SBD/August 9, 2013/Media

Can Fox Sports Change The Tenor Of Televised Golf With U.S. Open Coverage?

A new TV partner for the USGA has media critics curious about coverage style
Televised golf is a "dismal, stale medium desperately in need of fresh blood and new ideas," and Fox' new deal to telecast the U.S. Open "might force other golf broadcasters to elevate their games," according to Martin Kaufmann of GOLFWEEK. Televised golf "isn't a genre that needs more of the same," but rather one that is "crying out for a total makeover." Fox should "start slowly ... by watching a lot of televised golf and asking a lot of questions." Golf needs announcers "who speak less and say more -- in other words, provide analysis and perspective rather than play-by-play." Fox "definitely should call" Golf Channel's Brandel Chamblee, who is "far and away the most interesting voice in televised golf, and he has the game for the big stage." On the production side, Fox "should look for bright, ambitious people who want to advance the medium." The net "should seek out people who know and love golf, but also have a track record of innovating when producing other sports." Kaufmann: "I haven’t the slightest clue whether Fox Sports will be good for golf or our national championships. But I’m not going to belittle Fox just because it’s new to professional golf. Many view that as a liability; I think it’s an asset because it might promote a fresh approach" (GOLFWEEK.com, 8/8). Golfer Joe Ogilvie wrote on his Twitter account, "While timing was tone deaf, USGA/FOX deal is a game changer. Should be great for golf. Sarah Hirshland is impressive" (TWITTER.com, 8/9). However, in Illinois, Mike Spellman writes, "I like my Open coverage serene enough that a nap is never out of the realm of possibilities, but for some reason I just don't see that happening on Fox." Spellman adds, "Please, please, please no FoxTrax trailing putts like it did pucks years ago" (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 8/9).

JOHNNY ANGEL? In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley wrote, "You may admire broadcaster Johnny Miller's candor but you are stunned by his naivete. Or his self-absorption." Part of Miller's comments about the U.S. Open moving from NBC to Fox "was confounding." Wolfley: "Say what, Johnny? You feel badly that the USGA cares more about money than it cares about you?" Money "trumps most other concerns" in media rights deals, and it "most certainly trumps loyalty to network production crews and announcers" (JSONLINE.com, 8/8).

OFF THE FAIRWAY: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick notes TNT during the first 10 minutes of Thursday's opening round coverage of the PGA Championship "showed just two shots -- both taken by Tiger Woods," who at the time was seven shots behind leader Jim Furyk (N.Y. POST, 8/9).
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Media, Fox, USGA

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