Why EA Sports Announcement Merely Confirms The Obvious: Tiger’s Days Are Numbered

For 15 years, for many console enthusiasts, there has only been one golf game worth its salt to play and that has been EA Sports Tiger Woods golf in all its various formats and incarnations.

Over the past 15 years, through sales alone, the game series has raised an estimated $771 million in revenue for EA Sports and has proven an equally lucrative deal for Woods, who lent his name and image to secure the deal and who, at conservative estimates, has earned tens of millions of dollars through this one endorsement alone.

Tiger Woods EA Sports Games

However, this year the new version of the EA game will feature a new face, that of current world number one Rory McIlroy and this shift in focus away from Tiger towards Rory is symptomatic of the rise and fall of each of these golfers in recent times.

Indeed, over the past few years, EA Sports have moved away from using Woods as the sole face of the Franchise, with successive covers featuring a number of other golfers too. From 2011 to 2013, Woods shared the front cover with the likes of Ricky Fowler in the US versions of the game, McIlroy in UK versions. In 2014 Woods was featured alongside McIlroy and legend Severiano Ballesteros.

However, the 2015 version of the game will be the first to feature McIlroy alone.

Rory McIlroy PGA Tour

With Woods now set to fall outside of the top 100 due to his inactivity through injury and poor form when fit, it is in sharp contrast to the form of McIlroy.  In a few weeks, will be attempting to win a career grand slam of majors, and his third major trophy in succession when he takes on the best golfers in the world in The Masters at Augusta.

It’s an important milestone for both golfers. For McIlroy, it is the first big sponsorship deal he has announced since his acrimonious split with Horizon Sports Management was resolved out of the courts a few months ago. It is also a massively lucrative one with the next generation of consoles seemingly guaranteeing excellent sales over the next few years for this ever-popular golfing franchise.

For Tiger Woods it is clear evidence of his falling stock. The American genius could have perhaps climbed back to the pinnacle of golf after his well-documented personal problems, but a lack of form combined with a debilitating back injury over the past 12 months has tormented him and simply eroded his value in the eyes of many.

Woods now finds it harder to persuade tournament sponsors to cough up vast sums simply to get him to attend. In essence, McIlroy has stepped into the shoes that Woods has now seemingly vacated.

Indeed, given that Woods is now showing a good deal of interest in his business interests away from the fairways, such as course design and the opening of his new restaurant in Florida,some experts have felt that it is highly likely that given his injury concerns, Woods already has an eye on what he is going to do when he eventually walks away from the game.

Yet it is worth remembering that Woods is only 39 years of age. In golfing terms, he is arguably in the mid-stage of his career. Miguel Angel Jiminez is still going strong on the full tour and he is 51 years of age.

Miguel Angel Jimenez-and-Tommy-Priest

It is also worth noting that Woods suffered a terrible time following his much publicised spat with his ex-wife and that he bounced back from that to rise to number one in the rankings once again. This time Woods nemesis seems to be his back and that is a different matter altogether.

The real worry for Woods is that this is a back that he has already had an operation on to resolve the issue. The fact that it has flared up so soon after that once again, even given his relatively light schedule, does cast doubt whether he is physically fit enough to play at the highest level again.

What is in no doubt is that if Woods can regain his fitness, the ability is there for him to bounce back and certainly move back into the World’s top ten.

However, in the meantime the World of Golf is moving on and it seems Rory McIlroy is the new poster boy of the game. The Irishman fully deserves it and there would be no better or more fitting way to cement his place as the new king of golf by winning the one major that has eluded him in his career thus far.

And for those waiting, Rory McIlroy’s PGA Tour will be released across multiple consoles this June and if you’re lucky, I may just bring you a review of it following its release here on the pages of GGB.

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