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Quick Review: Tiger Woods PGA Tour for iPhone

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Hands-on: T-Mobile Sidekick LX (2009)

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For ten bucks, Tiger Woods PGA Tour on the iPhone/iPod touch is absolutely, hands-down, the best deal going when it comes to portable golf games.

Features include “touch-n-drag” swing mechanics, seven golf courses (Pebble Beach, St. Andrews, TPC Sawgrass, Doral, TPC Boston, The K Club, and Fancourt), and the ability to create your own player or play as Tiger Woods, Annika Sorenstam, Vijay Singh, Natalie Gulbis, or Retief Goosen.

Graphically, the game hovers around what you’d find on the Nintendo DS or Sony PSP. Player models and animations are nice and fluid and the golf courses are all rendered well, resembling their real-life personas. Music is upbeat and catchy and sound effects are okay, though a bit sparse. Overall, though, the game is a testament to what’s possible on the iPhone platform.

The play-by-play from Sam Torrance and Kelly Tilghman is downright horrendous, just as it is in the console versions of the game. I turned it off within the first three holes. Kudos to EA for working voice features into the game and it’s clear that they plucked the audio from this year’s console versions — not like they’re going to do all-new audio recording for a $10 mobile game — but still; to EA on behalf of all of us, please bring back McCord and Feherty.

The swing interface is a simple back and forth swiping motion. You can add add a fade or a draw to each shot by curving your finger at the top of the swing meter, and add spin to the ball while it’s in the air by repeatedly swiping your finger across the screen mid-shot. Chipping, flop shots, and pitching are just as straightforward, and putting works well, although it’s pretty easy. I sunk a lot of long putts and never three-putted in all 18 holes of the first round I played.

All in all, this version of Tiger Woods feels like a straightforward version of its console bretheren with toned-down graphics and fewer features — career mode consists simply of tournament events, no mini-games or anything like that — but the gameplay and fun factor is definitely there. Multiplayer would be a killer feature in subsquent versions though at $10, it already plays like a $30 Nintendo DS or Sony PSP game.

Tiger Woods PGA TOUR [iTunes App Store link]

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