PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Ever wonder how Tiger Woods would have fared against Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead or Arnold Palmer in their primes at Augusta National? Wonder no more.
Now you can experience head-to-head battles in all four major championships in the new and enhanced Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 14, available on xBox 360 and PlayStation 3.
On Tuesday, EA Sports held a sneak preview, showing off its new "Legends of the Majors" feature. It portrayed Woods, attired in knickers and using hickory-shafted clubs, playing in the first Masters Tournament in 1934.
The special effects and digital photography were uncanny: from the size of the trees and hardness of the fairways, to the undulation of the greens and sound effects.
"The detail is incredible," said PGA TOUR standout Hunter Mahan, who helped demonstrate the game. "They've done their homework. It's amazing."
Mahan is one of 22 PGA TOUR players integrated in the game, along with nine legends, including Jones, Hogan, Snead, Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Lee Trevino, and of course, Woods. Eleven players, including Woods, Mahan and Ian Poulter, wore sensors for motion capture to make their swings, chipping, bunker shots and putting even more realistic.
Participants can compete on 20 different courses, ranging from Pebble Beach Golf Links to the Old Course at St. Andrews. Five new layouts have been added: Mission Hills Country Club, Muirfield Village Golf Club, Oak Hill Country Club East, Royal Troon and TPC Louisiana. Once Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 14 ships, 44 courses can be downloaded and played.
"The cool thing is you can set up these dream matchups," said Mike DeVault, lead designer for the last 12 years. "You can take them back to any era."
There are five levels of difficulty, which make the game enjoyable for every caliber of player or game enthusiast. Two years ago, EA Sports identified the best gamer in the world and hired him to create a new setting.
"A 5-year-old can play the easiest level," DeVault said. "The hardest version makes me cry sometimes."
Mahan said the details are so precise, it can help PGA TOUR players learn the history and characteristics of a course before they ever see it in person.
"It's great practice to see courses you might play," he said. "You can see history through a game rather than read a book."
Following the demonstration, Mahan, Webb Simpson and Bobby Gates hit hickory-shafted clubs at the driving range to show how much equipment has changed.
"It felt fine off the face, but the shaft was unstable," laughed Mahan.
Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 14 will be available in North America on March 26 and worldwide on March 28.