GDC 2009: Tiger Woods Hands-On

Awesome news! Like the famed golfer himself, Tiger Woods for the iPhone is steadily working into shape. And we’ve got video, of course.

Tiger Woods is still very much in development, so the feature set isn’t locked yet; we don’t know how many courses, golfers, and tournaments will be included in the final game. Here’s what we do know. You can play as Tiger, Vijay Singh, and a bunch of other famous golfers. If those guys don’t suit your fancy, you can make your own custom golfer and customize his clothes and look. And a very authoritative-sounding Scottish announcer is doing all the voiceover work and commentary.

Golf games live or die on their swing mechanic, and Tiger Woods has a great one, from what we’ve seen. It’s a swipe strip that simulates the backswing as you draw down the iPhone, and then whirls through the stroke and the follow-through when you swipe forward again.

The breadth and speed of your swipe dictates the power of your swing, and if your fingertip moves to the right or left during the follow-through, you’ll hook or slice the shot. It may sound a little bit like a skee-ball toss, but it’s actually very natural, and it works famously. Plus, once the ball’s in the air, you can tease the screen to apply spin to the ball, for that extra bit of distance.

This game is a work in progress, but it looks like it’s headed in the right direction. We have no information on when the game will be released other than a “Spring/Summer 2009” launch window; EA Mobile has also suggested that the game will make its debut at the upper end of the price range.

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