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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

No Surprise: Awful TV Coverage

I'm reluctant to stray from my normal themes, but I was so disgusted this weekend while watching the Open Championship on ABC, that I have to mention to choppy, narrowly-focused telecast that has become the norm these days.

Everyone knows that CBS, ABC, and NBC all fall victim to producing "All Tiger, All the Time" telecasts. However, the Open was as bad an example of Tiger-loving as I've seen (my apologies to CBS and their pandering to "the chosen one" at the 2005 Masters). Even though Tiger pulled away midway though the round on Sunday, we saw very little of anyone but Tiger. It's tragic for golfers around the world who would actually like to see others hit the ball. And when I say hit the ball, I don't mean "putt", which is about the only non-Tiger coverage that you'll see of other players.

On top of the Tiger Lovefest, the amount of commercial breaks, highlights from the tournament, and previews of each hole get very old, very quickly. On Thursday and Friday, I listened to commercial-free coverage on XM Radio and The announcers were British and I believe South African, and they were just awesome. They know the sport, and they did an excellent job of painting a picture of what was going on in the tournament. It was very balanced, and I didn't get the feeling that Tiger was running the broadcast.

Now, I don't want to take anything away from Woods' performance on the golf course. He's the best in the world -- by a significant margin until Vijay finds his putting stroke. However, it's been tiring for years now, and we deserve better from the likes of ABC.

The only honest commentary I heard on ABC came from Nick Faldo. On about the 9th hole, Tiger cleaned up a putt and walked off the green to the next teebox while JMO stood over a twelve footer. Nick called him out on his poor ettiquette, even going so far as to say that Tiger's bad manners are the norm for him. No one else would dare make this observation, so kudos to Nick. Tiger was rude for doing what he did, and I'm sure he'll continue to do it in the future.

Let's hope that Tiger misses the cut at the PGA (doubtful) so we can watch some real shots hit by other players. My guess is that if he does miss the cut, half the telecast will be spent reviewing Tiger's rounds and analyzing what went wrong.


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