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The Adam Scott-Steve Williams partnership is done. Here are the duo's 5 most memorable moments

On Wednesday, Adam Scott and Steve Williams announced the end of their "partnership" as player and caddie -- citing scheduling differences as the main reason for the split. It was a relatively short, but mostly successful run that saw Scott claim his first major and rise to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here's a look back at their five most memorable moments together.

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1. 2013 Masters: Scott finally broke through at a major by beating Angel Cabrera in a playoff and Williams played a big role in the victory. On the winning putt, Scott consulted with Williams. “I could hardly see the green, he was my eyes on the putt,” Scott said. “The winning putt might be the highlight of my career, because he asked me to read it,” Williams told The Associated Press. That was a great putt to end an incredible tournament.

2. 2011 Bridgestone Invitational: This will forever be remembered as the WGC event that Steve Williams won. At least, it seemed that way when Williams was interviewed immediately following Scott's first win with him on the bag following his split with Tiger Woods. "I have been caddieing for more than 30 years now. I have won 145 times and that is the best win of my life," Williams said afterwards. "A lot has been said this week and it is great to back it up. I back myself as a frontrunner as a caddie and I have won again." Williams said. Somewhere, Woods scowled. Or laughed.

3. 2012 British Open: It wasn't all good for this "partnership." At Royal Lytham & St. Annes, Scott seemed headed for a first career major championship, but then disaster struck. Scott bogeyed the last four holes, capped by a questionable decision to hit 3-wood off the 18th tee that put him in a pot bunker. Coupled with a rally by Ernie Els, Scott's stunning finish left him with the most heartbreaking loss of his career. 
4. 2013 British Open: A year after Scott's close call at St. Annes, he suffered a similar fate at Muirfield. After grabbing the lead on the back nine on Sunday, Scott again made four straight bogeys. Once he and Williams righted the ship it was too late to catch Phil Mickelson, who claimed his first claret jug.

5. 2011 Presidents Cup: Never has there been more buildup to a golfer crossing paths with a caddie than there was for Williams caddying against his former boss, Woods, in a Thursday four-ball match in Melbourne. Williams and Woods got their brief handshake over with on the first tee and then Williams got the last laugh as Scott and K.J. Choi trounced Woods and Steve Stricker, 7 and 6.
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News & Tours

Missing Links: 'This vote has to be yes,' on opening Royal & Ancient Golf Club to women

Stories of interest you might have missed…

“St Andrews, like every other place in the nation, will be in the grip of a referendum vote that has split opinion,” James Riach writes in the Guardian. “Yet as the sun sets on the famous links of the Old Course another saga dogged by controversy may finally be resolved. The Royal & Ancient Golf Club could, by the end of the day, allow women to become members for the first time in its 260-year existence. It is expected to pass a motion put forward in March, when the R&A’s general committee wrote to its 2,400 male contingent and said ‘now is the time to welcome females’ into the club.”

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Yes is the only option on the R&A vote, Martin Dempster writes in the Scotsman: It is important for its future. And, for the R&A, it will determine its credibility as the game’s governing body. Put simply, this vote has to be ‘yes’. If it is anything else, it will be the biggest own goal in sporting history.”

“A High Court judge today ordered the world’s number one golfer Rory McIlroy and his former management company, Horizon Sports Management, to engage in peace talks over the next four weeks,” Ray Managh writes in the Irish Times. “McIlroy’s legal battle with Horizon also involves the affairs of his Ryder Cup team mate Graeme McDowell and Mr Justice Brian McGovern said it involved such sensitive matters that the sides should engage in mediation.”

The return of golf to the Olympics has been widely heralded. Not so much the Rio de Janeiro course under construction to host Olympic golf. “It is mired in controversy,” the Associated Press writes. “A Brazilian court is set to decide the future of the golf course for the 2016 Olympics…The city of Rio de Janeiro and the course developer are defendants in a lawsuit that alleges environmental laws were broken in authorizing and building the course. Earlier this month, Rio judge Eduardo Klausner gave them until Wednesday to say if the design can be modified to offer concessions to environmentalists.”

Former LPGA player and model Laura Baugh now lives in Augusta, Ga., and is opening a golf school there, David Westin reports in the Augusta Chronicle. “I’ve done clinics with Tom Watson and Arnold Palmer, who I have known since I was 16," Baugh said. "I’ve done clinics with Annika (Sorenstam), with (Nancy) Lopez. We do them all the time at Pro-Ams. No, they said when you have students and really teach, you feel like you’re giving back to the game. You really feel good. You enjoy it. I came back and I thought that would be a good move for me to make.”

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Health & Fitness

Stuff: Fitness for your fingers

finger-fitness-260.jpgEvery once in a while, a "why didn't I think of that?" product comes along. Repeatedly opening and closing your hand while wearing the Hand X Band ($10, handxband.com) helps strengthen the muscles that control the fingers. For golfers, this can lead to more success out of the rough and less stress on the arm tendons.

As a bonus, strengthening these muscles can help reduce the chance of carpal tunnel syndrome. It's a great, inexpensive product that you can use practically any time during the day—even when you're waiting for the group to clear in front of you.


Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.

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#HelpMeGolfDigest

#HelpMeGolfDigest: Dr. Michael Lardon changes how you think about your game

When Phil Mickelson was looking for a way to get over his crushing loss at the 2013 U.S. Open, he went to mental performance coach Dr. Michael Lardon for help. A month later, Mickelson went to Muirfield and won the Claret Jug for the first time.

Lardon has been helping PGA Tour stars, NFL players, mixed martial artists and Olympic gold medalists for more than 20 years. His new book, Mastering Golf's Mental Game -- excerpted in the August issue -- reveals the strategies he uses on tour and shows average players how to use a mental scorecard to evaluate and improve the way they think about the game.   

This week, Dr. Lardon helps you tackle some of your most nagging mental game issues as a part of our regular #HelpMeGolfDigest series. You're not alone -- and your golf neuroses are probably easier to fix than you think. 

Reader Stephen Elwes was one of dozens who asked about the same problem -- getting the pre-round jitters before an important event. 

 "Let's talk try to understand this fear a little bit more first," says Lardon, who is a practicing psychiatrist and mood disorder specialist in San Diego. "Is there anything actually physically dangerous out on the golf course? It's probably more accurate to describe it as some anxiety about playing badly. Anxiety can actually amp you up and help you hit the ball a little farther. The key is to reframe how you feel as natural, and something you can use. If it really is fear, you want to channel that fear into a productive use. Come up with a specific mental and physical routine you use for every shot, and reframe your fear as being afraid of what will happen if you don't go through that routine. 

Another popular subject was the feeling of being overwhelmed by technical swing thoughts. 

"If your mind is getting scattered or focusing on the wrong thing, you need what I call a 'thought script,'" says Lardon. "If you're thinking about a bunch of technical things, change it up and follow the script for the shot you're hitting -- something like 'I want to take my driver and cut this shot off the left tree line. I'm going to finish the shot open and high.' Pick the shot, recite the thought script to yourself and hit it" 

By far the most questions came from people with problems similar to Jim O'Shea's and Jacob Thompson's -- getting past a bad (or good) hole. 


"These are the kind of issues where the Mental Scorecard is perfect," says Lardon. "In simple terms, you want to be grading yourself on how you go through your process of playing a shot, not on what the results are -- good or bad. You do that by establishing a mental and physical routine, and measuring yourself on how well you pick your shot, go through that routine and go into action. The best tour players do these things right 97 or 98 percent of the time. You can get a free scorecard at DrLardon.com and see how you're doing."

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Photos

Lexi Thompson turns heads in latest photo shoot

In April, Lexi Thompson won her first major. Now, she's drawing major attention for something other than her golf.

Related: Behind-the-scenes photos of Michelle Wie's Golf Digest cover shoot

On Tuesday, Thompson Instagrammed a montage of photos from a steamy shoot she did with GolfPunk Magazine:

Here's the opening photo from the interview with the 19-year-old LPGA star, dubbed "Sexi Thompson" by the publication:

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The Grind: Billy's millions and Tiger and Lindsey's "date night"

Despite Thompson displaying a grown-up golf game for some time, we're still getting used to seeing the golfer who burst onto the scene as a pre-teen behaving like a grown woman. But after a recent commercial for Puma, titled "Calling All Troublemakers," in which she's shown hanging out with two men in a hot tub, and now this photo shoot, it appears Thompson isn't holding back when crafting her public image.

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How two golf courses are feeling the effects of a romance gone bad

By Stephen Hennessey

When the stresses of life are overwhelming, a golf course can be a great escape.

Two Buffalo-area golf courses would attest to the opposite being true, as a man drove his car onto their facilities and caused tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage.

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The apparent cause? A bad breakup.

WIVB reports that a 23-year-old man drove to two different golf courses in the Buffalo suburbs and destroyed the ninth green at Harvest Hill Golf Course, estimated at $50,000 to replace, and thousands in damages to the practice facility at Bob-o-Link.

Austin Christopher, of Elma, is being held at $25,000 bail for inflicting nightmares for these  superintendents.

Related: High-speed police chase runs onto golf course

It's unclear whether Christopher's girlfriend is a golfer or works at either of these courses. If not, it seems like a random act of crime and an unfortunate circumstance for the golf course. Maybe Christopher's punishment should include helping the courses recover their lost greens.

Sometimes golfers take their drivers out to get rid of their frustration. This guy went for a golf-course drive. On not just one but two golf courses. Love can certainly hurt.



Photo: Courtesy of WIVB
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Courses & Travel

A sneak peek at Gleneagles reveals an American golf course that happens to be in Scotland

PERTHSHIRE, Scotland -- With ten days still to go before the first shot is struck in Ryder anger, all the things that sit alongside a major event are already well underway at Gleneagles.

Security is tight (your intrepid correspondent was escorted to the European Tour office before being allowed entry).

Watched by a squad from the local constabulary who had just concluded their daily search of every grandstand, former European Tour pro Mark Roe of Sky Sports was taping an explanation of the intricacies found on the new 18th green. It's nine yards "wide" at its narrowest point apparently and runs off sharply on both sides.

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Gleneagles will be in immaculate, but soft conditions. (Photo by Stephen Szurlej)

And the PGA Centenary course is looking very green and feeling very soft. Despite a recent and glorious run of "Indian Summer" weather in sunny Caledonia, one day of rain was seemingly enough to eliminate any semblance of fast running conditions.

Not that any golfers will have experienced that fact. The course has been closed since the first of the month and is, as you'd expect, in pristine condition. Which has both good and bad implications. While the exotic and expensive Perthshire resort no doubt wish their third-best course to be presented to the world in a fashion that will encourage future visitors -- mission accomplished -- a closer inspection provoked one or two misgivings in this observer.

For one thing, the fairways are immaculate, not a divot hole in sight. For another, the gradual lengthening of the grass on either side of the "cut and prepared" is exact almost to the inch. A few feet of short semi-rough (six lengths of a size-11 shoe in width) is bordered on the outside by the same stretch of what might be termed intermediate rough. Then comes the real tough stuff.

That all sounds fine and dandy -- and has obviously been done at the instigation of European skipper Paul McGinley -- but what all of the above does is eliminate any sense of randomness. In other words, it's all very predictable and scientific, rather than arbitrary and artistic -- two features you would expect at a more traditional venue in the Home of Golf. We certainly won't be watching any of the 24 players hitting from anything other than a perfect fairway lie, something we already know they can do with monotonous aplomb.

This isn't really a "Scottish" track, of course. Designed (and re-worked) by Jack Nicklaus, this is PGA Tour golf with only a vague tartan hue. The first hint of that came in the ET office, where could be found a sign headlined "Buggy Instruction." But on the course is just as "American." Long grass, for example, all but surrounds almost every bunker. And, just as inexplicably, more long grass can be found between greenside bunkers and putting surfaces. This Ryder Cup, it would appear, is going to be played through the air -- not on the ground.

Perhaps most egregious, however, is the deliberate dampening of adventure on more than one hole. By its very nature, match play encourages the bold and the brave rather than the merely prosaic. But any incentive to "go for it" over the corner at, say, the par-5 second has been all but eliminated. There, very thick rough has been allowed to grow just over the bunker situated on the left side of the slight right-to-left dogleg. Long hitters with a sense of enterprise are thus rendered all but impotent. Bubba Watson and Jim Furyk will likely play this hole in very similar fashions.

Happily, a bit more imagination has been applied to the par-5 ninth. Measuring 618-yards and playing slightly uphill, this hole has the potential to be a rather boring 90-yard par-3 if no one can possibly reach the green in two. But that possibility has clearly occurred to Mister McGinley. A forward tee, maybe 50-yards ahead will surely make for more excitement.

So, all in all, despite the geographic location of the biennial bun-fight between Old and New Worlds, it would be folly to expect anything like an Open Championship next week.

Golf in Scotland? Yes. Scottish golf? Not so much.

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Celebrity

How does a Heisman candidate unwind after a game? This one played some (bad) golf

So, how does a leading Heisman Trophy candidate and potential No. 1 pick in the NFL draft unwind after a game? Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota does his homework, if playing golf can be considered as such.

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(Getty Images photo)

Mariota, who we already know is taking only two classes, golf and yoga, played nine holes on Sunday the day after the Ducks’ 48-14 victory over Wyoming, with their Pacific 12 opener at Washington State on deck.

“I just wanted to unwind a little,” he told reporters regarding the nine holes he played at Oakway Golf Course in Eugene.

Mariota said he shot 49. Now Oakway is only 3,576 yards and plays to a par of 61. Assuming he went out on the front nine (par 31), he played it in 18-over par, confirming that he is not nearly as adept at hitting a ball as he is throwing one.

“Marcus is new,” teammate and backup quarterback Jeff Lockie told the Oregonian last month. Lockie and star center Hroniss Grasu are his frequent playing partners. “I took him out playing about a year ago. No good. He was slapping it around. He hated it. Said he never wanted to play again. Takes the golf class. Now he’s in my phone every day wanting to play. He’s graduated. ‘Let’s play, let’s play.’ I’m in the middle of my business school. He’s playing way more.”

Related: Here are 5 private golf clubs Johnny Football should consider joining

Mariota indeed has his degree, in general sciences, hence his light workload away from football.

“He’s gotten a lot better,” Grasu said. “Last summer it was hard for him to get the ball up off the ground. But now, in this past off-season, he’s getting the ball consistently up in the air. He finally got some new clubs as a graduation present from his parents. He’s hooked.”

Grasu isn’t sure that that’s a good thing. “Hroniss always gives me a bad time about swinging a golf club, because he’s like, ‘I don’t want you twist your back. I don’t want you to do anything like that,’” Mariota said.

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News & Tours

The Grind: Billy's millions, Lindsey's extreme workouts, chainsaws, and trips to outer space

Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we will listen to Billy Horschel the next time he offers gambling advice. A week after saying he'd put a little money on himself at the Tour Championship, Horschel won golf's biggest payout. There's never a bad time to win $10 million, but Horschel's timing was particularly good with a daughter on the way. That money ought to cover a diaper fund/college fund/Sweet 16 party fund/first car fund/wedding fund/first house fund/etc. And after an eventful week, we've got a lot to cover as well. Let's get to it.

WE'RE BUYING

Billy Horschel: Sorry, Steve Stricker, there's a new Mr. September in golf. Horschel finished the PGA Tour season by going T-2-Win-Win to earn about $13.5 million this month. His win at East Lake came while playing head-to-head with Rory McIlroy the final two days and wearing pants on Sunday that even Doug Sanders would have thought were loud. Impressive. Horschel's ball-striking has always been his calling card, but in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, it was his putting that became his meal ticket. The only negative is that he won't be representing the U.S. at the Ryder Cup. Good thing the captain's picks were made two weeks before the season was actually over!

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The apple didn't fall far in the Horschel family tree when it comes to pants/shorts fashion.

Related: Pictures of PGA Tour wives and girlfriends

Felipe Aguilar and Ricardo Gonzalez: How about these two guys? Their friend, Fabrizio Zanotti, got clocked in the head at the KLM Open with a golf ball and these two withdrew from the European Tour event to accompany him to the hospital. Now those are the type of golf buddies you want in your life.

Justin Thomas: The former University of Alabama star won the third leg of the Web.com Tour's Final Series to improve his PGA Tour status for next season. If you were following on Twitter, his victory also ushered in the largest collection of "Remember this name" tweets in history. You probably will. It's a pretty easy one to remember.

Hyo-Joo Kim: Not only did this 19-year-old South Korean win her first major at the Evian Championship, she did it by birdieing the final hole to take down Hall of Famer Karrie Webb. Oh yeah, Kim also shot the lowest round in major championship history with her Thursday 61. Perhaps, we should remember her name as well.

WE'RE SELLING

Rory McIlroy: Just like in 2012, McIlroy entered the Playoffs as the unquestioned best player in golf and just like that year, he had a chance to win the Tour Championship on Sunday and claim the FedEx Cup . . . only to come up short. After winning three tournaments in a row, McIlroy is now mired in a four-week losing streak. The horror! OK, so obviously, we're being a little harsh here, but McIlroy has to be disappointed he didn't come away with the $10 million bonus and that in two of the events, he lost head-to-head to the winner over the weekend.

Jordan Spieth: A year ago, Spieth shot a final-round 64 at East Lake to finish T-2 and wrap up a remarkable season. On Saturday, he shot 80 at the same course to finish up a year that seemed to fizzle after such a promising start. (*Googles Spieth to see he turned 21 less than two months ago) Like with McIlroy, perhaps we're expecting a bit too much.

Related: The best and worst from 2014's major championships

Space trips: Andy Sullivan's hole-in-one on the 15th hole on Sunday at the KLM Open helped him to a third-place finish and earned him a trip to outer space, courtesy of XCOR Space Expeditions. For a guy who describes himself as being "not great with heights or flying" and who was recently treated for altitude sickness, this doesn't seem like a great fit. We don't blame you if you don't do it, Andy. Did you see "Gravity"?

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ON TAP

The PGA Tour takes a rare week off, but its developmental tour, the Web.com, has its Tour Championship this week at TPC Sawgrass.

Related: Winners and losers from the FedEx Cup Playoffs

Random tournament fact: Chesson Hadley is the defending champ, but he won't be in the field this week. That's a good thing for him. Hadley ensured he'll be on the PGA Tour for at least the next two seasons after winning the Puerto Rico Open in March.

RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK

-- Billy Horschel would trade his FedEx Cup for a spot in the Ryder Cup: 10 million-to-1 odds

Related: 15 signs you watch too much golf on TV

-- Jim Furyk will apply for a "Jimmy Runner-up" trademark: 10-to-1 odds 

-- Andy Sullivan would rather have won a sports car than a trip into space: LOCK

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Getting an email with the subject "Greg Norman chainsaw accident" had to rank as one of the most random messages I've ever received in my life. Fortunately, the self-inflicted damage could have been much worse (there won't be a "Florida Chainsaw Massacre" trilogy) and Norman described himself as "one lucky man." He's also one fit 59-year-old.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"From what I've heard, kids are very expensive, so the more money I can make, the better." -- Billy Horschel.

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK

A baby bear played with a flagstick on a golf course in British Columbia and people absolutely ATE IT UP.

VIRAL VIDEOS OF THE WEEK (NOT INVOLVING A BEAR ON A GOLF COURSE)

This Rory McIlroy guy is pretty entertaining, eh? On Friday, he hit a tee that managed to make its way into a fan's pocket. The best part is when Rory says, "I told him to go a bit that way," while pointing to the fairway. Not that it mattered. After a drop, McIlroy hit his approach onto the green and made par. Even Phil Mickelson must have been impressed.

Speaking of being impressed, a clip of McIlroy making 55(!) consecutive medium-length putts while warming up on Sunday surfaced:

Unfortunately, McIlroy's putter let him down in the final round. It reminded me of the time in high school when I made 51 free throws in a row in practice. And then missed six straight in a game. True story. Nearly 15 years later, I'm still hearing about it from my coach.

THIS WEEK IN TIGER WOODS AND LINDSEY VONN PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION

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Maybe describing this as PDA is a bit strong, but they're both smiling in the pic, at least. The couple had quite a date night with an advanced screening of "The Equalizer," starring Denzel Washington. How romantic! "It's definitely not one for the kids," warns Lindsey. Thanks, but I think we got that from the title and the 'R' rating.

THIS WEEK IN LINDSEY VONN MAKING US LOOK BAD WITH HER TRAINING

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We don't even understand what's going on here, but we know this much: Lindsey does not mess around in the gym. Maybe she's hoping for a part if there's a "The Equalizer" sequel.

THIS AND THAT

blog-alex-dumpster-0916.jpgRory McIlroy started a "controversy" by saying Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are "getting older." In other obvious news, the sun will rise in the East tomorrow. . . . Attention, Rory, old man Tiger Woods said he's been "busting my butt in the gym pretty hard." Hey, he's got to at least try to keep up with Lindsey. . . . Paul Casey won the KLM Open for his first win as a dad. Kids must be very expensive, indeed. . . . The U.S. won the World Amateur Team Championship in Japan. At some point, all these American amateur team wins will translate into Ryder Cup success, right? . . . That's me finding my keys at the bottom of a dumpster after a frantic search all over my building. If -- and I stress, only if -- you are going to accidentally toss your keys into a dumpster, make sure it's one that is only filled with cardboard.

RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER

Does Tiger Woods ever not wear Nike?

Could Boo Weekley make 55 tap-ins in a row?

Who does Billy Horschel like to win the Super Bowl?

-- Alex Myers is an Associate Editor for GolfDigest.com. Feel free to email him and please follow him on Twitter since he has self-esteem issues.

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News & Tours

Golf Digest's best musician golfer isn't letting it all go to his head. . .yet

Vince Gill has a picture of himself as a 3-year-old, hugging his guitar in his sleep. He'd started playing the instrument even before he was verbal, says the Country Music Hall of Famer, and took to it naturally.

Although he didn't start playing golf until a few years later and has no photos of himself tucked in, hugging his clubs -- "not now, not ever," he promises -- he has managed to get rather good at that, too. He credits his dad for introducing him to both pursuits and giving him free rein to develop his abilities.

"You can start taking lessons too early," he says.

As a kid he played Oklahoma City's muny all day every summer day for 50 cents, which he recalls as "a great way to grow up." Grateful for that experience he is Tennessee's biggest junior golf supporter, having raised and donated millions. Now he hopes to bring the Champions Tour, on which he many pals, to his adopted hometown of Nashville.

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Gill, who has won 20 Grammys and 18 Country Music Association awards, is not about to take the distinction of being Golf Digest's No. 1 musician too seriously. "It's kind of silly," he says.

"A bunch of us on that list can go out and shoot 67 today and 80 tomorrow."

That said, Gill has been able to hold his own in pressure situations, shooting a 62 in a club tournament, a 68 while playing with Arnold Palmer and a 65 while playing with Tom Watson. "I'm kinda surprised I'm not on the short list for the Ryder Cup," he jokes.

Ranking: Music's Top 100 Golfers


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