There is an old adage that implies there are different horses for different courses.
In golf, that's true.
Well, maybe not for Tiger Woods, who wins anywhere any everywhere around the world. But even Mr. Woods has a mastery over the Firestone Country Club where he's won 6 of his 62 PGA Tour victories.
Some players like courses which are long because of their precision driving ability, others, like the "Boss of the Moss" Lauren Roberts, bring their A Game to courses with treacherous greens. Still others like courses which have a certain feel: dry hard layouts, courses in the desert, courses in the southwest or southeast.
Phil Mickelson grew up in Southern California. He's always in the hunt at the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines and has claimed 3 titles there (not to mention 3 up the I-5 at La Costa). The record shows that 16 of Mickelson's 33 PGA Tour victories have been in the southwest in the states of California (11 wins) and Arizona (5).
He was dominating in winning the Northern Trust Open at "Hogan's Alley," the Riviera Country Club near LA, over the weekend, adding that famed course to the list of California and Arizona layouts where he's claimed titles.
There is no truth to the rumor he's petitioned the PGA Tour Board to move all events to those two western states.
A southeast kind of guy is John Huston. There was a time when he joked he only wanted to play in Florida events. And why not? He's claimed 6 of his 7 PGA Tour wins in the Citrus State.
Years ago I spoke with Golf Hall of Fame winner Johnny Miller. The man has 25 PGA Tour victories, including the U.S. and British Opens, on his resume. He grew up in the San Francisco area and has fond memories of his home state.
"I've done very well in California over the year, Arizona too," said NBC-TVs lead golf analyst. "I was very comfortable on those courses, and that sort of allowed me to be in the zone there. Other guys are the same way, like Mickelson. Sure, he's won all over, but he's been a dominant player in California."
Of Miller's 25 victories, 15 came in California or Arizona, including his last victory at the 1994 ATT-Pebble Beach Classic.
Winning at home is special to most players. Their friends and family line the fairways, and most of the fans pull for their local hero to do well.
Davis Love III has kept that special bond with the Carolinas, where he's claimed 7 of his 19 championships. Five of those have come at the historic Harbor Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island. There Love has won five times in his stellar career.
Zach Johnson has three PGA Tour wins, including The Masters at Augusta National. What makes his win's tied together? All have been in the state of Georgia.
The old adage is true. Maybe not horses for courses, but clearly there are indeed certain players who are perfectly matched for certain courses.