Ryan Wilson

Curbstomping Cynicism: Golf

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Oh, sports. Never has there been a subject that I’ve looked at with more disgust than the idea of athletes making millions in sponsorships just to bore me to death between commercials.

Perhaps my background is to blame for my strong opinions against athletic competition. In the Wilson household, the only time the television was ever really turned to a sports program was during the World Series (growing up in New York meant I could feign support for the Yankees and no one would bat an eye) or the Super Bowl, both of which I could easily tune out with some Sega Genesis time. I even made it through two years of Little League, the second year of which my team made through as undefeated champions, with heavy apathy and boredom. Could you blame me though? Outfield is incredibly boring when the ball rarely leaves a tee.

So what magical thing eased over twenty years of cynicism, albeit only slightly?

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 for the PlayStation 3

Yes, you heard me right. A derivative PlayStation 3 launch title from EA Sports put my cold, athletically-apathetic heart on the defrost cycle. Sure, golf might not be the most popular of sports, reserved usually for rich businessmen and doctors, but damn have I found great enjoyment smacking that virtual dimpled sphere around.

How to cure your cynicism, the Ryan Wilson way

Create a character

While it might seem tempting to just jump right into the game with a quick 18 holes as Tiger Woods, trust me, don’t! Nothing kills your enthusiasm for a game than sucking royally with a character that can make it to the green easily with one fell smack. One of the great things I’ve found with Tiger Woods PGA Tour ’07 (and I assume subsequent games), is that you start off as an amateur…and I do mean amateur, as every stat is at 1. Sure, it might take you an extra shot to get the ball right where you want it, but it’s much easier to recover from a terrible slice when you’re working with only 200 yards.

Multiplayer, multiplayer, multiplayer

If you can help it, play the game with someone, preferably in the same room. Tutorials simply aren’t enough to understand how to properly play the game. Whether your opponent is a “professional” or a total amateur like you, you can watch the effects of their club, power, and aim decisions. Just by doing this, I went from triple bogeys to eagles and birdies in no time.

Remember, it’s just a game

This one is the most important: keep your cool while you play. The announcers, especially in Tiger Woods PGA Tour ’07, are relentless assholes when you make a bad shot. If you can’t handle them, turn them off. After all, it’s just a game.

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