With the exception of FIFA soccer, which is already making its fourth go-around, Tiger Woods is one of the most prolific series on the PlayStation Portable, having now made three appearances. Tiger Woods 06 was a big leap over the PSP's first Tiger Woods game, fixing many of the original's more glaring faults. Though there were still plenty of areas to address, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 isn't much of an improvement over its predecessor and almost feels like a companion game rather than a completely new iteration.
Tiger Woods 07 features a scant two PSP-exclusive minigames, one new and one from last year. The returning game is putting frenzy, a timed challenge where you try and drain as many putts as possible. If you didn't play it last year, the minigame is entertaining for a few minutes. The new game is a timed event that tests your driving accuracy, called shooting gallery. In shooting gallery, a large, billboard-sized target is divided into 15 squares and placed in front of your golfer. It's your job to drive the ball into the squares with the highest point values. There are bonus squares, surprise boxes, and even targets that deduct points if you hit them. It's more fun than putting frenzy, but it, too, gets old after a short time.
New this year is a PGA Tour mode where you'll take your golfer from a nobody to a household name. The season is laid out on a calendar with tournaments on the weekends and practice modes sprinkled amongst weekdays. Practice events are useful to get you acclimated to the gameplay and to earn attribute boosts for your golfer. Sometimes you'll need to beat a certain score on the par threes at Cog Hill, sink putts in putting frenzy, smash targets at the shooting gallery, and even beat pro golfers in head-to-head challenges. Most tournaments are one-day affairs, but the major tourneys take place over the course of two days. A few of them have specific entry requirements such as only allowing the top 30 money winners or only players ranked in the top 10. The season culminates in September with the PGA's new postseason, the FedEx Cup. There are 11 PGA pros, down from 21 on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions of the game. Most of the more well-known players like Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Mike Weir, John Daly, and Retief Goosen are here, but neither of the two LPGA golfers from the console versions made the cut. Tiger Woods 07 includes 12 courses, including a few noteworthy additions: Bethpage Black, Pinehurst No. 2, Pasatiempo, and Cog Hill.
From a gameplay standpoint Tiger Woods 07 is virtually indistinguishable from Tiger Woods 06, and for the most part, this is a good thing. Swinging your club is performed by pulling down on the analog stick to start your backswing and then pushing forward to swing the club. A handy meter in the corner of the screen tells you if you're pushing or pulling the analog stick during your swing. You rarely feel like you're doing either, but if you find yourself consistently going left, making a conscious effort to move the stick up and to the right a little bit more will improve your results. A little extra power can be coaxed out of shots by hitting the right shoulder button during your swing, and you can put spin on your ball while it's in the air by rapidly pressing the right shoulder button and moving the analog stick in the direction you want to spin the ball.
It's when you hit the greens that the gameplay gets rough. Even with the putting grid, moving beads, ideal putt cam, and available camera angle from the pin, it's very difficult to judge a green's undulations. Should you manage to get a good read on the green, chances are high that the PSP's inaccurate analog stick will betray you. Even with the power meter showing how hard you're swinging, it's impossible to consistently hit anything other than 100 percent, resulting in a lot of putts left short (if you choose the conservative distance) or putts rolling off the green (if you're aggressive and you miss). The best solution is to aim short and power up your putt by pounding on the right shoulder button during your backswing. After a couple of hours, the putting system becomes manageable, but even then it's far from intuitive. You know the putting is broken when the CPU misses a 12-inch "gimme putt" for you. A simple, timing-based system using the face buttons similar to that used in Hot Shots Golf would be a welcome option. Other than that, the game tends to take into account that it's on a handheld, so it's rather forgiving. Tournament scores seem to be a bit higher than on the consoles, you can skip CPU players' entire turns, and if you can't finish a round and you don't want to put your PSP in sleep mode, you can save midround. Load times are very reasonable, but they don't feel significantly improved over 06.