This past weekend I tuned into the Boise Open on The Golf Channel only to discover that there was no commentary. Instead of feeling cheated, I felt as if I had the best seat in the house – as if I was actually attending the event, but was able to easily cover many holes and players in seconds. It was fun to hear some of the players miked for sound and listen into the player-caddie exchanges as opposed to the often inane commentator babble – the LPGA and Champions Tour should especially take note as well as CBS.
Actually I enjoy the Jerry Foltz/Curt Byrum tandem and find them as enlightening and listenable as any in the game, but the chance to simply soak in the experience with more and better golf sounds and expanded graphics made it so interesting. I’m not sure that being commentary-free would work on an extended basis as there are stories and background information to relate, but it certainly illustrated for me that there is too much rambling on the part of the television broadcast crews. Perhaps an occasional round or a “commentary-light” telecast may just be a better alternative.
And would PGA TOUR players cooperate? To date, most have fought being miked, but if they want to remain relevant and entertaining, they had better evaluate every opportunity to connect with their audience during the round. As for the LPGA and Champions Tour, in my opinion they have no choice – their coverage is dreadfully boring and their following stagnant at best. (Eventual winner Hunter Haas was miked during a third round 67 and he was interviewed during play so it couldn’t have hurt his play too much.)
As for me, the game is less about the announcers and their celebrity and more about what is going on inside the ropes. Kudos go to The Golf Channel for this experiment.