Tough love elevates Justin Suh in golf ascent
And one whose street smarts might have lagged slightly behind.
It was Thanksgiving break during their second year at USC, calling for a six-hour trip from Los Angeles to the Bay Area. Suh and DeVine got into Suh’s car, along with two other golfers and another tennis player. The ride was uneventful for the first few hours, until the smell of burning rubber started to pollute the air. Suh stopped at a gas station to assess the situation, then broke the bad news to his passengers.
“We’re sitting in this little sedan, completely packed to the brim, the car is loaded,” DeVine said, “and about 150 miles from home, Justin is like, ‘The tire pressure signal went off. throughout the car journey.’ We put air in the tire, you can almost hear it leaking air, and it’s like, ‘Justin, you should have checked that before you got in the car and drove 400 miles together. ‘
“We hit the road and about 20 miles later the car is tilted to one side with the tire completely flat. We called Triple A, they said it would be about three hours…luckily one of the guys who was with us had already changed a tire, we figured it out, took the flat off, put the spare in. Then we got back in the car and realized that Justin had left the headlights on while we changed the tire. We get back in the car, it’s freezing, it’s November and the car won’t start.
It’s time to coax the battery.
“We sit in the freezing cold,” DeVine continued, “listening to music, talking bullshit, and coming back in the car, 30 minutes later, saying our prayers. Justin puts in his key, switches on the ignition and the car starts. We are relieved. As we all celebrate, he turns off the car and we’re like, ‘What the hell are you doing, Justin?’ He’s like, ‘I want to save battery,’ and we’re like, ‘That’s not how it works, bro. Give him some juice.
“I said to Justin, ‘If this car doesn’t turn back on, I’ll never drive with you again.’ Luckily the car started up again and we got home with the spare tire and everything worked.”
Years later, Suh can smile and laugh. Everything worked out in the end.
The anecdote is particularly close to Suh’s career trajectory. After reaching No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings and turning pro in the summer of 2019, he made his professional debut to much fanfare at the Travelers Championship – joining Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland and Matthew Wolff for a press conference before the tournament.