While some of Tiger Woods' sponsors have recently abandoned him, EA Sports is sticking by their man. EA Sports president Peter Moore explained their rationale for doing so today.

"Our relationship with Tiger has always been rooted in golf. We didn’t form a relationship with him so that he could act as an arm’s length endorser," Moore wrote in an EA Sports blog post. "Far from it. We chose to partner with Tiger in 1997 because we saw him as the world’s best, most talented and exciting golfer. We struck that partnership with the assumption that he would remain near or at the top of his sport for years to come."

"By his own admission, he’s made some mistakes off the course. But regardless of what’s happening in his personal life, and regardless of his decision to take a personal leave from the sport, Tiger Woods is still one of the greatest athletes in history."

With that in mind, EA intends to begin the open beta of Tiger Woods PGA TOUR Online later this month. PGA Tour Online is a free browser-based golf game that's been in closed beta for eight months. You make a virtual golfer and earn skill upgrades and gear through gameplay.

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