EA has denied that its decision to depict the Augusta National golf course on the cover of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 instead of the iconic sports star himself has nothing to do with the personal issues that have dogged the former world No.1 over the last year.
The cover art for the game focuses instead on the Masters competition, with Tiger relegated to a small mention at the bottom of the sleeve.
Tiger does, at least, feature on the Collector’s Edition of the game on PS3.
EA has repeatedly stood by the sportsman despite the media furore surrounding his string of affairs. However, last month EA CEO John Riccitiello hinted the publisher could reconsider its support should his form, which has seen him knocked from the world No.1 spot, not return.
Nonetheless, speaking to Eurogamer EA Sports boss Peter Moore has played down the recent decision and denied that it has anything to do with Tiger’s ‘transgressions’.
"Obviously it was a difficult year last year, but you saw towards the end of the season Tiger starting to get back to his old ways," he stated. "We all as both a sports industry and sports fans are hopeful he comes back in full force in 2011.
"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, that’s not the case whatsoever. This is obviously a very important day in our history and an important day in the world of golf video games, and focusing on the Masters is the right thing to do.
"This is something that’s very special, very different. You shouldn’t read anything into the fact that Tiger’s not featured on the box art of that particular edition."