As Tiger Woods prepares for next week at Augusta, the ultimate practice aid has finally arrived.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters hits stores today.
Woods, who has not won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open, needs all the help he can get these days. Last May, Hank Haney was fired -- er, announced he was leaving his role as Tiger’s swing coach. His replacement, Sean Foley, hasn’t gotten his client anywhere near the top of the leaderboard since taking over. Woods’ best PGA TOUR finish this year was 10th at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, and that required a 66 on Sunday to shoot up 20 spots.
Maybe a few rounds at Augusta via his Xbox will help Woods get a handle on his game.
EA Sports announced the partnership with Augusta National Golf Club in January, much to the delight of fans of the video game franchise. But beyond being the first to ever offer a virtual version of the famed course, the game will also include special features such as Woods reminiscing on his four wins there over the years. Who better to give Tiger advice for this year’s tournament than Tiger himself?
"I felt really calm and good going into the event," Woods says in one video, referring to 1997 when he won his first major. "And I just had a nice, peaceful feeling that week."
Not exactly Marty McFly giving counsel from the future, but it’s a start.
Hopefully playing Augusta from the comfort of his $20,000 couch will help calm Woods for next week. It will certainly be much easier than the real thing. Rory McIlroy found out the difference between video games and real life a couple years ago. He used to tear up the virtual version of TPC Sawgrass in Tiger Woods '09, but got schooled the first time he set foot on the actual course in Ponte Vedra Beach.
But the thing about Tiger is he doesn’t need too much practice, especially not for the Masters. He’s teed it up there 16 times, winning at an outrageous 25 percent clip. Last year, coming off all the distractions from his personal life, Woods fired -11 and tied for fourth.
After that tournament, he wrote on his personal website: “As far as competing, it was just like riding a bike again. Once the tournament came, everything felt normal, and I fell into my old rhythm and routine. I didn't even think about it; it just happened. My body knew what to do.”
Tiger Woods doesn’t need Butch Harmon or Hank Haney or Sean Foley telling him to keep his eye on the ball. Not next week. All he needs is Steve Williams threatening anyone who’s weak enough to suffer from allergies and sneeze during Tiger’s backswing.
But a copy of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters couldn’t hurt.