Tiger Woods PGA Tour: Less Van Pelt, More Online

I've got some thoughts on Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 and the upcoming browser-based Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online for PC and Mac. However, before I get to that, I've got to get this off my chest right now:Scott Van Pelt should not be in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11. The commentary in this year's game is rife...

I've got some thoughts on Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 and the upcoming browser-based Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online for PC and Mac. However, before I get to that, I've got to get this off my chest right now:

Scott Van Pelt should not be in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11. The commentary in this year's game is rife with his flat-footed attempts at humor, his egg-headed wordplay, and his oily, winking delivery. Worst of all, a good chunk of the commentary is just plain wrong, having little to do with the action on screen. I'd sooner have a Greek chorus full of the shrieking harpy clones of David Feherty fill announcing duties in Tiger 11 than face the thought of SVP back in the booth for another season.

Okay. I feel better. Now, on to my real point.

--

A good friend of mine, who hasn't played a console golf game since Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005, has become obsessed with Tiger 10. It's been interesting hearing his viewpoint on the game as someone who (unlike me) doesn't follow Tiger closely from year to year. When compared to Tiger 2005--which was notoriously easy, even by Tiger Woods series standards--so much of this year's game is new to him: more powerful character customization, the club-tuning feature, and, especially, the online features like GamerNet and the online tournaments. A few weeks back, we had a great time tackling Bethpage Black during the U.S. Open Play With the Pros online tournament, struggling not just against disgusting weather but also with the impossible precision the course demands.

Still, as with any game, improvements are always on the horizon and, in this day of server-side online gaming, many of those improvements can come after the game has been released. In the case of Tiger 10, that means some changes to Tiger 10's live tournament feature. In a recent blog post over at the EA Sports blog, series producer Mike DeVault outlined some of the upcoming changes to live tournaments that look to improve what has been a well-received feature so far. You can read the post here, but here's the general gist of additions and changes:

New Tournament Payout Structure -- Designed to encourage live tournament participation, even for players who aren't top-tier, this new payout structure would base your tournament winnings directly on how many people are below you on the leaderboard.

Handicapped Tournaments -- A new style of tournaments that would dynamically adjust the tournament difficulty on a player-by-player basis. Low skill players would be able to use spin, boost, and putt preview and play against higher skill players who would be playing at Tour Pro difficulty (or somewhere in between).

Online PGA Tour Seasons -- Here's the one I'm most excited about and here's how DeVault describes it:

"We're looking to create a season structure within Live Tournaments and we need your help to set it up correctly. The basic idea here is to create a season's worth of tournaments that would last X amount of weeks. At the end of the season, we'd crown a winner they'd win some fabulous prizes and we'd start up another season right after that."

Personally, I'd love to be able to create friends-only tournaments--I've got more than a few buddies, including my newly minted Tiger 10 fan described above, who would like to compete in online tourneys just between us, without having to worry about the online freak who can hit -90 at Pebble Beach after two rounds.

--

Of course, the other big golf news is the upcoming Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online, which we first saw back at EA in May. The online PC game has currently gone through a limited beta and is preparing for a second beta in the coming weeks (with another slated for the end of a summer and an open beta in early fall). According to game producer Greg Rinaldi in a recent blog post, some of the new additions in the next beta of Tiger Woods Online will be:

Career Progression -- Play as your own created character, earning money and improving your golfer as you go. Naturally, this is essential for any golf game these days but, arguably, it's the MOST important aspect of Tiger Woods Online. Unlike the console game, which has you restarting your career from scratch each year, you'll be living with your created golfer in Tiger Woods Online for a long time to come. Here's hoping the career and skill progression--which is so keyed to unnaturally rapid improvement in the console game--follows a longer, more realistic path in Tiger Woods Online. It would certainly help the game, from an authenticity standpoint.

Swing Trainer -- What's interesting with this feature is that apparently, you'll leveling up different aspects of your swing--swing plane, tempo, balance, swing speed, timing, and touch. It will be interesting to see how leveling these different aspects of your golfer's swing will change his or her play on the course.

Course Mastery -- Playing well on courses will unlock the ability to play those courses at a higher difficulty level. This is a bit reminiscent of the license system in games like iRacing, where you're rewarded with more challenge for playing well. Conversely, I wonder how (or, indeed, if) the game will punish you for a bad round or two?

This being a second beta, there's still lots more work to be done in Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online and more features to add before the game is released later this year. With that in mind, I've got one suggestion that I'd humbly like to make: Don't let Scott Van Pelt within a hundred miles of this game. And if you need help getting together a Greek chorus of David Feherty clones, call me. I'll do what I can.

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30 comments
cjciolino
cjciolino

Tiger Woods PGA Tour is the same old boring game as it was in the beginning! Every year a new version is released with minimal evolution in gaming experience. IT HAS GONE STALE !! SPICE IT UP A LITTLE PLEASE !!!!!!!!!!!!

blairzo17
blairzo17

This game looks nice but golf games for me are just boring.

mechberg
mechberg

@Justor -- I'm not a huge Tighlman fan either but I find her far less grating than SVP. Looks like some people like him, however, which surprises me to no end.

Breaker94
Breaker94

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

II-NewEra02-II
II-NewEra02-II

how come they will never let the plastation play microsoft or ninte .. why i think thats kinda weird you think it would just giv them more reasons to show how much better each system is ... that way they could advertise the 360 owners beating the ps3 owners or that you should buye one or the othere because its better and that you win more online if you have a certian brand ... hummmm weird i think that should happen i think all consoles and computers should b able to play games aginst eachother online...it sure would bring up sales of online games if people could play there frineds games they both have but on diffrent systems people would buye the same game to play .. and you sure would find out who likes what system better for what type of game ... people choose systems for alll sorts of reasons .. feel , games they can buye for it .usability .graphics,sound.etc any ways any body got more ifo on that markybhoy75 Posted Jul 3, 2009 1:38 am GMT We tried an interforum Ryder Cup last year and it was a real pain to set up i wish they would implement this. One player adds all the players to the tournament and then generates the ties and each tie is flagged up when participants are on-line at the same time EASY They could also let Ps3 play 360 LOL they can do it although politically it will never happen .

II-NewEra02-II
II-NewEra02-II

is this a whole new game or is it going to b an add on, that you by,? or just get an upgrade? for the orignal tiger 10....i like the idea of more options to play diffrent ways.more online options. the more things they put in games the better.just as long as you have option not to play or play if you whant

terrytunes1958
terrytunes1958

I have played the demo and the new features are outstanding. The commentary is like most are saying, not up to par, but I was more disapointed with the graphics. I think they took a step back from previous years. Still all and all a great game. Awesome blog, keep up the good work. Terry

Justor
Justor

Great blog, really summed up everything terrible about the SVP commentary, but I'm a little annoyed that we all went the PC route and didn't dare comment on the woman commentator who's equally terrible. I assume this touchiness is due to the obvious sexist nature of golf (does Augusta let women play there yet?), but regardless, she sounds like an irritable Jody Foster. Their "playing" off each other just sounds 2 co-workers, equally annoyed and bitter towards one another, trying to get in the "better" comment. This game is best played on mute with music, radio, or recorded waterboarding in the background.

JamesHetfield89
JamesHetfield89

Van Pelt is currently one of the few intelligent minds on staff at ESPN. I'm glad he's in the game and not someone else. If there is a problem with his commentary - that's on EA. They should record far more unique dialogue and work on the dynamics of it all. It's still better than the dialogue in most EA games. Madden 2009 commentary was awful with Hammond.

mechberg
mechberg

@ChamomileBaths @remirousseau -- Interesting idea about the Wii balance board in next year's Tiger. Considering the importance of balance and weight in a golf swing--not to mention the importance of where the ball sits between your feet--I could see them doing that next year. Great idea!

ChamomileBaths
ChamomileBaths

Haha yea, I guess we do on Van Pelt, I should also add I don't think he's been a great commentator on live golf either. He doesn't come across as very knowledgeable as someone like Chris Collinsworth does in Madden. As for that balance board idea, I can see that working. Foot movement isn't so crucial but by reading the shifts in your balance I'm sure they could make Tiger 11 a great golf instructor as well.

Paul_GameFury
Paul_GameFury

I have a similar experience with a friend of mine. I only play the game every few years while he buys it every year. I've been casually playing the first version on the Wii (can't remember what year that one was). Since they continue to refine the controls, I may need to pick up a newer version soon.

etmaul
etmaul

I hate Van Pelt and his female co-announcer as well. I'm with you man, I'd take a bunch of Feherty's as well over their lame commentary. Van Pelt is great in everything else, but being an announcer in a game, I don't think so.

ohjtbehaaave
ohjtbehaaave

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

remirousseau
remirousseau

I would like the wii balance board support added to the the next version. Combined to an updated wii motion plus...this would feel more real. As for SVP ... don't care if he,s back or not.

mechberg
mechberg

@ChamomileBaths -- We'll disagree to agree about SVP. Or something like that. My buddy has played both the Wii and 360 version... he's enjoyed both but has fallen in love with the latter.

ChamomileBaths
ChamomileBaths

Scott Van Pelt is the guy I hope to see on Sports Center every morning (I don't keep tabs on if they have a schedule or not), he does the funniest ESPN commercials (which are all good), but you're right in that he doesn't quite fit as a golf commentator. Plus he is witty with his humor but you can't really be funny in a sports video game because you're going to hear the same commentary over many, many times. I haven't played enough online to have a say but more features are always welcomed. Is your friend playing Tiger 10 Wii or Tiger 10 PS3/360?

markybhoy75
markybhoy75

We tried an interforum Ryder Cup last year and it was a real pain to set up i wish they would implement this. One player adds all the players to the tournament and then generates the ties and each tie is flagged up when participants are on-line at the same time EASY They could also let Ps3 play 360 LOL they can do it although politically it will never happen .

ohjtbehaaave
ohjtbehaaave

It's gonna be "DirtNap" Martinez. And then Dirty Martini's for everyone!

mechberg
mechberg

@ohjtbehaaave -- That's *Dirtbag* Martinez to you!

ohjtbehaaave
ohjtbehaaave

Your right... this announcing in Tiger 10 is so hard to listen to it makes the Madden announcer from a few years ago talking into the Tin Can sound good. And do we have to hear "This is going into the Tall Stuff" on every Tee shot... and the shot ends up on the Fairway! But I agree with Brians friend. I'm really into Tiger 10 after taking a break the last few years with the reheats. Tiger 10 outside of HOLDING BACK courses to charge for... is really a complete and enjoyable package. By the way... why does the Wii version have like 28 courses and 360 and PS3 versions only have 16 courses? Totally LAME EA!!! Now I see they are selling the 'Predator" course. Wasn't that in Tiger 04 or something? Man, does the Milking ever end? Is there any other industry besides Video Games that has a bigger "Love / Hate" Relationship between consumers and the companies? I'll stop my complaining now. Gamernet is cool as are the Tourny's. Problem is... I think I'm shooting a great Round.. making hot Iron shots... great long putts and in general just on Fire.... Yet my -14 (Under) isn't even close to the top guys on the leaderboard! WTF!!! And I refuse to play with Tiger or a Pro. Winning in Tiger just doesn't mean that much to me. I always use my created dude. Check out a Hole in one I shot at EAsportsworld. http://beta.easports.com/media/play/video/6258812 You can also see some FN4 Flash Knockdowns I had... that will be served up for Dirty Martinez for lunch.

mechberg
mechberg

@coximus22 -- I wish she would stop telling me to "roll the rock". Oh God, I wish she would stop.

talshiarr
talshiarr

Both the commentators are just terrible. They sound like they're reading lines to a group of pre-schoolers at a public library's story day. OK Boys and Girls, here we go! "Looks like it's heading for the rough....oh noes!", "Look again, Scott, you blue Lou you, that ball is on the fairway!". Meanwhile, as player rolls an 85 foot put to within 2 feet, "Just a terrible effort there, no touch at all."

coximus22
coximus22

The female commentator who replaced the Scottish guy is far worse than Scott Van Pelt, which is saying a lot. Her comments both positive and negative are more annoying than pop-up ads.

mechberg
mechberg

@geaux321 -- Scott Van Pelt is a nightmare made flesh.

sean0883
sean0883

LOL, i mean for commentary.

sean0883
sean0883

The scottish dude ( i think he was scottish ), was the best, i think he was in last years tiger. I liked him anyway.

geaux321
geaux321

I rented TW10 and enjoyed Van Pelt in it, much better than whoever it was in the past versions.

ldonyo
ldonyo

The only reason I have never gotten into the Tiger Woods games is EA. They will micro-transaction everyone to death whenever possible and I'm just not going to do that to myself.

mechberg
mechberg

I've got some thoughts on Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 and the upcoming browser-based Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online for PC and Mac. However, before I get to that, I've got to get this off my chest right now:

Scott Van Pelt should not be in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11. The commentary in this year's game is rife with his flat-footed attempts at humor, his egg-headed wordplay, and his oily, winking delivery. Worst of all, a good chunk of the commentary is just plain wrong, having little to do with the action on screen. I'd sooner have a Greek chorus full of the shrieking harpy clones of David Feherty fill announcing duties in Tiger 11 than face the thought of SVP back in the booth for another season.

Okay. I feel better. Now, on to my real point.

--

A good friend of mine, who hasn't played a console golf game since Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005, has become obsessed with Tiger 10. It's been interesting hearing his viewpoint on the game as someone who (unlike me) doesn't follow Tiger closely from year to year. When compared to Tiger 2005--which was notoriously easy, even by Tiger Woods series standards--so much of this year's game is new to him: more powerful character customization, the club-tuning feature, and, especially, the online features like GamerNet and the online tournaments. A few weeks back, we had a great time tackling Bethpage Black during the U.S. Open Play With the Pros online tournament, struggling not just against disgusting weather but also with the impossible precision the course demands.

Still, as with any game, improvements are always on the horizon and, in this day of server-side online gaming, many of those improvements can come after the game has been released. In the case of Tiger 10, that means some changes to Tiger 10's live tournament feature. In a recent blog post over at the EA Sports blog, series producer Mike DeVault outlined some of the upcoming changes to live tournaments that look to improve what has been a well-received feature so far. You can read the post here, but here's the general gist of additions and changes:

New Tournament Payout Structure -- Designed to encourage live tournament participation, even for players who aren't top-tier, this new payout structure would base your tournament winnings directly on how many people are below you on the leaderboard.

Handicapped Tournaments -- A new style of tournaments that would dynamically adjust the tournament difficulty on a player-by-player basis. Low skill players would be able to use spin, boost, and putt preview and play against higher skill players who would be playing at Tour Pro difficulty (or somewhere in between).

Online PGA Tour Seasons -- Here's the one I'm most excited about and here's how DeVault describes it:

"We're looking to create a season structure within Live Tournaments and we need your help to set it up correctly. The basic idea here is to create a season's worth of tournaments that would last X amount of weeks. At the end of the season, we'd crown a winner they'd win some fabulous prizes and we'd start up another season right after that."

Personally, I'd love to be able to create friends-only tournaments--I've got more than a few buddies, including my newly minted Tiger 10 fan described above, who would like to compete in online tourneys just between us, without having to worry about the online freak who can hit -90 at Pebble Beach after two rounds.

--

Of course, the other big golf news is the upcoming Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online, which we first saw back at EA in May. The online PC game has currently gone through a limited beta and is preparing for a second beta in the coming weeks (with another slated for the end of a summer and an open beta in early fall). According to game producer Greg Rinaldi in a recent blog post, some of the new additions in the next beta of Tiger Woods Online will be:

Career Progression -- Play as your own created character, earning money and improving your golfer as you go. Naturally, this is essential for any golf game these days but, arguably, it's the MOST important aspect of Tiger Woods Online. Unlike the console game, which has you restarting your career from scratch each year, you'll be living with your created golfer in Tiger Woods Online for a long time to come. Here's hoping the career and skill progression--which is so keyed to unnaturally rapid improvement in the console game--follows a longer, more realistic path in Tiger Woods Online. It would certainly help the game, from an authenticity standpoint.

Swing Trainer -- What's interesting with this feature is that apparently, you'll leveling up different aspects of your swing--swing plane, tempo, balance, swing speed, timing, and touch. It will be interesting to see how leveling these different aspects of your golfer's swing will change his or her play on the course.

Course Mastery -- Playing well on courses will unlock the ability to play those courses at a higher difficulty level. This is a bit reminiscent of the license system in games like iRacing, where you're rewarded with more challenge for playing well. Conversely, I wonder how (or, indeed, if) the game will punish you for a bad round or two?

This being a second beta, there's still lots more work to be done in Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online and more features to add before the game is released later this year. With that in mind, I've got one suggestion that I'd humbly like to make: Don't let Scott Van Pelt within a hundred miles of this game. And if you need help getting together a Greek chorus of David Feherty clones, call me. I'll do what I can.