The Loop

Media Watch: CBS' defense of Johnson unfounded

August 15, 2010

A compelling story that took an unfortunate turn in the final round of the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits late on Sunday afternoon produced an anticlimactic finish to which CBS contributed in its own small way.

If CBS can be faulted for anything in an otherwise flawless telecast it was in overplaying the fact that Dustin Johnson could not have known that that was a bunker. Peter Kostis' ensuing interview with PGA rules official Mark Wilson made it abundantly clear that the players had been adequately warned about the bunkers at the outset of the week.

Johnson was assessed a two-stroke penalty for grounding his club in the bunker, costing him a spot in a playoff that was won by Martin Kaymer by a stroke over Bubba Watson.

Still, how it ended for Johnson probably says more about Whistling Straits and its bunkers gone wild than it does about Johnson.

UPDATE: A review of video of CBS' broadcast of the final hole has CBS' Jim Nantz correctly identifying where Johnson's ball had settled: "It's actually one of those thousand-plus bunkers here..." It also showed a graphic of the ball in the bunker.


Ron Borges, setting up the final round, wrote this about Dustin Johnson's final-round collapse in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in June, in the Boston Herald on Sunday:

"Before that final round meltdown, Johnson's affable caddie, Bobby Brown, had insisted, 'The best thing about this dude is he never freaks out!'

"Then he freaked out, so who knows what will happen when he's again faced with the chance to win a tournament not even the legendary Arnold Palmer ever won."

Now we know.

From Sunday's telecasts on CBS and TNT:

-- Whatever CBS' loss at Tiger Woods' inability to contend was TNT's gain. The cable network had the opportunity to show some of Woods' round on Sunday, when ordinarily Woods would not tee off until after TNT has thrown the telecast to CBS.

-- Jim Nantz called the Wannamaker Trophy a monstrosity, using a word defined as "something...that is very large and considered unsightly."

-- David Feherty on Watney's 12-foot par putt with a stiff right-to-left breeze at the fourth hole: "Easier to read the last health care bill."

-- The blimp shots were spectacular, as expected from hovering over a lakeside piece of real estate, but they were useful, too, particularly at the par-3 seventh hole on Sunday. When Watney hit his tee shot straight right, the blimp's camera immediately showed the ball bobbing in the gentle waves on the shore of Lake Michigan. Then on a replay of the shot from overhead it showed where the ball crossed the hazard line.

-- Faldo: "Seems like a lot of guys bought a ticket for the train wreck today."

-- Gary McCord on 47-year-old Steve Elkington, in his bid to win for the first time since 1999: "He knows down deep in his heart this is his last stand here. This is the only shot he's going to get."

-- John Strege