The Legends of Tiger 14
EA SPORTS Game Changers are high-profile members of the EA SPORTS community who use their expert knowledge of our games to inform, entertain and assist others.
Today's Game Changers blog comes to us from Shawn Drotar. Shawn brings more than 15 years of national sports writing experience from outlets including ESPN and Xbox.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SDrotar_EAGC.
Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 14 brings gamers the opportunity to go head-to-head with some of golf's all-time greats in their own era of championship golf.
The following players represent the grand history of the PGA distilled into eight players.
Bobby Jones (13 major championships)
A legend in his own time, Jones competed primarily as an amateur during his storied career. Jones was a lawyer by trade, and his tremendous ability as a player on the course and off of it still echoes in the tournament he founded -- The Masters. Jones dominated the sport in the 1920s, winning 13 majors between 1923-1930, and became the only player in history to win the Grand Slam of golf in a single season.
Ben Hogan (Nine major championships)
The father of the modern golf swing, Hogan turned pro at the age of 17. It took him a decade to earn his first win as he methodically improved his game. Once he claimed a title, the floodgates opened. Over the next 19 years, Hogan claimed more than 60 victories, despite having served his country as member of the U.S. Army in World War II and surviving a horrific automobile accident in 1949. Hogan persevered, and in 1953 he may have had the greatest single season in golf history. Hogan won five of the six tournaments he entered that year, including three majors.
Sam Snead (Seven major championships)
One of the most beloved players in history, "Slammin' Sammy" Snead's swing was a testament to consistency and power. If Snead's textbook swing ever went awry, Snead was known to remove his shoes and play barefoot to regain his balance and timing. His strategy clearly worked; Snead's the PGA's all-time wins leader with 82 titles, and even made the cut for the 1973 U.S. Open at age 61.
Gary Player (Nine major championships)
The South African-born "Black Knight," Gary Player was far more than just a foil for Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. Player's nine major victories are tied for fourth all-time, and he won the Open Championship in three different decades. Player teed off internationally more than any golfer of his time, and has rightfully-earned credit for expanding the game's reach across the globe. After concluding his playing career, Player became one of the world's most notable course designers. He's responsible for more than 300 courses on five different continents.
Arnold Palmer (Seven major championships)
Perhaps the player most responsible for modern golf's popularity, Arnold Palmer gave audiences a television-ready superstar. The handsome, charismatic Palmer was a risk-taker on the course, and his hyper-aggressive style of play -- combined with a relatable, emotional persona -- endeared him to millions. Between 1955 and 1971, Palmer won at least one PGA TOUR event every year and played on six Ryder Cup teams during his career. Palmer became the sport's first million-dollar earner, and eventually parlayed his earnings into a successful golf empire after his retirement. He owns the Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Florida, and helped to found television's ubiquitous The Golf Channel.
Jack Nicklaus (18 major championships)
Arguably the greatest golfer of all-time, Jack Nicklaus' 18 major championships are the most in history. Winner of the career Grand Slam at 26, "The Golden Bear" was feared throughout his career for his prowess in all conditions and his fearless approach to championship play. In total, he racked up 73 Tour wins, and remained a force even in 1986, when he won his unprecedented sixth Masters at the age of 46. After his playing career, Nicklaus became a leading course designer, and still manages The Memorial Tournament in his home state of Ohio. It's worth noting that in addition to his 18 major championships, he was the runner-up in 18 others.
Lee Trevino (6 major championships)
A former U.S. Marine, the gregarious Trevino became a club pro in his home state and was named Golf Digest's Rookie of the Year in 1967. He proved the award prescient by winning the 1968 U.S. Open over Jack Nicklaus. In 1975, Trevino was struck by lightning and suffered a spinal injury. Trevino was never quite the same after the incident, but was still an effective player on tour, winning at least one tournament between 1968 and 1981. One of the greatest chip-shot artists in history, Trevino chipped in four times in the 1972 British Open en route to defending his title.
Seve Ballesteros (5 major championships)
Leading the European charge into the PGA in the 1970s, Ballesteros' swashbuckling style of play earned many admirers and made him a fearsome match-play opponent. One of the most creative shot-makers in history, Ballesteros compensated for a scattershot driving game with a brilliant short game and an ability to make recovery shots that no other golfer would ever dream of taking. Ballesteros was the first European player to win The Masters in 1980, and claimed the Green Jacket again in 1983. Famed for his savvy Ryder Cup play, Ballesteros won the event with his European teammates on four occasions. Cancer claimed Ballesteros' life in 2011 at only 54, and the European team honored him in the 2012 Ryder Cup by placing silhouettes of Seve placed on all team members' bags. Europe defended their title over the U.S. in a fitting tribute.
These legendary players represent the greatest of golf; its highs and lows, trials and tribulations, and the ability to overcome adversity. The opportunity to delve deeper into that world helps to make Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 14 the most appealing version yet.