EA Sports PGA Tour has brought back a familiar and welcoming feature, which is Augusta National and The Masters tournament. The course was completely laser scanned to bring the iconic design to life within the game. From the flowers to the towering trees to the famous three-hole stretch known as Amen Corner, everything seems to be on point.
However, with the return of the is historic course, one thing is missing: legends. Back in 2013 when Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 dropped, we were treated to not only a third straight year of the Augusta and The Masters, but to many of golf’s greats as well. Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Bobby Jones, Gary Player, Sam Snead, Lee Trevino, Seve Ballesteros, and of course, Tiger Woods made up this group of greats in that game. Legends were also featured in some of the Tiger games of the mid-2000s such as Tiger Woods 2005 and 06.
Legends Should Make A Return In EA Sports PGA Tour
With events like The Masters, US Open, Open Championship, and PGA Championship all priding themselves on their rich history, it feels only right to see the legends return. Include the legends mentioned (except Woods, who is exclusively in PGA Tour 2K), and add some new ones as well. You got players like Sir Nick Faldo who won six majors or Walter Hagen, who has the third most major victories of all time with 11 (and also has one of my favorite quotes ever: “I don’t want to be a millionaire, I just want to live like one”) who would be welcome additions.
Then you have a player like Tom Watson who was a master of links golf, winning five Open Championships. He has eight total with two Masters wins and a lone US Open victory. Even golfers who had fewer majors would be fun additions. One of the first players I immediately think of when thinking about The Masters is Ben Crenshaw.
Gentle Ben only won two majors, both of them at The Masters. These were both iconic wins at Augusta and he was known for his terrific play alongside his longtime caddie and friend, the late great Carl Jackson. Not only is Crenshaw a two-time wearer of the Green Jacket, but he’s also arguably the greatest putter of all time. Having a flat stick like that in the game playing as Crenshaw would be a delight.
Probably one of the most popular legends in golf history is Fred Couples thanks to his friendly, outgoing nature, sense of humor, and whopping tee shots. The latter is what earned him the nickname Boom Boom. Only a one-time major winner, it was one that stood out because he was the favorite to win the 1992 Masters and delivered. Many favorites have won, but most of the time, they don’t. Not to mention, although he was a favorite, he had never won a major prior so there was the added pressure. And in 2023, he became the oldest player to make the cut at The Masters, as if it was meant to be.
Couples would be a great addition simply for his power and accuracy off the tee. In fact, because of this, he would be one of the more fun golfers to use in EA Sports PGA Tour. Legends like these to go along with the ones we know from the past would make what is already a really deep roster even deeper.
A couple of other legends of note include Gene Sarazen and Billy Casper. Sarazen, The Squire, was surprisingly omitted from the Tiger Woods games despite being one of only five golfers to complete the career grand slam along with Nicklaus, Woods, Player, and Hogan — all who have been featured in the game before. It would only be right to show love to the man who hit one of the greatest shots in golf history at The Masters (then the Augusta National Invitational) with the “Shot Heard Round the World” on the 15th hole at Augusta.
As for Casper, Buffalo Bill had a stellar career, winning over 70 tournaments and snagging three major championships, winning The Masters once and the US Open twice. Although an amazing player, he was at times overshadowed by Nicklaus, Palmer, and Player who were all at the peak of their powers at that time. He also came very close to completing the career grand slam as he had three runner-up finishes in the PGA Championship and a fourth-place finish at The Open Championship.
Bernhard Langer is another Masters great, having won the tournament twice in his career. He also had two runner-up finishes in The Open as well. On top of that, he has made a name for himself as the greatest senior tour golfer ever, winning 11 Champions Tour majors. We don’t even have to stop at legends who won majors.
The PLAYERS Championship is not a major and many feel that it shouldn’t even be treated as such. However, it is the PGA Tour’s flagship tournament and one that’s always incredibly highlighted in the EA Sports PGA Tour games. Not to mention, Pete and Alice Dye’s TPC Sawgrass features one of the best three-hole stretches in golf with holes 16, 17, and 18, lead by the island green 17th, arguably the most photographed hole in the world.
I’m not going to start listing a bunch of PLAYERS champions, respectfully, but one name I will throw out there is Calvin Peete, one of the most accurate players of all time. A 12-time PGA Tour champion, Calvin never won a major but came darn close, finishing tied for 3rd at the PGA Championship in 1982 and had a T4 in the US Open in 1983. He also had a solid T11 finish at the 1986 Masters as well. He never played in The Open. Despite not winning a major, he had a grand achievement of winning the PLAYERS in 1985, a couple of years after his close calls at the US Open and PGA. He won the title in large part due to hitting one of the tournament’s greatest shots on the iconic 17th, sticking the flag with deadeye accuracy. He also was on two Ryder Cup teams including the squad that won it in 1983. A player like Peete would be a great addition to EA Sports PGA Tour and there’s no question he would have one of the highest accuracy ratings in the game.
Now, I wouldn’t expect a full-blown “Legends at the Majors” type of mode added at this point but playing with the greats in Quick Play or Online would be fun and would give players a unique variety of options as far as golfers. Yes, we all create our own players but there are many that you’ll see online who use the pros. And even if you do like your created golfer, sometimes you might feel like he or she isn’t ready for online play so you decide to choose a tour pro.
It’s been 10 years since we last saw legends and that’s much too long. We have historic courses in the game and more will be added — and that’s awesome. But it’s time to let the extremely rich history of golf make itself even comfier within the game with the additions of such legends playing on these amazing courses. Oh, and bring back the incredible 1934 version of Augusta National from Tiger Woods 14 too.