The Loop

Media: 'Ppl watch Phil to see what...he is gonna do next!'

August 09, 2012

Ian Baker-Finch called the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, S.C., "a bucket-list course," though he should have provided a caveat: Only if the conditions are as benign as they were for the first round of the PGA Championship on Thursday.

"I could blow in the anemometers and get more than what's blowing out here," Billy Kratzert said on the TNT telecast.

The weather failed to cooperate, at least according to those of us who would prefer seeing it played under more penal conditions, particularly in a major championship. A sunny day with negligible wind might have made for a hum-drum afternoon of viewing were it not for Phil Mickelson's remarkable Houdini act.

Phil, as he is wont to do, put the thrill into the telecast, somehow salvaging a round of 73 despite spending much of the day in places where hope goes to die. He hit only four fairways and seven greens.

"I've seen a lot of really good illusionists," Gary McCord said after one of Mickelson's magical saves. "This is the best illusionist I've seen for a while now."

Said Peter Kostis, when Mickelson saved par from an impossibly difficult lie on the 17th hole: "He's got so much talent and so much imagination in the short-game area. I don't know that anybody can play the repertoire of shots he has."

Tour pro Parker McLachlin summed it up best via Twitter: "People watch Tiger because of the incredible things he can do with the ball... Ppl watch Phil to see what the hell he is gonna do next!"

Repair your ball mark...if you can find it

McCord had this observation about the Ocean Course's greens, which along with its fairways feature paspalum grass:

"What do you notice about that green, looking at that green? You don't see one ball mark. Even when you're out there you never see a ball mark on this grass. Get up close you're not going to see a ball mark."

Say what?

Jim Nantz: "The Ocean Course, Kiawah Island, South Carolina, a short drive from Charleston."

Golf Digest's Dan Jenkins apparently would disagree. Jenkins noted on Twitter the time it took to get to the golf course from the hotel in Charleston: "Roger Warren, ex-PGA president, he's the man who brought us here. Thanks for the hour and 40-minute bus ride this morning, Roger."

Put the phone down

TNT attempted to stop viewers from reaching for the phone to report infractions that aren't. First it was Kostis explaining the Ocean Course's sandy areas that aren't bunkers.

"Now those of you at home do not call in," he said. "There are no bunkers here this week. You need to know the rules. It's just play through the green. Players may make practice swings. They can ground their club lightly and just play it as if it were grass, only it's sand."

Later on, Billy Kratzert made the same point after explaining the sandy areas. "Do not pick up the phone and call in. It's not an infraction," he said.

The most interesting man in the world

McCord on Miguel Angel Jimenez: "I look at him and I think, 'wine, Ferraris, cigars.' That's it." Pro and con

The pro: Viewers with internet access had the opportunity to watch Tiger Woods' entire round on its Marquee Group feature.

The con: Predict It. This little device kept intruding across the top of the screen on the internet telecast with innocuous poll questions, such as this one: "Will Tiger Woods save par on hole 4?"

Why does this warrant a poll, especially when we'll know the answer in a matter of moments?

On Twitter

Charlie Rymer of the Golf Channel: "@PGA_JohnDaly Nice playing knucklehead!"

Blogger and Golf World contributor Geoff Shackelford: "Nothing boosts the momentum of a telecast like 5 minutes with the current #PGA President. I'm going to lie down now."