PGA Tour 2001 isn't a major step for the series, but its vast number of top-notch courses will make it worthwhile for many golf sim players.
As with each new version of so many other golf series, the first thing that most PC golf sim fans will want to know about Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2001 is whether they should buy it if they already have the 2000 edition. PGA Tour 2001 offers no major changes to the gameplay and graphics of its predecessor. Therefore, if you already own last year's version, your decision to own the new one will largely depend on how many courses you already have, how much you want to compete in a President's Cup tourney, and whether you care about competing against two additional PGA Tour pros. Otherwise, if you don't already have last year's installment, then the 17 courses that ship with the 2001 edition make it a real bargain, provided you've got a rig that far exceeds the game's minimum system requirements.
The 17 courses are unquestionably the biggest appeal of PGA Tour 2001. Nearly a dozen are Tournament Players Courses, and they cover just about every type of golfing environment you can imagine, from deserts and flat coastal plains to courses snaking through gorgeous mountains. All your favorites are available - Sawgrass, Heron Bay, Pipers Glen, Scottsdale, and Prestancia, just to name a few - and the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club (site of this year's President's Cup) is an especially welcome addition to the extensive library of courses provided with the game. Two other new courses - TPC Sugarloaf and TPC River Highlands - round out the collection.
The whole point of the Tiger Woods series has been to re-create the thrill of PGA competition, which goes a long way toward explaining the mere handful of non-PGA pro animations you can choose from when creating a golfer. As in the Links games, PGA Tour 2001 uses digitized motion videos for most of the PGA and amateur golfers, but for some reason, Stuart Appleby and Jim Furyk are represented with 3D-rendered figures - and pretty awful ones at that. Both of them look as if they're afflicted with debilitating arthritis as they awkwardly grip their clubs, and the rendering of Michael Jordan - yes, EA Sports once again included His Airness in the golfer lineup - is the same washed-out image from last year's edition. While Tiger's own motion-capture footage is crisp and well defined, that level of detail doesn't extend to the other golfers. Many are blurry and nondescript, and they fall far short of the stunning photo-realism of the players in the newest installment of Links.
Thankfully, the courses look a lot better than the golfers. PGA Tour 2001 seems to use the same graphics engine as last year's version, but this time around, the game runs more smoothly on midrange systems. On a Pentium 450MHz with 256MB RAM and a TNT 2, frame rates were acceptable at a 1024x768 resolution with graphical details set to ultrahigh (but with the picture-in-picture feature deactivated). You might see a bit of terrain shifting as the camera view follows the ball's flight, as well as slight graphical resets when the ball finally comes to a stop, but it's not a big problem. The game supports resolutions up to 1600x1200, but even at 1024x768, things look pretty sharp. However, you'll start to see a few jagged edges, especially on trees, when you drop down to resolutions below that.
EA Sports has always focused on creating good play-by-play commentary for its games, and it's one of the stronger points of PGA Tour 2001. Occasionally, the announcer will make a gaffe - once I heard him say, "Tiger hit that one flush and onto the fairway" after my golfer's shot landed in the rough - but generally the speech is both informative and entertaining. There are precious few ambient sound effects like the chirping of birds, but they aren't conspicuous by their absence.
- Game Universe:
- CyberTiger (N64, PS, GBC),
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2000 (PC, PS),
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf (PS, PC, PS2),
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 (GBA, GC, PS2, XBOX, PC, NGE, MOBILE),
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2002 (PS2, PC),
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003 (PS2, GC, PC, XBOX, MAC),
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 (PS2, GC, XBOX, PC, DS, MOBILE, MAC),
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour (PSP),
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 (PC, MOBILE, X360, XBOX, PS2, PSP, GC),
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 (PS2, WII, PSP, X360, XBOX, PC, PS3)
- Number of Players: