Any ESPN golf broadcast is a good one when Chris Berman doesn't utter the phrase "Ground Control to David Toms," though he couldn't resist a "Choi to the world." Groan.
Lamenting Berman on golf has become a summer ritual. As blogger and Golf World contributor Geoff Shackelford noted in this ground rule for his first round open thread: "Let's try and keep the Chris Berman complaints to a max of 800 posts, please."
It does seem incongruous to feature a man called Boomer on a telecast of a game given to whispers and golf claps. But apparently he's here to stay. And he does beat the vuvuzela.
Day one highlights from ESPN and NBC:
-- When Phil Mickelson chose the aggressive route with his second shot from behind the trees in the fairway on the par-5 18th, bouncing his ball off the seawall and into the water, Curtis Strange replied: "That's doing too much too early. We know the way he plays. He doesn't know anything else. But sometimes you have to lay up to win."
-- Johnny Miller on the par-4 eighth hole: "The greatest second shot in golf, according to Jack Nicklaus. Of course it sets up for his fade. That helps."
-- As Tiger Woods was on the practice tee, Miller and NBC anchor Dan Hicks were discussing Woods' performance in the 2000 Open at Pebble Beach. "Tiger wants to believe that he was better after that year, but in my opinion that was the top of his career, the year 2000," Miller said.
-- Woods is going it alone, sans instructor, for the first time since he was four, begging for an expert analysis of his swing. Strange provided this, even as Woods was in the process of grinding out a quality U.S. Open round: "I think Tiger's still struggling. I still see his swing laid off, which means his club at the top of the swing is aimed left of the target. It's tough to hit the ball straight that way. He's still struggling with his swing. So far, so good. He has put it in the fairway. As we all know that is the most important part of playing the U.S. Open."
Just wondering: Is the kid who makes the ace on that USGA commercial spot in college now? Those spots are well done, but isn't it time for a new set of commercials?
More Berman (alas): On Brendan De Jonge (pronounced D Yong), he said, "Do Jonge not restless."
Replied Roger Maltbie, his partner in the booth: "Do these just come to you?"
From the print media, the San Diego Union-Tribune received this solicitation from a photographer (and changed the name "to protect the clueless," the paper noted):
"My name is John Doe. I am a former Region 10, NPPA Photographer of the Year and now freelance in California. I would like to know if you are interested in exclusive photographic coverage of the Pebble Beach Pro Am starting this Thursday."
Only if you can get some pictures of Bill Murray.
-- John Strege