Captains’ Choice

Sorting out the stories, sounds and moments that defined our year

What a year it’s been. So before the calendar turns, we’d like to thank you for reading, listening and interacting with us throughout. We know you have your favorite TGJ pieces, so it’s time to share some of ours. With 544 magazine pages, 26 podcasts, thousands of images and a flurry of digital exclusives to comb through, there were no shortage of worthy contenders. Ultimately, smiling (and crying) Irish eyes, new tales about old heroes, a Libyan oasis, and a blown-up set of 2020 predictions were among those that resonated—stories all made possible with your support. Please enjoy a sampling of our favorite work, highlighted by Editor Travis Hill, Assistant Editor Casey Bannon and Senior Writer/Podcast Host Tom Coyne.


Photo by Chris Smith/Popperfoto via Getty Images

My God, What a Show

By Elizabeth Nelson, from No. 12

In a year where we had incredible pieces from the likes of Kevin Van Valkenburg and Spencer Hall, choosing two stories was next to impossible! But this one always had my heart: In a media landscape where every Seve story has seemingly been told, Elizabeth somehow crafted a fresh look. – Travis Hill

Golf, sober league
Photo by Lexey Swall

The Lucky Ones

By Tom Coyne, from No. 14

Rare is the day that a piece can adjust my antennas the way this did. Aside from being incredibly brave, Tom’s storytelling has never been more vivid. I’ve now read it five times, and I’ve emerged a better, more grateful person each time. Thank you for sharing, Mr. Coyne. For that, we are the lucky ones. – Casey Bannon

Photo by Kohjiro Kinno

Infinite Loop

By Chris Solomon, from No. 13

This is just a fun read about the perfect idea—it’s one to sit down, enjoy, and feel the warmth in your golfing soul. Laz Versalles’ “Life in the Front Row” has a similar effect, but Travis scooped me on that one, so I’ll take Soly’s feature about a golf bag gone ’round the world. – Tom Coyne

Augusta National/Getty Images

Life in the Front Row

By Laz Versalles, from No. 14

Doesn’t matter if it’s a movie, a Netflix show or a written piece: The best stories cut through the noise and stay with you. Laz’s journey from a goofy Twitter thread to discovering one of the greatest golf lives ever lived is one we’ll be talking about for years. – Travis Hill

Photo by Jason Florio

A Universal Oasis

By Danielle Pergament, from No. 11

The hair on my neck stood up when I first saw these Jason Florio images. And, somehow, Danielle Pergament’s ridiculous backstory elevated them. Finding golf in obscure corners of the world is the ultimate victory. – Casey Bannon

Photo by Tom Shaw

The Pandemic Diary

Gerry Maguire, TGJ Digital

I thought this category would be too tough to tackle, but then I remembered: Gerry Maguire. The thoughts he shared with us about trying to keep Carne going through the pandemic—it won’t make any lists for breezy, happy listens—but it was so damn honest, and it made an actual difference. It gave our TGJ family the chance to show its best side, and more than $150,000 came in to Carne from listeners to help a course and a community. There weren’t a lot of joyful moments this year, but learning of this story’s impact was one. – Tom Coyne


Photo by Josh Hubberman

Ep. 52: The Last Time Golf Stopped

This one had all the ingredients of pods I love: A wild moment in time even hardcore golf fans don’t know, extraordinary reporting, and incredible production value. But the real genius of this one is that you don’t feel all of that work—it’s just an easy, entertaining listen. – Travis Hill

Photo by Kohjiro Kinno

Ep. 46: The Next 20 Years

I remember doing this futuristic pod in January and thinking it would serve as a really neat time capsule down the road. A few weeks later, COVID hit and turned the world upside down. For me, it will always serve as a reminder for how fragile and unexpected life can be. – Casey Bannon

Photo by Charles Lindsay

Ep. 61: Expand Your Mind with Charles Lindsay

 I had never spoken with a professional artist-adventurer before, so I didn’t know what to expect. But I left our conversation at least 16 IQ points smarter, and if we could have kept talking, I’m pretty sure I’d understand quantum physics by now. But it was also a fun conversation, where the most interesting dude ever was generous and funny and relatable. I felt very fortunate to spend some time listening to his way of watching the world. –Tom Coyne