But on the cover, Woods is de-emphasized in favor of another well-known name in golf, one who is unlikely to get itself into scandalous situations: the Masters Tournament. EA used "state of the art laser scanning technology" to replicate the course at Augusta National Golf Club for the tournament's PGA Tour series debut.
You'll be able to replay "Masters Moments" -- memorable events from past tournaments -- as well as the "Tiger at the Masters" mode, which allows you to play through Woods' four Masters wins by attempting to match or beat his scores from those winning tournaments. If you prefer a fictional golfer, you can play the new Career Mode and raise an amateur through the PGA ranks. Other features include a virtual caddie to dispense advice (and virtual clubs), and new playable golfers including Zach Johnson and Bubba Watson.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters will be released on PS3 (with Move support), Xbox 360, and Wii on March 29 in North America, and "worldwide" April 1. A $70 collector's edition will be released on PS3, which includes five additional courses.
Update: EA Sports president Peter Moore spoke to Eurogamer about the new cover and Woods' place in the series. Find quotes after the break.
Speaking to Eurogamer about Woods' absence from the cover, Moore noted that "He is on the PS3 version of the game [Collector's Edition]. Our focus this year for this particular release is the Masters itself. You can see the iconic flag as part of the box art."
"If the insinuation is it's a reflection of EA Sports backing away from its relationship that goes back literally 13 years with Tiger," Moore said, "that's not the case whatsoever." He called the Masters inclusion "very special, very different" -- and that's why it gets the focus on the standard edition box. "You shouldn't read anything into the fact that Tiger's not featured on the box art of that particular edition."