After a lengthy stay on the waiting list, Electronic Arts has finally been admitted to Augusta National Golf Club. The publisher today announced that for the first time in franchise history, a Tiger Woods PGA Tour game will feature Augusta National and the signature tournament it hosts, the Masters.
The inclusion of the course and the tournament is such a big deal for the series that EA is incorporating it into the game's title, confirming that Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters will arrive on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii on March 29 in North America, with a worldwide release following on April 1.
The tournament also looms large over the game's box art, with the name appearing three times on the cover, pushing a smaller Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 logo to the bottom of the packaging. The series' focus has shifted off of Woods somewhat since the golfer's marital transgressions came to light in 2009. Although EA Sports said its relationship with Woods was "unchanged" after the scandal, it included a second golfer on the cover of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 for the first time in the series' history. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 further deemphasizes the titular golfer on its cover, depicting him from the back and at a distance.
According to Augusta National chairman Billy Payne, the golf club and EA have been working for three years to get the course into the Tiger Woods franchise. EA has said it used a new laser scanning technology to faithfully replicate the club's Tournament and Par 3 courses.
The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game will feature 16 courses, with Sony's system also receiving a Collector's Edition of the game, which includes an extra five courses at a $10 premium over the standard edition. As in previous years, the Wii edition offers the most holes in one game, with Augusta National and 23 additional courses to play. PGA Tour 12 will also let players relive memorable shots from the Masters' storied history, including Woods' four Green Jacket wins at the tournament.
EA's collaboration with Woods dates back to 1998, when it published Tiger Woods 99 PGA Tour Golf for the PC and original PlayStation. Since then, the series has appeared on every major gaming platform save the Sega Dreamcast, selling millions of copies. The publisher's partnership with the PGA Tour is even longer, dating back to 1991.