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It’s an annual occurrence not unlike the summer solstice or Labor Day or Christmas morning. The release of the latest iteration of Tiger Woods PGA Tour by EA Sports has become a time-honored tradition. This year’s version, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10, is now on shelves and can be yours just in time for you to celebrate this week’s U.S. Open Championship. Arguably golf’s toughest tournament, the USGA’s main event is being contested at the famously brutal Bethpage Black course in New York, but you can recreate the experience in your own living room with Tiger and his virtual cohort.

In a welcome move, this marks the first year in which the USGA has partnered with EA Sports in the creation of the Tiger Woods series. This means several new features appear including USGA rules content, as well as the inclusion of the U.S. Open experience in the game itself. Tiger 10 also features live PGA scoring, dynamic weather, new tournament challenge mode, and more golfers and courses than you can shake a (flat) stick at.

Get the rest of my take after the jump.

I’m pretty sure that I’ve played each year’s Tiger Woods game for nigh on at least 10 years, so I’ve got a good grasp on the good, the bad, and the ugly of what the series has brought to the table. This year’s game is undoubtedly one of the best, righting some wrongs that have irked me in recent iterations.

For one, fresh commentary has been interjected by no less than ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt. I was a big fan of the Feherty/McCord combo, but I’d heard their same rehashed lines for far too long. Additionally, last year’s game seemed to be far too difficult off the tee, whereas putting was artificially easy. Tiger 10 seems much more balanced, giving you visual feedback on the path of your full-swing shots and incorporating the need to actually “swing straight” on the greens in order to produce a true roll. Lastly, the menu system has been greatly streamlined from last year’s overly-cumbersome front end.

If you’re a Wii-loving fool, this latest Tiger Woods game will treat you to the most realistic, remote-slinging action yet, via the included and incorporated Motion Plus features.

All in all, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 represents the definitive golf video game for this season. If you like golf and you like video games, it’s not to be missed. Besides, I continue to argue that any experience that allows me the feeling of shooting ridiculously low numbers is one that surely benefits my real golf game. Right? Maybe so, but I’m not holding my breath to see that 57 on my score card anytime soon.

Cost: $57  (X360) | $55 (PS3) | $45 (Wii)

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