As I predicted, Electronic Arts still values what Tiger Woods can bring to their golf game, despite his personal controversies and other advertisers pulling out en masse. EA Sports head Peter Moore announced on his corporate blog this morning EA will continue to work with Tiger Woods on future games, starting with the upcoming Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online, currently in private beta.
"Our relationship with Tiger has always been rooted in golf," said Moore. "We didn’t form a relationship with him so that he could act as an arm’s length endorser. Far from it. We chose to partner with Tiger in 1997 because we saw him as the world’s best, most talented and exciting golfer. We struck that partnership with the assumption that he would remain near or at the top of his sport for years to come."
EA came under criticism earlier this year for including convicted rapist Mike Tyson on the cover of Fight Night Round 4. Moore defended that choice for Tyson's profound athletic career. In an interview with Eurogamer, Moore said he made that decision "because of the respect I have for Mike Tyson as a boxer." Similar reasons are being used for the decision to stick by Tiger Woods.
"By his [Tiger's] own admission, he’s made some mistakes off the course," continued Moore. "But regardless of what’s happening in his personal life, and regardless of his decision to take a personal leave from the sport, Tiger Woods is still one of the greatest athletes in history. At EA Sports, we make authentic sports simulations. When we say 'It’s in the Game,' it is not just a tag line but a statement about the quality and authenticity of the game experience. Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online is truly representative of that rallying cry, and a game that all of us at EA Sports are proud to be delivering this month to sports fans around the globe."
I'm just happy I don't have to play Rogue Warrior, but do you think EA made the right call?