Golf Digest June 2019

Golf Digest empowers the modern golfer, delivering monthly content on how, what and where to play. Golf Digest provides "how-to" articles by an unparalleled team of the game's top professionals, the most in-depth equipment rankings, the Hot List and is the No. 1 authority for golf course rankings.

United States
Conde Nast US

in this issue

4 min
the legend of purvis james

Chairman and Editor-in-Chief It’s clear we need a return to the Boatwright Method at the U.S. Open. WHEN GARY PLAYER won the 1965 U.S. Open at Bellerive, first place was $25,000. Player, whose mother died of cancer when he was 8, donated $5,000 from the purse to cancer research and the remaining $20,000 to the USGA for junior golf. Some pros were moved to say, “Just goes to show, the USGA is four times tougher to beat than cancer.” So our story in this issue, “USGA Confidential” (page 70), isn’t the first example of the contentiousness between tour players and the Governing Body. P.J. Boatwright, who set up courses for the USGA from 1969-’90, once told me: “Shouldn’t it be difficult to win the U.S. Open—damned difficult?” But the definition of damned difficult…

3 min
undercover tour pro

WHO HAS the best life on the PGA Tour is a highly personal and subjective question. It depends on your values, your ambitions, what’s going to give you the most happiness during your short time on Earth. That said, it ain’t anybody in the top 10 in the World Ranking, or probably even the top 20. Those guys live under a microscope. Seems like Rory McIlroy has to do media every time he shows up to the course. Rickie Fowler makes nice bank from all those sponsors, but it’s a rare day when he doesn’t have a photo shoot or some other type of obligation. And, of course, Tiger Woods can’t walk 50 feet to a port-a-john without getting hounded. Me? I’m the kind of player who only gets interviewed when…

3 min
crunch time?

Everyone needs a tee shot they can rely on. It’s not necessarily the longest drive, it’s the one you’re sure you can put in the fairway when you can’t afford to be in the rough. I had one of those situations last year on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff with Minjee Lee at the LPGA Mediheal Championship. The 18th at Lake Merced in San Francisco is a par 5, so the odds were pretty good I would need a birdie or I’d lose. I went to my go-to tee shot, a baby draw, and split the fairway. Then I hit my 3-wood to three feet, setting up an eagle and the win—my first in almost two years. Most people focused on that 3-wood, but it was the tee shot that…

2 min
the no-room bunker shot

THIS IS ONE of those shots where you think to yourself, How am I gonna get anywhere near the hole? First, accept that it’s OK to hit the ball past the flag. The worst thing you can do is get too cute and have the same shot again. Second, realize that with enough loft, you can swing with some speed and still hit a short shot. Before you even take your grip, turn the clubface open 30 or 40 degrees. Then put your top hand on with the thumb straight down the handle, not turned away from the target like a normal grip. Play the ball up in your stance, in line with your front foot, and lean the shaft away from the target. These moves will add loft and help…

1 min
backswing checklist

PEOPLE SAY the golf swing is all about impact. But it’s what you do before impact that determines if the strike will be any good. Getting into a solid position at the top lets you swing freely on the way down. You don’t have to fight your way back into position. Let’s look at three things in my backswing here. First, I’ve stayed in my forward tilt toward the ball. My left shoulder is lower than my right. I’ve simply rotated around my spine, so my height hasn’t changed from address. Maintaining this tilt gives me a great chance to return the club precisely to the ball. Second, my left wrist is flat. The left wrist controls the clubface. If my wrist was cupped (bent back), the face would be open. That…

2 min
lyin’ eyes?

EVERYONE PUTTS poorly at times, including me. Check this out: In 2016, I missed 32 of 70 attempts from four to eight feet. That got my attention. I wasn’t giving any thought to how I wanted to approach my putting, and that had to change. ▸ I started by putting down chalk lines on a green, and what I found was, my eye line at address was way off. What my eyes saw as a straight line to the hole turned out to be well right of it. For a 15-foot putt, it was off by as much as a foot or more. That’s a long way to be off for anyone, let alone a professional. I realized I needed to change my head position to see the line correctly every…