ESPN Receives Praise For Focusing On Tiger During First Round Of British Open
ESPN “wisely” used Tiger Woods “liberally in their British Open coverage Thursday,” according to Reid Cherner of the USA TODAY. From the time the tourney went on air at 4:30am ET “until Woods’ final interview 5 ½ hours later, the network gave even the biggest Tigerophile his money’s worth.” Woods shot a 67 Thursday, and ESPN’s crew did “a good job foreshadowing the type of round Woods would have” (USA TODAY, 7/20). YAHOO SPORTS’ Jonathan Wall wrote whoever decided to send ESPN the Magazine's Wright Thompson “across the pond to write a couple essays for the British Open deserves a serious raise.” ESPN has aired similar video essays in the past, “but this was their best work yet.” The “brilliant essays had nothing to do with the outcome of the tournament, but they were a perfect complement to the coverage” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 7/19). Meanwhile, in N.Y., Phil Mushnick wrote ESPN’s Mike Tirico and Curtis Strange Thursday "repeatedly heard Tiger Woods curse, yet ignored them as if they were the only ones who heard." Mushnick: "Made us wonder if they’d ignore such behavior from others playing in the British Open, except no one else is known to be such an audible cusser. Then again, no one’s covered as closely as Woods." The only person on ESPN "to note that Woods played 'unsmiling' and 'agitated' golf was Peter Alliss, an Englishman-on-one-event-loan, thus not compelled to ignore from Woods what U.S. viewers can’t miss" (N.Y. POST, 7/20).
PETER PIPER: YAHOO SPORTS' Wall wrote one of the "great things about ESPN covering the British Open is the addition of world-class BBC golf commentator Peter Alliss to [the] booth." Wall: "There isn't a better voice or storyteller in the game than Alliss, and he once again reinforced that claim with a story about some rabbits on the course” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 7/19). Golfweek's Beth Ann Baldry wrote on Twitter, "Wish I could listen to Peter Alliss on every golf broadcast. He makes it a totally different viewing experience." USA Today's Gary Mihoces wrote, "Enjoying #ESPN coverage of (British) Open. Just wish Peter Alliss was still on the air. Re bunkers: I couldn't get out of them in an ATV." Golf World's Bill Fields wrote, "Peter Alliss is to the BBC Open broadcast what Johnny Carson was to half past 11.
BRINGING IN THE BIG GUNS: In London, Brian Barwick reported the BBC "has responded" to criticism of its golf coverage earlier this year from R&A CEO Peter Dawson by adding Golf HOFer Nick Faldo to its Open Championship coverage. Alliss remains "the signature voice of the sport" and listening to him last weekend at the Scottish Open, it was evident he is still "the man to beat" (London DAILY MAIL, 7/19).