E3 '07: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 Hands-On

Nothing can shake our confidence as we check out the next handheld golf game from EA Sports.

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If you've ever played a round of golf, you've felt it--the cold sweats you get when approaching the ball on a tough hole, or with a club you've not had much luck with in the past. Often, a golfer's confidence supersedes his natural ability in high-pressure situations, and that aspect of the sport will be a big part of EA Sports' next handheld golfing game, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08. We had a chance to get a brief demo of the game on the opening day of E3.

Confidence will be measured out on a shot-by-shot basis in the game. Shank a tee shot into the rough, and your confidence will drop by a big margin; make an chip shot from 85 yards out for an eagle, and your confidence will skyrocket. Shooting with low confidence will make it more difficult to shoot, while tough shots will be slightly easier if your confidence is through the roof. However, just because your confidence is at rock bottom doesn't mean your hole is ruined, thanks to some new minigames designed to get your virtual golfer's head back into the game.

These minigames come in a number of different forms. Should your confidence take a hit during a hole, your caddy might suggest you spend a moment cleaning off your show, or sweeping the area around the ball clean of debris. Each minigame takes just a few seconds and usually involves a combination of the analog stick and one or two button presses. To clean the area around your ball, for example, you move an icon around, picking up debris like leaves and grass from around your ball and moving it to a drop-off area nearby. To clean your shoes, you wipe them back and forth to get rid of the dirt and chip away at stones, which take a little bit more time to remove. Other minigames include "control your heart rate," "balance the ball," "ball washer," and "ball juggling," among others.

How you perform in these timed minigames will determine how much confidence you gain back when it comes time to address the ball. Even if you make a spectacular show of cleaning your shoe, you won't gain all of your confidence, but you can gain a good portion of it back. Confidence boosts are temporary; however, so any bonuses you earn from exceptional confidence will only last for your next shot.

One of the other cool aspects of the PlayStation Portable version of Tiger is the obsessive amount of record keeping the game will do. The game will keep track of every time you've played a particular hole, your average score, and so on, and the game will also track your performance with all the different clubs in your bag--so if, like every other golfer on the face of the planet, you can't hit a 2-iron in the game, Tiger Woods 08 will know it.

Tiger 08 will feature 14 total courses, eight of which are new. The full list: Sawgrass, Boston TPC, East Lake, Westchester, The National, Doral, Pebble Beach, Harbor Town, Riviera, Ocean Courses, Firestone, Spyglass Hill, Saint Andrews, and Cog Hill. The game is due for release later this year, and we'll have more information as it becomes available.

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