One day after Tiger Woods' official return to golf at the Masters, EA Sports has released the online version of his new video game.
The console versions (Wii, Xbox, PS3) will hit stores June 8.
EA Sports says "Tiger Woods PGA TOUR Online is the most authentic and feature-rich golf game you can play through a web browser." The game features HD graphics and requires no installation of software.
I was able to get up and going in about three minutes. And after you download an optional piece of software for better resolution, you pick one of the available courses and you're off and running. You can see how many other golfers are "playing" your course and chat with them. The game controls are simple. There's a mouse click to start the swing and another to stop it.
It takes about five swings to get the hang of it. And this is the kind of thing that could get you into trouble at work. The graphics are very realistic and the game involves wind and rain and greens that are fast and slow -- just like real golf. If you like the sport at all, this game will grab you fast.
In addition to the free areas, players can buy a monthly membership for $9.99, or an annual for $59.99 to get unlimited access to all the courses. You can earn points in the game to buy things in the golf shop, like new equipment and clothes for your golfers, but you can also buy points, too, for $9.99, $19.99 or $39.99.
Annual members will get a package of points to be used in the virtual pro shop.
Of course, better clubs allows you to hit the ball farther and more accurately, but I think you'll be able to earn points pretty quickly, rather than break out the credit card to buy them.
In addition to single player modes, EA Sports is also offering group tournaments. You will play with others throughout the world. Group leaders can set up personalized criteria for their tournaments, like picking your course -- and your playing conditions.
You can also instant message other players
This is well executed online game. I still prefer playing on a console with a wireless controller in my hand, but this is an awful nice distraction until the new console versions come out.