Tiger Woods has been EA’s golf cover athlete for more than 15 years, going all the way back to Tiger Woods PGA Tour 99 on the original Playstation and PC.
But in November of 2013, EA announced that after the 2014 edition of the game (released earlier in 2013), they’d have a new cover athlete. Following a year off last year, EA announced their new cover athlete – Rory McIlroy.
This kind of changing of the guard is jarring to me and most everyone else in my age group, simply because Woods was as synonymous with EA Sports games as John Madden.
Replacing Woods with McIlroy is obviously best for business, given the struggles Woods has had on and off the green over the past few years, but it’ll still be a shock to see his name not on the cover of the new release this summer.
This is a unique situation because aside from Woods and Madden, they don’t really use athletes in the titles of their games anymore. There’s drama surrounding the cover athlete (or athletes) for EA’s football, basketball, and UFC games, but never about the title itself. Changing the title of their PGA game really signifies a new era for golf and for EA.
Tiger did have one hell of a run with EA, though. EA released 16 editions of Tiger Woods PGA Tour from 1998 to 2013. The games appeared on a total of 16 platforms, the bulk of which are now defunct.
I’m sure that even with the introduction of McIlroy as the cover athlete, EA won’t change things up all that much. We’re not going to be getting reactions like this just because Tiger isn’t on the cover anymore.