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The promise of virtual currency has proved an effective way to get users to engage with their friends in social games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars. Now, Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online – the web-based version of the popular console game from Electronic Arts – is giving this concept a shot, offering users $10,000 of in-game currency for each of their Facebook friends that signs up.

That currency can then be used for activities like improving your swing, purchasing clubs, and outfitting your golfer with the goofiest virtual pants that virtual dollars can buy. While not necessarily a ground-breaking promotion, it does highlight some of the possibilities of EA – who also acquired social game maker Playfish for $400 million — moving their popular sports titles to the Web and the overall excitement right now around social gaming.

In a somewhat similar promotion, Bing was recently able to find 400,000 new fans for their Facebook Page in 24 hours by incentivizing users of FarmVille with virtual cash. We imagine this type of marketing will only continue to grow as web users spend more and more time – and money – on social games.

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Tags: electronic arts, social games, social gaming, tiger woods