Tiger Woods PGA Tour '07 Game Pointers
Nintendo Wii Edition
Authored by Matthew Robben
numatty@gmail.com

Version .11
3/31/07

Disclaimers:
Tiger Woods, the PGA, all logos and references are copyright / trademarked EA
Sports, Tiger Woods, the PGA, and others. All trademarks belong to their
respective owners / copyright holders, and are not used here for any commercial
gain.

This is ugly, disorganized, poorly formatted, not thorough, and a poor excuse
for an FAQ. I know that.

This document copyright Matthew Robben, 2007.



Short Table of Contents:
I. Introduction
II. Swing Dynamics
III.Why controller failures occur
IV. Solutions
V. Tiger Challenge Tips







I. Introduction
-----------------
Tiger Woods '07 on Wii is a game based on a revolutionary new controller
technology. "Swing like the pros", the ads claim. Well, after playing through 19
segments of the Tiger Challenge, and a few PGA tour events, I've discovered
many, many issues with the controller, as anyone would expect from a new
technology.

Unfortunately, golf (especially this game) is a game of precision. Wireless
sensor errors on a single stroke can spell the end of an entire round of Tiger
Woods golf, making playing the game on Wii a frustrating endeavor. I've seen a
lot of complaints on various message boards, so I thought I'd take some time to
address them and offer some workarounds that I've found worked, and have allowed
to me reach Tiger in the Tiger Challenge and conquer the PGA tour events I've
played.

I will be using standard 3-axis flight dynamics descriptions to talk about the
Wiimote. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Flight_dynamics.jpg for a good
reference.





II. Swing Dynamics
--------------------
Swing Dynamics on Wii were intended to be the following: line up the shot, hold
down the B button, backswing, forward swing, and follow through. It is of
critical importance that new players understand that SWINGS WERE INTENDED TO BE
ONE FLUID, CONTINUOUS MOTION. Breaking a fluid motion causes almost all of the
issues players have with the swing dynamics in this game. Unfortunately, as I'll
point out later, it's not always the player's fault.



Backswing:

The backswing is one of the most flawed mechanisms in Tiger Woods '07. Why? The
player tends to take full backswings no matter how much distance or movement is
made with the controller. Almost like a ball rolling downhill, once a backswing
gets started, even if the player's hands stop, the game tends to continue
backswings until the club is at full backswing.

The only way to stop a backswing at half power is to quickly and immediately
bring the controller forward once the desired backswing point is achieved.
However, this makes the stroke feel uneven and often results in hooking or
pulling of the ball, and unwanted spin.




Forward Swing & follow through:

During the forward swing, an accelerometer in the controller is used to
determine swing power, and the roll of the controller (again, see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Flight_dynamics.jpg and consider the nose of
the plane to be the nose / front sensor of the Wiimote) is used to determine the
hook or slice on the ball. A hook or a slice occurs when the controller has some
degree of roll.





Power:

Power is calculated based on how long of a backswing is taken, as well as how
fast / hard the forward swing is. The maximum power is 110%, which is typically
well beyond the aiming circle provided by the game (which I assume to be the
100% mark).




How to hit 110%:

When starting out, I rarely hit the ball for over 100%, while my friend who
plays golf consistently hit for 110%. After a lot of playing and testing, I
discovered two things are necessary for 110% shots - a full backswing (not a big
deal), and a very quick acceleration of the hands downward on the forward
stroke.  Even if you're "swinging for the fence" with all your might, but you
smoothly and evenly swing through the ball your shot will probably only be 100%.
This is most confusing to new players, who think that overall force should make
the ball go farther. Not so.

Acceleration rate is the kicker. The faster one's hands accelerate downward from
the stopped, full backswing position, the greater the acceleration sensed by the
Wiimote, and the harder the swing input to the game. You can actually stop your
hands before they even come back to a full follow through, and you'll still hit
110%. You might slice, due to the erratic motion, but the power will be there.

The bad thing about this swing mechanic is that you have to have a high
acceleration rate from the start, which adds an unnatural "jerk" to the swing
and might cause slicing.




Spin:

Spin is added after the swing. Why they went for ultra real swing dynamics and
then added spin during flight is beyond me. Shake the wiimote back and forth to
add spin.




Putting:

"Drive for show, putt for dough." It's a true statement - putting is absolutely
crucial in this game. And the game takes a sadistic enjoyment in screwing up
during your putts. Putting control is almost entirely done through the length of
the backswing, and much less importance is placed on the acceleration forward.

The key to good putting is using a smooth, fluid putting stroke. Using one
smooth motion greatly reduces the chances that the game will mess up
interpreting your putt. However, because backswing is everything, often you want
to precisely choose the length of the backswing. Remember that backswing problem
I talked about earlier? This is where that becomes a serious flaw in the game.
Precise putting becomes almost infuriatingly hard. Putting for 6 feet when
you're 50 from the hole, and putting for 25 feet when you're 6 feet from the
hole are common.





III.Why controller failures occur
--------------------------
After a lot of testing, I've discovered a few flaws in the game that are
noticeable and preventative actions can be taken to make sure your low scores
don't become high scores.

Flaw 1: No Continues
The Wiimote golf stroke is supposed to be one fluid motion. Thus, when the
player takes any slight backswing and stops, the next motion is expected to be
the forward swing / follow through. However, the player might decide that they
want to take more of a backswing to increase their power level, and raise their
controller further backward. Unexpectedly, instead of increasing the power, the
game will TAKE THE SHOT. Yes, the engineers / programmers cheated. Any motion
after a stopped backswing is considered to be the downstroke, regardless of the
direction it takes. So heed this warning: there are no continues on the
backswing. If your backswing is not big enough, release the B button and reset
the shot. DO NOT RAISE THE CONTROLLER FURTHER.

Flaw 2: The "Phantom Swing"
the phantom swing is an effect most people notice when they first hold down the
B button - the player on screen automatically starts to backswing, despite the
fact that the controller hasn't moved an inch. I'd already mentioned that the
game tends to take backswings for you, even if the motion backward is minimal at
best, or unnoticable to the player.

Flaw 3: Flaws 1+2 = Disaster
Way too often in this game, the player lines up to take a shot, hits the B
button, and a phantom backswing occurs. Unfortunately, if you've gotten good at
the game, or aren't playing close attention, you don't see the on-screen
character starting to swing backward, and raise your hands in your typical
backswing. Of course, since the game takes the next motion after a backswing to
mean forward stroke, the game takes horrible 40% slices at the ball, and because
there's no mulligans on the PGA tour, your round gets ruined. This is especially
noticeable (and horrible) during putting.

Flaw 4: Hooks and Slices
To real golfers, the hooks and slices might seem realistic. To unexperienced
folk, they might seem drastic. How do you compensate for the hooks and slices?
Again, the game uses the roll of the controller to determing hooks and slices.
No matter what the degree of pitch and yaw during one's swing, if any degree of
roll is introduced, the end result is an unintended curvature of the ball.

Flaw 5: Club Selection
Club selection is automatically (and very poorly) determined by the game's
accuracy calculation. Whatever club and stroke can get closest to the pin at
100% power is automatically chosen for the player. However, all of these
calculations are done ASSUMING YOU'RE ON A FAIRWAY. If you're in deep rough or
sand, and you use that club, or you hit 110% with that club, you'll put the ball
way short or way long. Part of the game is learning to compensate for your own
swing power, accuracy, and conditions, and choosing the correct club from there.


IV. SOLUTIONS:
----------
Alright, enough whining, how do we solve those problems?

Flaws 1-3:
The key to avoiding flaws 1-3 is to slow down your play and pay very close
attention to your on-screen character when you begin your swing. If your
character makes even the SLIGHTEST movement and your hands haven't, let go of
the B Button and reset the shot. Don't take any chances. This is especially
crucial during putting.The "phantom" backswing during putting is almost
microscopic on screen, and requires extremely close attention to notice.

Flaw 4:
Well, if the engineers / programmers cheated on their backswing handling, why
not cheat on the entire swing itself. Here's how you can hit 110% perfectly
straight almost every single swing.

Normal golf swings naturally incur a bit of roll in the hands. If we assume that
the game's interpretation of the swing is flawed, the way to fix this problem is
to not roll the controller.

The cheat:hold your arms straight out from your body. Point the wiimode in the
same direction, across the room, perpendicular to the plane of your body. Your
arms and the Wiimote should be parallel with the floor. Be absolutely sure that
the Wiimote has zero degress of roll. Hold down B, watch for the phantom swing,
and if it hasn't happened, twist your entire arms and upper body to the right
(if right handed) and very quickly twist back to the left. Keep your arms and
the Wiimote parallel to the floor the whole time, and you won't roll the
controller at all.

Essentially, this swing is like a "stiff" baseball bat swing.

Flaw 5:
This flaw is tougher to make generalizations or offer advice about, since each
situation is different. There is only one situation where I can make a broad
generalization that is almost always true: IF YOU AREN'T ON THE FAIRWAY OR ON
THE FRINGE OF THE GREEN, DO NOT CHIP. The chip stroke's power level is
drastically overstated if you're in the sand or the deep rough, yet the game
LOVES to tell you to chip from 18 yards off the green. Even at full power you're
going maybe 4 yards from those spots. Use a pitch or a full. Trust me.


V. Tiger Challenge Tips
------------------------
Ok, so now you know some basic tips that should make you a better performer on
the tour. What about the fact that beginning characters are TERRIBLE stats-wise
and would have a very tough time winning a PGA tour event?

You have to level up your character by beating Tiger Challenge levels. Each
level gives you anywhere from 5000 - 25000+ skill points in one or more
categories, which can be used to upgrade your characters' skills.

Also, as you do well in Tiger Challenge events, you attract sponsorships,
allowing you to purchase new gear. Equipment in the game is ranked on a level
from 1-4, one being the lowest, 4 being the highest. All level 4 equipment adds
bonus points to one or more skills, making your character even better. It's
obvious that new clubs and balls should increase performance, but even your hat,
shirt, pants, and nose rings can increase stats like putting, accuracy and luck.
So money and the shop aren't totally worthless.

The tiger challenge levels are fairly easy until level 12 or so. I've made it
all the way to Tiger Woods in the Tiger Challenge, who's very, very, very hard.

I'm going to assume that anyone can beat the match play rounds and not give
advice on those. Keep in mind that the Emerald Dragon, Central Park, and the
course you play Furyk on are extremely difficult. As in, oh my god this course
is so hard it could never possibly exist.




Skills 18:

The most points you can lose on a hole in skills 18 is 30. You can take the
riskiest shots you want, provided you get more than 30 points from rings per
hole. Alternatively, you can just aim to birdie/eagle the holes and hit a few
green rings along the way. That, too, means a large points total at the end of
18 holes.

But the real key to making huge points totals is to hit two rings in the same
shot. A yellow and a green together are worth 60, while a red and a green
together are 120. Play through a course once or twice and note all the places
where a red and a green could be hit at the same time, (there's 3 or 4 on all
the skills 18 courses) and just go for those. You'll wind up with 460 points
right there, enough to beat even the last skills 18. It's really easier than it
seems the first time through.



Skillzone:

The first skillzone isn't too bad, but the second seems impossibly hard. There's
one simple trick to get around that.

Take note that there's two simultaneous "paths" open in tiger challenge at any
time. Meaning two levels are open, and beating one unlocks a further level, not
necessarily a consecutive one. I don't have the chain of unlocked levels written
down, but the key to beating skillzone 2 in diablo valley is to completely play
out the other available levels and allocate as many points as possible to power
and driving accuracy. Enter the skillzone challenge with about 7 power points
and an upgraded set of clubs / balls.

Just hit balls around for a while until you see the 5x bonus ball indicator
appear on screen. When you do, switch to your 8 degree driver, line up for the
moving targets 350 yards away, and BLAST a 110% shot straight towards the
targets. Chances are, if you keep the ball straight, you'll get credit for the
"longest drive", which is worth $1000. Since the ball is 5x bonus, you get
$5000, and you get to pass the level.

Keep in mind that you have to keep your TOTAL above $5000, and hitting the ball
in bad locations like water can lose you money. What you want to do at that
point is aim towards the leftmost visible target pad and just drive the ball
with a three wood. Even if you miss, the ball will just land out of bounds,
which doesn't have a monetary penalty. You can do this until your stock of golf
balls is empty, and squeak by the level with exactly $5000.




One-Ball:

The one-ball rounds are actually really easy to beat using one simple rule:
always aim to hit the ball 20-40 feet from the hole ON THE GREEN. The computer
tends to putt for the hole and miss, giving you a 6-10 footer that's easily
makeable. They rarely putt or chip the ball back off the green.

Second trick for one ball - if the computer has you trapped in the deep rough 4
yards from the hole, you're going to either take a very tough shot and miss, or
get in trouble for missing your target, giving the CPU a simple two putt. If
it's guaranteed that a miss means a CPU victory, one trick you can use is to
turn around and hit the ball backward 200+ yards toward the tee box using a 2
iron or 3 wood. The CPU then gets 3 consecutive shots to sink the ball. if you
can hit the ball into sand 200 yards away, the CPU has to make 3 consecutive,
accurate shots, or they won't win the hole. This is much more of a challenge
than giving them a 2 putt from 4 yards.



VI. Conclusion
---------------
Regardless of the controller problems, this game is still one of the best video
game experiences I've ever had. I love playing Wii, and Tiger Woods is one of
the reasons I camped out and got a system (zelda, obviously, was the other).

Don't forget that golf is supposed to be frustrating :) and wear your
wriststrap!



Cheers. Happy Wii'ing
Contact me with questions & comments at the above email. Thanks
~mattyR