The modern professional golfer is a lot like a juiced-up modern MLB slugger. Both benefit from a ton of new equipment and training techniques, and while the latter may have illegal synthetic support, both modern professional golfers and baseball players could likely outperform their counterparts from 50 years ago.
Then again, maybe not. There is no denying the game of golf requires tremendous skill, a near lifetime commitment to training, and a pinch of good luck. Sure, new ball designs and club material have helped golfers hit further and more accurately, but it's not like we know if today's best players would be on the top of the leaderboards if they went back in time. How would a Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson compete if they were using gear and balls while playing on courses from the era?
That is what EA Tiburon plans to let players find out in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14.
Legends of the Majors
For this first time in many years, the Tiger Woods franchise is bringing back golf legends. Speaking with PSU in a recent interview, Mike DeVault, senior designer on Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14, explained that the Legends of the Majors serves as a challenge mode that puts you in various scenarios spanning the game of golf's long history.
There are nine legends, all considered some of the greatest and most important golfers of all time. The mode sends you back to play in six different eras from the 1930s to present day. DeVault explained that each legend of the era serves as a boss.
"Each era also includes ball physics and club physics for those unique eras as well," DeVault said. "So you are not only stepping back in there to play against these legends, but you are also experiencing the gameplay from that time period."
Visuals for each of the eras is unique and the development team gave each one a self-sustaining, iconic look. Once you finished the Legends of the Majors you'll unlock the eras to replay at any course in the game.
"This lets you create those dream sports match-ups," DeVault said. How would Tiger compare to Arnold Palmer if they played St. Andrews in the 1930s? Players would go back in time and see how Tiger and Arnold would perform using '30s equipment.
Researching the greats
Understanding the game of golf decades ago required the development team to spend a fair amount of time researching, reading, and speaking with the actual legends about how things played and felt from all the big eras. Understandably, many on the development team are major golf junkies, but even they would have a hard time conceptualizing how the game would play from the '30s or '40s. That's where conversations with the actual legends came into play. The team spoke with them about what the game was like when they used to play, and even got a picture of how the non-living legends played.
"They all offered little nuggets of stuff even before their own time," DeVault said.
For the first time ever, all four major championships will be playable in the game. All four have been in previous games, but never all at once. This adds to the tournament focus in this year's Tiger Woods game, DeVault said.
Tournaments are now featured in quick play rounds, meaning you'll get the full tournament presentation when you just want to hop in and play a game. You will essentially play these quick games as if you are competing in the fourth round of a tournament. You will get all the tournament logos from real life and a strong gameday presentation.
We have more from our interview with DeVault, but for now golf fans--especially those interested in the history of the game-- have a lot to get excited about when Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 is released on March 26 on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. In our next article we'll learn about the gameplay changes.