Microsoft and Celebrity Caddie Joe Montana Celebrate Launch Of the “Links 2001” PC Golf Game With $100,000 Prize to Greatest PC Golfer

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 9, 2000 — To celebrate the launch of
“Links™ 2001,”
the all new-version of Microsoft Corp.’s best-selling PC golf franchise, the company today announced a tournament that will award a $100,000 grand prize to the best PC golfer in North America on Nov. 13 in Honolulu.

In conjunction with the Virtual Golf Association (VGA) Tour Finals — the largest, most authentic golf event in the history of the Internet — the tournament’s four top-ranked
players will converge on Honolulu, Hawaii, to battle for the largest purse ever in an online golf tournament and the title of No. 1 PC Golfer. National Football League Hall of Famer Joe Montana, an avid golfer since his football playing days in the 1980s and host of two annual charity golf tournaments, will serve as
“celebrity caddie”
of the
“Links 2001”

“There’s no more appropriate way to celebrate the launch of ‘Links 2001’ — the most realistic PC golf game on the market — than by awarding $100,000 to the winner of the most realistic golf tournament on the Internet,”
said Beth Featherstone, director of marketing for the Games Division at Microsoft.
“With the launch of ‘Links 2001’ in retail outlets throughout the country, anyone can experience the realism of being on some of the greatest, most exotic courses in the world without ever having to leave their home or office computer.”

Microsoft® “Links 2001”
is the largest upgrade ever made to the best-selling
golf series.
“Links 2001”
delivers unprecedented realism with an all-new graphics system and refined physics. It also includes new tour players and courses, centimeter-accurate greens, customizable club distances and easier online play. The highlight of
“Links 2001”
is the Arnold Palmer Course Designer, which allows PC golfers to design their home course with custom-made bunkers, trees and other hazards. An unlimited number of player-created courses will be available on the Internet for download to play on
“Links 2001.”
More details can be found online at .

The weekend’s festivities will begin with the first round of the finals on Saturday, Nov. 11, when the top four players will play to determine who advances to the next round. VGA Tour semifinalists are listed here:

  • Paul Willey , a retired Army officer from Bangor, Maine, who suffers from multiple sclerosis

  • Hank Hall , a carpenter from Victoria, Texas

  • Mike Schuetz , a publications manager from Manassas, Va.

  • Terry Long , an IBM Global Services representative from North Middletown, Ky.

The winners of the semifinals face off on Monday, Nov. 13, for the chance to win the $100,000 purse and bragging rights as the world’s best PC golfer.

About the Virtual Golf Association Tour

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 that are comparable in size, scope and visual appeal to the actual professional golfers’ tour. The first event on the VGA Tour began March 10 with PC golfers competing on a simulation of the Bay Hill course. Other tournament courses have included The Old Course at St Andrews Links, Firestone Country Club, Mauna Kea and Innisbrook.

To reach the finals of the VGA Tour, each semifinalist spent an entire season competing against more than 12,000 tournament participants on MSN® ( ), the No. 1 multiplayer gaming site. Players accumulated money-board earnings based on their performances in these monthly tournaments. In October, the top 64 money-board leaders competed in an online semifinals tournament.

“The inaugural VGA Tour was an incredible success bringing together PC golfers who have been longing for an authentic online tour,”
Featherstone said.
“The launch of ‘Links 2001’ celebrates the hard work and preparation these players put into the tournament that rivals any ‘real’ golf tournament.”

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About Microsoft Corp.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies 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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