Monday, April 02, 2007

Up and Moving

Keeping Up With Tiger Woods by Swinging a Remote - New York Times

Our couch is starting to get jealous. So are Link, John Madden and Al Michaels, and even our Miis.

The reason? After a rough start--literally--Tiger Woods 07 has won most-favored Wii game status, supplanting Wii Bowling and Tennis and making a return to the nine holes of Wii Golf almost unthinkable.

At first, TW07 seemed like a failure. The controls seemed balky, and the resulting ballooning scores were as discouraging as they are in real life, only without the benefit of a day spent outdoors.

But this is a game that rewards the time you invest in it. Over time we've both gained better command of our swings, and the game's system for improving the inherent abilities of your on-screen doppelganger has allowed us to hit the ball farther and more accurately as time has passed. Three weeks into owning the game, and numerous hours of playing time later, I felt immense satisfaction in a final round push Saturday afternoon to qualify for what the game, for licensing reasons, refers to as the "U.S. Major Championship." And when, yesterday, I came back from a six shot deficit after two rounds to cruise to my first major victory on a course, Pebble Beach, that had previously owned me, I think my jubilant victory shout was probably audible to the neighbors.

A few gripes, though. There are still occasional times when I'll be in mid-backswing and the game will pretend I've finished my shot, resulting in a weak dribble rather than the towering approach I had planned. So far this hasn't been my downfall in any tournament, but I fear it will happen in the final round one day and I'll be cursing.

More important to me right now is the game's odd method, at least in my mind, of calculating PGA Tour ranking. After a run of tournaments in my first season in which I've won three regular tournaments and a major and placed second in another tournament--while, admittedly, missing the cut twice and finishing around 20th and 40th in two more events--I've clawed my way to the top of the money list, and I'm far and away the leader in the FedEx Cup standings. I know I've only been at it for a few months of game time, but shouldn't these results translate into a pretty strong PGA Tour rank? Apparently not--I'm 37th, and in significant danger of missing the "U.K. Major Championship," which seems like something that would never happen in real life. If you win a major, you're invited to the rest, right?

Still, this is a great game that's proving quite durable over time. And I have aches from playing it, just like real golf. Hard to beat that!

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