Who would EA Sports choose to replace Tiger Woods on game covers?

What an ironically sexual looking pose.

What an ironically sexual looking pose.

By Jake McCormick

I’ve just experienced a tri-fecta of Tiger Woods overload, and the funny thing is I’m not even using the Internet and I don’t have cable right now. Within the span of 15 seconds, I heard Nas rap about not judging Tiger Woods while I simultaneously typed this column and played Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2010 on my Xbox 360.

EA has said that they won’t change the game’s name or likeness of Tiger, but in the wake of his indefinite hiatus, it seems inevitable the company will be left scrambling to find a golfer half as marketable as one that brings 50 percent of the viewing audience on Sundays. Would they keep Tiger as a character, too, or would they follow the Madden 10 formula with Brett Favre, where a return would mean a roster update? EA could go same route as 2Ksports with Barry Bonds and make Tiger, only give him a name like “Don Juan.”

I’ve compiled a list of potential cover golfers to help the video game mega company move on and prosper without Tiger, or at least until he follows the path out of scandal carved by Kobe Bryant. These are in no particular order:

1. Y.E. Yang
This would end up being the Chris Weinke, Jeff Sheppard, or Vince Young of EA golf games, as Yang’s career will probably be defined by his Sunday rally against Tiger in this year’s PGA Championship. But that’s why it would make for a great choice; it would be a friendly middle finger reminding Tiger and the gaming world of an unknown golfer that beat the only player anyone wants to consistently watch in one of his most recent matches.

2. Tom Watson
Why not? He’d EASILY be the oldest active athlete on a video game cover and it would probably drive senior citizen sales up at least a little. They are still the largest demographic voting block in the U.S., so if EA can somehow market the game as wheelchair accessible or include a coupon for 10 percent off prescription drugs at Walgreens, they would open up a gold mine.

3. Anthony Kim
Kim could be a long term answer if EA bans Tiger from their game covers. He is an up and coming player that acts like he’s older than 24, and in 2008 became the first American under 25 to win two events in one season since Woods did it in 2000. Kim finished sixth in the money rankings in 2008 as well, and could potentially be the future of golf without Tiger. If EA wants to gamble and start a similar PGA Tour franchise, Kim would be the best choice long term.

4. Steve Stricker
This is a total homer pick on my part because Stricker is from Edgerton, Wisconsin, and my mom taught him in high school. He was actually a pretty good all around athlete but ended up dropping every sport he played other than golf in order to preserve his swing. But Stricker strung together six top three finishes last year along with finishing second on the money list, and is ranked third in the Official World Golf Rankings. He had a career year in 2009 and is an all around nice guy, both of which have to be factors EA uses to choose their other cover athletes.

Tell me you wouldn't buy a game with this photo on the cover.

Tell me you wouldn't buy a game with this photo on the cover.

5. John Daly
Here’s a number for you: 185. That’s Daly’s reported current weight. He’s the antithesis of Tiger Woods in that he’s blunt, honest, and doesn’t hide his love for sex, drugs, and various forms of partying. Unlike Woods, we don’t second guess is Daly is different in person than on a golf course. A Daly cover with a cigarette poking out of his mouth while admiring a long drive would be enough to sell the game to college-age gamers, like myself, who would enjoy a little less snobbiness in a sport that has just as many sleeze ball lotharios as the other major sports in this country.

6. Jack Nicklaus
Go with a retro look with the one man in competition with Tiger at the top of golf’s all time list. If EA can gold and silver plate a 1970s John Madden, surely the Golden Boy would be a cinch as a way to keep sales high, and maybe even increase them among the 40+ Wii users. I’ll even write the sales pitch for a game that would send Tiger a pretty strong message about alienated fans. I’m a Packer fan so I’ve had some practice.

7. Phil Mickelson
Phil will probably benefit the most from Tiger’s absence from the Tour, on and off the course. The only stipulation I would have is that EA has to do something to censor Mickelson’s man boobs on the cover. Remember, this is a family sport. But like him or not, Mickelson is the second most recognizable golfer behind Woods, even if that is like comparing Wal Mart and Pamida.

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  1. Who knew that John Daly would be more marketable than Tiger Woods these dasy? what a transformation. he would be my pick! I feel sorry for Jon Stewart though, I wonder how many times he gets called Jon Daily each day

  2. Honestly, I don’t believe that golf video games are the gold that people seem to want to think they are. With Tiger’s marketability in the crapper, they might as well not even MAKE another golf game, because I could almost promise you it wouldn’t make back the investment EA put into it.

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