Golf is about always pursuing perfection, and Lexus and the United States Golf Association (USGA) share that goal. For the past seven years, Lexus has been the official vehicle of the U.S. Open Championship, and throughout this year’s tournament, the premium car maker will provide over 400 courtesy vehicles to players, USGA professionals and associates.
In anticipation of the 2014 Championship, Lexus is asking golf fans to vote on their favorite moment in U.S. Open history. They’ve pre-selected eight highlights to choose from (including Tiger Woods’ 2008 win at Torrey Pines despite a broken leg), so be sure to check out the survey before June 6th and make your voice count.
The US Masters, golf’s quirky showpiece event begins on April 10th at the Augusta National Golf Club, its home since 1934.
It is the 80th year the course has been the home of The Masters, but this is the 78th edition as World War II caused a halt on play from 1943-45.
But this year something will be different, as Tiger Woods will miss the first Masters tournament in his career, dealing another blow in his quest to catch Jack Nicklaus for the most majors in a career.
But even without Tiger Woods, this 78th edition could be a vintage affair with the field that still includes a who’s who of past champions, current top players and impressive amateurs.
We photographed the beautiful Loredana Ferriolo, aka Loredana Jolie, years before she was identified as one of the infamous Tiger Woods mistresses. Here’s a great photo of Loredana as she’s lounging with the sun shining through on her from the window.
Since much doesn’t change in the world of golf (they still use clubs, for instance), it usually takes more than a roster update to justify a new “Tiger Woods” installment each year, making the series one of the perennially fresher entries into the annual sports game genre, as new ideas become an expectation for fans.
“Tiger Woods 12” is a great example of this, as the famed Masters tournament was finally added, and the luster it provided to the game made it arguably the greatest golf experience yet. In comparison, “Tiger Woods 13” added a mode that let you play as a freaky looking child version of Tiger Woods. Suffice to say, it was less successful in providing that same feeling of a complete experience, and golf fans were left with little reason to abandon the 2012 edition. Until now, that is.
Because now comes “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14,” and with it the most complete and engaging translation of the sport of golf to video games the world has seen. The biggest factor contributing to this is the heavy emphasis on golf legends in the game, exemplified with the Legends of the Majors mode. Similar to the historic moments mode in the “NBA2K” games, here you can play through some of the biggest events in golf history, ranging from the dawn of major tournament play in 1860, to the Jack Nicklaus dominance of the 70s, all the way to the Tiger Woods era, and everything in between.
Spanning over 140 years, there’s hardly a major moment that is left out, making the mode an interactive textbook history of golf. It’s also highly enjoyable to attempt to meet the win conditions of each scenario (there are two for each moment), and the variety of the challenges is creatively impressive. Bonus points are awarded for the period accurate clothing and looks, which includes graphical filter changes like sepia tone or Technicolor to make each period uniquely stand out.
Welcome to a new feature where we examine the best golf courses the world has to offer, and daydream about playing them before we die. First up, naturally, is the course that is frequently rated the #1 golf course in the world and the host of the Masters, the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. Here are some quick hits on the club and the course.
Open for play: 1934 Membership: The club has around 300 members at all times, and they are selected by invitation only. Dues are said to be around $10,000 per year, as the club makes the majority of its money from hosting the Masters, but despite those relatively affordable dues, you’re not getting an invitation to join unless you’re rich, famous, or politically connected, and you’re not playing the course unless you know one of those 300 people. Total Length: 7,435 yards, or roughly a mile longer than the course you play on the weekends Yes, it’s true: There are no women members, though they finally accepted a black member in 1990.
When you watch those helicopter shots of each hole on TV, Augusta doesn’t look like a terribly hazardous course, but thanks to an abundance of trees, undulated greens and tee boxes that are a good 30 yards farther back than they were six years ago, there is scant room for error. Take a look at the green for the seventh hole, Pampas: it’s protected by five (!) bunkers, so if you don’t stick the green, you’re throwing a beach party. Then there is White Dogwood, hole #11, where you need to hit the ball at least 265 yards just to make it to the fairway. The course’s toughest hole, though is the tenth, Camelia. (All holes are named for the trees or plants that line each particular hole.) The back half of the hole slopes downhill though the green is slightly elevated, with a bunker to the right and a monstrous, storm cloud-shaped bunker in the middle of the fairway just before the green. No one wins the Masters on the 10th hole, but lots of people have lost it here.
The hole we’re most eager to play, though, has to be Rosebud, the par-3 16th hole where, in 2005, Tiger Woods made the most spectacular shot we’ve ever seen.
How on earth did he do that? As Verne Lundquist said, never in our lives have we seen such a thing, but here’s hoping that someone makes us take that statement back this weekend.