Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07

Developed and Published by EA Sports

Available Now for PC, PlayStation 2, PSP, Xbox, and Xbox 360

At the Mercury offices, we've got a rocky relationship with golf—some of us have a great time taking off early to hit the links, and some of us have a great time mocking them as soon as they're gone. I'm in the middle: Golf's really fun, but I'm also fucking terrible at it, so I'm cool with both defending and deriding the sport.

As happens with distressing frequency in my life, I've found the solution to my problems in videogames. While I'm horrible at real golf, I'm almost competent at it when I'm playing on my Xbox 360; while I can't justify the sport's unrelenting bourgeois atmosphere, I'm more tolerant when I'm playing 18 holes while sprawled across the futon in my boxers. So I'm content with loving golf, as long as it's in EA Sports' Tiger Woods-branded golf games—which let me nail drives I'd never hit in real life, and play everywhere from Pebble Beach to St. Andrews. All of the benefits, none of the drawbacks.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 doesn't disappoint. Rebounding from last year's shoddy Xbox 360 version (which came with only six courses), this year the 360 version doubles that number (though, lamely and inexplicably, the game comes with over 20 courses on PS2 and Xbox). The game's swing mechanic—in which you emulate a golf swing with the controller's left analog stick—is fluid and natural, and the level of detail in the courses and players is pretty astonishing. Things get rougher with the short game; EA still hasn't figured out an intuitive way to judge a green's speed or angles. But after a few hours, I was mixing an occasional birdie into my double and triple bogeys, or just kicking it on the laidback driving range, where I was safe from David Faherty's snide (but funny) color commentary. Tiger 07 isn't anything extraordinary, but it's solid—its few flaws are easy to justify, especially when I'm horizontal on my futon, a beer in one hand and a controller in the other. That's the sort of golf I'm talking about.