SEATTLE, Aug. 12, 1998 — Amid the rolling hills, gently sloping greens and peaceful sounds of nature, PGA veteran Craig Stadler claimed bragging rights, scoring a sudden-death playoff one-stroke victory over LPGA pro Michelle McGann in a charity golf tournament held Tuesday evening to kick off PGA Championship week. The picturesque golf course and fight-to-the-finish match were not at a local country club, but rather on a stage with the Microsoft® Golf 1998 Edition PC golf game and a large screen showing the action in the first-ever “Battle in Seattle” PGA vs. LPGA virtual golf tournament.
Reminiscent of the Bobby Riggs vs. Billie Jean King original sports gender competition held 25 years ago this September, the “Battle in Seattle” occurred at the PGA Championship Host City Dinner held at the Boeing Museum of Flight. The three-hole tournament to determine the virtual golf champion was played using Microsoft Golf 1998 Edition, considered one of the most realistic golf games available for the personal computer with its high-end graphics and CD-quality location-based sounds.
Stadler had a rough start as his putter failed him on the par-4 first hole when he three-putted, ending up with a double bogey. McGann became the early favorite with a 234-yard drive and a 15-foot putt for par and a two-stroke lead.
The second hole took its toll on both players, as tough second shots out of the rough and tricky downhill putts caused both McGann and Stadler to double-bogey.
On the tournament’s final hole, Stadler showed what made him one of the PGA’s most successful players. He started with a monster 273-yard drive and finished with a 10-foot putt for par. McGann could have won the virtual title but missed a short putt, causing her to double-bogey and tie the score, sending the match into a sudden-death playoff.
Both players hit solid tee shots on the par-three playoff hole, with Stadler ending up 17 yards from the pin and McGann landing on the green. Then Stadler made the shot of the tournament as he chipped in for birdie and a one-stroke lead. McGann almost sent the match into a second playoff hole, but her 24-foot putt rimmed out of the cup, making Stadler the 1998 “Battle in Seattle” virtual golf champion.
“The challenge was fun and I’m just glad I don’t have to face Michelle every week on the regular tour,” joked Stadler, a former Masters Tournament champion and one of the most popular players on the PGA Tour. “I’m worn out. Playing Microsoft Golf is a lot like the real thing. I’m thrilled I won and I just hope I can do as well at Sahalee.”
McGann, a seven-time LPGA Tournament winner, was gracious in defeat. “Craig really hit his drives a long way today and that chip at the end was fantastic,” she said. “Craig may be the champion of computer golf for now, but I’m going to practice and I’d like to tee up against him some day soon.”
In honor of Stadler’s win, Microsoft donated a personal computer system to the Family Golf Association, an organization dedicated to promoting golf as a healthy, family-fun activity. Microsoft also donated a software package that includes most of
Microsoft’s current consumer software titles. The total value of the donation exceeded $10,000.
“The tournament was a lot of fun for everyone involved,” said Pete Higgins, group vice president, interactive media group, Microsoft. “It was super to kick off PGA Championship week in the spirit of charity and show visitors what a fun city Seattle is.”
Microsoft Golf 1998 Edition is the latest offering of the best-selling Microsoft computer golf game for the Windows® operating system. It combines superb game play and player animation with realistic sounds and graphics to offer players what some consider the next best thing to being on a course. Microsoft Golf 1998 Edition golfers can play a round by themselves, or they can tee it up for free against friends and family via the Internet, modem or a local area network (connect-time charges may apply).
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