Microsoft and Pro Golf’s Elite Launch the Largest, Most Authentic Golf Event in the History of the Internet With a $100,000 Grand Prize

ORLANDO, Fla., March 15, 2000 — One day before the best players in professional golf begin competing at the Bay Hill Invitational 2000, Microsoft Corp. assembled an impressive team of its own to unveil details of the largest, most authentic golfing event in the history of the Internet. Golf’s newest sensation, Sergio Garcia, along with Microsoft and representatives, announced the Virtual Golf Association TM Tour ( ). In addition, Microsoft® Games General Manager Ed Fries announced the addition of Sergio to the Microsoft roster of athletes as a spokesperson for the VGA TM and a co-developer of future versions of the
“Links™ ”
PC golf simulation.

Modeled after the real-world golf tournaments of the PGA Tour, PGA of America and USGA, the VGA Tour offers a series of sponsored online golf tournaments comparable in size, scope and visual appeal to the professional golfers’ tour. With the involvement of the MSN TM Gaming Zone, the No. 1 multiplayer gaming site, and
the leading PC golf simulation, the VGA Tour has already attracted more than 2,500 participants. The first event on the VGA Tour began March 10 with PC golfers competing on a simulation of the Bay Hill course. The final round of the VGA Tour Bay Hill Invitational coincides with the final round of the real-world Bay Hill Invitational 2000 on March 19.

The VGA features realistic tour conditions from the best-selling
“Links 2000”
PC golf simulation; major corporate sponsors including, Golf Week, Golf Digest, The Golf Channel and ( ), the official Web site of the PGA of America; and the involvement of the elite from professional golf, both on the links and behind the scenes.

“With an unprecedented grand prize of $100,000, the participation of golf superstar Sergio and premium corporate sponsors and partners, the VGA proves that major sporting events are now possible online,”
Fries said.
“However, in contrast to a real-world pro golf tour, everyone with Internet access now has the chance to participate. Microsoft is proud to lead the way in establishing the Internet as a viable option for authentic, full-scale sports events.”

Beginning with the Bay Hill tournament, PC golf gamers compete* in the VGA Tour using Microsoft
“Links 2000”
in a series of monthly multiplayer golf tournaments that map to the real world’s best golf events, including the British Open at St. Andrews and the Advil Western Open at Cog Hill. Players will accumulate money-board earnings based on their performances in these monthly tournaments. In October, the top 64 money-board leaders will compete in an online semifinals tournament. The outcome will determine the top four players who will win a trip to Hawaii to compete for the $100,000 grand prize at the world-class Princeville Hawaii Country Club in November.

Participation in the VGA Tour requires
“Links 2000,”
a free VGA Tour courses CD and a free** Zone membership. More information on ordering or downloading these elements can be found at .

The VGA Tour schedule follows:

  • March 10-19: Bay Hill Invitational, Bay Hill Club and Lodge

  • April 7-16: MCI Classic – Heritage of Golf, Harbor Town Golf Links

  • May 12-21: Mauna Kea Town Tournament, Mauna Kea Course

  • June 30-July 9: Advil Western Open, Cog Hill Golf and Country Club

  • July 14-23: British Open, St. Andrews

  • Aug. 18-27: NEC Invitational, Firestone Country Club

  • Sept. 1-15: Covered Bridge Town Tournament, Covered Bridge Town Course

  • Oct. 14-15: Innisbrook Semifinals, Innisbrook Country Club

  • Nov. 20-22: Princeville Finals, Princeville Hawaii Country Club

About the MSN Gaming Zone

The MSN Gaming Zone is the largest multiplayer online gaming site on the Internet, with more than 12 million registered members around the world, more than 66,000 users at peak times and more than 100 games available to play. The Zone offers free** membership and a wide variety of games, including free card, board and puzzle games; free matchmaking for popular CD-ROM games; and premium, massively multiplayer games.

About Microsoft
“Links 2000”

The latest version of the best-selling golf simulation game captures all the precision and passion that has become synonymous with the
series. Both novice and experienced PC golfers are sure to marvel at the accessibility and unrivaled depth of the game’s features.
“Links 2000”
supports more than 25 of the world’s most respected and sought-after courses, from Hawaii’s Mauna Kea to Canada’s Banff Springs to St. Andrews Old Course, site of the Millennium Open.

About is a division of First USA Bank NA, a subsidiary of Bank One Corp. is the new powerhouse in online personal finance, offering consumers

unparalleled freedom and choice in managing their money. provides consumers with a wide range of financial products and services brought together at one Web site, ( ) including traditional banking, planning services, investments and objective search tools. For all your financial needs, including checking, electronic bill paying and credit cards,, the bank that saves you time make you money.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

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