News & ToursMay 10, 2008

Verdi: Saturday's Postcard from the Players

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Another day, another gadget. For $25 per day, or $75 for the entire tournament, fans at the Players Championship can rent something called a Kangaroo TV. It hangs around your neck with a strap, weighs maybe a pound, and allows you to watch the telecast while you're out baking in the sun. I would liken it to the "black box" that Peter Kostis takes with him while roaming the fairways for CBS, except that Peter has never let me near his black box. He must have heard about my stormy relationship with computers.

Whenever I touch anything more high-tech than a hair dryer, it goes into convulsions and ceases to work. (When I touch a hair dryer, it just looks at my scalp and laughs.) Anyway, the PGA Tour has been kind enough to let us writers use the Kangaroo TVs for free, because the tour knows we only pay $25 for luxury items, like a suit of clothes. The sight of a reporter actually walking a golf course is noteworthy in itself, so the prospect of us being out in the heat watching what we usually watch in an air-conditioned press tent stopped traffic at the Stadium Course. Or maybe it's just my advanced age.

One lady saw me fiddling with my Kangaroo TV and asked if I needed help. I think she thought it was my dialysis machine. If it was, I would be in trouble, because, not surprisingly, I had problems with all the buttons. Besides the actual telecast, you can punch in just the action at the fabled 17th hole, or go to the scoreboard, or the stat center or create a search for your favorite player. I don't have a favorite player, which is just as well because I couldn't get past the screen welcoming me to the Kangaroo TV world and offering "simple instructions".

I didn't bother using the earplugs, either, because there was nothing to hear. I have no idea what you do with a Kangaroo TV in the rain, but according to the grim weather forecast, we'll find out Sunday. You could never carry a Kangaroo TV around at the Masters, where you can't bring anything through the gates except your wife, but I'm not going to knock progress. When I returned the gizmo, the lady noticed I had barely dented the five hours of battery time. "Didn't you like it?" she asked.  "Oh, very much," I replied. "I'm just saving energy."

--Bob Verdi

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