By Barry Janoff
March 14, 2012: EA Sports has "revealed" the real reason that Tiger Woods withdrew from the Cadillac World Golf Championships this past Sunday before completing the final round. Not because of a "mild strain" of his left Achilles tendon, as Woods has said. But because of an intense kung-fu style golf competition against former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal.
The action takes place in a trailer promo that is part of marketing support for the upcoming release of EA Sports' Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13, due to his stores on March 27 for Playstation 2 and XBox 360.
"Duel of the Masters" pits Woods — here known as "Crimson Cat" — against his nemesis, "Swinging Giant." Someone has done their kung-fu movie research: The trailer is shot in a grainy, cloudy style that harkens back to the Hong Kong action cinema flicks of the 1970s, complete with bad dubbing, cheesy acting and overblown sound effects.
In particular, it seems to channel the 1972 film, The Game of Death, in which Bruce Lee takes on a much taller foe, played by then NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
In the Woods-Shaq version, Woods enters a pagoda and finds O'Neal meditating. "Swinging Giant," Woods states as he calls out his foe. "How's it going?" replies Shaq.
A series of ceremonial grunts, snarls, bows and kung-fu golf moves leads to the swing showdown, which plays itself out in real life and on a TV screen via a Kinect for XBox 360 integration swing mechanic in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 that allows players to create up to 62 million different shot combinations, according to EA Sports.
After several swing challenges, "Swinging Giant" seems to have the upper hand. "You' ll be sorry, Little Cat," Shaq belittles his challenger. But when "Crimson Cat" sinks a challenge-winning 30-foot putt, "Swinging Giant" shouts, "Oh, no!" and blows up.
Closing credits are in an Asian language except for English text that reads, "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13: Master Your Swing," and "Better with Kinect — XBox 360." (See the full trailer here.)
"You won this battle," O'Neal wrote at his Twitter account. "But I'll return more 'Shaq-furious' than ever," hinting at a possible marketing-driven rematch.
Another new feature, "Tiger Legacy Challenge," enables gamers to re-enact Tiger Woods' most memorable golf moments, dating back to his appearance on The Mike Douglas Show in 1978 when the then two-year-old Woods putted on national TV against Hollywood legend and avid golfer Bob Hope.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour launched in 1999. Following a vote that EA Sports opened to the general public, Woods appears on the PGA Tour 13 videogame box cover alongside Rory McIlroy, currently the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world, on the European version and alongside Rickie Fowler in the U.S. release.
Woods did not appear on the cover last year for the first time in franchise history, with EA Sports opting instead to highlight a new alliance with The Masters tournament.