s and 62s, if you
analyze them, were not rounds
where I was chipping in and
making 60-footers. It was a very
methodical kind of 61. It was
like, ?That?s what he should
have shot.?
???
later on , my putting short-
circuited everything. My most
extreme case of choking, in
case you missed it, was against
Jack Nicklaus in a ?Shell?s Wonderful World of Golf? match in
1997. I?d looked forward to playing the match for a long time
because it was at the Olympic
Club in San Francisco, and I was
playing against my hero. But
I happened to have the worst
I had three distinct swing images. I had Lee Trevino, where
I opened my left foot and took
it back and leaned into my
left foot and hit this low little
squeeze/fade. I had Tony Lema,
where I took it outside, sort of
like Hubert Green with a light
grip and dropped it in and
hooked the ball high. And I had
Johnny Miller, who hit the ball
pretty straight. So no matter
what pin or what hole it was,
one of those three guys had the
perfect shot for that hole. I even
talked to Trevino before I hit it:
C?mon, Lee, this is your shot.
???
i hit the ball with almost
a jai-alai type swing. I would
gather the club toward the ball
at impact in a very slow motion.
Then with a snap of my legs and
an explosion, I would almost
gather the ball up and throw it
at the target. It produced a shot
that just ?oated up there like a
knuckle ball; it came down very
dead and very soft.
???
what went on in my head
while I was playing was this:
Would you please hurry up
and hit, because I can?t wait
to hit this shot. It?s going to be
great. It?s going to be fun. I just
couldn?t wait to knock the
stinkin? pin down.
???
i was always in a tremendous
rush in those days to do my
thing. If I went ?shing, I had
to get there as quick as I could.
I had to maximize every minute. There was no feeling that
there was plenty of time?just
relax and enjoy it. I don?t know
if it was good or bad. Today,
it would probably give me an
ulcer. Now I don?t really worry
about things. Today I?m the
world?s greatest sleeper, if nothing else.
???
i always dreamed positive
things. I always wanted to play
the last hole either one-armed
or left-handed. Or knock it up
about a foot from the last hole
with about a ?ve-shot lead and
just take my 3-wood out and
blaze it out-of-bounds over the
gallery?s head, then drop a ball
back by the hole, tap in, and
still win.
???
i had a period where I could
be leading but sleep like I
wasn?t even playing a tournament?no nerves. Golf was
sort of fun. But after that, it got
harder.
???
before, i was dreaming
about golf all the time, almost
every night. My dreams about
golf totally ended about 1976.
Your dreams probably say a lot
about why you?re doing things.
???
if you were going to take
a negative to Johnny Miller,
it would be that I didn?t relish
having the last shot at the end
of the game. That was not my
thing. It was Jack Nicklaus?
thing. I?m not so sure that it
was even Trevino?s. I think Tom
Watson enjoyed it. Nicklaus
wanted to be one shot back in
the last round. I wanted to be
eight shots ahead.
???
jack made me look like a
hack in the majors. He had a
very calculating, conservative
and, for me, too-boring style
of play. I?m just not willing to
play that kind of golf; I get o?
on ?ooring it. For me to stay in
tra?c for three-fourths of the
trip and then in the last quarter
hope that people break down?
then you step on the pedal just a
touch, and that?s what wins you
the tournaments?that wasn?t
my brand of doing things in life.
???
i didn?t value enough what it
was to be a champion. I didn?t
buy into the majors as much as
I should have. . . . I think some
of that was because I grew up
caring more about Snead?s
february 2019 | golfdigest.com
97
???
players who win a bunch
of majors are special creatures.
It?s not normal. Under heavy
pressure, their brains are able
to still process information
smoothly. But if it?s not in your
DNA, I don?t think you can really learn it.
me? I couldn?t really enjoy what
I?d done, and I felt pressure to
do more.
???
jack was one of the reasons
I came out of my slump in the
early ?80s. He said, ?You don?t
have to worry about John; he?ll
be back.? And I was thinking,
Gee, I didn?t know that. I thought
I might be history. When he said
that, it really helped.
???
pressure? The U.S. Open has
longer lines at the bathroom
than any tournament.
???
my only regret ?a little bit?
Champ, you?re going to make
it.? I promise you that there has
never been a father that helped
his son and has been a better
father/instructor to pave the
way for a player to get on tour
than my father. There is no way
there has ever been a father to
match him.
???
my dad always talked about
self-esteem, how the psyche is
so fragile, and how it gets attacked by the game. Everything
with my dad was positive.
He always found something good. The most
powerful thing a
son will ever hear
is a?rmation
from his father.
?YOUR DREAMS
PROBABLY SAY A LOT
ABOUT WHY
YOU?RE DOING THINGS.?
was not winning the Masters.
[Miller was second three times.]
Only because it would be cool
to go to that Champions Dinner.
F I S H I N G W I T H S O N J O H N I N CA L I FO R N I A I N 1 9 74 .
i think ?74 and ?75 took a
ever since I was a little boy,
pretty big piece out of me.
After all the years Nicklaus
had been in Arnold?s shadow,
everybody had ?nally fallen
in love with Jack. And as I was
challenging Jack, a lot of people
were like, ?Don?t even think
about comparing him to Nicklaus.? Like they were angry at
me. I started feeling, Why bother if they aren?t going to accept
I never really played bad. I never had a downturn. Everything
was always according to schedule. I had a foundation that
could hold the world?s tallest
building. That?s very important.
???
my father instilled in me
tremendous things?positive
thinking, always calling me
Champ. He would say, ?Hey,
98 golfdigest.com | february 2019
in ?70, ?72, ?74, ?76, ?78 and ?80.
I was thinking, I?m not failing
in the home, but, obviously,
to play at the level that I was
expected to play would require
tremendous sacri?ces in the
home and a lot of other areas.
I was ?ghting the fact that
I had sort of done all the things
I wanted to do in the game.
I was just content. And when
you?re content, you?re basically
done. I was happy. Everything
was great. It was like, Well,
that?s done. I climbed that
mountain. Check out the view
and enjoy it. Be a good dad and
go ?shing. I had lost that passionate love for the game. I really can honestly say that at that
point, it became work for me.
???
???
when i was
as a tour player , by far the
a Boy Scout,
I learned that
lesson of leaving
your campsite
better than you
found it. I try to
equate that to life, and
I wish more people did.
Sometimes I wonder how the
world would be if there were a
million Johnny Millers. I guess
some would disagree, but I
think it would be a better place.
toughest moment was when
I was packing my suitcase to
head o? to a tournament. My
youngest son, Todd, was pulling at my pants leg, pleading,
?Daddy, please don?t go! Can
you stay so we can go ?shing??
He followed me to the car, and
to this day I can still see him in
my rearview mirror, trotting
after the car, reaching out with
his hands, crying. The thought
of that still makes me cry.
???
???
one of the common traits
let?s face it , professional golf
of great players is that everything has to be perfectly organized. I cannot stand looking at
anything that isn?t orderly.
???
and family don?t really mix very
well. If you look at most of the
Hall of Fame golfers, look at the
family life?you can?t say it was
red hot.
i liked the boy scouts , but
???
I didn?t have time to become
an Eagle Scout. My dad always
said, ?You have to be willing to
do what your friends aren?t willing to do.? I was willing. When
I was about 8, I had this feeling
come over me like, You don?t
have to worry; you?re going to be
a champion golfer. And it never
wavered. It was a march to whoever I was going to be. . . . The
problems came once I got there.
???
we have a saying in the
[Mormon] church, ?No amount
of success in anything else can
compensate for failure in the
home.? In 1976, I was ?ghting
with myself. I had the responsibility of the position I had in
the game, plus having children
i was trying to be a man for all
seasons. I loved the ranch work,
loved my family, loved the
church, loved ?shing, loved my
cars. I was trying to enjoy it all.
And you know, the great golfers, they don?t have that sort of
symphony of things going on.
???
i think most males around
their early 30s will look at their
career and say, Is this what
I want to do the rest of my life?
That question kept coming up
in my early 30s: This is very exciting, but is this really what
I want to do? And am I willing
to sacri?ce my time and keep
leaving my family?all these
little kids in diapers? Having
children will take the ?re out of
GO L F D IGEST R ESOU RC E C EN TE R
record for career victories than
how many majors somebody
had won. But when I started
winning, Jack had sort of reversed the priority, and I never
adjusted.
anybody. And that weakened
me in the gol?ng sense. I was
home being a dad, and I was doing things that I wanted to do,
but it was very hard for people
with a worldly point of view to
say, This career is sort of over.
It was much harder for them
than it was for me. I also knew
deep down that ?nancially
I was in pretty good shape,
and I didn?t really need the
aggravation.
ball ?ight, I relied on two kinds
of feedback: how the shots felt
and how they sounded. Thin
shots, balls struck on the toe,
and shots hit a shade fat have
distinctive sounds. You?re
always looking for that crisp
thwack at impact. Even from
the TV booth, I can usually tell
immediately if an iron shot is
mis-hit.
???
player, it?s simple: You must
control distance with your
irons. When I felt my iron game
was at its peak, I?d sometimes
ask my caddie for the distance
to half a yard. You control
distance by hitting the ball
solidly and varying the length
and speed of your swing. If
you do that well, you become
more precise, which rubs o? on
your direction, too. The week
I won the 1974 Tucson Open,
I hit the hole or the ?agstick
10 times.
i wasn?t smart enough
to know that buying that ranch
in Napa and doing all the heavy
work like the laborers and gaining 25 pounds would ruin my
swing. . . . All of a sudden,
I was built like a tight end.
When I ?nally began to play
again in 1977, it was like I was
swinging the wrong end of the
club, it felt so light. . . . That cut
my career o? by two or three
years. When I went from 170 to
195 pounds and dropped back
to 185, I was never the same.
But the work on the ranch
was maybe my way of saying,
I?m checking out.
???
to become a first-rate
???
I can see wanting 10 more
???
yards with the driver, but
squeezing extra distance out
of your irons is the kiss of
death. In my prime, my standard distance for the 9-iron
was 125 yards. I hit my 6-iron
160 and my 4-iron 185. I didn?t
want to be long with my irons,
only smooth. Reining in my
swing speed was key to distance control and accuracy. If
you can resist the tendency to
swing more than 75 percent,
you?ll have better balance and
rhythm. Your mechanics will be
better, and you?ll ?nd the sweet
spot more often.
listen to your shots.
???
In the winters when I was a
kid, my dad had me practice
in the basement of our house.
I?d hit balls for hours into a
canvas tarp tacked to the ceiling. Because I couldn?t see the
whiners make good TV golf
analysts. High-strung personalities seem to notice everything?course conditions,
bad pairings, crowd noise,
lousy breaks, crummy hole
???
as far as hitting irons close
to the hole, you?d have to say
Byron Nelson, and then you?d
have to give me a look. For two
or three years, I knew that every
round I was going to hit two or
three irons to kick-in distance.
Bottom line?maybe not in a
major?I know that if I played
my best and Nicklaus played
his best and Tiger played his
best, I de?nitely could have
hung with them.
locations, you name it. As players, perhaps we observe too
much, but on TV, that quality is
a de?nite plus.
???
i feel my first responsibility is to the game of golf and to
the viewers, and not so much
to the tour players. In the past,
the ?rst responsibility of an
announcer was to keep friendships he had on tour, and being
nice so everybody would like
him. I?m not doing it because
I want to be di?erent or because
I want to be looked at as a great
announcer. I?m doing it because
I love to teach. I want people to
leave the telecast saying, That
was a great telecast. I learned
something . . . and I got to get
inside their heads. I can?t wait to
tune in next week.
???
as a tv commentator , ignoring the fact that athletes choke
is disingenuous. Gagging under
pressure is an issue with every
person who plays the game,
and it?s especially critical for
professionals who have a lot at
stake. The entire history of golf
has been shaped by players who
choked when it counted or got a
handle on it and survived.
???
i choked so many times
over the years that it?s a joke.
To me, it wasn?t the result of
a character ?aw. It wasn?t that
I lacked courage. Choking isn?t
like that at all. It?s merely stress
manifesting itself mentally and
physically.
???
i?ve never been unduly harsh,
except for the time at the Ryder
Cup when I suggested that Justin Leonard should have stayed
home?a comment I later
apologized for.
???
i just didn?t like the pres-
sure, I guess. I didn?t really love
putting my reputation on
the line. . . . My biggest weakness was, I just didn?t love competition that much. I worked
really hard to get to the top,
but when I got there, I realized,
Wow, there?s a lot of pressure.
???
my theory in life is , honesty
and truth will always prevail.
Some people don?t like to hear
the truth, but to me, that?s their
problem. This job is bigger than
me and my friends. That has
not been the easiest thing for
me. I could play it right down
the middle as an announcer,
not walk the edges of the rough
like I do. I?m just teetering on
falling into water hazards all
the time. It would be much
easier for me to be Mr. Nice Guy
and just sort of do a nice fairytale walk through TV land, but
I?ve always been one to notice
little things, little ?aws or little
boo-boos.
???
if you look at my career
when I was on, Nicklaus even
said that?s the guy he wasn?t
sure he could beat. Sometimes
I think that when we get up in
heaven, God?s going to let everyone be 28, and there?s going
to be this great tournament.
I think that would be a pretty
cool thing.
???
i?ve had some times when it
looked like I was going to die
in plane wrecks and everything else, and I felt very good
about dying. That might sound
dumb, but I felt very ready to
die. I didn?t feel like it was bad
to die. I just felt like it has been
rather nice: Had a good time,
not perfect, and I?ve done most
things that I?ve wanted to do.
If there were such a thing as
a happiness meter, I?d match
mine against any professional
golfer who ever lived.
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february 2019 | golfdigest.com
99
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t he mo r n in g ,
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afternoon?
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b l a z er ha s
s e en ste a dy
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gr ad uati on ,
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on e o f 12
p eop l e o utsi d e
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w h o ca ll t h e
c lub ? c ongo ?
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starter box
100 golfdigest.com | february 2019
emoji: istock/getty images plus
a nk le
ta n li ne so
sharp it lo oks
lik e h e ?s
we aring
s oc k s
Illustration by Zohar Lazar
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th bugs. I ate poorly.
I didn?t feel like a professional
athlete, that?s for sure. It was demoralizing, but I stayed with it.
???
i tell my four children
these stories of hardship to
inspire them, to let them know
that things don?t come easily.
They listen appreciatively, but
I can tell by the looks on their
faces that they just can?t relate.
not sure if it?s physical or mental. I?m not sure anyone else has
?gured it out, either.
???
if you and i went to the prac-
tice green and had a contest
putting conventionally, I probably would beat you. I?m not
saying you?re a bad putter, just
that I have good touch, great
hand-eye coordination and
sound technique. But if we were
playing against each other in
a tournament, there is a good
chance you would beat me
badly. The yips are a tournament disease, and they show
up at the worst time.
???
you know that Seve Ballesteros
loved beating the Americans
in the Ryder Cup, but truth is,
he liked to beat everybody. He
was a good fellow and a great
competitor. At the European
Open at Walton Heath, 1980, I
was on the putting green and
struggling. Seve came over,
watched me putt for a minute,
then asked to try my Bulls Eye
putter. He made a couple of
strokes and said, ?This putter
is too light and does not have
enough loft.? I walked straight
into the pro shop, but nothing
like that was for sale. The assistant pro directed me to a bag
of old clubs. There I found another Bulls Eye, a heavy ?ange
model, which I took to the putting green and liked. I tied for
?fth that week, and less than
a month later won the Dunlop
Masters for my ?rst European
Tour victory. Many rounds after
that I would have a better score
than Seve, and I always seemed
to putt well against him. He
would look at my putter with an
expression that said, I should
have kept my mouth shut.
???
in 1981 , no one in America
knew who I was. I was invited
to play in the World Series of
Golf, and the week before, I was
playing in the Benson & Hedges
International in England and
hit my ball into a tree. I climbed
the tree and played the shot,
L A N G E R , S H O W N AT T H E 1 9 8 9
???
M AS T E R S , WO N G R E E N JAC K E T S
the best ball-striker
IN 1985 AND 1993.
something fans had never seen
before. The ?lm found its way
to America, and all week at the
World Series, I kept hearing
shouts of, ?Look, it?s the man in
the tree!? On the ?rst day, the
fans sang ?Happy Birthday? to
me on the ?rst tee. I had never
had a reception quite like that.
I instantly became very fond of
America.
???
i love america and live here
but have not yet become a citizen. I have a green card.
???
president trump for some
reason thought I had tried to
vote in the 2016 election, talked
about me being turned away.
I have no idea how he got that
idea. It probably was a situation
where one person says something, it is spread to another
person and then another, and
by the time it reaches the sixth
person?in this case the president?it is completely twisted.
To assume I would even try to
vote is quite ridiculous. But
President Trump, to his credit,
called me and apologized.
I appreciated that.
?
I?ve seen in my 47 years as a
professional? Jack Nicklaus,
Tiger Woods and Greg Norman
at their peaks were incredible, but my choice would be
Johnny Miller. I played with
him in the 1974 Italian Open,
and I still have never seen anything quite like it. There was
a stretch of nine consecutive
holes where he very nearly tore
the cup out with every iron
shot. The sound, the trajectory,
the distance control was quite
breathtaking. Strangely, he did
not win the tournament. He
?nished second behind Peter
Oosterhuis. But his golf that
day is the golf I see when I close
my eyes and dream.
augusta national/getty images
???
speaking of johnny , he had
the yips, too. I actually had
them four times. One time,
I four-putted from three feet.
Several times I double-hit
putts, which is much harder
to do than you might think.
I overcame them with di?erent
putting methods and lots of
willpower, but to this day I?m
? the day [playing with jack nicklaus
for the first time] was a blur. i recall hitting a shank on one hole
that just missed tearing a member?s head off. ?
i never changed my swing
drastically, all at once. Nick
Faldo did it successfully, but
it cost him two years. My grip
was very strong, and it needed
changing, but my coach, Willy
Ho?man, suggested I weaken
it an eighth of an inch at a
time, over the course of years.
The upside?and I?m proud of
this?is that I never had a career drop-o?. I was always able
to keep winning.
???
at kiawah in the 1991 Ryder
Cup, I missed a six-foot putt
on the ?nal green to clinch the
victory. It was devastating because I let my teammates down.
The next week was the German
Masters, a tournament
I helped found. On the ?nal
hole, I faced a 15-footer to
get into a playo?. Two voices
were in my head. One said,
You missed a six-footer last
those days there was a single,
small mound short of the creek.
My ball hit the center of the
mound, jumped into the air like
a little ski jumper, ?ew over the
creek and settled on the green,
50 feet from the hole. I made
the putt for eagle, birdied two
more holes coming in, and shot
68. I was only two shots out of
the lead and shot another 68 on
Sunday to win by two over Seve,
Raymond Floyd and Curtis
Strange. It?s incredible breaks
like this that often decide tournaments, and alter careers.
???
i?m very sentimental.
Not so much about material
things, as I didn?t save the red
out?t I wore when I won the
1985 Masters, or the old Kroydon irons, or any of the balls
I holed out to win 112 tournaments on six continents. But
I cry during movies all the time.
???
human nature that we target
those who are having the most
success.
i have won 38 times on the
???
is the most important facet of
my life, and I will never change.
PGA Tour Champions, second
only to Hale Irwin, who has
won 45 times. I have won 10
senior majors, which is very
good. I am still improving. My
putting, chipping and bunker
play are better than when I was
50. I am much wiser. But I am
not ageless. My energy level
is not quite the same, and my
strength and ?exibility have decreased. I must address them.
You say I look to be in great
shape, but I weigh 165 pounds.
I wouldn?t mind losing 10
pounds.
???
there are those who insist
I anchor with my putter. I am
the only one who would truthfully know, because I can feel
when my uppermost hand is
? there are those who insist i anchor
???
the third round of the 1985
Masters, I was six strokes
behind playing the 13th hole
and going nowhere. The night
before, I?d changed the shafts
in all my irons, trying to ?nd
a spark, but it wasn?t looking
good. My drive on 13 went too
far right and wound up on
bare ground near the pines,
my ball sitting down. I had 220
to the green, a very long way
back then. The odds of getting
a 3-wood over the creek were
small, but I was a little fed up
and desperate to get in contention. The shot was awful, didn?t
get more than two feet o? the
ground. The tournament was
over for me. Except that in
Just last week, I watched the
movie ?Instant Family,? about
a couple that adopts three troubled young children, siblings.
I didn?t even try to stop the tears.
???
i won the 1993 masters
by four, and it wasn?t quite as
dramatic, though my lead at
one point dwindled to one.
The big moment was during
the interview in Butler Cabin.
In 1985, during my interview
with Hord Hardin, I took the
Lord?s name in vain. Two days
later at Hilton Head, I became
a born-again Christian. I always
regretted my comment in 1985,
and in 1993, I got my chance.
Jim Nantz asked me how it
felt to win a second time, and I
said, ?It?s always very special to
win the greatest tournament in
the world, especially on Easter
Sunday, when my Lord was resurrected.? I realize many people
dislike hearing a religious note
from athletes, and most aren?t
sure exactly why. But my faith
78 golfdigest.com | february 2019
on-course decisions, but I?ve
made a few that are world-class
dumb. I was leading a European
Open on a Sunday one year and
hit a shot into tall heather 20
yards short of the green. To my
shock, I ?nd the ball perched
perfectly atop the heather, at
knee height. What a great break!
I promptly whi? with my next
swing, and the ball sinks six
inches lower, borderline unplayable but worth having a go at
it. I whi? that one, too, and the
ball now dives to the bottom of
the heather. I gouge that one out
and eventually make 7. I lose.
That was more painful than the
10 I made in Hawaii once, botching a series of shots o? lava,
or the ?ve thrashes I made at
Cypress Point trying to dislodge
my ball from ice plant.
???
with my putter. . . . i couldn?t live with myself
if i knew i were breaking a rule. ?
week; what makes you think
you can make a 15-footer now?
The other voice said, The past
is irrelevant; you will make
this putt. The second voice
must have been louder, because I made the putt and
then defeated Rodger Davis
in the playo?. Since that
time, I?ve managed to quiet the
?rst voice.
i am known for making good
while serving my compulsory
touching my chest and when
it isn?t. And I assure you, it is
not touching. Part of the issue
is my shirt, which billows away
from my chest when I bend
over at address. As I draw my
hand close at address, the shirt
bunches and wrinkles, which
suggests one of my knuckles
is against my chest. I wish the
people who made these accusations against me and Scott
McCarron would have come to
us ?rst instead of speculating.
There is an issue of honesty and
integrity, and in that respect
I can only say, I couldn?t live
with myself if I knew I were
breaking a rule.
???
there is a third issue
at work here: jealousy. There are
many players who use a long
putter and similar style, but the
suspicion was directed at only
Scott McCarron and me because we were at the top of the
money list. A number of other
long-putter users have not been
scrutinized as closely, because
for now they aren?t at the very
top. It?s an unfortunate part of
military service in the German
Air Force, I injured my back.
Stress fracture and bulging
disk, so severe I couldn?t move
from my bed for weeks. At 19,
I thought my golf was ?nished.
The doctors approached me
several times, wanting to operate, but something told me not
to go through with it. And then
the injury healed itself. Another
blessing, but it frightened me.
To this day, I do one-arm planks
practically every day, making
small adjustments to make sure
it strengthens my core.
???
could i still win the Masters?
We all say we can, but I confess
it is doubtful. I average 282
yards with my driver?pretty
impressive, except when I play
against guys who drive it 330.
I could have a great week and
wedge the par 5s to death like
Zach Johnson did, but while
I?m putting for birdie, the kids
are putting for eagle. I also
have much longer clubs into
the par 4s. We should change
the subject, because I?m beginning to talk myself out of it.
HIT ITSOLID
NOW+FOREVER
BY BERNHARD LANGER
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WHEREVER YOU PLAY GOLF, some people are stronger, more athletic and more
?exible than others. That?s the way it goes. You can be discouraged by that if you?re the shortest one in the
fairway, or you can decide to become as good as you can be with the tools you have. I?ve never been the longest hitter on any tour, and I?m not as strong and ?exible as I was in 2007 when I started on the PGA Tour
Champions. But I?ve committed to staying ?t, being e?cient with my swing and improving all the parts of
my game where strength?and age?aren?t as important. The results speak for themselves. I?ve won 38 times
on the senior tour, and I?ve stayed competitive into my 60s?winning my ?fth Charles Schwab Cup this past
season at age 61. I?ve also led the tour in scoring average ?ve straight years. I play my best by focusing on
hitting solid shots and making fewer and smaller mistakes?not by trying to keep up with longer players.
That strategy will work for you, too, whether you?re 20 or 70. Read on for my advice. ?WITH MATTHEW RUDY
Photographs by Dom Furore
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ONE GOLFER , ONE SWING
? Because drivers, hybrids and short irons look very different, you might try to swing differently depending on which
club you?re holding. This is unnecessary. I don?t swing my
5-iron any differently than I do my driver. And I don?t swing
my hybrids any differently than my wedges. I set my posture
the same for every shot, with a consistent distance between
my arms and body (left). The only things that change are
how far I stand from the ball?the length of the club determines that?and where I play the ball (above). My ball position changes based on where each club will naturally bottom
out when I make a swing. With a short club, the ball is centered between my feet. When I?m swinging driver, it?s played
much more forward because the club makes contact when
it?s moving upward. The message here is that if you stick to
one swing and pay attention to fundamentals like stance and
ball position, the quality of your average shots will improve
and your misses will become much more predictable.
? on full shots, i don?t change my swing from club to club. this helps my consistency. ?
MAINTAIN THE ANGLE
? Any mistake you make with your swing path or club is much
worse when you don?t hit the ball in the center of the face.
So focus on improving impact. The most common reason for
mis-hitting a shot is, at the moment the club meets the ball,
the angle between the shaft and the ground changed from
what it was at address. The fault is usually failing to maintain
your posture. Notice that when I keep the spine angle I created at setup, my hands stay close to the body (right) and
the shaft comes through in roughly the same angle as when
I first stood over the ball. Now look at the affect to my hands
when I straighten the body during the swing (above). When
that happens, the tendency is to hit the ball off the toe of
the club, unless you get lucky and can save the shot with
a last-second flip of the hands. Remember that if you
improve contact by keeping your posture, your misses won?t
be as severe. And that will lead to lower scores, which is a lot
better than finding 15 extra yards off the tee.
80 golfdigest.com | february 2019
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82 golfdigest.com | february 2019
INDOOR GOLF IS
AN ALTERNATIVE
TO THE ?REAL? THING
IN SOUTH KOREA.
JOIN US AS
WE GIVE IT A TRY
By Max Adler
Photograph by Greg Samborski
THE
WORLD?S BIGGEST GOLFER doesn?t reside in Florida or California
or Scotland, but in the tech-city of Daejeon, South Korea. Gleaming stainless steel and 69 feet
tall, ?The Golfer? by artists Ji Yong Ho and Park Dae Gyu has androgynous curves through
the hips and chest and is a monument to a player of the future, not the past. Re?ecting the
noon sun with nearly as much pop is the swooping seven-story structure adjacent, the
company headquarters of Golfzon. (English speakers: Mentally tack on an ?e? for the correct
pronunciation.) Founded by a former Samsung executive, the company operates courses
and retail shops, but the most important part of its business is its simulators, which last year
totaled 56 million rounds across 46 countries, as well as Antarctica. Maybe you?ve taken indoor swings in a club?tting studio or a wealthy buddy?s basement, but prepare to encounter
something else entirely at the top of this building?s ?rst escalator. When you come back outside, you?ll wonder if it really was a simulation, or the emergence of a new sport altogether.
SCREEN GOLF
VERSUS
FIELD GOLF
S
outh Koreans di?erentiate between ?screen
golf? and ??eld golf?
with no sense of irony.
Recently, the republic became
the only country where more
rounds are played annually on
the former than the latter. Golfzon locations (5,756) outnumber
Starbucks by 5-to-1. New-course
construction has halted, so for
a golf-passionate nation where
few children grow up with
yards, screen golf has provided
a rising middle-class with a
sense of recreational green
space. An hour of play, which
is more than enough time for
a single golfer to complete 18
holes, generally starts around
$25 with small upcharges for
better courses.
Screen baseball is also
popular, as is screen ?shing.
Yes, you cast a line-less rod,
and a projection of a hook and
sinker penetrates the surface
of an idyllic digital lake. Just
the right amount of auditory
hints, like lapping water and
birdsong, sift through speakers. Algorithms decide when
and if a ?sh will bite and how
big, and gyroscopes inside the
pole shudder to provide a sensation of ?ght. Your forearms
will burn as you work the reel,
and without proper ?nesse, you
might lose the ?sh. Outdoorsmen from Montana can spit out
their co?ee and stammer?Is
nothing sacred anymore??but
84 golfdigest.com | february 2019
practices like catch-and-release
aren?t without attendant philosophical questions, too. When
it comes to what humans do for
fun, let?s agree we?re all a little
nutty sometimes.
So although a traditional golf
tournament?you know, like, on
a course with 18 physical holes?
has a limit of about 150 players
per day, screen golf knows no
such restraint. Golfzon conducts
up to 350 tournaments daily
with top quali?ers regularly
earning the chance to compete
in weekend events at the head-
when gtour is in session, panels on bays are removed to create
stadium seating for spectators. the 10-tournament series,
broadcast on tv, offered a season purse of $1.3 million in 2018.
T E N -Y E A R - O L D K U D O Y U K I N O ( B E L O W ) O F J A PA N I S S U C C E S S F U L C O M P E T I N G A G A I N S T M E N I N S C R E E N G O L F.
quarters store, which, along
with its supporting restaurants
and retail shops, is also known
as Zoimaru (Joy-mah-roo).
There, 27 simulator bays occupy
three ?oors for a playing capacity of 108 players. When GTour
is in session, panels on certain
bays are removed to create stadium seating for spectators.
What, you haven?t heard of
GTour? The 10-tournament series, broadcast on television by
suited commentators, o?ered a
season purse of $1.3 million in
2018. WGTour o?ers the same
prize money, though it could be
argued Korean women should
earn more, given they?ve so far
outscored their countrymen,
14-1, in regular major championships. (Inbee Park is the
leader with seven, and the male
singularity is Y.E. Yang besting
Tiger Woods head-to-head at
the 2009 PGA Championship.)
Depending on schedule and
status, some rising pros will
split time between GTour and
traditional ??eld? events on the
Korean PGA Tour.
Hong-taek Kim was struggling to revive his playing
career after ful?lling his mandatory military service, but
he got his con?dence back by
winning simulator tournaments. In 2017, he won on the
GTour and the Korean PGA
Tour. Though a strong ?nish
in screen golf doesn?t award
World Ranking points (yet), the
checks cash just the same, and
you don?t have to walk, employ
a caddie or carry an umbrella.
If this seems an inadequate
physical test for a professional
athlete, consider the growing
popularity of e-gaming, where
top competitors have earned
millions from the repose of a
chair. Screen golf?s preservation of the essential physical act
is a hybrid model that future
endeavors rooted in arti?cial
reality?or augmented reality?
would do well to follow.
WHAT IT?S LIKE
TO PLAY
O
f course, a land
where screen golf
reigns is a distant
fantasy until you
see it in person. My visit to
Zoimaru, on my way to the
PGA Tour?s CJ Cup in Jeju
Island that would be won by
Brooks Koepka, coincided
with the third edition of the
International Golfzon Tournament. Qualifying at their local
Golfzon locations, 18 amateurs
from 11 countries won airfare
and a spot in the ?eld for a gold
bar worth about $3,000. It?s a
trophy, not a paycheck, so technically not a violation of amateur status. And the weight of
the bar, 50 grams, is just shy of
the limit of what may be transported through Customs by a
civilian without hassle.
Though the standard for an
indoor hitting bay is some sort
of cube with a turf mat and dark
drapes, at Zoimaru the line with
reality is more blurred. When
it?s your turn to hit, you ascend
a few stone steps to a terraced
tee box bordered with ?owers.
february 2019 | golfdigest.com
85
section devoted to this form of
putting. Though I couldn?t ?nd
an English translation.
?It?s a constant battle for
feel,? says Kyle Martin of South
Africa. For the International
Golfzon Tournament, with the
click of a mouse, the greens have
been sped to 14 on the Stimpmeter. As the round progresses,
Martin works to tune his stroke
to his mental calculation of
what 14 means. In screen golf,
he?s a scratch, and in the ?eld
he?s a 7-handicap. The 28-yearold market analyst has played
only ?ve rounds of ?real golf?
in the past two years. Besides
the convenience, the simulated
of County Anseong Q, which
is also a real course owned by
Golfzon. Indonesia?s Euiro
Lim was the champion with a
one-under-par 71, though not
without a little controversy. One
competitor was psychologically
derailed when he hit a beautiful
approach to tap-in-birdie range,
but then was forced to replay
the shot after a spectator allegedly bumped the keyboard to
trigger a mulligan. He ?ared his
next out-of-bounds. After committee review, the player was
awarded the original birdie instead of his subsequent double
bogey, but for a spell it seemed
the classic science-?ction hor-
if you believe the world is inexorably hurtling toward
a single, global culture, you can glimpse the golf club of
the future by sneaking onto the other floors of zoimaru.
A W I N N E R ? S C H E C K I N S I M U L AT E D G O L F W O R T H A B O U T $ 1 3 , 4 0 0 .
the leave distances of your approaches to determine a speci?c
course to putt afterward on an
indoor green, arriving at an actual score for a round has always
felt disjointed and unsatisfying.
Golfzon?s solution is a tilting
upslope of green carpet directly
in front of the tee. A perfectly
struck putt might just get to
the top of the slope before toppling o? the edge; a putt with
inadequate pace stops short and
humiliatingly rolls back to your
feet, inciting very real self-loathing. If you continue to struggle,
there?s an instruction book,
Screen Golf Master, with a long
game suits his strength as a consistent ball-striker. ?Alignment
has always been an issue for me,
but in here the mats help me
be perfect every time,? Martin
says. ?There?s never a bad lie,
and the wind you adjust for on
the screen rather than it being
something that messes with
your swing.?
But screen golf isn?t just
a power game, evidenced by
Kudo Yukino, a 10-year-old girl
whose mother is a franchise
owner in Tokyo. She shot 81
to ?nish in the middle of the
pack, not bad considering the
simulation was all 7,100 yards
86 golfdigest.com | february 2019
ror where the computer won?t
be overruled. Just as the USGA
and R&A are still developing its
Rules after more than a century,
so, too, will screen golf continue
to face such learning moments.
The next day, American John
Bouldin, a high school football
and golf coach from Rosenberg,
Texas, was medalist in the ?eldgolf portion with a 78 on the
actual County Anseong Q.
The sale of simulators to
private individuals is a healthy
business in the Western world,
but so far Golfzon has 17 public
locations in the United States
after opening o?ces here in
2017, and the next two are
scheduled to open in Brooklyn,
N.Y., and Stamford, Conn., this
spring. The 12,000-square-foot
Stamford facility will introduce
?a light version? of the interconnected tournament capability
that is so popular in Korea, says
Tommy Lim, CEO of Golfzon
America. Though the success
of Topgolf and the entrance of
newcomers like Drive Shack
demonstrate the demand for
driving ranges that deliver
modern technology mixed with
entertainment, these are quite
?American? venues in that
they?re outdoors, take up a lot of
space, and can get as boisterous
and alcohol-fueled as nightclubs. More in keeping with
Korean culture, and perhaps the
original spirit of the game, Golfzon bays provide private enclosures for intimate groups who
are more likely to enjoy gourmet
co?ee while playing. An average
location with six or seven simulators might see 10,000 visitors
a year. Whether the Golfzon
way gains traction in the United
States remains to be seen.
But if you believe the world
is inexorably hurtling toward
a single, global culture, you
can glimpse the golf club of the
future by sneaking onto the
other ?oors at Zoimaru. The
gym occupies an entire level,
the member?s lounge another,
and the top ?oors are strictly for
the elite academy. Nearly every
day, 60 promising juniors, including those on the national
team, come to train on simulators, monitor their strength and
?exibility with every modern
diagnostic device imaginable,
and take classes in academic
disciplines related to sport.
Their coach, Si woo Sung,
summarizes his philosophy:
?Indoors, we focus on the
swing, and when we go outdoors, we focus on the ball.?
Might Korea?s next great
champion be a boy or girl who
?rst fell in love with the game
on a simulator? When you go
onto the roof at Zoimaru, you
can see the top of the sculpture
at the top of its backswing. The
massive steel club wavers ever
so slightly in the wind, like it?s
about to start down.
previous pages (from left): greg samborski ? courtesy of golfzon ? this page: courtesy of golfzon
After your drive, the teeing area
tilts to match the slope of the
approach shot. The ceilings are
high?airy even?and the potted trees are a continuation of
the same variety depicted in the
landscape of the wall murals
?anking the screen. There?s
piped audio of wind rustling
leaves. If you soften your gaze
and want to believe you?re playing golf in the Taebaek Mountains?not above the parking
garage?you can.
The drawback of simulated
golf has always been short game,
and in particular, putting.
From rolling balls directly into
a screen, to a computer saving
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SHE WANTS TO WIN
THE GRAND SLAM,
BUT THERE?S ALSO MUSIC,
BALLET, BEING A FOODIE
AND MUCH MORE:
? YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE?
february 2019 | golfdigest.com
89
HE LIST OF SO YEON RYU?S ACCOMPLISHMENTS IS LONG.
The 28-year-old from South Korea has reached World No. 1 and has made
more than $10 million since joining the LPGA Tour in 2012. She has six
wins, including two major championships, and was named Rookie of the
Year in 2012 and co-Player of the Year in 2017. ? Athletes with a r閟um� like
Ryu?s could be di?cult to relate to, but talking to her is easy. Conversation
?ows easily on a variety of topics, including being brave when dining and
learning to bridge two cultures to acquire an American sense of humor.
She?s a golfer who says golf isn?t the only thing in her life, and she means it.
how did you learn to play
golf? A lot of girls in Korea
learn to play through their
parents, but my parents don?t
play golf. I just learned through
school, starting in the second
grade because of my best
friend. She chose golf as her
after-school activity. She was
saying, ?We have to do something together,? and then she
was like, ?Let?s do golf.? I didn?t
know what golf was?I just
wanted to spend time with
my friend.
???
did she attempt to play
professionally? She stopped
is it hard to be friends
with the people you?re
competing against?
I turned pro when I was 17
and won my ?rst event on the
Korean LPGA right away.
Because of that, I got more attention. I think people were
jealous. When we see someone
win right away, we?re happy for
her, but it?s also like, Oh, she just
turned pro and won? I felt early
on that if you?re a competitor,
you can?t also be a friend. But
when I joined the LPGA Tour, I
felt like the players really cared
about each other. They decorate lockers on your birthday;
in sixth grade. Golf wasn?t her
thing. But now, she?s like,
?Maybe I should have kept playing; your life looks so cool.?
I tell her it is really cool,
but parts of it are tough, too.
???
what are some of the harder things? It?s loneliness. It?s
not because we don?t hang out
with other players?we do. But
it?s an independent sport, so
when we want to do something
together, we worry about asking because we?re afraid it will
interrupt someone?s schedule
or something. We just think
too much, decide not to bother
someone, and then you?re
having dinner by yourself. I
thought I was the only one who
felt that way, but apparently a
lot of players are thinking the
same. We have an agreement
now to feel free to ask whatever
you want to do together but not
feel bad when someone says
she can?t do it.
90 golfdigest.com | february 2019
they?re having so much fun.
Even when we?re competing,
we?re quick to thumbs-up a
great shot and clap. I?ve learned
that my fellow-competitor can
be my best friend. If you?re not
a golfer, you?re not going to understand how I feel, but these
people can understand all that
I?m thinking. I started to feel
really comfortable hanging out
with them and learned what
real sportsmanship was like.
???
do you play any other
sports? I started ballet in
2016, o?season. I started because everything we do is based
on trying to perform better. Because of that, a lot of our training is really athletic. I wanted
to try something a little more
girly, and I thought ballet could
be fun.
???
have you seen any benefits
for golf? Ballet actually does
connect to golf. In golf, it?s really important to use the ground
force when you swing. It?s the
same in ballet. If you want to
jump well, you have to know
how to use ground force.
No matter what I?m doing,
I ?nd the connection to golf.
I was like, Oh my God, maybe
I?m a golf addict.
???
if you weren?t a golfer,
what would you be?
I started piano when I was 4
years old and violin when I was
5. My elementary school required at least one after-school
activity. In ?rst grade, I did
?ute. So I was playing three
instruments. When I ?rst started playing violin, I thought,
I?m going to become a violinist.
I just loved it so much. Even
when I started playing golf,
I always thought I?d become
a musician.
???
how did you end up
choosing golf? When I
turned 14, my mom asked me,
?What do you want to be??
At ?rst I thought it was a silly
question. Music was my everything. But then the more I
thought about it, I realized
I was happier on the golf course
than I was playing the violin.
was that a hard choice?
It was kind of easy because
I was young, and my personality is that I do whatever I want
to do. If I don?t want to play golf
tomorrow morning, I?ll quit.
That?s my life motto: You only
live once, so you can?t spend
your time doing things you
don?t want to do. So I always
just do the things that I want.
???
do you still play violin?
Music has become my hobby.
My sister played through undergrad. It was her major. So
she still teaches me a bit. She
always pokes me: ?You have
a good violin; you?re playing,
right?? It?s like golf, though:
If I don?t play, I?m not good.
And my expectations are so
high, it gets frustrating.
???
what was it like when
you started playing golf?
The ?rst time I played 18 holes,
I shot 132. I was expecting 99
or something. You don?t know
how tough it is to break 100 as
a beginner.
???
what are the biggest
differences between golf
in korea and the united
states? It?s expensive in Korea.
You have to have around $200
to play one round. They don?t
have as many bene?ts for the junior players. Your family has to
support you a lot. But women?s
golf is really strong, and it?s getting more popular, so it?s getting
better. Golfzon, the simulator
company (see page 82), has affected the golf population a lot.
My generation has started to
play golf more because Golfzon
is so much cheaper. It?s like going to a karaoke bar.
game is all feel. I can?t really
explain it. All of the feel that
I pick up from the ground
when I?m playing, that?s lost.
I struggled chipping and
putting on the machine.
???
???
do you ever play simulator
golf when you?re home?
have you been recognized
while you?re playing in
that setting? If I?m going to
how does playing lpga
events in korea compare
to the events you play in
the united states? I get more
play golf, a lot of people recognize me, but when I don?t have
a golf out?t on, a lot of people
don?t know it?s me. They say I
look really di?erent on TV. But
if I?m with Inbee [Park], people
will recognize me. It?s really
great?a lot of people support
me. I receive so much love from
them. But when I?m in an awkward position, like out with my
attention in Korea, and on the
course, the culture is di?erent.
Korean players don?t show their
emotions, especially when
they?re happy. I played on the
Korean LPGA for four years
before coming to the LPGA, and
the ?rst thing they taught me
was after a bad shot, you can?t
hit your club on the ground,
you cannot throw a club, you
Sometimes I go and play because my friends have ?nally
started to play golf. I wasn?t
really good at it, but I?ve been
playing more and more, so I?m
getting better.
???
you weren?t good at simulator golf? how is that possible? It?s a little di?erent from
normal golf. The long game
is mostly the same. But short
? to not burn out, you have to
have your own life. . . . having new experiences
is how i make my mind fresh. ?
friends or at a party, that?s the
only situation I feel uncomfortable when fans approach me.
Other than that, it?s really fun to
meet fans. It?s a lucky thing.
???
can?t yell. If you win a tournament, it?s OK to do a ?st bump
with your caddie or a hug, but
don?t show your emotions really big because your competitor could be feeling really bad.
Because of that, I feel like when
I?m in Korea I try to be more
calm when I play. It could be
di?erent on the KLPGA now,
but that?s how I was taught.
???
that?s pretty different
from how players behave
on-course in the united
states. Completely. In the U.S.,
the Americans love to see how
we feel on the golf course. Players use the F word or throw a
club. And the happy emotions,
too?like what Tiger does, the
february 2019 | golfdigest.com
91
Americans really love it. I feel
comfortable playing golf in the
U.S. because I feel more freedom. There?s good and bad to
both styles?I try to smooth my
game into all di?erent cultures.
???
why do you think you acclimated so quickly to the
american style of play?
I think I was born more
Westernized. I really quickly
switched to American mode
when I moved here when I was
22. I think it?s because I?m a
very independent person. In
America, when you?re 18 and
people go to university, they become independent right away.
Of course parents still care, but
I feel like a lot of people start
to make their own decisions
and live on their own. In Korea,
until we marry, a lot of people
live with their parents. So our
culture isn?t as much about
independence. I was always
independent. Like if my mom
asked me to do my homework,
I wouldn?t do it; if she didn?t
ask, I?d do it. But they realized
it and let me do whatever I
wanted to do. And I realized if
I want to be more independent,
I get more responsibility. It?s
made me want to be good at
everything I do, because I?m
responsible for it. Even when
I was young, whatever I decided
that tastes really similar to
normal pasta. I put a lot of vegetables in and pick a protein.
I don?t eat chicken, pork and
beef during tournaments because it makes my body feel
really heavy. It?s normally seafood and mushrooms.
???
do you try different diets?
I did a vegan diet for two weeks
to see how it?d go. I really liked
it. I?m such a foodie, so I don?t
think I can be completely vegan.
But I want to do it once every
few months.
???
what?s the weirdest food
you?ve eaten? Compared
do you watch the pga tour?
I do. I like watching Rory.
I played with him at the CVS
Classic. His swing was awesome. His power was really
great, and he used ground force
really well. I was impressed?
he knows so much about the
LPGA. He picked up my style
of golf really quickly. He?s a
golf nerd. He likes everything
about golf. I thought I was a golf
nerd, but maybe not compared
to him.
???
what are the best and
worst parts of pro-ams?
what do you like to do when
you?re not on the golf
course? I physically feel tired
compared to 10 years ago, so
I?m always thinking about how
I can make my body feel better
all the time. That?s how I got
into cooking. If you?re cooking,
you know what?s in there, even
the smallest ingredients. I?m really into pasta. Everyone knows
pasta?s not really the best for
you, but I found this rice pasta
it seems like inbee is your
older sister on tour. She?s
my best friend and my mentor.
Inbee?s been through everything
I?ve been through, and more.
She?s really good at simplifying
things, and she?s very direct.
She?s not going to lie to me to
make me feel better. She always
gives good advice.
pete all the time. It?s not to say
I don?t like competition, but
when you compete, you know
you have to be great, so you?re
grinding all the time. To not
burn out, you have to have your
own life. Golf is not my everything. I feel no hesitation to
try something new because of
golf?as long as it won?t injure
me. Having new experiences is
how I make my mind fresh all
the time.
???
???
???
what?s the best swing
tip you?ve ever gotten?
do you splurge when you
win? I like to treat myself. I
how are major wins different from normal tour
wins? At majors, you feel like
A few months ago, my coach,
Cameron McCormick, was like,
?You know you have to com-
know I practice hard, so I think
I deserve it. When I was young,
I would buy nice purses. But
now I?m into bigger things. Getting so into cooking has led me
to buy more stu? to make the
food better, which makes me
want to make the kitchen better, and then I want to make the
whole house better.
to Americans, we eat a lot of
weird things, like live octopus.
But one time in China, my
friend told me to take a bite of
something and told me it was
chicken. I was like, Wow, this
is really yummy. It turns out it
was a donkey. I couldn?t handle
it. And I heard they eat monkey
brain in China. I asked Shanshan [Feng], and she con?rmed
it, but she doesn?t eat that. You
have to be brave when you?re
eating in China. You have to be
in that challenger mood to try
something new.
morning, i?ll quit. . . . you can?t spend your
time doing things you don?t want to do. ?
???
???
The worst part is when people
are really into winning, like
we have to make birdies all
the time. That annoys me. The
best part is what I learn about
American culture. I learned
American humor through
pro-ams. The sense of humor
in Korea is di?erent. When I
was in high school, we?d watch
?Friends,? and the recorded
audience was always laughing,
but I didn?t understand why it
was funny. But now I understand American humor, so I
watched every episode again.
? if i don?t want to play golf tomorrow
to do, whatever I chose, I had
to do my best. Because my
parents let me be myself when
I was young, I became more
Westernized.
when she completed the Grand
Slam in 2015. I used to think the
Grand Slammers lived in a different universe, but when you
see your best friend do it, you
realize you can, too.
you have to manage everything
di?erently. But really, it?s still
just a tournament. We?re just
making the major mentality
tough on ourselves. If you have
experience winning tournaments, it makes it easier to deal
with. Major setups are more
di?cult than normal setups,
so if you win a major, it gives
you more con?dence for other
events. When you?re a major
champion, people think of you
di?erently, too. I think after
the U.S. Women?s Open, people
treated me di?erent. Especially
Americans?they know me as
the U.S. Open winner. It?s like
you?re a star right away.
92 golfdigest.com | february 2019
plete your backswing before
you start your downswing,
right?? But I hadn?t thought
about it like that. I always
thought about the swing as one
motion. It?s always been an automatic thing for me. It?s a good
tip for amateur golfers, too. If
you?re so rushed to hit the ball,
the tempo can get o?. If you
think about completing your
backswing, it?s hard to not have
good tempo.
???
what?s your biggest goal
in golf? It?s not really real to
me right now, but I want to be a
Grand Slammer. I?ve seen how
Inbee did it?I was with her
???
how do you avoid burning
out? It?s really tough to com-
???
what?s the worst shot
you?ve ever hit? This year,
KPMG, 17th-hole tee shot. I put
it in the water and blew my
chance to win another major.
???
the best? At the 2011 U.S.
Women?s Open, 72nd hole, second shot. It was a tough hole,
and a really tough pin position.
I hit a 6-iron to eight feet, and
I made the putt. That?s how I
got into the playo?, and then
I won. If I didn?t win that tournament, who knows where I?d
be. I might be on the KLPGA or
I?d have quit golf?I don?t know.
That shot changed my life.
good food. good health. good vibes.
behealthyish.com
A BON APP蒚IT BRAND
N
NNY
MILLER?S
WORDS STILL RESONATE
C L A S S I C J O H N N Y : M I L L E R I N T H E 1 9 7 4 U . S . O P E N AT W I N G E D F O O T, A Y E A R A F T E R W I N N I N G AT O A K M O N T.
M I L L E R AT R O YA L LY T H A M I N 1 9 7 4 , O N E O F H I S F I V E C O N S E C U T I V E T O P - 1 0 F I N I S H E S I N T H E O P E N C H A M P I O N S H I P.
previous pages: john d. hanlon/sports illustrated/getty images
J
OHNNY MILLER is saying his farewells as a
TV announcer, and to be sure, he has never been
at a loss for words. The voice of golf at NBC for
almost 30 years, Miller will make his ?nal call Feb. 3
at Scottsdale, and he?ll be missed. As a longtime
contributor to Golf World and Golf Digest, Miller
provided candid and provocative commentary,
perhaps never more so than in these excerpts. Over
the years, he opened up about the toll of tour golf
and o?ered insights into his approach to announcing. Miller has never been afraid to praise himself,
but he?s also brutally forthright about shortcomings in himself and others. ?Honesty and truth,?
he says, ?will always prevail.? ?MIKE O?MALLEY
?I HAD SORT OF
DONE ALL THE
THINGS I WANTED TO
DO IN THE GAME.
I WAS JUST CONTENT.
AND WHEN YOU?RE
CONTENT, YOU?RE
BASICALLY DONE.?
putting day of my life. I threeputted so many times?seven
in all?that when the show was
edited for TV, they mercifully
eliminated ?ve of them. It was
worse than embarrassing. From
tee to green, I played as well as
Jack, but on the greens it was
like I was holding a snake in my
hands. I couldn?t make a threefooter. There is no worse feeling
than standing over a short putt,
knowing you?ve got no chance
to make it.
???
when i was in my prime ,
i wasn?t consistent. I want
to point that out. I was not a guy
you could bank on every week.
But when I was on and playing
my best, I might have played
as good golf as most anybody.
I don?t want to be the one to
say it, but some of my golf at
the time was pretty unusual.
Let?s leave it at that.
???
in many ways, i?m a softy.
I?m pretty street smart, growing
up in San Francisco. I?m not a
nerd, but I am sort of an easygoing guy. But I?m also sort of
a semi-confrontational person.
I don?t like getting in arguments
with people?I like to peacemake?but I can get in there
and mix it up if I need to. I just
prefer not to.
???
i was never a phenomenal
i won the british open
by six strokes, won at Phoenix
by 14, won at Tucson by nine,
and won other tournaments
by eight, seven, six and ?ve.
I wasn?t winning tournaments
by accident. This was going
out and saying to the guys,
This thing is history early.
above: WA LT ER
IO OSS J R.
???
some of the guys almost
took it as an a?ront, like a
basketball team that lost by
40 points: Why are you making
us look bad?
???
my theory in golf was that
when you?re on, keep it on,
because you never know what
tomorrow will bring.
putter. I was a very good putter
from about 12 feet in, but I was
always mediocre from outside
15 feet. My 61s and 62s, if you
analyze them, were not rounds
where I was chipping in and
making 60-footers. It was a very
methodical kind of 61. It was
like, ?That?s what he should
have shot.?
???
later on , my putting short-
circuited everything. My most
extreme case of choking, in
case you missed it, was against
Jack Nicklaus in a ?Shell?s Wonderful World of Golf? match in
1997. I?d looked forward to playing the match for a long time
because it was at the Olympic
Club in San Francisco, and I was
playing against my hero. But
I happened to have the worst
I had three distinct swing images. I had Lee Trevino, where
I opened my left foot and took
it back and leaned into my
left foot and hit this low little
squeeze/fade. I had Tony Lema,
where I took it outside, sort of
like Hubert Green with a light
grip and dropped it in and
hooked the ball high. And I had
Johnny Miller, who hit the ball
pretty straight. So no matter
what pin or what hole it was,
one of those three guys had the
perfect shot for that hole. I even
talked to Trevino before I hit it:
C?mon, Lee, this is your shot.
???
i hit the ball with almost
a jai-alai type swing. I would
gather the club toward the ball
at impact in a very slow motion.
Then with a snap of my legs and
an explosion, I would almost
gather the ball up and throw it
at the target. It produced a shot
that just ?oated up there like a
knuckle ball; it came down very
dead and very soft.
???
what went on in my head
while I was playing was this:
Would you please hurry up
and hit, because I can?t wait
to hit this shot. It?s going to be
great. It?s going to be fun. I just
couldn?t wait to knock the
stinkin? pin down.
???
i was always in a tremendous
rush in those days to do my
thing. If I went ?shing, I had
to get there as quick as I could.
I had to maximize every minute. There was no feeling that
there was plenty of time?just
relax and enjoy it. I don?t know
if it was good or bad. Today,
it would probably give me an
ulcer. Now I don?t really worry
about things. Today I?m the
world?s greatest sleeper, if nothing else.
???
i always dreamed positive
things. I always wanted to play
the last hole either one-armed
or left-handed. Or knock it up
about a foot from the last hole
with about a ?ve-shot lead and
just take my 3-wood out and
blaze it out-of-bounds over the
gallery?s head, then drop a ball
back by the hole, tap in, and
still win.
???
i had a period where I could
be leading but sleep like I
wasn?t even playing a tournament?no nerves. Golf was
sort of fun. But after that, it got
harder.
???
before, i was dreaming
about golf all the time, almost
every night. My dreams about
golf totally ended about 1976.
Your dreams probably say a lot
about why you?re doing things.
???
if you were going to take
a negative to Johnny Miller,
it would be that I didn?t relish
having the last shot at the end
of the game. That was not my
thing. It was Jack Nicklaus?
thing. I?m not so sure that it
was even Trevino?s. I think Tom
Watson enjoyed it. Nicklaus
wanted to be one shot back in
the last round. I wanted to be
eight shots ahead.
???
jack made me look like a
hack in the majors. He had a
very calculating, conservative
and, for me, too-boring style
of play. I?m just not willing to
play that kind of golf; I get o?
on ?ooring it. For me to stay in
tra?c for three-fourths of the
trip and then in the last quarter
hope that people break down?
then you step on the pedal just a
touch, and that?s what wins you
the tournaments?that wasn?t
my brand of doing things in life.
???
i didn?t value enough what it
was to be a champion. I didn?t
buy into the majors as much as
I should have. . . . I think some
of that was because I grew up
caring more about Snead?s
february 2019 | golfdigest.com
97
???
players who win a bunch
of majors are special creatures.
It?s not normal. Under heavy
pressure, their brains are able
to still process information
smoothly. But if it?s not in your
DNA, I don?t think you can really learn it.
me? I couldn?t really enjoy what
I?d done, and I felt pressure to
do more.
???
jack was one of the reasons
I came out of my slump in the
early ?80s. He said, ?You don?t
have to worry about John; he?ll
be back.? And I was thinking,
Gee, I didn?t know that. I thought
I might be history. When he said
that, it really helped.
???
pressure? The U.S. Open has
longer lines at the bathroom
than any tournament.
???
my only regret ?a little bit?
Champ, you?re going to make
it.? I promise you that there has
never been a father that helped
his son and has been a better
father/instructor to pave the
way for a player to get on tour
than my father. There is no way
there has ever been a father to
match him.
???
my dad always talked about
self-esteem, how the psyche is
so fragile, and how it gets attacked by the game. Everything
with my dad was positive.
He always found something good. The most
powerful thing a
son will ever hear
is a?rmation
from his father.
?YOUR DREAMS
PROBABLY SAY A LOT
ABOUT WHY
YOU?RE DOING THINGS.?
was not winning the Masters.
[Miller was second three times.]
Only because it would be cool
to go to that Champions Dinner.
F I S H I N G W I T H S O N J O H N I N CA L I FO R N I A I N 1 9 74 .
i think ?74 and ?75 took a
ever since I was a little boy,
pretty big piece out of me.
After all the years Nicklaus
had been in Arnold?s shadow,
everybody had ?nally fallen
in love with Jack. And as I was
challenging Jack, a lot of people
were like, ?Don?t even think
about comparing him to Nicklaus.? Like they were angry at
me. I started feeling, Why bother if they aren?t going to accept
I never really played bad. I never had a downturn. Everything
was always according to schedule. I had a foundation that
could hold the world?s tallest
building. That?s very important.
???
my father instilled in me
tremendous things?positive
thinking, always calling me
Champ. He would say, ?Hey,
98 golfdigest.com | february 2019
in ?70, ?72, ?74, ?76, ?78 and ?80.
I was thinking, I?m not failing
in the home, but, obviously,
to play at the level that I was
expected to play would require
tremendous sacri?ces in the
home
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