EA Sports has announced the next installment in its annual golf franchise, Tiger Woods PGA Tour. The game still bears the name of the embattled golfer, but this year's iteration doesn't even feature him on the cover (check it out: he's still there, but it's a long shot from behind, so the average observer won't be able to tell that it's Tiger). Instead, EA has partnered with Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament to take the Masters digital for the first time in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters.
Augusta National, located in Augusta, Georgia, is one of the sport's most hallowed courses; you can check out the video above to see broadcaster Jim Nantz explain the rich history of Augusta and the Masters. Speaking of Nantz, I'm ecstatic that he's part of a new commentary team in PGA Tour 12 (along with CBS analyst David Feherty.) But the game's Masters branding doesn't just mean that the tournament and its associated course are included: PGA Tour 12 will offer "Tiger at the Masters," which will let you attempt to equal or best Woods' scores in his four Masters wins, as well as "Masters Moments," where you can relive history-making successes at the tournament.
Other new features include a revamped career mode and a caddie who will offer advice on every shot. Something that isn't featured as heavily as the Masters is Tiger himself, but according to Peter Moore (in comments to Eurogamer), we're not supposed to take anything away from that:
If the insinuation is [that the cover is] a reflection of EA Sports backing away from its relationship that goes back literally 13 years with Tiger, that's not the case whatsoever. This is obviously a very important day in our history and an important day in the world of golf videogames, and focusing on the Masters is the right thing to do.
EA traditionally releases PGA Tour in the summer, but this year's game is launching just before the Masters: March 29th in North America, and April 1st worldwide, for PS3 (with Move support), 360, and Wii. PlayStation 3 owners will also be able to purchase a Collector's Edition of the game, which ships with different box art and five additional courses for an extra $10. (That's not a bad deal: the courses that EA put out as add-ons for PGA Tour 11 varied in price, but at the cheapest -- in a bundle -- they cost $2.22 each, and EA charged more than that when the DLC was first released.)
You can look at 30 screenshots of the PS3/360 versions in the gallery, and watch a video below in which Nantz talks about how impressed he is at the virtual recreation of Augusta National in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12.
Moore: EA not backing away from Tiger [Eurogamer]