When it comes to golf, nobody likes to hear, let alone see or hit, the dreaded "s" word -- "SHANK."
No matter the level of golf ability, those dirty, no good shots that you wish to avoid like the plague can pop up on occasion and they can be contagious.
Not so distant cousins of the "shanks" include the "chunks" and the "yips" -- equally as demoralizing.
All three happen, even to the best players in the world. Which, for us golf lovers who don't have a 10th of the ability of the men and women playing on TV for a living, brings about sort of a sadistic comfort.
With that, here are 13 (seeing as that number is considered the unluckiest of all, it seemed like a good cap) of the worst shanks, chunks and yips from 2016.
We're not making fun... we're sympathizing.
13. Michael Greller on No. 7 at Pebble Beach. It's not uncommon during a practice round or pro-am for a PGA Tour player to allow his caddie to hit a shot on a world famous hole. That's what happened when Jordan Spieth allowed Greller an opportunity to take a crack at the world-renowned short par 3 on what is arguably the world's most famous course. What ensued was a barrel of laughs for everyone but Greller:
12. Thorbjorn Olesen at the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship. Olesen was all square with McIlroy when the match went to the 18th hole. Faced with not a terribly difficult looking chip, Olesen did this and ended up losing the match:
11. Brooks Koepka at Hazeltine. The 2016 Ryder Cup was basically a highlight reel for Koepka, who was making his debut in the biennial matches, which his side won for the first time since 2008... which means he can probably laugh at this approach shot during Saturday morning's foursomes session from the rough on the 12th hole:
10. Jordan Spieth at Riviera. In the first round of this year's Northern Trust Open, the two-time major champion and undoubtedly one of the best players in the world over the last four three years, shot an uncharacteristic 79. Sometimes you have it, sometimes you don't. Spieth was looking to work things out prior to the second round on the range the next morning... when this happened:
Oops. To be fair to Spieth, it should be noted that he did shoot a 68 that day. Also to be fair, he watched his caddie shank it at Pebble the week before (No. 13 on our list).
9. Jason Day in the Open Championship. Shanks are also known as "hosel rockets." Check out this close-up video of the world's No. 1 player from Royal Troon and you'll know exactly why:
8. Joost van den Broek in the KLM Open. Who, you ask? Joost was a lucky fan who won the opportunity to play in a "Beat the pro" competition DURING this European Tour event. Imagine how nerve-wracking that had to be. van den Broek plays to a 4-handicap, but it sure didn't look that way in front of all those fans... extra points for the awesome Protracer utilization on this one too:
7. An Angel Cabrera two-for-the-price-of-one. The Argentine, an owner of both a green jacket and a U.S. Open trophy, isn't exempt from an occasional case of the chunks. Here, we have two examples. First, an unintentional lay up during the Arnold Palmer Invitational moments after an intentional lay up:
The second is this ugly chunk into the water on the par-5 15th hole during the Masters:
6. Spain's Jon Rahm made his first start as a professional on the PGA Tour the week after the U.S. Open in June at the Quicken Loans National, where he finished an impressive T3. But, he'll always remember this shot from his first professional start, which happened during the tournament's third round:
5. Russell Knox on the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. A case could be made that when you factor in the elements and the atmosphere at the Players Championship, there may be no more stressful hole in golf than the par-3 17th on the Stadium Course. The last thing you want to do is miss the island green. That's what Knox did though -- three times. He missed wide right with the first. He came up well short with the second. And then, after you see the second, check out the third attempt -- the reason he's on this list (he would make a 9 on the hole):
4. Lucas Glover's putt at the Wyndham Championship. Just 19 inches separated Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, from a 10-under 60 in the second round of the Wyndham Championship. Instead, it turned into a 61 when he nearly whiffed the putt for 60.
3. Richard Bland at the European Tour's Spanish Open. In a tournament that he led at one point, Bland (who finished T11) did this:
Now that is what you call "sideways."
2. Steve Wheatcroft from a bunker at the RBC Canadian Open. This was an absolute heartbreaker. Needing an up and down on the final hole for a spot in a playoff and, potentially, his first PGA Tour win, Wheatcroft caught his sand shot, well, thin:
1. Ernie Els on the first hole of the 2016 Masters. You hate to see this happen to anyone, let alone one of the all-time great guy's in the game. But, the Golf Gods do not care at times. All players get jacked up for the first major of the year. Imagine the 20-minute span for Els from the time he teed off in his first round to the time he walked off the first green. Promise. Hope. Nerves... a freaking "six-putt" from six feet to open with a quintuple-bogey 9, the highest score on that hole in tournament history: