Columns & Blogs

‘PGA Tour 11’ par for the course, but no ace in the hole

As with most of the games in the series, “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11” stays true to most of the elements in previous games. The series tends to add one big new tentpole feature every year.

Last year, the game allowed players to compete in the U.S. Open.

This year, the Ryder Cup format has been added to the gameplay options, and it is featured on the cover.

By almost every estimation, the game is very strong. The gameplay remains as solid as in years past, and it continues to run smoothly.

The courses are meticulously recreated. I was just at Pebble Beach, Calif., for the U.S. Open, and the digital course is an almost perfect recreation. Whistling Straits, Wis., the host course of this year’s PGA Championship, also looks fantastic.

The game plays similar, although the putting mechanic feels a little more challenging this time around, but it wasn’t too difficult to get the hang of it.

My main gripe is the Ryder Cup and how it is implemented into the game.

Let me start by saying that the Ryder Cup’s inclusion was a great idea. Moreover, giving gamers the ability to play online makes the decision to include it even better.

But there are flaws.

First off, there aren’t enough American or European golfers to fill out the teams. My 12-person American team had one created golfer and four female golfers, and we were still short one American. If you are going to include the Ryder Cup, include 12 American male golfers and 12 European male golfers.

The Ryder Cup also isn’t included as a part of the regular PGA Tour calendar. It’s accessible from the main menu and from the career mode, but you just decide when to play it.

If the developers were going for realism, then they would have gone through the realistic steps of qualifying for the tournament and then having the tournament in September of the calendar year. But they couldn’t have done that because there aren’t enough American golfers to do it that way.

While I’m talking about that, why can’t the developers recreate more than the 30 or so golfers included?

Baseball and basketball games have hundreds of recreated players, and some models look better than their counterparts in “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11.” I’m sure it has something to do with there not being a player’s association for golfers like there is for baseball, basketball and football.

If the developers really want an accurate representation of PGA Tour golf, then they would find a way to include another 25-40 golfers.

I don’t want to sound bitter about the game, because it is a very good game. But it should also be held up to the same standard as Madden, FIFA Soccer and NBA Elite (formerly NBA Live) in terms of providing a realistic simulation of a professional league. It’s a great golf game, but it still lags behind those other sports games in the EA library.