EA has denied it's leaving Tiger Woods behind following its new focus on the Augusta National course and the golfer's omission from box art with PGA Tour 12: The Masters.
Earlier today it emerged that EA Sports had dropped Woods from the box art of the game. Box art for the standard edition of all three versions of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters go big on the Masters Logo instead.
While Woods will appear on the box art of the PS3-exclusive Collector's Edition, some have suggested EA's decision was the result of the controversy surrounding Woods' private life and loss of form.
Not so, according to EA Sports president Peter Moore.
"We like everybody else that's involved with Tiger and the game of golf in general, the Augusta club, are all anticipating a great year for golf this year and Tiger being very important in that," Moore said in response to a question from Eurogamer in a conference call this evening.
"Obviously it was a difficult year last year, but you saw towards the end of the season Tiger starting to get back to his old ways. We all as both a sports industry and sports fans are hopeful he comes back in full force in 2011.
"He is on the PS3 version of the game [Collector's Edition]. Our focus this year for this particular release is the Masters itself. You can see the iconic flag as part of the box art.
"If the insinuation is it's a reflection of EA Sports backing away from its relationship that goes back literally 13 years with Tiger, that's not the case whatsoever. This is obviously a very important day in our history and an important day in the world of golf videogames, and focusing on the Masters is the right thing to do.
"But Tiger is right there on the PS3 version of the game with Move support, which was very good for us and Sony last year. We'll continue that.
"This is something that's very special, very different. You shouldn't read anything into the fact that Tiger's not featured on the box art of that particular edition."
Last month, EA boss John Riccitiello said Woods needed to start winning games in order for his business relationship with EA to make sense.
"We have no plans to move away from him, but it's a business relationship on the basis of we make the best golf game and he's the best golfer," Riccitiello said.
"Both of those things need to be true in the long run for the partnership to make sense.
"He sort of stuck with us for a very long time and we made great business together," he added, "and we're willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for a period of time."
Sales of the 2011 iteration were down 68 per cent compared to the previous year's edition, but Moore hopes this year's game will fare better.
"We're obviously very optimistic that because this is so new and something the golf videogame community has been literally begging for for close to a decade, it will drive considerable sales," Moore said.
"Our projections are to do very well."