When I was watching The Players Championship on the weekend, congrats to Justin Thomas on the win, I was impressed by the stellar play. Conversely, I watched some challenging shots that I thought could have been avoided. Regardless of what I think, the roller coaster round is a natural thing for most golfers as we accept wayward shots as part of the game. Yet, I was a bit concerned by one of the announcers who stated that one of the players just committed and unforced error!
I think that there are two ways of looking at the announcers comments: all missed shots are unforced errors or there are no unforced errors in golf. My logic is simple and I fall on the “no unforced errors in golf” side of the equation. I found the this particular sports analogy might work for other events, but has no place on the golf course. This particular type of analysis does not fit my mindset of how the game of golf is played….at any level!
As any golfer knows, a round of golf is made up of excellent, above average, average, below-average, and poor shots. The varying success of any golf shot is determined my ball contact and/or results. How a shot is rated has so many variables, I am not convinced that there is any specific standard that can be used to make a reasonable assessment.
I hit my first shot into the woods on the above hole; would this be considered an unforced error? I think it is a part of golf. Fortunately, my second shot was excellent that resulted in a birdie. Golf is about playing what we shoot and adjusting our game to adapt to good a poor shots.
Regardless of the skill level of any player, I believe that our intent to always the best shot we can overrides the theory of hitting an “unforced error”. We all mishit shots or just plainly chuck the ball. Because our shot produces a poor result; it cannot be considered an error. Our intent is to always hit the right shot at the right time. Our intent is to use the proper course management strategies. Our intent is to never hit a poor shot. Yet, it happens (and in some cases, happens more often than we would like).
The announcer at The Players called a shot that did not make the green on an approach shot an “unforced error”. I cannot accept this because a round of golf is made of many shots that do not always finished as intended. Sometimes good things happen and other times we shake our head in frustration. So, I cannot seem to wrap my mind around the fact that any one shot would be considered to be unforced.
Maybe I am looking at this entire situation for a purely holistic view, but stuff happens when we play golf. I never think that any shot, at any time can be assigned the moniker of “unforced”. What do you think?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!