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Video Game of the Week – Tiger Woods PGA TOUR Online

Whatever you may think of Tiger Woods as a person, he remains an iconic figure in the world of sports. Since he joined the ranks of professional golfers in 1996, he has dominated the sport, winning 82 titles worldwide and well over $100 million in prize money. His return to Augusta for this week's Masters tournament may be one of the most closely-watched comebacks in the history of sports.

So it's no coincidence that Electronic Arts has chosen this week to release the latest installment of its award-winning golf franchise: Tiger Woods PGA TOUR. However, this is no ordinary release. In what promises to be a sign of things to come, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR Online is only available as a download from the Web.

To play Tiger Woods Online, you just need to go to tigerwoodsonline.ea.com and install a browser plug-in, which takes about 10 seconds. That's it - no disc, no subscription required! Just install the plug-in and you can start playing right away.

There are 10 world class courses to choose from, including classics like St. Andrew's Old Course, Pebble Beach and the TPC Sawgrass. As a player, you start out as a Level 1 rookie and earn your way to the big stage by playing well and picking up Experience Points.

Actual gameplay will be familiar to anyone who has played the Tiger Woods console games over the years. You can choose between Single Player or Multiplayer formats , or you can enter Tournaments. In Tournament format, you play courses against other online players during a 24-hour window to earn points and prize money.

There are a host of different features to choose from as you work your way through the game. Off the course, you can customize your appearance and equipment through the Golf Shop; team up with other golfers and share stats through Groups; and even invite Facebook friends to come and watch you through My Gallery. On the course, you can get help with everything from alignment, to club selection, to reading the greens.

With Tiger Woods Online, EA is effectively experimenting with a new business model. Rather than charging $60 for a game-in-a-box, EA is saying: "Try it for free and, if you like it, you can upgrade for an even better experience." It's essentially a hybrid between the lavish productions for the big three gaming consoles and the instant games being downloaded by the million via the App Store and Facebook.

Whatever the future, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR Online perfectly captures the sentiments of most golfers, from the weekend hacker to the top PGA Pro: It's good to have Tiger back!   

Tiger Woods PGA TOUR Online is rated "E" for Everyone. Parents should be aware that Tiger Woods Online has an online chat feature. Although chat is not censored, it appears that objectionable words are automatically replaced by asterisks.

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platforms: Web browser
Genre:     Sports
RRP: Free download; additional features available for $9.99 per month or $59.99 per year
ESRB Rating: "E" for Everyone

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