Now, I'm all for tough scoring in golf. I've never been one of those people willing to kick a ball out of the rough or improve my lie. Consequently, my golf scores have never been very good – I've always wanted to break 100, I've come quite close to breaking 100, but I've never actually gotten there. It vexes me, but one day I'm convinced that I'll get there, it's going to take some work, but I'll get there.
One place where my golf game does excel (and has for years) is in videogames. Okay, so it's not real, but it's still pretty thrilling to put up a 59 at St. Andrews (take that, Old Course!). As with just about any fan of computer- or console-based golf, I like my Tiger Woods, and having a Wii, Tiger is just about essential. This year, as has been widely reported and reviewed, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 for Wii added a cute little device called WiiMotion Plus to the mix. WiiMotion Plus gives an added sense of "touch" to the game by enabling the controller to better mimic a player's actions. For me, it made buying the new version of Tiger, even though I had one from a couple years ago, absolutely necessary.
It was a great purchase, I'm thrilled with the game. This new version of Tiger is as close to actually playing golf as I've ever come on a computer or console. However, it's not perfect. I've noticed a preponderance of lip-outs – that annoying moment where the ball circles the hole or dips into the hole only to come back out again. Oh sure, that should happen from time to time, but they do seem to occur with a little too much frequency in the game.
While distressing, that is the sort of thing I can learn to live with, the sort of thing that I can accept. After all, I'm still shooting in the low-60s, just about 40 strokes better than my real-life scoring average. Today though I encountered a completely new facet of the game, one that makes it much harder to love the program. I like to think of this new problem as ultra-tough scoring, and unfortunately, it's not a difficulty setting that can be altered. Having perfect touch one won't help this one, it's just the sort of thing you have to suffer through. Here, have a look at exactly what occurred:
To be clear, I hit the ball from the fairway, landed it just beyond the hole, and the ball trickled back oh-so-beautifully into the cup. Normally, that's just the sort of thing you hope to happen. In this case, Tiger informed me that I'd hit the ball out of bounds. Since when is in the cup out of bounds?
In the past, EA was able to beautifully mock an error in the game which allowed golfers walk on water, literally. There was a specific moment in the game where, a ball hit into the water would float, and a golfer could go out and hit there next shot (the Jesus Shot, if you will). For the Tiger edition the following year, EA went out and made this video as a response:
That error probably allowed for easier scoring (what with no penalty for puting the ball into the hazard), and too easy scoring has been one of the criticisms of the series. This error however seems to overcorrect the problem.
Maybe they'll work it out next year…