The idea that the green-jacketed members of Augusta National might make their hallowed golf course available in a virtual layout for anyone to play has always seemed laughable. St. Andrews, the birthplace of the game? Fine. Pebble Beach, the resort that's hosted five U.S. Opens? Of course. But Augusta National, the Alister MacKenzie-Bobby Jones layout that has been home to The Masters since 1934? No way.
Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National, and EA Sports announced today that Augusta National and the Masters would be featured in "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters," the next edition of the popular video game franchise.
Payne also announced that all of the club's earning from the game will go to the Masters Tournament Foundation, a newly formed foundation that will "annually invest in development programs for the game of golf worldwide."
"EA Sports, Tiger Woods and the PGA Tour have developed an extremely successful franchise that responds to one of the popular entertainment choices of kids today," Payne said in a media release. "We hope our inclusion will foster an appreciation for the history and traditions of the Masters and inspire the next generation of golfers. Equally important is its ability to help further the mission of the Masters Tournament Foundation with the entirety of its proceeds."
The game will feature the voices of David Feherty and Jim Nantz, and you will be able to compete against more than 20 PGA Tour and LPGA professionals, including Zach Johnson, the 2007 champion. (Yes, you'll be able to play against women at Augusta.) Caddies will provide advice on green reading and strategy as players try to capture the green jacket.
To create the game, EA Sports worked on site at Augusta National and used "new, state-of-the art laser scanning technology to replicate every hole featured in the game," according to the company. Every detail, from green undulations to azaleas, was captured, according to EA. The game will also let players try to match Tiger Woods's scores in all four of his Masters wins, will allow players in "career mode" to mirror a golfer's rise through the ranks, and will feature 16 courses, including Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Atlanta Athletic Club, TPC San Antonio, St. Andrews Links and Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour '12 will be available on March 29 for Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation3.