VIdeo Games

8 things for golf fans to be excited about from the new PGA Tour 2k21 video game

The golf world received a welcomed dose of positivity last week with the surprise release of a 15-second preview for a new video game: PGA 2K21, which is set to be the first console video game to feature PGA Tour pros since 2015’s Rory McIlroy PGA Tour. The initial release was light on details—it featured a generic player teeing it up on the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass—but the picture became a bit clearer on Thursday, with the official announcement and official preview video. Here’s what we know so far.

It’s coming out Aug. 21

This was the main thing everyone was asking about after seeing the first video: When can I play it? Golf fans have had June 11 circled on their calendar as when real-life PGA Tour golf will resume. Now they can add Aug. 21 as the date when video-game PGA Tour golf resumes. If all holds to schedule—a monumental if in this day and age—that would be Friday of the Northern Trust, the first FedEx Cup playoff event.

Justin Thomas is the cover athlete, but 11 other tour pros are part of the game

It’s not terribly surprising that Thomas graces the cover (and here's hoping there’s no equivalent of the Madden Jinx). He’s the No. 4 player in the world, a major champion and a charismatic American who just turned 27. Going with him as the pitchman shows that decision makers are banking on him to be one of the biggest stars of the next decade. With 12 wins already on his resume, that seems like a solid bet.

The game’s press release says that 11 other PGA Tour pros are part of 2K21, but their names weren’t revealed—Thomas is the only recognizable player who appears in the preview video. Having actual PGA Tour players as part of the game was something the popular The Golf Club video game—also produced by HB Studios, the shop behind this one—had been missing. According to the company, each pro will present a challenge on the road to becoming a FedEx Cup champion.

There’s a new PGA Tour career mode

The preview opens with a wide shot of the 18th green at Riviera Country Club, with Genesis branding visible. Thomas is shown teeing off at the Zurich Classic, with the FedEx Cup logo in full view. Then it’s the 16th at TPC Scottsdale, the fourth at TPC Sawgrass, a par 3 at the John Deere, King’s Corner at the 3M Open, a bunker at East Lake, a tee box at the Valspar … you get the picture. All this to say: this game, as the name would suggest, will allow you to play in PGA Tour events. A full 15 PGA Tour courses are featured. The game’s main objective, it appears, is to become a FedEx Cup champion. What we don’t know is whether you’ll be able to play in the Masters or any of the other actual major championships. Of course, those tournaments aren’t run by the Tour, which adds another layer of licensing/financial logistics. We can hope, but you have to think Augusta would have been featured (as it was in versions of EA Sports PGA Tour game a few years back) if it were included.

The video game's rendering of the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale during the Waste Management Phoenix Open feels scarily lifelike.

There’s a Course Designer feature

One of the most well-received parts of The Golf Club is its create-a-course feature, which has allowed particularly proactive users to create replicas of Augusta National and Pine Valley. A similar feature appears in PGA Tour 2K21; now Golf Architecture Twitter has an outlet to design their very own courses.

Luke Elvy and Rich Beem are the broadcasters

Elvy, an Australian, does the play-by-play, with 2002 PGA champion Rich Beem comes in the color commentary. Elvy has done work for CBS Sports in the past, while Beem has been working for Sky Sports in recent years. We were semi-hoping Paul Azinger would be featured, programmed to harshly criticize any European Tour player.

Equipment manufacturers, apparel brands made the cut

A Callaway driver, a Titleist hat and adidas clothing are all shown in the preview. One of the better parts of the Tiger Woods games—getting to buy real drivers, real shirts, real gloves and real balls and receiving boosts for doing so—is back. The brands making an appearance: Polo Ralph Lauren, adidas, Malbon Golf, Callaway, Bridgestone, TaylorMade and more. You have to wonder if the hoodie JT likes to wear will be an option.

There will be different formats

Gamers can play alternate shot, stroke play, skins and a four-player scramble. Scores in the mid-50s were common in the old Tiger Woods games … something in the 40s isn’t out of the question in that scramble.

It’ll be available on PS4, Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch as well PC

The more, the merrier.

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