Until a few years back, the game of golf was considered boring to young people around the country. Golf appealed primarily to AARP members with pink and green pants. This stereotype of golfers changed, however, with the arrival of the young golf phenom, Tiger Woods. Since his arrival on the PGA Tour, records have been smashed, TV ratings have skyrocketed and kids everywhere want to be like Tiger. Realizing the popularity of Tiger worldwide, EA Sports joined Tiger-mania in 1999 by sticking his name to their “PGA Tour” series. While commercially successful, the first two “Tiger Woods” games were about as nasty as the rough at the U.S. Open, suffering from horrible graphics and weak controls. Thankfully, with a face-lift on the Playstation 2, “Tiger Woods PGA Golf 2001” is almost as fun as watching Tiger on TV.
The most notable change to “Tiger Woods 2001” is the vastly improved graphics in the game. The player models, courses and backgrounds are as smooth as Tiger”s back swing. No longer suffering from poor angles and choppy framerates, “Tiger” is one of the most visually appealing sports titles for the PS2. The flaw in the visual of the game is that it lacks an on-looking gallery. If there”s no gallery, where the hell is all that clapping coming from?
Also new to “Tiger” is a new shot control system. Using the analog stick on the Dual Shock 2 controller, shot control is determined by correctly moving the analog stick is moved back and forth. Also, players can use the control pad to control the spin, flight and bounce of the ball while the ball is in the air. This feature leads to better shots, as players can literally fix their shot on the fly. While these new features in the game are improvements, other gameplay mechanics are clearly flawed. For starters, almost at random, some of the shots are shanked for no apparent reason. Additionally, the games system of measurement is as messed up as Greg Norman”s game on the back nine at Augusta. It seems as if the computer just guesses the distance of a shot as one player might out drive another player, yet the same will say the person with the weaker drive hit the ball 30-50 yards further.
Easily the best aspect of “Tiger” is the variety of game modes available for players. Up to four players can play match play, stroke play, “The Skins Game” and tournament play. But while there are game modes aplenty, the game suffers from a lack of players and courses. Featuring only seven players (highlighted by the almighty Tiger Woods and Justin Leonard) and three courses (including Tiger”s favorite Pebble Beach), the game lacks the feel of the PGA Tour. Hopefully in future versions of the title, the game will feature a wide array of courses and players, which is seen in EA”s NASCAR series.