NORMAN'S RUN FOR JACKET HELPS CBS EARN SOLID RATINGS
CBS's broadcast of the final round of The Masters
earned an 10.7/21 overnight Nielsen rating, up 8.1% compared
to last year's 9.9/26. Saturday's third round coverage
scored a 5.9/15, down 15.5% compared to '98's 6.9/19 (CBS).
THE NORM-AN SHOW: Many media critics review CBS's
treatment of Greg Norman in his run for the Green Jacket.
In Toronto, Rob Longley writes that CBS, following Norman's
"collapse" in the final round of the '96 Masters, "wanted to
heal that pain so badly it made the Shark the irresistible
bait to hook viewers for its coverage." Longley notes that
CBS "spent so much energy" setting up a Norman win, that
when he fell back in the later stages, "the life was sucked
right out of the telecast" (TORONTO SUN, 4/12). In Boston,
Jim Baker calls Jim Nantz "over-syrupy" in claiming Norman
"did not lose" this title, as he did in '96 (BOSTON HERALD,
4/12). In Cincinnati, John Fay writes that as Norman began
to slip, "no one on CBS ... questioned whether Norman was
wilting under the pressure." But Fay calls CBS's camera
work "flawless" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 4/12). In Calgary,
Jim Taylor writes that CBS "dropped back into funeral mode
at the agony" of Norman faltering: "Why is it that the
golfing media -- and television in particular -- can't
handle the trials of Greg Norman with the class and aplomb
of Norman himself?" (CALGARY SUN, 4/12).
STRONG PRODUCTION: In Houston, David Barron notes that
despite some questions over the amount of coverage CBS is
allowed to show, the net did provide viewers with live
coverage of 14 of 18 holes with the last group (HOUSTON
CHRONICLE, 4/12). In Atlanta, Prentis Rogers writes that
the "brisk tempo of moving from shot to shot" by Producer
Lance Barrow and Director Steve Milton was "first rate"
(ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 4/12). USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke
writes that while CBS "is back, challenging Emmy-nominated
NBC for TV golf supremacy," it did commit "some bogeys," as
"too many cliches still aired" (USA TODAY, 4/12). In
Richmond, Jerry Lindquist: "It is borderline hilarious how
reverently CBS treats this annual event. It is, after all,
only golf" (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 4/12). In Toronto,
Chris Zelkovich writes that The Masters "stands out as one
of the greatest sporting events ... so why does CBS believe
it has to hype this event so much?" Zelkovich: "These guys
don't just gild the lily, they cover it in diamonds and add
a few layers of varnish for good measure" (TOR. STAR, 4/12).
MASTERS OF THEIR DOMAINS: Augusta National Golf Club
Chair Hootie Johnson said the club would not "relent" on its
policy allowing CBS to show only three hours of final round
coverage. Johnson: "We like the way it is. It works, and
our ratings are good. All the feedback we get from fans all
over the world is very positive, and we like the
presentation the way it is" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 4/10). A
N.Y. TIMES editorial on Saturday said that "there are many
reasons" to watch The Masters, adding that the "best reason
is to see what televised sports should really look like,
when money is not the only object" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/10).
MASTERS NOTES: The Masters announced a purse total of
$4M, with the winner receiving $720,000. The purse is
surpassed by only five other events on the PGA Tour -- the
four World Championship events and The Players Championship,
all of which have $5M purses (CNNSI.com)....Titleist runs a
full-page color ad in USA TODAY congratulating Olazabal on
his win (THE DAILY)....As of Friday PM, The Masters'
official Web site, www.masters.org, was averaging 238,000
hits per minute. The previous busiest Web site ever
monitored by IBM was the Nagano Winter Olympics, which had
110,000 hits per minute (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/10).