Genesis Invitational

Riviera Country Club

Sony Open

Bad short putts and a broken driver: Kevin Kisner thinks announcer's karma got him at Sony

January 12, 2024

Kevin Kisner drives on the 16th tee in the first round of the Sony Open.

Kevin C. Cox

The way Kevin Kisner’s second round was going at the Sony Open in Hawaii on Friday, the safety of the broadcast booth must have looked mighty inviting.

Kisner made his NBC Sports broadcast debut to mostly positive reviews at The Sentry in Maui last week, and then returned to competition at Waialae Country Club, where he’s often played well. Maybe it was rustiness or a letdown from last week, but Kisner struggled to a four-over-par 75 in the opening round, and on Friday, things got “weird” for the 39-year-old.

In a mid-round walk-and-talk on the Golf Channel broadcast after he’d reached five over, Kisner said, “You guys put me through too much ringer. I’m five over and getting lapped. It’s a lot less stressful in the booth.”

Especially when things like this happen:

• On the par-4 fourth hole, Kisner stuffed his approach to 4 feet and missed from that spot, and again from 3 feet to make a bogey. Anchor Dan Hicks needled Kisner about the misses, and the context was obvious: It was Kisner who jabbed Jordan Spieth when the latter took a long time to hit and miss a 3-foot putt in The Sentry. To which Kisner quipped, “That’s 3 feet Jordan; just knock it in, bud.”

Wherever Spieth was on Friday, he must have been laughing his behind off.

“I think it’s karma,” Kisner said as he walked on Friday. “Jordan Spieth is at home scratching on that [Voodoo] doll, getting me.”

Two holes later, Kisner took his driver swing on the tee and the shaft snapped in his hand. The ball only traveled 269 yards and Kisner eventually made a bogey. Strangely enough, the only backup driver Kisner had was one that a manufacturer asked him to try earlier in the week. So that driver was retrieved from his locker in the clubhouse.

“I hit it three times on the range and it’s in play,” Kisner said.

With no chance to make the cut, Kisner was looking to find a groove on Friday’s back nine to carry some confidence into next week’s start in The American Express in the California desert. After that, Kisner is back in the booth for the WM Phoenix Open.

“Let’s get that party started,” Kisner said. “I can handle that one.”