Will EA finally publish a Tiger Woods golf game worthy of his name now that the series has moved on to the PlayStation 2? Find out in our hands-on preview of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2001.
Any weekend hacker worth his greens fees will tell you that Tiger Woods is the best golfer in the world and possibly the most talented player ever. So far EA has failed to deliver a Tiger Woods golf game worthy of the pro endorsing it. But with the added developmental headroom provided by the PlayStation 2 hardware, it's high time for the series to finally step to the forefront as the most advanced golf simulation available on the consoles with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2001.
EA has had the PGA Tour license locked down for almost a decade. The series prospered in the 16-bit days of the Sega Genesis and the SNES, but it has failed to capture the same magic since it made the transition to 3D. One facet of the series that has improved over time is the quantity of game options available. The 2001 iteration does not disappoint in that respect. EA claims that nine real-world golfers will be included in PGA Tour 2001 including Justin Leonard, Lee Janzen, Mark O'Meara, Brad Faxon, Mark Calcavecchia, Robert Damron, Stuart Appleby, Steve Stricker, and the namesake of the game, Tiger Woods. The burn that we received features just six available players, as Stricker, Appleby, and Janzen haven't been included yet. Up to four players can play through the grueling PGA Tour, play a skins game for some big cash, play hole-for-hole in match play, or go for the lowest score in stroke play. For those in need of gameplay assistance, there's a nice tutorial mode to lend a hand.
PGA Tour 2001 has enough gameplay depth to satisfy the most hard-core of duffers. The analog swing has returned from past installments of the PGA Tour franchise, and striking the ball is simple. Just pull back on either analog stick and push forward when the meter reaches its peak. Pushing the analog stick slightly to the left or right while pushing forward performs draws and fades. The problem with the swing mechanism is that it's far too easy to slice or hook the ball on accident, resulting in costly penalty strokes. The lack of definitive north and south notches in the Dual Shock 2's analog stick assembly only makes the mechanism all the more frustrating. Granted, it more closely simulates the subtle control required for a consistent golf swing in the real world, but most people play sports video games to be better at the sport than they truly are, not worse.
The control depth doesn't just stop at the swing. If your ball's in the rough or buried in a bunker, you may look at the lie, alter your stance, and choose from three different shot types. Pitches allow you to hit shots with a short loft that will land softly and run to the hole, chips are for short approach shots around the green, and punch shots come in handy when there are some tree branches overhead. During each shot, you may hold the D-pad to control ball spin. If you hold the D-pad up while swinging, the ball will have topspin, causing it to run once it hits the ground. Adding topspin to a tee shot can increase the shot distance by up to 60 yards. Conversely, holding down on the D-pad while swinging will give the ball some wicked backspin to stop it dead in its tracks.
- Release Date: Dec 8, 2000 (EU)
- Release Date: Apr 20, 2001 (EU)
- Release Date: Dec 8, 2000 (EU)