5. In a 2012 survey of Tour pros, Harbour Town ranked as the second-best course on Tour, behind only Augusta National, and ahead of both Riviera and Pebble Beach, among many others. Is it really THAT good? How does it stack up with Pete Dye's other trophy tracks, such as the Ocean Course at Kiawah, Whistling Straits and TPC Sawgrass as a proper test for the pros?
Bamberger: Is this question serious? Harbour Town is so much better than any of those courses it's a joke. The Tour players overrate Harbour Town, maybe, but it shows how much they appreciate golf's finer points, and wish they had more chance to show off their skill at them.
Van Sickle: Harbour Town is a landmark course because it changed golf course design, for better or for worse. The Ocean Course is one of Pete's worst. He built a course you can play only through the air in a location where it's often so windy you need to play it on the ground. That makes no sense. Whistling Straights is a masterpiece of finger-painting because every little ridge and mound and bunker was created. It was dead-flat farmland before. From that viewpoint, it may be his best because he started with nothing. TPC Sawgrass is iconic, which is amazing again because he started with nothing. It was a swamp. I like the way Harbour Town makes superior use of all its trees. That's great design. I'd say yes, it really is that good.
Passov: I get why the pros generally love it. Flat fairways don't cause much trouble and the rare chance to get to work the ball around the tree branches is fun for these guys. Plus, the flattish greens, usually kept at manageable speeds, flatter the flatsticks, because there's almost no fear of looking foolish on a putt. Harbour Town is so old-fashioned, it hardly feels at all like Dye's more oversized efforts, and you'd never believe that Jack Nicklaus consulted, given the way most Nicklaus courses turned out. For me, it doesn't have the inherent hole-by-hole muscle or drama that you like to see at majors, but as nearly a one-off on Tour, it's pretty cool.
Morfit: Harbour Town is good because it holds up despite not being super brawny and long, and that brings a lot of really good non-bombers like Brian Gay into the mix. It's also a beautiful place to hang out, more so than those other Dye tracks.
Godich: Harbour Town is proof that a course needn't be 7,500 yards to be Tour-worthy. It is nice to see. I know the wind was up, but winning score in relation to par was the same as it was at the Masters. That ought to tell us how good Harbour Town is.
Reiterman: Harbour Town is always a fun event, but it lacks any memorable holes, except for 18. Kiawah and Whistling Straits weren't much fun to watch, and looked even less fun to play. To me, Sawgrass is the best test. Of course, that's easy for me to say since I'm not a Tour pro!
Lynch: I've never played it, but the key here is remembering who is doing the ranking. People who play for a living have a different criteria for liking courses than the rest of us. They like predictability, a test that values execution over imagination. In that respect a tight, hazard-strewn layout like Harbor Town seems far removed from Riviera but quite in keeping with other Dye courses. By which I mean that a mis-hit shot at Riviera is akin to a car crash with a chance of recovery, whereas usually a poor shot on a Dye design is like a plane crash with no survivors.
6. Broadcaster Pat Summerall passed away this week. His soothing baritone, low-key calls and willingness to tee up the talent that surrounded him made him one of the greats. Who is the best play-by-play announcer in golf today? Who is your favorite of all time?
Morfit: Summerall had such a great voice, it's funny to think he was discovered by accident. Dave Marr was a cool guy, back in the days of ABC Golf. But as far as the main man, Summerall will be hard to beat.
Van Sickle: It's hard to argue with Summerall as the all-time best golf host. Jim Nantz stands out now because the others are clearly a notch or two below him. I think Brian Hammons of Golf Channel is way underrated.
Ritter: Wacky old Peter Alliss is still my all-time favorite, while Summerall was the best from the U.S.
Passov: When Peter Alliss gets play-by-play duties, he's still my favorite. Savage wit, incredible knowledge and perspective. Other than the schmaltz that he's contractually bound to dish out at The Masters, I'll give Jim Nantz the nod. He's such a golf geek and really knows his stuff. For all-time, I'll go with Summerall at the Masters, Alliss the rest of the world.
Reiterman: I know he takes a lot of heat for his schmaltzy style, but there's a reason Jim Nantz can do the Super Bowl, the Final Four and the Masters, he's that good. I just wish he didn't feel the need to cap every tournament with some signature call ("Y.E.S!")
Godich: I like Dan Hicks, perhaps because NBC doesn't do as much golf. His voice is a refreshing change. He also has great chemistry with Johnny Miller. Best of all time? it was hard to beat Summerall and his less-is-more approach. He was the same with in the NFL booth -- authoritative but not overbearing.
Bamberger: I learn the most from Johnny Miller. My favorite of alltime is Gene Sarazen. What charm.
Lynch: All-time: Peter Alliss, whose turn of phrase was unique. Today: Johnny Miller. If the job of an announcer is to offer insight, engagement and entertainment, Miller has no equal. Anyone who nominates Lanny Wadkins here ought to face some form of sanction. Seriously.