TIME

How They Find Their A-Game

JASON DAY AND JORDAN SPIETH ARE TWO OF THE BIGGEST NAMES IN GOLF. JACK NICKLAUS IS SYNONYMOUS WITH THE SPORT. THEY DISCUSS:
From left: Day, Nicklaus and Spieth banter during practice rounds at the Memorial Tournament in Ohio

MAGIC COMES IN MANY VIALS. GOLFER JORDAN SPIETH opened a highly potent bottle last year. At a mere 21, he won the Masters and the U.S. Open championships back-to-back, then added top-four finishes in the remaining major tournaments. An epic season at any age, but glittering with the thrill of something new. Prize money in the millions, and endorsement money in the tens of millions, rained down on the slim and winsome Texan as golf fans fell under his spell.

Another elixir from the wizard’s cabinet has been unstoppered by Jason Day, the No. 1–ranked golfer in the world. The strapping Australian wasn’t a phenom; he trudged, rather than vaulted, to the top. But now his life and career are magically synchronized; in his late 20s, he has grown into himself, with a wife and two young children to balance out his stunning PGA Championship last August, when he became the first player in major-tournament history to beat par by 20 strokes.

And then there is a magic known only to Jack Nicklaus.

You can see it on the faces of Spieth and Day as they sit down to join Nicklaus for a conversation with TIME on a patio overlooking Muirfield Village Golf Club, a Nicklaus-built preserve in Dublin, Ohio. Down below, the journeymen of the PGA Tour are practicing for the annual Memorial Tournament, but up here two of the best in the world are hanging on the old

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