Tiger Woods and Bobby Jones played almost 80 years apart from each other with vastly different equipment. They both dominated golf and agreed on a favorite course.
Sam Snead and Phil Mickelson are both known for many US Open heart breakers, but never winning it. They also share the same favorite course Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer amazingly also have the same favorite course.
Their opinions and those of four other legends gives us insight into the player and the qualities of the courses. The recent criticism of certain courses should be of no surprise. Opinion on golf courses has always differed depending on the player.
Love certainly did not come at first site for Bobby Jones and St. Andrews. In fact, he hated it so much that he walked off the course during a round.
It really is not surprising that Jones radically changed his opinion. The early American courses had much of the same philosophy that St. Andrews offers.
Wide open fairways and few trees gave players many options for setting up the second shot. Greens were unique and set up to accept low running shots.
Players had a variety of shots to choose from. Jones was playing a trickier version of the golf he was used to. His realization of the challenge is what caused his admiration.
After winning the 2005 British Open, Woods stated "I fell in love with it the first time I played it.
There are some courses you just feel comfortable on. I feel very comfortable around this golf course."
No need to worry about a driver hit 50 yards off line, so it's easy to see why he was confident on this course.
No one had a chance against him at The Old Course before his game dropped in form. The wide open nature created more confidence from the tee box.
With his ability to shape shots and putt, it suited him perfectly.
Hogan had a close relationship with the founder of Colonial, Marvin Leonard. Colonial was also situated in his hometown of Fort Worth Texas.
He had tremendous success on the course, as it earned the nickname "Hogan's Alley".
It should also be mentioned that Hogan spent much time in Florida at Seminole Country Club. He later was a member at Shady Oaks in Texas.
For Hogan, it was the love of hitting practice shots that far outweighed the love of any course.
Watson does not name a single course, but their are similarities in all three. Ballybunion is an Irish seaside course with small greens.
Pebble Beach obviously is another seaside course. Harbor Town has a few seaside holes, tight fairways and small greens.
The common factor on all three is that a variety of shots are required. That was Watson's forte, as he showed by nearly winning the British Open in 2009.
Gary Player first found major success in the British Open. He made his breakthrough in the United States at Augusta National.
Royal Melbourne was designed by Alister MacKenzie, and unlike Augusta it retains his design closely.
Their are a variety of ways to play each hole and many greens can be reached with running shots. Player named Cypress Point as his favorite American course.
It is ironic that Mickelson likes Augusta National given his attitude towards Rees Jones.
Augusta has been tightened and made much more difficult over the recent years. It is probably unplayable for most average players.
It is also a course where Mickelson has had tremendous success. Being a lefty helps as he gets to play fades instead of draws which can be hard to control.
His short game prowess helps around the heavily bunkered and severely sloping greens.
Snead was associated with The Greenbrier, but it was Augusta that was his favorite layout. For years he was the honorary starter.
He also was a fan of Pinehurst Number 2.
In Snead's day, Augusta was much more wide open off the tee and had less trees. He won three of his seven majors at the Masters.
Located in Toledo Ohio, the Inverness Club was originally designed by Donald Ross.
A.W. Tillinghast put his own touch on the course shortly after it opened.
The combination of two of the greatest architects in history proved very appealing to Byron Nelson. Many more changes have been made to the course over time.
Nicklaus enjoyed Pebble Beach for the scenery and the mental challenge that it required.
Indeed there are many holes on Pebble Beach where one can be tempted to play an aggressive shot when they shouldn't.
Nicklaus has become a golf architect of his own right, and you can see the philosophy embedded in many of his own designs.
The King also became a prolific golf architect. You can see the design of the 18th at Pebble Beach in his signature Bay Hill course.
A dog leg left over water where the danger of the hazard increases as you try to cut the corner.
Palmer was an extremely aggressive player in his day, so it is a bit surprising that Pebble is his favorite course.