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A numbers game: Tiger, EA Sports part ways

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When you queue up EA Sports’ golf offering on your video game console of choice next year, you won’t be able to play as Tiger Woods. And if you’ve been eagerly awaiting “Tiger Woods PGA Tour ’15,” you’re waiting in vain.

Tiger Woods and EA Sports have mutually agreed to part ways, ending their 15-year partnership.

This means not only will the world’s most recognizable golfer not be on the cover of EA Sports’ golf game—as he has been since 1999—but that Woods and his Sunday red will likely be absent from the game entirely.

Athletes in individual (rather than team) sports don’t have to march in lockstep with a union decision to lend likenesses to video game makers. Thus, it’s unlikely that Tiger would fancy an animated version of himself appearing in a franchise that cut him loose. It’s fitting to stand in indignation with gamers around the world and ask, “What’s going on here?”

For one thing, after having a rough go of it, EA reported strong earnings in an October 29th conference call, beating consensus earnings per share estimates by 23 cents, and exceeding revenue estimates as well. The bullish position might compel the Redwood, Calif., based company to both devote some more cash to developing a new game and take a chance, rather than staying the course with an aging franchise.

It appears, too, the Woodsian video game franchise (with a near 40-year-old on the cover) was in a state of decline, offering the video game maker additional motivation to move in another direction.

VGChartz.com, which tracks video game sales, reported that the the PS3 version of Tiger Woods ‘14 sold only 160,000 copies worldwide. That marks a decline of 390,000 copies of last year’s game and decrease of 810,000 copies since the 2012 edition. For the XBOX 360 edition, sales declined from 430,000 last year to 160,000 this year.

“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,” Daryl Holt, EA Sports vice president of golf Daryl Holt told Gamespot. “We’re working on a new approach to deliver the best golf experience to our fans.”

Woods, for his part, isn’t resting on his video gaming laurels: the world No. 1 is in talks with other companies to develop a new video game, according to agent Mark Steinberg.

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21 Comments

  1. Nick

    Nov 12, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    This is a wise move by Tiger. Let’s face it, the TW’s games were just being milked. The ’14 game plays like the ’07 game. It’s still Myst golf (you gotta be over 25 to get that one) loading between shots whn other games have game worlds measured in square miles. Not to mention EA’s penchant for charging for basic gameplay as “add ons”. There is also of course the game play elements they would never drop like spinning after the shot and robo-simplistic putting.

    If Tiger gets a reputatble studio on the line, they could make a way better game and sales will spike. Tiger will get paid and we will get a betetr product.

  2. Sergio

    Nov 7, 2013 at 1:20 am

    EA have become too greedy over the years. The comments about paying “add-ons” could be transposed to other games and Real Racing 3 springs to minds here: a beautiful game harmed by the introduction of more and more in-app purchases. Not holding my breath, they’ll drop the franchise when they’re done squeezing every penny out of their customers and move to another game.

  3. Mat

    Nov 2, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    The game was failing for lots of reasons.

    #1- The game requires you to buy courses and content after you buy the game. $80 in, I’m done.
    #2- the courses I bought in prior years have to be purchased again each year.
    #3- the story is not compelling. Is it a 1-player game or not?
    #4- cheating is too easy, spinning after the shot. Playing without cheating is too hard.
    #5- putting is too easy
    #6- too much emphasis on win or nothing
    #7- graphics not much better than 2008
    #8- if gta can have a huge area, loading between holes is inexcusable.
    #9- not having an AI group by now is awful
    #10- no strategy; hole after hole is driver, with little problem with second shots.

    In short, it is not strategic, and not Golden Tee. And above all, everyone is waiting for nextgen. It isn’t like 2013 or prior years are different. A sepia filter isn’t worth it.

  4. JL

    Nov 2, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Please 2k come out with a good version of the golf game using kinect. The new Kinect is 60 fps, which should be perhaps acceptable in capturing a golf swing. I’d buy the xbox one just for that.

  5. Mike

    Nov 2, 2013 at 8:32 am

    I haven’t purchased a nike golf product since tigers handling of his fight with a fire hydrant. Come to think about it, haven’t purchased a tiger endorsed product. I believe there are many out there like me and that factored into ea’s decision to drop tiger like, eehm, a two foot putt. I can’t wait for steinbergs presser where he talks about how they dumped ea……

  6. dudstin

    Nov 1, 2013 at 11:14 am

    i’m tired of tiger being rated as the clear number 1 in the game, sure it kinda makes sense but when you play with friends everyone wants tiger and there isnt a close second. its time to even the playing field and i hope 2K can do it. their NBA games are far superior to anything EA has ever done, the added technical aspect that they use would be a welcome addition to a golf game. EA has a way of making a game then carrying the same basics into the next revision without making any real changes.

  7. Steve

    Nov 1, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Like others, I hope he works out a deal with 2K.

    I haven’t bought TW’s EA games in a few years. They all have been pretty much the same the last handful of years. Graphics aren’t getting very much better and they are skimming on courses. It’s not worth the money.

  8. Christopher

    Nov 1, 2013 at 12:25 am

    The biggest problem is that a game that should promote the PGA Tour doesn’t let you play most of it. If an F1 game had 50% of the tracks there would be an uproar. Same with the Fifa game. EA Sports want consumers to buy 10-15 courses, occupy them with golfers that look and play nothing like themselves then expect more money to add courses they provided with the previous games? Madness.

    • nathan

      Nov 1, 2013 at 1:49 am

      The decrease in copies sold has nothing to do with Mr. Woods. After paying $60 for a game year, after year, after year is one thing. But when EA Sports wants extra money for basic gameplay courses that should be included is shameful. I am unwilling to pay $100+ for a video game, and am tired of being gouged by these, “add-ons.”

      • Christopher

        Nov 1, 2013 at 11:05 am

        I’ve got nothing against EA providing a ‘leg-up’ for players that can’t advance in the game (say for Playstation+ members) but to pay for courses without the ability to earn them through good-play is appalling.

        The decrease in sales probably doesn’t have anything to do with Tiger, it’s EA’s attitude to their customers that’s the problem!

  9. jed

    Oct 31, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    I was disappointed but now that tiger is talking with somebody else im excited. competition is a good thing and EA needs it. EA continually puts out garbage and we have to buy it. 2k ran them out of the NBA business and soon will run the madden franchise away.

  10. Mike

    Oct 31, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    I have to agree with the lower post, Lets Hope Tiger has something in the works with 2K sports
    EA has been robbing everyone for years. Paying for any decent course is crazy when the game already costs $70.
    The PGA 15 game will fail… mark my words.

  11. Mizunopure

    Oct 31, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Hopefully they can now devote their resources toward getting more courses included with the game w/o all that nickel-and-diming referenced above.

  12. Lazza

    Oct 31, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    I for one missed the PC version – had 08. I have never had a console, and was contemplating getting a console vs. high-end pc with the view to try out TW PGA Tour 15.

  13. Paddy

    Oct 31, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Tiger is kind of old now and he looked tired at the end of the year. Video games target younger people and Tiger is over it. I could see them going with Rory if he starts playing well again.

  14. Brian

    Oct 31, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    I’m sure the decline had nothing to do with the nickel and dime approach to downloadable courses that EA has taken the past few years.

    • Philip

      Oct 31, 2013 at 12:19 pm

      That, and the pulling of Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 12 PC earlier this year without warning definitely ends my connection with EA. I’ve had to go to WGT which is not to shabby at all.

  15. Carson

    Oct 31, 2013 at 11:45 am

    I think the games have become too complex…Tiger Woods 2006 was perfect

    • Cullen Harris

      Oct 31, 2013 at 1:58 pm

      Couldn’t agree more. 2006 was he BEST version. I’ve owned half of them since then, and they’re too complex or too incomplete (read: making people pay for courses) to be worth an annual purchase.

    • Harold

      Nov 2, 2013 at 12:14 am

      Was looking for a fun and cheap golf game to kick around during the winter months on my kids xbox 360 and have seen a couple comments about the 2006 version being the funnest. Are you guys talking about Tiger Woods PGA 06 that was released in 2005 or Tiger Woods PGA 07 that was released in 2006? Thanks, Harold.

  16. Phil Mickelson

    Oct 31, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Let’s hope he’s working on a deal with 2K Sports. I think those games would be very realistic if they could find a good developer.

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Tour News

Tour Rundown: Rahm gets win No. 2 and goes to world No. 2

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Week two of the 2018 calendar season added events on the PGA Champions and European tours. The PGA caravan left Hawaii for California and found its first playoff of 2018, just as the Champions Tour reached the islands. The Euros teed it up in Dubai, and the Web.Com Tour stayed in the Bahamas for a second week. With an Asian Tour event in Singapore, the globe’s eyes were once again on professional golf. Time for Tour Rundown at warp speed!

Rahm continues to build career with win at CareerBuilder Challenge

For all of the final round, it looked like Jon Rahm would pull away for a 4-stroke victory. His driving was impeccable and his irons were dialed in. His putting stroke looked sound, but some of the birdies simply did not nest. Throughout the four-hole playoff with Andrew Landry, it seemed as if Rahm was destined to lose. Somehow, he persevered and won.

Rahm’s patience pays off with second PGA Tour win 

How many edges of holes were singed with putts and chips by Jon Rahm down the stretch? At least four, not counting the playoff. Fortunately for the Basque, only Andrew Landry made enough of a move to track him down temporarily. Rahm played like the 3rd-ranked player should, and now he’s the world No. 2 player. Perhaps the fact that he couldn’t or didn’t separate himself from his pursuers, yet had enough weaponry to pull out a victory, mattered more than a runaway triumph. Yet golf is a funny game. The only fairway Rahm missed in extra time came on the 4th hole. Despite that errant tee ball and his misses on the first three playoff holes, Rahm was able to drain the only birdie of the playoff and walk away a champion.

See the clubs Jon Rahm used to win

Landry and others made the most of their opportunities

Andrew Landry showed more gumption than anyone anticipated. The 2016 first-round leader of the U.S. Open stayed around even longer this week. A 72nd-hole birdie brought him to 22-under par and a tie with Rahm. The Arkansas alumnus drove the ball straight and far on each of the playoff holes, and never once sniffed a bogey. His irons brought him within birdie range but, like Rahm, he could not find the proper combination of line and speed. In the end, Landry missed last and settled (if such a term might be used) for a runner-up finish.

Fleetwood greets 2018 with title defense at Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Tommy Fleetwood looks for all the world to be a millenial hipster with his free-flowing hair and his strands of beard. In absolute contrast, he is equal parts passion and cold blood. When opportunity beckons, he doesn’t look away. Given the slightest opportunity to defend his 2017 Abu Dhabi title, Fleetwood assented and took charge.

How Fleetwood dispatched Fisher and the rest

Through 9 holes of Sunday’s final round, the tag for Tommy Fleetwood’s title defense percolated as He gave an admirable effort. Nine holes and six birdies later, that tag line had changed to How in the name of all that is known did he defend his title? And yet, there was Fleetwood with the fourth European Tour title of his career and third in the past dozen months. When Fleetwood needed a great drive, he got it. When he didn’t hit a great drive, he came through with a stellar approach. When his approach was off, he drained a long putt. And for good measure, he hit a wonderful pitch at the 18th, nestling the ball 5 feet for birdie, and made that. The end result was a 2-stroke margin of victory over the runner-up, Ross Fisher.

What is it about Ross Fisher?

Ross Fisher is eternally composed. Not like his countryman Colin Montgomerie (more on him later), who wore every disappointment like a Halloween mask. Yet, the two share a certain sad penchant for missing opportunities. Last October, Fisher wasn’t going to catch Tyrell Hatton in St. Andrews, but he was chasing immortality. He had a 25-foot putt for the first 59 at The Old Course…and missed. He had a 4-foot putt for the first 60 at the Old Course…and missed. He broke the course record with his 61, but, you know. Fisher has an 0-5 record in European Tour playoffs. On Sunday, he was victimized by Fleetwood’s marvelous back 9 of 30 strokes, but by his own inability to gather the fruits of opportunity. Case in point: Fisher made a long and testy putt for bogey on the par-5 10th, a hole that many birdied. Rather than use it as a springboard to return to his coach on the birdie train, he floundered with four pars and one bogey over his next five holes.

Kelly wins at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

Jerry Kelly earned the 2017 PGA Tour Champions rookie of the year award, on the strength of consistent play and his first two tour titles. On Day 3 of the 2018 season, he added to his victory total with a 1-stroke win over Colin Montgomerie. A 2-stroke swing on 18 decided the fate of both…here’s how!

How Kelly klaimed the championship

For fans of Hideki Matsuyama and his deceptive reaction to fantastic shots, Mr. Kelly is guilty of the same on well-struck putts. He drops his putter from one hand and slumps his shoulders after mid-range putts. All the while, the ball is tracking toward the hole, and usually drops. Kelly played a fine round on Saturday, with 5 birdies and 1 eagle. It might have been the sole bogey of the round, on No. 16, that ignited his hockey-bred fire. The miscue allowed Colin Montgomerie to take a 1-shot lead into the final 2 holes, but Kelly’s birdie on No. 18 brought him the title. How’s that?

How Monty lost his opportunity

We forget how difficult it is to hold a lead in any event, at any juncture. Colin Montgomerie never figured the recipe out in major championships on the regular tour, but he had it down, for the most part, in regular tour events. On the Champions Tour, he has been quite solid, winning six times as a senior in the U.S. and five times in Europe. In the third round at Hualalai, Monty’s most reliable club betrayed him at the least opportune time. A drive into a fairway bunker at the last hole left him 100 yards to the green. He flew the putting surface with his approach and played an indifferent flop shot to 7 feet for par and a playoff. His effort was off the mark and the title slipped from his grasp.

Sergio’s Singapore Open

Despite this unexpected result, Sergio Garcia opened the 2018 season with a victory in Singapore. We’ll run down what he did right.

Sergio and Singapore on a Sunday

The #SingOpen2018 and @TheSergioGarcia made a perfect match on an extended final day. Wet weather forced a last-day completion of Round 3, and most golfers played more than 20 holes on the final day. Garcia stormed from behind with 66-68 over those final 36 holes to wrest the lead from Danthai Boonma of Thailand. Nine birdies and 1 bogey over that stretch of two rounds finished the task for the Spaniard, who looks to defend his 2017 Masters title in the spring.

See the clubs Sergio used to win

The battle for second ended in a tie

With Garcia separating himself from the peloton, attention turned to Boonma and cast for the runner-up resolution. After three stellar rounds (70-68-65), Boonma stumbled in Round 4 with 73, finishing in a tie for 4th with countryman Jazz Janewattananond. Satoshi Kodaira of Japan and South Africa’s Shaun Norris each birdied the final hole to finish tied for second at 9-under, 5 blows behind the champion.

Hello, World for Sungjae Im at Web.Com Opener

Sungjae Im, all of 19 years of age and pegging it in his first Web.Com event ever, gave us a Hello-World moment with a closing 65 and a 4-shot win over Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz. How did the young Korean pro flu powder his way to the top of the podium? We’re asking ourselves the same question

How Im became I’m The Champ

Im entered the final round of the Great Exuma Classic in a tie with Ortiz, but eyes were on proven winners like Rhein Gibson, Steve Marino and Erik Compton. Sungjae Im went out in Round 4 and played perfect golf. He had 4 birds on his outward half, then seized the trophy by both handles with 3 more chirps on holes 14 to 16. Simply put, there was nothing that Ortiz or any other entrant could do, beyond bow and salute the victor.

How Ortiz and the others took the shock

Carlos Ortiz did what he had to do during Tuesday’s final round. He played a solid round, minus-3 with 5 birds and 2 bogies. He stayed ahead of Gibson and all the others, but would have needed to turn his bogies into birdies to tie Im atop the board. Rhein Gibson began round four like a boss, with birdies on 5 of the first 6 holes. He reached 8-under and looked like the eventual winner. The engine sputtered, and it was 1-birdie-1-bogey-10-pars the rest of the way. Gibson would have needed 10-under on the day to tie for the trophy, but with a few more birdies along the way, would he have frightened Im? Who knows!

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Wednesday’s Photos from the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge at the TPC Stadium Course at PGA West (7,113 yards, par 72) in La Quinta, California.

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The field this week is headlined by Jon Rahm, who’s currently ranked No. 3 in the Official World Golf Rankings after his second-place finish at the 2018 Sentry Tournament of Champions two weeks ago. Joining him in the field are notables John Daly, Brian Harman, last week’s Sony Open champion Patton Kizzire, Phil Mickelson, Jimmy Walker and Bubba Watson.

Defending-champion Hudson Swafford notched his first career victory at the 2017 CareerBuilders Challenge, where he won by one stroke over Adam Hadwin. He’ll be back in the field this year to defend his title.

Check out our photos from the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge below!

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Tuesday’s Photos from the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge at the TPC Stadium Course at PGA West (7,113 yards, par 72) in La Quinta, California.

Related

The field this week is headlined by Jon Rahm, who’s currently ranked No. 3 in the Official World Golf Rankings after his second-place finish at the 2018 Sentry Tournament of Champions two weeks ago. Joining him in the field are notables John Daly, Brian Harman, last week’s Sony Open champion Patton Kizzire, Phil Mickelson, Jimmy Walker and Bubba Watson.

Defending-champion Hudson Swafford notched his first career victory at the 2017 CareerBuilders Challenge, where he won by one stroke over Adam Hadwin. He’ll be back in the field this year to defend his title.

Check out our photos from the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge below!

Tuesday’s Galleries

Special Galleries

Discussion: See what GolfWRX Members are saying about the photos in our forums

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