Golf Digest Issue 5, 2021

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

3 min
valentino dixon will draw your course

Michelle Obama and John McEnroe recently acquired his work. This drawing of Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., hangs in the entrance of the clubhouse. It was commissioned by the club’s owner, Michael Pascucci, for $50,000. During quarantine Pascucci phoned artist Valentino Dixon after watching a TV show about his extraordinary life, which readers of Golf Digest know took a twist when Dixon mailed his work to our magazine while imprisoned for a murder he did not commit. Pascucci got Dixon’s number from his golf buddy, Bryant Gumbel, who happened to be the host of the segment on HBO Real Sports. Next he mailed several photos of his beloved Long Island links to Dixon and told him to pick one. Dixon did, and he recommended a large size across four panels (a…

4 min
year of the comeback

Other sports don’t allow slumpers to linger. WE HAVE WITNESSED tournaments without fans—which gave us, if nothing else, a break from screams of, “Get in the hole!” Perhaps in an act of karmic grace, we have witnessed what can best be described as “The Year of the Comeback.” They are familiar names to anyone who follows golf: Lydia Ko, Jordan Spieth, Stewart Cink, Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, Mike Weir, Hideki Matsuyama, Ariya Jutanugarn. All are major champions. All have endured droughts, some bad enough to draw whispers—loud ones in a few cases—that they might not win again. Cink’s last victory had been the 2009 Open Championship (which is best remembered for Tom Watson not winning at 59), and Weir, the 2003 Masters champion, had not won in 13 years. Ko and…

4 min
undercover caddie

One of my first events 30 years ago was the PGA Tour’s old Tucson Open. I remember seeing caddies who looked beat up. They were not so much standing next to their bags as they were angled over them, their bodies overloaded by this invisible weight. I recall being sad and almost embarrassed for them. It just seemed like they had let themselves go. I called my dad and told him about it, promising that wouldn’t be me. ► What a stupid kid I was. Now I’m one of those guys bent over the bag who looks like a sparring partner for the heavyweight champ. ► We are by no means athletes, but our work is a workout. We were getting our steps in well before step-counting became a thing,…

8 min
jim nantz

John daly will always be remembered for being one of the great Cinderella stories in the history of golf. In addition, it’s doubtful we will ever see a two-time major champion who fits the description “a man of the people” more emphatically than J.D. When I caught up with him in April at the Insperity Invitational, where he tied for second, he had a full-length beard that had him looking more like Santa Claus than the raw-boned kid from Arkansas who 30 years ago this summer stunned the world by winning the PGA Championship as the ninth alternate into the field. J.D. is 55 now, and this past year has been a tough one, as he revealed he has been battling bladder cancer. But his colorful demeanor, big game and…

4 min
don’t forget to breathe

PROFESSIONAL GOLFERS are meticulous about how they treat their bodies. That’s a good thing—being physically fit, eating right and staying hydrated are crucial if athletes are to perform at their peak. However, far too many golfers at every level essentially ignore the life force of humanity. We’re talking, of course, about breathing. ▶ Breathing is our best defense against the roller coaster of emotions this game wants to take you on. You don’t have to take my word for it. It is backed up by science. This isn’t about psychology; it’s about physiology. When you focus on your breathing—say, breathe in on a three-count, hold it for one, then breathe out for five—you saturate your red blood cells with oxygen. When this happens, the primal part of your hardware is tricked into…

3 min
when a camera lingered

A sign of respect when nobody was looking. Months have passed now, but it likely will remain one of the moments we remember from these tumultuous times. While CBS played the theme song “Thrill of Victory” by E.S. Posthumus—you know it as “da-da-da-da da-da-dadah!”—at the close of the Masters and the video camera of Erik Leidel lingered on the final green, we saw the figure of Hideki Matsuyama’s caddie, Shota Hayafuji, walking back to the 18th hole as Jim Nantz said simply, “Matsuyama has won the Masters Tournament.” Then an unexpected moment followed. Shota had just removed the flag from the flagstick, a tradition for the champion’s caddie, and returned the stick to the cup. With his back to the camera, he removed his green cap—and bowed deeply to the course. Masters victory we recall,…