Tiger Woods or the Masters? Two new golf video games present consumers a choice
2K Sports/EA Sports
As 2K Sports gets set to release its much-anticipated PGA Tour 2K23 video game with Tiger Woods on the cover, Woods’ old video game partner is quietly stalking its own comeback.
To quote Ron Burgandy, “It’s true, the market is becoming saturated.”
EA Sports, the company synonymous with the Madden and NCAA College Football video game series, as well as the Tiger Woods PGA Tour franchise from 1999 to 2013, released a teaser trailer for its first golf video game in eight years. Take a look here:
Yes, that is Jordan Spieth and, yes, that is Augusta National. According to a press release from EA Sports, the company has an exclusive license with all four majors and the game will also feature LPGA tournaments and pros such as Lexi Thompson and Jin-Young Ko.
So far, Spieth is the only men’s pro announced who will be part of the game, which, after being delayed last year, EA says will be released in the spring of 2023.
The other interesting note from the press release is EA Sports will include the use of ShotLink and TrackMan data to replicate golfers “like never before.”
“EA SPORTS PGA TOUR uniquely incorporates ShotLink data, which will provide extensive amounts of data that will be integrated into the game’s development, resulting in accurate player ratings and skills and magnified true-to-life in-game events,” a release from March announcing the game’s launch timeline reads. “Data from TrackMan, a world leader in 3D ball flight measurement and swing analysis, is also being incorporated into the game to add an additional layer of authenticity by allowing EA’s game designers to perfect gameplay and numerous stats such as club tuning.”
There’s no word on exactly how and what that will look like in the game, but from what we can tell from the teaser, the graphics look top-notch, possibly owing to the fact the game will be available only for next-generation consoles, such as the Play Station 5 or XBOX Series X | S.
Meanwhile, PGA Tour 2K23 comes out Friday — the deluxe and Tiger Woods editions are out now — with the biggest name in the sport on the cover.
Woods and EA Sports parted ways in 2013 and the company came out with Rory McIlroy PGA Tour in 2015 to mixed reviews. The McIlroy version did not feature Augusta National as the final three versions of the Tiger Woods game had after EA let its license expire.
But Augusta National and EA Sports announced before the 2021 Masters that the legendary course would return to the virtual world with a renewed license.
Woods is a different story, because he signed over his video-game rights to HB Studios earlier that year and was announced as the cover star and executive director for PGA Tour 2K23.
HB Studios, the makers of the popular NBA 2K franchise, has already released two golf simulation games with official PGA Tour-licensed events and courses, first The Golf Club 2019 featuring PGA Tour and then, in 2020, PGA Tour 2K21 with Justin Thomas on the cover.
Both games, as well as the 2K23 game, feature the franchise’s popular course designer tool. So while Augusta will not officially be in the 2K Sports world, rest assured, someone will painstakingly replicate every blade of grass to simulate the real thing. But none of the majors are playable in the game’s career mode.
This is the first time we’ll see dueling video games with PGA Tour licensing simultaneously on the market so if it’s one or the other, the choice for golf gamers will be simple: Tiger Woods or the Masters?