EA Sports revealed that 20-year-old Rory McIlroy will share the cover with Tiger on Tiger Woods PGA Tour ‘11. The company is rolling out its new version of the game, featuring a Ryder Cup team format because it’s a match year. Apparently the inclusion of McIlroy, who hails from Northern Ireland, is to represent the European side. McIlroy, who has yet to play in a Ryder Cup, has been dubbed Boy That Will Save The PGA Tour, so clearly he was the logical choice.
But some might think the move has something to do with — oh, I don’t know — Tiger’s extracurricular activities. Of course, EA Sports, which has repeatedly affirmed its commitment to the troubled golfer, says otherwise via ESPN’s Jon Robinson:
[T]his truly was decided last October before all the events. That’s when we thought about the Ryder Cup and adding somebody else on the cover. It had never been done and we wanted to focus everybody on the team aspect of the game. That’s what we wanted to do regardless of anything else going on.
Mmmhmm. That’s what they all say.
Meanwhile, speaking from the site of this week’s World Golf Championship at Doral, McIlroy makes some generic comments about Tiger’s anticipated return:
It’s certainly going to be interesting to see not just how he plays but just how he handles the whole situation. But yeah, I think everyone is excited to see him just get back out on to the golf course and play golf. And from the reports I’ve heard, he seems to be swinging it well and as good as he ever was. It will be exciting the next few weeks, whenever he comes back, I know a lot of people are saying Tavistock or Bay Hill. It would be nice to see him back.
And it’ll be nicer when those dreaded questions don’t have to be asked or answered anymore.