On March 29 the gaming world will be graced with the presence of yet another Tiger Woods PGA game. Releasing on Xbox 360, Wii, and PS3 the familiar game is missing a familiar face … Tiger Woods himself.
Instead of arguably the greatest golfer in history donning the cover, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters is going to give us … a yellow flag? The iconic symbol of the Augusta National Golf Club, where the Masters is played, is going to be the recognizable icon that helps the games’ sales increase back to the numbers from 2007 or 2008. At least, according to EA Sports.
There’s no question that sales for the game have plummeted recently. It’s been reported that sales are down 50% or more since 2008 and EA is struggling to get their profit margin back to acceptable levels. After all, EA is a business and the bottom line is the almighty dollar.
EA claims that the removal of the Golfing Legend has nothing to do with his recent history and was done this year because of the inclusion of the Master’s Event – which has never been a part of the game. And EA’s claims seem to hold water, however I’m not buying.
After many of Tiger’s sponsors have backed away, a few of his biggest have stuck with him, including EA. But one might argue, ‘how can I make the claim that this was done with a concerted effort to remove Tiger, and not done as they claim: to honor the inclusion of the Masters Tournament’? Because, in 2011 Tiger Woods was, for the first time, not the only golfer included on the cover of his game. Instead, newcomer Rory McIlory shared the spotlight. And now, a year later it seems EA is continuing it’s trend to distance itself from Tiger’s distorted image, despite their claims. There are ways to honor the Masters Tournament and keep Tiger, the third most winningest player of the event, on the cover. Why not have a picture of Tiger wearing the iconic green jacket awarded to the victor? Or a picture of Tiger from 1997, 2001, 2001, or 2005 – each year he’s won the event?
EA is obviously attempting to keep Tiger pacified and try to say the right things. I understand their stance, but I don’t like it. Gamers do not care about the mistakes Tiger has made in his personal life. We aren’t playing “Tiger Woods: Leisure Suit Larry Edition”. We’re playing golf. And in the world of golfing, Tiger Woods is still king and deserves the cover.