January 04, 2011
For most mortals, playing Augusta National is a pipe dream, something we think about constantly but know is never going to happen. It's too exclusive, too private and too historic to let any hacker out on the famed grounds.
But something has changed, and it will give us all a chance to sort of play the home of the Masters. Augusta National announced on Tuesday that the course will join the EA Sports Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2012 video game for the first time, giving people a virtual chance to tee it up on Amen Corner.
What's even better? Jim Nantz, the voice of the Masters, will be doing the commentating, legitimizing it even more.
The game, releasing March 29, will be something you are asked to "qualify" for, and the reason to include it in the EA game is to help bring money to its newly founded Masters Tournament Foundation. The idea behind it all is to help donate more money to charity, an initiative that Augusta has really been focused on over the years.
It really is a great idea for both EA and Augusta National. The golf course has made strides in recent years to give us all a little more "in" to the event, adding coverage of the front nine and then eventually live coverage of the Par-3 Contest, one of the sneakiest cool things in all of golf.
Also, for gamers, it adds another element, making it a rite of passage to earn a spot at Augusta National through playing the game and playing it well.
I'm not much of a video gamer (to be honest, I haven't played anything since the N-64), but when I go to a house that has the new Tiger Woods game, I'm going to be the first to ask if there's a chance to check out what Augusta looks like from a "players" perspective.
It's a cool idea, and just shows that even Augusta National is becoming, dare I say, hip. Now, just no mentions of body-bags ...