Watching Tiger and FOX this weekend, I guess “strange to watch” was the first thing that came to mind. “Painful at times” was the second. And those phrases were a bit of understatements.
First, let’s talk FOX. These guys wanted in the golf game badly. 12 years at $100 million a year is the rumor of the going rate they paid the gents from Far Hills, NJ for the rights.
They’ve hired an all-star cast of announcers. Great announcers.
But, are they great golf announcers? Nope. Not yet.
“There are no gimmies out here.” Really, How many times did we hear that one on Saturday and Sunday?
“I’m Joe Buck and this is the Hall of Famer, Greg Norman.” Ok, Joe, but do you have to say it every time the camera hits you two? Thanks for the intro, but I don’t think Jim Nantz does that every time the single time they cut to him. Once a day is fine, we know who you are.
“With that putt, Johnson’s lead goes to 3.” No it didn’t, it went to 2 shots!
And, Holly Sonders interviewing Kevin Kisner after Saturday’s round with multiple questions….all about Jason Day, then thanked him for stopping by. I would have fallen out if Kisner would have ended it with, “Don’t you want to ask me anything about my round?”
But, it wasn’t just the announcers (although Corey Pavin, Brad Faxon were good, as was Juli Inkster who was rarely heard and never to be seen). The PRODUCTION was like they’d never worked a major before.
Alright, they hadn’t.
Shots of golf balls were lost in flight, images on the screen freezing up, cutting to a player 35 seconds before he hit the shot, announcers being cut off in the middle of a sentence. I’m trying to imagine what the late, great Frank Chirkinian would have done to the trailer at CBS if this was on his watch. Probably something like that fire that broke out near the course.
The shot tracers and various yardage graphics were great, but come on, guys.
So, how does FOX get better covering majors? How does Tiger get better playing in majors?
More regular tournaments!
But, that’s not as easy as it sounds. FOX wanted in this game and the only nuggets up for bid were USGA tournaments. Remember, this is the same network that wanted in college football so badly, a market that was owned by the Worldwide Leader, CBS and NBC (Notre Dame) that it did the same thing that they did in golf. Bought the rights to just a few games.
Most all of the BCS Bowl Games including the Championship Game!
Beginning in 2006, FOX did all of the BCS games (Sugar, Orange and Fiesta Bowls leaving the Rose to ABC) and the BCS Championship Games. The coverage for a network that did zero regular season games was about the same as a network that broadcast zero professional golf and then takes on our country’s National Championship.
FOX is like the millionaire parent of a kid that wanted to go to a summer camp, but couldn’t get in because it was full. So the parent bought the camp. Kid’s in, problem’s solved.
So back to golf, with NBC and CBS owning the PGA Tour for the most part, there are no other ways for FOX to improve by taking on a few regular tour events.
But, maybe the former world’s #1 could, if ego will allow it. Personally, I just don’t see Tiger teeing it up at the John Deere or the Greenbrier. However, red alert: you’re not in the WGC Bridgestone where you’ve won 8 times, and there’s already talk that your U.S. Open exemption as a past winner runs out in 2018. The 2019 U.S. Open is at Pebble Beach and there’s already talk that you’d have to qualify if you wanted to be a part of the party.
Humble yourself, TW. Play some more. No more swing overhauls, go back to Tiger 1.0, not some other version.
And to FOX, I wish we could say do some more tournaments, but other than the U.S. Senior Men’s and the Women’s U.S. Open, there won’t be many that anyone’s really watching and engaged. You guys live on the edge, that’s what made you FOX Sports. However, PLEASE, look in the mirror and learn from your mistakes.
Just remember, “There are no gimmies out here.”