Podcast by Golf Digest
There is no worse tag in golf than that of a cheater. In a game that prides itself on honor and self-policing, the players who betray that trust even once struggle to restore their reputation. In the aftermath of an incident in a qualifier tournament, Alex Myers looks at the particulars of the case, but also the wider world of cheating in golf—how often it happens, why it happens, and why it's so counter to golf's core principles.
For most golfers out there, the scores we shoot have little tangible significance. We maintain a handicap, maybe play for a few bucks, but otherwise, no one really cares but us. And yet for many golfers, the difference between 80 and 79 is a landmark milestone. On this week's episode, Sam Weinman and Shane Ryan discuss their respective quests to break 80. They consult with pros, sports psychologists, and some of the golfers they play with, to understand what's been holding them back, what they need to make it happen, and what it will signify to them if it does.
In the 1930's and 1940's, when women's amateur golf was the premiere women's golf circuit, some players became stars. One was Marion Miley, who won just about every major amateur event available to her. But her career came to a tragic end in the middle of the night in the Lexington Country Club apartments where she lived with her mother. In the decades that followed, Marion's story has been forgotten. Keely Levins dives into Marion's story and how author Beverly Bell set out to ensure Marion's story would be remembered forever.
The golf world has been awash with news about the threat LIV Golf poses to the traditional framework of the professional game. In far shorter supply is clarity about where this all might be headed. In this episode, Dan Rapaport explores the origins of the PGA Tour-LIV rivalry as well as the turbulent present to help understand how the situation could resolve, and why it might not anytime soon.
Can a 40-year-old golfer really overhaul his golf game in just 12 weeks? That's what we set out to learn. This spring, Golf Digest's Alex Myers embarked on an intense program overseen by experts to address every element of his sagging game—from his swing, to his body, to his mind—to see what type of change was possible. In this episode of Local Knowledge, Myers describes the process, the staggering results, and even how this sort of program could lead to a breakthrough of your own.
To understand why St. Andrews' Old Course is not just the "Home of Golf," but also the most significant golf course in the world, it's important to understand just how much of the game's history has run through this unique seaside layout. From the course's deceptive complexity to its seminal moments, Dan Rapaport outlines everything that makes the Old Course so vital to the game's identity, and why the Open Championship there this week comes at a fractious but opportune moment.
Golf's major championships are when the stakes are highest, and how the best players in the game are measured. But the downside of putting so much emphasis on four weeks a year is it risks undermining the rest of the golf calendar. In this episode, Alex Myers examines how the men's major championships evolved to become the mega-events they are today, and the unexpected challenges that dynamic presents.
No tournament in golf appeals to the dreamer more than the U.S. Open, where a qualifying process puts journeymen, club pros and even schoolteachers just three rounds away from a spot in the field next to the game's elite. On the eve of the U.S. Open at The Country Club outside Boston, Dan Rapaport examines the U.S. Open qualifying process, explains why it remains one of golf's most intriguing opportunities, and dives into some of the incredible tales that arise out of it every year.
When Title IX was enacted in 1972, it was hard to imagine its influence could still be felt in golf a half-century later. But the landmark legislation not only ushered in a new wave of women golfers, those golfers went on to raise golfers of their own. On the eve of the U.S. Women's Open, Keely Levins examines what the golf landscape was like for women before Title IX, and the myriad ways it's been reshaped in the decades since.
Golf is technically an individual sport, but increasingly, top-level players rely on a broad assortment of supporting characters to achieve optimal performance. From caddies and coaches to trainers, chefs, mind coaches and data analysts, Dan Rapaport takes an inside look at the various figures in a tour pro's orbit to understand what they do, how they help, and how they all coexist on the same team.
When Tiger Woods won the Masters by 12 shots in 1997, then decided to rebuild his swing, it paved the way for the most dominant stretch of golf in history. It was also evidence of what sports psychologists call a “mastery mindset,” when an individual is driven more by a goal of constant improvement than external rewards. As Sam Weinman explores, this way of thinking is on display with many of the game's top players. In conversations with Masters champion Scottie Scheffler, two-time major winner Collin Morikawa, and experts, we explore how a simple shift in thinking might be more important than any single swing change.Related: Why some top junior golfers make it and others don't
The Big Money Classic marketed itself as a rare opportunity for struggling mini-tour players to cash in on a big payday. It instead left players waiting for their payouts and asking for refunds on entry fees. Keely Levins tells the story of a tournament that sold players on big things but instead left them angered, embarrassed and in search of answers.
A Masters win brings with it many well-known traditions: an interview in Butler Cabin, the presentation of the coveted green jacket, the ascendance to the vaunted Champion's Locker Room. But most fans don't have a full appreciation for the whirlwind of activity that ensues once a golfer has secured a win at Augusta National. In this episode of Local Knowledge. Golf Digest's Dan Rapaport goes behind the scenes with the men who've been there to understand what really happens in the minutes, hours, and days following a Masters win, and why for them, it was both a blur and an indelible memory.
When Phil Mickelson found himself immersed in controversy recently thanks to comments related to the new Saudi golf tour, it was yet another moment that elicited comparisons to Tiger Woods. Whether making headlines, winning majors, or courting sponsors, Mickelson and Woods haven't been able to escape each other's shadows over the last quarter-century. In this episode of Local Knowledge, Alex Myers provides a history of Tiger and Phil's relationship, and speaks to the author of a new book on the two, to explain how the two are markedly different, and how they're more alike than either might want to admit.
Not until Netflix released “Drive to Survive”, its multi-season behind-the-scenes look at Formula One racing, did the sport really take hold in the U.S. It explains why top PGA Tour players have agreed to let Netflix cameras shadow them like never before in 2022. If golf enjoys a similar surge in popularity, the pie will get bigger for everyone. In this episode of Local Knowledge, Dan Rapaport talks to the show's creators to understand what they hope to achieve with the new show, and how they hope to tell the story of golf to a whole new segment of fans.
Driving distances at the elite level have been creeping up for decades, and not far behind have been cries for golf's governing bodies to intervene. But not everyone believes distance is really a problem, and even among those who do, there remains the complicated matter of what to do about it. Do you roll back the ball? The driver? Should they consider different rules for pros than for amateurs? In this episode, Keely Levins tackles golf's most complicated issue, explaining how we got here, and what might be on the horizon.
Morgan Hoffmann once fit the standard PGA Tour player mold. Now his life couldn't be more different. When doctors diagnosed the former World No. 1 amateur with muscular dystrophy and told him to expect his condition to deteriorate, Hoffmann retreated to the Costa Rica rainforest in search of an alternative. In this gripping episode, Dan Rapaport travels to Costa Rica to chronicle just how far Hoffmann has traveled from the fairways of PGA Tour, and to understand why he still has his sights on making his way back.
Not so long ago golf on TV was filled with a series of breathless infomercials that promised desperate golfers the cure for their ailing games. The products themselves didn't always deliver on their promises, but the ads were at least effective in hooking consumers, sometimes in a big way. Alex Myers revisits the golden age of the golf infomercials, why they worked, and why they've generally disappeared.
Season 3 of Local Knowledge launches with a look at Greg Norman's longtime vision of a competing golf circuit to the PGA Tour. Norman first championed the concept as a top-ranked player who wanted to start a “World Tour” in the 1990s, and it continues today as the frontman for an ambitious Saudi-funded effort. Dan Rapaport examines the common threads between Norman's idea back then and what it looks like today, and why he has been so determined to make it happen.
In the final episode of a year-end series celebrating our favorite moments from the first two seasons of Local Knowledge, we're revisiting the various ways we've peeled back the curtain on life as a professional golfer. From what separates the good from the great, to what happens when you hit it big, Dan Rapaport takes a deeper look into the highs and lows when making you're living playing for a score.
In the third of a four-part series revisiting our favorite episodes from the first two seasons of Local Knowledge, we're looking back at the various ways we've examined the mental game. From how we process difficult outcomes to how we work our way out of a slump, Sam Weinman highlights our sharpest insights into how golfers think, and the various ways we can improve our mindsets on the course.
In the second of a series revisiting the best of our first two seasons, Keely Levins looks at how Local Knowledge has explored the intersection of golf and money. From who makes too much to who doesn't make enough, to how aspiring pros even pay their way, the golf economy has remained a consistently fascinating storyline.
In the first of a four-part series revisiting the inaugural two seasons of Local Knowledge, we look at some of the unique characters highlighted in our episodes. From Moe Norman to Babe Zaharias to long-drive champion Kyle Berkshire and others, Alex Myers tells the compelling story behind each, and explains the singular role they've played in the game.
As the discussion around emotional well-being gains momentum in other sports, golfers are beginning to open up about the severe toll the game can take on their psyches. In this episode, Dan Rapaport talks to golfers, coaches, and experts about the unique stresses presented by playing golf for a living, and the various ways many golfers are learning to cope.
There have been other golf movies that have resonated with audiences, but no golf movie was better at channeling the core of the game, both the good and the bad, than "Tin Cup". On the 25th anniversary of the movie's debut, Alex Myers speak with the film's star, Kevin Costner, writer and director Ron Shelton, and golf figures like Jim Nantz and Gary McCord about the real-life inspiration of Tin Cup, and the lengths the film went to ring true to golf-savvy viewers.
From wildcard picks to pairings to uniforms, a Ryder Cup captain's responsibilities cover a broad spectrum. But the question remains, can a guy with a walkie-talkie really make much of a difference in a competition featuring 24 of the best golfers in the world? In this episode, Dan Rapaport speaks with a selection of former U.S. and European leaders to hear where they believe a captain's influence can be felt most.
Golf has had an uneven history in welcoming women into the game, but the pandemic presents a potential turning point. With a record number of women participating in the game in 2020, the question remains how to make sure those new players keep coming back. In this episode, Keely Levins examines the barriers that kept many women from playing golf in the past, how they've been overcome of late, and what still needs to be done to make the game more inviting for female golfers.
As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Tiger Woods turning professional, it's easy to cite the many ways Woods influenced golf, both at the professional level and beyond. But perhaps the most compelling way to appreciate the extent of Tiger's contributions is to consider what the game would look like if he never came around in the first place. In this episode, Alex Myers paints a picture of what this Tiger-less golf world would have looked like, from the money at stake, to the way the game is covered, to the stars who might have dominated golf instead.
Making it to the PGA Tour is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for many golfers, yet those players quickly learn it's only the first step in a challenging learning process. In this episode of Local Knowledge, Dan Rapaport talks to a collection of tour pros about the difficult, sometimes comical education that accompanies an arrival at the game's highest level, and how their expectations differed from reality.
Hideki Matsuyama's win in the Masters was not only his first major championship. It was the first major won by any Japanese man, providing what could be a shot of energy to a once-thriving Japanese golf economy. As Matsuyama takes center stage in this week's Olympic golf competition outside Tokyo, Alex Myers examines the many reverberations of Matsuyama's historic win, from the lucrative opportunities for the player, to the next Japanese golf boom it might inspire.
It wasn't so long ago a sign hung at Royal St. George's, host of this week's Open Championship, banning “women or dogs” from the clubhouse. Only this month did Pine Valley, the No. 1 golf course in the U.S., invite its first women to be members. In this episode, Dan Rapaport looks at all-male golf clubs—the series of events that led some of golf's most elite clubs to reverse their policies and allow women, and the reasons certain clubs are still holding firm in keeping women out.
Every golfer breathes, of course. But experts in and out of golf say how you breathe can play a vital role in how you perform on the course—from the tempo of your swing to your ability to sink an important putt. In this episode, Sam Weinman examines the underrated difference proper breathing can make for golfers; how breath training has aided elite players like Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau, and what average players can do to feel an immediate difference.
There are 50 tournaments on the 2021-22 PGA Tour schedule, and truth is, top-level players have compelling reasons to skip most of them. So what do tournaments do to maintain relevance on a busy schedule? In this week's episode of Local Knowledge, Alex Myers examines the growing pressure on regular tour stops to recruit players, as well the creative steps they take to ensure their event stands out.
Scott Fawcett isn't a golf pro, and he doesn't make golf clubs, yet in recent years he's become a major influence in changing the way people play golf. By using data and satellite imagery, Fawcett has championed a strategic formula that is either a golf cheat code, or in the eyes of his critics, an oversimplification of a complex game. In this episode of Local Knowledge, Dan Rapaport examines Fawcett's revolutionary approach to golf, how it might help players of all levels, and why it doesn't sit well with golf purists.
Babe Didrikson Zaharias was the rarest of superstars who excelled in everything she did. When she eventually settled on golf, she became one of the game's all-time great champions and helped to pioneer the modern LPGA. In this episode of Local Knowledge, Alex Myers tells the story of Zaharias' incredible career, including the circumstances behind her win in the 1954 U.S. Women's Open that nearly defies belief.
How does one sleep the night before he has a chance to win a major championship? What happens in the minutes and hours that follow such a landmark event? In this episode of Local Knowledge, Golf Digest Playing Editor Collin Morikawa sits down with Dan Rapaport to reflect on the whirlwind nine months since he captured his major title; how he knew he belonged the PGA Tour; and the parts of being a professional golfer he's still getting used to.
In 1962, Mapmaker C.S. Hammond & Co. asked Golf Digest for a list of the country's best courses for its cartographers to chart, but editors thought such a list was too subjective. Instead, the magazine embarked on a four-year project using USGA course ratings along with its own research to determine the country's most difficult tracks. The first such list, America's 200 Toughest Courses, was published in 1966. In 1975, the list became America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses, and it's been the definitive ranking of golf courses since. In this episode of Local Knowledge, Alex Myers explores the process and criteria that go into constructing the list, how it's evolved over the last half-century, and why criticism from pundits and everyday golfers is still unavoidable.
No golf slump is exactly the same, but they all tend to have similar ingredients. Whether it's Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, or even you, most slumps arise from a crisis of confidence. But as Dan Rapaport reports, a slump doesn't need to be a death sentence. In this episode of Local Knowledge, Rapaport talks to PGA Tour players and the sports psychologists who work with them to examine the root causes of these downward spirals, and how it's possible to come out the other side even stronger.
On the list of great golf courses around the world, Augusta National often ranks near the top. But when it comes to the course most golfers want to play, there is no question. Owing to its exclusivity, its manicured perfection, and the familiarity from watching the Masters every year on TV, a chance to play Augusta National is considered the ultimate get for most golfers. In this episode of Local Knowledge, Alex Myers explores how certain players found their way into golf nirvana, and finds out whether it lived up to the hype.
Golf gambling has taken off in recent years, and it figures to grow even bigger. How did we get here? In this episode, we examine the game's rapid embrace of what was once considered a seedy pastime, and why golf seems particularly well suited to benefit from legalized gambling. We'll look at how golf's massive amount of data has allowed gamblers to wager on seemingly every aspect of the game, and why some players are apprehensive about its influence on the sport.
Ken Duke's 65 at the 2016 Players Championship isn't close to one of the lowest rounds in PGA Tour history. It's not even the best round ever at the Players. So why does it qualify as the greatest round in Players history, as well as one of the greatest rounds in the history of golf? In this episode of Local Knowledge, Alex Myers tells the story of a journeyman pro's improbable round on a difficult scoring day at the Players, along with the backstory of how our measurement of golf performance has grown more sophisticated in recent years. In talking to Columbia University professor Mark Broadie, the creator of golf's strokes-gained statistic, Myers explores how advanced metrics have altered our understanding of golf, and has helped everyone from tour pros to average players understand where they excel and where they most need improvement.
There is no draft in pro golf. When most young players try to make a go of it on tour, they're on their own, which means the expenses of tournament fees, travel, and caddies can add up in a hurry. In the absence of the type of endorsement contracts given to top prospects, some players have to get creative, and that means relying on wealthy backers who help front the costs in exchange for a potential return on their investment and the entertainment of having skin in the game. In this episode of Local Knowledge, Daniel Rapaport looks at how certain golfers have come to rely on “sugar daddies" in their early years on tour, and how those relationships vary from one to the next.
Jan Stephenson won 16 times on the LPGA, including three majors, but in the 1970s, the tour sought to market the Australian as more than just a talented player. From her photoshoots in a nightgown or in a bathtub full of golf balls, Stephenson faced backlash from fellow competitors who thought marketing players' appearance diminished their abilities as athletes. Yet the controversies around Stephenson didn't end there. She dated a series of famous men, was once removed from a golf course and brought to a psychiatric hospital, and lost her game when a mugging left her with broken fingers. In this episode, Keely Levins looks at Stephenson's journey on tour, the criticism she faced, and the underrated career she carved out as a result.
A golf rules official's responsibilities cover a broad spectrum. They set up the course, oversee playoffs, and determine when a golf course is playable in a rainstorm and when it isn't. Perhaps most important, they help golfers decipher the game's complicated rules at pivotal moments throughout a tournament. In this episode, Alex Myers talks to retiring rules officials Slugger White and Mark Russell of the PGA Tour, and John Paramor of the European Tour about the highs and lows of their long careers, and which parts of the job made them sweat most.
After a 91-day hiatus caused by the surge in COVID-19 cases, the PGA Tour returned last June and continued uninterrupted through the end of 2020. Through positive tests and logistical details that ranged from how to keep score to how to give volunteers coffee, the season was unlike any that came before. In this episode, host Dan Rapaport and Golf Digest editorial director Max Adler explain how the tour navigated the uncertainty of a pandemic to resurrect its schedule.
Conventional golf wisdom has said long drive competitions and tournament golf are two entirely different disciplines. But the gap has closed in recent years, and Kyle Berkshire, the No. 1 ranked long driver in the world, is out to prove his 150 mile-an-hour swing speed would give him an advantage even over the best players in the world. In this episode of Local Knowledge, Alex Myers examines what Berkshire needs to do to make the jump from professional long drive to the PGA Tour, and why the time might be right for him to do so.
Before his retirement from Golf Digest last month, Guy Yocom had one of the most unique jobs in golf. In his 36-year career, Yocom came to know virtually every great player in the modern game by way of extensive one-on-one interviews for the magazine. Yocom met with Ben Hogan in his Forth Worth office, stayed with Phil Mickelson in his first condo fresh out of college, and came to know firsthand Lee Trevino's generosity and compassion. Along the way, Yocom not only produced some of Golf Digest's most important interviews, he developed an appreciation for what these giants of the game were like as people, what motivated them, and how they compared to one another. In this episode of Local Knowledge, Dan Rapaport turns the tables on Yocom and asks the veteran golf journalist to share some of his favorite stories about the characters behind the headlines.
A seemingly obscure legal rule that would allow college athletes to profit from their name, image or likeness could change the complexion of amateur golf, what was once considered golf in its purest form. In reality, the game is already well removed from an era when Bobby Jones and Frances Ouimet both had to leave amateur golf behind for money they received tied to their accomplishments on the course. Now amateur golfers can receive free clubs, nominal prizes, and are supported well enough to travel and compete around the country. In this episode, Keely Levins examines what amateur golf used to signify, what it is now, and where it could be headed in the near future.
At the first playing of the tournament that is now known as the Masters, Augusta National Golf Club needed to borrow chairs from a funeral home. The club needed money to buy grass seed, and the only reason we now know Augusta National's clubhouse as one of golf's most iconic buildings is because the club at first didn't have enough money to tear it down. In the latest episode of Local Knowledge, Alex Myers talks to David Owen, author of “The Making of the Masters,” to learn how profoundly Augusta National struggled in its early years, and how desperation led to some of golf's most important innovations.
No job in golf has evolved more than the tour caddie. Once just a set of shoulders to carry a bag, caddies have grown to assume different roles for different players. Some have been elevated to where they're mentioned in the same breath as the guys hitting the shot. Others are just friends or family with no prior caddying experience but serve as a player's trusted ally and protector. The job has simultaneously grown more complicated thanks to the myriad demands on tour; and easier because of new tools at their disposal. In this episode, Daniel Rapaport talks to caddies and the players they work for about the new responsibilities for caddies, how partnerships are formed, and what happens when those relationships go south.
When reports surfaced of a top LPGA player needing to pay for her own clubs while in contention at the season's second major championship, it spoke to the harsh financial realities faced by many women golfers. With fewer sponsorship opportunities and smaller purses but often just as high expenses as their PGA Tour counterparts, many LPGA players have been forced to be creative to make ends meet, especially during a pandemic. As Keely Levins reports, whether it's driving to tournaments or using a pushcart instead of a caddie, the bootstrapping existence of most LPGA players at least produces a product in which players are more driven to win than ever.