Day 1: Good Cop, Bad Cop

The Hot List testing kicks off for the 19th year in a row in Mesquite, Nev., and testers new and old brace themselves for four grueling days of hitting 500 balls a day. They do their jobs under the watchful eyes of chief Hot List judges Mike Stachura and Mike Johnson, the brains behind the franchise and the top equipment editors in golf. To fully understand the Hot List, you have to know the Mikes. “It’s like being around an old bickering couple sometimes,” says one of their coworkers.