We convened a meeting of SI golf experts—senior writers Michael Bamberger, Damon Hack, Alan Shipnuck and Gary Van Sickle, plus contributing writer John Garrity—and a PGA Tour pro (who participated on the condition of anonymity) to answer those and other questions
THE HOUSE THAT PETE BUILT
VAN SICKLE: The Stadium course, is it a classic modern venue or is it overrated?
SHIPNUCK: I think it's fantastic. There are so many shots out there and so many great holes. Pete Dye was way ahead of the game when he built this course.
GARRITY: It was a very unpopular course with players for the first 10 or 15 years.
ANONYMOUS PRO: Two reasons I like it. One, every shot has a value. There are no gimmes, no freebies. From the first tee shot on, it's a full test. And two, we hold the tournament at the same place every year, like Augusta, and you never get bored playing this course, also like Augusta.
HACK: I love the course because it forces players to be on the money with every club. The guys who win absolutely control their ball better than anyone else. Whether it was Greg Norman's 24 under or Davis Love III's final-round 64 or Phil Mickelson's first win after working with Butch Harmon, each of those guys played at a higher level that week.
ANONYMOUS PRO: He's right. There's no room for error on any hole. The par-5s aren't even necessarily birdie holes. Nine is a hard hole. Two is awkward. Sixteen can be a get-back hole, but you have to be careful on the second shot. The 11th is fraught with danger. Every hole can jump up and get you.
VAN SICKLE: I'm not a fan of modern architecture. I don't like sculptures. Old courses simply look natural. New courses don't have greens, they have complexes. The sharp edges, the perfectly rounded lakes—it's so artificial. I will say though, when I finally played it, the Stadium course was better than I thought.
SHIPNUCK: Of course it's the most manufactured course ever. It was a swamp. It's utterly a creation. That's what makes it amazing. It required so much imagination to build.