July 27, 2009

TV Rewind

Summing up the best and the worst of the week in televised golf

A rainy weekend at the Canadian Open didn't provide CBS much of an opportunity to show live golf.

A rainy weekend at the Canadian Open didn't provide CBS much of an opportunity to show live golf.

The four worst words in televised golf are "rain delay" and "recorded earlier." And, unfortunately for viewers, those words can often be strung together. Live golf on the weekend was virtually nonexistent. The RBC Canadian Open on CBS wound up finishing on Golf Channel on Monday afternoon after rain washed out most of Saturday and Sunday. The second round attempted to finish on Saturday morning and to CBS' credit, the network got a good bit of that action on tape and showed it during Saturday's normal telecast time.

CBS director Steve Milton made the most of the driving rain and had some fun with the slow-motion cameras, recording some tape for the 10-second bumpers that lead into commercials. He shot some golf balls splashing into pools of water and squeegees moving waves of water in super slo-mo that produced some creative images on a normally dull day.

Golf was being played on every other major tour and none of it was shown live in the U.S. The European Tour was in Sweden for the SAS Masters, the LPGA Tour was in France for the Evian Masters, the Champions Tour was conducting the Senior Open Championship in England and the Nationwide Tour was in Omaha, Nebraska, for the Cox Classic. All were shown on tape delay. The only live golf was on Monday for the finish of the Canadian Open on Golf Channel.

Analyze this: Ian Baker-Finch at CBS was in the analyst's chair alongside Bill Macatee while Nick Faldo was competing at the Senior Open Championship. Uncharacteristically for IBF was his pointed disagreement with a player's strategy. Winner Nathan Green was chipping from inside the hazard line for birdie on the 72nd hole with a chance to win and decided to belly a wedge instead of chipping. And he was waiting for fellow competitor Martin Laird to get a ruling for an embedded ball in the hazard.

Baker-Finch: "It's a long, long wait for Nathan Green. But for him, I'd say, 'Do you mind if I go ahead? I have a chance to chip this in and win.'" Bobby Clampett: "I don't think it has come into his thought to go." Baker-Finch: "I would certainly go ahead and go. Martin Laird has got another 50 yards to walk ... I would leave the flag in and I would definitely chip it. I wouldn't belly it. You're trying to win. It all depends on your nerves, doesn't it, whether you're a confident chipper. I definitely would have chipped it." Clampett: "It's hard not to (be able to) put a club behind the ball."

Rules seminar: On the first playoff hole, the CBS crew lost a great opportunity to acquaint viewers with the Rules of Golf. Green hit his second shot over the green at the 18th and got both line-of-sight relief from some immovable obstructions and got further relief from a flower bed before he played his third shot to the green. The process took about five minutes and Baker-Finch and Clampett shouldn't have assumed that viewers know the Rules and should have made more of an effort to explain what was happening.

Highlights package: Macatee of CBS on the intro to the Monday coverage: "The rain has been interrupted by a golf tournament ... " ABC's Andy North on the nearness of the hole location to the edge of the green at the 14th at Sunningdale: "You could have your feet in the bunker and grab hold of the flagstick ... " Tom Weiskopf on the putting surfaces at Sunningdale: "The greens look like big blocks of melting chocolate. There are subtleties that are difficult to see ... " Weiskopf on Greg Norman's short game: "When you don't play very much, it's difficult to keep your touch. When you play for fun, you can do it OK ..." Weiskopf: "Any time you can get a shot on the green with a 3-iron, it's a good shot, believe me." Peter Alliss: "They're not firing rifles."

Scrambled signals: North on winner Loren Roberts: "Watch his (putting) stroke. It's the same going back as coming through. So there's no hit in the stroke and it's why his speed is so good." He promptly left a 40-footer six feet short ... Viewers couldn't see Retief Goosen's eagle putt go in on the 18th green because the Golf Channel crawl at the bottom of the screen hid the hole ... ABC didn't record Mark McNulty's tee shot at the par-three 15th that came to rest within four feet. He made birdie to tie for the lead. Other misses included McNulty's second shot at the 17th that gave him a birdie effort to take the lead, Roberts' tee shot into the rough at the 18th and the tee shots of all the competitors on the first playoff hole.