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Tiger Woods, EA end 15-years-old relationship

by Staff Reporter
29 Oct 2013 at 09:24hrs | Views
Tiger Woods has been the name used to sell EA Sports' golf simulation video game for 15 years - but the current series of games will be the last to bear his moniker as the world number one has lost one of his biggest and longest-standing sponsors.

EA announced on Tuesday that they are ending the deal which put Tiger's name and face on the boxes of their top-selling games, despite the 16 games in the series raking in £479 million for the US-based publisher.

That's not a misprint: Tiger's video games have grossed almost half a billion pounds, with Tiger's cut of that estimated at as much as £10 million a year.

"EA Sports and Tiger Woods have also made a mutual decision to end our partnership, which includes Tiger's named PGA Tour golf game " said EA's head honcho of golf games, Daryl Holt.

"We've always been big fans of Tiger and we wish him continued success in all his future endeavors."

It's a huge decision to pull the plug: EA has been making golf simulations for over 20 years, with the fondly-remembered original PGA Tour golf on the PC, Amiga and Megadrive first coming out in 1990.

But it wasn't until Woods was plastered onto the front of the box in 'Tiger Woods PGA Tour 99' on the Playstation that the game became the monster hit and cash cow that it has been since that moment.

Bunker Mentality has played almost every version of the game since those early days, and today's version is in many respects unchanged since then, other than the occasional tweak to the control method and the tarting-up of the graphics as more powerful consoles are released.

Not that fans continued to care: they continued to buy the new, yearly updates in their millions, and it seemed nothing could de-rail the series' status as the top-selling golf video game.

Even the revelations of Tiger Woods' string of infidelities failed to slow down his digital juggernaut: many of the 14-times Major champion's biggest sponsors either cut ties or backed off when his marriage collapsed and took his reputation with it [see here for details ], but EA were one of the few to stand by their man.

That said, there were signs of strain: the very next game they released, in the summer of 2010, was the first to put a golfer other than Tiger on the front (Rory McIlroy shared the cover with Woods), while a few months later a newer version was released that dropped Tiger altogether, showing only the newly-licensed Augusta National, home of the Masters.

And now, two more years down the line, Tiger is history - and it seems that the game may be headed off in a slightly different direction.

"EA Sports golf fans have always loved authentic courses and players, but they've also asked for more choice and customization in how and where they play. We're working on a new approach," Holt added rather cryptically.

The likelihood is that there will be some sort of focus on the Grand Slam, since all four Major championships are now playable in EA's golf games, and the latest version of the game includes all sorts of players from yesteryear, including Jack Nicklaus and Seve Ballesteros.

The big question is whether or not Tiger will still be included as a playable character. Given that he's lost his big money sponsorship deal, maybe we will see him retaliate by blocking the use of his image anywhere in the next game.

EA also used the announcement as their moment to share images of their next-generation golf games on the forthcoming Playstation 4 and Xbox One consoles, showing an absolutely stunning recreation of TPC Sawgrass's iconic 17th hole.

Whether such graphic beauty will make up for the loss of Tiger's grimacing face on the front cover remains to be seen.

Source - Eurosport