Hit, Giggle and Golf
Mike Purkey's February 23 TV Rewind column got a lot of attention, not all of it positive. Here's Mike on the coverage of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Saturday, as usual for CBS' AT&T broadcast, was Hit and Giggle Day, with amateurs doing most of the inept hitting and Peter Oosterhuis doing most of the giggling. Network officials decided to make no effort whatsoever to cover the actual tournament and instead focused on the celebrities, all of whom were gathered at Pebble Beach. We didn't see a single shot from leader Dustin Johnson, who was at Poppy Hills, or 36-hole leader Retief Goosen, who was laboring at Spyglass Hill. If the scenery wasn't enough to hold your attention, the absence of real golf might make you migrate to ESPN for college basketball.
Ken Venturi joined Faldo and Nantz in the 18th tower Saturday. It was his first broadcast since retiring in 2002 after 35 years with CBS. Venturi added little to the conversation, dusting off the ghosts of Phil Harris, Vic Damone and Jimmy Demaret, whom fewer and fewer people remember.
Thank you to Mike Purkey for telling it like it is regarding the ridiculous interviews and "non-golf" viewing of the AT&T Pebble Beach Tournament. The tournament used to be fun on Saturday when there were real celebrities and not just CBS "personalities". We also saw real golf from real golfers. Switching over to basketball or anything else was relatively easy. Let's hope Bing's spinning stops soon.
That was a rather snide remark regarding Ken Venturi and "dusting off the ghosts of Phil Harris, Vic Damone and Jimmy Demaret, whom fewer and fewer people remember". If it wasn't for the likes of Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and the celebrities who participated in these events, I doubt the tour would be the success it is today. Totally classless!
To reader Prendergast's point, I noticed on Golf Channel the other day how many players, when questioned, named Bob Hope and Bing Crosby as the greatest promoters of the game. But this controversy recalls something the Roman poet Ovid once wrote: "Let others praise ancient times. I am glad I was born in these." He said that way before Phil Harris, by the way.